Alastair Cook has been named captain of the International Cricket Council Test team of the year despite leading England to victory in just one of their last eight matches.
England have four representatives in the team – more than any other nation – with three Australians and one player apiece from New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa in a side picked by former Test greats Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara for the sport’s world governing body.
The trio based their decisions on player performances between September 14, 2015 and September 20, 2016, which means England’s recent troubles on the sub-continent in Bangladesh and India are not covered.
Alastair Cook has been named captain the ICC’s Team of the Year despite recent struggles
Cook is facing uncertainty after leading England to just one win in their last eight matches
The 12-month qualifying period did not begin well for Cook as England lost a three-Test series 2-0 to Pakistan in October 2015. Overall in the period he led England in 14 matches, with six wins, three draws and five losses.
Cook, who is considering his position as England captain, has been picked alongside Joe Root, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.
Root has become the focal point of the batting order in recent years and averages 52.80 in his Test career while Yorkshire team-mate Bairstow broke a 16-year record for the most Test runs in a calendar year by a wicketkeeper in 2016. Stokes’ performances with bat and ball have helped him to establish himself as England’s first-choice all-rounder.
There was no place in the XI for India skipper Virat Kohli, who sits second in the ICC Test batting rankings, while number one batsman in the world and Australia captain Steve Smith is the 12th man in the squad.
Ben Stokes (left) and Joe Root are both included after impressive years with England
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow (left, pictured with Lokesh Rahul) is also included in the team
ICC TEAM OF THE YEAR (in batting order)
David Warner (Australia), Alastair Cook (England) – captain, Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Joe Root (England), Adam Voges (Australia), Jonny Bairstow (England) – wicketkeeper, Ben Stokes (England), Ravi Ashwin (India), Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka), Mitchell Starc (Australia), Dale Steyn (South Africa), Steve Smith (Australia)
Opener David Warner, Adam Voges and Mitchell Starc are the three Australians chosen by the committee, with Kane Williamson picked from New Zealand.
Spinner Ravi Ashwin, who helped India to a 4-0 victory over England, is India’s sole representative while Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and seamer Dale Steyn of South Africa complete the line-up.
The ICC also announced that Ashwin had been voted as its Cricketer of the Year for 2016.
India’s Ravi Ashwin is in the Team of the Year, and has also been named Cricketer of the Year