All Time XIs – Through the Alphabet IX

The ninth ‘alphabetic progression’ post in my all time XIs series.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the today’s all time XI cricket post. We continue the alphabetic progression, with today’s starting point being U.

JOE VINE’S XI

  1. George Ulyett – right handed opening batter, right arm fast bowler. He opened the batting for England on occasions, including in the 1882 match that inaugurated the Ashes.
  2. *Joe Vine – right handed opening batter, leg spinner, captain. A stalwart for Sussex for many years. It was considered unthinkable for a professional to captain a county side in his day, but in keeping with my thinking about slow bowling all rounders I have given him the job in this XI.
  3. Everton Weekes – right handed batter. Of West Indians who have played at least 20 test matches only one, George Headley, with an average of 60.83 has a better batting average than Weekes’ 58.61 per innings. He holds the record for most consecutive test centuries, with five. He once started a tour of India by scoring centuries in his five innings in that country.
  4. Xenophon Balaskas – right handed batter, leg spinner. No 4 is high in the order for him, but X is a very difficult letter to fill.
  5. Michael Yardy – left handed batter, occasional left arm spinner. A solid batter whose bowling was almost exclusively deployed in limited overs matches where he was fairly economical though never a big wicket taker. He played a few games for England in limited overs formats.
  6. Bas Zuiderent – right handed batter. The dashing Dutchman gets another outing in this team.
  7. +Les Ames – wicket keeper, right handed batter. A fabulous keeper batter.
  8. Ian Bishop – right arm fast bowler. At one time he seemed set to be a world beater, but he was plagued by injuries (an early warning that the West Indian fast bowling production line was drying up – the greats of the 1970s and 80s were apparently only vulnerable to kryptonite) which prevented him from really scaling the heights. He once helped the West Indies to reach almost 200 after being 29-5, supporting Gus Logie in an important late partnership. He is now a commentator on the game.
  9. Dean Cosker – left arm orthodox spinner. He did not quite make the grade, paying rather too much for his wickets.
  10. Mark Davies – right arm medium fast bowler. Took his wickets at 22 a piece in first class cricket when his body allowed him to play – it was that latter caveat that prevented him from playing for England.
  11. Hans Ebeling – right arm fast medium bowler. He played for Australia in the 1930s, and had a fine record in Shield cricket. However, his greatest contribution to cricket history was being the person who came up with the idea of the Centenary Test Match, which took place at Melbourne in March 1977, precisely 100 years after the first ever test match had taken place. Over 200 former Ashes players attended the match, and since it was a one-off match and not part of a series England skipper Brearley decreed that his team would make every effort to chase down the outlandish target of 463 that they were set to win. With Derek Randall making a test best 174 and various others also batting well England reached 417, meaning that the game finished in a victory for Australia by 45 runs, precisely the same as the outcome of the inaugural test match. In Australia’s second innings Rodney Marsh became the first Aussie keeper to reach three figures in a test match, six years after Bill ‘Phant’ Lawry had declared with him on 92. The success of this game, and the exact duplication of the margin from 100 years previously had one writer suggesting that the instigator, Ebeling, should really have been named Hans Andersen Ebeling, not just Hans Ebeling.

This team has a respectable top six, several of whom are also genuine bowlers, a great keeper batter at seven and four fine bowlers. Bishop, Ebeling, Davies and Ulyett make for a good seam attack, while Cosker, Balaskas and Vine are a handy trio of spinners.

IMRAN KHAN’S XI

  1. Roy Fredericks – left handed opening batter. Gordon Greenidge’s first opening partner at test level, before the emergence of Desmond Haynes. The first player other than Dennis Amiss (who scored the first two such innings) to rack up a century in a one day international. After his playing days were done he went into politics became Sports Minister in the government of Guyana.
  2. Sunil Gavaskar – right handed opening batter. The first player to amass 10,000 test match runs, the first batter to score as many 30 test centuries (34 in total). His 221 at The Oval in 1979 helped his team to come very close to chasing down 438 for victory (they lost their way in the closing stages and finished on 429-8, having been 366-1 at one point). 13 of his 34 test centuries came against the West Indies.
  3. Walter Hammond – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler, occasional off spinner, excellent fielder. He dominated the 1928-9 Ashes, won 4-1 by England, scoring 905 runs in the five tests at 113.125 an innings, and in matches 2,3 and 4 of the series he had 251 at Sydney, 200 in the first innings at Melbourne and 119 and 177 not out at Adelaide. Four years later his 440 runs at 55 was joint leading series aggregate with Herbert Sutcliffe, and having finished the series with scores of 101 and 75 not out, with a six to end the match with a flourish, he proceeded to bash 227 and then a new test record 336 not out in the two match series England played in New Zealand on their way home, a record four innings sequence of 739 runs.
  4. Clive Inman – right handed batter. He played for Leicestershire until Ray Illingworth was brought in as captain and decided that the team could not function as such with him and Peter Marner in it, whereat he moved to Derbyshire. He cashed in a combination of Nottinghamshire wanting to provoke a declaration and needing to speed up their over rate the reach a 50 in eight minutes, now quite rightly relegated to a footnote in the record books – big Jim Smith’s 11 minute effort for Middlesex was made against proper bowling.
  5. Stanley Jackson – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. The fact that he played as an amateur and was never able to commit to a tour gave him a bizarre looking test record – five test hundreds, all scored against Australia and all in home matches. Like Fredericks he went into politics post cricket, although he was never a minster – he was at one time chairman of the Unionist Party. When he was preparing to make his maiden speech in the house the debate was not going well for his side and he was told “we are holding you back, it is a sticky wicket”, and then when the situation was looking rosier “Get your pads on, you’re in next”.
  6. *Imran Khan – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, captain. He emerged with the best record of the four great test all rounders who emerged in the late 1970s (Ian Botham, Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee were the other three), averaging 37.69 with the bat and 22.81 with the ball. He is another who went into politics after retiring from cricket, and is the current President of Pakistan.
  7. George Lohmann – right arm medium pace bowler, right handed lower order batter. A little high at number seven, but he certainly could bat. However it is is his bowling, 112 wickets in 18 tests at just 10.75 each, that gets him in here.
  8. Fazal Mahmood – right arm fast medium bowler. Once described as the ‘Bedser od Pakistan’, he took his test wickets at 24 each, including a 12 wicket haul in Pakistan’s first ever test match victory at The Oval in 1954.
  9. +Wayne Noon – wicket keeper, right handed lower order batter. 215 dismissals in 92 first class matches, and an average of 20 with the bat including 12 first class fifties. He played county cricket for Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire, and also played in New Zealand for Canterbury.
  10. Pragyan Ojha – left arm orthodox spinner. Had an excellent record in Indian first class cricket, and played for Surrey in the county championship, spinning them to promotion back to the first division.
  11. Erapalli Prasanna – off spinner. One of four great spinners to play for India in the 1970s, along with Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Venkataraghavan. In the only test match that all four of them played it was Prasanna who had the best figures.

This team has a strong top three, Inman and Jackson are not the worst at four and five, a great all rounder, four fine bowlers and a keeper. Imran Khan, Fazal Mahmood and George Lohmann, with Jackson as fourth seamer give good options in that department and the spin duo of Ojha and Prasanna is high quality, and there is Hammond as seventh bowler.

THE CONTEST

Imran Khan’s XI are clear favourites for this one – the only batters of absolutely indisputable class possessed by Joe Vine’s XI are Weekes and the keeper Ames, and the bowling while stronger is not sensational. Imran Khan’s XI by contrast is undeniably strong in both departments. I bring this post to a close by presenting the teams in tabulated form.

TTA IX

All Time XIs – Pakistan

Today being Monday the ‘all time XI’ post focusses on an international outfit, in this case Pakistan.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of all time XI‘ cricket themed posts. Today, in keeping with our Monday tradition we look at an international set up. Today the focus is on Pakistan.

PAKISTAN IN MY TIME

  1. Azhar Ali – right handed opening batter. He has played 79 test matches and averages just under 43 at that level. He has also been a successful overseas player for Somerset. Pakistan have not been that well endowed with opening batters down the years, since most batters in that part of the world prefer to delay their entry until the shine has gone from the ball. The achievements of those who do open the batting are therefore all the more impressive because so few do so.
  2. Saeed Anwar – left handed opening batter. A test average of 45 per innings. His left handedness augurs well for my chosen opening pair.
  3. Babar Azam – right handed batter. This man averages 45 in test cricket and over 50 in both forms of limited overs internationals, an all format success rate that puts him firmly among contemporary greats not just of Pakistan but of world cricket.
  4. Javed Miandad – right handed batter. 8832 test runs at an average of over 50 (indeed he spent his entire test career with an average of over 50, a remarkable record of consistent success). 
  5. Misbah-ul-Haq – right handed batter. His arrival as a test cricketer came late in his career, but he made up for lost time to emerge with a batting average of 46 at that level, and an excellent record as captain.
  6. *Imran Khan – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, captain. Even if his record as a player did not automatically command a place there could be only one choice as captain of an all-time Pakistan team. As it is he stands as one of the greatest of all all rounders, and beyond a doubt the finest that his country has ever produced. He is now of course demonstrating his leadership skills in the political sphere, running his entire country rather than merely the cricket team thereof.
  7. +Zulqarnain Haider – wicket keeper, right handed batter. A one cap wonder, he made 88 on his only test appearance and kept well. He subsequently fled to Britain, believing his life in danger from match fixers and that the Pakistan authorities were not doing enough to protect him. Pakistan have had many wicket keepers, but most of those who might be considered have question marks hanging over them.
  8. Wasim Akram – left arm fast bowler, left handed batter. He was discovered by Imran who saw him bowling in the nets as a teenager and had him fast tracked into the national side. He went on to establish a record that places him firmly among the all time greats of the game.
  9. Saqlain Mushtaq – off spinner. A pioneer of the ‘doosra’, an off spinner’s equivalent of the googly that has always been controversial because of the arm angle required to produce it (there is a newer version called the ‘carrom ball’ which is less controversial). His record both for his country and for Surrey as an overseas player speaks for itself.
  10. Mushtaq Ahmed – leg spinner. He was one of two candidates for this position, Abdul Qadir being the other. However, for all Qadir’s merit in keeping alive the art of wrist spin at a time when fast bowlers ruled the world cricket roost, Mushtaq has the finer overall record. As well as his triumphs for Pakistan he was part of the first Sussex side ever to win a County Championship, having previously played for Somerset. He has gone to a coaching career which included a role in the England set up.
  11. Waqar Younis – right arm fast bowler. At one time he was probably the quickest on the planet, and his yorker was a devastating weapon for a number of years. Also, he bowled particularly effectively in tandem with Wasim Akram.

This team has a solid top five, one of the greatest ever all rounders and captains at no six, a keeper who can bat, and an awesome quartet of bowlers. The bowling, with a left arm speedster, two right arm speedsters, a leg spinner and an off spinner has both depth and variety. With Imran to captain them this would be a very tough unit to do battle against.

THE NEW NAMES FOR THE ALL TIME XI

  • Hanif Mohammad – right handed opening bat. He held the records for the highest first class score (499 for Karachi vs Bahawalpur) and the longest ever first class innings (337 in 970 minutes v West Indies, in a match saving second innings score of 657-8). Both have subsequently been broken, although his 970 minutes remains a test record for a single innings. He and the left handed, much more attack minded Saeed Anwar would make a formidable opening combination.
  • Zaheer Abbas – right handed batter. The only Asian batter to have scored 100 first class hundreds, a record that includes eight instances of twin centuries in a first class match (itself a record, which includes another record of four such instances including a double century). Although best known for his tall scoring in long form cricket he was also one of the best early ODI batters, being the first ever to hit three successive tons in that format.
  • Mushtaq Mohammad – right handed batter, leg spinner. He av eraged 39 with the bat and 29 with the ball, including twice combining centuries with five wikcket innings hauls.
  • +Wasim Bari – the finest keeper ever to play for Pakistan, his career ended just before I started following the game in earnest, but his record speaks for itself.
  • Fazal Mahmood – right arm fast medium. An expert bowler of the leg cutter, he took as test wickets at 24 each and his first class wickets at 18.96. He took 12 wickets in the first test match that his country won, against England at The Oval. His presence adds craft and variety to the bowling attack.

Thus, our Pakistan All-Time XI reads in batting order: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Mushtaq Mohammad, *Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, +Wasim Bari, Saqlain Mushtaq, Fazal Mahmood and Waqar Younis. This team contains a very strong top four, three all rounders, a keeper and three varied bowlers. Waqar, Wasim, Imran, Fazal, Saqlain and Mushtaq Mohammad is a superb all round bowling unit.

THOSE WHO MISSED OUT

I have mentioned in passing Abdul Qadir, who I believe deserves full credit for keeping wrist spin bowling alive. Shoaib Akhtar, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ might have had a fast bowling spot, but his record does not compare with Waqar Younis, and I am a little sceptical about his ‘first record 100mph delivery’, since a) there was something of an obsession during that world cup with the mark being reached, b)the delivery in question did not actually cause many problems and c)Jeff Thomson, Frank Tyson and even Charles Kortright of old may well have bowled deliveries that travelled at over 100mph but were not recorded as doing so, there being no recording equipment available at the time. If Shaheen Shah Afridi continues as he has started his left arm pave bowling will merit serious consideration, but it is Waqar’s place that would in danger – he is very much a pure bowler, and so could not be selected in place of Wasim. Sarfraz Nawaz, a fast medium not altogether dissimilar to Fazal produced one outstanding spell, 7-1 in 33 balls v Australia as 305-3 became 310 all out, but his record overall is not a match for Fazal’s. Shahid Afridi, a big hitting batter and leg spin bowler, was among the most watchable of all cricketers but his record does not have the substance to match the style. There are three batters with outstanding records who I have ignored for reasons other than their cricketing ability. Inzamam-ul-Haq was considered for the place that I awarded to Misbah, and I fully accept that he has a valid claim. Imtiaz Ahmed and Taslim Arif were both heavy scoring keepers. Asif Iqbal, a middle order batter and sometimes useful slow-medium bowler would also have his advocates. It is also a matter of regret to me that I could find no way of equipping this unit with a front line left arm spin option, and I am open to genuine suggestions about this. Finally, Asif Mujtaba and Ijaz Ahmed both had good records, but I could not see them ahead of those I actually picked. I also remind people that no two people’s selections would ever be in complete agreement in an exercise of this nature, although I would expect the choice of Imran as skipper to be pretty much unanimous.

LINKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Our journey through Pakistan cricket is at and end, but before my usual sign off I have a couple of links to share, both from Tax Research UK:

  1. The Way To Tackle The ‘How Are You Going To Repay The Borrowing?’ Question
  2. We Do Not Need A One Off Wealth Tax To Pay Off The National Debt

And now for those pictures…

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A series of illustrations from Stephen Jay Gould’s “Dinosaur in a Haystack”

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A splendid little book.

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Pakistan
The teams in tabulated form.

 

 

 

100 Cricketers – The Seventh XI Allrounders

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the allrounders from the seventh XI. Also features a few links and as usual some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest addition to my “100 cricketers” series, which features the allrounders from my seventh XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be seen here, the post in which I introduce the seventh XI here, and the most recent post in the series here. Before getting into the main business of this post there is a bit of news.

SAM CURRAN DESTROYS DELHI CAPITALS

Many eyebrows were raised when young Surrey and England all-rounder Sam Curran fetched a seven figure sum in the IPL auction. Yesterday for Kings XI Punjab Curran who had already scored 20 off 10 balls opening the batting took 4-11 including a hat-trick which settled the match. He had bowled one over for seven when he was brought back into the attack in the closing stages. The Delhi Capitals had looked to be cruising home, but in a collapse to rival anything from 1990s England at their worst lost their last seven wickets for just eight runs. Curran benefitted from old fashioned straight, full bowling – the batters missed and he hit the stumps. A full report can be read here. Now to the main business of the post.

*IMRAN KHAN

88 test matches, 3,807 runs at 37.69 and 362 wickets at 22.81, and 175 ODIs which yielded 3,709 runs at 33.41 and 182 wickets at 26.61. He finished his career well before the launch of T20, but there can be little doubt that as an attacking bat and genuinely fast bowler he would have been a success at that form of the game as well. In 1992 he captained his country to World Cup success. This and many other successes as captain have earned him the captaincy of this XI. Captaincy sometimes adversely affects the performance of players, but this was not the case for Imran, who produced some of his finest efforts while captaining. He is a worthy captain of this XI and has an excellent back up in Heather Knight, who I named as vice-captain.

+MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI

90 test matches, 4,876 runs at 38.09, 256 catches and 38 stumpings. 341 ODI appearances yielded 10,500 runs at 50.72, 314 catches and 120 stumpings. 98 T20Is produced 1714 runs at 37.60, 57 catches and 34 stumpings. The figures show that he was an outstanding wicketkeeping allrounder. The successes in limited overs cricket show that he played an attacking brand of cricket. The fact that six of his nine first class hundreds, including his best of 224, came in test matches show that he relished the big occasion. With him behind the sticks the bowlers (Imran and the four players you will see in my next post in this series, which will also introduce the eigth XI) can be confident that their efforts will not go to waste. 

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS

As well as my standard sign off I have some links to share:

trpirob

NB this is slightly harder than the original as that multiple choice answers.

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