Some of the premier cricketers of the world put in stellar performances during the course of the inaugural World Test Championship. ESPNcricinfo collated votes from staff members to put together this, the team of the tournament.
Rohit Sharma
Tests: 12, Runs: 1094, Ave: 60.77
Best performance: 161 vs England, Chennai, 2021
Sharma's Test career was reignited by his move to the top of the order. In his first series as an opener, against South Africa at home in 2019, he scored 529 runs in four innings with two centuries and a double-century. On the tour of Australia in 2020-21, he chipped in with a handy second-innings 52 in Sydney. Then, in the home series against England, on pitches where most batters struggled, he scored a match-defining first-day 161 in the second Test, in Chennai, and got two more crucial scores in the remaining Tests to help India qualify for the WTC final.
Dimuth Karunaratne
Tests: 10, Runs: 999, Ave: 55.50
Best performance: 244 vs Bangladesh, Pallekele 2021
A relatively new captain when the WTC started, Karunaratne ended with four centuries, the first of which - 122 against New Zealand - led his side to a comfortable chase of 268. He was Sri Lanka's only centurion in an otherwise dismal tour of South Africa, which preceded a career-best 244 against Bangladesh in Pallekele.
Marnus Labuschagne
Tests: 13, Runs: 1675, Ave: 72.82
Best performance: 215 vs New Zealand, Sydney 2020
Labuschagne was not even a regular member of Australia's XI when the WTC cycle began, but got an opportunity when Steven Smith suffered a concussion at Lord's. By the end of the WTC cycle, he has not only sealed the No. 3 spot in Australia's XI but is also the leading run-scorer in the championship. Three Ashes fifties followed after knocks of 185, 162 and 143 in consecutive innings at home, and he got his maiden double-century against New Zealand in Sydney and was also the leading scorer in the home series against India, in which he got two fifties in Sydney and a ton at the Gabba.
Kane Williamson (c)
Tests: 10, Runs: 918, Ave: 61.20
Best performance: 251 vs West Indies, Hamilton 2020
After a quiet start to the WTC, Williamson came back with three centuries during New Zealand's 2020-21 home season. His 251 against West Indies in Hamilton came in an innings where no other New Zealand batter got to three figures, and his 238 in Christchurch against Pakistan helped New Zealand win by an innings. He also made crucial contributions of 49 and 52* in the low-scoring WTC final against India.
Steven Smith
Tests: 13, Runs: 1341, Ave: 63.85
Best performance: 211 vs England, Old Trafford 2019
After returning from his one-year ban, Smith began the WTC with a bang by hammering 774 runs in the Ashes in England. At Edgbaston, he scored centuries in both innings to set up a big win - his 144 in the first came as the innings disintegrated around him. He returned from a head injury he sustained at Lord's to score 211 in the first innings at Old Trafford and help Australia retain the Ashes. In the home series against India, he made 131 and 81 in the drawn encounter in Sydney.
Ben Stokes
Tests: 17, Runs: 1334, Ave: 56.00
Wickets: 34, Bowl Ave: 26.26
Best performance: 135* vs Australia, Headingley 2019
Fresh from his heroics in the 50-over World Cup final, Stokes single-handedly won England the Headingley Test in the 2019 Ashes, his 135* helping England hunt down 359 and script one of the great Test victories. He got two more centuries in the WTC: his 120 in Port Elizabeth helped England take a series lead in South Africa, and his 176 and 78* against West Indies at Old Trafford made him the player of the match. He also picked up 34 wickets in the WTC, including 4 for 49 against West Indies in Southampton and an impressive four-wicket haul in hot, spin-friendly conditions in Ahmedabad.
Rishabh Pant (wk)
Tests: 12, Runs: 707, Ave: 39.27
Best performance: 89* vs Australia, Brisbane 2021
Pant had lost his place in India's white-ball squads by the time of the 2020-21 tour of Australia, after a poor 2020 Indian Premier League campaign, and there were doubts over his place in the Test side. It all changed after the tour of Australia, when he cemented his place as India's No. 1 wicketkeeper-batter. His 97 in Sydney nearly gave India an improbable win, and then, at the Gabba, he completed a chase of 328 with an 89 not out to give India a historic series win. He carried that form back home, where he hit 91 and 101 against England as India came from behind to win the series 3-1.
R Ashwin
Tests: 14, Wickets: 71, Bowl Ave: 20.33
Best performance: 3 for 35 vs Australia, MCG, 2020
Ashwin finished the WTC as the leading wicket-taker, and though 52 of his 71 wickets came at home, perhaps his most impressive series was in Australia, where he took 12 wickets in three Tests. At the MCG, with India 0-1 down and bowling first, he dismissed Matthew Wade, Smith and Tim Paine as Australia were bowled out for 195. At home, he set the tone for India's 3-0 sweep of South Africa in 2019 with a seven-for in the second innings in Visakhapatnam and then ran through England repeatedly along with Axar Patel in the 2021 series. He also recovered some batting form with a battling 39 not out to save the Sydney Test and a century against England in Chennai.
Kyle Jamieson
Tests: 7, Wickets: 43, Bowl Ave: 12.53
Best performance: 5 for 31 vs India, Southampton 2021
Jamieson burst on to the scene in the home series against India in 2020, taking the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in his first spell in Test cricket. He got his first five-wicket haul in his second Test, against India in Christchurch, and his first ten-wicket match haul earlier this year against Pakistan at the same venue. To cap off an incredible start to Test cricket, he was named player of the match in the WTC final for his seven wickets.
Pat Cummins
Tests: 14, Wickets: 70, Average: 21.02
Best performance: 4 for 55 vs India, Brisbane 2021
Already on the shortlist of best Test bowlers in the world at the start of the cycle, Cummins confirmed his position as No. 1 by its end. He was the top wicket-taker in the 2019 Ashes, with 29 strikes in five Tests. At home, he was unstoppable, going wicketless in just two innings out of 18 and continuing to give maximum effort even when his fellow bowlers looked tired. He picked up four wickets in the second innings in Adelaide when India were bundled out for 36. Even as India stole a historic series win at the Gabba on that tour in 2020-21, he remained Australia's best threat, taking four of the seven wickets to fall and never letting up on pace or accuracy.
Tim Southee
Tests: 11, Wickets: 56, Average: 20.82
Best performance: 5 for 69 vs Australia, Perth 2019
Southee started the WTC with a crucial contribution in Colombo, his six wickets in the match helping New Zealand achieve their only away Test win of the cycle. He was the lone bright spot among New Zealand's bowlers in Australia in 2019-20 too, where he picked up 5 for 69 with the pink ball in Perth. He continued to deliver consistently as New Zealand won all six Tests at home starting from 2020, going past 300 Test wickets on the way. In the final, he swung the ball big against India and got four wickets in the second innings to set up a dramatic final-day win.