India’s white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma and premier off-spinner R Aswhin were among four players from the country to have featured in the Cricket Australia (CA) XI of the year.
Rohit has been picked as an opener alongside Sri Lankan Dimuth Karunaratne, followed by Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne at number three.
He is followed by England Test captain Joe Root, Pakistan’s Fawad Alam and Pant in the batting order. Having dominated white-ball cricket and his home conditions for years, Rohit conquered his final frontier this year by showing he can score big Test runs outside of Asia.
And a strong 2021 that saw him finish behind only Root for most runs could have been even better if the classy right-hander had translated multiple strong starts into big hundreds.
Rohit reached 20 or more in 14 of his 19 completed innings but posted two centuries 161 in a total of 329 to set up a win in Chennai and a patient 127 at The Oval, his maiden Test hundred away from home.
Pant was named as the wicketkeeper. His numbers would look considerably better if he’d been able to turn scores of 97 (in Sydney), 89 not out (in Brisbane) and 91 (in Chennai) into hundreds.
The way he dismantled Australia and England at the start of the year earned him comparisons with the great Adam Gilchrist, CA wrote.
The spin department features the Indian duo of Ashwin and Axar. While Ashwin was also the highest wicket-taker in Tests this year, Axar has cemented his spot in the team at home with a spectacular show against England. While Ashwin claimed 54 wickets in 9 matches this year, Axar ended up with 27 in 5.
Labuschagne was the lone player from the Australian national side who was included in the list.
Cricket Australia Test XI of 2021: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root, Fawad Alam, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Axar Patel, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi.