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  • Posted at 12:0712:07

    Post update

    The thing to notice with Stokes is those averages. Not too long ago, his batting and bowling numbers were very similar.

    Now, they are diverging, with the sign of the great all-rounders being that batting mark getting higher than the bowling.

    It’s not just that, though. It’s his influence on matches, force of personality and the ability to grasp the big moments.

    There is no World XI without Ben Stokes.

  • Posted at 12:0412:04

    Post update

    More votes than any other player, Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world.

    The real question is who are the 7% who didn’t vote for Ben Stokes?

    They must be from Australia.

  • Posted at 12:0112:01

    BBC SportCopyright: BBC Sport

  • Posted at 12:0012:00

    Post update

    So you’d only have three frontline bowlers, Liam?

    You have, however, led us nicely to our all-rounder…

  • Liam Walker: Why can you not pick a top 6 consisting of batsmen ie. Joe Root at 6 and an all rounder/WK at 7/8 such as Ben Stokes … Your set-up is very flawed.

  • Posted at 11:5911:59

    Post update

    In fact, and this might not go down well in certain parts, but I reckon I enjoy watching Kohli more than I enjoyed seeing Sachin Tendulkar play.

    If these three were tennis players, Williamson would be elegant Roger Federer, Smith the idiosyncratic Rafael Nadal and Kohli the fiery Novak Djokovic.

  • SMS Message: I suppose the Warner and Smith pick would guarantee that the ball would do plenty for Jimmy! from Rick from Lancaster

    I suppose the Warner and Smith pick would guarantee that the ball would do plenty for Jimmy!

  • Posted at 11:5611:56

    Post update

    Completing the stellar middle order is the most famous cricketer on the planet.

    Imagine parting Williamson and Smith, then seeing Virat Kohli walk to the crease?

    There might be more talented players than Virat, or harder players to dismiss, but if I had to pick one current player to watch all day, I’d go for Kohli. That cover drive…

  • Posted at 11:5311:53

    BBC SportCopyright: BBC Sport

  • Posted at 11:5111:51

    Post update

    Williamson has batted three in 70 of his 80 Tests, while Smith bats at four twice as often as he bats anywhere else.

    Still, you are the selectors, and I reckon batsmen of their class can do it anywhere you put them.

    I believe there is one small bit of sway I have over this team, because a captain was not voted on. Therefore, I’m naming Williamson as our skipper.

  • Posted at 11:4811:48

    Post update

    It’s not that Williamson is in, I’d pick him just because he’s the second-nicest bloke in international cricket (no-one is nicer than Chris Woakes).

    It’s the batting order…

  • Posted at 11:4611:46

    BBC SportCopyright: BBC Sport

  • Posted at 11:4411:44

    Post update

    I said there were no surprises in the middle order of our World XI.

    There’s a small one, which I’ll reveal after the next pick…

  • James Austin: This was fun – and a damn decent team. 3 IND, 3 AUS, 2 SA, and 1 each from ENG and WI.

    No place for Root – he isn’t good enough to displace any of the top 5.

    BBC SportCopyright: BBC Sport

  • Posted at 11:4311:43

    Post update

    Since Smith made his first Test hundred at the end of Australia’s 2013 tour of England, he has averaged over 70.

    For that, and his performances in the past two Ashes series, it has not been a stretch to mention him in the same breath as Sir Donald Bradman. There can he no higher praise.

    I’m not even going to make a sandpaper joke.

  • SMS Message: Steve Smith, as much as I dislike the bloke, would be first name on my team sheet if you needed someone to bat for your life. from Richard in rainy Crickhowell

    Steve Smith, as much as I dislike the bloke, would be first name on my team sheet if you needed someone to bat for your life.

  • Posted at 11:3811:38

    Post update

    He had to be in, didn’t he?

    I mean, I’ve seen enough pad-twitching, box-adjusting, head-wobbling and turns to square leg to last me multiple lifetimes, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Test batsman so difficult to dismiss as Steve Smith.

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