In the year 2022, there was some exciting activity in the Test arena. Fans watched some amazing action on the cricket pitch as teams shown incredible courage and commitment. Whether it was Bangladesh’s first-ever triumph over New Zealand on their own field, Australia’s dramatic series win in Pakistan, or England’s ‘Bazball’ explosion that swept the globe, 2022 had it all.
Many players raised their hands in 2022 and provided the goods for their respective teams. However, there were few cricketers who were fantastic all year and regularly lit up the Test stage with their jaw-dropping performances.
Here is the finest 2022 Test XI.
Number 1. Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja has been a consistent performer for Australia in Tests. The 36-year-old has appeared in 55 matches and scored 3967 runs at a 45.59 average. In January 2022, he made a sensational return to the longest version of the game, blasting double centuries in the 4th Ashes Test in Sydney.
Khawaja has not looked back since his comeback, accumulating runs at the top of the order for Australia. In the previous calendar year, he scored 1080 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 67.50 and often gave Australia with excellent starts.
The southpaw’s spectacular run with the bat has relieved veteran player David Warner of the burden of doing the heavy lifting at the start of an innings. Khawaja has become an essential component of Australia’s batting lineup, and the team’s management would want to see the star hitter maintain his hot streak in the future.
Number 2. Kraigg Brathwaite
Kraigg Brathwaite has been an outstanding captain for the West Indies, leading them from the front in the game’s longest format. He has appeared in 81 games and scored 5089 runs at an average of 34.85. In the previous calendar year, the ace batter was just fantastic. In 2022, he appeared in seven games and scored 687 runs at a 62.45 average.
When the West Indies faced England in the second game of the three-match Test series at Bridgetown, Brathwaite hit a superb first-innings knock of 160 runs from 489 deliveries to put his side in a good position. Then, in the second innings, the leadoff hitter scored 56* runs off 184 balls to deny England victory.
Brathwaite also shown his talent in Australia. In the opening match of the series, he scored 64 runs off 166 deliveries in the first innings before hitting a century in the second. Last year, the West Indies captain carried the whole batting line-up on his shoulders, and the team management will be hoping that additional hitters would show up to assist the Barbados-born.
Number 3. Joe Root
In Test cricket, Joe Root has been a run machine for England. He has appeared in 127 matches and scored an incredible 10629 runs at an average of 49.43. Last year, the 32-year-old was just phenomenal, accumulating 1098 runs at an average of 45.75, including five hundreds.
Root brought his A-game to the second match of the three-match Test series against New Zealand, smashing a stunning century in the second innings while chasing 277. Despite losing wickets at the other end, he maintained his calm and guided England to victory.
Root was in top form in the postponed fifth Test against India, scoring 142* runs off 173 deliveries to help his side chase down 378 runs against a formidable Indian bowling attack. The former England captain hopes to build on his success in the coming years.
Number 4. Babar Azam
Babar Azam has been the anchor of Pakistan’s batting lineup in all forms. The 28-year-old has handled top-quality bowling assaults with ease and put up runs for pleasure in the longest format. He has played 46 Tests and scored 3645 runs at an average of 49.25.
In 2022, Babar was the highest run-getter of the year, scoring 1184 runs in nine matches at an average of 69.64, including four centuries. When his team was in difficulty, he withstood the storm and kept the innings together.
His performance in the second test against Australia in Karachi was notable. In the second innings, Pakistan’s captain batted for 196 runs off 425 deliveries, bringing the game to a close.
The star hitter will be keen to continue his hot streak and claim 2023 for himself.
Number 5. Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow’s standing in the Test arena has skyrocketed in the past year or two. The 33-year-old has embraced England’s daring style of cricket and has taken the wind out of top-tier bowling lineups. In 2022, he appeared in ten matches and scored 1061 runs at an average of 66.31.
The hosts were reeling at 55 for 6 in the first innings when England faced New Zealand in the last game of the three-match Test series in Leeds, but Bairstow played a counter-attacking knock of 162 runs off 157 balls to put his side in a good position. The star batsman then went into T20 mode in the second innings, hammering 71 runs off 44 balls to secure the game for his team.
Bairstow demonstrated his batting prowess once again in the fifth Test against India in Birmingham. In the first innings, he helped to steady the ship when England was in danger, scoring 106 runs off 235 balls. With his spectacular stroke play, he reduced a difficult mark of 378 into a cakewalk in the second innings, smashing 114* runs off 145 balls to lead his team over the line.
Number 6. Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes is now one of the best all-rounders in the world. He has won matches with both bat and ball and has often demonstrated his worth on the international stage. The 31-year-old has played 89 Test matches and scored 5602 runs at an average of 36.14. He has 193 wickets at an average of 31.99 in his bowling career.
In the previous calendar year, the Christchurch native shown his all-around ability. Stokes batted crucially and scored 870 runs in 15 matches at an average of 36.25. In addition, he excelled as the fifth bowler, taking 26 wickets for his team.
Aside from his all-round abilities, Stokes has shown exceptional leadership qualities and helped alter England’s fortunes in the longest version of the game. The Three Lions have once again become a force to be reckoned with, thanks to the flashy cricketer at the helm.
Number 7. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has been a game-changer for India with the bat in all forms. Test cricket has been his happy hunting ground, as he has attacked from the start, scoring 2271 runs in 33 games at an average of 43.67. In the previous calendar year, he was in excellent form, scoring 680 runs in seven games at an average of 61.81.
Pant was on fire in the last game of the three-game series against South Africa. In the second innings, he came to the crease with India down by 58 runs and the Proteas pace attack on fire. But he hammered a brilliant century to put India back in the game.
The wicketkeeper-batter then put on a show of his swashbuckling stroke play in the fifth Test against England, hammering 146 runs off 111 deliveries in the first innings.
Pant’s keeping abilities have improved with each game, and the Uttarakhand native is on his way to becoming a great wicket-keeper.
Number 8. Marco Jansen
Macro Jansen’s status has risen by leaps and bounds on the world circuit since his debut in South Africa. Throughout 2022, the tall and lanky pacer extracted bounce from even the most placid grounds and plagued top-tier batsmen. He has also contributed useful knocks when batting lower in the order.
In the year 2022, Jansen was phenomenal. He played eight Tests and took 36 wickets at a brilliant average of 19.02. Furthermore, the 22-year-old batted in 234 runs at an average of 21.27.
Jansen’s standout performance came in the last game of the three-match Test series against England, when he created havoc with the ball and took his maiden five-wicket haul in the game’s longest format.
Jansen, a left-arm pacer, has diversified the Proteas’ speed assault. And, as a result of his outstanding performances, the bowling all-rounder has established himself as an important component in South Africa’s Test setup.
Number 9. Kagiso Rabada
Since the retirement of the likes of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada has carried the Proteas bowling attack across formats and has been simply superb in his job. He has played in 57 Tests and taken 267 wickets at an average of 22.49.
Rabada was difficult to control in the previous year, taking 47 wickets in nine games at an average of 22.25. In need of wickets, the speedster was captain Dean Elgar’s go-to bowler, and he delivered on most occasions.
In the last game of the two-match Test series against New Zealand, the speedster was at his best. Rabada had a five-wicket haul in the first innings and then three wickets in the second. He also demonstrated his bat talents, hitting a crucial 47-run knock in the second innings. South Africa won by 198 runs, and Kagiso was named Player of the Match.
Number 10. Nathan Lyon
For more than a decade, Nathan Lyon has been Australia’s top spinner in the game’s longest format. The 35-year-old is renowned for strangling hitters with his pinpoint bowling and has made several game-winning contributions to his team. He played 114 Tests and took 458 wickets at an average of 31.53.
Lyon was on fire last season. With his superb bowling, he slowed the flow of runs while still providing opportune breakthroughs. In 2022, the astute spinner appeared in 11 Tests, taking 47 wickets at an average of 29.06.
Lyon worked his magic in the opening game of the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, taking five wickets in the first innings. He kept up his outstanding performance in the second innings, taking four wickets. The Aussies overcame the Lankan Lions on their own field, thanks to the exploits of the ace spinner.
Number 11. James Anderson
James Anderson is regarded as a cricketing giant. He is the most successful bowler in Tests ever, having taken 675 wickets in 177 matches at an average of 26.13.
Anderson is 40 years old, and most bowlers retire at that age, but the ‘King of Swing’ has showed no signs of slowing down. He continues to spearhead England’s pace assault and rattle opponents with his swing.
In 2022, he was his team’s wrecker-in-chief with the ball, destroying batting lineups for pleasure. He captured 36 wickets in nine Tests at a brilliant average of 19.80, including a stunning five-wicket haul in the first innings of the fifth (rescheduled) Test against India in Birmingham.
Anderson has been a match-winner with the ball and will once again hold the cards for England in The Ashes 2023 as Stokes and company attempt to reclaim the urn from Australia.