LONDON: Alastair Cook was on Thursday named as captain of the International Cricket Council Test team of the year despite speculation over his future as England skipper.
Cook, who has led England to only one win in their last eight matches, was selected to head the ICC 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, a period not covering England’s 4-0 drubbing to India, Cook’s fourth straight loss as captain.
Cook’s 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.
He 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.
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.
Ashwin crowned cricketer of the year
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin was named ICC cricketer of the year on Thursday, topping off a sensational period in which he has dominated the Test bowling rankings.
The spin-bowling all-rounder, who starred in India’s 4-0 Test series victory over England, was also named Test cricketer of the year for the voting period, which covered the 12 months to September 20.
He becomes only the third Indian player to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, following in the footsteps of batting greats Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and Rahul Dravid (2004).
“It feels great to follow the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in being named as the ICC cricketer of the year,” Ashwin, 30, said in a statement.
“To also win the ICC Test cricketer of the year makes it even better.”
During the September-to-September voting period, Ashwin took 48 wickets and scored 336 runs in eight Tests. He also snared 27 Twenty20 international wickets.
The Chennai native consolidated top spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test bowling charts after he took a series-leading 28 wickets in the five games against England, which wrapped up this week.
Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman, was named one-day international cricketer of the year after he scored 793 runs in 16 50-over games.
And the West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite won international Twenty20 performance of the year for his 10-ball 34 not out, including four sixes in the final over, to clinch a stunning victory over England in the World Twenty20 final.