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Cricket captains choose their best batsman, bowler and wicketkeeper

BBC asked the one-day captain of each competing nation to vote for their top three batsmen, bowlers and wicketkeepers in world cricket in all formats.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni of India. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

According to a BBC Sports survey of world cricket’s captains, India’s Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, and Australia bowler Mitchell Starc are the best players in the world. With world’s top eight nations in England and Wales for the Champions Trophy, BBC asked the one-day captain of each competing nation to vote for their top three batsmen, bowlers and wicketkeepers in world cricket in all formats.

Captains were not allowed to vote for players from their own country. Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa all took part but India and Sri Lanka did not. The results say that Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world, MS Dhoni is the best wicketkeeper in the world, and Mitchell Starc the best bowler in the world.

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Kohli was voted as the best batsman by his peers. With 43 international centuries to his name at the age of 28, along with four Test scores of 200 and more in the last 1 year, it was no surprise that three of Kohli’s fellow captains nominated him as the best in the international business with the other three marking him as second best. South Africa’s AB de Villiers, and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson got two of the other number one votes. Steve Smith and Joe Root earned two nominations each for the third place.

Starc was chosen as the best bowler by four world captains. Since the other (Australia couldn’t vote for him) he had him second to South Africa’s Dale Steyn. With six-wicket hauls in Tests in three continents, the 27-year-old Starc is now the spearhead of the Australian pace attack.

Analysis by BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “If there’s swing around, Starc moves the white ball. He’s got great pace and a searing yorker. He’s got all the attributes for a one-day fast bowler. He knocks people over and is particularly brutal with the tail. He’s definitely the standout fast bowler in the world.”

Meanwhile, Dhoni kept the number one spot as the best wicketkeeper. He may be 35 now but continues to strike fear into the opponent with his powerful batting and innovative wicketkeeping skills. Although he no longer plays Test cricket, his one-day skills remain undeniable. South Africa’s Quinton de Kock also earned just as many nominations – but not was not the first-choice picks.

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