I continue my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a look at players whose surnames begin with the letter Y (the kind of chicanery required for the letter X is not needed for this letter. A quick reference back to the Xs – Ted DeXter was an honourable mention for the Ds, so I felt able to include him in the Xs, and edited yesterday’s post to reflect this – please read the edited version. VVS Laxman was in the Ls XI, and I am not allowing myself to include someone in two different XIs in this trip through the alphabet.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
- Michael Yardy (Sussex, England). A left handed opening batter who scored over 10,000 FC runs at 36, and also an occasional bowler of left arm orthodox spin, though his chief value in that department was in limited overs cricket.
- Martin Young (Gloucestershire). A right handed opener who was a consistent score for his county for a number of years without ever attracting the attention of the England selectors.
- Younis Khan (Pakistan). Over 10,000 test runs at 52, and number three is this right hander’s natural position in the order.
- Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan). He also averaged 52 in test cricket, though he did not score quite as many runs as Younis Khan. He holds the record for most test runs in a calendar year with 1,788.
- Graham Yallop (Australia). A left handed batter with a fine test record in that department.
- *Norman Yardley (Yorkshire, England). A right handed middle order batter, and a right arm medium pacer who revealed an aptitude for breaking partnerships on the 1946-7 tour of Australia. He was also a fine captain, a role I have given him in this side.
- +Saleem Yousuf (Pakistan). A fine wicket keeper and useful right handed batter.
- Umesh Yadav (India). A right arm fast bowler, his presence at no eight indicates this team’s biggest issue – lack of runs from the lower order.
- Waqar Younis (Surrey, Glamorgan, Pakistan). One of the fastest bowlers in the world in his pomp, and one of the finest pacers his country ever produced.
- Jack Young (Middlesex, England). A left arm orthodox spinner who took his FC wickets at less than 20 a piece, but got few opportunities at test level.
- Poonam Yadav (India). The most controversial of all my selections, the diminutive leg spinner has a fine record in all formats, including 3-68 in her only test appearance to date. I have mentioned various skilled female cricketers in a lot of these posts, and a look at the E XI will confirm that I have named at least one female in a previous XI.
This XI has a solid opening pair who should be able to set a platform for the engine room of Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Graham Yallop. Yardley would captain the side well, which should make up for any shortfall in his own performance. Saleem Yousuf is a fine keeper, and there are four excellent bowlers. The pace department is a trifle thin, with Yardley officially third seamer, but Jack Young and Poonam Yadav look a fine spin combo. Overall I would expect this XI to give a decent account of itself.
Other than those I named there were three obvious candidates for opening batting slots: Bryan Young and Will Young, both of New Zealand have done the job at test level, but in both cases their record is no more than respectable. Rob Yates has had his moments for Warwickshire, but is too inconsistent to merit selection. Among middle order batters Suryakumar Yadav and Yashpal Sharma are unlucky that this team has such a strong middle order.
The only wicket keeping alternative to Saleem Yousuf was Hugo Yarnold of Worcestershire, but he was far inferior to Yousuf as a batter, and given the length of the tail as things were I felt the slot had to go to the Pakistani.
Three off spinners, Bruce Yardley, Shivlal Yadav and Jayant Yadav, were available, and any of them would have strengthened the batting, but all have moderate bowling records, and I am not prepared to boost the batting at the cost of reducing the team’s chances of taking 20 wickets. A left arm wrist spinner, Kuldeep Yadav, was available, and was the logical alternative to Poonam Yadav for the role of the second spinner. Radha Yadav, a left arm orthodox spinner, has had some successes for the Indian women’s team, but does not as yet compare to Jack Young, and like him is not to be relied on with the bat.
The only quick bowler other than two I selected that I could think off was Kuldip Yadav, a left arm fast medium bowler, but he has one first class scalp to his name, which makes picking him an unwarrantable gamble for me.
I end with one for the future: Yash Dhull, an off spinning all rounder, has had some captaincy experience with India Under 19s, and I will be surprised if in ten years time he does not dislodge Norman Yardley from the number six slot in this team. He has made a sensational start to his FC batting career, although he has yet to do much with the ball at that level. I would also sound a mild cautionary note: Tom Lammonby scored three centuries in his first six FC matches, but fell away badly in his first full length season to the extent that he was actually dropped five matches into it.
Our cricketing journey through the letter Y is at an end, and all that is left is my usual sign off…