All Time XIs – Match Ups 60

Continuing my extended analysis of how my all time XIs fare against one another.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how my all time XIs fare against one another. Today the Rs, with 74 out of 115 points, finish their time in the spotlight and The Ss, with 72 of a possible 90 points banked from the matches in which they are alphabetically second take their place in the hot seat.


The Rs have the better opening pair, the Ys win the batting match ups and three and four, the Rs win at number five and win the batting element of the match up at six, while Yardley as prospective third seamer is massively behind Tom Richardson. The batting match up at number seven is close, but Russell was definitely the better keeper. Rabada and Roberts outrank U Yadav and W Younis as a new ball pairing. Rhodes outranks Young as a left arm orthodox spinner, but Yadav outranks Robins as a leg spinner. The Rs are ahead in batting, way ahead in seam/ pace bowling, have the better keeper. In captaincy and spin bowling it is about level, so I see only one possible scoreline: Rs 5, Ys 0.


The Rs win all the top five match ups, Zulch and Zulqarnain Haider win the batting match ups at six and seven, but Zulch does not offer a bowling option and Russell was a finer keeper than Zulqarnain Haider. Zondeki and Zaheer Khan are massively behind Roberts, Rabada and Richardson. Rhodes comfortably outranks Zia Ur Rehman. Robins v Zahir Khan is closer, but not enough to alter the scoreline: Rs 5, Zs 0.


The Rs have scored 84 out of 125 points, 67.2% overall.


The Ss have the better opening pair – while Trumper would undoubtedly have averaged more playing in Sutcliffe’s era I do not think the difference is enough to close the gap. G Smith wins the batting element of the match up at number three, but Tarrant offers a bowling option that outweighs the slower incarnations of Sobers. The Ss win the batting match ups at five, six, seven, eight and nine, and while Bob Taylor massively outranks Sangakkara as a keeper, the quick version of Sobers, and Stokes, are two bowling options with no comparator available in the ranks of the Ts. Trumble definitely outranks Stevens as a bowler, and the Ts pace trio are quicker than the Ss, though there is not much in the overall comparison and the Ss as documented have back up options as well. Both sides are well captained. The Ss win comfortably on batting, win on seam/ pace bowling and lose on keeping and spin bowling, and I will allow the latter to prevent a whitewash: Ss 4, Ts 1.


A tale of almost total dominance by the Ss. Underwood outranks Sobers in his slower incarnations as a bowler, and Ur Rahman might outrank Stevens as bowler, but the Ss are miles ahead on batting and pace/ seam bowling, ahead on keeping and level on captaincy. I think the extreme strength of the Ss batting, especially bearing in mind Sutcliffe’s tendency to come good in difficult circumstances will prevent the Us from being able to do much even on a turner and accordingly score this Ss 5, Us 0.


The Ss dominate the batting, winning every match up down to number nine. The Vs have the better keeper, and both sides will be well captained. Verity outranks the slower incarnations of Sobers as a bowling option, and Vogler considerably outranks Stevens as a bowler. The pace attacks are both excellent, though the Ss have a couple of bonus options in that area: Stokes and the quicker version of Sobers. I think the Ss deep batting and stronger pace attack are enough to win this for them, but the Vs are no pushovers even for a powerful side: Ss 3, Vs 2.


The Ss have scored 12 points today, moving them up to 84 points out of 105, exactly 80% so far.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 57

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 Qs take their place in the spotlight, currently having amassed 4.5 of a possible 80 points from the matches in which they were alphabetically second.


The Rs are utterly dominant in batting and pace bowling (the Qs sole accredited pace/ seam bowler ranks fourth in this match up, some way behind all three of the Rs pacers, have the better captain and the better keeper. The Qs have a numerical superiority in spinners, but until and unless Qais Ahmad develops his record to prove otherwise, the Rs two practitioners of spin bowling, Robins and Rhodes rank numbers one and two in that department. This is Qs 0, Rs 5.


The Ss absolutely boss the batting and pace bowling departments and have the better captain. The Qs are level on keeping and ahead on spin bowling, but not by enough to effect the scoreline: Qs 0, Ss 5.


The Qs win the batting match up at number seven, though Bob Taylor far outranks Bernard Quaife as a keeper. Appearances suggest they win the batting element of the match up of number three but I would argue otherwise – batting was more difficult in the early years of the 20th century when Tarrant played most of his cricket than it was in Qasim Umar’s day. Otherwise, it is the usual story for the Qs – any surface that offers Qadir, Qasim and Qais Ahmad assistance will also be good for Tarrant and Trumble, so once again the Qs suffer their regular fate: Qs 0, Ts 5.


The Qs have the better opening pair here – Quinton de Kock outranks Ulyett by more than Umar outranks Quaife. Qasim Umar wins the match up at number three. Then normal service is resumed, with the Us winning every match up from four to seven inclusive, though Bernard Quaife outranks Umar Akmal as a keeper. The Us have the better captain. Even their less than impressive pace attack beats that of the Qs. The Qs have a numerical superiority in the spin department, but Underwood ranks as the best such bowler on either side, and Ur Rahman would outrank Qais Ahmad, if not as yet Qasim and Qadir. I will acknowledge the Qs possession of the stronger top order and probably a better spin attack to offset some of the damage they take elsewhere, but this a clear win for the Us: Qs 1.5, Us 3.5.


The Qs have marginally the better opening pair, but the Vs win every other batting match up down to number nine, they have the better captain, probably the better keeper. They absolutely dominate the pace bowling, and Verity and Vogler would rank as the two best spinners in this match up. On any surface giving serious assistance to the Qs spinners, Verity and Vogler would both be utterly unplayable. Thus only one scoreline in possible: Qs 0, Vs 5.


The Qs have scored 1.5 of a possible 25 points and are now on 6 out of 105, 5.76% so far


All Time XIs – Match Ups 46

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. The Ls are in the spotlight and have so far accrued 60 of a possible 80 points.


The Rs have the better opening pair (Lawry outranks Rogers but Richards absolutely blows Labuschagne out of the water, especially given that the latter is batting out of position). Lara shades the number three slot, but Root handsomely wins the number four slot. The number five slot looks a big win for Lloyd, but appearances are a bit deceptive – Ranji played on much more difficult batting surfaces than Lloyd. Langridge comfortably wins the battle of the spin bowling all rounders over Robins, but Russell totally bosses the keeping match up. The Ls win the pace/ seam element of this match up, Lohmann being the deciding factor there. They also win the spin bowling element – Laker outranking Robins by more than Rhodes outranks Langridge in the battle of the left armers. I think the Ls bowling settles this one in their favour and I make it a comfortable win: Ls 4, Rs 1.


The Ss have the better opening pair – Lawry outranks Strauss, but by far less than Sutcliffe outranks Labuschagne. Lara wins the battle of the number threes, but Smith comfortably outranks Laxman and Sangakkara outranks Lloyd, though the Ls do have the better keeper. Sobers massively outbats Langridge, but Langridge was the finer left arm orthodox spinner, and similarly Laker’s off spin is more valuable than Sobers’ left arm wrist spin. Stokes is the bonus the Ss get for having Sangakkara as keeper. The Ss win the pace/seam bowling – Starc’s left arm gives them extra variation among the three front liners, and Stokes and Sobers in his quicker incarnations lend them extra depth as well. The Ls win the spin bowling. I think the Ss have got this but not by a huge margin: Ls 2, Ss 3


I give the Ts the better opening pair – Trumper was a regular opener and he scored his runs on uncovered, often treacherous pitches, which I think comfortably makes up both the discrepancy between his and Labuschagne’s averages and for Lawry’s advantage over Taylor. Lara comfortably wins the batting match up at number three, but Tarrant outranks Langridge as a bowler. Tendulkar bosses the number four slot, and while Lloyd had a somewhat better test average than Thorpe, the Englishman had a lot less support from the rest of the order than the West Indian. Ross Taylor outbats James Langridge at six. The Ts comfortably win the battle of the keepers. The pace bowling is hard to call – the Ts are quicker, but the Ls are probably better. Trumble and Laker are about equal, so with Tarrant outpointing Langridge as a bowler the Ts win the spin bowling department. I think the Ts superior batting and spin bowling wins it for them, but it is close: Ls 2, Ts 3.


The Ls boss the batting – only Inzamam Ul-Haq, Umrigar and Umar Akmal win their match ups in that department. The Ls win the keeping contest hands down, and massively outrank the Us in pace/ seam bowling as well. Underwood outranks Langridge, and at the moment, though subject to change as more evidence comes in from Ur Rahman, Laker massively outranks Ur Rahman as an off spinner. It is hard to see the Us claiming anything from this contest: Ls 5, Us 0.


The Ls have a significant advantage with the bat, with only Verreynne and Vaas winning their match ups in that department for the Vs. Langley outranks Verreynne as keeper. The pace/seam bowling contest is close – the Vs have two left armers in Vaas and Voce, the former of whom would fare better as part of this attack than he did IRL to counter the Ls superior overall figures. Verity hugely outranks Langridge – he was the reason the latter only go the test call up quite late in his career, though Laker just outranks Vogler, giving the Vs the advantage in spin bowling. I think the Ls being ahead in batting and at least level on seam/ pace bowling is enough for a comfortable win for them, but I will grant the Vs spinners (particularly Verity) one big day out: Ls 4, Vs 1.


The Ls have scored 17 out of 25 today, moving them up to 77 out of 105, 73.33% overall.


All Time XIs – The Letter U

Continuing my exploration of the all-time XIs theme with a look at the best cricketers to have surnames beginning with the letter U.

I continue my exploration of the all time XIs theme with an XI of the best players to have surnames beginning with U. As I type this post I am listening to Trent Rockets vs London Spirit in The Hundred – today should be day four of England v South Africa, but even with over half of day one lost to rain England went down to an innings defeat before yesterday’s play was done.


  1. Taufeeq Umar (Pakistan). A left handed opening batter with a test double hundred to his credit, and an overall average of close to 40.
  2. George Ulyett (Yorkshire, England). Right handed opening batter and right arm fast bowler. His batting record looks ordinary to our eyes, but in the period between 1877 and 1890, when he played, scoring was much lower than nowadays. His batting and bowling averages were the right way round, and he achieved notable feats in both departments, with a test best of 149 and best bowling figures of 7-36.
  3. Imam Ul-Haq (Pakistan). A left handed top order batter with a respectable test record.
  4. Inzamam Ul-Haq (Pakistan). A right handed middle order batter with a test average just short of 50 and an occasional left arm spinner.
  5. *Misbah Ul Haq (Pakistan). My designated captain, a role he performed wirth distinction for his country. A right handed middle order batter, who briefly held the record for the fastest ever test century in terms of balls faced. He came very late to test cricket but still managed 75 appearances, and recorded a batting average of 46.
  6. Polly Umrigar (India). Right handed batter, part time off spinner. Until Gavaskar came along he held Indian records for most test runs and most test hundreds
  7. +Umar Akmal (Pakistan). An attacking right handed batter and this team’s wicket keeper. He really ought to have done better than just over 1,000 test runs at 34 given the talent he had.
  8. Umar Gul (Pakistan). Right arm fast medium bowler, right handed batter. A fine bowler with a splendid yorker.
  9. Umran Malik (India). One of the fastest bowlers around, and one who I am sure will fare well in test matches when the time comes. It is less than three years since he first bowled with a proper cricket ball, and he is already making waves in limited overs cricket.
  10. Derek Underwood (Kent, England). A specialist left arm slow medium bowler, especially effective on rain affected surfaces and pitches that had broken up (he would have been a destroyer on the Ahmedabad surface that saw England beaten inside two days in 2021) and very economical on all surfaces.
  11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan). An off spinner with a magnificent record in limited overs cricket. I am prepared to credit him with being able to bowl well in any format, and have chosen him on that basis, this being one of the more difficult letters.

This team has seven quality batters, five genuine front line bowlers (Ulyett being an all rounder is the key). Umran Malik, Ulyett and Umar Gul is a strong pace attack, albeit not quite on a par with the Ts, while Underwood and Mujeeb Ur Rahman offer craft and guile, and should complement each other well.


This is a short section. Derek Ufton was at one time Knott’s understudy at Kent, but was not good enough to be selected for this side. Andrew Umeed, a Scot who bats right handed and bowls a bit of leg spin has just started playing for Somerset. His record at present is very moderate, but he may yet develop into a fine player.


Time for my usual sign off…