There are a lot of up-and-coming youngsters in domestic cricket across many countries who are vying for a national selection through consistent performances.
Having followed the Sheffield Shield and the Ranji Trophy for many years, I’ve decided to come up with a current uncapped Test XI for Australia and India to face each other in an unofficial Test match.
1. Daniel Hughes (captain)
FC stats: 3132 runs, 39.64 average, seven hundreds
Having been on the fringes of the New South Wales team in the early stages of his career, Hughes was able to force his way in through runs in grade cricket a few years ago. Since then, the left-handed opener has given New South Wales a solid foundation most times.
In the 2019-20 Sheffield Shield, Hughes scored 665 runs with two hundreds and three fifties. At the age of 31, time is starting to run out for a call into the Australian team, but if someone like Chris Rogers can be recalled at the age of 36, Hughes can be called into the Australian team if he continues scoring runs.
2. Bryce Street
FC stats: 489 runs, 37.61 average, two hundreds
Street has impressed me in his short first-class career. Opening at the Gabba isn’t easy for a youngster, but he’s done well so far. A technically compact batsman, the left-hander loves blunting the new ball and batting time – his strike rate of 30 shows that.
I hope he doesn’t end up losing his shape and technique for the sake of stroke-making like Matt Renshaw did. Queensland has to keep him in the long term and ensure he remains the same player.
3. Will Pucovski
FC stats: 1225 runs, 42.24 average, four hundreds
It’s been a real shame that things haven’t quite worked out for Pucovski and playing for Australia just yet. Mental health isn’t something that should be treated as a joke, and I have a lot of respect for the 22-year-old for being so brave and speaking out about it.
He certainly is one for the future – but I just hope that Pucovski can play a whole season of Shield cricket and perform well without people jumping on his selection after one or two good innings.
4. Daniel Solway
FC stats: 498 runs, 55.33 average, one hundred
Solway was instrumental in New South Wales topping the table in the Sheffield Shield. His willingness to bat time is something that is rarely seen across in Australian cricket nowadays.
Given the responsibility of batting in the top four for NSW, Solway delivered most times in his debut Shield season. Hopefully there are more consistent seasons to come in the future.
5. Cameron Green
FC stats: 833 runs, 43.84 average, three hundreds
I’m playing Green in this side as a specialist batsman. What a fantastic player he’s been for Western Australia so far. Green’s ability to stay calm and composed under pressure is a great trait to have for a 20-year-old.
Again, just like Pucovski – let these blokes develop before calling out for their selection after a few decent performances.
6. Seb Gotch
FC stats: 1072 runs, 38.28 average, two hundreds
I feel Gotch is starting to understand his game better now and is developing into a handy red-ball batsman. Just like Street and Solway, the Victorian batsman has shown he has the temperament to survive in first-class cricket – which can be shown in his last two FC games as he hit hundreds against New South Wales and Queensland.
7. Josh Inglis (wk)
FC stats: 1492 runs, 28.15 average, nine fifties, 119 catches, one stumping
I chose Inglis over Carey due to his keeping being better than the South Australian. Inglis has shown immense potential purely based on his keeping, and I believe he is Tim Paine’s deputy in the whites.
His batting has got work to do, but I think he has the ability to be the man in a crisis and score tough runs – a similar mould to BJ Watling.
8. Michael Neser
FC stats: 181 wickets, 25.85 average, 2.93 economy
I’d go as far as saying that Neser is the best Australian bowler to remain uncapped in Test cricket. His record speaks for itself, and with Australia retaining the Ashes at Old Trafford, he could’ve been given a run at the Oval.
Incredibly tough to get into the Australian team with the pace stocks at the moment, but cricket is a game of uncertainties – anything is possible.
9. Chris Tremain
FC stats: 244 wickets, 24.33 average, 3.02 economy
His record speaks for itself—a workhorse for Victoria over the past six or so years. He scored a hundred as a night watchman for the Vics, so Tremain can be backed to survive as a night watchman if a wicket falls late in the day.
10. Cameron Gannon
FC stats: 103 wickets, 25.11 average, 2.6 economy
Gannon is someone who goes a bit under the radar in the Shield scene among fast bowlers. He’s been tremendous for Queensland, and in the last edition of the Sheffield Shield, Gannon was the top wicket-taker – 38 wickets at an average of 20.92.
11. Mitch Swepson
FC stats: 115 wickets, 35.68 average, 3.71 economy
The lack of spin bowling options are worrying for Australia, to be honest. Swepson showed more control in this Shield season, but bowling at the Gabba won’t help him develop into a world-class spinner.
Young spinners aren’t being given the chance to give the ball a big rip, and it’ll only be a matter of time before it comes to bite Australian cricket.
1. Shubman Gill
FC stats: 2133 runs, 73.55 average, seven hundreds
A run machine for Punjab and India A, Gill is incredibly unlucky not to have played Test cricket for India. He just keeps on churning out the runs, but for some reason, he hasn’t played Test cricket yet.
Time is on his side though – he’s yet to turn 21. After Virat Kohli, Gill is my favourite Indian batsman to watch, and he will be a great player for India in all formats for the future.
2. Abhimanyu Easwaran (captain)
FC stats: 4401 runs, 43.57 average, 13 hundreds
The 24-year-old Bengal batsman has played a crucial role in the revival of Bengal in first-class cricket. Staying away from his parents since the age of 11 after leaving Dehradun for Kolkata, you can see that he’s a fighter in the way he bats.
Easwaran has been a proficient run-scorer for Bengal in all three formats and has been rewarded with call ups to the India A team. Only a matter of time before the Bengal skipper makes his India debut.
3. Priyank Panchal
FC stats: 6891 runs, 45.63 average, 24 hundreds
A domestic stalwart, Panchal has raised his game to very high standards over the past few seasons. A technically sound player, the 30-year-old Gujurat batsman has been rewarded for his domestic performances with selection into the India A side.
Naturally an opener, Panchal can score runs consistently between 1-4.
4. Sheldon Jackson
FC stats: 5634 runs, 49.42 average, 19 hundreds
Jackson has been a phenomenal player for Saurashtra. A wicket-keeping batsman by trade, the 33-year-old was a vital cog en route to Saurashtra’s maiden Ranji Trophy title in the 2019-20 edition.
I do believe that since Saurashtra wasn’t a big team for the majority of his career, Jackson didn’t get the recognition he deserved for his outstanding services and performances for the Gujarat based team.
5. Manish Pandey
FC stats: 6389 runs, 51.11 average, 19 hundreds
Pandey has been a star batsman since his debut for Karnataka. The 30-year-old has batted at number four and five for the majority of his career, scoring a truckload of runs nearly every season.
The competition at play in India’s middle-order has made it hard for him to break into the Indian side, but he’s a quality player nonetheless.
6. Vijay Shankar
FC stats: 2242 runs, 44.84 average, five hundreds, 33 wickets, 53.06 average, 3.21 economy
Shankar is someone who has been closely monitored by the Indian selectors. A tall batsman, the 29-year-old has been solid with the bat in the middle order for Tamil Nadu.
Shankar can bowl handy medium pacers to give the frontline bowlers a break if needed. Having been on India A tours and playing in their first-class matches often, I believe he can make a case for himself as a batting all-rounder in the Indian Test team in the future.
7. Kona Srikar Bharat (wicketkeeper)
FC stats: 4283 runs, 37.24 average, nine hundreds, 270 catches, 31 stumpings
KS Bharat has been in the India A setup for a long time. His wicketkeeping is as good as Wriddhiman Saha, and he has shown his capabilities with the bat for Andhra down the order.
Bharat was in contention to be in India’s Test squad for their tour of England in 2018, but Rishabh Pant got the nod over him. Hard to determine if he’ll make the Indian team in the future, but anything is possible in the game of cricket.
8. Krishnappa Gowtham
FC stats: 166 wickets, 23.98 average, 2.77 economy
Usually seen as a T20 specialist, Gowtham had a brilliant start to his first-class career, taking 18 wickets in three games. A similar bowling style to Nathan Lyon, Gowtham gets decent bounce and uses flight to deceive batsmen.
He’s a handy number eight with the bat, and that does keep him in contention should Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin miss a Test match/series through injury.
9. Navdeep Saini
FC stats: 125 wickets, 28.3 average, 2.81 economy
If it wasn’t for Gautam Gambhir pushing for his selection, Saini might’ve never played first-class cricket, let alone dominate it. The speedster from Haryana has been a revelation for Delhi since his debut and has been called up to the Indian Test squad a few times.
With India’s depth in their Test pace attack, it’ll be hard for Saini to break in, but if given a chance, he can set the world alight.
10. Mohammed Siraj
FC stats: 147 wickets, 23 average, 3.11 economy
Bowling on dead wickets in Hyderabad, Siraj has the ability to crank it up to 150km and swing the ball into the right-hander very late. He’s an extremely talented fast bowler who is incredibly unlucky never to have been called up into the Indian Test squad.
His progress for India A has been steady, but unless an injury occurs to one of India’s star quicks, Siraj will find it very tough to make his Test debut.
11. Ishan Porel
FC stats: 61 wickets, 25.75 average, 2.81 economy
At the age of 21, Porel has already shown a lot of responsibility and maturity. Taking over from Ashok Dinda and Mohammad Shami as the leader of an exciting Bengal pace attack is no easy feat. Yet he just steams in and has troubled some of India’s best batsman in the domestic circuit.
Standing at 1.9m, Porel uses his height to his advantage, and his speeds are getting higher. He has played a first-class game for India A already, and the future looks very bright for him. Age is on his side, and I believe the Bengal fast bowler can play all three formats for India.