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Dream Team

What will the world's best Test XI look like ten years from now?

We pick 11 under-25s who we think are destined for great things

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
20-May-2021
In ten years, when Kane Williamson has retired to become a surfer, Steve Smith a folk singer, and Virat Kohli the star of an eight-season documentary on his life, who are the players who might be bossing Test cricket?
That was the brief given to our panelists - Raunak Kapoor, Alan Gardner, and Danyal Rasool - as they looked to select a Dream Test Team circa 2031. The only criterion? The players should all be under 25 as of May 20, 2021.
The openers debate
The list of prospects is long but only two spots are available. India have Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw. New Zealand have Test-squad breakout Rachin Ravindra and future superstar Finn Allen. In county cricket, James Bracey has been making heads turn and Haseeb Hameed has found his hands after a few poor seasons. And down under there's young Will Pucovski, who has already been heralded as the next great Aussie Test sensation. Which two make the cut?
A middle order to envy
In first-class cricket, England's Ollie Pope averages over 52 and Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka nearly 65. Zak Crawley has a Test best of 257. Sam Curran was Player of the Series in his debut Test outing against India. Washington Sundar has shown how to get on top of Australia's fast bowlers. Rishabh Pant is a superstar already. Then there's Australia's Cameron Green and South African Raynard van Tonder to consider. Eight great options, a few of them allrounders - which five make the XI?
The fast-bowling superstars
While the names of Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, Bangladesh's Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Sri Lanka's Lasith Embuldeniya were thrown in the ring for the spinner's spot, our panelists perked up when it came time to discuss the fast-bowling stars of the future. With Green, Curran and Wiaan Mulder in the mix, who will the out-and-out quicks in this XI be? Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi was a unanimous choice, but can his countryman Naseem Shah maintain his pace as the years roll on? Then there's South Africa's Gerald Coetzee, one of the players expected to dominate the next decade and Zimbabwe's line-and-length specialist Blessing Muzarabani. Eventually the panel went for a mix of speed and accuracy to close out what looks like a devastating XI for the future.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo