Here’s a current world Test XI, picked on the basis of ICC’s current batting, bowling and all-rounder rankings.
It’s been quite a while – two and a half years to be precise – since we last picked a world XI in this fashion. Just over halfway past 2022, we’ve given it another go, reassembling another Test team consisting of top performers from around the globe. A lot has changed in the interim: from the previous XI, only two players have managed to cling on to their spots.
Like the last time, we’ve picked the current two highest ranked openers, the three highest ranked middle-order batsmen, the top all-rounder and wicketkeeper, the three best quicks, and the top spinner.
Stats and rankings updated till August 14, 2022.
Usman Khawaja (Australia)
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 7th (766 points)
Khawaja’s second coming has been an inspiring tale of redemption. Dropped midway through the 2019 Ashes, it almost seemed like a stop-start Test career had come to a close. However, a dream return came about at 35: he began with twin Ashes centuries in Sydney and has continued to pile on big runs since. Scores of 97, 160, 44*, 91 and 104* in Pakistan saw him break into the rankings top 10.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 8th (748 points)
Easily one of the best Test openers going around, Karunaratne has been Sri Lanka’s batting lynchpin for a few years now, consistently putting up runs against all opposition. In the last five years, no Test opener has scored more runs (3,207) or hit more centuries (8) – he’s not far from becoming one of Sri Lanka’s top five run-getters of all time.
Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 2nd (885 points)
Labuschagne’s debut came in 2018, but it wasn’t until the 2019 Ashes that he really left a mark. He’s only done better since. From the start of 2019, he’s scored the most runs and hit the most centuries by a Test No.3, firmly integrating himself in the Australia line-up. A 90 in Rawalpindi in March, and a century in Galle last month assuaged any doubts over his ability to excel outside home.
Joe Root (England)
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 1st (923 points)
Root comfortably leads the batting charts. He enjoyed a record year in 2021 – the third-best by anyone in Test history – and has added five more centuries this year. Only three England batters in Test history have a higher career-best rating than Root. Since his debut, no English batter has scored even half the runs as him.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 3rd (879 points)
Currently in the midst of a hot streak, Babar has jumped up the Test rungs admirably, shedding all doubts around his ability to stand out as an all-format batter. He’s scored more than 20 per cent of his Test runs in 2022 alone (and that’s just half a year), and has collected seven fifty-plus scores in his last 10 innings, including a couple of match-defining hundreds.
Rishabh Pant (India) – WK
Current ICC Test batting ranking: 5th (801 points)
Yet to turn 25, Pant has established his own brand of daring stroke-making that has been pivotal to India’s success over the last two seasons. The proud owner of a bagful of Test records, he’s already the highest-ranked India Test wicketkeeper by a distance, and has centuries against Australia, England and South Africa. We haven’t even mentioned his steadily improving keeping skills.
Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Current ICC Test all-rounder ranking: 1st (384 points)
Unarguably one of India’s finest all-rounders of all time, Jadeja has elevated his game massively across the last few years, building on his bowling success with a newfound appetitive for run-making. Among all Test all-rounders with at least 200 wickets, only Garry Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al Hasan and Imran Khan have a better Test batting average than him. Only Imran has a better bowling average.
R Ashwin (India)
Current ICC Test bowling ranking: 2nd (842 points)
The other half of India’s irrepressible spin pairing, R Ashwin is India’s highest-ranked Test bowler in the all-time charts, having constructed a rich and lasting legacy over the last decade. Among India bowlers, only Anil Kumble has taken more Test wickets, and among all Test spinners, his tally is only behind Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Kumble. Unsurprisingly, since his Test debut, no other bowler has taken more wickets.
Pat Cummins (Australia) – C
Current ICC Test bowling ranking: 1st (891 points)
The leader of Australia’s star-spangled pace attack, Cummins has steadily risen to the top of the pile, picking up wickets on almost every surface he’s played on. Comfortably on top of the bowling charts – he’s been No.1 for three years now – his peak career rating is level with Glenn McGrath as the best among all bowlers from Australia.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
Current ICC Test bowling ranking: 3rd (828 points)
The youngest name in this XI, Shaheen has grown to become Pakistan’s spearhead in a relatively short career so far. On the cusp of the 100-wicket mark, he’s been in the top 10 consistently since August 2021, using his height and angling left-arm pace to pick up the most wickets by a Pakistan bowler since his debut. Last year was especially prolific – he plucked 47 wickets at 17.06.
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Current ICC Test bowling ranking: 4th (828 points)
India’s very own wicket-taking machine, Bumrah has earned his place among India’s very greatest despite a relatively belated entry into Tests. Since his debut, no India seamer has taken more wickets. This year, he’s plucked 22 wickets at 20.31, moving from tenth place at the start of the year to No.3, his best ranking in three years.
The current world Test XI, according to the ICC rankings:
Rishabh Pant (WK)
Pat Cummins (C)