Harsha Bhogle picks his best Test XI of the year 2017
Did Virat Kohli get a place in the XI?
Updated - Dec 26, 2017 8:46 pm
It is said that Test cricket is the original form of cricket. A players’ quality and class is determined by the way he plays the longest format of the game. It is unfortunate to see the format’s future in peril. When the match goes into the fifth day with both oppositions having an equal chance, that is when we get to witness cricket in its purest form. Several Test matches were played in various countries in 2017 and Harsha Bhogle has picked his Test XI of the year for Cricbuzz.
Openers and No.3:
Dean Elgar of South Africa has had a wonderful year. He scored 1128* runs at an average of 54.85 in 21 innings. During this period, he scored five centuries with his highest score of 199. But who can accompany Elgar as the second opener? With Dimuth Karunaratne and KL Rahul in the fray too, Warner gets the nod on the basis of pedigree. Considering Warner’s class an average of 44.88 may not be up to his standards but his experience in bowling friendly conditions is essential for the team.
The No.3 spot is a two way tussle between Kane Williamson and Cheteshwar Pujara. However, it was a breakthrough year for the Indian as he has scored runs in difficult conditions while carrying the team’s fortunes in the middle order. Pujara scored 1140 runs at an average over 65 that over bailed his team out and gave them the upper hand in the match.
The Rock-solid middle order:
The No.4 spot is the easiest of all. There can be no debates over Steve Smith as he would find a place in every cricket fans Test XI. He is on his way to becoming a test legend. His career average above 60 is only bettered by Sir Don Bradman. Smith is way ahead of his counterparts and has been piling tons of runs of late.
Now, who do you pick for the No.5 position? We cannot look beyond Virat Kohli. He has to be in the team o the year in all formats. Though he struggled against the Aussies, he more than made it up against the Lankans. The double hundreds too him to another level.
Just like the ODI XI, Ben Stokes has to be in the Test XI. Though, Stokes did not feature in the Ashes, he is by far the best fast-bowling allrounder in the modern day game. He can be the difference between a good team and a great team. With a solid batting order, a specialist wicket-keeper was needed in the squad.
Wriddhiman Saha’s wicket keeping heroics on turning tracks should have won him many man of the match awards. Though he may not have had a great year with the bat, his exploits behind the wicket earns him a spot in the test XI.
Ravindra Jadeja’s darters puts him in the side as the first spinner. He can be a handy customer with the bat can is difficult to get away when he is in his groove. His quick overs give very little time for the batsmen to think. Fans can debate over Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon. But Lyon’s 60 wickets in 10 matches and his performances in India cannot be ignored and his services would surely be required in the test XI.
James Anderson is a legendary fast bowler for England. Though he hasn’t lived up to his reputation in the Ashes, his 51 wickets in 10 matches in 2017 surely stake a claim in Test XI of the year. Kagiso Rabada has had a wonderful year especially when his other senior bowling partners were absent due to injuries. He always rose to the occasion and whenever his captain provided the ball in his hand, he didn’t seem to disappoint. There are several other players who can be considered but this XI had the biggest impact on their team and had a great 2017.
Bhogle’s Test XI of the year: Dean Elgar, David Warner, Cheteshwar Pujara, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Nathan Lyon, James Anderson and Kagiso Rabada.