All Time XIs – Double L v Double T

An ‘all time XI’ post that continues the double letter theme from a couple of days ago. A team of players whose surnames contain a double L are pitted against a team of players whose name contains a double T.

After my recent post about cricketers with double letters in their names I am exploring the theme further with a team of players all of whom have a double L in their surnames taking on a team of players all of whom have a double T in their surnames.

TEAM DOUBLE L

  1. Roy Marshall – right handed opening batter. He was part of the 1950 West Indies team that toured England, and there were those who reckoned that in terms of pure talent he was the equal of any of the three Ws. However, his main distinction was a brilliant overseas player for Hampshire, including playing a key role in their first ever County Championship.
  2. Bill Woodfull – right handed opening batter. He averaged 65 in first class cricket, 46 in test cricket. He once went two whole years without being out ‘bowled’ at all. Although both were right handers he represents a good contrast to Marshall as he was a blocker, while Marshall preferred a more flamboyant approach.
  3. Graeme Pollock – left handed batter. A test average of 60.97, including a highest score of 274.
  4. Jacques Kallis – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. A man who averaged over 50 with the bat and in the low 30s with the ball. Just as Woodfull was a blocker to accompany Marshall the hitter, so Kallis’ approach is much more staid than was that of Pollock.
  5. *Clive Lloyd – left hander batter, captain. 7,515 test runs for the Guyanese giant. He scored the joint second fastest first class double hundred ever, reaching that mark in precisely 120 minutes v Glamorgan, thereby equalling Gilbert Jessop who reached 200 in the same length of time for Gloucestershire v Sussex. He made a century in the final of the first ever men’s cricket world cup (the women had taken their bow in this format two years previously).
  6. Keith Miller – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, occasional off spinner. Australia’s greatest ever all rounder, and one the two individuals in whose honour the Compton-Miller medal was named. He once took a seven-for in his secondary bowling style, on a Brisbane pitch (uncovered in those days) that had been turned into a mud heap by heavy overnight rain.
  7. Ray Lindwall – right arm fast bowler, right handed batter. He scored two test centuries with his batting, while has bowling record was outstanding.
  8. +Don Tallon – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Rated by many of those who saw him (including Bradman) as the greatest of all keepers, and a capable batter.
  9. Malcolm Marshall – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. An all-time great of fast bowling.
  10. David Allen – off spinner. The Gloucestershire bowler took his first class wickets (over 1,200 of them) at 23.64, and was unlucky that his prime years coincided with those of Titmus and Illingworth, which limited his test exposure. I opted for him over Illingworth because he was a slower bowler than Illingworth, contrasting nicely with my other front line spinner who was notably quick for a bowler of his type…
  11. Bill O’Reilly – leg spinner. He bowled his leg breaks at a briskish medium pace and had a well concealed googly in his armoury. Although the pair famously did not get on Bradman rated O’Reilly high enough to include him in his all time World XI, covered in detail by Roland Perry in “Bradman’s Best”.

This team has a stellar top five, a legendary all rounder at six, a great bowling all rounder at seven, an all-time great keeper who could also bat at eight and three quality bowlers to round out the order. Only David Allen, included for reasons of balance (apologies Mr D K Lillee, four fast bowlers plus Kallis with only O’Reilly as a spin option just doesn’t look right). could be considered other than great. Another fast bowler who could not be accommodated on similar grounds was big Bob Willis. Phil Tufnell might have had the second spinner’s berth, but his successes were too sporadic to make him eligible as far as I am concerned.

TEAM DOUBLE T

  1. *Len Hutton – right handed opening batter, captain. Take a look at his outstanding record and then consider that he missed six years of his prime due to World War II, from which he also emerged with one arm shorter than the other following an accident.
  2. Charlie Barnett – right handed opening batter. Again combining a blocker and a hitter for our opening pair. In the Trent Bridge test of 1938 he was 98 not out by lunch on the first day, opening with Hutton. There is a story that a spectator once arrived a few minutes late a Bristol and saw that one over had gone and the score was 20-1 – Barnett had hit five fours and then been dismissed by the sixth ball!
  3. Jonathan Trott – right handed batter. From 2010 to 2012 he was a superb no3, including scoring two centuries in an Ashes series in Australia, the first to help save the first match at the Gabba and the second to bury Australia at the MCG after the hosts were dismissed for 98 on the opening day.
  4. Mike Gatting – right handed batter, occasional medium pacer. A combination of a very slow start at international level and the fact that he played on for too long at the end makes his test record look ordinary, but for the second half of the 1980s he was superb at that level.
  5. George Ulyett – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. A test best score of 149, and he also had a seven-for at that level.
  6. Albert Trott – right handed batter, right arm slow bowler. He made a sensational start to his test career, taking 8-43 in one innings of his debut match and also scoring 110 undefeated runs in his own two batting innings (38* and 72*). He also featured prominently in his second test match, but was surprisingly overlooked for the 1896 tour of England captained by his brother Harry. He travelled over anyway, signed for Middlesex, and was a few years the best all rounder in the game. Even after his star had faded he had occasional spectacular moments, such as the devastating spell in his benefit match where in a short space of time he took four wickets in four balls and followed up with another hat trick to finish things, unfortunately to the detriment of his financial well being. He played three times for England against South Africa, and his test record from five matches played shows a batting average of 38 and a bowling average of 15 (26 wickets, including two five fors, but no ten wicket match).
  7. +Alan Knott – wicket keeper, right handed batter. One of the greatest of all glovemen and he tended to score his runs when they were most needed.
  8. Tom Emmett – left arm fast bowler, left handed batter. At a time when such were much scarcer than today he was good enough with the bat to score a first class hundred, and his averages at that level are the right way round – 14.84 with the bat and 13.55 with the ball. Test cricket came too late for him (he was already 35 when he played in the first ever test match, the first of seven such appearances).
  9. Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter – right arm fast bowler. Had a fine record for Australia in the first decade of the 20th century.
  10. Clarrie Grimmett – leg spinner. 216 test wickets in 37 matches at that level, and more first class wickets (1,424) than anyone else who never played in the County Championship.
  11. George Dennett – left arm orthodox spinner. 2,151 first class wickets at 19.82 and never played for his country. Against Northamptonshire in 1907 he had match figures of 15-21, only to see rain save his opponents in the end. Gloucesterhsire scored 60 all out in the first innings, Northants then crumbled for just 12, Dennett 8-9, Jessop 2-3, Gloucestershire then made 88 at the second attempt, and set 137 to win Northants were 40-7, Dennett 7-12, when the rain made its final decisive intervention.

This side has depth in batting, with everyone down to Emmett at eight capable of making a significant contribution, a superb bowling attack with Emmett, Cotter and Ulyett to bowl fast, and Grimmett and Dennett two great spinners.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have a fine collection of photos for you, including swans demonstrating synchronized diving:

All Time XIs – Double Letters

An addition to my ‘All Time XIs’ series, this time taking double letters as its theme.

The role of players with a double o in their names for England in recent times got me thinking about a team of players who all featured that combo, and I then started thinking about other names with double letters in, resulting in a new post for my All Time XIs series.

THE DOUBLE O XI

  1. Graham Gooch – right handed opening batter, occasional medium pacer. Scorer of 8,900 test runs, and player of the best test innings I have ever personally witnessed – 154 not out in an innings tally of 252 vs West Indies at Headingley in 1991, with Ambrose running riot on a pig of a pitch.
  2. Alastair Cook – left handed opening batter, scorer of more test runs than any other left hander – 12,475 of them in all.
  3. David Boon – right handed batter, started as an opener, but moved down to no3 to enable the formation of the right-left Marsh-Taylor combination and enjoyed tremendous success in that latter position.
  4. Joe Root – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. Arguably England’s finest batter of the 21st century, Cook’s achievements notwithstanding.
  5. *Frank Woolley – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. The only player to have the treble of 10,000 first class runs, 1,000 first class wickets and 1,000 first class catches, and indeed the only person to have taken 1,000 catches as other than a wicket keeper. In first class cricket he averaged 40 with the bat and 19 with the ball, and his bowling won at least one test match for England. I am sufficiently impressed by his tactical thoughts, as expressed in “King of Games” to name him as captain even though as a professional of that era he never had the job.
  6. Major Booth – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. Major was his given name (he was named in honour of a respected Salvation Army figure), not a rank. He would certainly have played many times for England but for the first World War (he lost his life during the battle of the Somme). In the late stages of the 1914 season he and Alonzo Drake, another cut off in his prime by the outbreak of war, bowled unchanged together through four successive first class innings.
  7. +Josephine Dooley – wicket keeper, right handed batter. One of the successes of the most recent edition of the Women’s Big Bash League.
  8. Bill Lockwood – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. He was one of the first fast bowlers to develop a really effective slower ball.
  9. Harold Larwood – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. The list of visiting fast bowlers to have blitzed the Aussies in their own backyard is a short one, and the Notts express features prominently on it.
  10. Fazal Mahmood – right arm fast medium bowler. Pakistan’s first authentically great bowler, he took 12 wickets in their first ever test victory at The Oval in 1954. He was known as a master of bowling cutters, often wreaking havoc on the matting pitches which were standard in his homeland at the time.
  11. Poonam Yadav – leg spinner. The tiny Indian causes huge problems with her craftily flighted slow leg breaks. The greatest demonstration of her ability to change the course of a match came in the most recent World T20 when Australia seemed to be coasting as she began her spell and were obviously beaten by the time she had finished.

This team contains a strong top five, an all rounder at six in Booth, a keeper who can bat at seven and four great bowlers with plenty of variation. Woolley is an excellent second spin option with his left armers, and Gooch and Root might also contribute with the ball.

THE ANY DOUBLE LETTER XI

  1. Jack Hobbs – Right handed opening batter, occasional medium pacer. The Master, scorer of 197 first class centuries in total, 12 of them in Ashes tests. He achieved all that in spite of losing four years of his cricketing prime to World War 1.
  2. Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter. First class average 52.02, test average 60.73, Ashes average 66.85. When the going got tough, he got going. He formed the most successful opening pairing in test history with Hobbs, their average opening stand being 87.81.
  3. Graeme Pollock – left handed batter. The South African averaged 60.97 before his country’s international isolation ended his test career. I opted for his left handed stroke play in preference to having a third right handed opener in Hutton occupy this slot.
  4. Walter Hammond – right handed batter, occasional medium-fast bowler. 7,249 runs in 85 test matches at 58.45, and that average only ended up below 60 because he returned to test action after World War Two, when into his forties.
  5. Everton Weekes – right handed batter. He had a similar average to Hammond in test cricket.
  6. *Frank Worrell – right handed batter, occasional left arm medium-fast bowler, captain. He averaged 49.48 in test cricket, and was one the most successful captains ever, taking the West Indies from also rans which they had been for their entire history to that point to being champions by the time he finished.
  7. +Alan Knott – wicket keeper, right handed batter. One of the game of cricket’s most noted eccentrics, and also one of the greatest keepers ever to don the gauntlets. He also averaged 32.75 with the bat, and tended to score big runs when the team most needed them.
  8. Malcolm Marshall – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. Arguably the greatest fast bowler of the golden age of West Indies fast bowling.
  9. Dennis Lillee – right arm fast bowler. The Aussie was for some years test cricket’s all time leading wicket taker, and his 164 Ashes wickets is a tally surpassed in the history of those contests only by Shane Warne who finished just short of 200.
  10. Clarrie Grimmett – leg spinner. The New Zealand born Aussie who having moved country to better his cricketing prospects had to then cross two state boundaries before establishing himself in first class cricket at the third time, and did not make his test debut until the age of 33 still became the first bowler ever to take 200 test wickets, capturing 216 from 37 test appearances – nearly six per game at the highest level. His Aussie team mate Bill O’Reilly, who was second choice for this spot, was adamant that Grimmett, then 46, should have been selected for the 1938 tour of England.
  11. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman – off spinner. A bit of a gamble on this one – left armer George Dennett with 2,151 first class wickets at less than 20 a piece could easily have been named for this spot, but the young Afghan off spinner has impressed most times he has had the ball in his hand of late.

This team features a very strong top six, one of the all time great keepers, and four great bowlers. I consider that Hammond and Worrell between them make up for the lack of a genuine all rounder. There are too many honourable mentions to name, but before moving on to the next section I would just like to say that if you have someone who you think I have missed please indicate which of my selections should be dropped to make way for them.

OFF THE FIELD

Clive Lloyd, a near miss for a batting place in the ‘any double letter’ team can be match referee, a role he also filled with distinction. In the commentary box we can have Alison Mitchell, Lizzy Ammon, Dan Norcross and Simon Mann, with expert summarisers Mark Wood (not too far off a bowling spot in the double o XI) and Isabelle Westbury (Middlesex and Holland).

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off: