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..
THE WISDEN TEST XI OF 2008
Opening 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.
At 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.
Most 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.
At 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.
The 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.
Only 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.
No 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.
Fourth 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 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.
At. 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:
The 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.
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.