The 2015 World Cup, which ended with Australia’s seven-wicket win over fellow co-hosts New Zealand in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, produced several notable performances. Twenty-five of ESPNcricinfo staff voted for the team of the tournament. Thirty players got at least one vote. There was no set combination: some teams had only one specialist opener, a few went for two spinners, and one of the nominated XIs didn’t pick a spinner at all – if the champions can do it without one, why not this XI?
24 votes, 328 runs at 36.44, four fifties, strike rate 188.50
The leader of the side. Intent will drip off his frame: mouth chewing gum, smile on face, big forearms without an armguard. He will place attacking fields, chase down every ball, take unbelievable catches, do everything within his powers to keep the opposition down to a low target, and then go chase it before the supper break. If the target does happen to be big he will take a big chunk off it in the first five overs.
11 votes, 547 runs at 68.37, two hundreds including a double-hundred, one fifty, strike rate 104.58
Highest run-scorer in the tournament. One to take the singles when McCullum is going, and try to play deep, as he did against West Indies in scoring the highest score in a World Cup match, 237. Watch out for the big sixes once he is in, with his head looking down at the pitch and not where the ball has gone, just like Roger Federer playing one of his backhand winners.
21 votes, 541 runs at 108.20, four hundreds, strike rate 105.87, five catches, three stumpings
Four ODI hundreds in a row. Behind only Guptill in runs aggregate. Team’s oldest member, and their most stylish batsman. Apart from playing those long innings, will sledge the hell out of the opposition, and hoodwink an umpire or three.
21 votes, 402 runs at 67, one hundred, four fifties, strike rate 91.57
Slightly more old-fashioned in his strike rate, he will drive teams to distraction with his shuffle across the stumps and shots into the leg side from wherever he wishes. He will play the big innings in big matches. His last five efforts (most recent first): 56 not out, 105, 65, 72, 95. Also you need somebody with super hearing powers to review edges no one has heard.
AB de Villiers
25 votes, 482 runs at 96.40, one hundred, three fifties, strike rate 144.31
Fast hands AB. Ambidextrous AB. One of the only two unanimous picks. Missed out on fastest World Cup hundred, but added to his collection of fastest ODI fifty and hundred with the fastest 150. Will demolish attacks when given a platform, doubling 35-over scores. Will also bowl an odd over full of bouncers here and there.
21 votes, 324 runs at 64.80, one hundred, two fifties, strike rate 182.02, six wickets at 36.33, economy rate of 5.73
If AB doesn’t get you Maxi will, with his fast hands and ambidexterity. Sometimes they both will. How will anybody set fields if that happens? Maxwell fell one ball short of notching the fastest World Cup hundred, but did enough to help his side win the World Cup. There won’t be any shortage of confidence with him around.
12 votes, 14 wickets at 16.71, economy rate of 6.47, 231 runs at 33, two fifties, strike rate 108.45
12 votes, 10 wickets at 19.70, economy rate of 4.70
Both bowl in Powerplays, both pick wickets, both can score crucial runs down the order. Clutch players both. Anderson a better batsman than bowler, Faulkner the other way around. Anderson has better numbers having played the whole tournament, Faulkner took wickets in big matches, and brings with him promise of nerveless finishes with the bat. Not surprisingly both are tied and make it to the XII.
12 votes, 15 wickets at 20.46, economy rate of 4.04
Has pipped the more aggressive options in Tahir and R Ashwin. Will provide control if the ultra-aggressive pace attack begins to go for runs. One-handed overhead catches at third man come as a bonus. If a last-over yorker has to be squeezed out for four in a tense finish, Dan is your man.
11 votes, 16 wickets at 23, economy rate of 5.56, one fifty with the bat
Edges out Morne Morkel despite most voters’ knowledge that his selection will make it an all-left-arm attack. Their logic: haven’t seen question marks against all-right-arm attacks. A true left-field pick. Bowled with pace and aggression, including the fastest ball of the tournament and its most rousing spell.
25 votes, 22 wickets at 10.18, economy rate of 3.50
One of the two unanimous picks. Easy job. Ask him to bowl four overs at the top and take a wicket, bowl two in middle overs if there is a partnership, bowl two in the batting Powerplay, and make sure no team scores quick runs in the final few. He will deliver, and he will deliver booming yorkers at 150kmph.
23 votes, 22 wickets at 16.86, economy rate of 4.36
More orthodox new-ball swing bowler, but will surprise you with that pace from that wiry frame. Ask Sangakkara about his yorkers. Will show endurance in bowling long spells. Will carry with him a copy of Shantaram should there be a nap enthusiast in the side looking for a pillow.
Shikhar Dhawan (9 votes),Imran Tahir (8) and Morne Morkel (7).
TOP FIVE RUNS SCORERS
Martin Guptill (New Zealand) 547
Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) 541
AB de Villiers (S. Africa) 482
Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe) 433
Shikhar Dhawan (India) 412
TOP FIVE WICKET TAKERS
Mitchell Starc (Australia) 22
Trent Boult (New Zealand) 22
Umesh Yadav (India) 18
Mohammed Shami (India) 17
Morné Morkel (South Africa) 17
SOURCE: Daily Monitor