Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another.
Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today sees the Qs take their place in the spotlight, currently having amassed 4.5 of a possible 80 points from the matches in which they were alphabetically second.
THE Qs V THE Rs
The Rs are utterly dominant in batting and pace bowling (the Qs sole accredited pace/ seam bowler ranks fourth in this match up, some way behind all three of the Rs pacers, have the better captain and the better keeper. The Qs have a numerical superiority in spinners, but until and unless Qais Ahmad develops his record to prove otherwise, the Rs two practitioners of spin bowling, Robins and Rhodes rank numbers one and two in that department. This is Qs 0, Rs 5.
THE Qs V THE Ss
The Ss absolutely boss the batting and pace bowling departments and have the better captain. The Qs are level on keeping and ahead on spin bowling, but not by enough to effect the scoreline: Qs 0, Ss 5.
THE Qs V THE Ts
The Qs win the batting match up at number seven, though Bob Taylor far outranks Bernard Quaife as a keeper. Appearances suggest they win the batting element of the match up of number three but I would argue otherwise – batting was more difficult in the early years of the 20th century when Tarrant played most of his cricket than it was in Qasim Umar’s day. Otherwise, it is the usual story for the Qs – any surface that offers Qadir, Qasim and Qais Ahmad assistance will also be good for Tarrant and Trumble, so once again the Qs suffer their regular fate: Qs 0, Ts 5.
THE Qs V THE Us
The Qs have the better opening pair here – Quinton de Kock outranks Ulyett by more than Umar outranks Quaife. Qasim Umar wins the match up at number three. Then normal service is resumed, with the Us winning every match up from four to seven inclusive, though Bernard Quaife outranks Umar Akmal as a keeper. The Us have the better captain. Even their less than impressive pace attack beats that of the Qs. The Qs have a numerical superiority in the spin department, but Underwood ranks as the best such bowler on either side, and Ur Rahman would outrank Qais Ahmad, if not as yet Qasim and Qadir. I will acknowledge the Qs possession of the stronger top order and probably a better spin attack to offset some of the damage they take elsewhere, but this a clear win for the Us: Qs 1.5, Us 3.5.
THE Qs V THE Vs
The Qs have marginally the better opening pair, but the Vs win every other batting match up down to number nine, they have the better captain, probably the better keeper. They absolutely dominate the pace bowling, and Verity and Vogler would rank as the two best spinners in this match up. On any surface giving serious assistance to the Qs spinners, Verity and Vogler would both be utterly unplayable. Thus only one scoreline in possible: Qs 0, Vs 5.
THE Qs PROGRESS REPORT
The Qs have scored 1.5 of a possible 25 points and are now on 6 out of 105, 5.76% so far
Continuing my exploration of the ‘all time XIs’ theme with a look at the letter Q.
Welcome to the latest installment of my exploration of the theme of ‘all time XIs’. Today we look at players whose surnames begin with the letter Q. A certain amount of latitude has been exercised with the brief, though not quite as much as required by the letter X. Some of the players are comparatively obscure, hence both more quoting of exact career records and explanation than in some of these posts.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
Billy Quaife (Warwickshire, England). The oldest ever scorer of a first class hundred at the grand old age of 56 years and four months. Only one player has scored more FC career runs for Warwickshire – Dennis Amiss. In addition to his batting he bowled serviceable leg spin, though given the make up of the side is unlikely to be required in that role.
Quinton de Kock (South Africa). Using his forename to sneak him in. Although he is better known for his deeds in limited overs cricket the South African averages over 40 at FC level as well, and plays fast bowling well, hence, given the players available to me, using him as an ersatz opener and not as a wicket keeper.
Qasim Omar (Pakistan). Not one of Pakistan’s better known top order players, but he played against England when they were there in 1984 and scored some valuable runs. Overall he averaged 39 at test level.
Walter Quaife (Sussex, Warwickshire). Not the batter that Billy was, but by the standards of the 1880s and 1890s an average of 22.88 was modestly respectable, with pitches often difficult.
Francis Quinton (Hampshire). 51 FC matches spread over 15 years in the late 19th century yielded him an average of 27.82, with two centuries and a top score of 178. He was also an occasional slow bowler, though not likely be needed in that capacity for this side.
Patrick Quinlan (Ireland, Western Australia). 13 widely spaced FC matches yielded him 530 runs at 26.50, with four FC fifties. He was also an occasional right arm medium pacer, the relevance of which will be obvious by the end of the XI.
+Bernard Quaife (Warwickshire). Although his father Billy liked the pair to open the batting together (they once did so against Derbyshire, whose new ball pair comprised Billy and Robert Bestwick, likewise related, to create a unique happening in FC cricket), he was never actually good enough as a batter to open, but he was a decent keeper, taking 186 catches and executing 54 stumpings at FC level in that role, and his 9,594 FC runs at 20.02 assume greater significance with batting being made his secondary role.
Iqbal Qasim (Pakistan). Not one of the world’s best known left arm orthodox spinners, but 171 test wickets at 28.11 in 50 appearances at that level (999 FC wickets at 20.48 in 246 appearances) are a testament to his effectiveness in the role.
Matt Quinn (New Zealand). A right arm medium fast bowler whose FC wickets cost 30.61 a piece, he is the only seamer for this letter who comes anywhere near making the grade.
*Abdul Qadir (Pakistan). The 1980s was a difficult decade for spinners – and leg spin in particular almost fell into complete disuse at that time. With all due respect to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (India) and Bob Holland (Australia) credit for this art form surviving long enough to be picked up by Shane Warne belongs chiefly to Abdul Qadir, whose 67 test appearances yielded 236 wickets at 32.80. That included a seismic performance at Faisalabad against the West Indies, then the dominant force in world cricket. WI needed 240 to win in the fourth innings, and Faisalabad is not exactly known for being bowler friendly. Pakistan won that match by 186 runs, and the chief architect of the West Indian collapse to 53 all out was Qadir, whose sorcery yielded 6-16. In recognition of his historical significance, and believing that he would have done the job well given the chance I have chosen him as captain of this XI.
Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan). One of the best leg spinners currently playing the game, though rivalled in that department by his compatriot Rashid Khan. He will never have the historical significance of Qadir, but it would not surprise me if he finishes with a better overall record than the Lahori.
The XI is definitely short of batting, although deploying QDK as a specialist opener at least creates a chance of the top three delivering serious runs. There is only one recognized pace option, Matt Quinn. I see three ways round this: give Quinlan a few overs to get the shine of the new ball for the spinners, adopt a policy used with success by many English counties in the past, opening with right arm pace (Quinn) at one end and the left arm spin of Iqbal Qasim at the other (Kent won four titles between 1906 and 1913 with Fielder and Blythe, jusr such a combination, opening their bowling), or one or other of the leggies, Abdul Qadir or Qais Ahmad shares the new ball with Quinn.
ON THE FRINGES
I usually call this section ‘Honourable Mentions’ but there is nothing honourable about failing to claim a place in this XI, so I am using a title more reflective of the nature of this section of this post. I did locate one fast bowler other than Quinn to have a surname beginning with Q – James Quinton. However, even faced with a desperate shortage of options in his department I could not include someone who claimed one wicket in six FC matches. Hamidullah Qadri had a good time in the U19 World Cup, but at the moment his first class wickets cost 43 runs a piece and come at less than two per game, so although I had two leggies, a left armer and no specialist offie I could not include him. Imran Qayyum, a young left arm spinner, has a very similar FC bowling average to Qadri, and doesn’t seem likely to challenge Iqbal Qasim. Ian Quick, an Australian left arm spinner, paid just over 30 a piece for his FC wickets, not close to being as effective as Qasim, though he might be worth a place in an XI of players who don’t live up to their names! There was also one other challenger for the keeper’s slot, Trevor Quirk, a South African. His batting record was similar to that Bernard Quaife but over fewer matches, and he managed only 122 catches and eight stumpings (given the predominance of spin in the XI this last figure was a cause for concern as well).
Our cricketing exploration of the letter Q is at an end, and it remains only to provide the usual sign off…
An XI of southpaws for World Left Handers Day. Plus of course some photographs.
Today is World Left Handers Day, so I put together an XI of players who did everything cricket wise left handed. This means a lot of famous names are missing because they performed one discipline right handed. My chosen wicket keeper bowled six deliveries in a professional career that spans 470 matches across formats to date, and I have been unable to establish for sure which hand he bowled them with.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
Sanath Jayasuriya: left handed opening batter, left arm orthodox spinner. In 1996 he was the MVP at the World Cup. Two years later at The Oval he scored 213 in Sri Lanka’s first innings, the highest individual score of the match.
Warren Bardsley: left handed opening batter. The gritty Aussie scored over 2,000 test runs at an average above 40. He was the first to score twin centuries in a test match, at The Oval in 1909. In first class cricket he tallied 17,000 runs at 49 including 53 centuries. He scored 29 of those 53 centuries in England, proving that he was definitely not a ‘home track bully’.
Frank Woolley: left handed batting, left arm orthodox spinner. The only person to have achieved the career treble of 10,000 runs, 1,000 wickets and 1,000 catches in first class cricket.
*Allan Border: left handed batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner, captain. Another gritty Aussie, he was the first to the milestone of 11,000 test runs, having been the second after SM Gavaskar to reach 10,000. The first and greatest of four long serving Aussie captains with magnificent winning records to appear in my lifetime – he passed the baton to Mark Taylor, who was succeeded by Steve Waugh and then Ricky Ponting, who oversaw a regression back towards the mean in his last years in the job.
Garry Sobers: left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket. Fortunately the most complete cricketer ever to have played the game did everything cricket wise left handed, and is therefore a shoo-in for this team.
John H King: left handed batter, left arm medium pace bowler. A stalwart all rounder for Leicestershire he suffered from ‘unfashionable county syndrome’ to the extent that in spite of a highly impressive record at FC level he was a one cap wonder for England.
+Quinton de Kock: left handed batter, wicket keeper. He has a magnificent record in all formats of the game.
Alan Davidson: left arm fast medium bowler (also occasional orthodox spin), left handed lower middle order batter. 186 test wickets at 20.53 secure his place in this side.
Wasim Akram: left arm fast bowler, left handed lower middle order batter. Fast tracked into his national side when then captain Imran Khan saw him bowling in the nets and liked what he saw he established himself as one of the greatest of left arm pace bowlers and a more than useful batter.
Chaminda Vaas: left arm fast medium bowler, left handed lower order batter. The Sri Lankan never had pace bowling support of the same class at the other end (indeed for most of his career the only other bowler of unquestioned top class in the side was the off spinner, Muralitharan) but still established a fine test record.
Shaheen Shah Afridi: left arm fast bowler, left arm lower order batter. The young Pakistani has already established a remarkable record in his brief career to date, and I expect many more highlights before his time at the top is done.
Below is a condensed version of the above in graphic form:
EVALUATION OF RESOURCES
The side has a strong and deep batting order – Wasim Akram at nine would satisfy even England’s selectors as to depth, while Jayasuriya, Bardsley, Woolley, Border, Sobers and de Kock are all bona fide greats, and King, the all rounder, would probably have averaged 40 had he played on today’s pitches, though he would also have paid more for his wickets. The bowling resources are awesome, with Afridi, Akram, Davidson, Sobers and King to provide pace/ swing/ seam bowling, and Woolley, Jayasuriya and Sobers able to provide top quality spin. Sobers is the only wrist spin option, but there are very few left arm wrist spinners with commanding records. The depth of spin available means that Border, with a 10 wicket haul in a test match to his credit, would almost certainly never get a bowl. This southpaw squad would take a lot of beating.
My thoughts on the recently concluded series between England and South Africa mens teams, plus some photographs from work.
On Monday I listened to what turned out to be the final day of the test series between England and South Africa (Tuesday would have been available had South Africa taken the game that far but they never really looked like doing so). In this post I look back at the match and the series.
England batted first and made at least 50 more than they should have done in the circumstances, getting to 360. When the ninth England wicket fell South Africa turned to the “clever ruse” of dropping the field back to allow the major batter (Jonny Bairstow on this occasion) to take singles so that they could bowl at the no11. This is a dubious tactic in any case, but South Africa’s execution of it was downright bad – on a number of occasions Bairstow took twos early in the over, which should never happen when this tactic is in play. I can think of no occasion on which it can be demonstrated that a side fared worse by attacking at both ends than they would be adopting this tactic, whereas I offer the following examples of times where adopting it caused problems:
Perth 1978 – Australia eight down for not many facing and England total of over 300, Mike Brearley gives Peter Toohey with 50 to his name singles so as to attack Geoff Dymock. The ninth wicket pair stage a very irritating partnership. In the end England’s superior skill and professionalism tell (Australia were depleted by the Packer affair and Graham Yallop proved to be a very poor captain). My source for this story is Brearley himself in “The Art of Captaincy”.
Melbourne 1982 – The ninth Australian wicket in their second innings falls with them still needing 74 for victory. England allow Border singles so they can attack Thomson, the no 11. Australia get to within a boundary hit of victory before Thomson flashes at a wide one from Botham and is caught by Miller with an assist from Tavare.
Sydney 2010 – Pakistan have bossed the game against Australia, leading by over 200 on first innings, and Australia are only 80 to the good with two second innings wickets standing going into the 4th morning. Pakistan decline to attack Hussey, and Siddle plays a straight bat the relatively few deliveries he has to face. In the end Pakistan need 176 to win, which is far more than they were expecting. The pressure is too much for an inexperienced batting line up, especially once Mohamed Yousuf has compounded his failure as captain by falling to a very poor shot to leave his side 57-4. Australia end up winning by almost 40 runs.
South Africa’s response, if it can be so described, was to scrape together 226 for a deficit of 136. A fine innings by Moeen Ali in the second England innings takes England to a lead of 379. Dean Elgar fell cheaply to start the South African second innings, and by the lunch interval Heino Kuhn and Temba Bavuma had also been accounted for. Amla and Duplessis resisted stoutly for a time, but the dismissal of Amla sparked a collapse, with no one else making a significant contribution as 163-3 at the high point of the innings subsided to 202 all out. Moeen Ali took five of the wickets to finish with 25 for the series alongside over 250 runs for the series (the first time this double has been achieved in a series of fewer than five matches). Moeen Ali was player of the match, and also player of the series for his all-round efforts.
THE SERIES AS A WHOLE
Barring the aberration at Trent Bridge this was a series that England dominated, and 3-1 is a fair reflection of that fact. Lord’s (it is named after Thomas Lord of Thirsk, so Lord’s is technically correct) saw the only really huge first innings tally of the series, and from that point on England were always going to win that match. I wrote in some detail about the Trent Bridge debacle at the time. At The Oval (these days there is always a sponsor’s name attached but I refuse to mention them whoever they may be) England made a respectable first innings total and South Africa crumbled, while this final match at Old Trafford went along similar lines.
I am going to finish the text element of this post by looking at both sets of players, starting with South Africa.
Dean Elgar – a tough competitor whose second innings 136 at The Oval when all around him were surrendering was a stand out performance.
Heino Kuhn – resembles a test-class opener about as closely as Liam Dawson resembles a test-class all-rounder. The only surprise out his dismissal during the morning session fo what turned into the final day of the series was that it did not come sooner.
Hashim Amla – a magnificent batter now nearing the end of his illustrious career. This was not a great series for him but his fighting 83 in the final innings was a splendid effort.
Quinton De Kock – fine wicketkeeper and on his day a very destructive batter, but was miscast in the key number four role where was too often coming in with the team reeling from early blows. He was moved down for the final match of the series, but this was his equivalent of Adam Gilchrist’s 2005 in England – batting wise a series to forget.
Faf Du Plessis – it continues to be debatable whether he is worth a place as a batter, but the team play much better under his captaincy than when he is not present.
Temba Bavuma – a very reliable batter. He needs to develop ways of keeping the scoreboard ticking – at the moment it takes him a very long time to score his runs.
Theunis De Bruyn – anonymous in this series, he did nothing significant with the bat and his bowling was not much used.
Chris Morris – occasional moments with his hard-hitting batting but his bowling was very expensive.
Vernon Philander – a great cricketer, but like Alan Davidson and Chris Old before him he is somewhat of a hypochondriac. He did not contribute fully to this series.
Keshav Maharaj – South Africa’s leading wicket taker of the series.
Kagiso Rabada – A fine fast bowler who bowled well in this series and at times did enough with the bat to have embarrassed some of bhis supposed betters in that department.
Morne Morkel – A solid series – it was not South Africa’s bowlers who were chiefly responsible for their defeat in this series.
Duanne Olivier – more will certainly be seen of this young fast bowler.
Now for England…
Alastair Cook – continues to steadily ascend the test run scoring lists – in the course of this series he went past Allan Border’s aggregate. His effort on the truncated first day at The Oval put England in control of that game, a position consolidated by Ben Stokes’ century.
Keaton Jennings – surely he has run out chances after a series in which his highest individual score was 48 and during which he never looked convincing.
Gary Ballance – given a chance to re-establish himself in the side because he scores so many in domestic cricket he failed, and looked out of place. He was deservedly one of the casualties of the Trent Bridge debacle.
Tom Westley – a solid start to his test career. He looks like he belongs in the test arena and I expect to see a lot more of him.
Joe Root – his first series as test captain, and with a 3-1 series win and himself being leading run scorer on either side for the series it was a splendid start.
Dawid Malan – came in to the side after the loss at Trent Bridge and has not yet done much.
Jonny Bairstow – an excellent series with both bat and gloves.
Ben Stokes – regular contributor of runs, wickets and catches. Like the man I will be dealing with next he is that rarity, a genuine all-rounder.
Moeen Ali – deservedly named player of the series, he was outstanding with bat and ball.
Liam Dawson – my comments about Heino Kuhn suggest that I do not rate Mr Dawson, and that impression is correct. He has neither the batting nor the bowling to be of use in test match cricket. If conditions warrant two spinners pick a real spinner, and if they don’t Moeen Ali will be the sole spinner.
Toby Roland-Jones – he started his test career firing with both barrels – a five-for including the top four in the opposition batting order, and has done well in both his matches so far.
Stuart Broad – a good series for the big fast bowler.
Mark Wood – two matches in the series, total figures 1-197 – ’nuff said.
James Anderson – 20 wickets in the series at 14 each. At the age of 35 he remains arguably the finest user of a new ball in world cricket. The authorities at his home ground of Old Trafford have recently paid him the compliment of naming one of their bowling ends in his honour – and he responded by taking four cheap wickets from that end at the first time of asking. I reckon he still has a couple of good years left in him which would enable him to sign off with a home world cup followed by a home Ashes series.
I always like to include photographs in my posts, and although I have none relating to cricket, here are a few from yesterday at work (these will be going under the hammer on August 30th, our second end of August auction, with a sale happening at our shop on Friday August 25th – more on this in a later post):