2021 Test Team of The Year
2021 was a big year for Test Cricket. In the midst of all the doom and gloom that COVID brought along with it, cricket managed to find a way to prosper. We did still however, lose out on two great moments: The return of New Zealand to Pakistan and Afghanistan vs Australia. This year saw a total of 43 Tests being played among 11 teams. Fans were treated to mouth watering clashes including India vs England, Pakistan vs South Africa and of course, The Ashes. The First World Test Championship cycle concluded with New Zealand emerging as the victors after beating India by eight wickets at Lord’s.
Some teams played more than others, so picking players was tricky at times. This team only includes those players who have performed this year. Player performances were considered keeping in mind their impact on the games the have played. This includes looking at the conditions, home or away and the performances of their teammates. Several players were unlucky to miss out but that is a given while picking any team. Also, I have tried to slot players in the same position they occupy for their national teams.
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Opener – Rohit Sharma
Matches – 11, Innings – 11, Runs – 906, Batting Avg – 47.68, Fifties – 4, Hundreds – 2, HS – 161
2021 was the year in which Rohit Sharma stamped his authority as an all format threat. Ever since his move to the top of the order, Rohit has looked assured in the longest format. He provided solid starts for India both at home and away. His 161 at Chennai against England on a difficult pitch is unarguably one the best innings of the year. His tally of 368 runs at 52.57 on India’s tour to England was the highest by an Indian in the series. To cap off his incredible year, he was appointed as the vice-captain of the red ball side. If Rohit can keep up his good form, he will be instrumental in allowing India to compete on overseas tours. Here’s BBL point table for 2021 / 2022.
Opener – Dimuth Karunaratne
Matches – 7, Innings – 13, Runs – 902, Batting Avg – 69.38, Fifties – 3, Hundreds – 4, HS – 244
The Sri Lankan skipper’s phenomenal year has seen him being nominated for the ICC test player of the year. His of 69.38 is the highest for anyone with over 300 runs this year. Despite scoring a massive double century against Bangladesh at Pallekele, his best innings was probably against South Africa. At Johannesburg, he battled bravely on a spicy pitch to score 103 out of the team’s total of 211. Since he is also left-handed, he will pair nicely with Rohit at the top of the order. Under his captaincy, Sri Lanka did not lose a series this year.
Number 3 – Marnus Labuschagne
Matches – 5, Innings – 9, Runs – 526, Batting Avg – 65.75, Fifties – 4, Hundreds – 2, HS – 108
Though Australia only played 5 tests this year, the lack of competition for the number 3 spot means that Labuschagne makes the team. In the Tests he did play, he looked supreme. 5 successive home test this year saw him take full toll on the opposition bowling. He was the leading run scorer during India’s tour of Australia and has been consistent in The Ashes as well. For all his performances at home, everyone will be curious as to see how he adapts to conditions in Asia and elsewhere. What makes him even more threatening to opposition teams is his hunger for runs and the nonchalant way he goes about his business.
Number 4 – Joe Root (C)
Matches – 15, Innings – 29, Runs – 1708, Batting Avg – 61.00, Fifties – 4, Hundreds – 6, HS – 228, Wickets – 14, Bowling Avg – 30.50, Best – 5/8
There will surely be eyebrows raised when they see the C next to Root’s name. However, a captain is only as good as the rest of his team. Though his captaincy is not exceptional, Joe Root did not have a great team to support him. However, it has definitely brought out the best in Root as a batsman. With a final tally of 1708 runs for the year, he sits third on the list of most runs by a batter in a calendar year, He also seems to have worked out his problem of not converting his 50s into 100s. This year, not only has he scored 6 hundreds, but also converted 2 of them into doubles. He single handedly carried the batting lineup, leading England to their first series win in Sri Lanka. He also triples up as a handy bowling option. Here are the top indian betting apps for smartphone.
Number 5 – Fawad Alam
Matches – 9, Innings – 13, Runs – 571, Batting Avg – 57.10, Fifties – 2, Hundreds – 3, HS – 140
Fawad Alam continued his impressive return to International cricket with another prolific year. He has proved to be a vital cog in Pakistan’s batting lineup along with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. His best knock undoubtedly came at Kingston park against the West Indies. He scored 124* off 213 balls to pave the way for a Pakistan victory. He has a penchant for big scores which is evidenced by the fact that he has more hundreds than fifties. Batting with an unorthodox and open stance, Fawad is making up for the time lost when he was in his prime.
Number 6 – Rishabh Pant (WK)
Matches – 12, Innings – 21, Runs -748, Batting Avg – 39.36, Fifties – 5, Hundreds – 1, HS – 101, Catches – 31, Stumpings – 6
When Rishabh Pant started his career, not many would have guessed that Test cricket would be his most successful format. He has gown by leaps and bounds over the past year and has nailed down the wicket-keeper’s spot. His knocks of 97 and 89* were instrumental in leading India to another victory in Australia. In the next series against England, he recorded his first hundred at home in a match winning innings. Though he generally found things tough when India toured England, his gritty knock of 41 gave India hopes of competing in the WTC Final. Pant has also abolished whatever doubts people may have had over his wicket keeping. His technique, especially against spin has improved drastically. During the first Test against South Africa, pant became the fastest Indian wicket keeper to 100 dismissals (26 matches).
Number 7 – Dhananjaya de Silva
Matches – 6, Innings – 10, Runs – 530, Batting Avg – 58.88, Fifties – 2, Hundreds – 2, HS – 166
Dhananjaya’s name might come as a bit of a surprise to some. He has quietly gone about his business, putting in performances when the team required them. DDS, as he is fondly called, has the ability to mold his innings according to the game situation which makes him an ideal fit at number 7 in this side. He has converted both the hundreds he has scored this year into massive 150 plus scores. His innings of 155* against the West Indies at Galle completely took the game away from the visitors and contributed immensely to his team’s victory.
Number 8 – Ravichandran Ashwin
Matches – 9, Innings – 18 Wickets – 54, Bowling Avg – 16.64, Best – 6/61, Runs – 355, Batting Avg. 25.35, Hundreds – 1, HS – 106
Ashwin finished the year as the leading wicket taker once again. It also saw him overtake Harbhajan Singh to move to 3rd amongst highest wicket takers for India in Test cricket. He ended up as the most successful bowler on England’s tour to India with 32 wickets at 14.72. What will further please fans will be Ashwin’s development into a quality overseas bowler. On India’s tours to Australia and England, he proved that he can hold up one end while chipping in with wickets on unhelpful pitches. His 39* at Sydney with the bat will forever be etched in history as one of the bravest innings on a cricket field. A sublime 106 against England in Chennai cemented his return to form with the bat as well.
Number 9 – Kyle Jamieson
Matches – 5, Innings – 10, Wickets – 27, Bowling Avg – 17.51, Best – 6/48
New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson has had a rollicking start to his International career. He followed up an impressive 2020 with and equally good 2021. Though most of his wickets have come in helpful conditions, he showed his mettle on New Zealand’s latest tour to India with 6 wickets at 30.33. He started the year with combined match figures of 11/117 against Pakistan at Christchurch. In the World Test Championship Finals against India, his seven wickets broke the back of the Indian batting lineup. That performance earned him his third Man of the Match in just ten Tests. He has also contributed contributed handily with the bat, as evidenced by the cameos he has played batting with the tail. With all the ingredients to succeed, New Zealand will be hoping that he can prolong his purple patch for as long as possible.
Number 10 – Anrich Nortje
Matches – 6, Innings – 10, Wickets – 25, Bowling Avg – 20.76, Best – 6/56
He along with Rabada have formed a fearsome partnership for South Africa. Nortje in particular has taken his game to another level. His tour included impressive tours of the West Indies and Pakistan. At first glance, he may not have the most impressive stats but the manner in which he bowled was heartening to watch. He bent his back on dead pitches in Pakistan and made the ball talk with his pace and bounce. His best performance came at home against Pakistan in Johannesburg where he took 6/56. Being the only genuine ‘fast’ bowler in the team, he will compliment the rest of the attack quite nicely.
Number 11 – Shaheen Shah Afridi
Matches – 9, Innings – 17, Wickets – 47, Bowling Avg – 17.06, Best – 6/51
In many ways, 2021 was a pivotal year for Afridi. He rose through the ranks to undoubtedly become the leader of Pakistan’s attack. In what was a hectic year, he played 9 matches across 5 different countries and found success everywhere. He was the best bowler by a country mile on Pakistan’s tour to the West Indies. He picked up 18 wickets across 2 matches which included his best figures of 6/51. Even at home, he managed 7 wickets at 28.29. A fifer at Chattogram capped off his year quite fittingly. Shaheen provides a point of difference to this bowling lineup, being a left-handed swing bowler. If Pakistan can manage his workload, there is every chance that he will develop into one of their all time greats. Do check it here what’s the best betting apps for you to download.
12th Man – James Anderson
Matches – 12, Innings – 21, Wickets – 39, Bowling Avg – 21.74, Best – 6/40
Even at 39 years of age, Jimmy continues to age like fine wine. He has held England’s bowling lineup together and been Joe Root’s go to man in all conditions. Whatever doubts hung around his potency in Asia have been dispelled with his stellar performances this year. In a combined total of six innings in Sri Lanka and India, he picked up 14 wickets at a mind-boggling average of 12.73. At home, he was as effective as ever, picking up his 31st five-wicket haul against India at Lord’s. Though England have been drubbed so far in The Ashes, Anderson has stood out with seven wickets at 14.14. If the conditions demand 5 bowlers, he can be played in place of the extra batsman.