Australian captain Steve Smith.
Australian captain Steve Smith. DAVE HUNT

Smith laughably overlooked for Test Team of the Year

CRICKET: Steve Smith is the toast of the cricket world yet has been ordered to carry the drinks in the ICC's laughable Test Team of the Year.

The Australian captain is the No.1-ranked batsman in Test cricket but you wouldn't know it looking at a team of 2016 that includes Smith's axed teammate Adam Voges and a pair of underperforming Englishmen ahead of him in their annual awards announcement.

David Warner and Mitchell Starc were the only Australians selected in both the Test and ODI teams of the year, just reward for their world-class versatility.

But in the latest example of the ICC losing its grip on reality, Smith has been sensationally snubbed from the Test team despite scoring four centuries in his baggy green at a far superior average compared to England's Alastair Cook - the captain - and Joe Root, who both managed just two tons apiece.

Voges laid down enormous claim for selection given he also made four tons at a Bradman-like average of 90.58 - but it still beggars belief that a player dropped from Test cricket three matches ago could oust the best player in the world, and a captain who in 2016 led Australia to the No.1 Test ranking.

Usman Khawaja could also consider himself desperately unlucky to be ignored in a year when he also scored four tons at an incredible average of 69.81.

In a Test Team of the Year that completely ignores what value wickets and runs had in actual team performance, England has Cook, Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes all make it in a 12-month period where winning away to South Africa was about its only real achievement - although voting did close before their disastrous tour of India.

Cook was named skipper ahead of Smith even though there's speculation he may relinquish the England leadership before he gets to Australia for next year's Ashes.

It was a mixed year for Australia in Test cricket, but David Warner and Mitchell Starc were deserved selectees.

Warner smashed four hundreds at 56.66 and has continued to assert himself as the most formidable opening batsman in the world.

With three centuries to his name in the period, Warner was unlucky to lose out to South Africa's Adam Gilchrist clone Quinton de Kock for ODI player of the year - although Warner is opening the batting in the side.

Starc's standing as a global superstar has also been confirmed, after he was named to headline the fast bowling attack despite missing six months of the voting period with serious injury.

Starc, Warner and Mitchell Marsh all made the ODI team of the year, with Indian powerhouse Virat Kohli named captain.

In the women's award categories, the ICC must have missed that there was a World Twenty20 tournament in 2016.

Despite the West Indies' historic victory in a final also contested by Australia, it was New Zealander Suzie Bates who swept the pool.

Sydney Thunder star Stefanie Taylor from the Windies was the difference in her side winning its first women's world title, but Bates' victory indicates the award must be based on stats rather than landmark achievement.

In an ominous sign for Australia ahead of February's Test tour of the feared sub-continent, Indian superstar Ravi Ashwin cleaned up the main men's individual awards, taking out ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.

Taylor was also unlucky to miss out on the ICC Cricketer of the Year gong - which includes men and women - given the World Twenty20 was the only international tournament of note in 2016.


David Warner, Alastair Cook (capt), Kane Williamson, Joe Root, Adam Voges, Jonny Bairstow (keeper), Ben Stokes, Ravi Ashwin, Rangana Herath, Mitchell Starc, Dale Steyn, Steve Smith (12th man)


David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, Jos Buttler, Mitchell Marsh, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada, Sunil Narine.


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