Ranking the Top 50 Test Cricketers of 2013

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2013

Ranking the Top 50 Test Cricketers of 2013

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    With 2013 now complete, it's time to objectively determine which players have been the finest performers in the Test arena over the past 12 months.

    On the back of two Ashes series and a heavyweight clash between South Africa and India, 2013 has been a compelling year for the game.

    But who has shone brightest on the Test stage?

    To determine that, it's important to use a statistical formula (outlined on the next slide) to remove the heavy bias of opinion from rankings such as these.

    However, it's also important to note that this list doesn't rank players on their overall standing in the game. Instead, players are ranked on their performances across the year of 2013 in isolation.

    So before jumping straight into the rankings, carefully take note of how this list has been formulated; all the details of which are outlined on the next slide.

Explanation of the Ranking Formula

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    To objectively determine the ranking of every player in Test cricket in 2013, it was vitally important to develop a statistical algorithm that could evaluate each and every performance over the course of the calendar year. 

    It was also important to have a system in place that could evaluate the strength of an opponent before assigning a rating.


    STEP 1: Points System

    The first component of the formula awards points for each basic statistic accumulated across the year. The points awarded for each statistic are listed below:

    W/k Dismissals5


    STEP 2: Opponent Weighting

    The second step was to breakdown each player's performances into the opponents they occurred against. For example, it was critically important to ascertain whether a player had scored the bulk of his runs against South Africa or Bangladesh to accurately determine the player's rating.

    Consequently, each player had his statistics broken down into the various opponents they faced. 

    The points accrued in step one for each player were then multiplied by the opponent's difficulty rating to determine an Adjusted Points Total.

    Each opponent was graded as follows:

    1South Africa133133/1331.00
    6Sri Lanka8888/1330.66
    7West Indies8787/1330.65
    8New Zealand8282/1330.62





    STEP 3: Calculating Adjusted Points Per Match

    To ensure that the players of all nations were judged fairly, it was imperative to average the Adjusted Points Totals across the number of matches each player had competed in.

    Consequently, each player had his Adjusted Points Total for each opponent added together, which was then divided by the number of matches played to determine an Adjusted Points Total per Match.





    To qualify, a player must have competed in a minimum of five Tests.

Limitations of the Ranking Formula

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    Every statistical algorithm has its limitations, and this one is no exception.

    However, it's important to outline the limitations that are inherent in this objective ranking system.

    1. The formula can't account for the match situation. Therefore, runs and wickets compiled in pressured situations don't carry more significance than those accumulated at other times.

    2. The formula can't factor in the added weight that is inherent in certain series. For instance, these rankings can't evaluate the added lustre of an Ashes contest.

    3. By using the ICC's Test Rankings as they stand at the conclusion of 2013, the formula can't factor in the changes to the Test Rankings that will inevitably occur at the beginning of 2014. Australia, for example, is one team that will receive a vastly improved rating at the conclusion of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.

    4. A further limitation of using the ICC's Test Rankings as they currently stand is that players are measured on their opponent's strength as it currently stands, rather than the rating of their strength when the meeting occurred. 

    5. The system can only judge a player on accumulated statistics. For example, a bowler that goes unrewarded for an impressive spell will receive less points than a bowler who claims two fortunate wickets in an otherwise loose spell.

    6. Statistical evaluations such as this will also favour all-rounders, given their ability to accumulate points in both of cricket's major disciplines. 

Notable Exclusion: Shane Shillingford

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    West Indian spinner Shane Shillingford was excluded from this list, after being suspended by the ICC for an illegal bowling action in December.

    While Shillingford recorded an impressive year statistically, taking 36 wickets at an average of 22.27, he is automatically excluded for receiving such a ban.

    Testing revealed Shillingford's arm extended more than the permitted 15 degrees for his off breaks and doosras.

    Had he been added to this list, Shillingford would have come in at No. 29.

50. James Anderson

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    Team: England

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 68.71

    It seems absurd that a man with 52 Test wickets for the year comes in at No. 50 on this list.

    However, aside from a 10-wicket haul against Australia at Trent Bridge, James Anderson has struggled with the ball in hand for much of 2013.

    Seemingly fatigued and unable to conjure the precise movement that has made him one of the world's best, Anderson has been dealt with comfortably by Australia in recent times; his average of 43.26 and strike rate of 79.3 evidence of his decline since Trent Bridge.

49. Jacques Kallis

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 70.50

    After announcing his retirement from Test cricket, Jacques Kallis ended his glittering career with a glorious century in South Africa's second Test victory over India, to help his team to a 1-0 series win on home soil.

    Despite enduring a leaner than normal time with the bat in 2013, the prolific all-rounder was able to summon one final herculean effort to propel his side to victory over their nearest rivals.

    Kallis' capture of 10 wickets throughout the year also helped to elevate him onto this list, given that statistical measurements inherently favour the multi-skilled performers.

48. Peter Fulton

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 10

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 70.62

    Peter Fulton enjoyed a breakout year in 2013, scoring 620 runs for the calendar year after an extended absence from the New Zealand team.

    The 34-year-old enjoyed the performance of his life against England in Auckland, scoring centuries in both innings to cement his place in the side.

    With a handful of his teammates showing marked improvement, Fulton could be among a resurgent crop of Kiwi players in 2014.

47. Faf Du Plessis

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 9

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 70.90

    At one point, Faf du Plessis looked likely to follow players such as Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen into the England national team.

    South Africa will be thankful he didn't, after the 29-year-old compiled 489 runs at 44.45 in 2013, to become a vitally important middle-order batsman for the world's best side.

    Du Plessis showed his versatility throughout the year, compiling centuries at both No. 4 and No. 6 in South Africa's lineup; his 134 against India arguably his most impressive effort thus far. 

46. Robin Peterson

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 72.57

    Robin Peterson is a fortunate beneficiary of the formula used in this ranking system, with his status as an all-rounder perhaps the only factor elevating him onto this list.

    Although the left-armer grabbed four wickets in India's second innings in Durban, Peterson averaged 40.80 with the ball for the year, to go along with his 239 runs at 34.14.

    Had those averages been reversed, Peterson's year would have been impressive. Instead, his ability to contribute moderately with both ball and bat pushes his rating up with this formula.

45. Shivnarine Chanderpaul

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    Team: West Indies

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 72.84

    The sole source of reliability in his team's batting order, Shivnarine Chanderpaul completed another elite year in 2013, accumulating 523 runs at 58.11.

    While those numbers may be worthy of a higher rank, the veteran left-hander scored the bulk of his runs against Zimbabwe and New Zealand—two of Test cricket's inferior outfits—which hurts his rating.

    At 39 years of age, Chanderpaul's durability is remarkable; his unconventional method continuing to prove prolific.

44. Alastair Cook

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    Team: England

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 72.91

    Uncomfortably low on this list, Alastair Cook has been forced to endure one of the leanest years of his career in 2013.

    Across 14 Tests, the England captain has averaged just 33.92; failing to pass 72 in 18 innings against Australia.

    Although Cook did score two hundreds against New Zealand earlier in the year, it's the performances against the better sides that hold more weight in these rankings.

43. Joe Root

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    Team: England

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 74.30

    For a 23-year-old in the infancy of his Test career, coming in at No. 43 on this list is quite an achievement for Joe Root.

    Although he has been worked over by Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson in recent times, it's seemingly inevitable that Root will become a pillar of the England team over the next decade, with his tidy technique and cool temperament perfectly suited to a top-order batting role.

    That was on display against Australia at Lord's, when the young batsman gracefully stroked his way to a memorable 180 to announce his arrival on the Test stage.

42. Dean Brownlie

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 74.57

    Dean Brownlie is another man who is rather lucky to be on this list, with his impressive hundred against South Africa in Cape Town solely responsible for his Top 50 ranking.

    Statistical formulas that average a player's rating on a per-match basis will always slightly favour those who have competed in fewer matches; Brownlie being the perfect example.

    While his hundred against the Proteas was exemplary, the right-hander failed to make another score in excess of 53 for the year.

41. Trent Boult

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 12

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 76.39

    In contrast to Brownlie, Trent Boult is an unfortunate victim of the algorithm used in these rankings, with the 24 year-old left-armer widely considered among the most promising fast bowling prospects in world cricket.

    Boult enjoyed considerable success against England in the first half of 2013, before returning to New Zealand to destroy the West Indies, finishing with 46 wickets at 25.08 for the year.

    Had it not been for two unrewarding performances against Bangladesh in October, Boult would be far higher up this list.

40. Tim Bresnan

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    Team: England

    Matches: 5

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 76.84

    Like other multi-skilled players already mentioned, Tim Bresnan's ability to make moderate contributions in both of cricket's predominant disciplines is responsible for his presence in these rankings.

    While far from prolific, consistent wicket-taking has made Bresnan a suitable back-up for James Anderson and Stuart Broad in 2013; his lower-order batting prowess aiding his cause here.

    Bresnan also just scrapes past the five-match qualification; after missing a chunk of the year with a back injury.

39. Mushfiqur Rahim

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    Team: Bangladesh

    Matches: 6

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 76.86

    Among a talented group of promising teammates, Mushfiqur Rahim now stands as the only Bangladeshi player to have ever reached a Test double-century.

    Coming in at No. 6 against Sri Lanka in March, the 25-year-old compiled a glorious 200 from 321 balls to cement his place in the record books.

    Three consecutive innings in excess of 60 against Zimbabwe and New Zealand backed-up that performance; the right-hander finishing the year with 491 runs at 54.55.

38. Jonathan Trott

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    Team: England

    Matches: 11

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 77.20

    It's easy to forget that before he endured a dreadful run of form against Australia, Jonathan Trott was racking up the runs against New Zealand.

    In just five matches against the Kiwis, Trott scored 481 runs, which included one century and three fifties. In fact, Trott didn't make a score below 27 in nine innings against New Zealand.

    Now out of action with a stress-related illness, England will be desperately hoping that the rock of their batting order can return sooner rather than later.

37. Kane Williamson

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 11

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 79.85

    Kane Williamson was a revelation for New Zealand in 2013, scoring 747 runs in the calendar year at 41.50, whilst also claiming 14 wickets.

    The emerging 23-year-old was a consistent source of runs for the Kiwi middle-order, scoring one hundred and seven fifties to cement his place in a developing New Zealand side.

    Perhaps the best exhibition of his talent was his performance against England in Auckland, when he compiled a confident 91 before grabbing four second-innings wickets.

    Alongside some rapidly improving teammates, Williamson looks capable of leading a more prosperous generation for New Zealand.

36. Kevin Pietersen

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    Team: England

    Matches: 11

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 80.39

    Perhaps the most harshly judged individual in the game, Kevin Pietersen continues to divide opinion following an indifferent year in 2013.

    After being re-integrated into the England side, Pietersen has struggled for his normal fluency against Australia, which has restricted his 2013 average to 36.09.

    While some of his dismissals have been rather forgettable, it must be remembered that Pietersen has also been left stranded by his top-order teammates on several occasions; most notably in both innings of the fourth Test at the MCG.

35. Sohag Gazi

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    Team: Bangladesh

    Matches: 6

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 81.53

    Alongside Mushfiqur Rahim, Sohag Gazi is another incredibly promising prospect for Bangladesh.

    In just six appearances this year, the talented all-rounder compiled 230 runs at 28.75 to go with his 22 wickets at 36.68.

    Against New Zealand in October he was exceptional, cruising to 101 not out in the first innings before claiming eight wickets for the match.

    At just 22 years of age, Sohag Gazi will help to form the spine of the Bangladeshi team in years to come.

34. Younis Khan

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    Team: Pakistan

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 83.36

    While his year failed to reach the standard that he's consistently set throughout his career, Younis Khan still managed to put together 549 runs at an average of 45.75 in 2013.

    Of course, his year will be remembered for his undefeated double-hundred against Zimbabwe in Harare, but those that watched Pakistan this year will know that his 111 against South Africa in Cape Town was an innings of far greater substance.

    However, the 36-year-old veteran suffered a sustained run of poor form against the Proteas for much of the year, leaving him well below where he possibly should be on this list.

33. MS Dhoni

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    Team: India

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 83.68

    While much of MS Dhoni's year contained frustrating and unfulfilled starts with the bat, his brutal 224 against Australia in Chennai was among the finest innings of the year.

    Arriving at the crease with his team still trailing by almost 200, Dhoni smashed his side out of trouble to begin a month-long destruction of their opponents.

    Although his batting remains better suited to limited-overs cricket, the Indian captain displayed the full scope of his abilities in his very first innings of 2013.

32. Shikhar Dhawan

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    Team: India

    Matches: 5

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 83.96

    Hammering 187 from just 174 balls on debut against Australia is a rather emphatic way to begin your Test career.

    Expect more of that from Shikhar Dhawan in the coming years.

    Although the remainder of his 2013 failed to reach the same heights, the explosive left-hander is among India's exciting crop of emerging stars that look set to elevate cricket's dominant nation to a new level.

31. Peter Siddle

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 84.47

    Peter Siddle continues to be among the most unheralded Test cricketers on the planet. Yet, his value to Australia is immense.

    With Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson acting as the team's spearheads, Siddle provides Michael Clarke with a sumptuous blend of strike power and control.

    Across 14 matches in 2013, Siddle has claimed 42 wickets at 30.21, with Kevin Pietersen in particular sick of the sight of the unrelenting right-armer.


30. Ian Bell

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    Team: England

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 86.59

    Ian Bell is perhaps the most unfortunate victim of the algorithm used to determine these rankings.

    Almost single-handedly responsible for delivering an Ashes triumph for England, Bell's three glittering hundreds in July and August will be remembered among the finest innings ever witnessed on English shores.

    However, a statistical formula simply can't account for the difficulty of the match situations Bell regularly found himself thriving in, nor can it factor in the added pressure of an Ashes battle.

    Furthermore, Bell is punished in these rankings for a sustained run of poor form against New Zealand earlier in the year.

    While these rankings don't do his incredible performances any justice, Bell can be satisfied with a calendar year that yielded 1,005 runs at 41.87.

29. Nathan Lyon

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 11

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 88.45

    After enduring a period of harsh treatment from Australia's selectors, Nathan Lyon has developed into Australia's leading spinner in 2013, taking 42 wickets at 34.02 in just 11 matches.

    Benefitting immensely from the threat posed by his fast-bowling teammates, Lyon has been afforded the luxury of probing away at England without the threat of being heavily targeted. 

    Consequently, the off-spinner has been able to use a neat combination of control and unusually steep bounce to get the most out of the hard pitches found Down Under.

28. Graeme Smith

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 9

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 89.86

    While 2013 hasn't been Graeme Smith's most prolific year in Test cricket, it has been a very consistent one for the South African captain.

    Of course, Smith will be frustrated that he hasn't been able to convert numerous starts into substantial totals, but 651 runs at 50.07 is a solid return for a Test opener.

    Most memorable was his hard-fought 234 against Pakistan in Dubai, which set up a thumping victory for his all-conquering side.

27. Ross Taylor

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 10

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 91.65

    Ross Taylor compiled a stunning end to 2013, hammering three hundreds in just five innings against the West Indies to secure a comfortable series victory for New Zealand.

    Long considered the most talented Kiwi batsman since Martin Crowe, Taylor has shown he's ready to break into the world's elite in the coming years with 866 runs at 72.16 for 2013.

    However, the gifted right-hander suffers from the formula used in this ranking system, with the bulk of his runs coming against cricket's strugglers in Bangladesh and the West Indies.

    Had he gathered his runs against England earlier in the year, Taylor would find himself near the very top of these rankings.

26. Steven Smith

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 11

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 94.08

    Just a couple of years ago, Steven Smith was viewed as a fragile batsman who bowled shoddy leg-spin.

    Now in 2013, Smith has developed into a key figure in Australia's revamped middle-order, compiling 711 runs for the year, which has included two impressive centuries against England.

    In fact, Smith's composed 111 in Perth was the innings that cemented the 24-year-old's place for the foreseeable future.

    With confidence and maturity growing rapidly, Smith looks capable of becoming one of the world's elite batsmen in the coming years.

25. Graeme Swann

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    Team: England

    Matches: 10

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 94.70

    Watching Australia hammer him into retirement certainly wasn't the pleasant ending that Graeme Swann deserved.

    However, before the disastrous tour Down Under, Swann enjoyed another fruitful year in Test cricket, which included 26 wickets in the 2013 Ashes series that helped propel England to victory.

    Despite his sudden exit from the game following England's Ashes surrender, Swann will be remembered as one of his nation's finest ever bowlers.

24. Misbah-Ul-Haq

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    Team: Pakistan

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 94.88

    Misbah-ul-Haq once again provided stability in Pakistan's batting order in 2013, grafting 570 runs at 47.50 while some of his teammates continued to provide terribly inconsistent support.

    A smooth hundred against South Africa in Abu Dhabi was undoubtedly his finest innings, however the Pakistan captain will be disappointed in his inability to convert five fifties into further substantial efforts.

    Yet, that shouldn't cast a shadow over his year in the game, which was another 12-month long exhibition of high-class batting in the face of the world's best attack.

23. Hashim Amla

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 96.01

    Test cricket's best batsman continued to pile on the runs in 2013, accumulating 633 of them in just eight matches at an average of 57.54.

    Seemingly impenetrable against New Zealand and Pakistan, Amla struck two hundreds and four fifties in his first eight innings of the year to continue his almost endless run of form.

    However, the 30-year-old finds himself well down on this list due to his failure to score runs against India—South Africa's strongest opponent of the year.

22. Stuart Broad

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    Team: England

    Matches: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 100.87

    In the space of 12 short months, Stuart Broad has overtaken James Anderson as the leader of England's attack.

    Previously seen as Anderson's understudy, Broad emerged in 2013 as his team's most lethal bowler, combining pace and ferocity in a sumptuous mix.

    The right-armer tormented New Zealand at the beginning of the year, before completing one of the most memorable spells in Ashes history against Australia in Durham, which clinched a series victory for England.

    A return of 62 wickets at 25.80 is a stunning achievement for Broad.


21. Asad Shafiq

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    Team: Pakistan

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 100.90

    Asad Shafiq is one of the players to benefit from the weighting of opposition strength that is used in the formula of this ranking system.

    While the Pakistani batsman endured a wretched run of form against Zimbabwe in September, the right-hander compiled two hundreds and two fifties in five Tests against South Africa, which included a stubborn 130 from 320 balls in Dubai while his teammates collapsed miserably.

    Although his average of 33.53 for 2013 is less than stellar, his ability to score runs against the world's most fearsome bowling attack sees him soar up the rankings.

20. Mitchell Starc

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 6

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 101.42

    Mitchell Starc—along with a handful of his teammates—benefits immensely from the weighting of opposition strength in this formula, given that five of his six Tests came against two of the world's leading sides.

    Yet, Starc's performances in 2013 are not to be scoffed at.

    The left-armer claimed 17 wickets at 39.82, which is a far better mark than it initially seems when you consider the dull, lifeless pitches he was forced to bowl on in India and England.

    Furthermore, Starc struck 251 runs, which included a 99 in Mohali and a 66 not out at Old Trafford, enhancing his value to Australia's side at a time when Mitchell Johnson remained in the wilderness.

19. James Pattinson

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 5

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 101.58

    Like Starc, Pattinson owes his giddy place on this list due to a combination of difficult opponents and solid performances with both bat and ball.

    Of course, had Pattinson played more than five matches, it's highly unlikely the promising Australian speedster would have featured so highly.

    Yet, 16 wickets at 34.81 to go with 140 runs at 23.33 is a decent return from an injury-interrupted year, meaning Australia has plenty in reserve behind Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle.

18. Tim Southee

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    Team: New Zealand

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 102.98

    Tim Southee is another who completed the best 12 months of his career in 2013, forming an effective opening partnership for New Zealand with Trent Boult.

    The right-armer claimed 36 wickets in eight matches at an average of 24.94, which included a 10-wicket haul against England at Lord's.

    The 25-year-old also dismantled the West Indies across three Tests at the end of the year to complete a greatly impressive calendar year in the game.

17. David Warner

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 12

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 104.12

    The year of 2013 was the year we witnessed the maturation of David Warner as a Test batsman.

    While many will remain critical of his behaviour, Warner's improvement on the field is undeniable; the aggressive opener compiled 909 runs for the year at almost 40, including two rapid hundreds and six fifties.

    Alongside the dependable Chris Rogers, Warner has helped to form a dynamic opening partnership for Australia, which looks well suited to lead the team into a prosperous 2014.

16. Shane Watson

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 12

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 104.16

    Although he continues to frustrate like no other player on the planet, it's easy to forget that due to his endless collection of unfulfilled starts, Shane Watson accumulates runs rather quickly.

    Thanks to 810 runs, which include two centuries and three fifties against England, Watson finds himself considerably higher on this list than most would expect.

    Of course, being an all-rounder also helps his cause; his six wickets for the year helping to elevate him above other batsmen with similar records.

15. Murali Vijay

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    Team: India

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 106.93

    Murali Vijay is one of a handful of Indian batsmen leading his nation into a new era of its cricketing history.

    A rock-solid opener, Vijay registered back-to-back hundreds against Australia in March to establish himself as one of India's leading batsmen in the Test arena.

    The right-hander also compiled two other fifties, which included an impressive 97 against South Africa in Durban.

    A total of 647 runs for the year at 49.76 is a career-best mark for Vijay.

14. Virat Kohli

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    Team: India

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 109.78

    Undoubtedly the most exciting batting prospect in the world, Virat Kohli comfortably walks onto this list after a vastly impressive 2013.

    The exhilarating right-hander cruised to 616 runs at 56.00 to show once more why many consider him to be the next great Indian batsman after the incomparable Sachin Tendulkar.

    That talent was on show when he flayed the world's best bowling attack for 118 on his very first visit to South African shores in Test colours. 

13. Chris Rogers

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 9

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 111.17

    Chris Rogers' journey is one of the most feel-good stories of the year in Test cricket, with the gritty left-hander thriving on the international stage after being overlooked for much of his career.

    In nine matches against one of the world's best attacks, Rogers has grafted 700 runs at 41.17 to become an integral component of a suddenly successful Australian outfit.

    While his 110 in Durham was one to remember, his unusually fluent 116 at the MCG in Melbourne was an incredibly special moment for the 36-year-old veteran.

12. Brad Haddin

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 10

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 111.51

    Every time Australia has needed a rearguard action when in a spot of bother, Brad Haddin has provided it in a delightfully counter-attacking manner.

    Coming back into the Australian side after an unfortunate absence, Haddin has thumped 647 invaluable runs for his side, which has included one hundred and six vital fifties.

    Perhaps more impressive, the 36-year-old gloveman has been as tidy as ever behind the stumps, collecting 52 dismissals for the year to cap off a wonderful 12 months in the game.

11. Vernon Philander

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 112.86

    Having passed teammate Dale Steyn in the ICC Test Bowler Rankings, Vernon Philander now sits as the No. 1 bowler in the game.

    Since making his debut in 2011, the right-armer has been an irresistible source of wickets, with 2013 being no different; Philander capturing 38 wickets at 18.05.

    His destruction of New Zealand at the beginning of the year was spectacular, when he grabbed five wickets for just seven runs in Cape Town to kick-start an emphatic 12 months.

    The only factor preventing the 28-year-old from reaching the top of this list is that his predominant opponent for the year (Pakistan) owns a difficulty rating of 0.77.

10. Saeed Ajmal

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    Team: Pakistan

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 114.83

    Saeed Ajmal enjoyed the finest season in his Test career in 2013, claiming 37 wickets in just seven appearances to cement himself as Pakistan's leading spinner.

    Despite making a late start to his Test career, the 36-year-old off-spinner is quickly making up for lost time, grabbing his wickets at 24.72 runs apiece for the year.

    Unquestionably his finest performance was his 10-wicket haul against South Africa in Cape Town in February, which could have propelled Pakistan to an unlikely victory had his teammates been able to resist a second-innings collapse.

9. Dale Steyn

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 9

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 118.77

    Despite losing his No. 1 ranking to Philander, Dale Steyn sits above his teammate on this list thanks to the extra points awarded for five-wickets hauls in this system.

    With four bags of five, compared to Philander's two, Steyn has propelled himself to the capture of 51 wickets for the year at 17.66.

    In doing so, the lethal right-armer has become the second-fastest man in history to 350 Test wickets, confirming his status as one of the greatest fast bowlers the world has ever seen.

8. Mominul Haque

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    Team: Bangladesh

    Matches: 5

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 119.76

    Most of you will have never even heard his name.

    But take note, Mominul Haque is a star of the future.

    In just nine innings in 2013, the 22-year-old Bangladeshi scored 584 runs at an average of 83.42 to mark himself as one of the world's brightest talents.

    Without a score below 22 for the year, the left-hander compiled his runs with remarkable consistency, given how little Test cricket his nation currently plays.

    Rather than scoring his runs against Zimbabwe, Mominul waited for New Zealand to arrive, compiling hundreds in consecutive Tests against the Kiwis to signal his early arrival on the Test stage.

7. Michael Clarke

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 13

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 121.56

    It was always going to be a defining year for Michael Clarke. Amid a tumultuous and transitional period in Australian cricket, Clarke's leadership was always going to be severely tested.

    That he's emerged with his standing in the game at an all-time high is testament to the incredible year he's had.

    The leading Test run-scorer in 2013, Clarke has helped to resurrect Australia's fortunes, with his batting and supreme on-field tactical nous steering his side to a comprehensive hammering of England to reclaim the Ashes.

    With a handful of years still remaining in his career, Clarke has the chance to lead Australia back to the pinnacle of the game. 

6. Ryan Harris

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 123.05

    Finally, after enduring seemingly endless injury frustrations, Ryan Harris was able to maintain fitness to become one of the world's leading bowlers in 2013.

    Through a combination of bustling energy and unrelenting accuracy, the bulky right-armer proved to be a valuable weapon for Australia, claiming 38 wickets at 21.94.

    A 5/72 effort at Lord's in July announced his arrival in 2013, with his 7/117 performance at Chester-le-Street perhaps his finest showing with the ball.

    Provided he's fit, Australia have a genuine, world-class speedster in their ranks.

5. Ravindra Jadeja

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    Team: India

    Matches: 5

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 136.34

    Ravindra Jadeja had only ever represented his nation once in the Test arena before 2013.

    Suddenly, he's one of India's leading spinners, after claiming 30 wickets in just five matches at an average of 19.10 over the last 12 months.

    Brought into the side to expose Australia's frailties against spin, the left-armer claimed five wickets in his first appearance and never looked back.

    While his 5/58 effort against Australia might have been his most complete performance, Jadeja's 6/138 from 58.2 overs against South Africa was a showcase of his immense durability and fortitude.



4. Cheteshwar Pujara

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    Team: India

    Matches: 8

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 139.05

    In Cheteshwar Pujara, India might just have the most reliable No. 3 in Test cricket.

    Certainly, the 25-year-old's statistics for 2013 make for compelling reading, with 829 runs from just 13 innings at an average of 75.36.

    The impressive right-hander compiled centuries against each of India's three opponents for the year; his 204 against Australia and 153 against South Africa two of the most glittering displays of 2013.

    Alongside Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, India's batting lineup will be rather mouth-watering for years to come.

3. Ravichandran Ashwin

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    Team: India

    Matches: 7

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 140.18

    Until this year, Ravichandran Ashwin had struggled in the Test arena, with the off-spinner previously unable to use patience in the game's longest format.

    Yet, in 2013, Ashwin has developed a new sense of maturity, harnessing his vast array of variations to become a formidable spinner for his captain.

    That was most evident against Australia, when he ravaged Michael Clarke's side with four five-wicket hauls in just eight innings to deliver a 4-0 whitewash to the home side.

    Adding to his 41 wickets at 22.51, Ashwin also struck 124 against the West Indies to steer his team out of trouble with Rohit Sharma.

2. Mitchell Johnson

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    Team: Australia

    Matches: 6

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 153.63

    Through a spate of injuries to Australia's crop of young fast bowlers, Mitchell Johnson was given a reprieve by his team's selectors that may never have happened in other circumstances.

    Suddenly, it's impossible to imagine this Australian team without him.

    His lethal destruction of England in Brisbane and Adelaide will forever remain the most lasting memories of 2013; the left-armer putting on the most devastating show witnessed in recent memory.

    Certain to grab Man of the Series in the 2013-14 Ashes contest, Johnson has rapidly captured 34 wickets at 17.52 in 2013.

1. AB De Villiers

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    Team: South Africa

    Matches: 9

    Adjusted Points Per Match: 157.77

    It was going to take something special to keep Mitchell Johnson from the top of this list.

    South Africa's AB De Villiers has done exactly that, plundering 933 runs from only nine matches at an average of 77.75 in 2013.

    In a star-studded team, South Africa's vastly talented keeper-batsman has been the standout performer, striking four hundreds and five fifties from 13 innings to become the dominant player in the game in 2013.