WTC Team of the Tournament contenders: Volume 5
David Warner – Australia – Batter – 12 Tests – 948 runs at 47.4
After a lean Ashes campaign to start his WTC tournament, Warner came back with a vengeance in Australia’s home summer of 2019-20. The opener blasted three centuries across five Tests that season, starting with an excellent 154 against Pakistan at the Gabba and finishing with an unbeaten 111* at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Between those two tons was a triple century against Pakistan at Adelaide Oval in a day-night Test. His unbeaten 335 that match is the highest score of the WTC going into the final.
Rohit Sharma – India – Batter – 11 Tests – 1030 runs at 64.37
Sharma has been a revelation for India since moving to the top of the order in October 2019. No opener scored more runs in the tournament than the Indian right-hander. Sharma started his WTC campaign with twin centuries against South Africa at Visakhapatnam and scored a double century just two matches later. A reliable performer through the second half of the Border-Gavaskar series, Sharma was crucial in India’s 3-1 victory over England, scoring a quickfire 161 on a pitch that got the better of most batters in Chennai.
Cheteshwar Pujara – India – Batter – 17 Tests – 818 runs at 29.21
There is much more to Pujara’s WTC campaign than an average of 29.21 suggests. The No.3, who played in all 17 of India’s WTC matches, was the rock on which the team often built its innings. Testament to that was his performances in India’s incredible Border-Gavaskar series win, in which he was the backbone of their two most remarkable performances. At the Sydney Cricket Ground, he scored a gritty 77 to inspire an incredible draw. A match later his 56 off 211 wore Australia’s bowlers down for a famous last session assault from Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar.
Dhananjaya de Silva – Sri Lanka – All-rounder – 9 Tests – 653 runs at 59.36 – 6 wickets at 78.66
A reliable spinner and a technically correct batter, it was with bat that de Silva excelled in the WTC. In a campaign where his own participation was somewhat stymied by injury, de Silva still managed to score three centuries, excelling all around the world. His first innings 109 against New Zealand was not enough to stave off defeat at Colombo, and he followed that up with another ton in a draw against Pakistan at Rawalpindi. In difficult conditions against South Africa at Centurion he scored an unbeaten 79 before being forced to retire hurt, but he excelled on his return to action, scoring a key fifty in Sri Lanka’s drawn series in the West Indies.
Quinton de Kock – South Africa – Wicket-keeper – 12 Tests – 751 runs at 37.55 – 44 catches and 2 stumpings
De Kock was exceptional with the gloves through the WTC, completing more dismissals per innings (2.44) than any keeper who played more than one Test. With the bat, de Kock’s best performances came through the first half of the tournament. He scored a century in vain against India at Visakhapatnam in South Africa’s first Test of the WTC and took out Player of the Match honours in the Boxing Day Test in 2019, scoring an important 95 in a win over England.
Ravichandran Ashwin – India – All-rounder – 13 Tests – 295 runs at 21.07 – 67 wickets at 20.88
Ashwin was at his best throughout the WTC and goes into the final needing just four more wickets to become its leading wicket-taker. The beguiling offie’s four five-wicket hauls were the most of any bowler in the tournament and he tormented England in particular, taking three of them against Joe Root’s outfit. A key factor in India’s momentous series win in Australia, Ashwin took 10 wickets across the first two Tests before battling a bad back to rescue a draw at Sydney with the bat. That innings proved the re-emergence of Ashwin the all-rounder, as he went on to score a century against England just two Tests later.
Jack Leach – England – Bowler – 10 Tests – 40 wickets at 29.55
Life’s rarely easy as an England spinner thanks to the calibre of their seam bowling arsenal but Leach still proved a key cog in the team and was their third highest wicket-taker in the tournament. The offie shone in their 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka, taking 5/122 to set-up victory in the first Test and 4/59 in the second. He backed that up with three four-fors against India, where he was England’s stand-out bowler. Alongside figures of 4/49 in the final Ashes Test of 2019, he also scored one of cricket’s most famous singles in the thriller at Edgbaston.
Tim Southee – New Zealand – Bowler – 10 Tests – 51 wickets at 20.66
The WTC has brought out the best in Southee, who has averaged 20.66 in it compared to a career average of 28.70. The seamer played the equal-fewest matches of anyone who took more than 35 WTC wickets and comfortably the fewest of anyone who took 50. One of the key men in New Zealand’s run to the final, Southee helped himself to three five-wicket hauls and four four-fors across 10 matches. He was at his best in the Wellington Test against India, taking match figures of 9/110 against the same opponents he is set to take on in the WTC final.
Jasprit Bumrah – India – Bowler – 9 Tests – 34 wickets at 22.41
Bumrah emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Test cricket in the year leading into the WTC and did not take a backward step once the tournament commenced. The fast bowler took the incredible figures of 5/7 in his first Test of the campaign against the West Indies. That was followed by a six-wicket haul in the very next, with three of those wickets falling in a career first hat-trick for Bumrah. A run of injuries impeded him somewhat from there but he was still a vital contributor to their series win in Australia, taking 4/56 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Josh Hazlewood – Australia – Bowler – 11 Tests – 48 wickets at 20.54
The metronomic quick prospered throughout the WTC, starting his campaign in style during the Ashes. He took 20 wickets at 21.85 that series and they were the kind of numbers he would produce again and again over the entirety of the tournament. He was arguably the best bowler from either team in the Border-Gavaskar series, taking 17 wickets at better than a run apiece, including an unforgettable spell of 5/8 at Adelaide Oval.