Cricket

Glenn McGrath picks his Test team of 2016

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It isn't often an Australian praises an Englishman in the sport of cricket, whether they are retired or not.

The rivalry on display whenever the two teams face up in an Ashes series is unlike any other around the world.

And no one epitomised how such a series should be played more that Glenn McGrath.

The former fast bowler picked up 157 of his 563 Test wickets in matches against England and even managed to secure 10 five-wicket hauls along the way too.

Therefore, some English fans might be a bit surprised to find out that McGrath has actually included four players of the current England side in his Test team of 2016.

Despite the recent 4-0 thrashing at the hands of India, Alastair Cook's men dominate the 46-year-old's selection - although the captain himself does miss out.

Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes were all included in McGrath's XI while Stuart Broad was picked to be the 12th man.

Root, the leading scorer in 2016 was perhaps surprisingly picked slightly out of position as an opener.

"Alastair Cook has had a reasonable 12 months, as has Azhar Ali, but I found it difficult to pick four of the main batters in the team," McGrath told Cricket Australia.

"And I noticed that Joe Root did open once this year so I've moved him into the number two position. Joe has had an incredible last 12 months ... he's the leading run-scorer for the year so he's my other opener."

It has also been a pretty special 12 months for Bairstow, who hit three centuries and eight 50s this year.

"The wicketkeeper position I found a little bit tough, but Jonny Bairstow has had such an incredible year that I couldn't go past him.

"I do like Quinton de Kock from South Africa, but Bairstow had an incredible year. He scored 1470 runs, just below Joe Root, and at an incredible average."

Meanwhile, for Stokes, that very special innings worth 258 runs in South Africa back at the start of the year will live long in the memory.

"For me, I'd nearly have Ben Stokes in the team as a bowler. What he can do with the ball is incredible ... he's taken 33 wickets for the year, so I'd probably expect a little bit more from him.

"But he's also scored more than 900 runs with the bat. Averaging 45 with the bat, 25 with the ball - he's my all-rounder."

It was another consistent 12 months for Broad, who McGrath has been impressed by for a number of years.

"I've gone for another English player as my 12th man, as tough as it for me to pick an Englishman.

"I've been a big fan of Stuart Broad for a long time and he just seems to get better and better. I found it tough not to have him in the team, but I thought he deserved to be in the 12."

Here is McGrath's full team:

David Warner
Joe Root
Virat Kohli
Steve Smith
Kane Williamson
Jonny Bairstow
Ben Stokes
Ravichandran Ashwin
Mitchell Starc
Kagiso Rabada
Yasir Shah

12th man: Stuart Broad

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Topics:
The Ashes
Joe Root
Cricket
Jonny Bairstow
Virat Kohli
England cricket
Australia cricket
David Warner

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