New South Wales has been Australia’s most successful domestic team, churning out countless baggy greens throughout the years.
Here’s my NSW Test XI of the 21st century.
1. David Warner
First class stats: 9630 runs, 49.13 average, 32 hundreds
Test stats: 7244 runs, 48.94 average, 24 hundreds
One of the most successful Test openers in modern-day cricket, Warner terrorises opposition bowlers. His style suits the harder surfaces in Australia and South Africa. Despite his struggles with the moving ball, Warner averages just under 49 in Test cricket.
2. Simon Katich
First class stats: 20926 runs, 52.84 average, 58 hundreds
Test stats: 4188 runs, 45.03 average, ten hundreds
Although Katich originates from Western Australia, he enjoyed his best years after moving east in 2002. Apart from Sri Lanka (where Katich averaged 50 with the bat), the left-hander scored Test hundreds in every nation he toured. It was incredibly tough to decide between Katich and current NSW head coach Phil Jacques, but Katich averaged 50.48 as an opener to get the nod.
3. Steve Smith
First class stats: 11707 runs, 57.95 average, 42 hundreds
Test stats: 7227 runs, 62.84 average, 26 hundreds
Just some leg-spinner from the Shire who’s ended up becoming the best Test batsman of his era. No big deal.
4. Michael Clarke
First class stats: 13826 runs, 47.02 average, 45 hundreds
Test stats: 8463 runs, 49.10 average, 28 hundreds
One of the most reliable batsmen for Australia in the 2010s, Clarke was in a league of his own – especially in 2012. An elegant batsman, Clarke stood up for Australia in crunch moments and was arguably the best player of spin in his time. I did contemplate having Clarke as captain, but there was another candidate I couldn’t ignore.
5. Steve Waugh (captain)
First class stats: 24052 runs, 51.94 average, 79 hundreds
Test stats: 10,927 runs, 51.06 average, 32 hundreds
One of Australia’s greatest leaders, I’d be a fool to exclude Steve Waugh from the XI. Captaining Australia to 15 of their 16 successive Test victories, Waugh is an Australian legend. With an iconic slog-sweep, Waugh finished his international career in front of his home ground SCG – dismissed on 80 playing a slog sweep off Anil Kumble.
6. Mark Waugh
First class stats: 26855 runs, 52.04 average, 81 hundreds
Test stats: 8029 runs, 41.81 average, 20 hundreds
The second-best Waugh in the family, only Michael Bevan has scored more first-class runs than Mark Waugh for the state. With shots all over the ground, few batsmen oozed class in the same manner as ‘Junior’. Bowling off-breaks and medium-pacers for Australia, Waugh was a handy option to give the frontline bowlers a break.
7. Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper)
First class stats: 9932 runs, 38.05 average, 17 hundreds, 608 catches, 40 stumpings
Test stats: 3266 runs, 32.98 average, four hundreds, 262 catches, eight stumpings
Haddin ensured that Australian fans wouldn’t miss Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps. Reliable with the gloves, Haddin was also a handy batsman at number seven and his efforts in the 2013-14 Ashes cannot be forgotten, saving Australia from collapses in each Test match with the bat.
8. Pat Cummins
First class stats: 187 wickets, 22.79 average, 2.8 economy
Test stats: 143 wickets, 21.82 average, 2.76 economy
To clock over 140km/h consistently and be accurate with the ball takes a lot of skill. Following years of injuries, Cummins is starting to make up for lost time as the best bowler in Test cricket at the moment.
9. Brett Lee
First class stats: 487 wickets, 28.22 average, 3.4 economy
Test stats: 310 wickets, 30.81 average, 3.46 economy
At his peak, Lee was unstoppable. Bowling at rapid pace, opposition batsmen would prefer being at the non-strikers end rather than facing Lee’s thunderbolts. A fierce competitor who always gave his all, captains craved for a strike bowler like Lee.
10. Stuart MacGill
First class stats: 774 wickets, 30.49 average, 3.41 economy
Test stats: 208 wickets, 29.02 average, 3.22 economy
When you’re competing against Shane Warne, things will always be against you. Leaving Western Australia for the spin-friendly pitches of NSW in the mid-90s, MacGill spun NSW and Australia to victory many times. Had Warne not been around, Macgill would’ve created his legacy as a world-class leggie, but alas circumstances didn’t allow that to happen.
11. Glenn McGrath
Stuart MacGill 835 wickets, 20.85 average, 2.5 economy
Test stats: 563 wickets, 21.64 average, 2.49 economy
Don’t reckon I have to justify this inclusion. Oustanding bowler and an even better person who always has time to take photos with fans.