SA dominates ICC Test Team of the Year

31 August 2012

Five South Africans were named in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) Test Team of the Year on Thursday. Dale Steyn was selected for a remarkable fifth year in succession, while Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis made the line-up for the third year running.

Joining Steyn, Amla and Kallis in the starting eleven was bowling sensation Vernon Philander, while AB de Villiers was named twelfth man.

The rest of the team comprised three players from England, one from Sri Lanka, one from the West Indies, one from Pakistan and one from Australia, Michael Clarke, who was named captain.

English selections

The Englishmen were Matt Prior, England’s Player of the Series in South Africa’s recent 2-0 series victory in England, and Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook, who both struggled against the Proteas.

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara made the team for the third time in a row, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the sole West Indies representative, and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal flies the flag for Pakistan.

The team was selected by an elite ICC panel headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd. The other members of the panel are Sri Lanka’s Marvan Atapattu, England’s Clare Connor, Carl Hooper of the West Indies and Australia’s Tom Moody.

‘Tough to decide’

Lloyd commented: “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,” Lloyd 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,” Lloyd said. “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.

“In the panel’s expert opinion, it has selected the best team based on performances over the past 12 months.”

‘Justifiably proud’

ICC CEO, Dave Richardson, a former South African international wicketkeeper, said: “Those selected can be justifiably proud of their achievements and well deserving of the recognition they receive as great cricketers of their era.

“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.”

Over the course of the year, Amla scored 915 runs at 65.35 in 10 tests. Kallis contributed 660 runs at 55.00 in nine outings, Steyn captured 44 wickets at 24.18 in 10 games and Philander removed 56 batsmen at only 16.57 in nine matches. De Villiers tallied 807 runs at 62.07.

LG ICC Awards

The short lists for the ninth edition of the LG ICC Awards, which take place in Colombo on 15 September, were also announced based on the voting of an independent 32-person academy.

Amla and Philander, South Africa’s Cricketer of the Year, will be up against Clarke and Sangakkara, the two highest scoring batsmen of the year, albeit in 14 test matches each, for the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award.

Richard Levi is in the running for the T20 Performance of the Year for his 45-ball century against New Zealand, which was the fastest yet in the shortest form of the game. He also set world records with 13 sixes and his final score of 117 not out from only 67 balls.

He’s up against Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka and the West Indian Chris Gayle for the award. Dilshan made 104 not out off of only 57 deliveries against Australia, Gayle smashed an unbeaten 85 off just 52 balls against New Zealand, and Mendis knocked over 6 for 16 in four overs against Australia.

People’s Choice

Jacques Kallis and Vernon Philander are in the running for the LG People’s Choice Award. They’re up against Sangakkara, perenniel favourite Sachin Tendulkar and England paceman James Anderson.

Kallis and De Villiers have also been nominated with Daniel Vettori of New Zealand and Pakistan’s Mohammed Hafeez for the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.

ICC TEST CRICKET TEAM OF THE YEAR

Alastair Cook (Eng), Hashim Amla (RSA), Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Jacques Kallis (RSA), Michael Clarke (Aus, capt.), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI), Matt Prior (Eng), Stuart Broad (Eng), Saeed Ajmal (Pak), Vernon Philander (RSA), Dale Steyn (RSA), 12th man: AB de Villiers (RSA)

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