The ICC test team of the year has just been announced. It’s a decent team on the whole. But there’s one glaring omission: Jimmy Anderson has been left out. This leaves me scratching my not inconsiderable bald bonce.
Let’s look at the team. It’s led by Alastair Cook and also includes Joe Root and Stuart Broad. They’re joined by David Warner (boo!), Kane Williamson, Younis Khan, Steve Smith, Sarfraz Ahmed, Trent Boult, Yasir Shah and Josh Hazlewood. Ravi Rashwin was named 12th man.
As far as I’m concerned, Anderson deserves to be selected above both Boult and Hazlewood. He took 46 wickets at an average of 22.65 in 2015, compared with Boult’s 30 wickets at 31.4 and Hazlewood’s 44 wickets at 23.27. Anderson also has a far better economy rate than either of them (2.6 compared to 3.4 and 3.1) and recently became England’s leading wicket-taker in test history.
I’m not saying that Hazlewood and Boult don’t deserve some recognition – they’ve generally performed well during the qualification period – but their respective averages must count for something. What’s more, Hazlewood bowled poorly in the Ashes (the biggest series he played in) and was generally considered a disappointment. Anderson missed the last two Ashes tests through injury but was outstanding in the 3rd test at Edgbaston where his 6-47 all but won the game.
I also think that Ashwin has been hard done by. He’s taken 55 wickets this year, more than anyone else, yet he’s only played 8 tests. Statistically he’s head and shoulders above everyone else. Yet his reward is merely a place carrying drinks. He must make a bloody good cuppa char.
Overall the bowling selections seem as contentious as one of Nigel Llong’s DRS decisions – especially when one looks at the batsmen picked. The six specialist batsmen chosen are the top six leading run scorers in 2015. It’s hard to argue with that. Mohammad Hafeez was possibly a little unlucky to be left out, but it’s hard to argue against the selections of either Cook or Warner.
The selection of Sarfraz Ahmed as wicket-keeper might have raised a few eyebrows too. Sarfraz is a good player, don’t get me wrong, but both BJ Watling and Dinesh Chandimal were also strong candidates (although the latter doesn’t always keep these days).
I’d love to know the thought process that goes into these decisions. I imagine the music simply stopped when Sarfraz was holding the parcel? As for Jimmy Anderson, was he was even invited to the party?