A Current World Test XI

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We’re going to play a Sim Series between a 1990s World Test XI and a Current World Test XI. Let’s pick the latter.

As we asked the other day, what is ‘now’? We’re still niggled by the notion that the 90s XI has a whole era of talent at its disposal whereas this one is really just a snapshot in time.

A 2010s team could have plugged obvious gaps with the likes of Alastair Cook or Rangana Herath, for example.

But a 2010s team is not what we’ve gone for, so that’s not happened. The Current XI’s disadvantage will surely be more than made up for by modern fitness levels and sports science though anyway, won’t it?

That’s the kind of thing people say. That’s basically what we’re testing here – is the level of cricket these days just fundamentally better than in the 1990s?

Obviously we don’t have a position on that one and therefore aren’t ‘supporting’ one team over the other.

(1) David Warner

Remember that time Fox Sports claimed that David Warner had ‘gone rogue’?

Good times.

(2) Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is what is known as a ‘bolter’ here. It’s weird and almost contradictory to have a bolter in a World XI, but it’s a symptom of the fact that the best openers in recent times are all a bit meh.

Tom Latham should really be the man in this position, but is there not something more exciting about Rohit, a man who has hit three hundreds in his six innings as opener (one a double) and who averages 46 in Test cricket but who everyone still thinks is probably a bit rubbish?

In the absence of a real ‘wow’ option (step away, Dean Elgar), this seems to us the more enticing option.

(3) Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson was Lord Megachief of Gold in 2015.

He is good at batting.

(4) Virat Kohli

Also good at batting.

Less good at singing in adverts.

(5) Steve Smith

We’re not quite sure how Steve Smith ended up being the one pushed down to five. It’s probably just that he wouldn’t kick up as much of a fuss about it as Virat would.

Here are the four stages of Steve Smith’s recurring metamorphosis into a batsman.

(6) Marnus Labuschagne

Say what you like, but the guy’s averaging 60-odd.

And think of all the bits-and-pieces bowling from this middle order as well. Magical! Why would you want an all-rounder with all these ‘options’?

Plus who would you pick?

Seriously, who?


(7) Quinton de Kock

With a Test average of over 40 when playing as wicketkeeper, Quinton de Kock is better than some of you think.

Crucially, he is less agreeable than his only real rival, BJ Watling, and for some inexplicable reason we feel that’s pertinent.

(8) Jason Holder

Everyone forgets Jason Holder, but Jason Holder is bloody amazing.

This team is not going to be an easy one to bowl out.

(9) Mitchell Starc

Dynamism. You need a bit of dynamism. Dynamism and variety.

Few current bowlers are quicker or more left-handed than Mitchell Starc and we actually think there is a very strong case for his inclusion instead of slower, more right-handed bowlers.

He’s a pretty handy number nine too.

(10) Pat Cummins

We don’t feel like we need to explain this one because of all the explaining we’re having to do about the two players either side of him.

A pretty handy number 10.

(11) Nathan Lyon

You’re probably thinking R Ashwin and at first we were thinking R Ashwin too because we happen to think he’s brilliant at cricket.

But Ashwin gets to avoid playing overseas quite a lot because apparently India don’t agree with us on this. Nathan Lyon, in contrast, pretty much always plays for Australia and pretty much always takes a few wickets. Sometimes he also runs people out.

In short, it is very on-brand for Ashwin to leave everyone a little bit confused as to why he hasn’t been picked again.

Here’s what happened on day one.

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  1. You do realise that you’ve put Sharma and Warner up against Wasiq, Waqar and Ambrose, and that basically means Williamson and Kohli are opening the batting.

    See also, Nohit Sharma. Smacking the West Indies around a bit does not a test opener make.

    1. I totally agree and have said things similar before to Aditya’s post.
      You really need to consider weaknesses as well as strengths and I think someone like Warner has got more weaknesses that you are able to list. And one strength which is being able to bat on the odd occasion really well.

  2. I am confused. Warner – not only a general tool but a certified cheat – is ok, but that spinner from the 90s isn’t? I know it’s your team, but surely there’s an appeals process.

      1. What is Kane doing here then?

        Also, whatever his batting limitations, Rohit is a genuinely nice bloke. Why inflict on him the double humiliation of dealing with Ambrose’s bouncers and likely getting intentionally run out by his batting partner. There are some batsmen whose failures elicit laughter (D.W. getting bowled, for example). Rohit’s only evoke sympathy, in a Graeme Hickian way.

  3. Six Australians.

    Six. Australians.

    Genuinely disgusting. What happened to picking the players you want to pick and finding gossamer-thin reasons to do so?

    1. And you’ve picked two old-ball bowlers in your three-strong pace attack. If you’re not getting Sachin in during the first ten overs it doesn’t matter how good Jason Holder is.

      The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this is clickbait – except the headline and picture don’t give any clue as to the controversies within the article, so it can’t be. Reverse-clickbait? Winding up only the people who were clicking it anyway? This is some 5D chess shit that Bert would be proud of.

  4. Hold on a moment. I see what’s going on. This site has been hijacked by Russian cyber-criminals linked to the Kremlin, intent on sowing discontent so as to destabilise the west. That is literally the only explanation for having zero English cricketers and six Australian ones, including not having a) the greatest match-winner in the world, and b) the greatest bowler in the world, and his mate.

    We need some proof, some statement that only the real KC could make, to show us that we are safe.

  5. I see what’s happened here… You know that the “Now XI” is going to win now don’t you.

    1. Obviously we’re not worried about that because obviously we’re 100 per cent impartial.

  6. When this was first mooted, I assumed that I would be supporting “now” as the 90s team would be packed with Australian arseholes. As it turns out….

      1. I feel you could replace Holder with Rabada if you want to keep the quality but make the team more annoying, but I’m having a hard time replacing Williamson without drastically dropping the quality, Azam doesn’t have a reputation for being a twat yet, maybe go for Shakib as an allrounder given he’s banned and all that.

      2. This quality-annoying trade-off is an interesting comment. If you’re prepared to have someone banned (by their own board) for ball-tampering, why not Shakib?

        Normally “nasty” pace bowlers are pretty annoying so this team is a bit short on that front. Sheldon Cottrell sadly doesn’t count as a “current” Test cricketer since he hasn’t been picked for years, and on that basis alone might be a bit far to fall on the quality front, but other than that I feel he would be a brilliant addition to this side.

  7. Ben Stokes is our infallible hero and as such he should not be in a losing side. In particular, he should not be in a losing side the majority of whom (Jason Holder & Kane Williamson aside) are either assholes or folk who come across as being up their own.

    I wholeheartedly approve of Ben Stokes’s omission from this “Now” side, which is, if you read carefully, billed simply as “A Current World Test XI”. Crucially, it is not billed as “The…”

    “Come on you 90s”.

      1. We were given explicit temporal guidance in an earlier article about this series, Dave.

        “If you want to add the following important dates to your calendars, please do: we’ll be naming our two teams once we’ve picked them and then we’ll play the match at some point after that.”

        This is a very exciting juncture, as we have reached the “at some point after that” stage of the proceedings.

      1. Got to be Kohli IMHO, otherwise he’ll sulk all match…

        …hold on – reverse ferret…

        …anyone other than Kohli please, KC. It would be great to imagine Kohli sulking all match.

  8. We could continue down the arsehole route and have Smith or Warner.
    Warner because he is more of an arsehole.
    Or you could make the team have one semblance of decency and pick Williamson or Holder.

  9. Who is Marcus Labiachange? Are we also including French cyclists? Is this a crossover post from your other site?

    I’d have picked Bumrah, but hard to argue against Cummins. But the best part of this post is that Steve Smith picture. Thank you for digging it out of the internets and giving it to us.

  10. Best test xi

    Azhar Ali
    Shane masood
    Babar azam
    Mohammed Amir
    Mohammed Bilal
    Colin de grandhomme
    Lockie Ferguson
    Shaqib al Hasan
    Dinesh chandimal
    Akila Dhananjaya
    Shannon Gabriel

  11. The Gods will not be mocked. A terrible fate awaits us all.

    When it comes to the outcome of this match, I mean. Otherwise, everything’s going to be great.

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