The ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year features 11 players who have made remarkable returns in the 2022 calendar year, with the bat, the ball or their all-round talent.
Here are 11 players who excelled so much in Test cricket in 2022 that they were selected for the ICC’s Test XI of the Year.
1. Usman Khawaja – Australia
Usman Khawaja’s return to Australia’s Test XI could hardly have started better as he scored centuries in both innings against England – a brilliant 137 in the first and an unbeaten 101* in the second. Australia only went on to draw the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney, but Khawaja’s run tally locked him in for more opportunities in 2022… and he took full advantage.
The stylish left-hander scored 496 runs and a tearful average of 165.33 in the series win in Pakistan, scoring two centuries and two more to play a huge role in Australia’s hard-earned victory in the 1990s.
Although his form dipped slightly, Khawaja still scored three more half-centuries in 2022, finishing the year with 1080 runs and an average of 67.50.
2. Craig Brathwaite – West Indies
The West Indies captain and opening bat was the highest scorer in the series as his side beat England in early 2022 and was comfortably his side’s standout batsman for the year.
Brathwaite scored a half-century in each of the first two Tests against England as well as a marathon 160 in the first innings of the second Test, a personal performance that would have given his opponents sleepless nights.
The right-hander scored 94 and 51 in the first innings each of the Test win over Bangladesh in June and then showed his class with 174 against Australia in Perth in November, including a superb rearguard 110.
Scored a total of 687 runs in 14 innings during the year at an average of 62.45
3. Marnus Labuschen – Australia
Slotting at number three is Marnus Labuschagne, who hit a mountain of runs in the second half of 2022.
Australia’s highest score of the series was 90 in the first innings of the first Test against Pakistan, and he scored his first century of the year with 104 against Sri Lanka at Galle in July.
But it was at the start of the Australian summer that Labuschagne was in top form against the West Indies with a stunning 502 in just four innings.
His total of 957 runs came at an average of 56.29 throughout the year.
4. Babar Azam – Pakistan
Pakistan’s Test captain has been consistently outstanding with the bat throughout 2022, scoring four centuries and another seven half-centuries in the calendar year.
He scored a remarkable 1184 runs at an average of 69.94 in nine matches, with four centuries against each of the four Test opponents he faced.
Babar scored 390 runs in home conditions in the much-anticipated home series against Australia, and added another 348 runs when he toured England later in the year. His 196 against the Aussies in Karachi in March is, still, his highest individual score in Tests.
5. Jonny Bairstow – England
England’s Jonny Bairstow enjoyed the best year of his career, even though a broken leg ruled him out of the winter tour of Pakistan.
He started the year with a century against Australia in Sydney and scored a brilliant 140 in his first innings tour of the West Indies.
But Bairstow’s year will be remembered for the golden patch at the start of the English summer. Across five innings, starting in the second innings of the second Test against New Zealand and ending the match against India at Edgbaston, Bairstow scored consecutive scores of 136, 162, 71*, 106 and 114*.
But it wasn’t just the weight of the runs, the way he scored the runs was out.
Bairstow’s 136 off just 92 balls on the final day set England up for a formidable fourth-innings chase against the odds. His 162 was better than a run-a-ball at Headingley, despite England being 55/6 at one point, before he scored 71 off just 44 deliveries in another stunning last-day run chase. And his 114* against India was part of a 269-run partnership with Joe Root that helped England achieve their most successful fourth innings chase, with their 378/3 coming within five-one overs.
6. Ben Stokes – England
England’s extraordinary transformation in 2022 may have seen Bairstow star with the bat, but it was Ben Stokes who brought about the transformation and demonstrated such a remarkable attacking mentality.
Stokes’ captaincy has transformed England, helping England win nine matches since he took over at the start of the summer.
And he is effective with both bat and ball.
Stokes scored two centuries and 870 runs in two years, dropping to number six at an average of 36.25.
And he took 26 wickets that year, using himself in a variety of roles. His bowling was particularly impressive in the series win against South Africa, where he took 10 wickets at an average of just 15.70.
7. Rishabh Pant – India
India’s keeper-batsman enjoyed another scintillating year with the bat, scoring 680 runs in 12 innings at an average of 61.81 and a strike rate of 90.90.
Two centuries and four half-centuries in the year only tell half the story, the destructive nature of Pant’s batting has fueled his team’s innings throughout the year. He hit 21 sixes in Tests in 2022 and was also decent with the gloves – making six stumpings and taking 23 catches.
It may be a while before we see Pant in Test action again, but the 25-year-old is still recovering from the injury he sustained in a serious car accident just two days before the end of the year.
8. Pat Cummins – Australia
Australia’s Test captain led his team to the top of the World Test Championship at the end of 2022.
Cummins’ leadership was outstanding throughout the year, and he had his best annual return on the ball.
Cummins took 36 wickets at an average of just 21.83 in 10 matches in 2022. And it wasn’t just at home where he excelled.
The captain’s best performance of the year with the ball came in the series-deciding win over Pakistan in Lahore, where he took eight wickets, including a stunning five-wicket haul in the first innings. Cummins was adjudged Man of the Match in the game that decided the series.
He also finished the year strongly with another five-run win against South Africa in Brisbane in December.
9. Kagiso Rabada – South Africa
South Africa’s attack leader has enjoyed an exciting year with the ball in a variety of situations.
In total Rabada took 47 wickets in nine matches across 2022, securing those scalps at an average of just 22.25.
His returns have been consistent in all the series he has played in, with the 27-year-old taking at least 10 wickets against each of the four opponents.
And his averages were also widely consistent in different conditions, with Rabada most impressive at home with 14 wickets at 20.53, but also proving highly effective in England, Australia and New Zealand.
10. Nathan Lyon – Australia
Australia’s front-line spinner was commissioned in 2022, having bowled more than 500 overs in the year.
In total, Lyon took 47 wickets at an average of 29.06 in 11 Tests, doing well for his team both home and away.
He was asked to bowl a mountain over in the Test series win in Pakistan before showing his chops on the curved surface with 11 wickets in Sri Lanka.
And he was particularly effective at home, taking 24 wickets at an average of 21.33.
Lyon and Rabada are tied as the leading wicket takers in Test cricket in 2022.
11. James Anderson – England
England’s veteran swing bowler continues to defy his age to produce world-class performances.
Anderson turns 40 in 2022, and is still one of the most effective bowlers in the world game.
In nine Tests he took 36 wickets at an average of just 19.8 and an economy of 2.42. This final figure is a definite outlier due to the fast-scoring nature of England’s matches throughout much of the year, with Anderson’s economy at his best.
— Cricket Pakistan (@cricketpakcompk) January 24, 2023