All Time XIs – Match Ups 47

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 instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today starts with the Ls in the spotlight, with a score of 77 out of 105 and ends with the Ms taking their place there, having garnered 49.5 out of 60 points in the match ups in which they are alphabetically second.


The Ls have the better opening pair, but the Ws win the batting match uops at three, four, five, six and seven, though the Ls have the better keeper. The Ls have an advantage in pace/seam bowling, although Whitty’s left arm somewhat negates that. The Ws win the spin bowling, especially given that they have a third option in that department in Woolley. I think the Ws have this one, but not by a huge amount: Ls 2, Ws 3.


The Ls win all departments save keeping, where BoX outranks Langley, making this one very straightforward: Ls 5, Xs 0.


The Ls have the better opening pair and just win the match up at number three. The Ys win at number four. The Ys win the batting element of the match up at number seven, though Langley has to rate as the finer keeper. The Ls are massively ahead in pace/ seam bowling and also win the spin bowling, though less conclusively. The Ls are well clear overall and I see no possible scoreline other than Ls 5, Ys 0.


The Ls absolutely dominate the batting, have the better keeper, the better captain, by far the better pace/ seam bowling and the better spin bowling: Ls 5, Zs 0.


The Ls scored 17 points out of 20 in these last match ups, giving them a final total of 94 out of 125, 75.20% overall.


The Ms have the better opening pair by far, though the Ns win the batting match ups at three and four, albeit Macartney offers a genuine bowling option. Miandad blows Dave Nourse out of the water at number five, Miller outbats Noble and outbowls Sarfraz Nawaz, while both captains are superb. Nixon outbats Marsh, but the legendary Aussie was undoubtedly the greater keeper. Marshall and McGrath clearly outrank Ntini and Nortje as a new ball pairing. Muralidaran massively outranks Noble as an off spinner, and Mahmood’s leg cutters have no equivalent in the opposition ranks, while for all his status as a no3 batter, Macartney’s left arm spin outranks that of Nadeem. The Ms are at least a match for the Ns batting wise, and massively superior in bowling: Ms 5, Ns 0.


The Ms now have 54.5 out of a possible 65 points, 83.85% overall.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 42

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

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how my teams fare against one another. Today the Ks enter the spotlight, with 37 of a possible 50 points banked from the matches against teams who precede them alphabetically.


The Ls have the better opening pair, though their advantage there is lessened by the fact that one of their openers is batting out of position. The Ls also have the better number three. However, Kallis outranks Lloyd with the bat, and offers an extra bowling option not available to the Ls. Both sides have excellent captains. The Ks win the wicket keeping battle. Lindwall, Lillee and Lohmann are a match for I Khan, King and Kortright, while Laker and Langridge are a better balanced spin combo than R Khan and Kumble. This is a proper battle, but I think Kallis just tips the scales the Ks way: Ks 3, Ls 2.


The Ms have much the stronger opening pair. The Ks win the number 3-5 slots, though number four only on sample size. Each side has one recognized bowler in their top five, and for my money Macartney outranks Kallis in that department. Miller against I Khan is just about the ultimate in match ups between fast bowling all rounders. The Keepers battle is also a clash of titans. Marshall outranks King as a bowler, but King is clear with the bat (King’s record in his era translates to averaging 30 with the bat and 23 with the ball on covered pitches). At the moment, though this is subject to change as the Afghan develops Mahmood outranks R Khan as a bowler. Murali outranks Kumble as a bowler. McGrath comfortably wins his match up against Kortright. The Ks, with their super powerful engine room at nos 3-5, and King at eight outranking Marshall in that department may just win the batting, but the Ms comfortably win the bowling. I make this a slightly more comfortable than regulation win for the Ms: Ks 1.5, Ms 3.5.


The Ks boss the top batting, with only Dudley Nourse close to his opposite number in that department among their top five. The Ks also have the better keeper, far the better pace bowling unit and the better spinners. Only in captaincy, where Noble is a worthy rival to I Khan to the Ns even come close, and that will not save them: K5 , Ns 0.


The KO clash is indeed a KO – in the Ks favour. Oldfield, O’Reilly and Olivier win their match ups for the Os, but the other eight all go very comfortably in favour of the Ks. This has to be scored as Ks 5, Os 0.


The Ps have the better opening pair, although not by much, especially given that the one person who could claim to have sorted Ponsford out was an express paced bowler, Larwood. The Ks have two such, Kortright and I Khan, plus King who was also pretty sharp. Ponting and G Pollock win the number three and four slots more conclusively, Kallis winning the number five slot, and offering an extra bowling option into the bargain. Pant outbats Kirmani, but the older Indian was probably the better keeper of the two. Procter against I Khan is another titanic clash of fast bowling all rounders on the same lines as Miller against I Khan. King and S Pollock are hard to pick apart, as are P Pollock and Kortright. Parker and Prasanna are a better balanced spin pairing than R Khan and Kumble, and probably just about outrank them anyway. I just give this to the Ps: Ks 2, Ps 3.


The Ks have scored 16.5 out of 25 today, moving them up to 53.5 out of 75, 71.33% so far.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 39

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 created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Js currently occupy the spotlight and they have so far scored 26.5 points out of 50 (there was a mistake near the end of yesterday’s post).


The Ls are stronger in all departments, though their advantage in batting is not huge. The Js have too many X-factor players for me to forecast a whitewash, so I score this Js 1.5, Ls 3.5.


This is close in batting, but the Ms are well ahead on bowling. I score this one Js 1, Ms 4.


The Js are well ahead in this one: Js 4, Ns 1.


The Js comfortably outbat the Os, and also have the better pace/ seam attack, though O’Reilly ranks highest among the spinners on either side. Jackson outranks O’ Reilly as skipper. I score this one Js 4, Os 1.


The Ps have the stronger batting and the better pace attack. The spin honours are split in my view, and I expect the Ps to win this quite easily: Js 1, Ps 4.


The Js have scored 11.5 out of 25 today, moving them up to 38 out of 75, 50.67% overall.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter N

Continuing the exploration of the all-time XIs theme with a look at the letter N.

Welcome to this latest installment in my exploration of the ‘all time XIs’ theme. This time the team all have surnames beginning with the letter N.


  1. Stan Nichols (Essex, England). Left handed batter, right arm fast bowler. He didn’t play many games for England, but he was an Essex stalwart for many years, and he did on occasion open the batting for the county, a role I have given him in this.
  2. Mudassar Nazar (Pakistan). A stubborn right handed opening batter and occasional purveyor of medium pace. He forms an excellent counterpoint to the flamboyant Nichols.
  3. Seymour Nurse (West Indies). An excellent batter with test HS of 258. He is the first of a powerful trio of middle order batters for this team.
  4. Arthur Dudley Nourse (South Africa). A test average of 53, maintained through a long career.
  5. Arthur William ‘Dave’ Nourse (South Africa). A left handed batter and left arm medium pace bowler. He was Dudley’s father, but never coached his son. Once an argument about how to hold the bat broke out in a game of street cricket that Dudley was playing, and Dudley took the matter to his father. Papa Nourse, completely composed, told Dudley “Son I learned to bat with a fence paling – now you go and do the same”. From that moment on Dudley did things his way.
  6. *Monty Noble (Australia). A right handed batter and off spin bowler, he was one two notable all rounders to play for Australia in the early 20th century, Warwick Armstrong being the other. He was highly regarded as captain of the side, a role I have given him in this XI. He was the third victim of arguably the most notable test hat trick ever taken, when at Headingley in 1899 JT Hearne accounted for Clem Hill, Syd Gregory and him in successive balls – one great batter, one very good one and one all rounder. He was the bowler when Albert Trott hit his famous blow that carried the Lord’s pavilion. His accounts of the 1924-5 and 1928-9 Ashes series are both excellent reads. His full record can be viewed here.
  7. +Paul Nixon (Leicestershire, England). Years of sterling service for his county did not translate into many England caps, but he was a superb keeper, and good enough with the bat to have scored 1,000 FC runs in a season – the first Leicestershire keeper to reach that mark since 1935.
  8. Makhaya Ntini (South Africa). Over 300 test wickets confirm his status as a top notch fast bowler.
  9. Shahbaz Nadeem (India). A left arm orthodox spinner with a fine FC record whose international opportunities have been limited by the fact that he is a contemporary of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, both of whom are quite rightly ahead of him in the pecking order.
  10. Sarfraz Nawaz (Pakistan). Not a genuinely fast bowler, but a highly effective operator at fast medium. His greatest moment came with Australia 305-3 chasing a target of 382 – they were 310 all out, Sarfraz Nawaz taking all seven of those wickets, to give him nine in the innings, at a cost of one run.
  11. Anrich Nortje (South Africa). One of the fastest bowlers of the current era, no opponents relish facing him.

This side contains a somewhat make shift opening pair, a powerful trio at three, four and five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper who could bat and four fine specialist bowlers. It is not one of the strongest XIs in this series, but it is certainly not the weakest either. If forced to choose I would always prefer a strong bowling side with slightly questionable batting over a powerful batting side that will struggle to take 20 wickets – the former combo is much more likely to win matches, while the latter will probably be made to settle for a draw when its batting fires and be defeated when it does not.


I will start with the question of openers: the main alternatives to using Nichols in that role were Scott Newman, who never played international cricket though he was fairly prolific at county level, and Imran Nazir of Pakistan, most of whose greatest successes came in limited overs matches.

Henry Nicholls of New Zealand is a gritty batter but not quite of the necessary class to displace Nurse or either of the Nourses from this XI.

Otto Nothling was a fine all round athlete, and a good cricketer at state level in Australia, but when the chance came at test level he did nothing. Had I not settled on Noble as skipper I would have considered Shelley Nitschke for the all rounders slot – her being a left arm spinner would have made selecting the specialist spinner somewhat easier.

The only alternative to Nixon for the keeper’s slot that I could think of was another player with Leicestershire connections, Tom New. He was perhaps a little better with the bat than Nixon but he was not as good a keeper, and that settled the issue.

Rana Naved of Pakistan at number eight would have strengthened the batting (none of my four chosen bowlers would be likely to make a major contribution in that department), but while his record at FC level and in limited overs internationals was good, he paid over 50 a piece for his test wickets. Australian brothers Lisle and Vernon Nagel both bowled medium fast, making use of their height (6’6″) to generate awkward bounce. Lisle once took 8-32 in an innings in a tour match vs MCC (during the 1932-3 tour), but he did not deliver for the test team. Buster Nupen, the only test cricketer born in Norway, came close, but he paid 32 a piece for his wickets at the highest level, just too much. Australian pacer Ashley Noffke was never a regular at international level, and similarly current Indian pacer T Natarajan has yet to establish himself at the highest level.

Mark Nicholas could only have made the XI as a specialist captain, a notion I do not especially approve of, and with Noble available to skipper one that was hardly necessary. He would however get to lead the comms team when this XI was in action.

Nasim-ul-Ghani who was the first nightwatcher to score a test ton did not do enough with his left arm spin to merit inclusion. Sunil Narine, formerly of the West Indies and now plying his trade in short format leagues around the world is an off spinner thus with the presence of Noble doubly disqualified. Similar arguments apply to Afghan legend Mohammad Nabi.

I fully expect that ten years or so from now the young Afghan left arm wrist spinner Noor Ahmad will have taken his place among the cricketing elite, but at the moment, not altogether surprisingly for a 17 tear old he does not have enough of a record to be worth a place. He may suffer somewhat because his country have such a glut of quality spinners: Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Qais Ahmad and Zahir Khan are just four of those he is up against for international honours.


Our cricketing journey through the letter N is at an end and it remains only to apply the usual sign off…