All Time XIs – Match Ups 15

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Also some photographs.

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how the teams I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. This post features a ‘changing of the guard’ – the Cs occupy the hot seat at the beginning, and then we start the Ds. The Cs start today with 33 out of 115 points.

THE Cs V THE Ys

The Cs definitely have the stronger opening pair, nos 3,4 and 5 are very close, with Younis Khan outpointing I Chappell to the same extent that G Chappell outpoints Yallop. Norman Yardley outbats Constantine but loses the bowling element of their match up. Also, Chappelli is the better captain. S Yousuf outbats Carter but is out kept by the Aussie. Cummins and Croft have to be ranked above Younis and U Yadav as a new ball pair. Jack Young comfortably outmatches Cornwall as a finger spinner, while P Yadav vs Chandrasekhar is an even contest. The Ys have a marginal batting advantage, and win the spin bowling, but the pace bowling advantage is strongly with the Cs, and I think that will count for more than anything else and accordingly score this one: Cs 3, Ys 2.

THE Cs V THE Zs

The Cs dominate the top batting, with only Cowdrey arguably losing his match up against I Zadran. Zulch outbats Constantine, but does not offer a serious bowling option. Carter wins the wicket keeping match up, and Zaheer Khan and Monde Zondeki are way behind Cummins and Croft in the fast bowling stakes, while Constantine is the only back up pace option available to either side. The Zs probably win the spin department, but I don’t see that making much difference to the outcome of this one: Cs 4, Zs 1.

THE Cs FINAL SCORE

The Cs finish with 40 out of 125 points, a total score of 32%, comfortably bottom out of the three XIs who have been fully under the spotlight so far.

THE Ds V THE Es

The Cs have one solid pro and one genius opening the batting, one of the greatest number threes of all time, two legendary stroke makers at four and five, and a number six whose record at the top level suffered because his elevations was massively delayed by his personal circumstances and who still had a fine record. Dujon was an excellent keeper and a stylish batter, their pace trio is awesome, with Daniel probably third seamer behind an opening pair of Davidson and Donald, and they have a great spinner who was unlucky to overlap with two even greater ones of the same type – Wilfred Rhodes and Colin Blythe. The Es have two left handed battlers to open the batting, a number three who is less far behind his opposite number than figures suggest on two counts – 1)Dravid batted in an easier era for batting than Bill Edrich, and 2) Edrich lost six prime years to WWII, in which he distinguished himself as a flying ace. Emmett and R Edwards are undoubtedly well behind Donnelly and Duleepsinhji, and Endean is beaten by D’Oliveira. Dujon wins the batting element of his match up against Evans, but the Englishman was an even greater keeper than the West Indian. The Es have a left/ right opening pair of pacers, and a couple of crafty slower bowlers in Evans and Ecclestone. Evans v Daniel is not strictly a match up since they were very different types of bowler, and it is hard to say who would be preferable. I rank Ecclestone ahead of Dennett as a slow left armer. The Ds are ahead on batting, the Es may be ahead on front line bowling, but the Ds have an extra option in D’Oliveira. I score this one as Ds 3, Es 2.

THE Ds V THE Fs

The Ds have a marginal advantage when it comes to the opening pair, and Dravid rates above Flower as a number three. Donnelly beats Fletcher confortably, and Duleepsinhji beats Faulkner with the bat, but as against that Faulkner offers a bowling option. The Ds are stronger with the bat at nos 6,7 and 8, but the Fs have the potential of useful contributions from Flowers at 9. The Fs boss the bowling, Foster, Freeman and Ferris being at least as good a pace combo as Davidson, Donald and Daniel, and the Fs having three front line spin options to the Ds 1. I expect the Fs to win this comfortably and score it Ds 1, Fs 4.

THE Ds V THE Gs

The Ds have the edge in batting, though by less than it seems at first glance, the Ds also have the better pace attack, with only Garner in the same class as their trio. The Gs have a significant advantage in the spin bowling department, and they have the redoubtable WG as skipper. I still make the Ds favourites and score this one Ds 3, Gs 2.

THE Ds PROGRESS REPORT

The Ds had 8 points out of 15 from their three previous encounters. They are now on 15 points out of 30, exactly 50%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter Z

Continuing my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a look at the letter Z.

I continue my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a team of players whose names begin with Z. I included Zaheer Abbas in the As, and in keeping with my policy that no one will feature is two XIs in this trip through the alphabet I therefore do not select him today. Other omissions can wait until the Honourable Mentions section.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

  1. Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan). A left handed opening batter with a magnificent ODI record, a respectable test record and a good FC average.
  2. Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan). A right handed opening batter, currently averaging 44 test cricket, and with a good FC record.
  3. Zubayr Hamza (South Africa). A right handed top order batter who averages 48 in FC cricket, though he has not been successful at test level as yet.
  4. Najibullah Zadran (Afghanistan). His opportunities at test level have been limited to date, but he has a fine record in limited overs cricket, and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Khaya Zondo (South Africa). Has an excellent FC batting record, though has not yet been given the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level.
  6. Billy Zulch (South Africa). A right handed batter and occasional right arm medium pacer, he averaged 30 in test cricket when SA were a struggling outfit, had a good FC record.
  7. +Zulqarnain Haider (Pakistan). An innings of 88 in what proved to be his only test (he fled Pakistan in fear of his own safety) underlined his skill with the bat and he was a fine keeper as well.
  8. Monde Zondeki (South Africa). A right arm fast bowler who took his test wickets at 25 a piece.
  9. Zia Ur Rehman (Afghanistan). A left arm orthodox spinner who takes his FC wickets at 19 a piece, but has yet to be given a chance at test level. Afghanistan have amazing strength in depth in the spin bowling department, and his test opportunity may never arrive.
  10. Zaheer Khan (India). A left arm fast medium bowler, his test average of 32 looks on the high side, but he rarely had much in the way of pace support (India having strength in depth in the pace bowling department is a recent phenomenon).
  11. Zahir Khan (Afghanistan). A left arm wrist spinner who claims his FC wickets at 21 a piece and bowled respectably in his three tests, though seven wickets at 34 a piece is a record that needs improvement.

This XI has a solid batting unit, a good keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. It is a pity that the back up seam options are limited to Ibrahim Zadran and Billy Zulch, neither of whom could be classed as front line bowlers, but Zaheer Khan, Zondeki, Zia Ur Rehman and Zahir Khan should function fairly well as a main bowling attack.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The main rival to Fakhar Zaman as left handed opener was Hazratullah Zazai of Afghanistan, but though he has a respectable FC record he has yet to be picked for a test match. No right handed opener comes remotely close to challenging Ibrahim Zadran – while his test average of 44.50 comes from only eight innings at that level (no not outs to boost the average), his first class average of 41 comes from a much larger sample size and confirms his class. He averages about 18 runs an innings more than Zak Crawley at test level and 12 an innings more than the proven failure who happens to be a management favourite manages even at FC level.

Bas Zuiderent of the Netherlands played a fine innings against England in the 1996 World Cup, but overall his record is quite ordinary. Saif Zaib is an alleged batting all rounder, but his FC averages at the moment are the wrong way round – 22 with the bat and 31 with the ball. Tim Zoehrer was Zulqarnain’s rival for the gauntlets, but he had such a poor series in the 1986-7 Ashes that spectators at the MCG of all places were heard expressing the opinion that even the New South Welshman Greg Dyer would be in improvement on him (of course they really wanted their own Dimattina to get the job).

Mohammed Zanhar, a Sri Lankan leg spinner, took his FC wickets at 25 a piece, but only played 10 matches at that level. Adam Zampa has a great record in limited overs cricket, but his FC wickets come at massively pricey 48 runs a piece. Two fast bowlers, Dawlat Zadran of Afghanistan and Nuwan Zoysa of Sri Lanka (who once took a hat trick with his first three balls of a test match) entered my thoughts but neither had that great an overall record. Zak Chappell is expensive even at first class level, and is nearly as far short of meriting serious consideration as the other Zak I have mentioned in passing.

While I regret the absence of a genuine all rounder that omission could only be rectified by outright cheating, using a nickname to avail myself of ‘Zulu’ Klusener.

PHOTOGRAPHS

We have finished our cricketing journey through the letter Z and all that is left is my usual sign off…