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 Ms are in the spotlight and they start with 54.5 of a possible 65 points banked. A quick announcement: with Elon the Execrable seemingly set to kill twitter I have set up an account on mastodon – https://mas.to/@autisticphotographer.
THE Ms V THE Os
The Os are massively outclassed all across the board. The only crumbs of comfort for them are the presence of O’Riordan’s left arm and of leg spinner Bill O’Reilly. The Ms are simply too strong and there can be only one score: Ms 5, Os 0.
THE Ms V THE Ps
The Ms have the better opening pair, but Ponting and G Pollock win the number three and four slots batting wise, although Macartney offers a bowling option. Miandad beats Pietersen in the number five slot. Pant wins the batting element of his match up, but Marsh was the finer keeper. Procter may well have had a Milleresque record had he got the opportunity to enjoy a long test career, and these two legendary fast bowling all rounders are well nigh impossible to separate both as players and as captains. S Pollock outbats Marshall but is outbowled by the latter, P Pollock is outranked by McGrath. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners over Prasanna, but Charlie Parker, shockingly treated by the England selectors of his day, has to rated above Mahmood. These two sides are both very strong in batting, the Ms have the better keeper and the better pace bowling unit, while Parker, a left arm spinner, gives the Ps attack a better overall balance. I think the Ms advantage in pace bowling is just enough for them to win this one by the barest of margins: Ms 3, Ps 2.
THE Ms V THE Qs
The Ms utterly dominate in batting and pace bowling, have the better keeper and the better skipper. Only in spin bowling do the Qs have anything to offer, but I think the gulf between the sides in other areas is so massive that even on a raging Bunsen they will be powerless: Ms 5, Qs 0.
THE Ms V THE Rs
The opening pairs are fairly evenly matched – each features a high quality left handed opener and a brilliant right handed opener whose test opportunities were limited. Richards clearly ranks ahead of Macartney with the bat, but the Aussie offers his side an extra bowling option. The Rs win the number four slot on sample size and the relative lack of support Root has had for much of his career. As against that Miandad outranks Ranjitsinhji, and Miller wins the batting match up at six. We have a keeping clash of titans, in which for me Russell narrowly outpoints Marsh. Roberts, Rabada and Richardson are just outmatched by Marshall, McGrath and Miller, Murali outranks Rhodes, Mahmood outranks Robins, and the Ms have a sixth bowling option in Macartney. The Ms have a definite advantage: Ms 3.5, Rs 1.5.
THE Ms V THE Ss
Morris rates ahead of Strauss, but Sutcliffe, provenly a big occasion player has to be rated ahead of Merchant, and therefore say that the Ss have the better opening pair. G Smith at three wins the batting match up against Macartney, with the usual caveat not applying, since the Ss have Sobers in their ranks. S Smith at four comfortably outranks Mead, Sangakkara at five wins the batting match up against Miandad, though Marsh wins the keeping match up comfortably. Sobers is well clear of Miller with the bat, but the Aussie’s fast bowling is ahead of any of the opposition save Steyn. The Ms have the best single spinner in this contest in the person of Murali. The Ms pace attack is superb, but all are right arm bowlers, whereas with Starc and the quicker version of Sobers the Ss have two left arm pacers. The quick version of Sobers is arguably the Ss fifth pace/seam option behind Stokes, so they have more depth in this department than the Ms. This is a mighty contest, but I think the Ss just have the edge: Ms 2, Ss 3
THE Ms PROGRESS REPORT
The Ms have scored 18.5 of a possible 25 points today, moving them up to 73 out 90 points, 81.11% so far.
My usual sign off…