All Time XIs – Match Ups 56

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 instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I have selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today sees the end of the Ps, who start the day on 64 out of 100 points.


The Ps have the better opening pair, and Ponting wins the batting match up at number three, while Vaughan and Procter were both excellent skippers. Pollock and Pietersen both definitively win their batting match ups as well. Pant and Verreynne are much of a muchness, while Procter outdoes Vaas in both departments, though Vaas is less far adrift with the ball than figures suggest – he is part of a stronger attack than he ever had to opportunity to be IRL. Voce and Van der Bijl probably represent a better new ball pairing than S and P Pollock – Van der Bijl was the best of the four, though he never got to play test cricket, and Voce’s left arm gives them the advantage of greater variation. The Vs have unarguably the better spin attack – Verity outranks Parker, as great a bowler as the Gloucestershire man was, Vogler outranks Prasanna, and they have a third genuine option in Vine. The question here is whether the Vs bowling resources outweigh the Ps as much as the Ps batting resources outweigh the Vs, and I don’t think they do. I score this one Ps 3, Vs 2.


The Ws are ahead in all departments save keeping, which is a draw. Anything the Ps can do, the Ws can do as well or better, leading to only one scoreline: Ps 0, Ws 5.


The Ps dominate in all departments, with the sole exception of keeping, where BoX was probably a finer practitioner than Pant. Ps 5, Xs 0.


The Ps are stronger in batting, way ahead in fast bowling, ahead in keeping, probably ahead in captaincy and maybe fractionally behind in spin bowling: Ps 5, Ys o.


Absolute domination from the Ps once again, and a third straight whitewash in their favour to end their match ups: Ps 5, Zs 0.


The Ps have scored 18 out of 25 points today, finishing with 82 out of 125, 65.6%


All Time XIs – Match Ups 52

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 selected for each letter of the alphabet. This post marks the fourth-fifths of the way point in the analysis part of this series, after which there will be a grand finale post presenting all 26 XIs in reverse ranking order. Today sees the end of the Ns, who so far have 22 of a possible 105 points and ushers the Os into the spotlight, with 12.5 of a possible 70 points to their credit.


The Ws dominate in departments and there can be only one scoreline: Ns 0, Ws 5.


The Ns have better batting, better pace bowling and a better captain. The Xs have the better keeper and the better spin bowling. I expect the Ns to win this but not in a whitewash: Ns 4, Xs 1.


The Ns have the better opening pair, the Ys win at number three and draw at number four, and win at number five. Noble wins the batting match up at number six, but P Yadav is comfortably the better bowler. Nixon undoubtedly outranks S Yousuf with both bat and gloves. The Ns are dominant in pace/ seam bowling, with their fourth option in that department, Nichols, outranking the Ys second, U Yadav. The Ys definitely have the better spin attack – Young outpoints Nadeem by even more than P Yadav outpoints Noble. This is close in batting, and the question is whether the Ns pacers or the Ys spinners have the bigger advantage over their opposite number. I just give this to the Ns: Ns 3, Ys 2.


The Ns are well ahead on batting, have the better captain, the better keeper and the better pace/ seam bowlers. The Zs have slightly the better spinners, and I will allow them one big day out: Ns 4, Zs 1.E


The Ns have scored 11 of a possible 20 points today, to finish on 33 out of 125, 26.4%.


The Ps absolutely boss the batting, winning every match up, a number of them by huge margins. Oldfield rates above Pant as a keeper. Procter wins the battle of the all rounders in both departments, though O’Riordan’s left arm does give the Os extra variation. S Pollock is clear of Old and P Pollock at least matches Olivier. Prasanna is about even with Ojha, but the Os also have Odumbe, and O’Reilly outranks Parker. I think that the Ps colossal advantage in batting and obvious advantage in pace/ seam bowling, plus the fact that they have the superior captain more than compensate for their disadvantages on the keeping and spin bowling fronts, though I will as usual in these cases allow the Os spinners one big day out: Os 1, Ps 4.


The Os have 13.5 points out of a possible 75, exactly 18% so far.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 50

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. There is a mention here of someone who has just announced themselves on the world stage and may claim a place in the Ns XI (at the likely expense of Sarfraz Nawaz) in due course.

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 is transition post – we reach the end of the Ms who come into today with 92 out of a possible 115 points and we usher the Ns into the spotlight for the first three match ups in which they are alphabetically first. The Ns come into today with 12.5 of a possible 65 points banked from their earlier match ups.


The Ms have the better opening pair by a distance, the Ys win the number three slot comfortably batting wise, although Macartney’s bowling needs to be acknowledged. The Ys also win the number four slot but by less. The Ms comfortably win the number five slot, Miller blows Yardley out of the water in both departments, and loses little if anything on the captaincy comparison. Marsh wins the battle of the keepers, the pace bowling is a walkover win for the Ms, whose third ranked out and out fast bowler rates above the Ys best. Young is outranked by Murali, though Poonam Yadav’s leg spin may just outrank Mahmood’s leg cutters. The Ms have Macartney in reserve, so even on a turning track they should have enough options to ensure that powerful batting prevails. I score this one Ms 5, Ys 0.


The Ms have the better batting, better captain, better keeper, better pace bowlers and better spinners, leading to only one possible outcome: Ms 5, Zs 0.


The Ms have scored 102 out of 125 points, 81.6% overall.


Before I get on to analysing this match up, the first to involve two teams who are both from the second half of the alphabet, I have a point to make regarding the Ns line up. The selection element of these Xs took place a good while before the T20 World Cup 2022 got underway. If he can prove that his performances at that tournament were not a fluke and that he really is that good, Zimbabwean left arm pacer Richard Ngarava will be on course to dislodge Sarfraz Nawaz, strengthening the bowling and improving its balance.

The Ns as things stand have the better opening pair, though Orr may very well be the best batter out of the four of them he has yet to be tested at the highest level, and Oldroyd is out of his proper position. Nurse and Dudley Nourse win the number three and four slots. Odumbe outranks Dave Nourse in both departments. Noble wins the batting element of the number six slot, though Ojha probably outranks him as a finger spinner, and the Os also have Odumbe. The Ns win the pace/ seam bowling element, though O’Riordan’s left arm, the only left arm seam/ pace option on either side narrows the gap considerably, and O’Reilly massively outranks Nadeem. Neither side is strong in batting but the Os advantage in spin bowling outweighs the Ns advantage in seam/ pace bowling. The Ns have the finer captain, although I reckon O’Reilly would have been a fine skipper given the opportunity. The Os have the finer keeper. Overall I think the Os just have this but it is close: Ns 2, Os 3.


The Ps have an overwhelming advantage in batting and in fast bowling, Prasanna would rate as at least the equal of Noble as an off spinner while Parker is streets ahead of Nadeem is a left armer. The Ns probably have the better keeper. They also have a sixth genuine bowling option, in Nichols. I will allow a small possibility of an upset somewhere along the line and score this Ns 0.5, Ps 4.5.


The Ns are stronger in batting, much stronger in pace/seam bowling, better captained and have the better keeper. As against that the Qs undeniably have a better spin attack. I will allow the Qs spinners one big day out and score this one: Ns 4, Qs 1.


The Ns have scored 6.5 of a possible 15 points today, putting them on 19 points out of a possible 80, 23.75% overall.


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 –


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 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 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 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.


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


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 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 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.


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


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 33

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

Welcome the 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. This post sees us move past halfway in the match ups element of the series. The Hs are in the spotlight today and they so far have 36 out of 65 points.


The Hs have much the stronger batting, the better new ball pairing (although O’Riordan outranks Hammond as third seamer). The Os have the best individual spinner in this match up in the person of O’Reilly, and they also have a numerical superiority in that department, but Harmer and Herath both outrank Ojha. The Os have the better keeper, though Healy wins the batting element of that match up. The Os may have the better bowling attack and certainly have more options in both pace and spin departments, but the overwhelming superiority of the Hs batting renders that null: Hs 5, Os 0.


The Hs win five of the first six batting match ups, the Pant, Procter and S Pollock all their batting match ups. Healy outranks Pant as a keeper, Procter outranks Hutton as skipper. Hadlee and Holding v P and S Pollock is a close contest for which is the better new ball pairing, but Mike Procter massively outranks Hammond as a bowler. The Hs have the edge in spin bowling. I see this as about even in batting, the Ps ahead in pace bowling and the Hs a tiny bit better in the spin department, and I expect the Ps pace bowling to settle the issue: Hs 2, Ps 3.


This one is clear cut, with the Hs ahead in all departments. Hs 5, Qs 0.


The Hs have the better batting line up, the Rs have the better keeper and also the better bowling – even if Hadlee and Holding are the best available new ball pair, which is open to debate, whoever out of Rabada, Roberts and Richardson ends as third seamer is way ahead of Hammond as a bowler. The spin department is closer, but Rhodes was certainly the finest of the four front line spinners featured in this match up. The Hs batting advantage is not enough to overcome their deficit on the bowling and keeping fronts: Hs 1.5, Rs 3.5.


This is very close on batting, with the Ss extra depth in that department possibly making the difference there. The Hs have the finer keeper, but the use of Sangakkara as keeper plus the presence of Sobers gives the Ss a range of bowling options far greater than that possessed by the Hs. Sobers in his quicker incarnation would be fifth choice seamer for the Ss, and he outranks Hammond, the Hs third seamer, as a bowler. Herath outranks the left arm orthodox version of Sobers, but does not also offer a wrist spin option. Harmer outranks Stevens. I think that with the batting fairly evenly match and the Hs having only a small advantage in spin bowling the Ss vast superiority in pace bowling gives them a huge win: Hs 0.5, Ss 4.5.


The Hs have scored 14 out of 25 points in this set of match ups, putting them on 50 points out of a possible 90, 55.56% so far.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (8)

Continuing my extended analysis of how my all time XIs for each letter fare against each other. Also some of my own photographs.

We continue our extended look at how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Bs are still in the hot seat, and go into today with 35 points out of a possible 55.


The top batting is the usual story of dominance by the Bs, although Macartney’s skill as a bowler should be born in mind when looking at his position. Miandad outdoes Border in the number five slot, Miller is clear of Botham with the bat and miles clear of him with the ball. Marsh is better in both departments than Bari. Marshall and McGrath at least match Barnes and Bumrah as a new ball pairing. Fazal is ahead of Benaud, his nearest bowling match in opposition ranks, although the Aussie was a much better batter. Muralidaran just beats Bates – in the modern era, with pitches being less treacherous than they were in Bates’ day he would probably have paid about 24 per wicket to Murali’s 22, in addition to which Murali’s performance would probably be better as part of this attack than it was IRL, when he was largely carrying an indifferent bowling unit. Also, as touched on earlier, the Ms have a sixth bowling option (and Macartney did win Australia a test match as a bowler). I think the Ms stellar bowling resources are enough for them to overcome the advantage that the Bs have in the batting department, but this would be a heck of a contest – I score it Bs 2, Ms 3.


The Bs totally dominate in batting, and while Bari would rate the better of the two keepers Nixon has his batting to compensate. The Bs, with due respect to Ntini and Nortje have the better new ball pairing, and Botham rates ahead of Nawaz as third seamer. Bates was a finer bowler than Noble, though the latter was better with the bat. Benaud is streets ahead of Nadeem in both departments. I find it very hard to see any situation in which the Ns can make a contest of this: Bs 5, Ns 0.


Oldfield wins the clash of the keepers, and O’Reilly outpoints Benaud as a leg spinner, though the latter was a much better bat. O’Riordan outpoints Botham with the ball, though Botham wins with the bat, the Irishman’s left arm is an extra point of variation for the Os. The Os have an extra bowling resource – while Ojha is outdone by Bates as second spinner, the Os also have a third spinner in Odumbe. However on a raging bunsen Border could bowl his left arm spin, so even on that surface I do not see the Bs being unduly challenged: Bs 5, Os 0.


The Bs have the advantage in batting, also less so than usual – G Pollock at no 4 outpoints Barrington, Pant has a clear advantage over Botham in that department, Procter is even more dominant over Bari. S Pollock is on figures ahead of Bates with the bat, but Bates’ average is worth about 40 in 21st century conditions. The Ps are slightly behind on new ball pairings, but that is compensated for by the extent to which Procter outclasses Botham as third seamer. Bates has to be rated ahead of Prasanna with the ball, but Parker is at least a match for Benaud in that department. This is a very close contest, but I think the Bs just about have enough: Bs 3 Ps 2.


The Bs dominate this one in all areas, and there is simply no way for the Qs to make a contest out of this: Bs 5, Qs 0.


The Bs have scored 20 out of 25 in this set of match ups, which puts them on 55 points out of 80, 68.75%. The As for comparison were on 43.5 out of 80 points.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (3)

Continuing my analysis of my all-time XIs match up against each other. Today we look at the As against the Ls, Ms, Ns, Os and Ps.

Welcome to the continuation of my look at how my all time XIs for each letter of the alphabet match up against each other. Going into this post we have been through ten of the A XI’s match ups, and they are so far on 27 of a possible 50 points.


Among the top five batters the Ls have a clear advantage, even allowing for the fact that Labuschagne is out of position – only Laxman and Lloyd are not significantly clear of their opposite numbers. At number six we have a clash of left arm spinning all rounders. Shakib Al Hasan is ahead on the batting front, but there is very little doubt that Langridge was the finer bowler. While Langley was a better keeper than Ames he was a fraction of the batter that Ames was. Lindwall is outpointed by Akram, but Lohmann and Lillee are worthy adversaries for Ambrose and Anderson. Laker wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though he was a lot less of a batter than Ashwin.

Boiling it all down, The Ls have an advantage of the batting front, although their batting power is very top heavy, have the better keeper and are at least the equal of the As on the bowling front, and for my money definitely superior. There would probably be one occasion in a series when the As batting depth would count in their favour over the Ls top heavy power in that department, so I score it As 1 Ls 4.


Among the top five only Babar Azam for the As has a better batting average than his opposite number. Miller comes out slightly below Al Hasan on the batting front, way ahead on the bowling front. I suspect he was also the finer captain. Ames has an advantage on the batting front among the keepers, but Marsh was one of the greatest keepers ever to play the game. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood a certainly a capable match for Akram, Ambrose and Anderson. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though Ashwin’s batting partly compensates for this. Additionally the Ms have a sixth bowling option, Charlie Macartney, who did win his country a match with the ball in hand. Miller once switched to off breaks on a Brisbane ‘sticky dog’, and took seven wickets, so even producing a raging bunsen for the benefit of Ashwin and Al Hasan might not be enough for the As. I find it hard to see any situation in which the As come out on top in this clash and accordingly score it As 0 Ms 5.


The As boss the opening combo. Nurse and Dudley Nourse outpoint Azam and Abbas, in one case by a minor margin in the other substantially. Azharuddin has a significant advantage over Dave Nourse. Al Hasan beats Noble with the bat, but the Aussie wins hands down with the ball and as a captain. Ames wins the battle of the keepers with the bat, and there is no huge difference in gkovework. Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje are comfortably outpointed by Akram, Ambrose and Anderson, and Nadeem is nowhere close to Ashwin in either department. The Ns do have an extra pace option in Nichols, but even that is not enough – The As have an overwhelming advantage in bowling and I expect that to tell in their favour: As 4, Ns 1.


The As dominate this in all departments. The only member of the Os team the As would want in their own ranks is Bill O’Reilly. There can only be one scoreline here: As 5, Os 0


The opening pairs are closely matched here, the Ps dominate slots 3-5. Procter is massively ahead of Al Hasan as an all rounder – while the Bangladeshi has a better batting record, the Saffa is far ahead with the ball. Pant has a better batting average than Ames and is at least his equal with the gloves. Shaun Pollock is almost an exact match to Akram in terms of bowling figures and almost ten runs an innings better with the bat. Peter Pollock is beaten only by Ambrose among the As quick bowlers. Parker, a victim of selectorial malice in his playing days (a one cap wonder at test level in spite of that huge tally of FC wickets), is the best spinner on either side in this match, though Prasanna is outmatched by Ashwin. The Ps are stronger in batting, and Procter, S Pollock, P Pollock, Parker and Prasanna is not a definitely inferior bowling unit to Ambrose, Anderson, Akram, Ashwin and Al Hasan. I expect the Ps to win, and slightly more comfortably than a bare 3-2. Final score As 1.5, Ps 3.5.


This has been a tough set of match ups for the As XI, and even with one 5-0 in their favour they score just 11.5 of a possible 25 points in this segment of the alphabet, putting them on 38.5 out of 75, a score of 51.33%, down from the 54% they were on going into this post.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – the Letter P and Left Handers

An all time XI of players whose surnames begin with P, and because it is International Left Handers Day an all time XI of left handers.

Today is International Left Handers day, so this post includes a bonus feature – I lead off with an all time XI of left handers. A list of honourable mentions for such an XI would be incredibly long, so I shall not include it. After parading my chosen left handers the focus of the bulk of the blog post is on cricketers whose surnames begin with the letter B.


  1. *Graeme Smith (South Africa). A steely left handed opening batter, and the obvious choice to captain this XI – a role he performed superbly for South Africa.
  2. Alastair Cook (Essex, England). The opener is England’s all time leading scorer of test runs (though likely to be overhauled by Joe Root in the not too distant future).
  3. Brian Lara (Warwickshire, West Indies). The holder of world record individual scores at both test and first class level, a joint feat achieved only once before in cricket history, by Don Bradman for the two and a half years that his 334 was the world test record score. Also the only player to have twice held the world test record score, and one of only two along with Bill Ponsford to have two first class quadruple centuries.
  4. Graeme Pollock (South Africa). Possibly the greatest batter ever produced by his country. When the curtain came down on the first period of SA being a test nation he was left with an average of 60.97.
  5. Frank Woolley (Kent, England). The only player to achieve the first class career treble of 10,000+ runs (58,969 in his case), 1,000+ FC wickets (2,066) and 1,000+ FC catches (1,018). Capable of match winning performances with both bat and ball (as a left arm orthodox spinner), and one the finest fielders ever to play the game.
  6. Garry Sobers (Nottinghamshire, West Indies). The most complete player to have played the game. One of the greatest batters of all time, a bowler of fast, medium or slow pace (both orthodox and wrist spin) and a brilliant fielder.
  7. +Adam Gilchrist (Australia). A top quality keeper, and a destructive middle order batter.
  8. Wasim Akram (Lancashire, Pakistan). Fast bowler, attacking batter.
  9. Alan Davidson (Australia). Fast medium bowler, occasional spinner, useful lower order batter and fielder of such brilliance that he earned the nickname ‘the claw’.
  10. Mitchell Johnson (Australia). One of the fastest bowlers ever to play the game and a useful lower order batter. On his day he was simply unplayable.
  11. Hedley Verity (Yorkshire, England). A left arm spinner and a useful lower order batter (indeed he was once pressed into service as an emergency opener in a test match and did well). On surfaces that didn’t help him he was very economical and never allowed batters to feel at ease. On surfaces that did help him he was a destroyer. Yorkshire’s match against Nottinghamshire in 1932 illustrated both sides of Verity the bowler – in Nottinghamshire first innings he took 2-64 from 41 overs, in their second, when he had a rain=affected pitch to exploit he recorded figures of 19.4-16-10-10 – the cheapest all ten in FC history.

This XI has an awesomely strong batting line up, and a bowling attack of Akram, Johnson, Davidson, Verity, Sobers and Woolley is both strong and varied.


We move on to the main meat of the post, an all time XI of players whose surnames begin with P.

  1. Alviro Petersen (Glamorgan, South Africa). A solid right handed opener.
  2. Bill Ponsford (Australia). One of only two players to twice top 400 in FC matches. He scored centuries in his first two test matches and in his last two.
  3. Ricky Ponting (Australia). One of the two best number three batters of the modern era alongside Rahul Dravid. He was also an excellent slip fielder, and a long serving captain, though his record in that department was tarnished by the fact that oversaw three failed Ashes campaigns – the only other three time Ashes losing skipper in 140 years being Archie MacLaren of England (1901-2 in Australia, 1902 in England, 1909 in England), hence my not giving him the role in this side.
  4. Graeme Pollock (South Africa). One of the greatest of all left handed batters (see the left handers XI earlier in this post).
  5. Kevin Pietersen (Nottinghamshire, Hampshire, Surrey, England). A batter of undoubted greatness, though problematic in the dressing room to the extent that his first two counties were both glad to see the back of him. He top scored in both innings of his test debut, ended that series with the second most important innings of 158 to be played by a South African born batter at The Oval. His test best was 227 at the Adelaide Oval in the 2010-11 Ashes.
  6. +Rishabh Pant (India). Attacking left handed batter, quality keeper. Probably his greatest moment came at the Gabba when he played a match and series winning innings for an injury-hit India.
  7. *Mike Procter (Gloucestershire, South Africa). One of the finest all rounders ever – a genuinely fast bowler, an attacking middle order batter and a shrewd captain to boot – I have given him that role in this side.
  8. Shaun Pollock (Warwickshire, South Africa). An exceptionally accurate right arm fast medium bowler and a useful lower order batter. He is also my chosen vice captain for this side in preference to either Ponting or Pietersen.
  9. Peter Pollock (South Africa). A right arm fast bowler, spearhead of the South African attack during the last few years of their first period as a test nation.
  10. Charlie Parker (Gloucestershire, England). The third leading wicket taker in FC history with 3,278 scalps at that level, but only one England cap.
  11. Erapalli Prasanna (India). An off sinner who took 189 test wicketsin the 1970s.

This side has one good and one great opener, a superb engine room at 3-5, a keeper batter, a genuine all rounder, and four great bowlers. In Procter and Peter Pollock the side has two genuinely fast bowlers, with Shaun Pollock’s fast medium to back them up. Parker and Prasanna are an excellent pair of contrasting spinners.


Eddie Paynter has a higher test average than anyone I have overlooked at 59.23, but his test career was quite brief, and his average is over a run an innings less than that of Graeme Pollock. Cheteshwar Pujara is the next most notable omission, but no way can he be selected ahead of Ponting at number three, and his efforts when India recently used him as an ersatz opener were not very impressive.

The two Nawabs of Pataudi to play test cricket (the last two to have that title) were both fine batters, but not quite good enough to break into this powerful XI.

Roy Park of Australia never got the opportunity to prove himself at test level – his batting career for his country lasted exactly one ball. Ashwell Prince of South Africa might have his advocates as well.

Ellyse Perry is unlucky to have a surname beginning with P – there are many other letters where I would be delighted to be able to choose a player of her class, but she just misses out.

JH Parks of Sussex was a fine county all rounder, but hardly a challenger to Procter. JM Parks was a batter/ keeper for both Sussex and England, but for my money Pant is better in both departments than Parks was, and even if Parks’ batting shades it I would go for the better keeper (a walkover win for Pant).

Dattu Phadkar of India was good middle order batter an enough of a bowler to take the new ball for his country (although this is partly a reflection of India’s shortage of quick bowlers in his playing days), but could hardly displace Procter.

Liam Patterson-White, an all rounder who bowls left arm spin, may be challenging for inclusion in a few years time, as might leg spinner Matt Parkinson, but as yet they are potentials rather than actuals.

Three seriously quick bowlers who missed out were Patrick Patterson (WI) whose time at the top was short, Len Pascoe (Australia), who also didn’t have great depth of achievement and Pushpakumara of Sri Lanka, whose record was very modest for all his pace.


Time for my usual sign-off…