|The best of England’s cricketers celebrate victory over India with the ICC Test Championship Mace [GALLO/GETTY]|
There is little surprise that five of the 11 players in the International Cricket Council’s Test team of the year came from the England team.
Newly promoted to world number one, England dominated the Ashes and their recent Test series against previous world toppers India.
Opener Alastair Cook, No. 3 Jonathan Trott, all-rounder Stuart Broad, spinner Graeme Swann and swing bowler James Anderson were all picked by an ICC panel chaired by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.
“The selection was a difficult process with so many outstanding performances available to look back on”
During the August 11, 2010 – August 3, 2011 selection period, England went unbeaten in four series including the Ashes in Australia, and won seven of 12 Tests on the way to rising above India and South Africa to No. 1 in the Test rankings.
Paceman Dale Steyn made it into the line-up for the fourth straight year alongside South Africa teammates Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis.
Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara was in as wicketkeeper and captain, with India batting great Sachin Tendulkar completing the side.
India pace bowler Zaheer Khan was picked as 12th man.
“The team has a formidable lineup that bats well down the order and has bowlers with the ability and form to dismiss any opposition twice on any surface,” Lloyd said.
“The selection was a difficult process with so many outstanding performances available to look back on. All the top performers during the voting period were discussed at length and various combinations were considered.”
England’s Ian Bell could be considered unlucky to miss out, averaging 89.50 for the period with four centuries compared to a still excellent career average of 49.28.
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“While selecting the squad, the selectors didn’t rely only on statistics only but took into account all other factors like the opposition, pitch conditions, match situation, et cetera,” Lloyd said.
“But when you have only 12 places to fill from a big group of world-class players, there will always be a few who will miss out.”
Trott and Cook both made it onto four-man shortlists for the Cricketer of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards, with Anderson also nominated for the latter.
Amla and the 38-year-old Tendulkar are the other players in contention for the prestigious Cricketer of the Year award, with Kallis completing the Test Player of the Year shortlist.
But while pace bowler Tim Bresnan’s four wickets for just three runs puts him in contention for the Twenty20 Performance of the Year award, England is otherwise not represented in the limited-overs awards.
Amla, Sangakkara, India’s Gautam Gambhir and Australia’s Shane Watson are up for One-Day International Player of the Year, with South Africa’s JP Duminy, New Zealand’s Tim Southee and Watson the other names in line for the Twenty20 award.