All Time XIs – New Zealand

It being Monday, today’s exploration on the ‘all time’ cricket XI theme looks at an international unit, in this case New Zealand.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my series of ‘all time XI’ themed posts. Today being a Monday we are looking at an international outfit, and under the spotlight today is the land of the long white cloud (actually more often the land of the the thick black cloud) New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND IN MY LIFETIME

  1. John Wright – right handed opening batter. He was the first Kiwi to reach the landmark of 5,000 test runs. He was at one time successful for Derbyshire as well.
  2. Bryan  Young – right handed opening batter. He came late to this role but performed it conscientiously and successfully when the time came.
  3. *Stephen Fleming – left handed top order batter, excellent captain. A successful captain and a big run scorer, though a stickler would point the relative dearth of centuries in his record.
  4. Martin Crowe – right handed middle order batter. He scored almost 20,000 first class runs. His elder brother Jeff also played for NZ, though not so successfully. The other family link is that world famous actor Russell Crowe is a cousin. Martin Crowe’s maiden test century, against England in the 1983-4 series was the key innings that inspired his team to save a game that England has been bossing – Coney then made 174 not out and Lance Cairns played a useful supporting knock at the end. Against Sri Lanka, facing a huge first innings deficit he shared a New Zealand record partnership for any wicket with Andrew Jones, making 299 himself as the Kiwis reached safety on 671-4. He was unfortunate to find himself in the midst of a vicious controversy when Somerset named as overseas player in preference to either of the two West Indians Viv Richards and Joel Garner, which prompted the acrimonious departure from the club of Ian Botham.
  5. Ken Rutherford – right handed batter – his test batting career got off to a start that might have made a tail ender blush, but he ended up with a fine record, and was also a good captain for a period.
  6. +BJ Watling – wicket keeper and gritty middle order batter. He is the pivot of this side, and I have good cause to know just how dangerous he is – it was a long innings by him that out New Zealand in control of England’s last series there, a position they never relinquished.
  7. Amelia Kerr – leg spinner and right handed middle order bat. My pick is the genuine all rounder. As is all too common with the best female players she has not had the opportunity to show what she can do in long form cricket, but a 232 not out in a 50 overs a side international match plus her leg spin bowling is recommendation enough for me.
  8. Richard Hadlee – right arm fast bowler, left handed attacking lower middle order bat. Quite simply his country’s GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). What makes his performances at the highest level all the more impressive is that his support cast was generally speaking pretty ordinary. Graham Gooch, scorer of 183 not out against the 1986 Kiwis, the first to win a test series in England, described facing New Zealand as being like “facing a world XI at one end and Ilford 2nds at the other.” He became the first person knighted specifically in connection with cricket to play a test after acquiring the ‘Sir’ in front of his name (Bradman played his final first class match as Sir DG Bradman, while the Hon Sir FS Jackson was not knighted for reasons to do with cricket).
  9. Daniel Vettori – left arm orthodox spinner, useful lower middle order batter. At the age of 20 he helped consign England to the bottom of the world test rankings not long after they had been shown the door of the World Cup they were hosting, and from then until his retirement he was an essential part of New Zealand’s plans. In later years the captaincy and the fact that he also had to do a lot of batting somewhat reduced his effectiveness as a bowler, but the 1999 version bowled left arm orthodox spin as well as I have seen it bowled.
  10. Trent Boult – left arm fast medium bowler. The ‘conductor’ has been an effective leader of New Zealand’s pace attack for some years now, and just a few months ago he caused England considerable problems. He also gives my chosen pace attack an extra element of variety, bowling with his left hand.
  11. Danny Morrison – right arm fast medium. Danny ‘the duck’ (hence his position at no11) was New Zealand’s outstanding pace bowler of the 1990s, and could be relied on to provide excellent back up in that department for Messrs. Hadlee and Boult.

This team has a solid opening pair, an excellent no 3,4 and 5, a fine keeper at six, Amelia Kerr the x-factor all rounder at seven and a fine bowling line up. The bowling attack, with a varied pace trio of Hadlee, Boult and Morrison backed by the contrasting spin styles of Vettori and Kerr also looks pretty impressive.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Had it not been for Stephen Fleming’s claims, and my desire that he should be captain, Andrew Jones would have been a strong contender for the no3 slot, and some would say that I should have picked him as an opener anyway. Nathan Astle, an explosive batter and sometimes useful purveyor of slow-medium would definitely have his advocates, as would big hitting all rounder Chris Cairns. ‘Two Metre Peter’ Fulton would have his advocates for an opening slot. Among the seam/swing/pace options I have overlooked were Shane Bond, the quickest his country has ever produced but sadly blighted by injuries, Tim Southee the ever reliable and Neil ‘the composer’ Wagner whose bouncers sometimes confound opposition batters. Colin De Grandhomme, a magnificent limited overs player, might have had the number seven slot I gave to Kerr, but his bowling offers less. I also considered another big hitting female all-rounder, Sophie Devine, but decided I wanted the extra spin option offered by Kerr. Brendon McCullum would have his advocates for the wicket keeping slot, as would Adam Parore, while I also thought about Ian Smith, but he will have to make do with being part of the commentary team, for which role he is a ‘shoo-in’. Finally, combative off spinner John Bracewell would have been the obvious choice had I wanted a third spin option.

THE NEW NAMES IN THE ALL TIME XI

  • Bert Sutcliffe, a left handed attack minded opener, who averaged just over 40 in a test career that began at Christchurch in 1947 and ended at Edgbaston in 1965 comes in at the top of the order. For Otago against Canterbury he once scored 385. Otago’s all out tally in that innings was precisely 500, and in their two efforts Canterbury scored 382 runs off the bat – three fewer than Sutcliffe managed on his own! One over, bowled a chap named Poore, had Sutcliffe in two minds in the way bowlers don’t want – he hit three deliveries for four and three for six.
  • Glenn Turner, a right handed opening batter, the only Kiwi to score a hundred first class hundreds. During the Kiwis 1973 tour of England he reached his thousand first class runs before the end of May, one of only two to do that in an English season since World War II, the other being Graeme Hick in 1988.
  • Martin Donnelly, left handed middle order bat, scorer of Lord’s centuries in The Varsity Match, for The Gentlemen against The Players and in a test match for New Zealand. Also, in a 1945 match for The Dominions against England he made a century, considered by observers the outstanding innings in a game that also featured a ton by Keith Miller and one in each innings by Wally Hammond.
  •  +Stewie Demspter – right handed batter, wicket keeper. Charles Stewart Dempster played a mere 10 test matches for New Zealand, before devoting himself to county cricket with Leicestershire. In this 10 test matches he scored 723 runs at 65.72, assisted it is true by four not outs, but even not taking the not outs into account that average would still be 48.20. Selecting him as keeper, a role he did on occasion perform, was the only way I could fit him in.
  • Jack ‘Bull’ Cowie – right arm fast bowler. He took his test wickets at 21 each, and one contemporary writer was moved to comment “had he been English or Australian he would no doubt have been termed a wonder of the age.” His last test series was in 1949 at the age of 37, and even then on flat pitches (all four test matches were drawn) he caused plenty of problems.

With these players coming in our All Time New Zealand XI reads: B Sutcliffe, GM Turner, *S Fleming, MD Crowe, MP Donnelly, +CS Dempster, AC Kerr, RJ Hadlee, DL Vettori, T Boult, J Cowie. This combo, with a great opening pair, Dempster in for Watling and Cowie looking a distinct cut above Morrison looks like a superb unit.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Merv Wallace, who came close to 1,000 first class runs before the end of May on that 1949 tour was considered for a batting place. John Richard Reid, a man whose range of cricketing skills was huge, was also a big miss. Middle order batters Geoff Howarth and Bevan Congdon both had good records at a time when New Zealand collectively had little to shout about. Two keepers, Eric Petrie and Ken Wadsworth, were both outstanding practitioners, but neither could offer much with bat, Petrie in particular being a genuine ‘bunny’ in that regard. Brian Taylor, who scored a century and bagged a five wicket haul on his test debut earned consideration as an all rounder, but there is no shortage of pace options. Of the cricketing Hadlees, other than Richard the only one who many would seriously consider was Dayle, a fast bowler who at one time was rated higher than his brother, but ended up many leagues behind. New Zealand have had few class spinners play for them, which leads neatly on to…

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY

One name dominates this category, that of leg spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who crossed the Tasman to better himself. He failed to claim a place in either the NSW or Victorian state sides, but eventually managed to establish himself for South Australia, and at 33 made his test debut for his adopted country, bagging 11 England wickets for 82 runs. In 37 test matches he took 216 wickets, a wickets to matches ratio outstanding for anyone not named Sydney Barnes. He was dropped for the 1938 Ashes tour, a decision that Bill O’Reilly for one considered to be crazy – Frank Ward who travelled in his place did little, while Chuck Fleetwood-Smith had his moments but was as erratic, unpredictable and expensive as anyone familiar with his approach would have expected.

Two others who would have merited consideration had they not abandoned the possibility of playing for their country were leg spinner Bill Merritt whose first class victims (mainly for Northamptonshire) cost 24 each and fast bowler Tom Pritchard who had an impressive record for Warwickshire (818 wickets at 23.30 in all first class cricket, and he lived – just – long enough to celebrate the most impressive of all centuries, dying 165 days after reaching that landmark birthday).

PHOTOGRAPHS

We have concluded our virtual tour of the home of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit movie series, and it remains only to apply my usual sign off…

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NZ
The teams in tabulated form, with abbreviated comments.

 

 

100 Cricketers – The Seventh XI Bowlers and Introducing the Eighth XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, finishing the look at the seventh XI and introducing the eighth XI in batting order. Has some bonus features as well as the usual photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, which features the specialist bowlers from the seventh XI and introduces the eighth XI in batting order. There are also a couple of extra features near the end of the post. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post which introduces the seventh XI is here and the previous post in the series is hereWe start our look at the bowlers with…

THE QUICKER BOWLERS

I have two players in this XI who are picked principally as pace bowlers. Anya Shrubsole in this combination would be third seamer, while the new ball would be taken the two genuinely quick bowlers, Imran Khan and…

PAT CUMMINS

The 25 year-old who consistently bowls at speeds of over 90mph has thus far played 20 test matches in which has taken 94 wickets at 22.02, while he has at times also made useful contributions as a lower order batter, with 528 runs at 20.30. He has also been effective in shorter form cricket, with 82 ODI wickets at 26.53 from 48 appearances and 25 T20I wickets at 21.24 from 20 matches. In the 2018 Boxing Day test match at the MCG when Australia as a whole were roundly defeated, confirming India as holders of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, he was the one Aussie to emerge with his reputation enhanced, playing a fighting innings and bagging six cheap second innings wickets after India had declined to enforce the follow-on. He is the only current Australian player I would definitely want to find a space for in the England team were such permissible (Steve Smith, a shoo-in on past performances is as far as I am concerned out on behavioural grounds). As this suggests my reckoning based on recent performances by the two sides is that England are heavy favourites to regain The Ashes this summer, but the presence of a fit, firing Cummins will make their task harder – and I hope that is what we see – I would always want each team to be at full strength. 

ANYA SHRUBSOLE

She has had only five test matches (17 wickets at 24.52), but her records in ODIs (61 matches, 77 wickets at 26.51) and T20Is (63 matches, 86 wickets at 13.96) are splendid. She was the star of the 2017 world cup final, her 6-46 consigning India to defeat after they had looked like winning for most of the match and earning her many accolades, starting with player of the match on the day and also including becoming the first woman to feature on the front cover of Wisden. We now turn to the…

SPIN BOWLERS

Those who have followed this series closely will recall that as well as naming her vice-captain of this XI I made a point of mentioning Heather Knight’s off-spin bowling. In view of the fact that I already had an option, albeit not quite front-line, in that department it was natural for my front-line options to select two spinners who represented different varieties of spin bowling. I went for having a full range and plumped for a legspinner and a left arm orthodox spinner…

DANIEL VETTORI

The Kiwi played 113 test matches, scoring 4,531 runs at 30.00 and taking 362 wickets at a slightly costly 34.36. He also played 295 ODIs scoring 2,253 runs at 17.33 and taking 305 wickets at 31.71. That slightly elevated test bowling average not withstanding I reckon that among New Zealand born spinners only Clarrie Grimmett, who not only had to move countries (to Australia) but was on to his third Aussie state before mkaing the breakthrough was better. I saw him action in 1999, when his fine bowling played a major role in consigning England to the series defeat that plunged them to the bottom of the world test ratings. In the year 2000 two developments, a two-divisional championship and central contracts came into force, and since then England have fared much better on the international stage. In later years his batting became almost as significant for New Zealand as his bowling, and he was also did fairly well captaining the side. 

AMANDA WELLINGTON

This is a pick with the future in mind. The 21 year-old legspinner has only played one test match, has 15 ODI wickets at 31.80 and 10 T20I wickets at 11.20. However, she bowled well in the Womens Big Bash League this year, and had an OD match for South Australia v ACT in which she scored 29 and took 4-35. I expect to hear a lot more of her in future, having been favourably impressed by those bowling performances that I have heard commentary on.

INTRODUCING THE EIGTH XI

Here in batting order is my eighth XI:

  1. Matthew Hayden
  2. Justin Langer
  3. *Michael Vaughan
  4. Dilip Vengsarkar
  5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
  6. +Andy Flower
  7. Richard Hadlee
  8. Graeme Swann
  9. Stuart Broad
  10. Linsey Smith
  11. Terry Alderman

EXTRAS

This post will end in the usual way, but first a couple of extras.

ANSWER TO MATHEMATICAL PUZZLE FROM YESTERDAY

Here is an official solution to yesterday’s mathematical puzzle, posted by Mahdi Raza:

solution

We also have a bonus feature…

AUTISM PLAN

I was alerted to this via twitter, but the main detail is in a facebook post which you can view by clicking on the graphic below:

Autism Plan

It costs NAS West Norfolk some £15,000 a year to run activities for our members (over 380 families currently signed up). There is a new fundraiser now on just giving for those who can afford to donate, and all money raised will be used by NAS West Norfolk for activities that help autistic people. We finsih of course with…

PHOTOGRAPHS

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