We've already selected our best Test XI of 2011, but perhaps this collection of cricketers who suffered an annus horribilis in the ultimate form of the game in 2011 should provoke much more hilarity:
Phil Hughes (404 runs at 26.93): Despite a hundred against Sri Lanka and an attractive 80 odd in Johannesburg, 2011 was a horrendous year for Australia’s erstwhile Test opener. His year went from bad to worse with the four out of four caught Guptill bowled Martin dismissals in the series with New Zealand likely to prove his international cricket epitaph. Some get sent to Switzerland when their condition is terminal, Hughes has been sent to Worcestershire instead to convalesce.
Gautam Gambhir (470 runs at 31.33): We could just as easily have picked Virender Sehwag who actually had a lower average than his opening partner in 2011 and only had a top Test score of 67, but that seemed to border on the sacrilegious so Gambhir it is. No Test hundreds and a year sprinkled with injury, injudicious shots, a growing tentativeness outside off-stump and a lack of weddings to attend. The ghastliness of his year was summed up when he suffered concussion when failing to catch Kevin Pietersen. In truth, Gambhir looked concussed most times he came to the crease in Tests in 2011.
Ramnaresh Sarwan (83 runs at 10.37): A traumatic year for the experienced Sarwan with a top score of 23 and just 83 runs from his eight visits to the crease preceding his inevitable axing. With tyros such as Darren Bravo and Kirk Edwards shining it seems unlikely that the cultured Sarwan will be sighted in the maroon West Indian cap again.
Mahela Jayawardene (517 runs at 24.61): It may have been the year of his 10,000th Test run and a sparkling century in the World Cup Final, but in terms of Test cricket it was an annus horribilis for the silky smooth Jayawardene with just one hundred in ten Tests mirroring his country’s slide down the rankings. Have the eyes gone?
Jesse Ryder (97 runs at 12.12): Three ducks and just 97 runs in eight innings meant that 2011 was a year when the larger than life Kiwi ate more pies, sunk more tinnies and wore more inches around his generous waist than he scored Test runs.
Suresh Raina (337 runs at 25.92): Rarely has an international cricketer looked more uncomfortable against the short ball than Raina did in England last summer. So much so that by the end of the series, England barely bothered celebrating his inevitably quick demise each time he strode to the wicket.
Brad Haddin (335 runs at 20.93): A year in which the iron-gloved keeper was for once better behind the stumps than he was in front of them – not that there was any discernible improvement in his shoddy keeping. With the bat there were several reckless and irresponsible dismissals none more so than in the ignominious 2nd innings collapses in Cape Town and Hobart. A nation prays that Tim Paine’s hands make the swiftest of recoveries.
Harbhajan Singh (20 wickets at 38.05): He may have been part of the World Cup winning side, but 2011 saw his decline as a Test match bowler accelerate until injury and the emergence of Ashwin consigned him to the sidelines. Having his car robbed in December just about summed up a dismal year for the supposed Turbanator.
Mitchell Johnson (13 wickets at 56.61): Johnson is not a figure of ridicule for nothing – just look at that bowling average, which is even worse when his strike rate in 2011 of a wicket every 92 deliveries is taken into account. Outbowled by an 18 year old debutant with just a handful of first-class appearances in Johannesburg, injury and the emergence of James Pattinson, the aforementioned Patrick Cummins and a rejuvenated Ben Hilfenhaus means that Johnson should have plenty of time to rest that injured foot.
Sreesanth (13 wickets at 52.76): Speaking of figures of ridicule, Sreesanth was the least impressive of an impotent Indian bowling line-up in England over the summer. Doesn’t take many wickets, leaks runs at over four runs an over and seems to have lost any semblance of pace. Likely to join his best pal Harbhajan on the sidelines for some time and perhaps forever.
Kemar Roach (7 wickets at 55.14): If you thought Johnson’s strike rate of 92 was bad try Roach’s performance of a wicket every 99 deliveries in 2011. Whilst there’s no doubting his talent, the suggestions of some that he should replace captain Darren Sammy in the West Indian Test XI seem at best misplaced and at worst downright foolish.
Finally, a special mention to our 12th man - RP Singh who was called up from the beach to replace the injured Zaheer Khan in England and subsequently looked a shadow (albeit twice the side and half the speed) of the bowler who performed so well four years earlier when he played in the final match of the series at The Oval and took 0/134.
Check out some of our other Cricket XIs: They also played cricket, Rugger Buggers, Cricketing Criminals , A team of cricketers that died young, The Worst Australia Ashes XI of the last 30 years, The Worst England Ashes XI of the last 30 years
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