Greatest Test XI of last 25 years
Test cricket is cricket's hardest format. It is where one's skill, technique, strength, and endurance is tested. One can't be declared as a great cricketer unless and until he has proved his mettle in Test matches.
The era of the 1990s and 2000s was an epoch in cricketing history. An era of sheer greatness that took the cricketing world by storm because of the rise of many future legends. It was also an era when the game became highly professional. The matches and the series were timed properly and the players were paid well too.
Also Read: Best ODI XI of the last 25 years
After the invasion of T20 cricket in the mid-2000s, the whole game went into a new zone altogether. The roots of the game were forgotten and the values were buried underneath.
But, the year 2018 was a great "comeback" year for test cricket because the ball dominated the bat all the time. More five-wicket hauls were taken in 2018 than in any year in recent times. Hopefully, this trend of the ball in parity with the bat will continue to keep Test cricket alive.
In this segment, let us assemble a star-studded lineup comprising 11 iconic players who changed the game completely with their stellar performances in the last 25 years.
Openers: Matthew Hayden and Graeme Smith
The tall, big, muscular lad from Australia was very well known around the world for his aggressive style of play. Popularly known as 'Haydos' in the cricketing circuit, Matthew Hayden was one of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball. He treated the opposition bowling attack with complete disdain charging down the track all the time. His style of play was a brilliant combination of power and cricketing intellect.
His brilliant test career lasted for 103 matches in which he scored 8625 runs at an average of 50.74, and for an opener to have maintained such an average for such a long time was a terrific achievement.
Hayden scored 30 centuries and 29 half-centuries in his entire career. He holds the amazing record of scoring the 2nd highest individual scorer in Test history (380 against Zimbabwe).
He was an important part of that golden generation in Australian cricket where they won 16 Test matches in a row.
Graeme Smith burst onto the international arena with some record-breaking batting performances. He scored two double hundreds in his first ever tour to England. His 259 is still the highest score by an individual at Lord's. In that series, he ended up scoring 714 runs at an astonishing average of 79.33.
Smith became the youngest South Africa captain when he was handed over the reins at a young age of 22. Smith became a successful captain leading his team to 53 Test match victories out of 109 in which lead them. He will be leading this side too.
Smith holds the record for most number of centuries by a captain in test match wins(15). He amassed 9265 runs at an impressive average of 47.76 which included 28 centuries, 38 half-centuries and 5 double centuries.
If anyone remembers seeing Smith coming out to bat in Sydney to save the test match; with a broken hand, they would not think twice before selecting him.