Strongest Test playing XI featuring Under-26 players
There is no dearth of young talents in world cricket today. While younger players are apt for the shorter formats of the game as their dynamism and energy are brought to the fore, there are also some youngsters who have moulded their game exceptionally well for Tests.
Tests are literally a test for any cricketer as they test the patience, stamina, resilience, attitude and mindset the player has in the game through a grilling five-day tenure.
In all honesty, becoming a respected player in Tests is not the aim of all the players of the younger generation as they are primarily interested in focusing on the shorter formats and gaining the limelight by playing in domestic T20 leagues around the world.
However, there is a select group of Under 26 players who have - and still are - performing exceptionally well in the longest format of the game for their respective national teams.
In this article, we aim to make the strongest XI team from a group of Under 26 players based on their performance in the recent past. This team will certainly give any team - experienced or not - a run for their money.
Without further ado, let's dive straight into listing these players and one honorable mention:
#1 Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram is an extremely talented South African cricketer. The 24-year-old was the captain and led from the front when the Proteas lifted the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He was South Africa's highest run-getter as he scored a whopping 370 runs in 6 innings with a phenomenal strike rate of 123.
Although he was named in the Proteas' Test squad for their series against England in June 2017, Markam only got to make his debut on 28 September 2017 against Bangladesh.
The youngster had a phenomenal start to his Test career. The Centurion-born player scored two centuries in his first three Tests itself, becoming the first South African player to achieve this feat.
In the 12 Tests he has played thus far, Markram has scored 1040 runs with his highest score being 152 - which he scored against Australia. He already has 4 Test centuries and 3 fifties to his name in the 22 innings he has batted in and is also batting with a healthy strike rate of 63.18.
To add to his batting prowess, the aggressive batsman is also a handy right-arm off-break bowler and can be used if needed. Markram is well on his way to becoming the next South African superstar in Tests as he has age on his side.
At such a young age, Aiden Markram is currently ranked the Number 11 Test batsman.