2023 will be known to the cricket world for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup. But in all the chaos and hubbub of the ODI tournaments, test cricket wasn’t really forgotten. It may take the backseat, but only for a while. In total, 32 international test matches were held in 2023 with 33,408 runs and 1,016 wickets. Let’s take a look at our Test XI of 2023.
Batsmen of the Test XI of 2023
Usman Khawaja: Batting Avg. 52.60
Usman achieved his place in this list because of his centuries against South Africa, England & India in 2023. His performance improved significantly after his return to test cricket in 2022. But another set of 50 runs in between those 3 centuries helped him become the highest run scorer with a highest score of 195*. No other reason is required for him to be the opening batsman of this dream XI.
Dimuth Tilakaratne: Batting Avg. 60.80
Dimuth Tilakaratne achieved the place of the other opener of this list because of his consistent batting average of more than 56 runs in the past three years. Another important fact that helped him make into this list is that he saw the new ball off in every innings he played in 2023 and played actively for the first 45 minutes in each of those innings.
Kane Williamson: Batting Avg. 57.91
Kane took a backseat by retiring from captaincy in the beginning of 2023. This came as a surprise to the cricketing world, but turned out to be a favorable decision for the cricketer as thumb & knee injuries made it very difficult for him to play. Despite the physical issues, the man played in all the test matches for New Zealand in the past year.
In the total 13 innings he played, he was out with just 15 or fewer runs in 7 of those innings; but that scarcity of runs was made up for by the triple figure scores in 4 of his other 6 innings. The turning point of his performance came with the ‘man of the match’ title received for the match against England that New Zealand won by only 1 run. After that he scored 3 centuries in consecutive innings- 121* & 215 against Sri Lanka and 104 against Bangladesh.
Joe Root: Batting Avg. 65.58
Th2 6’2” tall batsman is easily recognizable for his physical appearance but that didn’t help him make into this list, the two centuries he made against New Zealand and Australia did. One of those 2 centuries was scored in one of the innings in the match which England lost against New Zealand just by 01 run. He scored 95 runs in the other inning of that match.
In the beginning of his test career in 2013, Root scored 862 runs with a strike rate of 40.64 and in 2023, he scored 787 runs with a strike rate of 76.33! Now that’s what we call improvement and maturity as a cricketer.
Harry Brook: Batting Avg. 53.92
One of test cricket’s most feared batsmen, Brook, got this place at number 5 on this list over another aggressive middle-order batsman Travis Head because of sheer performance brilliance. He came to everyone’s attention in the later months of 2022 and with his brilliant career highest innings of 186 runs from 176 balls- he kept his performance noticeable. In Ashes against Australia, he scored between 32 & 85 in six innings maintaining a steady strike of 60 or above. This very performance got him a position in this list.
Rohit Sharma: Batting Avg. 41.92
Although the Indian captain is more remembered for his contribution in the ODI World Cup, he faced a very challenging situation on the test playing front- for one, he has been given the duty to lead the test team for two years now and 8 of the 11 innings he had in 2023 were against Australia.
In the match of Nagpur when no player of the top six of either batting side was getting past fifty runs, he scored a brilliant century. And then another ton was made against the West Indies in the very same year. All of his innings were filled with many boundaries, especially 6’s, like always.
Lorcan Tucker: The Wicket-Keeper Batsman
This wasn’t an easy pick for there were tough competitions from Tony Blundell & Jonny Bairstow for terrific batting and Alex Carey for the highest number of dismissals. He performed almost equally brilliantly while being comparatively inexperienced as Ireland is the most impressive emerging test playing nation and Tucker has played only 4 international test matches in 2023 to begin his career with.
Tucker was one of the 4 wicket-keeper batsmen to score 100 runs in an innings in 2023. He made his 1st century in his debut match against Bangladesh coming to bat at number 6 when his team’s score was 51 for 5. This magnificent debut was followed by a score of 80 runs against Sri Lanka and 44 runs against England. Point to be noted here is that he didn’t play any first-class match in the previous two years. In the 4 test matches he scored 351 runs with an average of 43.87 and his highest score was 108.
List of Bowlers of the ‘Test XI’ of 2023
Ravindra Jadeja: Balling Avg. 19.39
One of the best ballers of 2023 Ravindra Jadeja made his place in this list also because of his all-round performance doubling as a fine batsman. In the innings victory against Australia in Nagpur, he took 7 wickets and scored 70 runs spending 4 hours on the pitch with the bat. He burned the Australian batting line-up in that match with his career best 7-42. In the final of the World Test Championship against Australia, the left-arm spinner scored 48 runs with 3 wickets to make yet another all-round brilliance combined with flawless fielding performance.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Balling Avg. 17.10
Ashwin was chosen over Nathan Lyon who ended up being the leading test wicket taker of the year with 47 hunts with an average of 24.95 and Ashwin had a better average. But he sealed his place here for his contribution with the bat too. However, it came as a shock when he was dumped off the playing XI in the final of World Test Championship and India’s defeat to Australia may be credited a little to that decision for he took 25 wickets against Australia in the prior matches in the very same year.
Pat Cummins: Balling Avg. 27.50; Captain of the Test XI
Surely it doesn’t need any explanation for why Pat Cummins is the Captain of this ship after his magnificent performance throughout 2023 and with the ODI World Championship as well as for being the captain of the World Test Champions too. Scoring 38 and 44* in Ashes along with picking 4 wickets in the 2nd innings was a historical performance and cost England the match too. He also had a 10W haul against Pakistan in 2023- a 2nd time in his test career.
Stuart Broad: Balling Avg. 26.28
Perhaps, the most difficult pick for this team, for Stuart had very tough competition from Mitchell Starc and also from the young Kagiso Rabada. He was wicketless in only one of all the innings he played in 2023. He had an impressive 5W haul against Ireland and remained very useful against Australia in the flat pitch. He was involved in controversies like the bail-switching at The Oval, being the loudest critic of Alex Cary and especially for the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow.
Cricket fans all over the world are eager to select the best eleven players who shone brighter than others in the many test matches played in 2023. However, no player in this list could have been picked from South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan because the concerned teams didn’t play enough test matches in the year.