Kevin Pietersen (c) – 9 ODI tons and an average of 41. Capable of something very special, on the biggest occasions, and against the very best. A frankly mind-boggling omission.
Jonathan Trott – Who else in the world averages in excess of 50 with the bat in ODI cricket, was available to play, and was left out of their national team squad? When England were trying to build their ‘platform’ stuff around Cook (average mid 30s), I do wonder if selection meetings ever had that awkward moment where Trott’s identical strike rate but massively superior average was ever brought up.
Usman Khawaja – Although Khawaja seems to only ever get picked when he’s in rotten form but Australia are desperate, he probably deserved to play some ODI cricket ahead of some of his rivals recently (Henriques?). Khawaja averaged nearly 75 in Australia’s List A tournament this winter and topped the runs scored list with 523 in just 7 innings. Who said I never do any research for this blog?
Ryan ten Doeschate – the Dutch/Saffer biffer has an ODI batting average of 67 in 30 matches, and his knocks aren’t just minnow bashing – they include a ton against England and a half century against South Africa.
Samit Patel – No wrong’un XI is complete without a mention of Samit Patel. It is a non-negotiable slot, so accept it. He smacks it, nurdles it, tweaks it, and quite apart from all that, he is the opposite of Joe Root. Perfect.
Yuvraj Singh – I can see why he has been left out, as Yuvraj has a pretty mediocre record in Oceania overall, however the man has 13 ODI centuries to his name and is only 33. He bowls a bit, once smashed 6 sixes in an over off Stuart Broad, and also reminds me a little bit of Samit Patel – which is something I’m sure he’d be delighted to hear.
Sam Billings – Usually when I’m struggling for a player in an XI, I will turn to the County game. Billings isn’t quite that desperate a shout, as his 58 ball 135 against Somerset suggests some serious talent and hitting power down the order. He gets in ahead of the unfortunate Wesley Barresi of the Netherlands, who will no doubt be gutted.
Dwayne Bravo – he’s a handy ‘death’ bowler, who can hold a bat, if not swing it particularly successfully – although he has scored an ODI ton against both England and New Zealand. I’m principally picking this guy on IPL experience, and to bowl overs 48 and 50.
Ryan Harris – Rhino has an ODI bowling average of 18.90, roughly half that of Pat Cummins. Australia’s thought process is that they want to keep him for Test cricket, but on the 50 over format’s biggest stage, I know who I would rather have in my side as a captain.
Sunil Narine – Dry up the middle overs with this West Indian man of mystery. His economy rate of 4.10, given the era in which he is playing, is remarkable. He might have picked a good tournament to skip, given the West Indies many issues.
Saeed Ajmal – The number one rated ODI bowler in the world, and a good man to ‘chuck’ a ball to. I’m rushing this article because it is surely just a matter of time before a Pakistani player treads on a ball and Ajmal is conveniently on hand to take his place.
(with apologies sent, but not limited, to: Shiv Chanderpaul, Ben Stokes, Ajantha Mendis)