A true testament of a cricket player’s worth is measured by how well he performs in the longest format of the game.
There have been players who have been very good in the limited overs format but have just not been able to translate that to the international arena. There are some who can rise above the rest and prove their mettle to stand out. Here are the best Test XI of 2017:
Quinton De Kock:
Though de Kock bats at different positions for South Africa in tests, he warrants a place at the top of the order because he is the best option. He has been superb for South Africa, both in the New Zealand and England series and will look to consolidate from here.
Another player who does not open frequently but could find a place anywhere in the top XI of 2017 for tests. Williamson scored freely in the South Africa series and is one of the best batsmen today.
The Indian batsman is having his best year with the bat and that is something, considering how good his last 2 to 3 years already were. Two centuries in two tests already against the Lankans coming off the back of a superb test series against Australia mean that he easily finds his place.
Root has been phenomenal for England and his record with the bat this year proves just that. He was in great touch against the South Africans that enabled England to win the series and his stature grows with each passing day.
Steven Smith (Captain):
Though he lost the series against India a few months back, Smith showed that this was not a measure of his captaincy skill. He managed to win one game in a place where India were enjoying a long unbeaten run and his batting was fantastic – replete with centuries and fifties all round.
Though Jadeja has not had the best time in limited overs cricket, his record with the red ball this year is brilliant. Though India have played all their matches in the sub-continent, Jadeja has shown that he is no slouch, picking up the best all-rounder tag to go with his many wickets.
Another player who has been superb in Tests, at least in the sub-continent has been Ravi Ashwin. He has also added another dimension to his game with regards to his batting and will look to improve overseas.
Ali almost ran the show for England against the South Africans, picking up 25 wickets and earning himself the man of the series. He is also a good batsman who can plunder or bat sensibly when required.
Stokes has had a good year with the bat and the ball and has shown his class as a genuine all-rounder for England. He was in great touch with the bat in the South Africa series and also chipped in with a few important wickets.
Morkel was good for the South Africans in both the New Zealand and England series. Though there is plenty of cricket yet to be played, South Africa have an able and talented bowler in Morkel who should serve them for more years.
Not a name many would have expected to see here, but the numbers don’t lie. In 2017, Maharaj picked up close to 30 wickets in the two series, finishing as his squad’s highest wicket-taker in the New Zealand one, and warranting a place here.
Notable mentions: Ajinkya Rahane, Hashim Amla, James Anderson, Dean Elgar.
By Rohit Nair