2016 saw some great test cricket being played all around the world. By the end of the year, India sit pretty at the top of the ICC test ranking. Captain Kohli along with his star all-rounder Ashwin steamrolled both New Zealand and England who visited the sub-continent recently. Losing the series in India and also a test match in Bangladesh means that England have had a disappointing year even though they started the year well.
The year had two triple centurions, Azhar Ali and Karun Nair, and Kohli touched double century three times this year. Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka had their fair share of ups and downs throughout the year.
South Africa especially famously beat Australia in their own backyward after the visitors were strong favorites to take the series. The biggest let-down of 2016 will be New Zealand and West Indies, who rarely ended up on the winning side.
Cricket-21 Test Team of the Year 2016
Cricket-21 Test Team of the Year Bench
#1 & #2 – Azhar Ali and Kraigg Braithwaite
Azhar Ali and Kraigg Braithwaite are the only batsman who average 50+ with an aggregate runs of 500+ as openers in 2016. Azhar Ali has found success playing for Pakistan after being promoted from #3. He scored a triple and double century this year after being promoted to the opening slot.
Kraigg Braithwaite often bailed West Indies out of trouble. He was the man of the match in the only match West Indies managed to win this year, it came against Pakistan at Sharjah, where he remained unbeaten in both the innings with scores of 142 and 60.
Azhar Ali and Braithwaite as openers in 2016
#3 – Joe Root
The English Stallion Joe Root is the leading run getter of 2016, notching up 1477 runs at an average of 49.2. He provided stability to the English batting unit by often holding his wicket from one end. He has made 13 fifty plus scores this year, most by any batsman in 2016.
Joe Root batting at #3 in 2016
#4 – Virat Kohli
The Indian test skipper marshaled his troops to the No.1 ranking in tests leading by example with the bat, scoring the most runs for India in 2016. He has managed to score three double centuries this year, 200 against West Indies at North Sound, 211 against New Zealand at Indore and 235 against England at Mumbai. He is the first batsman in history to have 50+ average in all three formats of the game.
Virat Kohli at #4 in 2016
#5 – Steven Smith
The Australian test skipper has been prolific with the bat this year heading the runs charts for Australia in 2016. Amongst the 34 batsmen who have scored 500+ in 2016, Steven Smith has the second best batting average with an average of 71.9, next only to Kohli’s 75.9.
Most Runs as pair for Australia in 2016
#6 – Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has scored 836 runs batting at No.6 in 2016 which is a record for most runs scored by an Englishman batting at that position in a calendar year. He also created a record of scoring second fastest 200 batting against South Africa at Cape Town. In that same innings he went onto to put the highest 6th wicket partnership in test with Bairstow for 399 runs.
Ben Stokes at #6 in 2016
He also has proved his all-round abilities by reversing the old ball. He has the 5th best bowling average amongst pacers who have taken 25+ wickets in 2016.
Ben Stokes bowling in 2016
#7 – Jonny Bairstow
The year 2016 has so far been the year of wicket-keepers, the cumulative average of a wicket-keeper batsman in 2016 is 40.5 which is the highest ever average in any calendar year in test history. Amongst the wicket-keepers it is Jonny Bairstow who has had a prolific run with the bat. He is the second leading run scorer in 2016 in tests, with a score of 1420 runs at an average of 61.7.
Jonny Bairstow batting in 2016
From a wicket-keeping perspective, he has made more dismissals than any other wicket keeper in any calendar year.
Most number of dismissals by a wicket-Keeper in a calendar year in tests
#8 and #9 – Ravichandran Ashwin and Rangana Herath
Merger of a right arm off-spinner and left arm orthodox will always be a difficult combination to face. The duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Rangana Herath find their spots as the best spinners in the Cricket-21 test team of 2016. Ashwin was the man-of-the-series in two out of the three test series India played in 2016. Ashwin and Herath have three and two 10 wicket haul respectively in 2016.
Top Two Leading wicket takers of 2016
#10 – Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc has had a great year not only in the shorter formats but also in the longer format as well, his 50 test wickets in 2016 makes him only the third bowler to take 50 or more scalps after Ashwin and Herath. He also recorded his career best figures in a match of 11/94 in the 2nd test against Sri Lanka in the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy at Galle. He took 5/44 in the 1st innings and 6/50 in the 2nd innings which is also his best figures in an innings in Test.
Mitchell Starc bowling in 2016
#11 – Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada has taken five or more wickets in a match five times out of the eight matches he bowled this year. His man-of-the-match performance of taking 13/144 against England provided South Africa the only win in the three-match series which they lost 2-1.
Kagiso Rabada in 2016
#12 – Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook is the only opener to have scored over 1000+ runs in 2016. He became England’s leading run getter and also achieved the feat of becoming the fastest to reach 1000 runs in test.
Alastair Cook in 2016
#13 – Quinton De Kock
De Kock batting lower down the order has contributed crucial runs for South Africa in 2016. Plus he is capable of batting with the new ball and also has taken some blinders behind the stumps. De Kock has been consistent throughout the year, only being dismissed three times out of 13 innings below 30 runs.
De Kock in 2016
#14 – James Anderson
In the series against Sri Lanka, he took 21 wickets at an average of 10.8 to help England beat Sri Lanka 2-0. Only three pacers have taken 10 wicket haul this year, Anderson is one among them. He achieved it against Sri Lanka at Leeds finishing the match with figures of 10/45.
James Anderson in 2016
#15 – Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah has been outstanding given that conditions rarely assist the spinners. He has taken 10 wicket haul twice this year, against England at Lord’s and against West Indies at Abu Dhabi.
Yasir Shah in 2016