Colombo: In a reflection of the slump that India went through last year, no cricketer from the financial powerhouse of the game managed to find a place in the ‘ICC Test Team of the Year’, which was dominated by South African and English players.
India were whitewashed by England and Australia in back-to-back away series last year, a free-fall from the number one position that the side held before that.
The list announced here today, along with the nominees for the ICC annual awards scheduled on 15 September here, featured five South Africans (including the 12th man) and three Englishmen.
In fact, South Africa’s pace spearhead Dale Steyn made the side for the fifth year running.
The team was chosen by a selection panel chaired by West Indian batting legend Clive Lloyd.
“Six countries are represented in the 12-man line-up and South Africa’s Dale Steyn has earned a place in the ICC Test Team of the Year for the fifth successive year,” the ICC said in a statement.
“It is the third year in a row that South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara feature in the side, while England’s Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad appear for the second year in a row,” it added.
Australia’s current captain, Michael Clarke, was named the skipper of the team.
“Those selected can be justifiably proud of their achievements and well deserving of the recognition they receive as great cricketers of their era,” said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.
“The quality of the Test cricket played over the course of the year has been exceptional and I did not envy the selectors in their task of selecting the best. Congratulations to those who have made it. They make a formidable team,” he added.
Lloyd said it was difficult line-up to pick given the vast international talent. “It is always tough to decide on the Test team with so many worthy candidates to consider based on performances between 4 August 2011 to 6 August 2012. The team once again has a strong batting line-up, while the bowlers are a tough combination of pace and spin who could dismiss any line-up on any surface.
“The process of selection was a difficult one, with a lengthy debate between the panel on all the top performances during the voting period and various combinations were considered,” he said.
“The selectors did utilise a vast amount of statistics from the period under observation, but we also took into account all other factors like the opposition, pitch conditions, match situation etc. But when you have only 12 places to fill from a big group of world-class players, there will always be a few who will miss out.”
Lloyd was joined on the panel by former Sri Lanka batsman Marvan Attapatu, former England women’s captain Clare Connor, former West Indies all-rounder Carl Hooper and Australia’s World Cup winner Tom Moody.
Statistics were available as a guide but were not necessarily the overwhelming factor in the choices made.
The ICC Test Team of the Year is one of two teams selected by the ICC selection panel along with the ODI line-up which will be announced a day before the LG ICC Awards.
The ICC Test Team of the Year (in batting order): Alastair Cook (Eng), Hashim Amla (SA), Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Jacques Kallis (SA), Michael Clarke (Aus, captain), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI), Matt Prior (Eng – wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad (Eng), Saeed Ajmal (Pak), Vernon Philander (SA), Dale Steyn (SA), 12th Man – AB de Villiers (SA).