Welcome to the latest installment of my exploration of the theme of ‘all time XIs’. Today we look at players whose surnames begin with the letter Q. A certain amount of latitude has been exercised with the brief, though not quite as much as required by the letter X. Some of the players are comparatively obscure, hence both more quoting of exact career records and explanation than in some of these posts.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
- Billy Quaife (Warwickshire, England). The oldest ever scorer of a first class hundred at the grand old age of 56 years and four months. Only one player has scored more FC career runs for Warwickshire – Dennis Amiss. In addition to his batting he bowled serviceable leg spin, though given the make up of the side is unlikely to be required in that role.
- Quinton de Kock (South Africa). Using his forename to sneak him in. Although he is better known for his deeds in limited overs cricket the South African averages over 40 at FC level as well, and plays fast bowling well, hence, given the players available to me, using him as an ersatz opener and not as a wicket keeper.
- Qasim Omar (Pakistan). Not one of Pakistan’s better known top order players, but he played against England when they were there in 1984 and scored some valuable runs. Overall he averaged 39 at test level.
- Walter Quaife (Sussex, Warwickshire). Not the batter that Billy was, but by the standards of the 1880s and 1890s an average of 22.88 was modestly respectable, with pitches often difficult.
- Francis Quinton (Hampshire). 51 FC matches spread over 15 years in the late 19th century yielded him an average of 27.82, with two centuries and a top score of 178. He was also an occasional slow bowler, though not likely be needed in that capacity for this side.
- Patrick Quinlan (Ireland, Western Australia). 13 widely spaced FC matches yielded him 530 runs at 26.50, with four FC fifties. He was also an occasional right arm medium pacer, the relevance of which will be obvious by the end of the XI.
- +Bernard Quaife (Warwickshire). Although his father Billy liked the pair to open the batting together (they once did so against Derbyshire, whose new ball pair comprised Billy and Robert Bestwick, likewise related, to create a unique happening in FC cricket), he was never actually good enough as a batter to open, but he was a decent keeper, taking 186 catches and executing 54 stumpings at FC level in that role, and his 9,594 FC runs at 20.02 assume greater significance with batting being made his secondary role.
- Iqbal Qasim (Pakistan). Not one of the world’s best known left arm orthodox spinners, but 171 test wickets at 28.11 in 50 appearances at that level (999 FC wickets at 20.48 in 246 appearances) are a testament to his effectiveness in the role.
- Matt Quinn (New Zealand). A right arm medium fast bowler whose FC wickets cost 30.61 a piece, he is the only seamer for this letter who comes anywhere near making the grade.
- *Abdul Qadir (Pakistan). The 1980s was a difficult decade for spinners – and leg spin in particular almost fell into complete disuse at that time. With all due respect to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (India) and Bob Holland (Australia) credit for this art form surviving long enough to be picked up by Shane Warne belongs chiefly to Abdul Qadir, whose 67 test appearances yielded 236 wickets at 32.80. That included a seismic performance at Faisalabad against the West Indies, then the dominant force in world cricket. WI needed 240 to win in the fourth innings, and Faisalabad is not exactly known for being bowler friendly. Pakistan won that match by 186 runs, and the chief architect of the West Indian collapse to 53 all out was Qadir, whose sorcery yielded 6-16. In recognition of his historical significance, and believing that he would have done the job well given the chance I have chosen him as captain of this XI.
- Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan). One of the best leg spinners currently playing the game, though rivalled in that department by his compatriot Rashid Khan. He will never have the historical significance of Qadir, but it would not surprise me if he finishes with a better overall record than the Lahori.
The XI is definitely short of batting, although deploying QDK as a specialist opener at least creates a chance of the top three delivering serious runs. There is only one recognized pace option, Matt Quinn. I see three ways round this: give Quinlan a few overs to get the shine of the new ball for the spinners, adopt a policy used with success by many English counties in the past, opening with right arm pace (Quinn) at one end and the left arm spin of Iqbal Qasim at the other (Kent won four titles between 1906 and 1913 with Fielder and Blythe, jusr such a combination, opening their bowling), or one or other of the leggies, Abdul Qadir or Qais Ahmad shares the new ball with Quinn.
ON THE FRINGES
I usually call this section ‘Honourable Mentions’ but there is nothing honourable about failing to claim a place in this XI, so I am using a title more reflective of the nature of this section of this post. I did locate one fast bowler other than Quinn to have a surname beginning with Q – James Quinton. However, even faced with a desperate shortage of options in his department I could not include someone who claimed one wicket in six FC matches. Hamidullah Qadri had a good time in the U19 World Cup, but at the moment his first class wickets cost 43 runs a piece and come at less than two per game, so although I had two leggies, a left armer and no specialist offie I could not include him. Imran Qayyum, a young left arm spinner, has a very similar FC bowling average to Qadri, and doesn’t seem likely to challenge Iqbal Qasim. Ian Quick, an Australian left arm spinner, paid just over 30 a piece for his FC wickets, not close to being as effective as Qasim, though he might be worth a place in an XI of players who don’t live up to their names! There was also one other challenger for the keeper’s slot, Trevor Quirk, a South African. His batting record was similar to that Bernard Quaife but over fewer matches, and he managed only 122 catches and eight stumpings (given the predominance of spin in the XI this last figure was a cause for concern as well).
Our cricketing exploration of the letter Q is at an end, and it remains only to provide the usual sign off…