Imran Tahir walked into this XI, while it seemed sacrilegious to select Sachin Tendulkar, and there was more than enough room for Eoin Morgan.
<b>1. Adrian Barath</b><br><i>6 matches, 11 inns, 179 runs @ 16.27, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>The diminutive West Indian had little clue against Australia and England, and was always going to be the one to lose his place upon Chris Gayle's return to the Test XI.
<b>2. Tharanga Paranavitana</b><br><i>5 matches, 10 inns, 249 runs @ 27.66, 0x100, 1×50</i><br>Arguably Test match cricket's most dogged opener, Paranavitana hardly converted determined starts into telling proportions, and rightly lost his place to the more promising Dimuth Karunaratne come the series in Australia.
<b>3. Taufeeq Umar</b><br><i>6 matches, 12 inns, 246 runs @ 24.60, 0x100, 2×50</i><br>Pakistan whitewashed England despite Umar's poor stretch of form, which brought him a mere 23 runs in five innings after a half-century in the series opener. He later, to a marginal degree, rectified an otherwise dour 2012 record against Sri Lanka.
<b>4. Shaun Marsh</b><br><i>3 matches, 14 inns, 14 runs @ 3.50, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>A permanent berth in Australia's middle-order was ripe for the picking, particularly after a century on debut in 2011. Instead, Marsh squandered a rare opportunity, returning to some disciplinary issues alongside his brother Mitchell at domestic level too.
<b>5. Sachin Tendulkar</b><br><i>9 matches, 15 inns, 357 runs @ 23.80, 0x100, 2×50</i><br>It seems almost sacrilegious placing the legendary Tendulkar among this awkward bunch, but this really was a ridiculously poor year for the record-breaking Indian. He jumped before he was pushed by announcing his retirement from ODI cricket in December, and the same will soon be needed at Test level.
<b>6. Eoin Morgan</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 82 runs @ 13.66, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>Questions surrounding England's coveted were in part answered by Morgan's lean run in the United Arab Emirates, leaving him surplus to Test match requirements for the remainder of the year. Regardless, he remain's the nation's kingpin in limited-overs competition.
<b>7. Darren Sammy (captain)</b><br><i>10 matches, 17 wkts @ 49.11, BB: 3/74, 15 inns, 456 runs @ 32.57</i><br>Probably the harshest selection in this hypothetical XI, Sammy remains a veritable non-entity despite his exploits as captain. Neither here nor there as a bowling or batting all-rounder, his ability to command a place in the Windies lineup seems based purely on his leadership capability.
<b>8. Kruger van Wyk (wicketkeeper)</b><br><i>9 matches, 17 inns, 341 runs @ 21.31, 1×100, 1×50, 23xct, 1xst</i><br>Having patiently served the qualification period, the South African-born van Wyk failed to impress for his adapted New Zealand, who soon enough moved onto the more sound services of BJ Watling.
<b>9. Doug Bracewell</b><br><i>10 matches, 26 wkts @ 37.38, BB: 3/26</i><br>It says a lot about the state of New Zealand cricket that their Test Player of the Year features in our worst XI. Tasked to lead the attack amid the sporadic contributions of Tim Southee and Chris Martin, Bracewell was rather one-dimensional throughout.
<b>10. Zaheer Khan</b><br><i>8 matches, 15 wkts @ 49.26, BB: 3/82</i><br>India persisted too long with their veteran seamer, who consistently failed to repay their faith. A liability in the field, too, the 34-year-old must soon consider retirement, but for now is on a hiatus of sorts until February's series against Australia.
<b>11. Imran Tahir</b><br><i>7 matches, 17 wkts @ 55.88, BB: 3/63</i><br>Margin for error is massive in the art of leg-spin, and the Pakistan-born Tahir coughed up mistakes aplenty this year. Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten were patient with their prized, albeit waning, possession in England – but had to look elsewhere in Australia.
Jofra Archer and Matthew Wade left their Ashes rivalry on the pitch as they were spotted chatting and laughing in the post-series drinks.
Justin Langer has expressed doubt about David Warner’s ability to rediscover top form after he was terrorised by Stuart Broad in The Ashes
As cricket fans we’ve been bombarded by averages, over rates and bowling speeds this summer. Here are some of the lesser talked of numbers..
Joe Root knows England have “something special” in Jofra Archer but says England must manage their expectations of their star man
The Ridiculous Ashes final result is in, featuring a Mitchell Marsh five-fer and Jonny Bairstow’s shithousery
Australia captain Tim Paine was happy to share a beer with England’s players after a fiercely-contested Ashes series ended level at 2-2.
Outgoing England coach Trevor Bayliss admits taking charge of Australia would tempt him back into international cricket
We suspect both England and Australia got what they really came for this summer.
Calls for a super over to decide the Ashes have sadly been ignored.
A truly remarkable summer for English cricket concluded at the Oval.