Cricket365's Team of the Month – September

Michael Clarke leads a pack lined with Aussies and void of Englishmen, while Pakistan enjoy a find in Aizaz Cheema and Tino Mawoyo represents the minnows.

<B>1. Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Alastair Cook (England)</I><BR>Snubbed for the ODI Player of the Year award and set to miss out on Pakistan's premier domestic Twenty20 competition as he undergoes an operation to have a cyst removed, Hafeez can take solace in the fact that he was head and shoulders above the rest this month. Zimbabwe had no answer to his expertise at the helm of the batting order and very handy left-arm spin.

<B>2. Tino Mawoyo (Zimbabwe)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Vusi Sibanda (Zimbabwe)</I><BR>Hamilton Masakadza did it against Bangladesh and Mawoyo went one better by bagging a ton against somewhat tougher opposition. Tending to the Pakistan attack with remarkable composure and zeal, the right-hander revealed a long-term answer to the nation's need for a full-time opening partner for Vusi Sibanda.

<B>3. Shaun Marsh (Australia)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)</I><BR>With father Geoff hanging on in hope that his son would fetch a ton on Test debut, Shaun duly delivered to join Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Greg Blewett, Mark Waugh and a host of illustrious names to have achieved the feat. He followed that up with another big one against Sri Lanka, but not quite enough to set what would have proved an unprecedented two maiden tons on the trot.

<B>4. Younis Khan (Pakistan)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)</I><BR>Younis waxed lyrical about how the veterans would have to perform well in the hope that the youngsters would follow suit in Zimbabwe. Walking the talk, the former captain led by example through a series of commendable knocks through the Test and ODIs. With stiffer competition on the cards – Sri Lanka in the UAE – Pakistan will need him to keep going strong.

<B>5. Michael Clarke (Australia, captain)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)</I><BR>The lone survivor from our Team of the Month in August, the Australian captain picked up on his form in the one-dayers against Sri Lanka to steer his side to triumph across the Tests. In the process, he shrugged the proverbial monkey off his back by landing his first Test ton in more than two years.

<B>6. Michael Hussey (Australia)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Ravi Bopara (England)</I><BR>Man of the Match three times over in the Tests against Sri Lanka and, understandably, Player of the Series, there's hardly any stopping the regular centurion of late. And now he is at it again, making the switch from five-day competition to Twenty20 cricket with remarkable ease as his cameos at the top of Chennai's knock fuel their title defence.

<B>7. Mahendra Dhoni (India, wicketkeeper)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka)</I><BR>A familiar tale dogged the Indian captain throughout September, with the swashbuckling right-hander left to pick up the pieces time and time again after his top through middle-order had let their team down. His wicketkeeping, meanwhile, continues to take strain, as witnessed by a couple of big blunders in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20.

<B>8. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Graeme Swann (England)</I><BR>As was the case with Ryan Harris, injury afforded Herath just two Tests against Australia. Ajantha Mendis' injury left Sri Lanka in need of someone to step up in his absence and the veteran left-armer was the man for the occasion. 16 victims, including seven of 'em in one innings, will certainly have him ahead of Suraj Randiv in the pecking order for a while.

<B>9. Aizaz Cheema (Pakistan)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka)</I><BR>Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and Tanvir Ahmed – all rested from the series in Zimbabwe – will enjoy some newfound support in the future. While Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan endured so-so performances, Cheema – a later starter at 32 years old – surely sealed his spot in Pakistan's plans for the foreseeable future with a string of solid hauls against Brendan Taylor's men.

<B>10. Ryan Harris (Australia)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Peter Siddle (Australia)</I><BR>With Doug Bollinger out of favour, the equally-animated Harris came to the party for his nation at every turn. Having romped through the Sri Lankan order in the first two Tests, the beefy right-armer looked a dead certainty to top Australia's wicket-taking ranks at the end of the Test series – and ultimately did with 11 scalps, even if injury did rule him out of the final match.

<B>11. Trent Copeland (Australia)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Ravi Rampaul (Trinidad and Tobago)</I><BR>Although sporting a mere six wickets for his maiden Test series, Copeland truly was the workhorse behind Australia's attack. He delivered the most overs – a whopping 108 – of any of the seamers on display across largely harsh bowling conditions and, with metronomic line and length, offered the Aussies an answer to life after Glenn McGrath.

<B>Jonhenry Wilson</B>