England and Australia dominate ICC Test Team of the Year ahead of Ashes


England and Australia made up more than half of the team (Pictures: Getty)

England and Australia are well represented in the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year ahead of this summer’s Ashes series.

Three England players and four Australia stars were picked by a specialist panel of media representatives that make up the ICC Voting Academy.

In 2022, Australia enjoyed another productive year in Test cricket, consolidating their place at the top of the ICC World Test Championship standings.

Four of their players feature in the Test XI, including top-ranked batter and bowler Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins.

England also thrived in red-ball cricket after Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over the side, with Stokes joined in the ICC’s team by James Anderson and Jonny Bairstow.

The voting panel opted for an opening partnership of Australia’s Usman Khawaja and West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite.

Khawaja’s Test recall could hardly have gone any better, with the 36-year-old racking up 1,080 runs in 2022 at an average of 67.50.

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year

1 Usman Khawaja (Aus)

2 Kraigg Brathwaite (WI)

3 Marnus Labuschagne (Aus)

4 Babar Azam (Pak)

5 Jonny Bairstow (Eng)

6 Ben Stokes (c) (Eng)

7 Rishabh Pant (wk) (Ind)

8 Pat Cummins (Aus)

9 Kagiso Rabada (SA)

10 Nathan Lyon (Aus)

11 James Anderson (Eng)

Brathwaite impressed despite West Indies’ struggles, scoring hundreds against England and Australia, including a superb rearguard 110 in Perth.

Labuschagne, who made his international debut during the 2019 Ashes, scored more than 500 runs in four innings during the series against West Indies and finished 2022 with almost 1,000 runs.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam was selected at No. 4 having scored four centuries – against England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka – and seven half-centuries in the calendar year.

Kraigg Brathwaite impressed despite West Indies’ mixed year (Picture: Getty)

Bairstow enjoyed one of the great English summers, making four centuries and an unbeaten 71 in five successive innings against New Zealand and India. He also scored an Ashes ton at the start of the year and a hundred in the Caribbean, before being ruled out of the T20 World Cup and Pakistan series through injury.

Stokes’ batting and bowling stats are far from extraordinary but the Durham all-rounder was selected after turning a struggling England side into one of the most formidable teams in the world.

England had won just one of their last 17 Tests under Joe Root but have looked revitalised under Stokes, beating New Zealand, South Africa and India at home and securing a historic whitewash in Pakistan.

Rishabh Pant was picked as the wicketkeeper-batter after scoring two centuries and four fifties in 2022, although that only tells half the story.

The 25-year-old, who was lucky to survive a terrifying car crash last month, produced a number of eye-catching innings and smashed 21 sixes in the calendar year – the same amount as India legend Rahul Dravid managed across his entire Test career.

Cummins not only captained Australia to success but also thrived with the ball, taking 36 wickets in 10 matches at an average of less than 22.

Kagiso Rabada spearheaded South Africa's bowling attack

Kagiso Rabada spearheaded South Africa’s bowling attack (Picture: Getty)

The leader of South Africa’s attack, Kagiso Rabada, also impressed with 47 wickets, the joint-most in 2022. He proved his class throughout the year and got on the Lord’s honours board as he took 5-52 against England.

Nathan Lyon edged out Jack Leach as the team’s only spinner after bowling more than 500 overs last year. Like Rabada, the 35-year-old also claimed 47 wickets and was particularly impressive at home with 24 scalps at an average of 21.

Anderson celebrated turning 40 in 2022 by producing another remarkable year, averaging less than 20 in nine Tests. Completely in control in home conditions, Anderson also showed his array of skills in Pakistan, boasting the best average and economy of any bowler in the series.

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