The decade has just culminated and we are officially in the third decade of the 21st century. And, just like fans and a few former cricketers, former Australian leg-spinner Brad Hogg has joined the bandwagon of selecting the teams of the 2010s.
Hogg recently took to his official Youtube account to announce his picks for the ‘Test team of the decade.
Openers- Alastair Cook & David Warner
At two of the most important spots of a Test line-up, Brad Hogg opted to go with the patience and calmness of former English skipper Alastair Cook and the flamboyance of Aussie southpaw David Warner.
Cook, who retired in 2018, finished as the second-highest run-getter of the decade [2011-20]. In 97 Tests, the gritty opener racked up 7531 runs at an average of 44.82 with 33 50s and 18 100s.
His partner, David Warner, finished as the 4th highest scorer. The southpaw, who made his Test debut in 2011, accumulated 7244 runs in 84 Tests at an average of 48.94 with 30 50s and 24 100s.
“At the top of the order is Alastair Cook from England. Loved his temperament, his patience, the way he wore down the opposition bowlers and just took the shine off the ball,” Brad Hogg said.
”Cook had a strike rate of 40, so I need someone at the other end to compliment him with a different type of pressure on my opposition bowlers, and that is David Warner from Australia. He has a strike rate of over 70, and he also piled on the runs,” he added.
Middle-order- Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith
At the coveted No.3 spot, Brad Hogg opted to go with Kiwi skipper and the current No.1 ranked Test batsmen in the world, Kane Williamson.
Williamson scored the 6th most runs in the decade- 6665 runs in 79 Tests at an average of 53.32 with 31 50s and 22 100s.
Following Williamson is Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who scored the most number of 100s in the decade. Kohli, who made his Test debut in 2011, smashed the third-most runs between 2011-20- 7318 at an average of 53.41 with 23 50s and 27 100s. He also racked up as many as 7 double-tons.
At No.5. Brad Hogg went with the ICC ‘Test Player of the Decade’ and his compatriot Steve Smith. The former Aussie skipper finished the decade as one of the greatest-ever to play the format.
He racked up 7050 runs in 71 Tests at an astounding average of 64.09 with 28 50s and 26 100s.
“At No.3, I need someone who is reliable, someone who can bat in any situation, and I have gone for the New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He has had a stellar decade,” iterated Brad Hogg.
“At No. 4, I want someone with a little more aggression who can move the game along. I have gone for Virat Kohli from India,” he said.
At No.5, someone who is a little unorthodox, someone who has a good strike rate, and the scoreboard will motor along if he has a partnership with Virat Kohli, and we are going to get some good entertainment with this partnership. It is Steve Smith from Australia.” he added.
All-rounder & Wicket-keeper: Jacques Kallis & AB de Villiers
The most surprising picks made by Brad Hogg are in the all-rounder and wicketkeeper department.
Hogg went with Jacques Kallis as the sole all-rounder despite the fact that the Proteas legend played in just 22 Tests this decade.
Kallis, who retired in 2014, scored 1612 runs at an average of 48.84 with 4 50s and 7 100s besides managing 22 wickets at an average of 40.54.
“At No. 6, I need an all-rounder. I have gone with someone who retired early on in this decade, but he had a stellar start to the decade. The best all-rounder the world has ever seen is Jacques Kallis from South Africa. He can grind out the runs, and he can also bowl some potent spells at 145 kph. He is the best first slip the world has ever seen,” said Hogg.
Hogg also went on to pick AB de Villiers as the wicketkeeper, ignoring the likes of Quinton de Kock and BJ Watling. De Villiers was one of the most prolific batsmen of the decade- 4063 runs in 49 Tests at an average of 54.17 with 23 50s and 10 100s- but he rarely kept wickets. He, however, explained the rationale behind his decision.
“At No. 7, I need a keeper who can move the game along, take the opposition bowlers on and get quick runs at the end of the innings. It is AB de Villiers from South Africa. Yes, he didn’t keep all the time. but he kept enough to be in this XI,” explained Hogg.
Bowlers- Pat Cummins, Dale Steyn, James Anderson & Yasir Shah
In the fast bowling department, Hogg went with Pat Cummins, James Anderson, and Dale Steyn.
Cummins, the No.1 ranked Test bowler at the moment, claimed 153 wickets in 32 Tests at an average of 21.52 with five 5-wicket-hauls and 1 ten-for.
“My quick bowlers, batting at No. 8 will be Pat Cummins from Australia. His consistency both home and away is exceptional. I don’t think any other bowler matches him.” Hogg said.
Dale Steyn and James Anderson, on the other hand, claimed 207 (in 48 matches at 22.55) and 395 (in 100 matches at 24.52) wickets respectively during the said period.
“The second quick bowler I have got is my favorite fast bowler of all time, probably the best fast bowler we have seen till Pat Cummins has come along, and that is Dale Steyn. He has a phenomenal record; his strike rate is second to none, and you need someone like that to pick up wickets as quickly as possible,” Hogg said.
“At No. 10, my final quick for this team: 450 wickets in this decade, his resilience, ability to stay on the park free of injury; that is James Anderson from England. What a stellar career he has had,” he added.
As far as a spinner is concerned, Brad Hogg chose to pick Yasir Shah over the two most prolific spinner of the decade in Nathan Lyon (394 wickets in 98 Tests at 31.63) and Ravichandran Ashwin (375 wickets in 73 Tests at an average of 25.22) as opposed to the Pakistani leg-spinner, who claimed 227 wickets in 43 Tests at an average of 30.85.
“At No. 11, I need a spinner. You can’t go past the quickest bowler to take 200 wickets in Test cricket; that is Yasir Shah from Pakistan.”
Brad Hogg’s Test team of the decade:
Alastair Cook, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers [WK], Pat Cummins, Yasir Shah, Dale Steyn, James Anderson