Dimuth Karunaratne secures a spot in ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year for 2023

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year for 2023

Dimuth Karunaratne

Sri Lanka’s Test opening batter Dimuth Karunaratne has been named in the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year for 2023.

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)

Despite playing just six matches in the year, Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne secures a spot in the team with memorable outings throughout 2023 in Tests having amassed 608 runs at an average of ​​60.8.

Karunaratne led by example in the away series in New Zealand with three fifties in four innings, amassing 207 runs, the most by a Sri Lankan batter on the tour.

Karunaratne scored a century in each match against Ireland as Sri Lanka completed a dominant 2-0 whitewash, winning both matches by an innings.

Karunaratne’s struggles against Pakistan underscored his crucial role within the team as Sri Lanka lost 2-0 at home.

Usman Khawaja (Australia)

Usman Khawaja’s purple patch since his dream comeback in January 2022 has shown no signs of slowing down and he finds himself in the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year for the second year running, while also being nominated for the Test Cricketer of the Year.

The Aussie opener was the only batter in 2023 to score more than 1000 runs in Tests, aggregating 1210 runs in 13 matches at an average of 52.60, which included six centuries and six fifties.

Khawaja kicked off the year with a career-best innings, scoring an unbeaten 195 against South Africa in Sydney. He continued his impressive form by concluding as the highest run-scorer (333 runs) in the Border-Gavaskar series in India.

After a forgettable showing in the WTC23 Final – where Australia emerged victorious – Khawaja bounced back in the Ashes with a century and finished the year on a high with five scores of 40+ in the six innings.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

It was a sedate start to the year for Kane Williamson in Tests. Yet, for a player of his calibre, it took little time for him to return to form and back among the runs, finishing 2023 with four centuries and 695 runs.

Williamson was the architect of New Zealand’s memorable win against England in Wellington. After being asked to follow on, Williamson’s 132 brought the hosts back into the contest as New Zealand went on to win the game by one run.

 Continuing his stellar form, the 33-year-old guided the Kiwis to victory in a thriller with an unbeaten 121 against Sri Lanka, winning the match of the last ball. Williamson made it three centuries in a row with a double hundred in the second Test as New Zealand completed a 2-0 whitewash.

Williamson didn’t miss a beat after a serious knee injury, making a triumphant return to Test cricket with a century in the challenging conditions in Bangladesh, albeit in a losing cause.

Joe Root (England)

Joe Root secures a position in the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year for the fourth time in his career and is also in contention for the Test Player of the Year Award.

Root commenced the year on an impressive note with three scores of 50+ against New Zealand, which included 153* and 95 in the aforementioned thriller in Wellington.

Following a fifty against Ireland in the one-off Test, Root was one of the few bright spots for England in the Ashes.

He began the series with aplomb, scoring an unbeaten 118 in a thriller in Birmingham where England ended on the losing side. Despite a brief dip in the next two games, Root played a crucial role with a half-century in the remaining two Tests, helping England draw the series.

Travis Head (Australia)

The third contender for ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year on the list, Travis Head had a memorable 2023 across all formats.

In Tests, Head’s performance was exceptional, with only two players surpassing his run tally of 919 in 12 matches throughout the year.

The year began with a half-century against South Africa at home. However, it was his remarkable showing in the Border-Gavaskar series in India that garnered praise for navigating challenging conditions.

Head’s standout moment came on the grand stage during the World Test Championship Final at The Oval, where he rescued Australia from a precarious situation with a counter-attacking 163 in the first innings that blew India away.

Continuing his fine form in the subsequent Ashes series, Head contributed with half-centuries in each of the first three matches and played crucial innings to assist Australia in retaining the urn.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

Lending balance to the ICC Test Team of the Year with his brilliant left-arm spin and handy batting is Ravindra Jadeja.

Jadeja kicked off the year in spectacular fashion, delivering a standout performance against Australia in Nagpur with a five-wicket haul and a half-century. He followed up with an even more impressive showing in the next game, securing a 10-wicket match haul, including a seven-for in the second innings, instrumental in India retaining the trophy.

Continuing his fine form, he claimed five more wickets in the series and carried the momentum into the World Test Championship Final against Australia, where he contributed with four wickets and a valuable 48 with the bat, despite India ultimately facing defeat.

Jadeja began the new iteration of the World Test Championship in the same vein, scalping seven wickets and scoring a fifty against West Indies in the two-match series away from home.

Alex Carey (wk) (Australia)

No wicket-keeper had more dismissals than Alex Carey in 2023. With 54 dismissals (44 catches and 10 stumpings) in 12 matches, Carey was head and shoulders above the rest, with the next keeper on the list – West Indies’ Joshua Da Silva – registering only 31 dismissals.

While Carey had a forgettable start with the bat earlier in the year, he demonstrated his mettle when it mattered most – during the World Test Championship Final against India. He gave some much-needed impetus in both innings, scoring 44 off 68 in the first and an unbeaten 66 in the second that took the game away from India.

He followed it up with another fifty against England in the first Ashes Test and finished the year on a high with a fifty against Pakistan.

Pat Cummins (c) (Australia)

Anything that Pat Cummins touched turned into gold in 2023. As a result, he finds himself captaining the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year to go with the nomination for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year.

His impressive achievements as captain included leading Australia to victory in the World Test Championship and successfully retaining the Ashes in the same year. Cummins was also unstoppable with the ball, topping the wicket-takers charts for pacers with 42 wickets in 11 matches.

Cummins bagged four wickets in the New Year Test against South Africa. Despite facing challenges in India, where he secured only four wickets in two Border-Gavaskar Tests, he made a resounding comeback in the final, claiming a crucial four-wicket haul in the second innings.

The confidence of the win carried over to the Ashes, where Cummins bagged a brilliant six-for in Leeds while leading Australia to the urn.

Cummins capped off the brilliant year with a five-wicket haul in each innings in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

Ravichandran Ashwin is the fourth nominee for ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year to be a part of the Test team of the year.

Ashwin was the leading wicket-taker for India in the Border-Gavaskar series, finishing with 25 wickets in four matches. In the very first Test, Ashwin bagged a five-for in the second innings to go with handy contributions with the bat in each innings.

His all-round showing fetched him the Player of the Series. Despite the stellar showing, Ashwin did not find a place in India’s XI for the WTC23 Final against the same opponent but made a mark on his comeback into the Test team with 12 wickets (5/60 and 7/71) in the first game against West Indies followed by fifty and three wickets in the next game.

Mitchell Starc (Australia)

Adding left-arm variety to the pace attack of the Team of the Year is Mitchell Starc, who secured an impressive 38 wickets in nine matches during 2023.

Starc had a relatively quieter performance in the Border-Gavaskar series, claiming only two wickets in two games but was a thorn in the side of India in the WTC23 Final both with the bat and ball.

The left-arm pacer took four wickets and also scored a crucial 41 in the second innings in Australia’s win in the finale.

Starc consistently made significant contributions in the Ashes, which included a five-for in Leeds and a four-wicket haul in each innings at the Oval. He led the charts in the series with 25 wickets in total and took home the Player of the Series.

The year concluded on a high note for Starc as he secured nine wickets in two Tests against Pakistan.

Stuart Broad (England)

In his final year as a cricketer, Stuart Broad demonstrated that he was still at his lethal best, earning a well-deserved place in the Test Team of the Year.

Broad commenced 2023 impressively with a four-wicket haul in each match against New Zealand, finishing as the joint-highest wicket-taker (10) for England alongside long-time bowling partner James Anderson.

After a five-for against Ireland, Broad showcased his prowess against Australia yet again and was the highest-wicket taker for England (22 wickets)

The conclusion of Broad’s career was nothing short of a fairytale, as he played a pivotal role in England’s thrilling series draw against Australia.

He capped off by picking up the final wicket, securing the win for England in a closely contested match and providing a fitting end to his remarkable cricketing career.