Home > Cricket > ICC World Cup 2011 Team of the Tournament

ICC World Cup 2011 Team of the Tournament

It seems like an eternity since cricket’s showpiece event started back on February 19th, but yesterday Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s six brought down the curtain on the tournament and sparked scenes of wild celebration in Mumbai as India became the first team to win the World Cup on home soil. The six week long competition had some spectacular highs: Kevin O’Brien’s sensational century against England, Ross Taylor’s heroics in the last five overs against Pakistan, Kemar Roach’s hat-trick and Sachin Tendulkar’s 99th international 100 to name but a few. It also had its fair share of lows with Canada and Kenya looking completely out of their depth, angry Bangladeshi fans attacking (mistakenly) the West Indies’ team bus and a controversial coin toss in the final, but one thing that is not in question is the quality of the cricket we have been treated to in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. Sport Report has picked its team of the tournament. Do you agree with our selection?

Opening Batsman: Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Dilshan cemented his reputation as one of the leading batsmen in limited overs cricket. He finished as the World Cup’s leading run scorer with 500 runs, including two centuries. He hit the competition’s third highest individual score when he amassed 144 against Zimbabwe and his unbeaten century against England in the quarter-final oozed class. Dilshan also contributed with the ball taking eight wickets at a very economical 4.06 runs per over (RPO), including a superb caught and bowled in the final to dismiss Virat Kohli. He added six catches for good measure as he showed he is a supreme all-round cricketer.

Opening Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar (India)

The Little Master now has the medal he has been waiting nearly 20 years for, owing in no small part to his own efforts with the bat. He did not manage the fairytale ending of his 100th 100 in his hometown of Mumbai in the final, but he did finish as the tournament’s second highest run scorer with 482 at an average of 53.55. Furthermore he scored them quickly as his strike rate of 90.2 testifies. May have failed with the bat in the final (although his straight drive for four was the shot of the match), but he delivered in other pressure situations. He hit an imperious century against England in Bangalore and hit a lucky but very important 85 in the semi-final against Pakistan. Fully deserves his winner’s medal.

Number Three Batsman: Jonathan Trott (England)

England were a model of inconsistency in this World Cup, losing to the likes of Ireland and Bangladesh, but defeating South Africa and drawing with India. Trott went against the grain and was consistently solid with the bat as he scored five half centuries in seven innings.  He is not the most dynamic batsman in world cricket but his strike rate of 80.84 is perfectly acceptable, especially given he was often asked to come in, steady the ship and look to bat through. He failed to score a century but only three players exceeded Trott’s World Cup total of 422 runs.

Number Four Batsman and Wicket Keeper: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

Simply put, Sangakkara is currently one of the sport’s elite performers. He scores runs, captains the side brilliantly and somehow manages to keep wicket at the same time. He did all of these things during the tournament as he picked up a runner’s up medal for the second World Cup in a row. He will be disappointed he did not score more in the final as he edged a delivery he would despatch for a boundary 99 times out of 100, giving Mahendra Singh Dhoni an easy catch. However, he finished the World Cup behind only Dilshan and Tendulkar with 465 runs and with the tournament’s best average (93.3). He captained his side with great imagination, particularly with regards to bowling changes and his work behind the stumps was also top drawer as he took ten catches and made four stumpings.

Number Five Batsman: AB de Villiers (South Africa)

South Africa once again underachieved in a major ICC tournament thanks to an astonishing collapse in the quarter-final against New Zealand, but the same cannot be said of AB de Villiers. The 27 year-old is quite possibly the best cricketer in the world at the moment and he lived up to this billing despite carrying injuries which meant he did not keep wicket as planned. AB hit two centuries and one 50 as he racked up 353 runs in five innings at a fantastic average of 88.25. He also scored them in double quick time with a phenomenal strike rate of 108.28. de Villiers showed why he is regarded by many as the best fielder in the world but was unfortunately not able to help South Africa shake the tag of chokers.

All-Rounder: Yuvraj Singh (India)

Many questioned Yuvraj’s inclusion in the squad before the tournament due to his recent struggle for form and fitness. A little over six weeks later, the man from Chandigarh is the toast of India. Yuvraj was named as the official Player of the Tournament and few can argue with the decision. Yuvi scored 362 runs in eight innings at an average of 90.5 and saw India home along with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in yesterday’s final. As if this were not enough, he also finished as the tournament’s fifth highest wicket taker with 15 wickets, including the crucial scalp of Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara in the final. He received four Man of the Match awards during the World Cup and is an automatic choice in this team.

All-Rounder: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

‘Boom Boom’ did not deliver with the bat but was exceptional with the ball as he finished with 21 wickets to put him joint top of the wicket takers list, including a best of 5/16. Not only was he a threat in terms of taking wickets, but he also put the brakes on opposition attacks with a miserly economy rate of 3.62. Afridi was excellent in the field with five catches and one run out and proved he is a shrewd choice as Pakistan captain as he has united a side notorious for infighting and off-field drama.

Bowler: Umar Gul (Pakistan)

In the absence of the suspended Mohammed Aamer and Mohammed Asif, the job of Pakistan’s premier seam bowler has fallen on the broad shoulders of Umar Gul and he has not disappointed. He had a nightmare semi-final as Virender Sehwag smashed him to all parts of the Punjab but that should not overshadow an otherwise successful World Cup in which Gul took 14 wickets at an economy rate of 4.49 to provide Shahid Afridi with excellent support.

Bowler: Zaheer Khan (India)

Zaheer was a major factor in India’s World Cup victory as he took 21 wickets to tie Shahid Afridi for the tournament’s leading wicket taker. Zaheer performed well throughout the competition and was economical at 4.83 an over. He bowled three consecutive maiden overs in the final which helped him dismiss Upul Tharanga for just two. Bowling is not India’s strong suit but in Zaheer they undoubtedly have one of the world’s elite seam bowlers.

Bowler: Tim Southee (New Zealand)

New Zealand were the surprise package of this World Cup, reaching the semi-final where they were finally seen off by Dilshan, Sangakkara and co. Southee was one of the Kiwis’ leading lights and took 3/57 in the semi-final as New Zealand tried to defend a low total of 217. He finished the tournament with a highly impressive 18 wickets (3rd highest) at a solid economy rate of 4.31. Southee is only 22 years old and so it seems New Zealand have a star of the future in their ranks.

Bowler: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

Malinga’s ability to rip through attacks in limited overs cricket has been well-documented for a long time and he did not disappoint as he reached a second final in succession. He missed the first two games and carried injuries throughout the tournament, but that did not stop Sri Lanka’s strike bowler having a World Cup to remember. Malinga bowled his trademark yorkers and took 13 wickets, including those of key Indian batsmen Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar in the final. Will be 31 by the time the next World Cup comes around and has already stated that he will not play. Let’s hope he changes his mind.

Categories: Cricket
  1. miles
    April 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I can’t wait to see Tahir in tests. Morne and Steyn opening, maybe Parnell with some left arm seam, and then Tahir.

    Also, Jacques has 270 test wickets so he has some incentive to pick up two or so a match.

  2. harpie
    April 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I agree with the vast majority of that team, except I wouldn’t put Umar in based on that semi-final performance.
    I would have had another spinner in there instead. I think Murali and Peterson did very well, but my choice would be Imran Tahir. He only played 5 matches (due to injury), took 14 wickets (same as Gul) at a lower economy. Let us not forget that this World Cup is also the first time he has played an ODI. I think South Africa might have a gem on their hands…

    • April 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      I’ll have to fess up here, Tahir escaped my mind completely. He was a real revelation wasn’t he? I don’t think anybody thought he’d have such a massive impact. He took wickets and, as you say Harp, was economical. On further reflection, I think he deserves inclusion at the expense of Gul.

  3. April 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Miles. Thanks for taking the time to comment, always appreciated. I see where you are coming from here and I did have a think about an extra spinner instead of Gul. The issue is, I didn’t think anybody really stood out. Swann was quite ordinary and Harbhajan struggled for wickets. You can certainly make a case for Murali and Mendis was good when he played (I thought it was a very odd decision to leave him out yesterday). If Saeed Ajmal had played more of Pakistan’s games, I’m sure he would have been in with a shout.

  4. miles
    April 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I think one of Southee and Gul could go, either to make place for an extra batsman at 7 with Afridi to come at 8 or for a specialist spinner (Swann)? Dilshan and Yuvi can definitely get through 10 between them if you go the extra batsman route.

  5. Anonymous
    April 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Maybe an extra batsman/all rounder at 7 with Afridi at 8? I don’t know that Afridi is a good enough 7 in current form. Dilshan and Yuvraj can definitely get through 10 between them. I think one of Southee and Gul could go as they aren’t too dissimilar. Alternatively, an extra spinner (Swann?) could take the Gul/Southee place.

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