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.
My usual sign off…