Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today the Gs occupy the spotlight and are on 58 of a possible 80 points going into this set of match ups. Each team featured today will have a link back to the selectorial post about them, highlighted in light blue.
THE Gs V THE Rs
The small sample size for B Richards at the highest level and the fact that Rogers indubitably ranks fourth among the openers in this match up means that I consider the Gs to have the better opening pair. The Rs win the number three slot – WG’s record on rough Victorian pitches equates to an average of 48 or thereabouts today, though the doctor offers a front line bowling option. Root beats Gower in the number four slot. Graveney achieved his test average over many more matches than Ranji, but Ranji encountered worse surfaces than Graveney. A third factor however is that Ranji played in an era that encouraged expansive stroke makers, whereas Graveney played in the slowest scoring era of all time, and his own approach was very much at variance with the general one of his era. I thus award this match up to Graveney. The Gs win the number six and seven slots with the bat, and Russell was a much finer keeper than Gilchrist. The Rs win the pace bowling – whether you make Richardson or Rabada their third pacer that third pacer outranks Jack Gregory as a bowler. Grimmett was much better leg spinner than Robins, though Rhodes outranks Gibbs as a finger spinner, albeit by much less than Grimmett outranks Robins. The Gs have the better batting by a small margin and the better spin bowling, and also the better skipper. The Rs have the better pace attack and the better keeper. I think the Rs pace attack will just make the difference and score this one Gs 2, Rs 3.
THE Gs V THE Ss
We have two superb opening pairs here. The Ss have a somewhat higher combined average and the advantage of a left/ right combo as opposed to the Gs two right handers. Grace and G Smith share the batting honours at no3 – Grace’s average on the pitches he played on converts pretty much exactly to G Smith’s on 21st century pitches, with Grace offering a bowling option and somewhat outranking G Smith as skipper. The Ss win the number four and five slots. Sobers wins the no6 batting match up against Gilchrist, though the Aussie wins the keeping match up against Sangakkara. Stokes and Gregory is a clash of the titans – two ultra aggressive left handed batters who bowl right arm fast and have very similar averages, though Stokes’ has been achieved over many more games, which just gets him the verdict. The Ss have the better pace attack, with Stokes and the quicker aspects of Sobers fourth and fifth choices for them in that department, but as against that Grimmett massively outbowls Stevens and Gibbs is better than the left arm wrist spin incarnation of Sobers (LWS have a very similar angle of attack to off spinners). The Ss have the left arm orthodox spin version of Sobers, not matched by the Gs, and the Gs have Grace as their bonus bowling option. I think the Ss just have enough, but this a mighty contest: Gs 2, Ss 3.
THE Gs V THE Ts
The opening pair is a closer contest than it looks – Trumper’s record was achieved on some pretty rough surfaces, and the Ts have the additional advantage of the left/ right combo, so I would say honours even on opening pairs. Grace outranks Tarrant as a batter, but the Aussie was the finer bowler. Grace also has to be ranked above ‘Tubs’ as a skipper, though ‘Tubs’ was a good skipper himself. Tendulkar outranks Gower by a distance, but Thorpe, on sample size and lack of support from the rest of the order, beats Graveney. Gilchrist outranks Ross Taylor as a batter, but is a distant second to Bob Taylor in the keeping stakes. Gregory wins his batting match up against Bob Taylor but loses the bowling match up against Jeff Thomson. Trumble and Gibbs is a close contest – Trumble got more responsive surfaces to bowl on than Gibbs by and large, which I consider to account for the differences in their averages. Grimmett has no challenger in the Gs ranks. Trueman and Tyson outrank Geary and Garner. The Ts have better batting, better pace bowling and much the better keeper, the Gs have the better spin bowling and the better skipper. I think the Ts have this one but not by much – Gs 2, Ts 3.
THE Gs V THE Us
The Gs have far the better opening pair, though Ulyett was possibly a better bowler than Gregory. Grace bosses the number three slot and outranks Misbah Ul Haq as captain. The Us win the number four and five slots. Gilchrist wins the batting match up at six, and Umrigar offers less in the way of bowling than Grace. Umar Akmal loses his batting match up against Jack Gregory and his keeping match up against Gilchrist. Geary definitely outranks Umar Gul, and Umran Malik is as yet unproven, so while acknowledging that this might change over the next decade or so, at the moment that match up has to go very comfortably the way of Garner. Underwood has to outrank Gibbs as a bowler, and the moment, though again acknowledging that this might change in future Grimmett has to outrank Ur Rahman. The Gs absolutely boss the batting, have the better pace attack by far, have the better spin attack, the better keeper and the better captain: Gs 5, Us 0.
THE Gs V THE Vs
The Gs have much the better opening pair, Grace comfortably beats Vaughan both as no three and as captain, the Gs also win at numbers four and five, and Gilchrist outranks Verreynne as batter, though the Saffa wins the keeping element of the natch up. Gregory outbats Vaas, but Vaas wins the bowling element of the match up comfortably, especially given that he is likely to fare even better as third seamer in a strong attack than he actually did as opening bowler in a moderate one. Voce outranks Geary as a bowler. Van der Bijl against Garner is a toughie – the Saffa never got to play test cricket due to circumstances, but may well have had a similar record to Garner, who he resembled in height and build had he done so. Grimmett outranks Vogler as a bowler, but by less than Verity outranks Gibbs as a finger spinner. The Gs have have much the better batting, winning every significant match up, but the Vs have the better bowling. I would say that the difference in batting in favour of the Gs is bigger than the difference in bowling in favour of the Vs, but the Gs are not winning this by much: Gs 3, Vs 2.
THE Gs PROGRESS
The Gs have scored 14 of a possible 25 points today, moving them on to 72 out of 105, 68.57% so far.
My usual sign off…