ICC announced the Test and ODI team of the year. None of the Indian players have made the playing XI in the former category. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin features in the Test squad as the 12th man, while Indian pace bowler Mohammad Shami features in the ODI XI.
The lists are announced in Dubai, at ICC headquarters. The list is influenced by World Cup performance, England’s Ashes win and the rise of Bangladesh in ODI format. The qualification period for the Test and ODI team was from September 18th, 2014 to September 13th, 2015.
Virat Kohli, who has been considered as the one of the best young prospects of world cricket failed to make the list while Ravichandran Ashwin even after becoming the highest wicket taker in the year missed the Test XI.
The inclusion of Steve Smith in the ODI instead of Kane Williamson has also raised eyebrows. Smith was included in the Test team as he has been the No. 1 in batsmen’s ranking. At the same time, Williamson has also been the numero uno rank holder of ODI ranking. ICC in its press release said, “Steven Smith earns his inaugural ODI nomination after playing a leading role in helping Australia seal its fifth ICC Cricket World Cup.”
The list is chosen by a selection panel chaired by the ICC’s Cricket Committee chairman and former Indian captain Anil Kumble.
Kumble said, “Testament to the quality of cricket played is the calibre of players to have missed out on selection. While selecting these squads, the selectors considered various combinations and took into account several factors in overall performances. Congratulations to all of the players on their selections.”
He further added, “Team selection is one of the toughest jobs and when you have a large pool of outstanding players to select from in a 12-month period then it becomes even more difficult. It was a particularly busy year, with a series of stellar performances throughout the Test and ODI formats, not least in a hugely successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which has greatly enhanced the popularity and profile of the game internationally.”
The selection panel was comprised of legends like Ian Bishop, former England batsman Mark Butcher, former Australia women’s captain Belinda Clarke and G. Viswanath, Deputy Editor of The Hindu and Sportstar.
Ashes-winning England captain Alastair Cook has been announced as the captain of the Test team. Cook has also been the highest Test run aggregator in Test cricket. Along with Cook, two other English players batsman Joe Root and bowler Stuart Broad were rewarded for their rollicking performance in Test. Australian opener David Warner was chosen as Cook’s opening partner while Warner’s compatriot Steve Smith was selected as the best number 5 Test batsman in the playing XI. Pacer Josh Hazlewood, 24, who made his debut in December 2014 against India, chosen as the third best Test seamer of the year.
Stuart Broad for the fifth time in since 2009 has been selected in Test team since 2009. Previously he was included in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
New Zealand’s classic 25-year-old batsman Kane Williamson and pace bowler Trent Boult represented New Zealand’s creative form of cricket in recent times.
Pakistan, who recently elevated to no. 3 in ICC Test ranking as they won the Sri Lanka series after 2006 and kept their unbeaten run in UAE impeccable since 2009 as they defeated England 2-0.
Talented leg-spinner Yasir Shah and veteran Test Younis Khan were the main protagonists behind Pakistan’s success. So, the selection panel chooses both of them in the team. While was chosen as no. 3 batsman while Shah was chosen as the only specialist spinner.
Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed is the specialist wicketkeeper for the Test team.
ICC Test Team of the Year 2015 (in batting order):
David Warner (Aus)
Alastair Cook (Eng) (captain)
Kane Williamson (NZ)
Younis Khan (Pak)
Steven Smith (Aus)
Joe Root (Eng)
Sarfraz Ahmed (Pak) (wicketkeeper)
Stuart Broad (Eng)
Trent Boult (NZ)
Yasir Shah (Pak)
Josh Hazlewood (Aus)
12th: Ravichandran Ashwin (Ind)
Meanwhile, the ODI team is dominated by South Africa and New Zealand, who played the first semifinal of the World Cup at Eden Park, Auckland. AB de Villiers, who led South Africa to World Cup semifinal, was handed the captaincy. He was also the third highest run-scorer in the World Cup with 482. Along with AB de Villiers, run machine Hashim Amla and leg-spinner Imran Tahir, were chosen as the best opener and specialist spinner.
The surprise of the list is Bangladesh teenage bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who made his debut against India in June, has been playing an instrumental role in Bangladesh’s recent success in ODI at home. Rahman has taken 26 wickets in 9 matches.
Kumar Sangakkara, who was the second highest run scorer with 541 in the ODI jamboree in Australia and New Zealand, was selected in the team as the specialist wicketkeeper-batsman. His compatriot Tillakaratne Dilshan is chosen as the Amla’s opening partner. Dilshan was the seventh highest run-scorer in the World Cup as he scored 395. Sangakkara, who retired after World Cup, earlier featured in ODI team as a wicketkeeper in 2011,2012 and 2013 while Dilshan made the list three times-2009, 2011 and 2013.
Australia’s World Cup-winning batsman Steve Smith was chosen as the middle order batsman. Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Trent Boult are two cricketers who have been selected for both ODI and Test teams. Boult was the leading wicket taker of in World Cup along with Mitchell Starc. Both have taken 22 wickets. Man of the series Mitchell Starc was chosen as the new ball bowler along with India’s Mohammad Shami.
England Joe Root, who featured in the Test team, selected as the 12th man of the squad.
ICC ODI Team of the Year 2015 (in batting order)
Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL)
Hashim Amla (SA)
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) (wicketkeeper)
AB de Villiers (SA) (captain)
Steven Smith (Aus)
Ross Taylor (NZ)
Trent Boult (NZ)
Mohammed Shami (Ind)
Mitchell Starc (Aus)
Mustafizur Rahman (Bang)
Imran Tahir (SA)
12th: Joe Root (Eng)
Meanwhile, ICC stated, “The winners of the individual awards will be announced later this month.”