STEVE SMITH (AUS)
7540 runs in 77 Tests at an average of 61.80 with 27 centuries and best of 239
The only batsman in this World XI who is playing the game currently, Steve Smith of Australia boasts of a Test average of over 60 (61.80) in the format. He has 7540 runs in 77 Tests with 27 centuries which is amazing for someone, who started his career as a leg-spinner, making his debut in 2010 against Pakistan at Lord’s, a unique Test debut for him at a neutral venue.
Smith has become one of the prized wickets for bowlers in Test matches, thanks to his ability to bat long and make huge scores. Though he lost a year of his career after getting banned for one year due to his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal, he roared back during the 2019 Ashes, scoring 4 centuries in the 4 matches he played, and has never looked back.
KUMAR SANGAKKARA (SL)
12400 runs in 134 Tests at an average of 57.40 with 38 centuries and best of 319
Kumar Sangakkara had to give up wicketkeeping in Tests to prolong his career as a batsman and that when he flourished. Making his debut in 2000, Sangakkara ended up with 12400 runs in 134 matches with 38 centuries to his name. He is the leading run-scorer for Sri Lanka in the format and has the most centuries for them as well.
Sangakkara is also one of the two batsmen in Test cricket to score a triple hundred and a century in the same Test, achieving the feat against Bangladesh in 2014. Before him, England’s Graham Gooch made a triple century and a century in the same Test, against India in 1990.
JACQUES KALLIS (SA)
11440 runs in 134 Tests at an average of 48.08 with 40 centuries and best of 224 and 239 wickets with best of 6/54 at an average of 33.58
Jacques Kallis’ career can only be termed as that of an all-time great especially when you factor in that he batted in top order for South Africa and many times played as a frontline bowling option as well.
The all-rounder had made his Test debut in 1995 but flourished as both a batsman and as a bowler in the 2000s. He is rightly considered to be an all-time great all-rounder often being put in the same category as Sir Garfield Sobers. But Kallis is someone, who can walk into any World XI either as a batsman or as a bowler on his own, based on his superlative record.
ADAM GILCHRIST (WK-AUS)
5130 runs in 91 Tests at an average of 46.63 with 16 centuries and best of 204* and 397 dismissals
Australia’s Adam Gilchrist rightly changed the way wicketkeepers were seen in Test cricket. He made his Test debut in 1999, replacing the uber-popular Ian Healy, and made an immediate impact with a century in his first Test series itself against Pakistan.
However, his aggressive batting at no.6 or 7 gave Australia a huge batting option who could salvage an innings in case of collapse or take the lead to whole another level to put pressure on the opposition. He also captained Australia well, becoming the first captain to win a Test series in India since 1969, when he beat the home side in 2004 in absence of Ricky Ponting.