All Time XIs – Overseas Stars

Today is overseas players day as an XI of the best county overseas players to on an XI of the best overseas players not to play for counties. Also features a very important petition, a measure of mathematics and some very interesting links, as well as my usual photographs.


Welcome to my latest variation on the All Time XI cricket theme. Today overseas players have the floor, as I pit a team of the best county overseas players against a team of overseas stars who were not county players.


  1. Barry Richards – right handed opening batter. Played for Hampshire for many years, producing a number of extraordinary performances. See my recent South Africa post for more about him.
  2. Roy Marshall – right handed opening batter, occasional off spinner. The Barbadian scored a huge number of runs for Hampshire, and the speed with which he scored them was a crucial factor in Hampshire’s first ever County Championship, when he several times led successful run chases.
  3. Brian Lara – left handed batter. The holder of the highest individual scores in both test and first class cricket, the latter made for Warwickshire against Durham in his and their record breaking 1994 season.
  4. Viv Richards – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. An all-time great who featured in my West Indies team but had to make do with an honourable mention in the Somerset post due to my selection policies regarding overseas players.
  5. *Allan Border – left handed batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. The Aussie was as respected for Essex as he was in native land.
  6. Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every kind known to cricket, brilliant fielder. The most complete all rounder ever to play the game, he played for Nottinghamshire for a number of years.
  7. +Stewart Dempster – right handed batter, wicket keeper. One of the most talented cricketers ever to come from New Zealand, he averaged 65.72 in his brief test career before signing up to play for Leicestershire, whom he served well for a number of years.
  8. Richard Hadlee – right arm fast bowler, left handed attacking middle order bat. The Kiwi legend was also outstanding for Nottinghamshire over a number of years. In 1984 he achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in the first class season, the first time it had been done since the reduction of first class fixtures to make space for the John Player League in 1969. Could such a ‘double’ be achieved in a 14 game first class season such as has been the case in England in recent years? Yes – WG Grace once had a run of 11 matches in 1874 in which he achieved the feat, but anyone who does manage it will achieve a feat comparable to the great George Hirst’s 1906 season when he scored 2,385 first class runs and took 208 wickets, the only ever season’s ‘double double’.
  9. Malcolm Marshall – right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter. The biggest haul of wickets in a first class season since the reduction of fixtures referred to above is 134, taken by Marshall for Hampshire, for whom he played over the course of a number of years.
  10. Shane Warne – leg spinner, right handed lower order batter. Our fourth player with a Hampshire connection and the greatest leg spinner of the modern era.
  11. Ted McDonald – right arm fast bowler. One half of the first great pair of fast bowlers in test history along with Jack Gregory, and the first truly great player to come from Tasmania (with due respect to Charles Eady who once took a seven-for and then scored 566 in a club final, and to Kenny Burn, selected for an England tour as reserve keeper after a misunderstanding – he was a specialist batter, and his brother was a keeper), he then signed up to play as a Lancashire League pro and ultimately signed for the county, and was fast bowling spearhead for them during their greatest ever period, the second half of the 1920s. In 1930 when Bradman was taking all the headlines McDonald greeted the boy wonder by rolling back the years, posting five slips, making the ball fly and dismissing him for nine.

This XI features a stellar top five, the greatest of all all rounders, a keeper-batter and four fabulous and varied bowlers. The batting is very deep with Shane Warne due to come in at no 10, and the three fast bowlers, Hadlee, Marshall and McDonald backed by Warne and Sobers with Roy Marshall, Richards and Border in reserve looks like a superb bowling attack as well.


  1. Arthur Morris – left handed opening batter, named by Bradman as the best he ever saw.
  2. George Headley – right handed batter. He was known as ‘the black Bradman’, and his average at test level was 60.83. He usually batted three, but the West Indies so often lost an early wicket that he was effectively opening anyway,  so I have promoted him to do that job, making way for…
  3. *Donald Bradman – right handed batter, the best ever.
  4. Everton Weekes – right handed batter. He averaged 58 in test cricket, including five successive centuries. He also played Bridge for his native Barbados.
  5. George Giffen – right handed batter, right arm medium/ off spin. An all-rounder whose deeds saw him dubbed ‘the WG Grace of Australia’, his most astounding match performance came at the expense of Victoria when he hit 271 and then took 7-70 and 9-96. In the 1894-5 Ashes he scored 475 runs and took 34 wickets, still finishing on the losing side. I decided that my top four here were so strong that I could afford to start the all rounders at no 5, naming two as compensation for the presence of Sobers in the ranks of the opposition.
  6. Keith Miller – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. Australia’s greatest ever all rounder. 2,958 test runs at 36.97 and 170 wickets at 22.97 at that level.
  7. +Adam Gilchrist – left handed batter, wicket keeper. Statistically the best keeper batter in test history.
  8. Fazal Mahmood – right arm fast medium bowler. His size and build combined with his mastery of the leg cutter led to him being labelled ‘the Bedser of Pakistan’. He took 12 wickets in the match when Pakistan achieved their first test victory. His test average per wicket was 24 for 139 wickets, while his fast class wickets came at 18.96 each.
  9. Dennis Lillee – right arm fast bowler. He did play a few games for Northamptonshire, but he was not a regular county cricketer. He took a then record 355 test wickets from 71 appearances at that level, 167 of them against England.
  10. Palwankar Baloo – left arm orthodox spinner. I wrote about him in my piece on India. I consider his 179 wickets in 33 first class games at a mere 15.21 each doubly outstanding because he contended against caste prejudice all his life (he was one of three ‘untouchables’ who negotiated the pact that ended Gandhi’s fast against separate electorates for depressed castes) and because Indian cricket was chiefly known for tall scoring rather than for any sort of bowling success.
  11. Clarrie Grimmett – leg spinner. He crossed the Tasman from his native New Zealand, and then twice moved states in his new adopted home before establishing himself as a first class cricketer. In consequence of this circuitous route to the top he was 33 years old when he finally got to don the baggy green. He took 11-82 on test debut v England and never looked back. In all he played 37 test matches and took 216 wickets, his career at that level ending when he was passed over for the 1938 tour of England, but he was still taking big first class wicket hauls two seasons later than that. In all first class cricket he captured 1,424 wickets, a record for anyone who never played county cricket (we met no2 on this list yesterday), from 248 appearances, averaging over 5.7 wickets per match.

This team has a top four with a combined average of approximately 267 at test level, two quality all rounders at five and six, a great keeper batter at seven and four excellent and varied bowlers. The bowling, with Lillee and Miller as outright fast bowlers, Fazal Mahmood’s cutters, Baloo and Grimmett as specialist spinners plus Giffen also looks highly impressive.


These are two awesomely strong and well balanced sides, and the only thing I can say for sure about the contest is that it would be an absolute humdinger.


Yesterday I offered you a little teaser from

This is how I resolved this:

  • The bottom shape is a right angled triangle and we are told that all angles of the same colour are identical. This means that 180-90 = 3x yellow angle, so yellow angle = 90/3 = 30 degrees.
  • The four top left triangles together form an angle of 180 degrees, and three of the four contain the blue angle, while the other contains the yellow angle, established at 30 degrees, so (180-30)/3 = blue angle, this simplifies to 150/3 = blue angle = 50 degrees.
  • The big central triangle is a right angled triangle with a blue angle and the green angle. Since the internal angles of a triangle sum up to 180, 90 + 50 + green =180, which means that the green angle that we are looking for is 180 – (90 + 50) which equals 40 degrees.

From the same source comes another teaser, this time on the theme of pattern recognition:

Square spiral

As with the previous one this was originally multiple choice but I am just leaving you to work out the answer.


A petition seeking justice for Belly Mujinga, a transport worker who died after being spat at by someone who knew they had covid-19, is running on There was a second victim of this despicable assault who did not die, so when the perpetrator is found they should face a charge of attempted murder as well as one of murder. Please sign and share the petition by clicking on the screenshot below.



Just a few links before it is time for my usual sign off:

  • Marina Hyde hits top form on the subject of Johnson apparently needing a baying mob behind him to be able to handle Prime Ministers Questions, with this splendid piece in The Guardian.
  • Elizabeth Dale who runs a blog called Cornish Bird which is devoted to revealing some of the less well known parts of her home county has a splendid post up at the moment about St Loy Cove, Penwith.
  • National Geographic have a post up at the moment introducing the guina, a tiny South American wild cat weighing just six pounds and in danger of extinction.
  • Finishing these links where we started, with The Guardian, Lucy Jones has a piece titled “Noticing nature is the greatest gift you can get from lockdown“, which is both an excellent read, and an appropriate place from which to provide my usual sign off..

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The teams in tabulated form.


Author: Thomas

I am a founder member and currently secretary of the West Norfolk Autism Group and am autistic myself. I am a very keen photographer and almost every blog post I produce will feature some of my own photographs. I am an avidly keen cricket fan and often post about that sport.

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