Welcome to the latest post in my series analysing how my all time XIs for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. We reached the conclusion of the A XIs match ups yesterday, so now we start with the B XIs. They have 3.5 points in the bank from their encounter with the As (see here).
THE Bs V THE Cs
The Bs dominate the batting, with only G Chappell among the top six outpointing his opposite number, and that by a mere fraction. Added to this is the fact that for reasons explained in the original post about the Cs Chanderpaul and arguably Cowdrey are batting out of position. Carter out bats Bari, but Bari was the finer keeper. Bates and Benaud are unquestionably a finer pair of spinners than Cornwall and Chandrasekhar, and both also possessed batting pedigree, something to which Cornwall has limited claim and Chandrasekhar none. Barnes and Bumrah for my money have the edge on Cummins and Croft as a new ball combination, though the Cs are undoubtedly the faster pair. Botham and Constantine were two mercurial all rounders, capable of match winning performances. I will allow for the possibility of a Constantine special, while rating it odds against, so my final score for this is Bs 4.5, Cs 0.5.
THE Bs V THE Ds
The Bs have an advantage with the bat – only Duleepsinhji, D’Oliveira and Dujon of those whose batting is of major significance win their match ups in this department. Davidson, Daniel and Donald as a pace trio probably beat Barnes, Bumrah and Botham, but as against that the Ds have only one front line spin option, Dennett, to match up against Bates and Benaud. Finally, Bradman was acknowledged to be a superb skipper, whereas Dennett never got any captaincy experience because of the social mores of his time. Although the Ds are far from helpless in this contest, the Bs are obvious favourites and I score it Bs 3, Ds 2.
THE Bs V THE Es
The Bs have a huge advantage in batting, and Botham is definitely a better third pacer than Edrich, though Emmett and Elliott v Barnes and Bumrah is a fine contest, as is Ecclestone and Evans v Benaud and Bates in the spin bowling department. I make this one Bs 4, Es 1.
THE Bs V THE Fs
The Bs boss the batting as usual, though Foakes is the better keeper. The Fs have a greater range of bowling options, with six genuine front line bowlers. I accord them a definite win the pace department, with Ferris, Freeman and Foster clearly a stronger combo than Barnes, Bumrah and Botham. Flowers, Fender and Faulkner give the Fs three front line spin options. The question is whether the Fs extra bowling will compensate for the Bs huge superiority in batting. I don’t think it quite does, but I am not prepared to award the Bs victory here – Bs 2.5, Fs 2.5.
THE Bs V THE Gs
The Bs as usual are ahead on batting, but are clearly behind on bowling – WG is his side’s sixth best bowler. Grimmett and Gibbs are a good match for Bates and Benaud in the spin department, Gregory, Garner and Geary compare nicely with Barnes, Bumrah and Botham. I award this one to the Gs – Bs 2, Gs 3.
INTERIM REPORT ON THE Bs
The Bs are that this stage on 19.5 points out of 30, or 65%. The As were on a mere 14.5 points after their first six match ups, for comparison.
My usual sign off…