After numerous records were shattered and rewritten, along with several memorable tours and the introduction of the ‘Bazball’ concept, the World Test Championship for the 2021/23 cycle is nearing its conclusion. In just three days, the highly anticipated summit clash will commence at The Oval in London, featuring India and Australia, both vying for their first-ever title. Ahead of this grand final, Cricket Australia has unveiled the Best XI from the tournament, and surprisingly, it does not include Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, or the emerging sensation Shubman Gill.
Only three Indian players made the cut in Cricket Australia’s selection for the “ultimate Test XI from the last two years.” The team comprises three Australians, two Englishmen, and one player each from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. The selection was based on the players’ performances throughout the entire two-year World Test Championship cycle, with a focus on their ability to excel in diverse playing conditions.
Despite Rohit’s impressive performance as an opener during the 2021 England tour, where he even smashed a century at The Oval, he was overlooked, along with Shubman Gill. Gill, although a late addition to the campaign, proved his worth with two centuries between November and March, one of which came during the Border-Gavaskar series. The opening partnership was entrusted to Usman Khawaja and Dimuth Karunaratne.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who amassed over 1500 runs in just 14 matches, was chosen as the No.3 batsman, followed by the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Joe Root (1915 runs in 22 Tests). This meant that Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli were left out. The top-order batting lineup was completed with the inclusion of the dynamic middle-order batsman Travis Head, who made a name for himself as one of the most destructive players in that position.
Next on the list were the three Indian players who eventually made it into the Best XI. Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin were selected as the two spin-allrounders, with Rishabh Pant taking the wicketkeeper’s position. The pace attack consisted of Pat Cummins, who was also named the team’s captain, along with James Anderson and Kagiso Rabada.
Cricket Australia’s WTC Team of the Tournament: Khawaja, Karunaratne, Babar, Root, Head, Jadeja, Pant, Ashwin, Cummins (C), Anderson, Rabada.