Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg, in a YouTube video on Saturday, named his ‘Current Test XI’ and included four Indians, but astonishingly excluded Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Hogg’s XI features Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma as openers, while Steve Smith and Babar Azam also feature in the side.
A charismatic persona who belonged to a rare breed in cricket, Brad Hogg was a part of Australia’s World Cup-winning sides in both 2003 and 2007 and continued to play professional cricket till 2018, featuring for the Melbourne Renegades in the BBL at the age of 47. While he had an extremely successful career in coloured clothing, Hogg did not hit the same heights in Test cricket and finished his Test career with a bowling average of 54.88, something that even a part-timer would not be proud of.
However, having now become a renowned pundit who runs a YouTube channel, the 49-year-old, on Saturday, decided to have some fun and explore Test cricket - by picking what he felt was the ‘Current Best Test XI’.
While Hogg picking Mayank Agarwal, who averages close to 60 in Tests and has had a remarkable start to his career, is an obvious selection, the Australian’s choice for Agarwal’s partner, however, is surprising. Hogg opted for Rohit Sharma, who started opening the batting in Test cricket in India’s home summer in 2019, as Agarwal’s partner, despite the Mumbaikar having opened in just five Test matches in his career.
The left-arm wrist spinner’s middle-order comprises the impeccable trio of Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Babar Azam, all three of whom had remarkable years in Test cricket in 2019. There was no place in the XI, however, for Indian skipper Virat Kohli, and explaining his decision to leave out Kohli, Hogg stated that the 31-year-old’s inconsistency of late led to him missing the cut.
"Everyone will ask why is Virat Kohli not in this team?” he said. “But if you look at his last 15 Test innings, only four times he has gone over 31 [runs]. That’s why Virat Kohli is not my Test team this year," said Hogg, justifying his decision to leave Kohli out.
India’s Ajinkya Rahane, who surged back to form in 2019, and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock occupy to No.6 and No.7 positions, while Pat Cummins, Neil Wagner and Mohammed Shami construct the side’s pace attack. Nathan Lyon, the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket across the last two years, meanwhile, completes the XI, featuring as the lone specialist spinner in the side. Hogg interestingly named young Protea Quinton de Kock as the skipper of the side.
Brad Hogg’s current Test XI:
Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Ajinkya Rahane, Quinton De Kock (C/WK), Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami, Neil Wagner, Nathon Lyon
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