The ICC elected its world ODI-team; and in doing so they basically ignored their official rankings. The ICC made it blatantly clear that they distrust their own ranking system and that in their ODI-team they prefer players from the sub continent (seven off the eleven).
The ICC gladly ignored 3 of the 5 top ranked ODI-batters who all happens to come from the west.
Amongst those who are not considered to be good enough for the ICC is the enigmatic and brilliant Hashim Amla….!!
Rather to include Amla and AB de Villiers the ICC chose mediocre and tentative players like Gautum Gambhir and Shahid Afridi.
In the process the ICC selectors, probably an entire subcontinent delegation, picked a team that might excel on the Subcontinent and will definitely fall apart in the West. The selectors, clearly driven by an anxiety to push as many Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani players in the world ODI-team as possible, discarded batters with abilities in the West and on the Subcontinent.
The thinking behind the ICC ODI-team is rigidly based on batting positions and to make matters worse they picked players on reputation and not form; hence the presence of Gambhir, Afridi and Lasith Malinga.
This is their team: Gautum Gambhir (India), Alastair Cook (England), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Virat Kohli (India), Mahindra Singh Dhoni (India, wicketkeeper/captain), Michael Clarke (Australia), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Morne Morkel (South Africa), Steven Finn (England), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) and Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan). The twelfth man is Shane Watson from Australia.
Compare their team to their rankings:
Batting: Amla (1), Kohli (2), AB De Villiers (3), Sangakkara (4), Trott (5), Dhoni (6), Clarke (7), Cook (8) and Gambhir (9).
Bowling: Ajmal (1), Mohammad Hafeez (2), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (3), R Ashwin (4), Morne Morkel (5), ST Finn (6), Graeme Swann (7), Shakib Al Hassan (8), KD Mills (9) and DW Steyn (10).
All-rounder: Al Hassan, Hafeez, SR Watson, Afridi and Jacques Kallis.
Writing about Gary Kirsten’s approach to the batting order Neil Manthorp said “I get the feeling that Kirsten would abolish the concept of the batting order, if he could. In fact, why can’t he? The only reason teams are listed in batting order these days is to help the television graphics people. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be listed in alphabetical order.”
By and large I agree but as the ICC I believe the opening pair should be specialist.
However, Cook (rated 8) and Gambhir (9) is not better equipped as openers than Amla (1), Sangakkara (3), Trott (5) and Chris Gayle; the one player I will include purely because he is an ODI-phenomena. As far as Hashim goes, and the ICC might not know this, but he became a specialist ODI-opener in the Protea-team.
Based on abilities and in recognition of their brilliance Amla and Gayle should open; followed (as the rankings indicate) by Sangakkara (4), De Villiers (3), Kohli (2), Clarke (7) and Dhoni (6).
Number eight in the team should be the best all-rounder and the two names that spring to mind is Afridi and Al Hassan. Afridi is rated as follows: batting 44, bowling 19 and all-rounder 4. Al Hassan is rated 11 & 8 & 1. A no-brainer one would think; but the ICC disagree and prefer Afridi.
With Shakib and Gayle offering bowling options I will go with one specialist spinner, Ajmal; and three quicks: Morkel (5), Finn (6) and Tsotsobe (3). Twelfth man: Jonathan Trott.
Yes, I would love to have Ravichandran Ashwin, Jacques Kallis, and Lasith Malinga in the team but based on the ICC ranking they do not deserve it at this moment.