Welcome to the continuation of my look at how my all time XIs for each letter of the alphabet match up against each other. Going into this post we have been through ten of the A XI’s match ups, and they are so far on 27 of a possible 50 points.
THE As V THE Ls
Among the top five batters the Ls have a clear advantage, even allowing for the fact that Labuschagne is out of position – only Laxman and Lloyd are not significantly clear of their opposite numbers. At number six we have a clash of left arm spinning all rounders. Shakib Al Hasan is ahead on the batting front, but there is very little doubt that Langridge was the finer bowler. While Langley was a better keeper than Ames he was a fraction of the batter that Ames was. Lindwall is outpointed by Akram, but Lohmann and Lillee are worthy adversaries for Ambrose and Anderson. Laker wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though he was a lot less of a batter than Ashwin.
Boiling it all down, The Ls have an advantage of the batting front, although their batting power is very top heavy, have the better keeper and are at least the equal of the As on the bowling front, and for my money definitely superior. There would probably be one occasion in a series when the As batting depth would count in their favour over the Ls top heavy power in that department, so I score it As 1 Ls 4.
THE As V THE Ms
Among the top five only Babar Azam for the As has a better batting average than his opposite number. Miller comes out slightly below Al Hasan on the batting front, way ahead on the bowling front. I suspect he was also the finer captain. Ames has an advantage on the batting front among the keepers, but Marsh was one of the greatest keepers ever to play the game. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood a certainly a capable match for Akram, Ambrose and Anderson. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though Ashwin’s batting partly compensates for this. Additionally the Ms have a sixth bowling option, Charlie Macartney, who did win his country a match with the ball in hand. Miller once switched to off breaks on a Brisbane ‘sticky dog’, and took seven wickets, so even producing a raging bunsen for the benefit of Ashwin and Al Hasan might not be enough for the As. I find it hard to see any situation in which the As come out on top in this clash and accordingly score it As 0 Ms 5.
THE As V THE Ns
The As boss the opening combo. Nurse and Dudley Nourse outpoint Azam and Abbas, in one case by a minor margin in the other substantially. Azharuddin has a significant advantage over Dave Nourse. Al Hasan beats Noble with the bat, but the Aussie wins hands down with the ball and as a captain. Ames wins the battle of the keepers with the bat, and there is no huge difference in gkovework. Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje are comfortably outpointed by Akram, Ambrose and Anderson, and Nadeem is nowhere close to Ashwin in either department. The Ns do have an extra pace option in Nichols, but even that is not enough – The As have an overwhelming advantage in bowling and I expect that to tell in their favour: As 4, Ns 1.
THE As V THE Os
The As dominate this in all departments. The only member of the Os team the As would want in their own ranks is Bill O’Reilly. There can only be one scoreline here: As 5, Os 0
THE As V THE Ps
The opening pairs are closely matched here, the Ps dominate slots 3-5. Procter is massively ahead of Al Hasan as an all rounder – while the Bangladeshi has a better batting record, the Saffa is far ahead with the ball. Pant has a better batting average than Ames and is at least his equal with the gloves. Shaun Pollock is almost an exact match to Akram in terms of bowling figures and almost ten runs an innings better with the bat. Peter Pollock is beaten only by Ambrose among the As quick bowlers. Parker, a victim of selectorial malice in his playing days (a one cap wonder at test level in spite of that huge tally of FC wickets), is the best spinner on either side in this match, though Prasanna is outmatched by Ashwin. The Ps are stronger in batting, and Procter, S Pollock, P Pollock, Parker and Prasanna is not a definitely inferior bowling unit to Ambrose, Anderson, Akram, Ashwin and Al Hasan. I expect the Ps to win, and slightly more comfortably than a bare 3-2. Final score As 1.5, Ps 3.5.
As PROGRESS SO FAR
This has been a tough set of match ups for the As XI, and even with one 5-0 in their favour they score just 11.5 of a possible 25 points in this segment of the alphabet, putting them on 38.5 out of 75, a score of 51.33%, down from the 54% they were on going into this post.
My usual sign off…