The eyes have it: Rest of World captain Michael Clarke and Indian subcontinental skipper MS Dhoni toss up in our fantasy Test match
We’ve all played this game before while sitting with our friends and waiting for the storm clouds to lift during a rain-affected Test match, but just who would you pick to line up in a fantasy head-to-head between an Indian subcontinental Test XI and a Rest of World XI?
Well, these are the two eye-catching teams we have ended up choosing after a long and arduous selection meeting. Let us know your thoughts about the final XIs we have gone with and whether you think there are any glaring omissions from either side.
Big-hitting left-handed opener with a Test average of 38, including four tons to his name.
Those statistics do not do the Bangladeshi justice.
One of the very first names down on the team sheet, the 36-year-old with 117 Test matches behind him will go down in history as one of the finest batsman the game has ever seen, as 33 hundreds and an average of 53 would suggest.
The poster boy of Indian cricket is now finally starting to live up to all the hype, and if he also starts to match his one-day accomplishments in the Test arena, we could soon be looking at the best batsman in the world.
Like his best mate “Sanga,” it is hard to better what the ever graceful and elegant veteran has accomplished in the game to date.
The 36-year-old right-hander has registered over 10,000 Test runs at an average of a smidgen under 50, with just the 31 centuries thrown in.
A massively underrated batsman outside of the subcontinent, which seems bizarre when you consider that the wristy 35-year-old has managed to rack up over 7,000 Test runs at a hugely impressive average of 51 since making his debut 13 years ago.
Outstanding leader, no-thrills but steady stumper and at times a brilliant and always dangerous lower-order batsman.
An ever improving off-break bowler whose height can also at times make him desperately hard to play.
Do not underestimate his abilities with the bat coming in lower down the order, either.
Vastly undervalued slow left-armer, although not when it comes to the actual International Cricket Council (ICC) player rankings, in which the Lankan is currently rated the world’s third best bowler.
Still without doubt the world’s pre-eminent spinner, regardless of what the ICC rankings may say, with few opposition batsmen—if any, truth be told—able to confidently read the off-break bowler’s deliveries.
Tall, lanky paceman who at times can be a real handful on subcontinental tracks, which actually is rare for fast bowlers from India.
The 7'1" fast bowler recently helped Pakistan shock South Africa in Abu Dhabi, where the paceman’s extra bounce caused the Proteas top order all kinds of problems.
There would be few other players who you would nominate to bat for your life, with the Essex man doing crease occupation perhaps better than any other opener in the world.
A total of 25 tons in just 97 Tests also points to a fairly good run-scorer, too.
With a virtually identical Test record to his fellow left-handed opener, the Proteas skipper is another man who the opposition bowlers need a fork-lift truck to remove from the crease.
The world’s best batsman?
Well, you’d be hard pressed to find a player who has enjoyed a more impressive or consistent run with the bat over the course of the past few years. Amla is an absolute shoo-in for the No. 3 role in this side.
With over 13,000 runs at an average of 55, including 44 hundreds and the mere matter of 288 wickets at 32 from his 164 Tests, like a fine wine the ever-green 38-year-old just seems to get better with age.
The only Aussie who makes the final XI—what a good one to have in the middle order, though.
Similar to Cook and Smith at the top, Clarke has an insatiable appetite for runs, while also being an imaginative and inventive captain to boot.
The oldest player in both XIs, but forever young and batting as well now as he has ever done.
He is surely the hardest man to dismiss in world cricket?
It might be slightly insulting to have the world’s No. 1 Test batsman coming in down at No. 7, but that is more a reflection of De Villiers’ extra workload with the gloves.
Swann is still one of the most dangerous spinners in the world.
His impressive record of 248 wickets from just 57 Test matches clearly demonstrates that fact. The off-break bowler also has an unrivaled ability when it comes to knocking over left-handed batsmen, especially in the first over of his spells.
The world’s second-best Test bowler, according to the ICC rankings, and the fastest man ever to have captured 50 Test wickets, the 28-year-old really does put the line into line and length with his nagging accuracy and subtle movement off the seam.
It's not a particularly hard decision to pick the world’s best fast bowler—a man capable of causing problems to opposition batsmen whatever the surface, match conditions or state of the ball.
Will share the red cherry with Steyn in a fearsome-looking new-ball attack, and if the pitch is offering even the merest hint of swing or seam, then the boy from Burnley will be sure to make the most of conditions.