Sydney: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been selected to lead the team of the year for his fighting and match winning strategies. The other Indian to make it to the team is opener Gautam Gambhir, who scored heavily in 2008.
Gambhir and Graeme Smith will open the innings. Gambhir scored three 100s and averaged 70 in eight Test matches against strong opponents. After scoring heavily in Sri Lanka, he repeated the feat against Australia and England. Smith (1031 runs at 64) takes the second spot ahead of Virender Sehwag (1462 at 56) because he produced two fourth-innings hundreds that helped secure stunning victories.
Hashim Amla (820 at 51) bats at first wicket down, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Kevin Pietersen (1015 at 50) takes the second wicket down position a fraction ahead of Sachin Tendulkar (1063 at 48). A week ago, the Indian was ahead, but Pietersen rallied in the Mohali Test. Tendulkar"s revival was widely appreciated and his match winning hundred in Chennai was superb, but his rival was also captaining the side.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the cricketer of the year. In nine matches, he collected 909 runs at an average of 101. Abraham de Villiers must bat at fourth drop. Like most sides, the Proteas like to play a counter-puncher at No.6 and the Afrikaner fitted the bill. In 2008, he has tallied 985 runs at 75 an innings.
Despite the achievements of several rivals, Mahendra Dhoni will keep the wickets. He is also captain. After missing the tour to Sri Lanka, Dhoni led his team to victory over Australia and England, displaying an ability to forge a fighting unit and pursue ruthless strategies.
Ryan Sidebottom and Dale Steyn lead the attack. Mitchell Johnson saved the day for Australians. Although his wickets were not exactly cheap at 27 apiece, he took 61, and only Harbhajan Singh (63) was more rapacious.
Ajantha Mendis is team"s spinner, narrowly ousting Murali (33 at 26). Mendis played only three Tests but took 26 Indian wickets at an average of 18.
Provided he is fit, says nothing and leaves his fishing boat behind, Symonds is our 12th man. The Sydney Morning Herald chose the Test team of the year on the basis of performances in 2008. Specialists were picked for every position.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Graeme Smith (South Africa) Matches: 10 Runs: 1031 Average: 64.44
Gautam Gambhir (India) Matches 8: Runs: 1134 Average: 70.88
Hashim Amla (South Africa) Matches: 10 Runs: 820 Average: 51.25
Kevin Pietersen (England) Matches: 12 Runs: 1015 Average: 50.75
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) Matches: 9 Runs: 909 Average: 101
AB de Villiers (South Africa) Matches: 10 Runs: 985 Average: 75.77
Mahendra Dhoni (c) (India) Matches: 12 Runs: 633 Average: 35.16
Ryan Sidebottom (England) Matches: 8 Wickets: 47 Average: 20.25
Dale Steyn (South Africa) Matches: 8 Wickets: 42 Average: 22.60
Mitchell Johnson (Australia) Matches: 13 Wickets: 61 Average: 27.29
Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) Matches: 3 Wickets: 26 Average: 18.38