All Time XIs – Match Ups 38

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another.

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today sees the Is last four match ups, with that team currently on 11 out of 105 and then the Js take to the spotlight, of which more later. The T20 World Cup saw two cracking matches today – Sri Lanka won convincingly in the first match, and the India-Pakistan match was one of the most extraordinary matches ever seen. Pakistan scored 159-8 batting first, and India lost four early wickets in the reply before Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya shared an excellent partnership. In the closing stages Pakistan had a problem – they had one of their minor bowlers, Mohammad Nawaz with one over still to bowl, and gambled on bowling the fast bowlers through first and leaving him with the 20th over. When India needed 28 with eight balls remaining it looked to have worked, but Kohli hit sixes off the last two balls of the 19th and Nawaz had ‘only’ 16 to defend rather than 20+. Things went well for Nawaz initially and India needed 13 off the last three balls, and then calamity struck for Nawaz – he bowled a no-ball which was clouted for six, and then his next delivery was called wide and suddenly it was five needed off three balls. By the time the last ball was due to be bowled scores were level, and Ashwin, on strike, kept a cool head and took India across the line. Kohli, who had recovered from an awful start (12* off 21 balls) to finish on 82* was the only candidate for Player of the Match.

THE Is V THE Ws

The Ws win the batting match ups all the way down to number six, have the better skipper, absolutely dominate on the fast bowling front, and even outdo the Is in spin bowling, the latter’s strongest suit. There can be only one score: Is 0, Ws 5.

THE Is V THE Xs

The Is are for once ahead on batting, neither side has much pace bowling, though MaX Walker is the best single practitioner on either side, and the Is are a bit ahead on spin bowling. As against that BoX claims the keeping honours and less far below Imtiaz Ahmed in batting than the figures suggest – the best batter of BoX’s era, Fuller Pilch, averaged less than 20 in FC cricket. This is a tough one to call, but I think the presence of MaX Walker just swings it the way of the Xs – Is 2, Xs 3.

THE Is V THE Ys

The Is have the better opening pair, with T Iqbal the class act of the four players concerned. The Ys win the 3,4 and 5 slots. Iremonger at six outranks Yardley in both departments, S Yousuf wins the keeping honours by more than Imtiaz Ahmed wins the batting order. The Ys dominate the bowling, with even their pace attack outranking that of the Is and the spin attack being of similar standards. I think the Ys are winning this quite comfortably: Is 1, Ys 4.

THE Is V THE Zs

The Zs have marginally the stronger top six, but none of their front line bowlers can do anything significant with the bat. The Zs have the better new ball bowlers, the Is the better spinners. Illingworth rates higher as a skipper than Zaman. I think the all round skills of Iremonger and the higher standard of the Is spinners plus Illingworth’s captaincy swing it their way: Is 3, Zs 2.

THE Is FINAL RESULTS

The Is have scored 6 points out of 20 today and finish with 17 out of 125, 13.6% overall.

THE Js V THE Ks

The Js have 24.5 of a possible 45 points in the bank as they take the spotlight.

The Js have the better top three, the Ks are stronger batting wise in positions three through seven, but Jupp and Johnson partly compensate for that. The Ks have the better fast bowling, although the left arms of Johnson and Johnston give the Js extra variation. The Js with Jupp’s off spin, Jayasuriya and Johnston in his slower style have a better balance spin combo than the Ks. I think the Ks have this, but the Js are far from negligible: Js 2, Ks 3.

THE Js PROGRESS REPORT

The Js have 26.5 of a possible 55 points, 48.18%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 37

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another, plus a rather different picture gallery from usual.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today the Is occupy the spotlight and they start with a mere 10 out of a possible 80 points so far. The Super 12s stage of the men’s World T20 started today. The first game saw New Zealand thump hosts Australia by 89 runs (a monster margin in aT20), while in the second England won by five wickets over Afghanistan, with 11 balls to spare – a rather disappointing chase after a magnificent effort in the field restricted Afghanistan to 112 all out, headlined by Sam Curran taking 5-10.

THE Is V THE Rs

The Rs dominate the top batting positions – only Asif Iqbal at number five comes close to his opposite number, and ‘Ranji’ played on more difficult batting surfaces than Iqbal. The Is do have small batting advantages at six and seven, though Russell is the better keeper and Robins was a better skipper than Illingworth. The Rs powerful pace bowling unit absolutely obliterates such competition as the Is can offer in that department. The spin department is close – Illingworth outranks Robins, but as against that Rhodes, one of the all time legends of the game definitely outranks Ironmonger. There is simply no way the Is can put a dent in the Rs: Is 0, Rs 5.

THE Is V THE Ss

The Ss powerful batting line up absolutely dominates, arguably winning all 11 slots in that department. Imtiaz outranks Sangakkara as a keeper, the Ss utterly dominate in pace bowling, though the Is to win the spin bowling that can make no difference to the final result: Is 0, Ss 5.

THE Is V THE Ts

The Ts are way ahead on batting – only Imtiaz Ahmed and Illingworth at seven and eight can be said to win their match ups in this department. They also have by far the better keeper, and as usual dominate the pace bowling. Trumble and Tarrant are a decent match for Illingworth and Ironmonger spin wise. There is once again only one possible score: Is 0, Ts 5.

THE Is V THE Us

The opening pairs are closely matched – Ulyett’s runs, made in the very early days of test cricket would equate to only just less than Tamim Iqbal’s average today. The Us win the number four and five slots and the batting elements of no six and seven, though Imtiaz Ahmed wins the keeping laurels, and Iremonger offers more bowling than Umrigar, though not quite so much as Ulyett. The Us have the better new ball pairing, and Underwood outranks Ironmonger, though Ur Rahman hasn’t yet done enough to outrank Illingworth, though he probably will in the end. Neither of these sides are great with the bat, but the Us outgun the Is with the ball: Is 1, Us 4.

THE Is V THE Vs

The opening pairs are closely matched, the Vs own positions three through six, Imtiaz Ahmed outbats Vaas, but Vaas outbowls Iremonger as third seamer. Voce and Van der Bijl are by far the better new ball pairing, Verity outranks Ironmonger, and I would personally rate Vogler ahead of Illingworth, meaning that the Vs utterly dominate the bowling in all departments. Since they are also clearly ahead on batting, and captaincy and keeping skills are about even there can be only one scoreline: Is o, Vs 5.

THE Is PROGRESS REPORT

The Is managed one point of a possible 25 today and are now on 11 out of 105, 9.55% overall.

PICTURE GALLERY

Today’s picture gallery is something different from usual, and necessitates a disclaimer notice. In James and Sons’ October sale I got two lots very cheaply, a set of stamps celebrating the opening of the Moscow Metro and a set of Stamps marking the 250th anniversary of The Academy of Sciences. Both these sets of stamps, and the set of Moscow Metro I already owned were issued by regimes that I must stress I regard as absolutely appalling. Stalinist Russia was one of the nastiest of all dictatorships, and the laughably misnamed German Democratic Republic was also appalling. I purchased these stamps for their subject matter and in spite of my hatred for the regimes that produced them. For each of the two new lots I show the official auction images and some that I have produced now that the items are in my possession.

We start with the Scientists:

Now the Moscow Metro stuff…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 36

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. The Is occupy the spotlight, with 2.5 of a possible 55 points. Before getting to the main body of this post I pause to congratulate Ireland on a thumping nine-wicket win over the West Indies, a result which qualifies Ireland for the Super 12 stage of the T20 world cup and eliminates the West Indies.

THE Is V THE Ms

The Is have a small advantage in spin bowling, but the Ms are absolutely dominant everywhere else and there can be only one outcome: Is 0, Ms 5.

THE Is V THE Ns

The Is have a somewhat better batting line up than the Ns overall, the Ns have a much better pace attack, the Is have the better spinners. Nixon outranks Imtiaz in both departments, and I rate Noble a better captain than Illingworth. I think the Ns advantages in fast bowling and captaincy are the telling factors and score this Is 1.5, Ns 3.5.

THE Is V THE Os

Neither side is especially strong in batting, the Os have much the better pace bowling unit, a somewhat inferior spin attack, but much greater variation in their attack than the Is. The Os also have far the better keeper. I think the Os pace bowling settles the issue, but not by an emphatic margin: Is 2, Os 3.

THE Is V THE Ps

The Ps absolutely dominate in batting and pace bowling, have the better keeper and the better captain, and arguably win the spin bowling match ups as well – Prasanna definitely outranks Illingworth as an off spinner, while for all that the England selectors of the day treated him scurvily I would rate Parker ahead of Ironmonger as a left arm spinner. Thus I score this Is 0, Ps 5.

THE Is V THE Qs

The Is a stronger in batting than the Qs, and they do actually have a seam attack, albeit a modest one, whereas the Qs have one accredited seamer. The Qs have the better spin attack, but I expect the Is to win this one comfortably: Is 4, Qs 1.

THE Is PROGRESS REPORT

The Is have scored 7.5 of a possible 25 points today, putting them on 10 out of 80 so far, 12.5%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

This is a somewhat different photo gallery. Yesterday I had to attend Sawston Health Centre in deepest Cambridgeshire for a CT scan. This entailed a 15-20 minute walk to King’s Lynn station, train to Ely, second train to Whittlesford Parkway, 25-30 mins walk from Whittlesford to Sawston, and similar in reverse save that I changed trains at Cambridge North on the homeward journey as the service I boarded at Whittlesford terminated there. Most of the photographs were taken at various stages of that journey…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 28

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Gs are now in the spotlight.

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 another. Today the Gs take centre stage, with 20 of a possible 30 points banked against the teams who are alphabetically ahead of them.

THE Gs V THE Hs

The Hs are one of the few teams to have a better opening pair than the Gs. George Headley is also the better number three, though not by as much as raw figures suggest – Grace was already 32 when he made his test debut and almost 51 by the end of his test career, and an average of 32 in that era is worth about 48 in later times when surfaces were by and large better for batting than in the Victorian era. Grace also outranks Hutton as a skipper. Hammond and M Hussey clearly outpoint Gower and Graveney. Gilchrist and Hendren is a draw batting wise, but the presence of Gilchrist at six indicates where the Gs strengths lie – their range of bowling options. Healy loses his batting match up against Gregory but wins the keeping match up against Gilchrist. Hadlee and Holding are a better new ball combo than Garner and Geary, but Gregory is a much better third seamer than Hammond who would play that role for the Hs. The Gs are clear of the Hs in the spin department, having the two best spinners in these squads. The Hs are stronger in batting and keeping, about even in fast bowling, behind in captaincy and way adrift in spin bowling. I don’t think that the Hs one definite advantage, in batting, will make up for the greater depth and variety of the Gs bowling (any attack in which Grace ranks sixth is exceptionally strong) and I also expect Grace’s superior captaincy to make itself felt. This is a titanic contest which I have the Gs shading – Gs 3, Hs 2.

THE Gs V THE Is

The Gs boss the batting, winning every match up in that department down to number seven. Wicket keeping honours are shared, with Gilchrist much the better batter. While acknowledging that Illingworth was a fine skipper I rate Grace ahead of him in that capacity. The Gs utterly dominate in pace bowling, and have the better spin attack though by less of a margin. This can have only one outcome: Gs 5, Is 0.

THE Gs V THE Js

The Gs have the better opening pair without doubt. As I indicated in the match up with the Hs Grace’s average equates to about 48 in more recent times, including the era when D Jones batted, and he started his test career at an older age than would be ideal, so I give the Gs the number three slot as well. The Js win the number four and five slots, and FS Jackson and Grace is a clash of the titans captaincy wise. Gilchrist wins the batting element of the keepers match up though by less than the raw figures suggest, while A Jones is clear as keeper. Gregory outpoints Jessop. The Gs comfortably win the spin bowling – Gibbs rates above Jupp, and Grimmett is miles clear of Jayasuriya, and not even the spin element of Johnston’s bowling can close the gap. Pace bowling is close – the Js trio are 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the averages, with the Gs 1st, 5th and 6th. I think the Gs top order will make a better fist of handling the left arm rockets from Mitchell Johnson than the Js do of handling the awkward problem in ┬úD geometry posed by Garner’s extreme height. If it reverse swings at any point S Jones would be particularly dangerous. I think the Gs are winning this with a degree of comfort and score it Gs 4, Js 1.

THE Gs V THE Ks

The Gs definitely have the better opening pair. I also give them the number three slot for reasons already explained, while Grace v I Khan is another clash of the titans captaincy wise. The Ks win the number four and five slots, though Gower’s left handedness (improving the balance of the batting order) and the more difficult conditions in which Graveney batted reduce the margins of superiority. Gilchrist is streets clear of Kirmani with the bat, but the Indian was the finer keeper. Imran Khan beats Gregory in both departments. Personally although neither got play test cricket (King was a USian – the best player that country has ever produced, while Kortright was in his prime during a very strong era for English cricket) I rate the Ks two specialist fast bowlers ahead of Garner and Geary, and also award King the number eight batting match up. The Gs spinners are better balance, being an off spinner and a leg spinner, which I think is enough to give them that department. I cannot pick a winner of this one: Gs 2.5, Ks 2.5.

THE Gs V THE Ls

I think the Gs have the better opening combo (Labuschagne is playing out of position for the Ls), but the Ls win the number three slot (albeit by much less than the raw figures suggest). The Ls also win the number four and five slots. Gilchrist comfortably wins the keepers match up against Langley, the Ls have the better pace trio, but the Gs have the better spinners, Grimmett outperforming James Langridge more than Laker outperforms Gibbs. I just give this one to the Gs – Gs 3, Ls 2.

THE Gs SO FAR

The Gs have scored 17.5 out of 25 today, putting them on 37.5 out of 55 so far, 68.18% at the moment.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 24

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Pictures from Heritage Open Day.

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. The Fs take their place in the spotlight today, with 16.5 of a possible 25 points already banked. This post also comes with a two part picture gallery.

THE Fs V THE Gs

The Gs have the better opening pair, but not by as =much as raw figures make it look: Fredericks was left handed whereas both Gs openers are right handed, and also Fry’s average of 32 on early 20th century pitches is would equate to considerably more on modern pitches. Conversely Flower at number three outranks Grace the batter by a lot less than the figures suggest, and Grace also offers a genuine bowling option. Gower outranks Fletcher, but the difference in batting averages between Faulkner and Graveney is more than made up for by the different pitches they played on and the fact that Faulkner provides a bowling option. Gilchrist hugely outbats Foakes, though Foakes wins the keeping side of their match up. Fender and Grace were two of the greatest captains to feature in this series, and I just award Fender the laurels in this epic match up. The Fs have the better pace attack – of the Gs three pacers only Garner would merit a place in the Fs XI. George Freeman retired in 1875, to concentrate on his auctioneering business, and although he would undoubtedly have paid more per wicket on modern surfaces he would still have been utterly outstanding. Ferris’ test bowling average of 12.70 converts on my rough and ready scheme for Victorian to modern to someone averaging 19.05 today, while Foster the third seamer clearly outranks Gregory as a bowler. While Grimmett and Gibbs rank as the two best spinners in this contest, Flowers, Fender and Faulkner are a trio of genuinely front line options. The Gs do of course have Grace as their own extra bowling option. This is an epic contest, but I think the pace bowling resources of the Fs plus Fender’s captaincy tip the scales their way: Fs 3, Gs 2.

THE Fs V THE Hs

The Hs dominate the batting, winning every match up down to number eight in the order. However, the Fs have a massive advantage in the bowling department, with Hammond the H’s only back up bowler behind the front four. Holding and Hadlee might be a fair match for Freeman and Ferris, although Ferris’ left arm gives the Fs an extra point of difference, but Hammond the bowler is miles behind Foster. While I would give Harmer the verdict over Flowers, Fender and Faulkner both probably outrank Herath. Bowlers win more than batters, so I score this one Fs 3.5, Hs 1.5.

THE Fs V THE Is

This is a non-contest with the Fs dominating the batting, having the better skipper, the better keeper, far the better pace attack, being outpointed only in the spin department, and that not by nearly enough to affect the outcome: Fs 5, Is 0.

THE Fs V THE Js

The Fs have a clear advantage in this one as well, but less so than in the previous case. No team with the mercurial talents of Jayasuriya, Jessop and Mitchell Johnson available can be completely dismissed, so I score this Fs 4, Js 1.

THE Fs V THE Ks

The Ks have the edge in batting, and they like the Fs have six authentic bowling options. The Fs are ahead in spin bowling with R Khan and Kumble both being leg spinners, whereas the Fs have an off spinner as well as their two leggies. The front line pace trios are very hard to separate, although all three of the Ks speedsters bowl right handed, so they lose on lack of variation. Kallis is his side’s sixth bowler, and I rate him less valuable to the cause in that department than Faulkner, his equivalent. There is very little between the captains, two of the best ever in that role. I think the slightly more varied bowling attack will just be enough for the Fs – Fs 3, Ks 2.

THE Fs PROGRESS REPORT

The Fs scored 18.5 of a possible 25 points today, putting them on 35 out of 50 so far, 70%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Part one of today’s photographic selection features pictures taken while stewarding at Greenland Fishery during yesterday’s rescheduled Heritage Open Day (should have been the 11th, but the death of a ludicrously over privileged old lady necessitated a postponement and yesterday was the new day chosen. A number of stewards were not available for the new date, hence some of us being relocated (I was originally due to be at the Red Mount Chapel).

Part two of the photo gallery is some of my more typical photography….

All Time XIs – Match Ups 20

Continuing my analysis of how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my series analysing how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. It is a few days since I last blogged – a combination of work, volunteering and a family get together in the lake district have swallowed all my time over the last few days. The Es XI currently occupy the spotlight and they have 9 of a possible 25 points going into this post.

THE Es V THE Gs

The Gs have the stronger opening pair. Bill Edrich and Grace are both ill served by their test records, Edrich because he lost six of his prime years to WWII and Grace because he was already 32 by the time he got the opportunity to play at test level, and because test pitches were a lot less easy to bat on than they are these days. I give the verdict to Grace. Gower and Graveney clearly outpoint G Emmett and Edwards. Gilchrist wins the batting part of his match up handsomely, but Evans was the finer keeper, though not by enough to make up for the batting gulf. Endean is outbatted by Jack Gregory, and Gregory is undoubtedly clear of Bill Edrich as a bowling option. The Gs undoubtedly also have the better bowling unit as a whole, though T Emmett’s left arm gives the Es extra variety. The Gs are a long way ahead: Es 1, Gs 4.

THE Es V THE Hs

The Hs dominate this one completely. Es 0, Hs 5.

THE Es V THE Is

The Es have much the better batting, with only Iredale and Imtiaz Ahmed clearly winning their match ups for the Is in that area. Tom Emmett and Gideon Elliott have to be considered miles better than Islam and Ireland as a new ball pairing, and while Ironmonger ranks first among the slower bowlers in this contest, for my money Illingworth ranks fourth. I score this one Es 4, Is 1.

THE Es V THE Js

The Js have the better opening contest, especially given that they have a right/ left combo, compared to the Es two left handers. The Js absolutely boss the 3,4 and 5 slots. They also bat deeper than the Es, with Johnson having a test ton to his name. The Js also have greater bowling depth. Es 1, Js 4.

THE Es V THE Ks

Barring the opening pair, where the Es have a small advantage, the Ks boss this one. The Es have two redeeming features bowling wise: only they have left arm pace, with T Emmett, and their slower bowlers, Ecclestone and Evans are a more varied combination than R Khan and Kumble. As against that the Es barely even have five bowling options (after their front four Bill Edrich is the best remaining option), while the Ks have Kallis as a SIXTH bowling option should their front five be struggling. Es 0, Ks 5.

THE Es SO FAR

The Es have scored six of a possible 25 points today, moving them up to 15 of a possible 50, 30%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Today’s gallery includes some shots from King’s Lynn and some I took while travelling north on Saturday…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 16

Continuijng my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Also some of my photographs.

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ds are in the spotlight today, coming into the day with 15 out of a possible 30 points.

THE Ds V THE Hs

The Hs are much stronger in batting. They also have to given the captaincy palm, while Healy was the better keeper, though Dujon’s superior batting somewhat compensates for that. The Ds are ahead on seam/ pace bowling, with Hammond third seamer for the Hs, but the Hs are far better equipped with spinners. I don’t think the Ds seam/ pace attack is quite sufficient to compensate for their obvious disadvantages in this contest and score it Ds 2, Hs 3.

THE Ds V THE Is

The Ds are massively ahead in batting and pace bowling, Dujon beats Imtiaz in both departments, while the Is are way ahead in the spin department. The Is spin superiority may win them one match, but even that is no certainty: Ds 4.5, Is 0.5.

THE Ds V THE Js

The Ds win the batting, though by less than the figures suggest. The Js win on captaincy, keeping and spin bowling, though the Ds are ahead on front line seam/ pace options, though this is slightly mitigated by the Js having Jessop as a back up option. I award this one to the Js: Ds 2 Js 3.

THE Ds V THE Ks

This is close on batting, the Ks have the better keeper and the better skipper (by far), the Ks pace trio is maybe marginally behind the Ds, but they have Kallis as 4th seamer to compensate for that. R Khan and Kumble give the Ks a definite advantage in spin bowling. The Ds are losing this one heavily: Ds 0.5, Ks 4.5.

THE Ds V THE Ls

Lawry comfortably beats Dent at number one, Dempster also wins vs Labuschagne, especially given that the latter is batting out of position. The number three slot features a clash of titans. I give the verdict to Dravid just about, on two grounds: 1) Dravid scored more total runs and 2)Lara’s two biggest test knocks both came on exceedingly flat decks in Antigua in games that England quite comfortably drew. Donnelly and Duleepsinhji have better averages than their opposite numbers, but much smaller sample sizes to achieve those numbers. D’Oliveira beats Langridge with the bat, while Dennett outranks Langridge as a left arm spinner. Dujon has Langley covered in both departments. Lillee, Lindwall and Lohmann outrank Davidson, Daniel and Donald as a pace/ seam trio, and Laker’s off spin is far more of an asset to his side than D’Oliveira’s medium pace is to his side. The Ls also have one of the greatest of all skippers, while the Ds are led by someone who never captained in actual life. Thus I score this one Ds 0 Ls 5.

THE Ds PROGRESS UPDATE

Even with one huge win the Ds have not had a great day, scoring just nine off a possible 25 points, which puts them overall on 24 out of a possible 55, 43.64%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (11)

Welcome to the next post in my series analysing how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Cs XI currently occupy the hot seat, and they enter this post on 3.5 out of 15 points.

THE Cs V THE Es

The Cs are ahead in each of the top five batting positions, though Elgar and J Edrich aren’t out of position whereas Cowdrey and Chanderpaul are. Also Bill Edrich lost six prime years to WWII, so Chappelli’s advantage over him the bat is slightly illusory. Endean outbats Constantine but doesn’t bowl. Evans is marginally behind Carter with the bat, but compensates by being the finer keeper. Tom Emmett and Gideon Elliott look capable of matching Cummins and Croft, and Emmett’s left arm is an extra point of variation. Edwin Evans beats Cornwall with the ball, while Ecclestone against Chandrasekhar is a close contest. The Cs have better back up bowling options, with Constantine, Compton, Chanderpaul and G Chappell all capable of offering something, whereas only Bill Edrich is remotely close to being a back up bowling option for the Es. This is a close contest, but I think the Es superiority in front line bowling is just enough: Cs 2, Es 3.

THE Cs V THE Fs

The Cs have the edge in batting, although the Fs extra depth in that department narrows the gap. The Fs are dominant in bowling – Ferris, Foster and Freeman are all arguably superior to any of the Cs pacers, and whoever out of Foster or Ferris ends up third seamer knocks Constantine out of the park in that department. Similarly, the Fs three front line spin options, Faulkner, Fender and Flowers are all better than Cornwall, with Faulkner and Flowers both clearly also ahead of Chandrasekhar. For all their marginal batting advantage there are no circumstances in which I can envisage the Cs having the advantage, and Fender is one of the few skippers not to lose that contest to Chappelli. I score this one Cs 1, Fs 4.

THE Cs V THE Gs

The opening pairs are apparently closely matched, but Gavaskar and Greenidge are in their natural positions, while Chanderpaul and Cowdrey are not. Similar Chappelli at three is not as well placed over Grace as the figures make it look – Grace came late to test cricket – 32 when he made his debut, almost 51 when he finally retired, and that batting average of 32 is worth at least half as much again in more modern times. Plus he provides a bowling option. The Cs win the number four and five slots. However Gilchrist knocks the spots off Carter with the bat, though the latter was probably the better keeper. Gregory outpoints Constantine in the battle of the fast bowling all rounders. Geary and Garner are a little behind Croft and Cummins as a pair, but not significantly so. Grimmett outpoints Chandrasekhar, and from a bowling point of view Gibbs is the proverbial country mile clear of fellow West Indian Cornwall. The Gs are definitely ahead in terms of the front five bowlers, and their sixth option, WG Grace, outpoints at least two of the Cs front five as well. The Gs have a significant advantage, and a skipper who will certainly stand up to opposite number Chappelli. Not even Chappelli can salvage anything for the Cs from this one: Cs 0, Gs 5.

THE Cs V THE Hs

The Hs win the first four batting positions, G Chappell just having the edge on compatriot Hussey at no 5. Hendren is far superior with the bat to Constantine, while Healy clearly beats Carter. Hadlee and Holding at least match Cummins and Croft, Harmer and Herath beat Cornwall and Chandrasekhar. The Cs have the better fifth bowler, Constantine outdoing Hammond in that department. The Cs extra bowling depth does not make up for their lack of front line strength or for the fact that they are badly outgunned with the bat: Cs 0, Hs 5.

THE Cs V THE Is

The Cs boss the first five batting positions, , though the Is win the next three. Bowling wise the Is win on spinners, but lose heavily in the pace department – Iremonger may rate as a better third seamer than Constantine, but the new ball pairing does not compare to Cummins and Croft. I score this as Cs 4, Is 1.

Cs PROGRESS REPORT

Even with four points in the final match up the Cs have scored just seven points out of 25 today, moving them on to 10.5 out of 40, 26.25% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (2)

Continuing my analysis of how I see the all time XIs I created for each letter of the alphabet faring against on another.

Yesterday I started the long process of analyzing how my teams for each letter of the alphabet measure up against each other. In that post I have covered the As XI against Bs, Cs, Ds, Es and Fs. At that stage the As rated at 13.5 out of 25. We pick up where we left off.

THE As V THE Gs

The Gs have substantial advantages batting wise in positions 1 and 6, a theoretical disadvantage in position 3 and are otherwise about even down to number seven. WG Grace’s test batting average of 32.29 has to be looked at a) with regard to the fact that he was 32 when his career at that level began and almost 51 when it ended and b) with regard to the fact that he played on some pretty ropey pitches. I would thus say that he should be regarded as at minimum Babar Azam’s equal in that department. In bowling the Gs have a very clear advantage, with their sixth best bowler by average, Gregory, marginally better than the As fifth best, Shakib Al Hasan. I also have to say that I reckon that WG has to be considered a better skipper than Shakib Al Hasan. I would score this one as Gs 4, As 1.

THE As V THE Hs

The question here is whether the Hs can make their massive batting advantage tell, when their bowling is weaker than the As. With Hammond prospective third seamer for them, they probably need a turner, when their spinners Harmer and Herath are probably a stronger pair than Ashwin and Al Hasan – Ashwin may be better than Harmer, though it is far from conclusive, but Herath is unquestionably superior to Al Hasan as a bowler. For all the greatness of Hadlee and Holding, they are outnumbered by Akram. Ambrose and Anderson, and the first named of the trio is left handed to add a point of variation. I think that anywhere other than India or Sri Lanka the As would be able to make their pace bowling advantage count, and I score this one As 3, Hs 2.

THE As V THE Is

The As have a huge advantage in batting and in seam bowling, additionally, Ashwin’s clear superiority as an off spinner over Illingworth counter balances Ironmonger’s advantage over Al Hasan as a bowler. Finally, the tail end of the Is is very weak batting wise – Anderson would bat above any of Islam, Ireland or Ironmonger. This is a colossal mismatch in favour of team A, and I accordingly score it As 5 Is 0.

THE As V THE Js

Down to number five the Js win every batting match up. They also have an ‘X factor’ player in Jessop, a great captain in Stanley Jackson. In bowling the Js have greater depth, but the As have more frontline strength. I consider the As to have a definite advantage overall, courtesy of their stellar bowling line up, but not enough to score it at 4-1. Final verdict: As 3.5, Js 1.5.

THE As V THE Ks

Positions 1-3 are fairly even between these two teams, but the Ks boss positions four and five, and while Shakib Al Hasan has a slightly better batting average than his rival skipper, Imran Khan’s bowling average blows Al Hasan’s out of the water. Ames has a better batting record than Kirmani, but the Indian was probably the finer keeper. Charles Kortright, Bart King and Imran Khan are a faster trio than Akram, Ambrose and Anderson, though don’t include a left armer in their number. The contrasting pair of leg spinners, Kumble and Rashid Khan probably give the Ks the edge in the spin department, and they also have the luxury of having Kallis available as sixth bowler. Finally, whereas the As who two genuine tail enders in Ambrose and Anderson, the Ks bat literally all the way down, with the no11 having two first class hundreds. I award the Ks a substantial advantage, my final score being As 1, Ks 4.

As STATS UPDATED

In the end, with two heavy defeats, one overwhelming win and two respectable wins in these five matches the As score another 13.5 points, now having 27 out of a possible 50 and still being on 54%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter I

Continuing my exploration of the all-time XI theme with a look at the letter I.

I continue my all time XIs theme with a look at the letter I. The letter I is problematic the opposite reason to the letter H, but I think I have still assembled a respectable side.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

  1. Khalid Ibadulla (Warwickshire, Pakistan). He scored 166 on test debut. After his playing days were done he became a distinguished coach – it was he he first spotted the talent of Glenn Turner of New Zealand, and it was at his urging that the Kiwi secured a county contract.
  2. Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh). The classiest batter his country has yet produced. His test average is just below 40, but that has been achieved without having an opening partner of similar class and with Bangladesh often facing big opposition totals.
  3. Colin Ingram (South Africa). A rare non test player in one of these XIs. His first class record is respectable, his list A record outstanding.
  4. Frank Iredale (Australia). Played in the late 19th century when pitches were often poor. His test batting average (36.68) is three runs an innings better than his first class average.
  5. Asif Iqbal (Kent, Pakistan). A middle order batter with a test average of 38.75 and an occasional medium pacer. His finest hour came in losing cause, when he came in with the score 53-7 and proceeded to score 146 out of 202, sharing a ninth wicket stand of 190 with Intikhab Alam.
  6. James Iremonger (Nottinghamshire). No test caps, but a stalwart for Nottinghamshire for many years. An all rounder who bowled medium pace he scored 16,622 FC runs at 35.06 with an HS of 272 and took 619 wickets at 22.97, with a BBI of 8-21. He subsequently became coach of the county he had played for, being responsible among others for the development of Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.
  7. +Imtiaz Ahmed (Pakistan). A fine keeper batter, with a test match 209 to his credit in the latter department.
  8. *Ray Illingworth (Yorkshire, Leicestershire, England). An off spinning all rounder, one of the select few to have scored 20,000 FC runs and taken 2,000 FC wickets, also a very shrewd captain (reclaiming the Ashes in 1970-1 – the only post war England captain to have travelled to Australia without the urn and returned with it – Hutton, Brearley, Gatting and Strauss all retained the Ashes down under).
  9. Shoriful Islam (Bangladesh). Very little test experience, but his record in ODIs and T20Is is excellent, and finding pacers of anything approaching the requisite standard was difficult.
  10. Anthony Ireland (Gloucestershire, Zimbabwe). The only other new ball bowler of remotely sufficient standard I could find to partner Shoriful Islam.
  11. Bert ‘Dainty’ Ironmonger (Australia). A rarity – an unquestionably world class Australian left arm orthodox spinner. 74 test wickets at 17.97, 464 FC wickets at 21.50.

This team has a reasonably deep batting order, with all down to Illingworth at number eight capable of making significant contributions in this department. The bowling is less pretty, with the weakest new ball combo I have yet selected, Iremonger’s medium pace the principal back up seam option, and spinners Illingworth and Ironmonger likely to have to shoulder a heavy workload

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Even with a weak letter like this one some have to miss out. Doug Insole might have had a middle order batting slot, but his test record was less good than Iredale. Jack Iddon was a good all rounder for Lancashire in his day, and another Lancastrian, Jack Ikin, might have had a middle order slot. Jack Iverson missed out, because his almost exclusive reliance on the googly makes him basically an off spinner, and Illingworth’s all round skills and captaincy got him that slot. Manzural Islam (Bangladesh) might have become a great all rounder had he not been killed in a car crash. Finally, two Indians, batter Shreyas Iyer and all rounder Venkatesh Iyer may claim their places in this squad in the next few years, although the former needs to work on how he plays the short ball – at the moment an encounter between him and Mitchell Starc on a bouncy Perth track would be be brief and brutal.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…