On Sunday (December 27) the ICC announced the Test team of the decade following which former India batsman, Sanjay Manjrekar as well has named his best XI of the decade.
Manjrekar named Sir Alastair Cook as his opener. Cook retired in 2018 as England’s highest Test match run-scorer and the leading run-scoring opener of the past 10 years. To partner Cook, Manjrekar picked another left-hander, David Warner. The Australia opener is the second-highest run-scorer at the opening position of the decade.
It is surprising that Joe Root, a member of the fab four who scored most Test runs in the last 10 years, didn’t make it into either ICC’s team or Manjrekar’s team. But unsurprisingly, the other three batters of the fab four – Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith – made a place in both the elevens.
In the last 10 years, Smith, who is also ICC’s Test player of the decade, averaged 64.09- while Kohli and Williamson averaged 53.41 and 53.58 respectively. Virat Kohli is the only Indian in Manjrekar’s eleven and Williamson will lead the side.
Sanjay Manjrekar picks Nathan Lyon over Ravichandran Ashwin
For the all-rounder’s spot, the 55-year-old has opted for Ben Stokes over the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Shakib Al Hasan, and Jason Holder. Stokes averaged 37 with the bat and 31 with the ball- while other all-rounders had better numbers than Stokes, however, the English all-rounder has produced match-impacting performances regularly.
The cricketer-turned-commentator named New Zealand’s BJ Watling as his first-choice wicket-keeper. Amongst wicket-keepers, the Black Caps gloveman has scored the most runs along with affecting over 250 dismissals.
For bowlers, Manjrekar skipped Dale Steyn and picked James Anderson as his opening bowler. Anderson is the second-highest wicket-taker of the decade following teammate Stuart Broad- but Anderson has a better bowling average than Broad.
The current top-ranked ICC Test bowler, Pat Cummins finds a place in Manjrekar’s eleven. With bowlers to take at least 100 Test wickets, Cummins has the best bowling average in the last 10 years. New Zealand’s spearhead, Trent Boult is the third seamer in Manjrekar’s team.
The former India player opted for Nathan Lyon over Ravichandran Ashwin, despite Ashwin having a better bowling average than Lyon- the reason could be that Lyon has bowled the majority of his career in Australia on less spin-friendly tracks compared to the subcontinent pitches which assist the spinners where Ashwin has bowled in major part of his career.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s Test XI of the decade:
Alastair Cook, David Warner, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson (C), Ben Stokes, BJ Watling (wk), Pat Cummins, Trent Boult, James Anderson, Nathan Lyon