All Time XIs – Gloucestershire

The next in my series of “All time XI’ posts, this time looking at Gloucestershire.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the continuation of my all-time XIs series that I started with my previous post on here. I started with Surrey, having grown up in south London. I am now moving west to the county of my birth, Gloucestershire.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL TIME XI

  1. *W G Grace – his record was quite simply astonishing, and he was in many ways the creator of modern cricket. His apparently moderate test record is redeemed by the fact that he was 32 when he made is debut in the first test match on English soil in 1880 and almost 51 when he bowed after the opening match of the 1899 series at Trent Bridge. Gloucestershire was named as Champion County in 1876 and 1877 when he was in his prime. He is the first name on the team sheet for a Gloucetsershire all-time XI not just in terms of his place in the batting order, but in terms of selection.
  2. Charlie Barnett – an attack minded opener, who in the Trent Bridge test match of 1938 was 98 not out by lunch on the first day (yes, he did complete that ton).
  3. Tom Graveney – over 47,000 runs and 126 centuries in first class cricket, and apparently an incredibly stylish player as well. I have a set a rule for this series that I will pick a player for only one county, so although in the latter part of his career he played there Graveney will not feature in my Worcestershire XI (note to the proprietor of the fulltoss blog I have already selected this squad).
  4. Walter Hammond – the third leading all-time scorer of first class centuries, with 167 in all, of which 36 were doubles, including four triples. In 1927 after missing a whole season due to illness he came out and scored over 1,000 runs in May, starting that season on May 7th and reaching his 1,000th run on May 28th. In the winter of 1928-9 he was the batting star of the Ashes series, racking up 905 runs at 113.125 including 251 at Sydney, 200 not out at Melbourne and twin tons at Adelaide.
  5. Charles Townsend – a middle order batter and leg spin bowler who in 1899 became only the second first-class cricketer after W G Grace to score 2,000 runs and take 100 wickets in the same season, also the first half of the first father and son pair to both represent England.
  6. Gilbert Jessop – the most consistently aggressive and fast scoring batter ever (see this post – and bear in mind that for almost his whole career a ball had to be sent out of the ground to count six), an intelligent pace bowler (in 1900 he emulated Grace and Townsend by scoring 2,000 runs and taking 100 wickets in a first class season) and a fielder who was reckoned to be worth at least 30 runs an innings to his side in that department.
  7. Mike Procter – attacking middle order bat and superb fast bowler, my choice as overseas player.
  8. +Jack Russell – a brilliant wicket keeper, and the sight of him coming in at no 8 after the top seven above would not be a welcome one to any opposition bowlers. He was one of two English cricketers whose stocks unequivocally rose during the disastrous 1989 Ashes, Robin Smith being the other.
  9. David Lawrence – a genuinely fast bowler whose England chances were spoiled by injury and the fact that the selectors of the day were always too cowardly to select him and Devon Malcolm in the same side
  10. Charlie Parker – a slow left armer who took more first class wickets than anyone other than Freeman (3,776) and Rhodes (4,187). He did the hat trick six times in first class cricket, including a spell in his benefit match when he hit the stumps five times in succession, but the second was called no-ball.
  11. Tom Goddard – the leading first class wicket taker among off spinners, with 2,979 scalps in his career (5th all-time). He started as a fast bowler, and indeed took a hat trick in that style, before deciding that he did not enough of a future with that style, and remodelling himself as an off-spinner.

Probably unluckiest of all those who missed out was Reg Sinfield, a top order batter and off spinner, who would certainly by 12th man for me. Also slow left armer George Dennett who took over 2,000 first class wickets without ever gaining international recognition. Arthur Milton, Martin Young and Bill Athey all got to bat for England in their day. Courtney Walsh was also a possible overseas player, but I am limiting myself to one overseas player per XI, and I think that the multi-dimensional Procter has a clear advantage over genuine no11 Walsh. However my chosen combo has an awesome balance – Procter and Lawrence to take the new ball, with very good back up seam bowling options in the form of Jessop and Hammond, a spinner of each type and of course W G himself, making eight genuine bowling options, and the batting is also very strong, with seven definitely recognized batters plus Russell at 8.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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However superstitious you might be there is no need to worry about duck pictures in a cricket post this time – any resumption of live cricket is definitely some time away.

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100 Cricketers – The Seventh XI Numbers 3,4 and 5

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring numbers 3,4 and 5 in my seventh XI. Also contains some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, delayed as it has been by cirucmstances (see here for more details). The introductory post to this series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the seventh XI here, and the most recent post in the series here

RICKY PONTING

13,378 test runs at 51.85 and 13,704 ODI runs at 42.03 are testament to Ricky Ponting’s outstanding quality as a batter. His first ashes hundred came as long ago as 1997, when he scored 127 at Headingley in a match in which England were absolutely marmalised. At Old Trafford in 2005 his 156 saved Australia when they looked certain to lose and go 2-1 down in the series, although the way in which Ponting and team then celebrated that result miade it clear who was now on top, and although there were some nervy moments are Trent Bridge in particular, and also on the final day at The Oval the position never really changed in that series. A crushing revenge was eaxcted in 2006-7, featuring huge scores in the first two matches from Ponting himself, but in 2009 he did little as England again won the series, and in Australia in 2010-11 he had his worst ever series as a batter, with his only score of anything approaching substance being 51 not out at The Gabba when the match had long since been settled as a draw (England 517-1 declared in the second innings). At The MCG after Australia had mustered a beggarly 98 on the opening day he suffered a horrendous on-field meltdown during the England innings over an umpiring decision that was clearly a correct call in any case. This incidcent ended up costing him an amount of money that would have meant nothing to him and no ban of any description. When he took over from Steve Waugh and still had some of the great players who had helped Australia dominate world cricket for a decade he fared well as captain, but as they departed the scene and replacements had to be found cracks appeared that he was able to do nothing. The 2010-11 Ashes was the nadir for Ponting the captain, with two innings defeats on his watch ensuring that England retained the ashes, and his stand-in (he was injured) at Sydney, Michael Clarke oversaw a third loss by an innings to ensure that the series scoreline was a fair reflection of the balance of power. This, and a few other things, such as the Gary Pratt incident at Trent Bridge (when after being run out Ponting made a prat of himself over the fact that it was a sub who had accounted for him) in 2005 and his decision not to go for an eminently chaseable looking 330 off 84 overs at Adelaide in 2009 (I was there and was fully expecting a decent finish), are why although he commands a place in one of XIs for his batting (and how!) I do not even consider him for captaincy honours and have sought to make the position crystal clear by going to the extent of naming a vice-captain for this XI as I have not for others. Here is the Pratt incident:

HASHIM AMLA

9,282 test runs at 46.64 and 7,910 ODI runs at 49.74, the former aggregate including the only international triple century by a South African are impressive testament to both his skill and his appetite for batting. A solid rather than spectacular player, he gives us a nicely balanced top four, with Haynes and himself as stickers and Greenidge and Ponting more inclined to attack. 

HEATHER KNIGHT – VICE CAPTAIN

She has only played in six test matches (358 runs at 32.54, with a highest score of 157, made when England badly needed it, and 1 wicket for 40 runs), but she has a very respectable ODI record (92 matches, 2,503 runs at 37,35, HS 106, and 44 wickets at 25.02 with a best of 5-26). It is her batting that earns her selection, but her bowling is a legimate sixth option for this XI. Once I had decided that for this XI I was going to name a vice-captain the only question was which way round it would be between her and Imran Khan, who we will look at in the next post in this series. Heather Knight had a tough act to follow in Charlotte Edwards (see this post for more details) and has done a magnificent job, including leading her team to a world cup triumph (something England’s men have yet to achieve) and achieving many other fine victories, but I think that Imran, also a world-cup winning captain had the tougher task in having to bind together a Pakistan team who were riven by factions, and so I have made him captain and Heather Knight vice-captain.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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A couple of bird pics to start.

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This was a misfire that I decided was rescuable (I cannot remember what, if anything, I was trying to photograph)
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This is the first of a series of pictures from “Croucher”, Gerald Brodribb’s biography of Gilbert Jessop)

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The remaining pictures come from Simon Rae’s biography of W G Grace.

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