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The Best Test XI of 2021

The year 2021, one of the best years in the history of test cricket, is over. There were some remarkable debuts, a few players who showed that they also belonged to the longest version of the game, and some who showed they are still among the best in this game.

The year in which we witnessed some great Test matches such as:

  • Sydney Test Draw by India
  • India Breaching Gabba
  • Kyle Mayers Classic in Chattogram
  • NZ win over India in WTC Finals
  • Lords Test of Ind tour of ENG
  • One wicket win of WI vs Pak
  • Kanpur Test
  • The Ashes
  • India Winning at Centurion For The First Time

There were 44 Test matches in total, many of which were thrillers. Some matches even created history and showed why Test cricket is the ultimate format of this game.

Now it’s time to decide the best possible playing XI based on the performance of players in these 44 tests.

Rohit Sharma

The “Hitman” Sharma showed his worth in test cricket in 2021 and replied to his critics in a significant way that deserves great applause.

Though he was always known as a limited-overs great, Rohit showed his class in the longest format of the game since the day he opened the test innings for the Indian Team.

Rohit Sharma proved to be the best test opening batsman in the world and even the best Indian test batsman during this period.

He started this year with scores of 26 and 52 in the Sydney Test and scored a match-winning 161* against England in Chennai on a highly turning track.

He was the highest scorer in the ENG series that was held in India.

On the IND tour of ENG this year, Rohit Sharma gave the team a good start by scoring three consecutive 30s in the first two matches. 

Then he scored 83 at Lords and a 50 in Headingly. As if that was not enough, he scored his first overseas Test hundred in the last test innings he played this year (127 at the oval).

Rohit played 21 innings this year, scoring 906 runs with an average of 47.68 and 2 hundred.

Dimuth Karunaratne (C)

The Sri Lankan Cap and their most experienced Test batsman have stepped in for his team this year.

Unlike our first opener, he was a well-reputed test batsman even before this year, and he started the year in the same way. 

He played an inning of 103 in the second innings of the Wanderers test match and a 75 in the second match in the Sl tour of WI. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

He scored five consecutive 50+ scores (244,118,66,147,83) against Ban and WI at home before getting out to Roston Chase in the second test of the WI tour of SL. 

Karunaratne has played just 13 innings this year but has still managed to score 902 runs with an average of 69.38 and scored 4 centuries, including a double century (244).

Marnus Labuschagne

2019 Ashes, Lord’s Test. Smith got injured by a bouncer, and Marnus became the first-ever concussion substitute in the history of cricket.

He scored 59 runs in the only innings he played in that match, which helped his team win the test match.

Since that day, He never looked back in test cricket.

This year, he played just 9 innings, all at home. Still, he exceeded his competitors to be in this XI.

Labuschagne scored 526 runs in the 9 innings he played this year, including an inning in which he played 0 balls (second inning in Brisbane Test, Ashes 2021). 

In the other 8 innings, he just scored 1 single score of less than fifty (Melbourne Test, Ashes 2021). His scores are 91,73,108,25,74,103,51,1. Consistency at its peak level!!

Joe Root

The best batsman or even the best player in Test cricket in 2021 is an automatic pick in any test team of this year.

After three consecutive not-so-good years by his standards and all the talk of removing him from FAB 4, Root has fully dented his critics with his performances this year.

Started his year with an innings of 228 runs in the first match of the Eng tour of SL, then an inning of 186 in the next game. Totally scored 426 runs in that series, exactly twice the runs of the second-highest scorer (Angello Matthews 213).

In the first match of the Eng tour of Ind, He scored his second double-century of this year (218).

If that was not enough to cover up his previous year’s performances, Root then scored 3 100s in the Ind tour of Eng (109,180*,121). 

In the ongoing Ashes in Australia, he scored 2 50+ in 4 innings (89,62).

He scored 1708 runs in 2021 (the fourth highest in a single year in the history of test cricket) in 29 innings, with an average of 62.69. 

Note: Root has made 6 centuries this year, equal to the number of centuries he scored in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined!!

Fawad Alam

After scoring almost 13,000 runs with an average of 56 in First-Class Cricket, he returned to international cricket in 2020.

Alam is a perfect no. 5 batsman for a Test Team due to the reason that he is almost equally great against spin and fast bowling. 

In 2021, he scored three Test hundreds: 140 in Karachi against SA, 109 at Harare against Zim, and 124 at Sabrina Park against the West Indies. 

Along with that, he has 2 50s, a 56 against WI (Sabrina Park), and a 50* against BAN (Shere Bangla National Stadium). 

He can adapt to almost all conditions, and the best thing about him is that he knows how to build test innings.

Fawad Alam knows the art of playing long innings, which can be very helpful after a top-order collapse!!

He has scored 571 runs in 13 innings with an average of 57.10 in 2021.

Rishabh Pant (WK)

The hero of the most significant moment of Test cricket in 2021 (India’s Gabba Victory) is an automatic pick in our Test XI of 2021.

He performed way better than any wicket-keeper batsman in Test cricket this year.

Pant played an innings of 36 and 97 in the Sydney Test match and then an inning of 89* in the Gabba Test, which will be remembered for many years.

Then, In the Eng tour of Ind, Pant scored 3 50+ scores, including an inning of 101 at Narendra Modi Stadium in the 4th Test match.

Along with his batting, his wicket-keeping skills have improved significantly this year, too.

748 runs in 21 innings with an average of 41.53 are great statistics, but they do not show what he has done for this team this year.

Ravichandran Ashwin

This generation’s greatest spinner will be our Test XI’s lead spinner.

Started this year with bowling figures of 2/169 in the Sydney Test 

After that, In the ENG tour of IND, He at least took 3 wickets in each of the 8 innings, including 3 5w hauls.

Then, 4 wickets in the WTC final (2/28 and 2/17) on a pitch with almost no assist for spinners (at Rose Bowl, Southampton).

Also, In the NZ tour of IND, Ashwin grabbed 14 wickets in just 2 test matches

He has picked 52 test wickets (highest) in 2021 with an average of 16.23.

Mind-Blowing Numbers!   

Now, He also offers some batting to our team.

In batting, he has scored 337 runs in 13 innings with an average of 28.08.

Including a century on 3rd day on a turning track and a resilient knock of 39* in the Sydney Test.

Kyle Jamieson

He debuted in 2020 against Ind and showed his class straight away in his first Test series, where he grabbed 9 wickets in just 2 Tests.

Then, he bragged his first 10w haul in his first test match of 2021 against PAK (Hagley Oval, Christchurch).

To follow this, Kyle Jamieson takes a 3w haul against ENG (Lord’s).

Then, he delivered the most iconic spell in his career in the WTC Finals (Rose Bowl, Southampton), taking seven wickets, including the wicket of India’s captain Virat Kohli in both innings.

In the recently finished NZ tour of IND, he took 6 wickets in the first match, which killed the speculations that he would be a flop in Asian Conditions.

27 wickets in 5 Test matches with a bowling average of 17.52, including 3 5w hauls, should be enough to justify why he is in the team.

Jamieson also offers some batting depth to our team, as his Test batting average is also 17 in 2021.

Axar Patel

His class and skill set are not as great as Ashwin’s, though the Power of his sheer numbers will make him a must-have pick in our test xi of 2021.

Makes his debut for the Indian Test Team in the ENG tour of IND and showed his talent by taking 7 wickets in the first match, including the wicket of Joe Root in both innings.

In the 6 innings he bowled in that series, he got a 5w haul in 4 innings, a 4w and 3w haul in the rest 2 innings. 

Axar also continued his dominance in Home conditions in the recently finished NZ tour of IND by grabbing 9 wickets in just 2 matches.

Along with 36 Test wickets in just 5 matches with a bowling average of 11.86 in 2021 (5 5w hauls and a 10w haul)

Axar Patel also has a batting average of 29.83, making him a perfect player to bat at 8 in the team.

Note: The inclusion of Axar Patel means we have to go with an attack of 3 fast bowlers + 2 spinners, along with some part-time spin of Joe Root.

James Anderson

Aging like a fine wine, Anderson, even at 39, has performed enough to be the second new ball bowler of our test 11.

He took a 6w haul in his first match of this year against SL (Galle) on a wicket that was unhelpful for fast bowlers (23 wickets out of 33 were taken by spinners).

After an ordinary two-match series against NZ at home (3 wickets in 2 matches), In the ENG tour of IND, Anderson picked up 8 wickets in 3 matches with a bowling average of 15.88, which is pretty good according to the support that pitches have for fast-bowlers.

Also, in the first test of that series, he picked up 5 wickets, including a match-winning spell of reverse-swing bowling (3/17) in the second innings on a flat track.

Even in the IND tour of ENG, he has performed too well by taking 15 wickets in 4 matches (Avg-24.67).

In the ongoing ashes, he is also the best bowler on his side (Till Melbourne Test), grabbing 7 wickets in just 2 matches with an average of less than 15.

39 Wickets in 21 innings with a bowling average of 21.74, including 2 5w hauls is the overall performance of James Anderson in 2021

Shaheen Shah Afridi

At the age of 21, he is already regarded as a world-class bowler in all formats of the game. 

Although he has just an international career of 4 years, 2021 was his standout year.

He has taken more Test wickets in 2021 as compared to what he got in 2018,19 and 20 combined!!

He performed up to the mark in all the series he played this year. Shaheen picked up 7 wickets in 2 matches in the SA tour of PAK, which helped his team win a Test series against South Africa after 17 years.

Then, he picked up 10 wickets against ZIM (in ZIM) in 2 matches and 18 wickets against WI (in WI ) in 2 matches, including his first 10w haul in the 2nd Test match.

To end 2021 on a high note, He bragged 10 wickets against Ban (In Ban) in 2 matches.

Shaheen will be the first change bowler of our XI.

Overall, he took 47 wickets in 9 matches in 2021 (the highest among Fast Bowlers) with an average of 17.06, including 3 5w hauls and a 10w haul.

Rohit Chhabra
Rohit Chhabra
Knows a Bit About Cricket!!

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