All Time XIs – The Grand Finale

Bringing the curtain down on an immense series that has taken us through the alphabet, 200+ years of cricket history and every inhabited continent in the world. The XIs are presented in reverse ranking order, with links back to the selectorial posts.

This post concludes our cricketing journey through the alphabet, a couple of centuries of history and every inhabited continent, with a listing of each XI in reverse ranking order from 26th up to first. I have appended extra comments along the way where my thinking may have changed, or where cricketing developments caught up with me during the course of this series, which has been running since late July. Each XI is also accompanied by a link to the relevant selectorial post.

26TH: THE Qs

The challenge for this letter was actually finding 11 players to constitute an XI, and not surprisingly the final result was decidedly ill assorted. They managed just 7 of a possible 125 points.

25TH: THE Zs

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24TH: THE Is

While this XI has no great strength anywhere its biggest weakness was in the seam/ pace bowling department.

23RD: THE Xs

This was an XI which required a lot of chicanery to pull together. Between the creation of this XI and latter stages of the match ups a women’s tournament took place in New Zealand, and one development there was the arrival in the big time of off spinner Xara Jetly, who were I selecting this XI now would replace MaX Waller, who adds very little to the XI.

22ND: THE Us

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21ST: THE Ns

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20TH: THE Ys

The strong middle order, good spin pairing and one high class fast bowler saved this side from complete disaster.

19TH – THE Cs

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18TH: THE Es

A good spin pairing, two pacers with remarkable records and a world class keeper, but not enough batting for comfort and Bill Edrich the best available back up bowler. More here.

17TH: THE Os

The same score as the Es, but the Os get the higher spot as they won the match up between the two sides.

16TH: THE Ds

Good batting, good pace/ seam bowling, good keeper but the Ds fall down on spin bowling and captaincy.

15TH: THE Js

The Js.

14TH: THE Vs

The Vs superb bowling unit did not quite propel them into the top half of the table, as they lost a split tie (both XIs scoring 69 out 125) to…

13TH: THE As

Solid batting, a top keeper and a superbly balanced bowling unit was just enough to get the As into the top half of the table, since they won their match up with the Vs.

12TH: THE Hs

Stellar batting, a great keeper and a sound captain, but not quite enough bowling to get them to the very top. Neil Harvey might replace Hussey in some people’s estimation, and I would probably have served this letter better had I steeled myself to pick an all rounder (probably George Hirst, with his bowling stock in trade being left arm pace) rather than Hendren, but dropping the scorer of the second most FC centuries ever would have been a huge call.

11TH: THE Ps

The Ps, just missing out on the top ten.

10TH – THE Rs

This exemplifies the advantage of having Rhodes available – you can pick him for any one of several roles depending on your needs. Here, Rhodes the specialist spinner was required and therefore I selected him in that capacity, the one in which he both started and finished his career. The Rs.

9TH – THE Bs

In retrospect, given that Barnes could be said to attend to the leg spinners angle of attack with his ‘Barnes ball’, as explicated by Ian Peebles, himself an England leggie, it might have made this team even better to have selected Palwankar Baloo, Bishan Singh Bedi or left arm spinning all rounder Enid Bakewell in place of Benaud (who could instead be put in charge of the commentary team) to increase the variety available in the bowling department. Nevertheless, the Bs are a fine combination, and it says more about the top eight than it does about them that they ended up ninth.

8TH: THE Gs

If the Gs can be said to have a defect it is that none of their bowlers are left armed.

7TH: THE Ts

The Ts amassed the same number of points (90 out of 125) as the Ks and the Fs, but my tie-splitting procedure ranked them third out of three. Their batting was weakened slightly by the necessity of ensuring that there were relief bowling options available for three specialist quicks who demanded inclusion, a problem resolvable only by turning to the all round talents of Frank Tarrant.

6TH: THE Ks

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5TH: THE Fs

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4TH: THE Ls

Strong and well balanced, but the Ls just missed out on a medal.

3RD: THE Ss

The Ss are a stellar combination, although Sangakkara would not be considered a top flight keeper and the spin options are limited.

2ND: THE Ms

A powerful batting line up and a superbly balanced bowling line up, with Mahmood’s leg cutter meaning that a specialist leg spinner is unlikely to be missed.

FIRST: THE Ws

A strong batting line up, a wonderfully balanced bowling attack (Wardle’s ability to bowl left arm wrist spin covers the lack of an off spinner), a quality keeper and one of the greatest of all captains. The Ws are worthy champions.

This has been a fun exercise, though challenging in parts (both weak letters where actually completing an XI takes effort and strong letters where in some cases a second or third XI would beat most of the rest of the alphabet, which require extended acknowledgements of players one has overlooked).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Not one of my largest photo galleries, but I hope you enjoy it…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 49

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

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I created for each letter fare against one another. The Ms continue to occupy the spotlight, starting today with 73 of a possible 90 points to their name.

THE Ms V THE Ts

Both these sides have strong opening pairs (Trumper played in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, when pitches were often rough – that average of 39 is worth at least 50 in the modern era). Macartney wins the batting match up at number three, but Tarrant ranks as the greater bowler. The Ts comfortably win the number four slot, while the Ms win the number five slot. Ross Taylor outranks Miller as a batter, but unlike the Aussie he does not offer a bowling option). Marsh was a finer batter than Bob Taylor, but the Pom was the finer keeper. The Ts three specialist quicks are certainly faster than the Ms pace/ seam attack, though both sides are superbly equipped in this department. Murali outranks Trumble. The two sides are both strong in batting, strong in pace bowling, well captained and equipped with great keepers. I think Murali, Mahmood’s leg cutters and Macartney offer more variation between them than Trumble and Tarrant, though the latter two were both great bowlers, and this may be the factor that splits the sides, so I score this one: Ms 3, Ts 2.

THE Ms V THE Us

The Ms are utterly dominant batting wise, with only Inzamam Ul Haq and Umar Akmal winning batting match ups for the Us, and Umar Akmal’s is negated by his being so inferior to Marsh as a keeper. Although Umran Malik is the quickest bowler in this match up he is as yet unproven, which means that all of Marshall, McGrath and Miller have to outrank him, as they equally clearly do Umar Gul and Ulyett. Murali likewise outranks Ur Rahman, though Underwood’s left arm slow medium may be considered more useful than Mahmood’s leg cutters. I cannot see the Us doing anything against the Ms and accordingly score this one Ms 5, Us 0.

THE Ms V THE Vs

The Ms dominate the batting, with only Verreynne winning a batting match up for the Vs, and that is negated by Marsh being the superior keeper. The Vs have a pace bowling line up that is pretty much on a par with the Ms, given that a) Vaas would fare better as part of strong attack than he actually did as part of a moderate one, and b)Vaas and Voce were both left armers, whereas all three of the Ms outright fast bowlers were right armers. Verity outranks Murali as a finger spinner, while Vogler’s leg spin would probably be more dangerous than Mahmood’s leg cutters, while Macartney’s left arm spin and Vine’s leg spin are much of a muchness. On all except a spinning surface I would expect the Ms powerful batting to carry the day and accordingly score this one Ms 4, Vs 1.

THE Ms V THE Ws

The Ms have the better opening pair, though Woolley offers a bowling option comparable to Macartney and Worrell offers a bowling option not mirrored in the Ms ranks. Weekes and Walcott each comfortably win their batting match ups, and S Waugh v Miandad is a dead heat. Watling slightly outranks Miller with the bat, but Marsh outranks him as a keeper. Woods outranks Marsh with the bat (Woods played in the 1890s and 1900s, and mainly in England, where pitches were often hard to bat on) and is on a par with Miller as a bowler. Whitty, Willis and Woods are pretty close to Marshall, McGrath and Miller as a pace trio, Wardle is at least a match for Murali, Warne is clearly ahead of Mahmood. I think the Ws have this, though not by a vast amount: Ms 2, Ws 3.

THE Ms V THE Xs

The Xs arguably win two batting match ups (DeXter over Macartney, though the latter offered more with the ball, and Xenophon Balaskas over Marsh) and the wicket keeping match up. The bowling is even more strongly stacked in the Ms favour, leading to an inevitable scoreline of Ms 5, Xs 0.

THE Ms PROGRESS REPORT

The Ms have scored 19 of a possible 25 points today, moving them on to 92 out of 115, exactly 80% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 48

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 the Ms are in the spotlight and they start with 54.5 of a possible 65 points banked. A quick announcement: with Elon the Execrable seemingly set to kill twitter I have set up an account on mastodon – https://mas.to/@autisticphotographer.

THE Ms V THE Os

The Os are massively outclassed all across the board. The only crumbs of comfort for them are the presence of O’Riordan’s left arm and of leg spinner Bill O’Reilly. The Ms are simply too strong and there can be only one score: Ms 5, Os 0.

THE Ms V THE Ps

The Ms have the better opening pair, but Ponting and G Pollock win the number three and four slots batting wise, although Macartney offers a bowling option. Miandad beats Pietersen in the number five slot. Pant wins the batting element of his match up, but Marsh was the finer keeper. Procter may well have had a Milleresque record had he got the opportunity to enjoy a long test career, and these two legendary fast bowling all rounders are well nigh impossible to separate both as players and as captains. S Pollock outbats Marshall but is outbowled by the latter, P Pollock is outranked by McGrath. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners over Prasanna, but Charlie Parker, shockingly treated by the England selectors of his day, has to rated above Mahmood. These two sides are both very strong in batting, the Ms have the better keeper and the better pace bowling unit, while Parker, a left arm spinner, gives the Ps attack a better overall balance. I think the Ms advantage in pace bowling is just enough for them to win this one by the barest of margins: Ms 3, Ps 2.

THE Ms V THE Qs

The Ms utterly dominate in batting and pace bowling, have the better keeper and the better skipper. Only in spin bowling do the Qs have anything to offer, but I think the gulf between the sides in other areas is so massive that even on a raging Bunsen they will be powerless: Ms 5, Qs 0.

THE Ms V THE Rs

The opening pairs are fairly evenly matched – each features a high quality left handed opener and a brilliant right handed opener whose test opportunities were limited. Richards clearly ranks ahead of Macartney with the bat, but the Aussie offers his side an extra bowling option. The Rs win the number four slot on sample size and the relative lack of support Root has had for much of his career. As against that Miandad outranks Ranjitsinhji, and Miller wins the batting match up at six. We have a keeping clash of titans, in which for me Russell narrowly outpoints Marsh. Roberts, Rabada and Richardson are just outmatched by Marshall, McGrath and Miller, Murali outranks Rhodes, Mahmood outranks Robins, and the Ms have a sixth bowling option in Macartney. The Ms have a definite advantage: Ms 3.5, Rs 1.5.

THE Ms V THE Ss

Morris rates ahead of Strauss, but Sutcliffe, provenly a big occasion player has to be rated ahead of Merchant, and therefore say that the Ss have the better opening pair. G Smith at three wins the batting match up against Macartney, with the usual caveat not applying, since the Ss have Sobers in their ranks. S Smith at four comfortably outranks Mead, Sangakkara at five wins the batting match up against Miandad, though Marsh wins the keeping match up comfortably. Sobers is well clear of Miller with the bat, but the Aussie’s fast bowling is ahead of any of the opposition save Steyn. The Ms have the best single spinner in this contest in the person of Murali. The Ms pace attack is superb, but all are right arm bowlers, whereas with Starc and the quicker version of Sobers the Ss have two left arm pacers. The quick version of Sobers is arguably the Ss fifth pace/seam option behind Stokes, so they have more depth in this department than the Ms. This is a mighty contest, but I think the Ss just have the edge: Ms 2, Ss 3

THE Ms PROGRESS REPORT

The Ms have scored 18.5 of a possible 25 points today, moving them up to 73 out 90 points, 81.11% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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 V THE Ws

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 V THE Xs

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

THE Ls V THE Ys

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 V THE Zs

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 FINAL SCORE

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 V THE Ns

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 PROGRESS REPORT

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 45

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 each other. Today the Ls enter the spotlight, with 40.5 of a possible 55 points banked from the teams who are alphabetically ahead of them.

THE Ls V THE Ms

Considered purely an averages the Ls have the better opening pair, but 1) Labuschagne is batting out of position, 2)Morris and Merchant both played on uncovered pitches, Labuschagne didn’t, 3)Merchant’s test average is reduced by the fact that his career at that level was so very spread out – he played 10 test matches, spread over 18 years, with a world war in the middle, and in FC cricket where he played on a much more regular basis he averaged 71, second only to Bradman. In view of all of these considerations I give the Ms the better opening pair. The Ls have much the better number three, but Macartney compensates by offering a bowling option. Number four goes to the Ms, as does number five, though Lloyd rates above Miller as a captain. Miller wins the number six slot batting wise, and is of similar standard with the ball to Lindwall. Marsh comfortably wins the battle of the keepers. Both sides have superb new ball pairs, Laker and Murali are two titans of off spin bowling, while I think Langridge offers the Ls more variation than Mahmood does the Ms. I think the key here is Macartney, and for that reason I score this Ls 1.5, Ms 3.5

THE Ls V THE Ns

The Ls dominate everywhere except at number four batting wise. They also have the better keeper, a better pace attack and a better spin combination, while it is about even on captaincy. I see no way for the Ns to offer any sort of a challenge and score this one Ls 5, Ns 0.

THE Ls V THE Os

The Ls dominate, though the Os do boast the better keeper, and they have a more varied bowling unit. Still, this cannot be seen as other than exceedingly one sided: Ls 5, Os 0.

THE Ls V THE Ps

The Ls, the caveat about Labuschagne’s position notwithstanding, have the better opening pair, number three is a clash of cricketing titans, the Ps win the number four slot hands down and are marginally ahead at number five. Pant wins the batting element of his match up, though Langley was the finer keeper. Procter wins his batting match up, and probably rates close to Lindwall as a bowler. Lillee and Lohmann outrank S and P Pollock, and while Parker was a finer spinner than Langridge, Laker outranks Prasanna. I make the Ps a little stronger in batting, and the Ls stronger in bowling, and thus give the Ls the verdict: Ls 3, Ps 2.

THE Ls V THE Qs

Here the Ls absolutely dominate. The have the better batting by far, the better captain by far, the better keeper, they are utterly dominant in the pace bowling department, and though they have only two spin options to the Qs three those are the two best spinners on either side, thus there can be only one result: Ls 5, Qs 0.

THE Ls PROGRESS

The Ls have scored 19.5 out of 25 today, which moves them on to 60 out of 80, 75% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

This photo gallery comprises pictures taken between Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where I attended this morning for glaucoma tests. I compromised on the journey, using the bus on the way in but walking all the way home, hence the fact that the first pic is in hospital grounds.

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 Ks V THE Ls

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 Ks V THE Ms

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 V THE Ns

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 Ks V THE Os

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 Ks V THE Ps

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 PROGRESS REPORT

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

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 Js V THE Ls

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.

THE Js V THE Ms

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

THE Js V THE Ns

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

THE Js V THE Os

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 Js V THE Ps

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 PROGRESS REPORT

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 36

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 Is occupy the spotlight, with 2.5 of a possible 55 points. Before getting to the main body of this post I pause to congratulate Ireland on a thumping nine-wicket win over the West Indies, a result which qualifies Ireland for the Super 12 stage of the T20 world cup and eliminates the West Indies.

THE Is V THE Ms

The Is have a small advantage in spin bowling, but the Ms are absolutely dominant everywhere else and there can be only one outcome: Is 0, Ms 5.

THE Is V THE Ns

The Is have a somewhat better batting line up than the Ns overall, the Ns have a much better pace attack, the Is have the better spinners. Nixon outranks Imtiaz in both departments, and I rate Noble a better captain than Illingworth. I think the Ns advantages in fast bowling and captaincy are the telling factors and score this Is 1.5, Ns 3.5.

THE Is V THE Os

Neither side is especially strong in batting, the Os have much the better pace bowling unit, a somewhat inferior spin attack, but much greater variation in their attack than the Is. The Os also have far the better keeper. I think the Os pace bowling settles the issue, but not by an emphatic margin: Is 2, Os 3.

THE Is V THE Ps

The Ps absolutely dominate in batting and pace bowling, have the better keeper and the better captain, and arguably win the spin bowling match ups as well – Prasanna definitely outranks Illingworth as an off spinner, while for all that the England selectors of the day treated him scurvily I would rate Parker ahead of Ironmonger as a left arm spinner. Thus I score this Is 0, Ps 5.

THE Is V THE Qs

The Is a stronger in batting than the Qs, and they do actually have a seam attack, albeit a modest one, whereas the Qs have one accredited seamer. The Qs have the better spin attack, but I expect the Is to win this one comfortably: Is 4, Qs 1.

THE Is PROGRESS REPORT

The Is have scored 7.5 of a possible 25 points today, putting them on 10 out of 80 so far, 12.5%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

This is a somewhat different photo gallery. Yesterday I had to attend Sawston Health Centre in deepest Cambridgeshire for a CT scan. This entailed a 15-20 minute walk to King’s Lynn station, train to Ely, second train to Whittlesford Parkway, 25-30 mins walk from Whittlesford to Sawston, and similar in reverse save that I changed trains at Cambridge North on the homeward journey as the service I boarded at Whittlesford terminated there. Most of the photographs were taken at various stages of that journey…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 32

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other.

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 Hs occupy the spotlight and they have 25 of a possible 40 points so far.

THE Hs V THE Js

The Hs as usual boss the batting. Jackson outranks fellow Yorkie Hutton as a skipper. The keeping match up is a close one, the Js have the better seam/ pace attack, but the Hs have the better spin attack. I think the Hs have enough to win this one, but it is by no means conclusive: Hs 3, Js 2.

THE Hs V THE Ks

The Hs are well ahead in batting – only Kallis in the top six wins a batting match up for the Ks. The battle of the keepers is close, I Khan outranks Hutton as a skipper. The Ks have much the better pace attack, with their fourth seamer, Kallis, outranking Hammond as a bowler. As against that the Hs spin attack is better balanced. I think the Ks have this and score it: Hs 2, Ks 3.

THE Hs V THE Ls

The Hs win the batting and keeping elements of this match up, but lose on captaincy, pace bowling and off spin (sorry, Harmer fans, I cannot rank him as even Laker’s equal in that department). Langridge is outranked as a left arm spinner by Herath. I think the Ls bowling is settling this one and I see them winning comfortably: Hs 1, Ls 4

THE Hs V THE Ms

The Hs have the better batting, the keeping situation is a clash of titans, the Ms absolutely boss the pace bowling, and Murali is the best individual spinner in the contest. While Macartney, the Ms sixth bowler, is not on a par with Herath, Mahmood’s facility with the leg cutter somewhat closes that gulf. Ms are winning this comfortably: Hs 1, Ms 4.

THE Hs V THE Ns

The Hs as usual dominate the batting, though Noble outranks Hutton as a skipper. The Ns have a numerical superiority in the seam department, but none of their seamers are a match for either Holding or Hadlee. Harmer clearly outranks Noble as a bowler, and Herath is even further clear of Nadeem, giving the Hs a huge advantage in spin bowling. The Hs are winning this one comfortably – Hs 4, Ns 1.

THE Hs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Hs have scored 11 of a possible 25 points today, moving on to 36 out of a possible 65, 55.38% at the moment.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (17)

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

Welcome to the continuation of my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ds continue to occupy the hot seat, and come into today with 24 of a possible 55 points.

THE Ds V THE Ms

Morris beats Dent, Dempster beats Merchant, Dravid is massively ahead of Macartney on batting but Macartney offers an extra bowling option for the Ms, Mead and Donnelly is a close contest between two very different left handers, Duleepsinhji’s average is six an innings better than Miandad’s, but Miandad’s came over many more innings. D’Oliveira outbats Miller, but the Aussie was far the better bowler. Dujon outbats Marsh, while both were superb keepers. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood are at least the equals of Davidson, Donald and Daniel, and Muralidaran beats Dennett. The Ds are somewhat ahead on batting but the Ms are miles ahead in bowling and it is this latter I expect to settle the issue, to the extent that I cannot see any circumstances in which the Ds get the better of the Ms: Ds 0, Ms 5.

THE Ds V THE Ns

The Ds are far clear in batting, with only Dudley Nourse of the Ns top eight winning their match up in this regard. The Ds also win the front line bowlingm with Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje clearly outgunned by Davidson, Donald and Daniel in the seam/pace department and Nadeem probably outpointed by Dennett. Dujon has Nixon covered in both departments. The Ns have one advantage – their back up bowling is much better, with Noble having no match among the Ds, and Nichols clearly superior to D’Oliveira as fourth seamer. However, the back up bowlers would only come in to play on a very flat wicket, so I give the Ds a conclusive advantage: Ds 4, Ns 1.

THE Ds V THE Os

The Ds dominate this one, but the Os are saved from a wipe out by the fact that they are ahead in the spin bowling department and would win on a turner. Ds 4, Os 1.

THE Ds V THE Ps

The Ds have the better opening pair, the number three slot is a titanic clash. G Pollock wins the number four slot comfortably, while Pietersen’s disadvantage vs Duleepsinhji is somewhat offset by the much larger sample size on which his test record is based. While D’Oliveira outbats Procter, Procter outbowls his opposite number. Pant comfortably outbats Dujon, but the West Indian was probably the better keeper. S and P Pollock keep the pace clash close, Parker marginally beats Dennett, and Prasanna gives the Ps an extra spinner. I think the Ps are better balanced, and better skippered with Procter in charge and I expect that to make the difference: Ds 2, Ps 3.

THE Ds V THE Qs

The Ds dominate the batting and the pace/seam bowling, but the Qs would be able to bowl spin from both ends should the pitch offer turn, and this is just enough to save them from a whitewash: Ds 4, Qs 1.

THE Ds PROGRESS UPDATE

The Ds have scored 14 of a possible 25 today, putting them on 38 out of 80 so far, 47.5%. They are behind the As and the Bs but ahead of the Cs.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…