DESPITE all his recent troubles, Alastair Cook has been named captain of the International Cricket Council Test team of the year – with Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow also chosen.
Despite leading England to victory in just one of their last eight matches, Cook – who is consixdering his future as captain after a 4-0 Test series defeat in India –got the nod, with Ben Stokes making up the group of four England players selected.
There are also three Australians and one player apiece from New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa in a side picked by former Test greats Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara for the sport’s world governing body.
The selection trio based their decisions on player performances between September 14, 2015 and September 20, 2016, which means England’s recent troubles on the sub-continent are not covered. The 12-month qualifying period did not begin well for Cook as England lost a three-Test series 2-0 to Pakistan in October 2015. Overall in the period he led England in 14 matches, with six wins, three draws and five losses.
Root has become the focal point of the batting order in recent years and averages 52.80 in his Test career while Bairstow broke a 16-year record for the most Test runs in a calendar year by a wicketkeeper in 2016. Stokes’s performances helped establish him as England’s first-choice all-rounder.
There was no place in the XI for India captain Virat Kohli while No 1 batsman in the world and Australia captain Steve Smith is the 12th man.
Opener David Warner, Adam Voges and Mitchell Starc are the three Australians and the rest of the side comprises Kane Williamson (New Zealand), player of the year Ravi Ashwin (India), Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) and Dale Steyn (South Africa).