Ultimate Test & T20 XI

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Here's a bit of fun for all you cricket lovers on a Friday afternoon. With the Ashes just a couple of weeks away, I want to know, who would be in your current World XI? And how different would your Test team be to your one-day team? 

You must select two squads - a Test match team and a one-day international / T20 team. 

But here's the twist, each team must contain at least one player from each of the ten test playing nations: England, Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. 

The eleventh player can be a 'wildcard' from the country of your choice. All players must have represented their countries in the last 12 months. You can only select a player once, no one can be picked for both teams.     

This is meant as a challenge, but also as a bit of fun. Have a look at my selection below to get the idea and, if you think you can do better, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!  

My Test XI:

1) Hashim Amla - South Africa 

Role: Opening Batsmen, Test Runs: 5785, Test Average: 52.11

The 30-year-old South African has established himself as one of the great modern batsmen in recent years, hitting 11 test centuries since 2010. His unbeaten score of 311 against England at the Oval last year was the highest ever Test score by a South African. 

2) Tamim Iqbal - Bangladesh 

Role: Opening Batsmen, Test Runs: 2010, Test Average: 37.22

Still only 24, Iqbal is the third-youngest player in Test history (behind Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Ashraful) to reach 1,000 Test runs. A dynamic player who scores quickly, he was Wisden's Test Player of the Year in 2011 - an award he was chosen for ahead of Graeme Swann and Virender Sehwag.    

3) Kumar Sangakkara - Sri Lanka 

Role: Higher Order Batsmen, Test Runs: 10486, Test Average: 56.98 

Quickly approaching 36, Sangakkara is the veteran of 117 Test matches. However, he still represents an elegant and classy player, as emphasised by his Champions Trophy innings against England earlier this month. His average has arguably been beefed up a touch by playing so many games on the sub-continent, but he is undoubtedly a superb player.   

4) Michael Clarke - Australia 

Role: Middle Order Batsmen, Test Runs: 7275, Test Average: 52.33

Who would have thought it would ever become difficult to choose an Australian for a World XI? Rewind a decade, and you'd struggle to find a space in the team for anyone else. When fully-fit, which is not a given by any means, Clarke is still an exquisite batsmen, and Aussie Ashes hopes will undoubtedly be pinned upon him next month. 

5) Misbah-ul-Haq - Pakistan

Role: Middle Order Batsmen, Test Runs: 2419, Test Average: 43.19

You might struggle to find more than a handful of fans of the Pakistani captain. Flamboyant is something he most definitely isn't, but his reliability and habit to grind out useful runs would earn him a spot in the majority of international teams as a middle-lower order player.     

6) Brendan Taylor - Zimbabwe

Role: Lower Order Batsmen, Test Runs: 1182, Test Average: 34.76 

I have to admit that I have not seen a great deal of Zimbabwean cricket since their return to the Test stage last year. But captain Taylor seems the most reliable of a shaky batting line-up, with his high-score of 171 one of four international centuries. 

7) MS Dhoni - India (captain / wicketkeeper)   

Role: Lower Order Batsmen, Test Runs: 4209, Test Average: 39.70 

Already an Indian cult figure, MS Dhoni is one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen of all time, and it was a difficult decision as to which of my two teams to place him in. Always capable of providing a late flurry of runs, he has single-handedly turned around more than one game in his glittering career. 

8) Tim Southee - New Zealand

Role: Seam Bowler, Test Wickets: 83, Test Average: 34.33 

After making his test debut as a teenager against England in Napier in 2008, it has taken Southee a few years to realise his full potential. But as he showed in his countries' recent tour of England, he his now New Zealand's premier seam bowler. Also a decent lower order batsmen, with two Test fifties. 

9) Sunil Narine - West Indies

Role: Spin Bowler, Test Wickets: 15, Test Average: 48.06

In an ideal world Narine would be in the one-day team, because that is where he is at his most dangerous. But even Narine is not capable of displacing Chris Gayle when only one West Indian can be selected. The 25-year-old's test career hasn't really got going yet, but he has shown in the shorter formats how talented he actually is.   

10) Dale Steyn - South Africa (wildcard)

Role: Opening Bowler, Test Wickets: 332, Test Average: 22.65

The world's greatest bowler, Steyn's raw pace is too much for your average batsmen, while his clever change-ups and ability to vary his deliveries will cause even the best some discomfort. Economical, conceding an average of just over three runs an over, his career best Test figures of 7-51 show just how good he is. 

11) James Anderson - England 

Role: Opening Bowler, Test Wickets: 307, Test Average: 30.14 

Choosing an England player was perhaps the most difficult decision. Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Graeme Swann, to name just a few are all worthy of a place in a World Test XI. But Anderson rarely lets England down, and like Steyn is easily amongst the best bowlers in the world.  

My One Day / T20 XI:

1) Chris Gayle - West Indies  

Role: Opening Batsmen, ODI Runs: 8548, ODI Average: 38.28, T20I Runs: 993, T20I Average: 35.46

The entertainer, you won't find a World XI without Chris Gayle when selecting a team to play the shorter formats of the game. His astonishing innings of 175 not out in this year's IPL showed just how explosive he can be. He has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in the space of a single over.  

2) Shikhar Dhawan - India

Role: Opening Batsmen, ODI Runs: 432, ODI Average: 48.00, T20I Runs: 5, T20I Average: 5.00 

The star of this year's Champions Trophy, he may already be 27, but Dhawan is the new kid on the Indian block, and his startling form has left Sehwag as nothing more than a distant memory. Expect to see Dhawan at the top of the Indian order in all formats of the game for the next few years. 

3) Kevin Pietersen - England

Role: Higher Order Batsmen, ODI Runs: 4369, ODI Average: 41.60, T20I Runs: 1176, T20I Average: 37.93 

When he's on form KP is still amongst the greatest batsmen in the game today. His naturally aggressive style suits the shorter formats well and his right-arm off breaks will help him, Gayle and Al Hasan get through the 'fifth bowler allocation'. With only four out and out bowlers the batting line-up remains strong.  

4) AB de Villiers - South Africa (wicketkeeper) 

Role: Middle Order Batsmen, ODI Runs: 5680, ODI Average: 49.82, T20I Runs: 818, T20I Average: 22.72 

An exceptional all-round talent de Villers is a renowned finisher in T20 games, while his out and out ability ensures that he can also rebuild an innings after a collapse. His ability to produce the sublime and the uniquely ridiculous make him the ideal one-day batsmen. Also an exceptional fielder both behind the stumps and in the outfield.  

5) Brendon McCullum - New Zealand (captain) 

Role: Middle Order Batsmen, ODI Runs: 4952, ODI Average: 30.75, T20I Runs: 1882, T20I Average: 35.50 

McCullum showed in New Zealand's tour of England that he has great leadership qualities and uses his fielders smartly. But the 31-year-old is also an excellent attacking batsmen who has the ability to score very, very quickly. His T20 best of 158 not out was the format's largest score until Gayle's unbelievable knock earlier this year.  

6) Shakib Al Hasan - Bangladesh 

Role: All-Rounder, ODI Runs: 3688, ODI Average: 35.12, T20I Runs: 528, T20I Average: 20.30, ODI Wickets: 161, ODI Average: 29.37, T20I Wickets: 33, T20I Average: 19.81

Amongst the best players Bangladesh has ever produced, a reliable left-handed batsmen and tricky slow left-arm bowler, the 26-year-old is a solid player to fit into the middle order of a one-day team. Will bowl the majority of the 'fifth bowler' allocation with help from Pietersen and Gayle. 

7) Tatenda Taibu - Zimbabwe

Role: Lower Order Batsmen, ODI Runs: 3393, ODI Average: 29.25, T20I Runs: 259, T20I Average: 28.77 

A tidy player who has previously been a squad member with IPL outfit the Kolkata Knight Riders. With a high score of 175 not out in first class cricket, one of twelve centuries at that level, and with three international 100's as well, the 30-year-old is more than making up the numbers.   

8) Mitchell Johnson - Australia 

Role: Opening Bowler, ODI Wickets: 191, ODI Average: 25.35, T20I Wickets: 36, T20I Average: 20.11

Johnson returned to form in this year's IPL, and while he might be struggling to get into Australia's team with regularity at the moment, his statistics speak for themselves. Also a useful batsmen who can add lower order runs, he will have a bad game once in a while, but it seems a worthy sacrifice. 

9) Saeed Ajmal - Pakistan

Role: Spin Bowler, ODI Wickets: 132, ODI Average: 23.04, T20I Wickets: 71, T20I Average: 16.59 

The majority of experts would suggest that Ajmal, along with England's Swann, are the two best spin bowlers in the world. The 35-year-old is a danger in all formats of the game as he forces mistakes at regularity. Very economical as well as a wicket taker. 

10) Umar Gul - Pakistan (wildcard) 

Role: Seam Bowler, ODI Wickets: 161, ODI Average: 28.59, T20I Wickets: 74, T20I Average: 16.44

The accurate bowling of the 29-year-old is an excellent option to have. The "you miss, I hit" bowling attitude has served him well in the games shortest format. 

11) Lasith Malinga - Sri Lanka 

Role: Opening Bowler, ODI Wickets: 224, ODI Average: 26.37, T20I Wickets: 49, T20I Average: 22.38

Perhaps saves his best bowling performances for the IPL, but the 29-year-old with the famous slingers action is undoubtedly one of the best death bowlers in cricket, with an exceptional yorker that his near impossible for batsmen to dig out.   

So there's my picks - what are yours? 


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DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

West Indies cricket
Australia cricket
Sri Lanka cricket
South Africa cricket
India cricket
Pakistan cricket
Bangladesh cricket
New Zealand cricket
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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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