With the Sri-Lanka vs Pakistan series currently taking place and anticipation mounting about the South African tour of England, it is interesting to see which nationalities are dominating the Test match MVP ratings. By John Pryor.
Rather ominously for England it is a South African pairing who are selected to open the batting; after his 156 in the recent series vs New Zealand, Alviro Petersen is Cricket World’s highest ranked batsmen. Opening alongside Petersen will be South African Captain Graeme Smith; despite being ranked 7th in our MVP rankings, Smith is the second highest ranked opening batsmen and, like Petersen, managed to score a century against New Zealand.
In at three is the Pakistani stalwart Younus Khan; ranked 9th in our MVP rankings, he squeezes his way into the team, benefiting from middle-order batsmen dominating the upper echelons of the MVP rankings. At four is the ever dependable Shivnarine Chanderpaul; despite the West Indies' poor performance against England earlier in the summer, Shiv still managed to post scores of 87 and 91 keeping his MVP ranking at joint first.
Having been selected to captain our ODI MVP team last week, AB de Villiers follows at five bringing skill and firepower to the middle order. At six is wicket-keeper and captain of this week’s team Kumar Sangakkara; ranked fifthth in our MVP rankings, Sangkarra scored 199 not out and 192 against Pakistan last month and is the man in form to lead this team.
There was no obvious all-rounder to select this week, so given the strength and depth of this batting line-up it seemed justifiable to select three spinners. The first of these, batting at seven, is right-arm off-break bowler Saeed Ajmal who claimed an impressive five wicket haul in the first test against a strong Sri Lankan batting line-up. At eight is Vernon Philander; the medium-fast bowler is yet another South African addition to the team after a strong run of form this year.
Ben Hilfenhaus is our specialist fast bowler and despite struggling against England, Shane Shillingford’s brilliant ten-wicket haul in the third Test against Australia in April keep him ranked third in our MVP bowling rankings. Somewhat surprisingly at 11 is Monty Panesar; even though he is not a regular feature in the England Test side, Panasar is currently ranked the most valuable bowler owing to his strong performance in England’s winter series against Pakistan.
The strength of this team is in its batsmen; on the whole they are proven performers at international level and have all hit good form as we move into a long summer of cricket. The bowling attack is somewhat less reliable with some surprise inclusions but, as long as they continue their recent run of form, they should provide this team with enough firepower to win matches. Once again South Africa is strongly represented, whetting the appetite for what will surely be an amazing series against England.
Cricket World MVP Dream Team (Test): Alviro Petersen, Graeme Smith (South Africa), Younus Khan (Pakistan), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper, captain, Sri Lanka), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan), Vernon Philander (South Africa), Shane Shillingford (West Indies), Ben Hilfenhaus (Australia)
The Cricket World MVP Ratings are designed to offer an at-a-glance breakdown of which players are in form at the moment, rewarding performances from the past 12 months only. Players must feature in three matches to gain a rating.
© Cricket World 2012