New Zealand’s All-Time Test XI

The likes of Kane Williamson and Trent Boult feature in the New Zealand all-time test XI.

Picking New Zealand’s All-Time Test XI

Have you ever wondered how New Zealand’s all-time test match XI would look like?

In recent times, New Zealand has been a fantastic test match team, especially at home. Plus, they have travelled reasonably well, due to having adaptable players and an astute captain.

Their bowling attack has always been reasonably strong, with good fast bowlers and a steady spinner over the years.

But, who makes their best team ever in tests?

The Openers

Glenn Turner and John Wright

Glenn Turner batting for Worcestershire during the Benson and Hedges Cup Final between Kent and Worcestershire at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, 21st July 1973. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

A solid opening partnership.

Glenn Turner played 41 test matches for New Zealand between 1969 and 1983. He was a master technician with the bat who grew into his career with time. He scored nearly 3000 test match runs at a batting average of just under 45.

Turner scored 7 test match centuries and carried his bat twice throughout his test match career. His favourite oppositions were Australia and the West Indies. Glenn Turner averaged nearly 50 against Australia and over 65 against the West Indies.

John Wright is perhaps best known for coaching India between 2000 and 2005. He was highly successful as their coach, reaching a Cricket World Cup final and being part of important test series wins both home and abroad. This was under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly.

John Wright: An appreciation 

However, he was also a superb cricketer. He played 82 test matches and averaged nearly 38 with the bat. John Wright played between 1978 and 1993. In 82 test matches for New Zealand, he scored 12 test centuries and over 5000 runs. Wright averaged over 60 with the bat against India.

The Middle-Order

Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor and Martin Crowe

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 22: Kane Williamson of New Zealand celebrates his half century with Ross Taylor during day two of the First Test match between New Zealand and India at Basin Reserve on February 22, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The heart of New Zealand’s all-time test match XI.

It is without doubt that Kane Williamson will retire as New Zealand Cricket’s best ever batsmen in all formats of the game. He already has close to 6500 test match runs in just 80 test matches.

Twitter reactions to brilliant Kane Williamson 251

22 test match centuries is already a stunning feat. He has scored test centuries in every single country, apart from South Africa – where his highest score is 77. Williamson averages above 50 in the UAE, the West Indies and in New Zealand. He also has a strong average of 43 in Australia.

The graceful and class of his batting is a joy to watch. He plays the ball very late and right under his eyes. Williamson also makes a superb captain in all-formats of the game because he reads the game so well and gets the best out of his teams’ ability.

Ross Taylor: The underrated genius

Ross Taylor has been exceptional for New Zealand in test match cricket. His ability to get the best out of his talent has helped him have a long and successful career. He has played over 100 test matches and scored over 7000 runs at a very healthy average of 46. Taylor averages over 40 in Australia and England. A great record, with 19 test centuries to his name in total.

Martin Crowe was just brilliant. Wasim Akram described him as “one of the greatest batsmen that he ever bowled at.”

A stylish right-handed batsmen, who played 77 test matches and scored 5000 plus test runs at an average of over 40. Akram said that his ability to play reverse swing was one of the best because “Crowe used to always play for the inswinger and guard his stumps.”

Three greats in New Zealand’s All-Time Test XI.

The Wicketkeeper

Brendon McCullum (WK)

Brendon McCullum is the wicketkeeper in the New Zealand all-time test XI.
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 22: Brendon McCullum of New Zealand bats during day three of the Test match between New Zealand and Australia at Hagley Oval on February 22, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

An absolute machine.

Brendon McCullum famously stated that his technique “was not good enough to survive for long periods in test match cricket.” Therefore, he had to attack the bowling, in order to put doubt in the bowlers’ mind and attempt to mess up their line and lengths.

He was successful as a wicket keeper batsman and even as a pure batsman. He scored over 6000 test match runs for New Zealand in over 100 tests. His batting average of 38 is very strong for the style that he endures. A strike rate of 65 in test cricket tells you all you need to know about his approach.

Top 5 wicket keeper batsmen in test cricket

McCullum was a good player of spin. In fact, he averaged 50 in India throughout his career and also averaged 69 in the UAE. He scored test double centuries in both of those countries. A brilliant captain and leader of New Zealand as well.

The All-Rounders

Sir Richard Hadlee, Daniel Vettori and Chris Cairns

New Zealand bowler Richard Hadlee appeals for and gets the wicket of England batsman Bill Athey during the 3rd Test match between England and New Zealand at The Oval, London, 23rd August 1986. The non-striking batsman for England is Graham Gooch, the umpire is David Shepherd, and the New Zealand wicketkeeper is Tony Blain. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The engine-room in New Zealand’s all-time test XI.

Sir Richard Hadlee is without doubt New Zealand’s greatest ever cricketer of all-time. In fact, he probably features in the list of New Zealand’s top 10 sportsmen ever.

He virtually carried the New Zealand attack right throughout his test career. And, he was incredibly successful at it too. Hadlee played 86 test matches for New Zealand. In this time, he picked up 431 test match wickets at a sublime average of 22.30.

He picked up 36 five-wicket hauls in test match cricket. He managed to pick up at least one 5-wicket haul in Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Plus, Hadlee was an attacking batsman. He scored 3124 runs for New Zealand, at a batting average of 27.17.

Sir Richard Hadlee voted best Nottinghamshire player of all-time

Daniel Vettori is the only spin bowler to feature in New Zealand’s All-Time Test XI. He was a superb all-rounder during his career. He scored over 4000 runs, averaging over 30 with the bat in test match cricket.

Plus, he picked up 362 wickets at an average of just under 35. Considering that he played most of his matches in New Zealand, on green wickets, this is still a very good bowling average. Daniel Vettori averaged below 30 with the ball in England and Sri Lanka.

Chris Cairns was another all-round talent. New Zealand have in fact been blessed with such players. He could move the new ball both ways and was an outstanding lower order batsman. He played 62 test matches and scored over 3000 runs at an average of over 30. Cairns also picked up over 200 test match wickets at a bowling just below 30.

His heroics in the 1999 tour of England helped New Zealand to a famous 2-1 victory in the test series. New Zealand have not won a test series in England since.

The Bowlers

Shane Bond and Trent Boult

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 26: Shane Bond of New Zealand celebrates with the team after catching Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan out for 17 runs off his own bowling during day three of the First Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan at University Oval on November 26, 2009 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Pace and power.

Shane Bond was unfortunate to have had such a short test match career. Injuries denied the opportunity to become one of the best test bowlers of all-time. However, in the time that he played, Shane Bond was immense for New Zealand. As a result, he makes it into New Zealand’s All-Time Test XI.

He played just 18 test matches but took 87 wickets for New Zealand Cricket. In that time, Bond picked up 5 five-wicket hauls. He also has an amazing strike rate of under 40. He averages below 20 against India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in test match cricket.

Trent Boult could become New Zealand’s second-best test bowler of all-time by the time he retires. He just about edges Neil Wagner for the final seamers spot. Boult has had the most success against England, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. He averages below 25 against all four of these teams.

Tim Southee and Trent Boult reach historic new milestone

Boult has taken 272 test match wickets and continues to form New Zealand’s best new-ball partnership in test match cricket with Tim Southee.

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3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It says a lot about the development of NZ cricket over the past 10 years that 7 of the current side (Latham, Williamson, Taylor, Watling, Southee, Wagner and Boult) all merit serious consideration for these All Time XI lists (yes, I’m being serious about Tom Latham).

    Does this point to weakness in NZ cricket in the past? Some (possible Aussies) might say so, but have a go at picking two different All-Time NZ test XIs and I can guarentee you the 2nd XI would look just as good as the 1st XI (might be missing a spinner though).

  2. Pingback: The top 5 best New Zealand bowlers of all-time - Last Word on Cricket
  3. Absolutely agree with this selection. All too often in such exercises, experts romanticise how good players of the 30s 40s were – truth is, they never would made a modern day test team. Only one exception, in the Australian case, and that’s Don Bradman.

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