All Time XIs – Match Ups 61

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 sees the end of the Ss, who come into today with 84 of a possible 105 points, and the start of the Ts who have banked 67.5 of a possible 95 points from the matches in which they are alphabetically second.


The Ss have the better opening pair, although both Ws offer bowling options. The Ws win the match up at number three, and both sides have superb skippers. The Ss win every batting match up from four to nine inclusive, though Watling outranks Sangakkara as keeper, Warne comfortably outranks Stevens as a leg spinner and Wardle equally clearly outranks the slower incarnations of Sobers, and the Ws also have Woolley as a third genuine spin option. It is close between the front line pace trios, though the Ss have Stokes and the quick version of Sobers in reserve, whereas the Ws have only Worrell. Boiling it all down, the Ss have an advantage in batting and in pace/ seam bowling, while the Ws have much the better keeper, and much the better spin attack. I think the Ws advantages just outweigh those of the Ss and score this Ss 2, Ws 3.


The Ss win every batting match up down to number eight. To a casual observer it looks like they also win the batting match up at number nine, but Fuller Pilch, the best batter of BoX’s era averaged only 18, and on that basis Box is as clearly ahead of Starc with the bat as he is of Sangakkara with the gloves. The Ss are miles clear in seam/ pace bowling and also have much the finer skipper. As against that the Xs have the better spin attack. I still think however that the Ss are so massively superior in the areas where they are superior that this has to be scored: Ss 5, Xs 0.


With the exception of the number three slot, which goes the way of Younis Khan, the Ss win every batting match up down to number nine. They also have an overwhelming dominance in the seam/ pace department. The Ys have the better keeper, and the better spin attack, but neither can save them from the inevitable: Ss 5, Ys 0.


Full spectrum dominance for the Ss: Ss 5, Zs 0.


The Ss have scored 17 points out of 20 today, to give them a final score of 101 out of 125, 80.8% overall.


The Ts have the better opening pair. A casual observer might think that the Us win the number three slot based on test being more difficult than FC cricket, but Tarrant played a lot of his cricket before WWI, so my own view is that he wins that match up, and he also offers a bowling option. The Ts win the match up at number four, while number five is draw, Misbah Ul Haq’s slightly better batting average being offset by Thorpe’s greater sample size and the lack of support that Thorpe had at test level. Ross Taylor beats Umrigar in the number six slot. Umar Akmal wins the batting match up at number seven, but Bob Taylor wins the keeping element by a much greater margin. The Ts have much the better pace/ seam bowling unit. I also give the spin department to the Ts – Tarrant would be little if any inferior to Underwood as a bowler, and on proven success as opposed to potential Trumble has to outrank Ur Rahman, though their positions may be reversed in a few years time. The Us can make no dent on the Ts, resulting in Ts 5, Us 0.


The Ts are now on 72.5 out of 100, 72.5% overall.


Today’s gallery comes in two parts – I have revisited by cricket cigarette card collection, digging out the first set I ever acquired, some years ago, and the ones I chose to photographs form the first gallery, with links to posts that the players feature in included…

…part two of the gallery features some of my regular photographs.

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


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 30

Continuing my extended analysis of how my all time XIs 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 the Gs occupy the spotlight and are on 58 of a possible 80 points going into this set of match ups. Each team featured today will have a link back to the selectorial post about them, highlighted in light blue.


The small sample size for B Richards at the highest level and the fact that Rogers indubitably ranks fourth among the openers in this match up means that I consider the Gs to have the better opening pair. The Rs win the number three slot – WG’s record on rough Victorian pitches equates to an average of 48 or thereabouts today, though the doctor offers a front line bowling option. Root beats Gower in the number four slot. Graveney achieved his test average over many more matches than Ranji, but Ranji encountered worse surfaces than Graveney. A third factor however is that Ranji played in an era that encouraged expansive stroke makers, whereas Graveney played in the slowest scoring era of all time, and his own approach was very much at variance with the general one of his era. I thus award this match up to Graveney. The Gs win the number six and seven slots with the bat, and Russell was a much finer keeper than Gilchrist. The Rs win the pace bowling – whether you make Richardson or Rabada their third pacer that third pacer outranks Jack Gregory as a bowler. Grimmett was much better leg spinner than Robins, though Rhodes outranks Gibbs as a finger spinner, albeit by much less than Grimmett outranks Robins. The Gs have the better batting by a small margin and the better spin bowling, and also the better skipper. The Rs have the better pace attack and the better keeper. I think the Rs pace attack will just make the difference and score this one Gs 2, Rs 3.


We have two superb opening pairs here. The Ss have a somewhat higher combined average and the advantage of a left/ right combo as opposed to the Gs two right handers. Grace and G Smith share the batting honours at no3 – Grace’s average on the pitches he played on converts pretty much exactly to G Smith’s on 21st century pitches, with Grace offering a bowling option and somewhat outranking G Smith as skipper. The Ss win the number four and five slots. Sobers wins the no6 batting match up against Gilchrist, though the Aussie wins the keeping match up against Sangakkara. Stokes and Gregory is a clash of the titans – two ultra aggressive left handed batters who bowl right arm fast and have very similar averages, though Stokes’ has been achieved over many more games, which just gets him the verdict. The Ss have the better pace attack, with Stokes and the quicker aspects of Sobers fourth and fifth choices for them in that department, but as against that Grimmett massively outbowls Stevens and Gibbs is better than the left arm wrist spin incarnation of Sobers (LWS have a very similar angle of attack to off spinners). The Ss have the left arm orthodox spin version of Sobers, not matched by the Gs, and the Gs have Grace as their bonus bowling option. I think the Ss just have enough, but this a mighty contest: Gs 2, Ss 3.


The opening pair is a closer contest than it looks – Trumper’s record was achieved on some pretty rough surfaces, and the Ts have the additional advantage of the left/ right combo, so I would say honours even on opening pairs. Grace outranks Tarrant as a batter, but the Aussie was the finer bowler. Grace also has to be ranked above ‘Tubs’ as a skipper, though ‘Tubs’ was a good skipper himself. Tendulkar outranks Gower by a distance, but Thorpe, on sample size and lack of support from the rest of the order, beats Graveney. Gilchrist outranks Ross Taylor as a batter, but is a distant second to Bob Taylor in the keeping stakes. Gregory wins his batting match up against Bob Taylor but loses the bowling match up against Jeff Thomson. Trumble and Gibbs is a close contest – Trumble got more responsive surfaces to bowl on than Gibbs by and large, which I consider to account for the differences in their averages. Grimmett has no challenger in the Gs ranks. Trueman and Tyson outrank Geary and Garner. The Ts have better batting, better pace bowling and much the better keeper, the Gs have the better spin bowling and the better skipper. I think the Ts have this one but not by much – Gs 2, Ts 3.


The Gs have far the better opening pair, though Ulyett was possibly a better bowler than Gregory. Grace bosses the number three slot and outranks Misbah Ul Haq as captain. The Us win the number four and five slots. Gilchrist wins the batting match up at six, and Umrigar offers less in the way of bowling than Grace. Umar Akmal loses his batting match up against Jack Gregory and his keeping match up against Gilchrist. Geary definitely outranks Umar Gul, and Umran Malik is as yet unproven, so while acknowledging that this might change over the next decade or so, at the moment that match up has to go very comfortably the way of Garner. Underwood has to outrank Gibbs as a bowler, and the moment, though again acknowledging that this might change in future Grimmett has to outrank Ur Rahman. The Gs absolutely boss the batting, have the better pace attack by far, have the better spin attack, the better keeper and the better captain: Gs 5, Us 0.


The Gs have much the better opening pair, Grace comfortably beats Vaughan both as no three and as captain, the Gs also win at numbers four and five, and Gilchrist outranks Verreynne as batter, though the Saffa wins the keeping element of the natch up. Gregory outbats Vaas, but Vaas wins the bowling element of the match up comfortably, especially given that he is likely to fare even better as third seamer in a strong attack than he actually did as opening bowler in a moderate one. Voce outranks Geary as a bowler. Van der Bijl against Garner is a toughie – the Saffa never got to play test cricket due to circumstances, but may well have had a similar record to Garner, who he resembled in height and build had he done so. Grimmett outranks Vogler as a bowler, but by less than Verity outranks Gibbs as a finger spinner. The Gs have have much the better batting, winning every significant match up, but the Vs have the better bowling. I would say that the difference in batting in favour of the Gs is bigger than the difference in bowling in favour of the Vs, but the Gs are not winning this by much: Gs 3, Vs 2.


The Gs have scored 14 of a possible 25 points today, moving them on to 72 out of 105, 68.57% so far.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (4)

This is the fourth post in my series analysing how the all time XIs I picked for each letter stack up against each other. We are working through the As at this stage, and this post starts with them on 38.5 out of a possible 75 points.


The As dominate in batting, keeping and fast bowling. The Qs big hope is with their spinners, but although they have a numerical advantage in this department, they cannot honestly be said to be indisputably superior even here. Score: As 5 Qs 0.


The Rs win all of the top four batting match ups, narrowly lose out at number five, and lose no six handsomely on the batting front but win it on the bowling front. Ames outdoes Russell with the bat, but Russell was far the superior keeper. Roberts, Rabada and Richardson should fare decently with the ball vis-a-vis Akram, Ambrose and Anderson. Rhodes, selected as a specialist left arm spinner, the role in which he both started and finished his extraordinary career, is without doubt the best spinner in either line up. The teams are very well matched, but the Rs have an advantage in batting, and Rhodes the specialist bowler had a big reputation for keeping his head in tight finishes, most notably at The Oval in 1902, when he helped his ‘Kirkheaton twin’ George Hirst to score the last 15 needed to secure a famous one wicket win in “Jessop’s match”. Thus I score this one As 2, Rs 3.


The Ss have a substantial advantage in the top six batting slots, Ames edges Stokes at seven, Stevens matches Akram in that department, Starc is just behind Ashwin as a batter. Ames outdoes Sangakkara as a keeper, but using him in that role gives the Ss greater bowling depth than the As – Starc, Statham and Steyn are pretty close to Akram, Ambrose and Anderson as a pace trio and are backed by Sobers in his quicker incarnations and Stokes in that department. Stevens and Sobers in his slower incarnations are not as potent as Al Hasan and Ashwin, but the gap is not a large one. We are not in whitewash territory here, but the Ss have a very significant advantage over the As: As 1 Ss 4.


The As are stronger overall in positions 1,2 and 3 in the order, but the Ts are ahead in positions 4,5 and 6. Ames out bats Taylor, but is comfortably out kept by the latter. The As also have the extra batting depth lent by Akram and Ashwin’s capabilities in that department. Tyson, Trueman and Thomson are the quickest pace trio to feature in this series, with the Yorkshireman ranking third quickest of them. Trumble beats Ashwin in the battle of the off spinners, and Tarrant’s left arm slow medium is demonstrably more potent than Al Hasan’s left arm orthodox spin. It is Tarrant’s presence, both adding an extra variation to the attack, and ensuring that three speedsters will be able to get some rest between spells of bowling that turns what would be a close contest in to a decisive win for the Ts. It is not quite impossible to see the As getting the better of the Ts in any circumstances, but it is hard, and I score it: As 0.5, Ts 4.5.


The As have a clear advantage here. I reckon that in a five match series Underwood will have at least one field day for the Us, which means I score this one As 4 Us 1.


The As have taken 12.5 out of 25, exactly 50% from today’s match ups, which gives them a tally so far, with five of their match ups to go of 51 points out of 100, 51%.