Friday, December 28, 2012

My Test Team of 2012

A shameful Sri Lankan implosion on the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground turf has heralded the end to Test Cricket in 2012. A year that captivated us with the gamut of emotions it has served from the moments of sublime genius that had us in awe compared with the less than acceptable displays that were met with our disdain.

Picking a combined Team of the best performers of the year is not an easy task with combinations like these always being responded to by who you have left out rather than the players you have chosen.

I have lived a Life of creating rods for my back, so here is another one with the selection of my 2012 Team of the Year.

The Openers


Choosing the top 2 was pretty difficult because throughout the year many have showed flashy of brilliance or moment of real calibre, but none have been consistent all year long. I thought about adapting Hashim Amla to the openers role due to the many candidates that were worthy of a position in the 3-6 position but I chose to settle on two specialist openers.

On this basis, there were no real challengers to the combination of Graeme Smith and Alastair Cook


Graeme Smith ( South Africa )


The South African Skipper is one of those players that always feels the brunt of fans outrage when the team is struggling, but never their praise when it is doing well.

A player that will only ever be fully appreciated when the Team has to replace him

This year has seen him not dominate like he has done in the past, but in every series that South Africa has won he has played a crucial role in it. Think of his efforts in New Zealand against a very respectable Kiwi pace attack supported by bowling friendly conditions where he ensured a draw with an old style openers innings in the 1st Test and then won the 2nd Test chasing a tricky little total on a dicey pitch when he counter attacked brilliantly. Come England in the battle for Number 1, he defined the series from the first innings with a century that neutralised the very accomplished English bowling unit by the batting purism it exuded. His knowledge of where his off stump was and genius at leaving the ball had tears rolling down us old timers wrinkled faces.


His year culminated in a win he set up in Australia with his choice to counter attack again in the deciding 3rd Test that inspired courage in his Team mates to follow and awoke the South African batting line up that had been slumbering.

Alastair Cook ( England )


How can you not select Cook after his incredible exploits in India?

He almost single-handedly turned around England's prospects in India with a century in a losing cause in the 1st Test that served as an inspiration for the rest of the English batting to rise through the belief it engendered.

Then he took it a step further by commandeering a turn around in a series that took England from dead to rites in the eyes of all to celebrating their first Test series win in India in 28 years.

A once in a generation series win highlighted by a batting display to match.


The Middle Order

In truth, three of the four of the middle order pick themselves with Hashim Amla and Michael Clarke coming off incredible years and Jacques Kallis being Jacques Kallis...

The Selection of Marlon Samuels is certain to set tongues wagging with most pointing to the credentials of more noted batsmen like M Hussey, Chanderpaul, Sangakkara and even Kevin Pietersen. But Samuels gets the nod ahead of them because of the quality of his runs, the situations they were scored in and the completeness of his play


Hashim Amla ( South Africa )



I do not think we realise how good Hashim Amla is maybe because he is such a humble character.

In my mind, he is that complete as a batsman that I think when all is said and done on his career he will average over 60. Which is a huge call considering two have only exceeded that mark in the history of the game.

He gave credence to this claim all year long with him showing a mastery of batting completeness from his dour grinding play in England that diminished the might of the English quicks to him shifting through the gears to tear the Aussies apart Down Under.

In a display of pristine stroke play that bordered on sexual

Michael Clarke ( Australia ) ( C )


Do we need to explain why Clarke is in the Team?

2012 has seen him dominate in a manner that has rarely been seen in the games history with him scoring 4 double centuries!


The thing that has been left unspoken in his batting gluttony is the pressure he has been under while scoring them with the weakness of the Aussie top 3 meaning he has more often than not walked in under pressure. Only to treat it with ambivalent disdain and flip the situation on its head

His Captaincy has also be refreshing for is attacking intents and sense of adventure

Marlon Samuels ( West Indies )


Samuels selection might raise a few eye brows, but look at his mountain of runs and then look at the situations that he has scored them in as well as the differing styles of batsmanship he has displayed

He has always been a tease throughout his career, but this year saw the boy become a man with his exquisite stroke play being given real might with the renaissance of temperament he displayed. Some of his gritty innings highlighted by his efforts in his hometown of Kingston. Where he scored 123 out of 205 in the 1st innings and guided the Team to a victory with a half century in the 2nd innings

Jacques Kallis ( South Africa )


Having a Team of the year with Kallis is in truth like having a Face without a nose with his levels of consistency just super human from an excellence point of view. Then with age, he just gets better and better and better....

It seems almost surreal how every year his reputation grows with many questioning whether he is in the discussion as the greatest cricketer in the games history at present.


Wicket Keeper 

If you were selecting solely on glove work then Sri Lanka's Prasanna Jayawardene would be in the side. The selected Matt Prior might not be as accomplished with the gloves, but with bat in hand and as an unspoken leader in the Team few are as accomplished as the English backstop.


Matt Prior ( England )



A true warrior as a batsman, and the heart and soul of a very decent England side

His glove work might not be as accomplished as others on the World scene like Prasanna Jayawardene, but the rest of his package makes him the 1st picked in this side.

The contributions he made in England's miraculous series win in India cannot be underplayed and highlighted why he is such a respected Test player.

With you knowing that when your Team is under the cosh Prior will be the first to lead a comeback charge


Bowlers:

I am anticipating angst over my bowling selection with the two spinners being walk up starters, but the pacemen causing much conjecture. I say this for I have basically selected Steyn on an alright year by his standards, but more on his reputation and the glimpses he has shown of it. Kemar Roach I see as very deserving, but people will automatically point to the merits of others like James Anderson, Peter Siddle and Vernon Philander.


Admittedly, Philander is very unlucky not to be in the Team

Dale Steyn ( South Africa )



There is a bit of bias involved in Steyn's inclusion in my Team with his figures not as impressive as some of his fast bowling peers, but I cannot with clear conscience leave him out of the Team.

He did not record some of his transcendent figures of past season, but he still rose to the occasion in both England and Australia with spells that had a decisive effect on both series.

A delivery at Perth to dismiss a peerless Michael Clarke was one of the best deliveries one could see.

Highlighting why Steyn, even on a down year is a must in any Team

Rangana Herath ( Sri Lanka )


A truly remarkable year by the little Sri Lankan tweeker with it highlighted by 7 5 wicket hauls and 2 10 wicket returns in a match.

Made even more respectable when you take into account that he plays very much a Lone Ranger role in Sri Lanka's threadbare bowling attack. Which highlights his skill more with him having to earn his wickets more with most batsmen determined to see him off so as to milk or maul the rest of the Sri Lankan attack

He even managed to take the catch of the year!

Kemar Roach ( West Indies )



This selection might shock a few but it is backed up by Roach's figures in particular his strike rate that is out of this World at 41.

He is that out and out fast bowler that would offer a perfect balance to the Team. With him not just a one trick pony with his speed, but also has the added extra of swing and seam to back up his attractive package.

If you add some real nastiness to the glimpses that he has shown in recent season then you can see this 24 year old turning into the next great West Indian quick

Bookmark 2012 as his first step on his path to greatness

Saeed Ajmal ( Pakistan )


I must say that Ajmal is almost an unplayable bowler for he has the combination of unorthodox spin variations with real guile and an innate know how of how to entrap and dismember batsmen.


His Doosra is arguably the most deadly delivery in the game.

He truly destroyed the English is the early parts of 2012, and his joust with the South African batting maestros on their home turf in early 2013 will be a cricketing highlight of the Test season.


4 comments:

  1. well, it looks good and reasonable I have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  2. that is a rather cool test team of 2013 and I would like to know if you will do a similar test team for 2013, I am very interesting in checking that out

    ReplyDelete