There’s been a lot going on in the cricketing world over the last couple of months. What you may have missed is that around about the time Ravi Bopara was helping bowl a team out for 58 in the Bangladesh Premier League and then being part of a team bowled out for 59 in the Bangladesh Premier League, the ICC announced their team of the year. As you might expect, they pretty much just whacked a load of obvious names onto a bit of paper. And then picked a 12th man, in case this hypothetical team ever needed someone to bring them drinks.
We’ve watched literally some games of cricket last year and we’re pretty sure we can do better. So here goes: the 51allout team of 2015. Test team, anyway. You can’t expect us to remember enough ODIs to do one of those as well.
1. Adam Lyth
Was always facing an uphill battle since he doesn’t exactly fit the New England template, but still. A reasonable start against New Zealand followed by a truly dismal Ashes effort. Five games, nine innings, 115 runs at 12.77. An additional bonus point for being so bad he managed to ruin Gary Ballance as well.
2. Rajenda Chandrika
Another vintage year for the West Indies. Amongst some pretty stiff competition, this bloke makes the final cut for our team. Six innings in Test cricket, half of which were ducks. He slightly ruined things by a performance in the Boxing Day Test which was at least vaguely near the realms of competence, but it’s a valiant effort regardless and earns him a spot at the top of our order.
3. Shaun Marsh
Shaun’s proven as in he’s made some runs and contributions.
4. Faf du Plessis
When a 97 ball 10 is your best innings of a tour, that does not bode well. Maybe unfortunate to make the final XI ahead of many of his compatriots, many of whom we’re not entirely convinced are real people, but as good an example of South Africa’s absolutely shambolic performances in India as anyone. His full tour of India record reads: 0, 1, 0, 10, 30, 0, 10. If anything he’s unlucky not to be captain.
5. Michael Clarke (c)
On one hand: a bit sad. On the other: extremely funny. Have you ever wondered how well an old man would deal with having objects lobbed at his head? Not very, it turns out.
6. JP Duminy
Seven innings, 72 runs (35 of which were in one go) at an average of 10 in 2015. For a man who spontaneously combusts at the first sight of off spin, India was never going to end well.
7. Brad Haddin (wk)
The first casualty of Australia’s Ashes (well, second if we count Ryan Harris, but for the purposes of this we aren’t). A man whose entire career seemed to be built on playing well against England couldn’t even play well against England this year. Hit 11 boundaries in 2015, two fewer than Nick Compton – Nick Compton! – managed in Durban alone.
8. Mitchell Johnson
His stats: not that bad. But, y’know: lol.
9. Mark Craig
As a general rule we like to be nice to New Zealanders (apart from Aussie Matt, who is unfortunately too Australian to be nice to anyone) and we didn’t want to include any here since they’ve had such a great year
of blowing it whenever they got close to actually winning winning our hearts and minds. Most sides look for a spinner who can either a) take wickets or b) create pressure by keeping it tight. We’re a little suspicious that Mark Craig does neither of these things. Apart from against England, obviously.
10. Kemar Roach
In 2014, Kemar Roach took 28 wickets in six matches at an average of 20.71. Pretty good, right? If he could keep that up West Indies might be able to at least compete over the next couple of years. Fast forward 12 months and from seven matches in 2015 Roach managed… nine wickets. Nine. At an average of 80.44 and strike rate of 124. And yes of course four of those wickets came in one innings against England.
11. Suranga Lakmal
A career average of 49 and strike rate of 88 is, undoubtedly, a truly terrible record. Yet somehow Lakmal managed to get picked again and then fail to even live up to those hilariously low standards in 2015. Eight wickets at 56 and a strike rate of 104. And he opened the bowling in all eight innings he played. Which way’s the hall of fame?
12. Liam Plunkett
Fuck you James Whitaker, fuck you.