I continue my all time XIs theme with a look at the letter I. The letter I is problematic the opposite reason to the letter H, but I think I have still assembled a respectable side.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
- Khalid Ibadulla (Warwickshire, Pakistan). He scored 166 on test debut. After his playing days were done he became a distinguished coach – it was he he first spotted the talent of Glenn Turner of New Zealand, and it was at his urging that the Kiwi secured a county contract.
- Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh). The classiest batter his country has yet produced. His test average is just below 40, but that has been achieved without having an opening partner of similar class and with Bangladesh often facing big opposition totals.
- Colin Ingram (South Africa). A rare non test player in one of these XIs. His first class record is respectable, his list A record outstanding.
- Frank Iredale (Australia). Played in the late 19th century when pitches were often poor. His test batting average (36.68) is three runs an innings better than his first class average.
- Asif Iqbal (Kent, Pakistan). A middle order batter with a test average of 38.75 and an occasional medium pacer. His finest hour came in losing cause, when he came in with the score 53-7 and proceeded to score 146 out of 202, sharing a ninth wicket stand of 190 with Intikhab Alam.
- James Iremonger (Nottinghamshire). No test caps, but a stalwart for Nottinghamshire for many years. An all rounder who bowled medium pace he scored 16,622 FC runs at 35.06 with an HS of 272 and took 619 wickets at 22.97, with a BBI of 8-21. He subsequently became coach of the county he had played for, being responsible among others for the development of Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.
- +Imtiaz Ahmed (Pakistan). A fine keeper batter, with a test match 209 to his credit in the latter department.
- *Ray Illingworth (Yorkshire, Leicestershire, England). An off spinning all rounder, one of the select few to have scored 20,000 FC runs and taken 2,000 FC wickets, also a very shrewd captain (reclaiming the Ashes in 1970-1 – the only post war England captain to have travelled to Australia without the urn and returned with it – Hutton, Brearley, Gatting and Strauss all retained the Ashes down under).
- Shoriful Islam (Bangladesh). Very little test experience, but his record in ODIs and T20Is is excellent, and finding pacers of anything approaching the requisite standard was difficult.
- Anthony Ireland (Gloucestershire, Zimbabwe). The only other new ball bowler of remotely sufficient standard I could find to partner Shoriful Islam.
- Bert ‘Dainty’ Ironmonger (Australia). A rarity – an unquestionably world class Australian left arm orthodox spinner. 74 test wickets at 17.97, 464 FC wickets at 21.50.
This team has a reasonably deep batting order, with all down to Illingworth at number eight capable of making significant contributions in this department. The bowling is less pretty, with the weakest new ball combo I have yet selected, Iremonger’s medium pace the principal back up seam option, and spinners Illingworth and Ironmonger likely to have to shoulder a heavy workload
Even with a weak letter like this one some have to miss out. Doug Insole might have had a middle order batting slot, but his test record was less good than Iredale. Jack Iddon was a good all rounder for Lancashire in his day, and another Lancastrian, Jack Ikin, might have had a middle order slot. Jack Iverson missed out, because his almost exclusive reliance on the googly makes him basically an off spinner, and Illingworth’s all round skills and captaincy got him that slot. Manzural Islam (Bangladesh) might have become a great all rounder had he not been killed in a car crash. Finally, two Indians, batter Shreyas Iyer and all rounder Venkatesh Iyer may claim their places in this squad in the next few years, although the former needs to work on how he plays the short ball – at the moment an encounter between him and Mitchell Starc on a bouncy Perth track would be be brief and brutal.
My usual sign off…