All Time XIs – Match Ups 53

Welcome to the latest instalment of my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today the Os are in the spotlight, and they start the day on 13.5 points out of a possible 75.

THE Os V THE Qs

The Qs have the better opening pair, given that Oldroyd is out of position, and they also clearly win the number three slot. O’Neill is massively clear of Walter Quaife at four, Odumbe outdoes Quinton in both departments at number five. Quinlan wins the batting element of the match up at six, but O’Riordan was a much better bowler. Oldfield is miles clear of Bernard Quaife. While Old and Olivier are a long way from being the best new ball pairing in this series, the Qs have only one recognized new ball bowler, Quinn. The Os have the best spinner on either side in O’Reilly, but Qasim and Qais Ahmad are probably better support options than Ojha and Odumbe. I think that the Os massive advantage in the pace/seam bowling department settles this one, but it is not an utter rout: Os 3.5, Qs 1.5

THE Os V THE Rs

The Rs totally dominate the batting, winning every match up down to number seven in that department. The Rs also have the better captain, while the keeping match up is a clash of titans. The Rs have the better pace trio, but O’Riordan’s left arm slightly reduces the difference as it gives the Os more variety. Rhodes is miles clear of Ojha as a left arm orthodox spinner, but O’Reilly is well clear of Robins as a leg spinner, and the Os have a third genuine spin option in Odumbe, whereas the Rs next best spin options after their front two would be between The Richardses and Root, so the Os are a little better in that department overall. The Rs advantages in batting, captaincy and pace/ seam bowling should be enough that their only disadvantage, in spin bowling, does not unduly damage them. I score this one Os 1, Rs 4.

THE Os V THE Ss

The Ss dominate the batting and are also streets clear in fast bowling and have to be given the captaincy match up as well. The Os have the better keeper and the better spin attack, though not massively so. This is a clear cut win for the Ss, but not quite a whitewash: Os 1, Ss 4.

THE Os V THE Ts

The Ts win every batting match up down to number six, lose the batting element of the keepers match up. The Ts also have the finer pace attack, and while O’Reilly outranks Trumble (he bowled on more batting friendly surfaces than Trumble) Tarrant outranks Ojha by a greater margin and Odumbe’s presence is not enough to influence this contest in the Os favour. The Ts also have to given the captaincy match up, while the keeping honours are split. There can be only one score: Os 0, Ts 5.

THE Os V THE Us

The Os have the better opening pair, the Us win the batting match ups from 3-7 inclusive, although their only bowling option in this slots, Umrigar, is outranked by both Odumbe and O’Riordan, and Umar Akmal massively loses the keeping match up. The Os claim pace bowling honours – Umran Malik is unproven and Umar Gul fairly ordinary, and O’Riordan’s left handedness lends them extra variety, though the right armed George Ulyett is of comparable stature as a bowler. O’Reilly outranks Ur Rahman, Underwood outranks Ojha, Odumbe monsters Umrigar in the bowling stakes, so I award spin bowling honours to the Os as well. The Us are better in batting and captaincy, but outclassed everywhere else. I will allow their strong batting to make its presence felt in the contest, but this is a clear win for the Os: Os 4, Us 1.

THE Os PROGRESS REPORT

The Os have scored 9.5 points out of 25 today and now have 28 points out of a possible 100, 28% overall.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 52

Continuing my extended 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 extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet. This post marks the fourth-fifths of the way point in the analysis part of this series, after which there will be a grand finale post presenting all 26 XIs in reverse ranking order. Today sees the end of the Ns, who so far have 22 of a possible 105 points and ushers the Os into the spotlight, with 12.5 of a possible 70 points to their credit.

THE Ns V THE Ws

The Ws dominate in departments and there can be only one scoreline: Ns 0, Ws 5.

THE Ns V THE Xs

The Ns have better batting, better pace bowling and a better captain. The Xs have the better keeper and the better spin bowling. I expect the Ns to win this but not in a whitewash: Ns 4, Xs 1.

THE Ns V THE Ys

The Ns have the better opening pair, the Ys win at number three and draw at number four, and win at number five. Noble wins the batting match up at number six, but P Yadav is comfortably the better bowler. Nixon undoubtedly outranks S Yousuf with both bat and gloves. The Ns are dominant in pace/ seam bowling, with their fourth option in that department, Nichols, outranking the Ys second, U Yadav. The Ys definitely have the better spin attack – Young outpoints Nadeem by even more than P Yadav outpoints Noble. This is close in batting, and the question is whether the Ns pacers or the Ys spinners have the bigger advantage over their opposite number. I just give this to the Ns: Ns 3, Ys 2.

THE Ns V THE Zs

The Ns are well ahead on batting, have the better captain, the better keeper and the better pace/ seam bowlers. The Zs have slightly the better spinners, and I will allow them one big day out: Ns 4, Zs 1.E

THE Ns FINAL TALLY

The Ns have scored 11 of a possible 20 points today, to finish on 33 out of 125, 26.4%.

THE Os V THE Ps

The Ps absolutely boss the batting, winning every match up, a number of them by huge margins. Oldfield rates above Pant as a keeper. Procter wins the battle of the all rounders in both departments, though O’Riordan’s left arm does give the Os extra variation. S Pollock is clear of Old and P Pollock at least matches Olivier. Prasanna is about even with Ojha, but the Os also have Odumbe, and O’Reilly outranks Parker. I think that the Ps colossal advantage in batting and obvious advantage in pace/ seam bowling, plus the fact that they have the superior captain more than compensate for their disadvantages on the keeping and spin bowling fronts, though I will as usual in these cases allow the Os spinners one big day out: Os 1, Ps 4.

THE Os PROGRESS REPORT

The Os have 13.5 points out of a possible 75, exactly 18% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 33

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

Welcome the 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. This post sees us move past halfway in the match ups element of the series. The Hs are in the spotlight today and they so far have 36 out of 65 points.

THE Hs V THE Os

The Hs have much the stronger batting, the better new ball pairing (although O’Riordan outranks Hammond as third seamer). The Os have the best individual spinner in this match up in the person of O’Reilly, and they also have a numerical superiority in that department, but Harmer and Herath both outrank Ojha. The Os have the better keeper, though Healy wins the batting element of that match up. The Os may have the better bowling attack and certainly have more options in both pace and spin departments, but the overwhelming superiority of the Hs batting renders that null: Hs 5, Os 0.

THE Hs V THE Ps

The Hs win five of the first six batting match ups, the Pant, Procter and S Pollock all their batting match ups. Healy outranks Pant as a keeper, Procter outranks Hutton as skipper. Hadlee and Holding v P and S Pollock is a close contest for which is the better new ball pairing, but Mike Procter massively outranks Hammond as a bowler. The Hs have the edge in spin bowling. I see this as about even in batting, the Ps ahead in pace bowling and the Hs a tiny bit better in the spin department, and I expect the Ps pace bowling to settle the issue: Hs 2, Ps 3.

THE Hs V THE Qs

This one is clear cut, with the Hs ahead in all departments. Hs 5, Qs 0.

THE Hs V THE Rs

The Hs have the better batting line up, the Rs have the better keeper and also the better bowling – even if Hadlee and Holding are the best available new ball pair, which is open to debate, whoever out of Rabada, Roberts and Richardson ends as third seamer is way ahead of Hammond as a bowler. The spin department is closer, but Rhodes was certainly the finest of the four front line spinners featured in this match up. The Hs batting advantage is not enough to overcome their deficit on the bowling and keeping fronts: Hs 1.5, Rs 3.5.

THE Hs V THE Ss

This is very close on batting, with the Ss extra depth in that department possibly making the difference there. The Hs have the finer keeper, but the use of Sangakkara as keeper plus the presence of Sobers gives the Ss a range of bowling options far greater than that possessed by the Hs. Sobers in his quicker incarnation would be fifth choice seamer for the Ss, and he outranks Hammond, the Hs third seamer, as a bowler. Herath outranks the left arm orthodox version of Sobers, but does not also offer a wrist spin option. Harmer outranks Stevens. I think that with the batting fairly evenly match and the Hs having only a small advantage in spin bowling the Ss vast superiority in pace bowling gives them a huge win: Hs 0.5, Ss 4.5.

THE Hs PROGRESS REPORT

The Hs have scored 14 out of 25 points in this set of match ups, putting them on 50 points out of a possible 90, 55.56% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 29

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the teams I selected for each letter of the alphabet. The Gs are currently in the spotlight and start today with 37.5 of a possible 55 points. There are links (light blue text) back to the posts I created for today’s featured sides in the selection stage of this series.

THE Gs V THE Ms

The opening pairs are both stellar. I rate WG as the better number three – Macartney benefitted from some very flat pitches – 16 of the 25 all time leading run scorers in FC history played some part of their careers in the inter-war years (Macartney finished his test career in 1926) and there is a reason why that era was known for tall scoring, especially in Australia. Grace is the only super stacker to have played all his FC cricket before WWI (an appearance for The Gentlemen of England v Surrey early in the 1908 season was his last FC match). Second and third among all time pre-WWI scorers in FC cricket are Fry and Ranji, both over 20,000 runs behind Grace. I give the number four slot to Gower – his test average is a few runs per innings lower than Mead’s, but the sample size is much larger for him. Miandad definitely gets the verdict over Graveney. Gilchrist wins the batting element of the keepers match up by a greater margin than he loses the keeping element. Miller outpoints Gregory in both departments. The Ms have a significant advantage in pace bowling – only Garner among the Gs specialist pacers would find a place in the Ms XI did one change the opening letter of his name. As against that, while Murali clearly outpoints Gibbs, Grimmett outranks Mahmood and gives the Gs a better balanced attack than the Ms. Both Grace and Miller were fine skippers, though I think Grace has to be awarded the palm in this department. I cannot pick a winner of this epic contest: Gs 2.5, Ms 2.5.

THE Gs V THE Ns

The Gs have far the better opening pair, Grace is about even on batting with Nurse given the different eras in which they played, Dudley Nourse outpoints Gower, but Dave Nourse is outpointed by Graveney. Noble is outbatted by Gilchrist and outbowled by Gibbs, Nixon is outbatted by Gregory but outkeeps Gilchrist. The Gs win the pace bowling match up due to having Garner in their ranks, and they are miles clear in spin bowling, with Grimmett outbowling Nadeem by an even bigger margin than Gibbs outbowls Noble. Only in middle order batting, and that not by much, can the Ns claim an advantage: Gs 5, Ns 0.

THE Gs V THE Os

The Gs absolutely boss the batting, with every match up in that department going their way bar Gower v O’Neill, which goes to the Aussie by a fraction. The seam bowling is also overwhelmingly in the Gs favour. Grace massively outranks O’Reilly (who never actually had the job IRL) as a skipper, and Oldfield wins the keeping side of his match up against Gilchrist. The Gs win the spin bowling – Gibbs outranking Ojha, while O’Reilly and Grimmett were both absolute titans of leg spin. There is simply no way the Os can offer any serious resistance: Gs 5, Os 0.

THE Gs V THE Ps

With all due respect to Ponsford, the Gs have the better opening pair. The Ps win the batting element of the number three slot, but by much less than raw figures suggest – Grace’s average, recorded between the ages of 32 and almost 51, equates to about 48 on 21st century pitches. G Pollock clearly wins the battle of the left handed stroke players at number four. Pietersen and Graveney is a closer battle – Graveney, a stroke maker by instinct, played in an era when scoring rates were generally slow and would probably have fared better in Pietersen’s era than he did in his own. I make this one level pegging. Gilchrist outpoints Pant, although Pant is young enough that he may yet change that. Circumstances restricted Procter to a handful of tests, in which he fared very well. Myself I think Gregory probably wins the batting element of their match up, while Procter very comfortably wins the bowling element. S Pollock outpoints Geary in both departments. P Pollock loses his match up to Garner. Grimmett outranks Parker for my money, though the scandalous way in which the England selectors of that era treated Parker makes it hard to be sure. Gibbs v Prasanna is more clear cut – their test careers had an overlap, Gibbs took more wickets at a better average, and Prasanna’s home pitches favoured spin more than Gibbs’ did, giving Gibbs a comfortable win. I make the Gs slightly the better batting side, and I just rank Grace ahead of Procter as a skipper, and I think they have a bigger advantage in spin bowling than the Ps do in pace bowling. This is a superb contest and I score it Gs 3, Ps 2.

THE Gs V THE Qs

This is a total non-contest. The Gs win every match up batting wise, have the better keeper, far the better captain, are the only side who can actually be said to have a pace attack, and barring something extraordinary from the largely untried Qais Ahmad they also boss the spin bowling department. Fs 5. Qs 0.

THE Gs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Gs have scored 20.5 of a possible 25 points today, moving them up to 58 of a possible 80 points, 72.5% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (17)

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

Welcome to the continuation of my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ds continue to occupy the hot seat, and come into today with 24 of a possible 55 points.

THE Ds V THE Ms

Morris beats Dent, Dempster beats Merchant, Dravid is massively ahead of Macartney on batting but Macartney offers an extra bowling option for the Ms, Mead and Donnelly is a close contest between two very different left handers, Duleepsinhji’s average is six an innings better than Miandad’s, but Miandad’s came over many more innings. D’Oliveira outbats Miller, but the Aussie was far the better bowler. Dujon outbats Marsh, while both were superb keepers. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood are at least the equals of Davidson, Donald and Daniel, and Muralidaran beats Dennett. The Ds are somewhat ahead on batting but the Ms are miles ahead in bowling and it is this latter I expect to settle the issue, to the extent that I cannot see any circumstances in which the Ds get the better of the Ms: Ds 0, Ms 5.

THE Ds V THE Ns

The Ds are far clear in batting, with only Dudley Nourse of the Ns top eight winning their match up in this regard. The Ds also win the front line bowlingm with Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje clearly outgunned by Davidson, Donald and Daniel in the seam/pace department and Nadeem probably outpointed by Dennett. Dujon has Nixon covered in both departments. The Ns have one advantage – their back up bowling is much better, with Noble having no match among the Ds, and Nichols clearly superior to D’Oliveira as fourth seamer. However, the back up bowlers would only come in to play on a very flat wicket, so I give the Ds a conclusive advantage: Ds 4, Ns 1.

THE Ds V THE Os

The Ds dominate this one, but the Os are saved from a wipe out by the fact that they are ahead in the spin bowling department and would win on a turner. Ds 4, Os 1.

THE Ds V THE Ps

The Ds have the better opening pair, the number three slot is a titanic clash. G Pollock wins the number four slot comfortably, while Pietersen’s disadvantage vs Duleepsinhji is somewhat offset by the much larger sample size on which his test record is based. While D’Oliveira outbats Procter, Procter outbowls his opposite number. Pant comfortably outbats Dujon, but the West Indian was probably the better keeper. S and P Pollock keep the pace clash close, Parker marginally beats Dennett, and Prasanna gives the Ps an extra spinner. I think the Ps are better balanced, and better skippered with Procter in charge and I expect that to make the difference: Ds 2, Ps 3.

THE Ds V THE Qs

The Ds dominate the batting and the pace/seam bowling, but the Qs would be able to bowl spin from both ends should the pitch offer turn, and this is just enough to save them from a whitewash: Ds 4, Qs 1.

THE Ds PROGRESS UPDATE

The Ds have scored 14 of a possible 25 today, putting them on 38 out of 80 so far, 47.5%. They are behind the As and the Bs but ahead of the Cs.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 13

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

Welcome to the next installment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Cs still occupy the hot seat, and they are on 14.5 out of of 65 going into today’s match ups.

THE Cs V THE Os

The Cs have an overwhelming advantage in batting, and also have the better captain. Finally, Cummins and Croft are a better pair of opening bowlers than Old and Olivier. However, as against that O’Riordan is certainly a better third seamer than Constantine, and his left arm gives the Os seam attack a point of variation. The Os comfortably win in the spin bowling department, with Odumbe, third ranked spinner for them, clearly better than Cornwall, second ranked spinner for the Cs. Unfortunately for the Os their spin superiority only reduces the margin by which they lose this one: Cs 3.5, Os 1.5.

THE Cs V THE Ps

In theory the Cs have a substantial advantage in the opening position, but that is mitigated by the fact that both the Ps openers are regulars at the top of the order, unlike the C counterparts. Ponting and G Pollock comfortably win their match ups batting wise, and Ponting is not the captain. Chappelli probably does outrank Procter as a captain but not by as much as he would Ponting. G Chappell beats Pietersen in the number five slot. Pant wins the battle of the keepers, Procter is miles clear in the battle of the all rounders.S and P Pollock are outpointed by Croft and Cummins in the new ball stakes, but Parker and Prasanna are the better spin pairing. The Ps win everywhere except one batting slot (G Chappell outpointing Pietersen) and in the matter of the new ball pairing. These are more than compensated for by their overall superiority. Cs 0 Ps 5.

THE Cs V THE Qs

The Qs are massively outpointed in batting, keeping and fast bowling. Their advantage in the spin bowling department is not enough to make a dent in their inferiority elsewhere. Cs 5, Qs 0.

THE Cs V THE Rs

The Rs have the better opening pair, especially given that both of theirs are regular openers. Richards also wins the batting match up vs Chappelli. Root and Compton looks a very close contest, but Compton had more support than Root, who was often holding a dysfunctional order together, so I give that one to the Rs as well. G Chappell outpoints Ranji but not by as much as their figures make it look – Ranji played at a time when batting was a lot more difficult than it was in G Chappell’s pomp. Robins wins the battle of the all rounders, and is little if any inferior to Chappelli as a skipper. The Rs win the fast bowling comfortably – Croft and Cummins may outpoint whichever two of Roberts, Rabada and Richardson take the new ball, but the third of that trio is miles clear of Constantine. Robins and Chandrasekhar are closely matched as leg spinners. Rhodes comfortably outpoints Cornwall – far more so than a comparison of their overall records shows, since Rhodes the specialist spinner, the role I have given him in this XI, was one of the greatest of all time. Quite simply there is no set of circumstances in which I can envisage the Cs getting the better of the Rs: Cs 0, Rs 5.

The Ss have by far the better opening pair – especially given that both of theirs were regular openers. Graeme Smith wins the number three contest and draws the captaincy of element of his match up with Chappelli. Steven Smith beats Compton. Sangakkara wins his batting match up over G Chappell, though he loses the keeping match against Carter. Using Sangakkara as keeper enables the selection of Sobers and Stokes at six and seven. Sobers has no match up in the Cs XI, and Stokes beats Constanine massively on batting and just loses on bowling. Starc and Steyn are outpointed in the battle of the new ball bowlers by Cummins and Croft, but Statham is a far better bowler than Constantine, and the Ss have Sobers in his faster incarnations and Stokes as extra back up options in the seam department. Stevens is a close match for Chandrasekhar with the ball and better with the bat, while Sobers in his slower incarnations is at least as good as Cornwall. This is a complete non-contest: Cs 0, Ss 5.

THE Cs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Cs have scored 8.5 out of 25 points today moving them on to 23 of a possible 90 points, 25.56%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (8)

Continuing my extended analysis of how my all time XIs for each letter fare against each other. Also some of my own photographs.

We continue our extended look at how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Bs are still in the hot seat, and go into today with 35 points out of a possible 55.

THE Bs V THE Ms

The top batting is the usual story of dominance by the Bs, although Macartney’s skill as a bowler should be born in mind when looking at his position. Miandad outdoes Border in the number five slot, Miller is clear of Botham with the bat and miles clear of him with the ball. Marsh is better in both departments than Bari. Marshall and McGrath at least match Barnes and Bumrah as a new ball pairing. Fazal is ahead of Benaud, his nearest bowling match in opposition ranks, although the Aussie was a much better batter. Muralidaran just beats Bates – in the modern era, with pitches being less treacherous than they were in Bates’ day he would probably have paid about 24 per wicket to Murali’s 22, in addition to which Murali’s performance would probably be better as part of this attack than it was IRL, when he was largely carrying an indifferent bowling unit. Also, as touched on earlier, the Ms have a sixth bowling option (and Macartney did win Australia a test match as a bowler). I think the Ms stellar bowling resources are enough for them to overcome the advantage that the Bs have in the batting department, but this would be a heck of a contest – I score it Bs 2, Ms 3.

THE Bs V THE Ns

The Bs totally dominate in batting, and while Bari would rate the better of the two keepers Nixon has his batting to compensate. The Bs, with due respect to Ntini and Nortje have the better new ball pairing, and Botham rates ahead of Nawaz as third seamer. Bates was a finer bowler than Noble, though the latter was better with the bat. Benaud is streets ahead of Nadeem in both departments. I find it very hard to see any situation in which the Ns can make a contest of this: Bs 5, Ns 0.

THE Bs V THE Os

Oldfield wins the clash of the keepers, and O’Reilly outpoints Benaud as a leg spinner, though the latter was a much better bat. O’Riordan outpoints Botham with the ball, though Botham wins with the bat, the Irishman’s left arm is an extra point of variation for the Os. The Os have an extra bowling resource – while Ojha is outdone by Bates as second spinner, the Os also have a third spinner in Odumbe. However on a raging bunsen Border could bowl his left arm spin, so even on that surface I do not see the Bs being unduly challenged: Bs 5, Os 0.

THE Bs V THE Ps

The Bs have the advantage in batting, also less so than usual – G Pollock at no 4 outpoints Barrington, Pant has a clear advantage over Botham in that department, Procter is even more dominant over Bari. S Pollock is on figures ahead of Bates with the bat, but Bates’ average is worth about 40 in 21st century conditions. The Ps are slightly behind on new ball pairings, but that is compensated for by the extent to which Procter outclasses Botham as third seamer. Bates has to be rated ahead of Prasanna with the ball, but Parker is at least a match for Benaud in that department. This is a very close contest, but I think the Bs just about have enough: Bs 3 Ps 2.

THE Bs V THE Qs

The Bs dominate this one in all areas, and there is simply no way for the Qs to make a contest out of this: Bs 5, Qs 0.

Bs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Bs have scored 20 out of 25 in this set of match ups, which puts them on 55 points out of 80, 68.75%. The As for comparison were on 43.5 out of 80 points.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (3)

Continuing my analysis of my all-time XIs match up against each other. Today we look at the As against the Ls, Ms, Ns, Os and Ps.

Welcome to the continuation of my look at how my all time XIs for each letter of the alphabet match up against each other. Going into this post we have been through ten of the A XI’s match ups, and they are so far on 27 of a possible 50 points.

THE As V THE Ls

Among the top five batters the Ls have a clear advantage, even allowing for the fact that Labuschagne is out of position – only Laxman and Lloyd are not significantly clear of their opposite numbers. At number six we have a clash of left arm spinning all rounders. Shakib Al Hasan is ahead on the batting front, but there is very little doubt that Langridge was the finer bowler. While Langley was a better keeper than Ames he was a fraction of the batter that Ames was. Lindwall is outpointed by Akram, but Lohmann and Lillee are worthy adversaries for Ambrose and Anderson. Laker wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though he was a lot less of a batter than Ashwin.

Boiling it all down, The Ls have an advantage of the batting front, although their batting power is very top heavy, have the better keeper and are at least the equal of the As on the bowling front, and for my money definitely superior. There would probably be one occasion in a series when the As batting depth would count in their favour over the Ls top heavy power in that department, so I score it As 1 Ls 4.

THE As V THE Ms

Among the top five only Babar Azam for the As has a better batting average than his opposite number. Miller comes out slightly below Al Hasan on the batting front, way ahead on the bowling front. I suspect he was also the finer captain. Ames has an advantage on the batting front among the keepers, but Marsh was one of the greatest keepers ever to play the game. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood a certainly a capable match for Akram, Ambrose and Anderson. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though Ashwin’s batting partly compensates for this. Additionally the Ms have a sixth bowling option, Charlie Macartney, who did win his country a match with the ball in hand. Miller once switched to off breaks on a Brisbane ‘sticky dog’, and took seven wickets, so even producing a raging bunsen for the benefit of Ashwin and Al Hasan might not be enough for the As. I find it hard to see any situation in which the As come out on top in this clash and accordingly score it As 0 Ms 5.

THE As V THE Ns

The As boss the opening combo. Nurse and Dudley Nourse outpoint Azam and Abbas, in one case by a minor margin in the other substantially. Azharuddin has a significant advantage over Dave Nourse. Al Hasan beats Noble with the bat, but the Aussie wins hands down with the ball and as a captain. Ames wins the battle of the keepers with the bat, and there is no huge difference in gkovework. Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje are comfortably outpointed by Akram, Ambrose and Anderson, and Nadeem is nowhere close to Ashwin in either department. The Ns do have an extra pace option in Nichols, but even that is not enough – The As have an overwhelming advantage in bowling and I expect that to tell in their favour: As 4, Ns 1.

THE As V THE Os

The As dominate this in all departments. The only member of the Os team the As would want in their own ranks is Bill O’Reilly. There can only be one scoreline here: As 5, Os 0

THE As V THE Ps

The opening pairs are closely matched here, the Ps dominate slots 3-5. Procter is massively ahead of Al Hasan as an all rounder – while the Bangladeshi has a better batting record, the Saffa is far ahead with the ball. Pant has a better batting average than Ames and is at least his equal with the gloves. Shaun Pollock is almost an exact match to Akram in terms of bowling figures and almost ten runs an innings better with the bat. Peter Pollock is beaten only by Ambrose among the As quick bowlers. Parker, a victim of selectorial malice in his playing days (a one cap wonder at test level in spite of that huge tally of FC wickets), is the best spinner on either side in this match, though Prasanna is outmatched by Ashwin. The Ps are stronger in batting, and Procter, S Pollock, P Pollock, Parker and Prasanna is not a definitely inferior bowling unit to Ambrose, Anderson, Akram, Ashwin and Al Hasan. I expect the Ps to win, and slightly more comfortably than a bare 3-2. Final score As 1.5, Ps 3.5.

As PROGRESS SO FAR

This has been a tough set of match ups for the As XI, and even with one 5-0 in their favour they score just 11.5 of a possible 25 points in this segment of the alphabet, putting them on 38.5 out of 75, a score of 51.33%, down from the 54% they were on going into this post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter O

Today I continue my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a team made up of players whose surnames begin with the letter O.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

  1. Ali Orr (Sussex). He has a less extensive career than most to feature in an actual XI in this series, having started his FC career quite recently. However, only one of the XI has an FC career average better than Orr’s current figure of 42.
  2. Edgar Oldroyd (Yorkshire). One place up from usual spot for his county. He scored over 15,000 FC runs at an average of 36. His grand daughter Eleanor is a radio commentator and regular presenter of sports programmes.
  3. Charles Ollivierre (Derbyshire). One of the first great batting talents to emerge from the West Indies. He came to England in 1900 as part of non-test tour by the West Indies (they gained test status in 1928), and stayed on, qualifying by residence to play for Derbyshire (who also found him a clerical job which meant he could retain his amateur status). His finest hour came at Chesterfield in 1904 in a match that almost defies belief. Essex batting first scored 597, Perrin 343 not out, Derbyshire responded with 548 (Ollivierre 229), Essex fared precisely 500 runs less well second time round, as Bestwick and Warren extracted revenge for some rough treatment in the first innings, and Derbyshire managed the resultant chase of 147 in 125 minutes with time and nine wickets to spare, Ollivierre finishing 92 not out, Billy Storer 48 not out.
  4. Norman O’Neill (Australia). He averaged 46 with the bat at test level. He illustrated his class on his test debut, when at the end of a match featuring mind-bendingly slow scoring (518 runs in the first four days, Bailey 68 in 458 minutes) he took Australia to a comfortable victory by scoring 73 not out in two and a half hours, proving that it was possible to score at a reasonable rate on that surface.
  5. Maurice Odumbe (Kenya). An all rounder who batted right handed and bowled off spin, and (along with Steven Tikolo) one of the two best cricketers his country has ever produced. He was good enough to have scored an FC double hundred.
  6. Alec O’Riordan (Ireland). He batted right handed and bowled left arm fast medium. Most of his cricket was club cricket played at weekends, but he showed what he could do against higher class opposition when Ireland played the West Indies. He took four cheap wickets as the illustrious visitors were rolled for 25 on an emerald coloured pitch, and then batted well for Ireland (it was a one innings match officially, but in order to entertain the fans Ireland batted on after completing a nine wicket victory, and declared, nipping out a couple more wickets in the WI second innings before the day’s action ended.
  7. +Bert Oldfield (Australia). One of the greatest wicket keepers ever to play the game, his career tally of 52 test match stumpings remains an all time record.
  8. Chris Old (Yorkshire, Warwickshire, England). A right arm fast medium bowler and an occasionally useful left handed lower order batter. His England highlights include taking four wickets in five balls against Pakistan and being the accurate, mean foil to Willis when that worthy produced his match winning spell at Headingley in 1981.
  9. Pragyan Ojha (Surrey, India). A left arm orthodox spinner, his record for India was respectable rather than truly outstanding, though he was a little unfortunate that his career overlapped with the emergence of Ravindra Jadeja. No one could play him when he turned out for Surrey and was instrumental in them winning promotion back to division one of the county championship.
  10. *Bill O’Reilly (Australia). One of the greatest leg spinners ever to play the game. He bowled quicker than most of his type, his stock pace being at least medium and possessed an almost undetectable googly by way of variation. I have named him as captain of this XI, that being a difficult role to fill for this letter, since he obviously had tactical acumen in spades, and I have read some of his writings on the game and been impressed by them.
  11. Duanne Olivier (Derybshire, Yorkshire, South Africa). He pays less than 30 each for his test wickets, and will probably feature in the upcoming series between England and South Africa. Fast medium rather than outright fast he is still a very fine bowler. Whether he or Old would share the new ball with the left armer O’Riordan is one of the main decisions facing the skipper of this side

This XI is patchy, with a somewhat makeshift opening pair, fine batters at three and four, a couple of fine all rounders, a legendary keeper and one great and three very good specialist bowlers. The bowling, with the seam in the hands of Old, Olivier and O’Riordan and leg spinner O’Reilly, left arm spinner Ojha and off spinner Odumbe to attend to that department is this side’s strong suit, though there is no express pace option.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Before I get to the main meat of this section, Qasim Omar does not feature, because as difficult as this letter is, Q is far harder.

Unlike either of the two guys I chose to open the batting Javed Omar of Bangladesh did that job at test level. However, his record is pretty ordinary, hence him missing out. Alan Ormrod of Worcestershire was a county stalwart, but his FC average was only just the right side of 30. William Oscroft of Nottinghamshire might have provided some genuine pace, but he was not often used as a bowler by his county, and even allowing for the difficulty of the pitches when he was in his prime an average of 19 in his main suit simply isn’t good enough. Insufficient records of his overall performances ruled George Osbaldeston, a fast bowling all rounder of the early 19th century, out of consideration. Simon O’Donnell was an Australian all rounder who bowled fast medium, but his batting does not command a place in its own right, and his bowling record was modest, plus he bowled with his right arm, meaning that his presence would give the attack less variation than O’Riordan does. Rodney Ontong had a respectable career for Glamorgan but couldn’t quite claim a place in this side. Thomas Odoyo, a fast bowling all rounder for Kenya entered my thoughts. Dominic Ostler of Warwickshire had a long career, but only averaged a tick over 30 with the bat. Among the pacers who entered my thoughts but just missed out on selection were the Overton twins (especially Jamie, whose extra pace would have been useful), Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe, Peter Ongondo of Kenya and Iain O’Brien of New Zealand (the latter getting an expert summarisers gig by way of compensation).

Niall O’Brien, a solid keeper batter for Kent and Northamptonshire in the championship and with a decent record for Ireland as well is the officially designated reserve keeper, but as is usual for me in these cases I opted for finer keeper, Oldfield. Kevin O’Brien, an all rounder who bowled right arm fast medium, had most of his best moments in limited overs cricket

In a few years time Hampshire’s off spinning all rounder Felix Organ may have a record that allows him to displace Odumbe from this side, but he is not there yet.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off has two parts this time…

A TWOPENNY BLUE

James and Sons had a stamp sale earlier this week, and I acquired a two penny blue very cheaply. I am not in general enthusiastic about ordinary stamps, but the 2d blue has a connection which elevates it – every Victoria line station has a patterned mosaic displayed at platform level relating to it’s name, and because of the colour used for the line on the London Underground map the pattern at Victoria is based on this stamp, so I am pleased to have one in my possession.

PART TWO: REGULAR PICTURES

All Time XIs – Through The Alphabet XIII

Today’s all time XIs cricket post is our 13th alphabetic progression, also features mathematics and photographs.

INTRODUCTION

My apologies for the fact that you will be seeing today’s all time XIs cricket post a little late – I have been to a restaurant for a family Sunday lunch, the first time I have been out to do something in four months. This is the 13th and final alphabetic progression post in this series (I have three more days to fill before I will have some actual test cricket to write about), starting from the letter E.

CHARLOTTE EDWARDS’ XI

  1. *Charlotte Edwards – right handed opening batter, occasional spin bowler, captain. An epoch or two ago I was watching a game between the England and Australia women’s teams, and England by and large were surrendering with precious little fight. The glorious exception was a girl in her mid teens who fought her way to a magnificent 74. Her name was Charlotte Marie Edwards, and she went on from that impressive beginning to become one of the all time greats of women’s cricket. She was also a fine captain, leading her side to world cup glory and an Ashes triumph in 2009.
  2. Graeme Fowler – left handed opening batter, occasional wicket keeper. He could never quite convince the England selectors of his merits, although his last two test match appearances featured scores of 201 and 69. He scored twin centuries, aided by a runner in each innings (David Lloyd in the first and Ian Folley in the second) in one of the most extraordinary of all cricket matches, when Warwickshire posted 523-4 declared on the opening day and ended up losing by ten wickets!
  3. Harold Gimblett – right handed batter. He scored 123 in 79 minutes on his first class debut, winning the Lawrence Trophy for the fastest first class hundred of the season in the process, and went on to score more runs for Somerset than any other batter (Marcus Trescothick falling just short of matching him in the end). His 310 not out remains the highest first class score by a Somerset native, although Viv Richards and Justin Langer both produced bigger innings for the county. Like Marcus Tresocthick he suffered from mental health issues, and unlike Trescothick he was unable to come through them, and ended up becoming one of the depressingly long list of cricket suicides.
  4. Joe Hardstaff Jr – right handed batter. A man who averaged 44 in first class cricket, scored 169 not v Australia at The Oval in 1938 and 205 v India in 1946 at test level. His father played for Nottinghamshire and England as well, and like many other cricketers in that area and that era had worked down a mine before turning professional (Harold Larwood was another who worked in the mines before getting a professional cricket contract).
  5. Frank Iredale – right handed batter. He played 14 test matches for Australia, averaging 36, and that in the 1890s and early 1900s. He played a key role in the 1894 match at the SCG which England won after following on – on the first morning Tom Richardson reduced Australia to 21-3, before Iredale joined Giffen in the first of two big partnerships that dug Australia out of the hole.
  6. Roly Jenkins – right handed batter, leg spinner. A fine all rounder for Worcestershire, scoring over 10,000 first class runs and taking over 1,000 first class wickets in his career.
  7. +Kycia Knight Рwicket keeper, left handed batter. One of a pair of twin sisters who are both regulars for the West Indies women (the other, Kyshona, bowls medium pace and bats in the lower order). She has never had the opportunity to play long form cricket, but she has a respectable record in limited overs cricket, and her batting would certainly be better suited to long form than it is to  limited overs.
  8. Brett Lee – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. One of the quickest bowlers ever to play the game, though inconsistent and prone to injury. The 2005 Ashes saw him at his best, but his efforts were not enough to prevent England regaining the Ashes after Australia had won eight successive series (1989, 1990-1, 1993, 1994-5, 1997, 1998-9, 2001 and 2002-3) in cricket’s greatest rivalry.
  9. Muttiah Muralitharan – off spinner. 800 wickets in 133 test appearances. His 16 wickets at The Oval in 1998 were all the more remarkable because they were taken on a very flat pitch, and in a match that England had been less than enthusiastic about arranging, believing in spite of the 1996 World Cup that Sri Lanka were not good enough to oppose them.
  10. Sarfraz Nawaz – right arm fast medium bowler. He had his finest hour in Australia, when the home side had reached 305-3 in pursuit of a target of 388, and thanks to him were all out for 310. He took 7-1 in the space of 33 deliveries in that spell, finishing with 9-86 for the whole innings.
  11. Bill O’Reilly – leg spinner. Almost universally rated as the best bowler of the interwar years, and unhesitatingly named by Bradman (with whom he did not get on) as the best bowler he ever saw or faced. He took at least 25 wickets in each of four successive test series, a record for consistency that still stands.

This side has a strong top five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper and four quality bowlers. They will take a lot of beating.

LIONEL TENNYSON’S XI

  1. Alviro Petersen – right handed opening batter. Averages 40 in first class cricket, though he has never been good enough to be an absolute regular for South Africa.
  2. Willie Quaife – right handed opening batter, occasional leg spinner. One of the most stubborn end enduring of all cricketers, playing on for Warwickshire until he was 56 years old.
  3. Richie Richardson – right handed batter. The second greatest batter ever to come from the island of Antigua behind Viv Richards. He was the last international batter to face up to opposition quick bowlers in a hat rather than a helmet (he favoured a maroon sun hat, rather than a cap). Perhaps his greatest test performance came at Perth, when 6’7″ Jo Angel decided that banging the ball in short was the way to go, and the stands in the region of midwicket took an absolute pounding, Richardson being far from averse to taking on the short stuff and also having faced quicker bowlers than Angel over the years.
  4. Ben Stokes – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler.
  5. *Lionel Tennyson – right handed batter, occasional fast bowler. He scored 63 and 36 batting virtually one handed in a test match (he had a broken left arm) in 1921. A year later he helped to engineer one of the greatest turnarounds in cricket history, when Hampshire came back from being rolled for 15 in their first innings to beat Warwickshire by 155 runs.
  6. George Ulyett – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. It was his bowling that first got him noticed, but he would also open the batting for his country.
  7. +Ricardo Vasconcelos – left handed batter, wicket keeper. Born in South Africa, of Portuguese ancestry, and now essential to Northamptonshire, for whom at the age of 22 he has already been keeper, opening batter and captain. He averages 36 with the bat, and has made 48 dismissals in 33 first class matches.
  8. Arnold Warren – right arm fast bowler. He took five cheap wickets on his only test match appearance. For those wondering about him being as high as no 8, he did once share a partnership of 283 with a certain J Chapman, so he clearly could bat.
  9. Xara Jetly – off spinner.
  10. Waqar Younis – right arm fast bowler. One of the all time great fast bowlers, both for Pakistan and for first Surrey and then Glamorgan, who he bowled to a county championship, in county cricket.
  11. Zahir Khan – left arm wrist spinner. Z is a difficult letter to fill, and in view of the pace bowling resources I already had Dawlat Zadran was not going to add much. Therefore I slightly cheated by selecting another Afghan who has one name beginning with Z, Zahir Khan. He is only just starting his career at present but I expect big things from him before too long.

This team has some decent batting and lots of depth and variety in bowling. Younis, Warren, Ulyett, Stokes and the occasional stuff of Tennyson is a superb range of pace options, and Xara Jetly and Zahir Khan should be able to enough in the spin department.

THE CONTEST

This should be a good contest. Lionel Tennyson’s XI have a greater range of bowling options, but as against that Charlotte Edwards’ XI are probably a stronger batting side. I just about make Lionel Tennyson’s XI favourites.

SOLUTION TO YESTERDAY’S TEASER

I presented this problem from brilliant yesterday:

Triangles

This problem was set on brilliant as a multi-choice question, and it was a matter of seconds work to look at the available answers and conclude that 125 was right (the other three answers for the missing length all gave triangles with a shortest side of non-integer length, the sort of thing I notice pretty much without thinking). This was unfortunate because without the multi-choice answers it would have been a genuinely tough problem. Here is a published solution from someone who unlike me did not take advantage of the availability of a hack:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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