The World Test XI of 2019
Test cricket desperately needed an entertaining year to keep the interest in the format going. 2019 certainly delivered on that front and even exceeded the most optimistic fan’s expectations.
From Kusal Perera’s epic 153 in February to Ben Stokes’ swashbuckling 135 to save The Ashes, Test cricket had followers on the edge of their seats throughout the calendar year.
From an individual point of view, numerous players stepped up to the plate and delivered outstanding performances for their respective teams.
On that note, with the year done and dusted, here is the best World Test XI of 2019.
Mayank Agarwal (Matches - 8, Runs - 754, Average - 68.55, Centuries - 3)
Mayank Agarwal, who made his Test debut on Boxing Day 2018, was one of India’s greatest finds last year. Agarwal enjoyed a marvellous first full year in Test cricket, smashing 754 runs at an average of 68.55.
The 28-year-old made a solid start to 2019 with two half-centuries against Australia. But greater things were still to come from the talented Karnataka batsman.
After a break from Test cricket, India started their home season in October. Agarwal flourished in home conditions and notched up a few big scores against South Africa (his highest scores were 215 and 108). He played some sumptuous on-drives in the series and, from a mental point of view, showed patience and the application to play long innings.
Agarwal ended the year on a high note when he smashed 243 against Bangladesh in November.
Tom Latham (Matches - 8, Runs - 601, Average - 50.08, Centuries - 3)
The best month of Tom Latham’s career thus far was probably December 2018. First, the classy opener amassed 264 not out while carrying his bat against Sri Lanka and then hit 176 against the same opposition.
After these tall scores, the question was: could he carry his red-hot form into 2019? The answer was an emphatic yes.
Overall, Latham scored 601 runs at an average of 50.08 in 2019. Despite scoring lots of runs, his batting approach was simple. First, he aimed to blunt the new ball by leaving the good deliveries and then, once the ball was older and started to swing less, be more positive, using a combination of classy cover-drives and flicks to advance his score.
Latham’s highest score of 2019 was the 161 he made against Bangladesh in February.