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Test Cricket: Wisden Test XI for 2008

If the world wasn’t surprised by India making inroads into the test arena, The latest announcement of the Wisden test XI  brings in more surprises. Five Indians make it to the list of 11 test cricketers in the WISDEN TEST XI FOR 2008. When i read the news story in the news papers this morning, I was happy to see the inclusion of five Indians but had to raise a few eyebrows about the selection of few other players. Taking a look at the team for the second time makes me realize that the selection is based on the batting order in which they line up. Each one of them has been the best in the world throughout the year 2008 for their respective teams.. Read on as we discuss the team and the players..
sehwagOpening the batting for the Wisden Test XI will be the dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag who with his batting skills overshadowed all the critics in 2008. The man has already scored two triple hundreds and 9 out of 10 test centuries over the score of 150. The aggression that he brings into the team and the rate at which he scores his runs put team India in winning situations more often than not. No wonder he became the obvious choice for No.1 spot in the batting order.

greame-smith11At No. 2 is the South African captain Graeme Smith. He played some courageous knocks over the last year. Who can forget the scene of watching him walk on to the pitch on the last day of the Adelaide test bandaged all around his body. Smith walked into batting with a fractured rib and broken right hand to help his team save the last test. South Africa lost the test, but won the series 2-1. He led the South African team to the number one spot in both Test and one day rankings,taking No.2 here.

ricky-ponting3Most important position in any batting order is no.3. This one went to the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting. Not in the best of form with the bat through 2008, and with his captaincy over the year, Ricky took the surprise third spot in this team. Gautam Gambhir who scored over 1100 runs in the last year with an average of above 70 could have been an ideal choice for this spot, but like i said, the choices are depending on where these batsman and bowlers play in their respective teams.. Given that no other No.3 batsman around the world did better than Ricky Ponting in the test side, Ricky won this spot hands down.

sachin-tendulkar-picAt No.4 is the Little master, Sachin Tendulkar. He has played well through out the year and has been one of the success stories for India’s run through the test arena over the last year. Known to trouble the opposition by his batting, Sachin tendulkar spelled disaster for the kiwi side as he picked some quick wickets in the last inning of the last test match in the recently concluded test series in new Zealand which India won 1-0. The man does magic with both ball and bat, If there was a vacant spot for No.4 in this team, Sachin Tendulkar should be the obvious choice.

kevin_pietersen_satireThe costliest player os season 2 of the Indian premier League (IPL), Kevein Peitersen takes the surprise No.5 spot in the team. If i thought the team was picked based on the regular batting order, this proves me wrong. My personal choice for this spot would have been Australian batsman Micheal Hussey or South African  new-born JP Duminy. Both these players have proved to be the success stories for their sides during the last year. Not to forget Jesse Ryder, he could have well made to this team had he played more games during the season.

shivnarine_chanderpaulOnly west Indian to make it to the side this time is Shivanarain Chanderpaul at No.6. If West Indies has done well in the test series in 2008 it’s because of this man and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Chanderpaul makes the cut for his witty style of batting and his ability to change gears at will puts him at No.6.

dhoni34765No prizes for guessing who should be the captain of this team. Team India captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni has been named the captain of his side for his consistent performance with the bat and his ability as a captain. Ex-Cricketers from around the world are all accolades for Dhoni and his style of leading the team. If ever there was a reason for India’s success in 2008, Dhoni is just one of them. Dhoni has been slated to bat at No.7 for the Wisden Test XI.

With two other successful captains in the side in the likes of Ponting and Smith, Dhoni made the cut making India proud.

harbhajan-singh-iccFourth Indian on the list and at no.8 in this team is Harbhajan Singh. Having picked 16 wickets, most by a bowler in the recent test series against New Zealand Harbhajan becomes the lone spinner in this wisden XI. Muralitharan was out of matches for Srilanka and no other team were able to produce a better spinner than him making him the obvious choice to fill the vacant spinners spot.. He bats at No.8 in this side.

mitchell-johnsonMitchell Johnson leads the Australian pace bowling attack in the absence of Brett Lee. The Australian-Slinger as they call him has picked wickets consistently through 2008 and has been the only bowler to stand out with performances in the absence of the experienced bowlers. His ability with the bat puts him at No.9.

dale_steyn_589211At. No.10 is the South African quickie Dale Steyn. A reason for South Africa’s success in Australia. Dale Steyn picked up crucial wickets even on the flattest of batting tracks all through 2008. His recent 4 for in the second one day against Australia who were at one stage 20 for 5 finds the 10th spot in the Wisden XI.

The last spot, but the most deserving spot:

zaheerThe last spot in the team, and a well deserved one goes to Zaheer Khan of India. Zaheer has never looked back since his comeback to the team in 2006. Three years after his comeback Zaheer continues to bowl with the same pace and accuracy, only spilling more poison into every delivery. If Ishant Sharma has been a revelation for team India, Zaheer has been the man who’s led him from the front. Zaheer takes the most deserving 11th spot in the team.

The 12th man was not announced, But my choice would simply have been Gautam Gambhir who has remained consistent through out the year and has continued to show his skills with both offensive and defensive style of batting.

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Kunal Janu

PS: This post is also a part of my sports blog: KJ @ SPORTS. As a part of the promotion of the blog, I have posted the same content here. For more posts in the field of sports, specially cricket and Formula one visit KJ@Sports.

  1. April 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    This team does tell you something, doesn’t it???


    Peter Roebuck’s team is pretty much similar. Anyway first time i’m coming here.
    Just check mine out. I’ve added you in my blogroll.

  2. Kunal
    April 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Hi christopher..

    The team is great.. wonder what happened to the ICC World XI vs the world champions that they planned to have every year.. That was a good tournament and i miss it already.. ICC should consider bringing it back..

    Kunal Janu

  3. A. Rubert
    April 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I have been watching cricket since 1992. I never saw such a good Indian team. As regard Indain team, They are winning many matches in different countries. Before they were winning in India only. Now they started to win in foreign countries as well. Congratulation Team India

  4. Kunal
    April 10, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Hi Rubert

    First of all, Thanks for coming and leaving a mark with the comment..
    You are absolutely right about the team.. All that it lacks is a good genuine all rounder.. We need a Jacques Kallis and we will be a complete side.

    I don’t believe in comparison, Specially with the past.. Gavaskar, Shastri and the likes ahve faced tough conditions and the fastest of bowlers bowling bouncers at their faces.. They have seen it all and what we see today is no comparision to the past.. Today the wickets are tailor made for the batsman.. Rules have changed and approach to the game has changed too..

    If You’d say this is the best team around the world under the current scenario, I might probably agree..

    Kunal Janu
    Read my Sports Blog: KJ@Sports

  5. April 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Hey.. nice thing you put up here. I came to know about this through your post itself!! Thankss.. 😀
    I guess.. Gautam Gambhir should have been there. In that case Dhoni could have done away with!! But then, on second (selfish) thoughts, Gambhir could’ve easily replaced Pietersen or Ponting considering their current form.
    Actually, Dhoni’s presence is not cent percent justified after all in any case. McCullam would have been a nice choice too. But then, at the end 5 Indians making it to the team, is what that matters. And India paired up with the likes of Australia & South Africa is a great honour in itself, leaving even NZ behind 😀
    Jai ho time again!! 😀

    Very nicely put! 😀

  6. April 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Oh btw, good news for you, if it matters, that is. My dad, a BIG cricket freak himself, read this post of yours. And he unanimously agreed to whatever you had to say!! He said, the post looks like has been written by someone knowledgable (in cricket). 😀 😀

    P.S.: My dad, in his days, had formed a club. His team was called the “Wisden XI” 🙂 🙂

  7. Kunal
    April 13, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Ambika 1

    Looks like youv’e not been watching TV.. All news channels had this as breaking news..
    Gautam should have been in the side considering Pietersen made it..Gauti scored his runs at the top order and who do u dispense with? Virender Sehwag or Greame smith? Both are on top of thier form and have won so many matches for India.. Pietersen just bats in the middle order, therefore his position..

    Dhoni became the obvious choice considering he’s doing what the other Indian captains had been unable to do.. Win Finals! He is well on his way to being the best Indian captain we’ve ever had.. I’m not a Dhoni fan.. But the fact remains that him being the captain the team outplays itself..

    Kunal Janu

  8. Kunal
    April 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Ambika 2

    I have a new visitor eh.. Thanks.. That makes him one out of the 2500 new visitors i had visiting my blog in the last week..
    I’m considering moving the sports blog back to wordpress.. Blogger just isn’t fun.. Google isn’t either..

    Thanks for putting up his comment..

    Kunal Janu

  9. titas
    December 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Inclusion of 5 INDIANS in the first11 is certain. there is no doubt that viru is the best opener of the world now. a player of his caliber can win a match by himself only at any time.

  10. Kunal Janu
    December 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for the comment Titas. True, the list should now completely change. I Don’t see a better opener than Sehwag, and the person to give him best company has to be Gambhir! The duo has done quite well together, and should continue doing so. No.3 has to be Rahul Dravid given his current form. No.4 is reserved for the master, Sachin Tendulkar! I doubt if a fifth one should be an Indian, there are lot many players performing well, Duminy for example cannot be left out of a side, he’s consistent and is an aggressive batsmen 🙂

  11. December 12, 2009 at 11:20 am

    i like cricketers basically australians.
    They work hard so they areNo1.

  12. Kunal Janu
    December 15, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Khushboo.. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment..
    I liked the Aussies too.. They were the best when the waugh brothers played, the bowlers had no answer to the opening that Hayden and Langer gave, there was nothing that other teams could do to make them lose.. A test match ended in 4 days!
    Over the years all that has changed. The new lot is more aggressive, They just can’t seem to win until they sledge, the whole gentleman’s concept has changed! I hate the Australians now, and every match they lose.. I celebrate!

    Kunal Janu

  13. MOSES
    December 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    gauti must be there in tne playing xi but indians are in the form of their life………..

  14. moses
    December 24, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    gauti must have been there instead of punter………..but india rocks……!

  15. Kunal Janu
    December 28, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Hi Moses,

    Like you know this list came out a long time back. If it were to be released now, I’m sure the Playing XI would only have Indians!

    Kunal Janu

  1. April 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm

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