Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing numbers 3,4 and 5 in my 4th XI. Having taken the bowlers out of position for reasons made clear in that post I will be finishing the 4th XI with the all-rounders, in which post I will also introduce the 5th XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the post in which I introduce the 4th XI here. We go straight to the business area of the post today with…
I have commented before on the lack of test cricket played by the women, and the fact that Suzie Bates has played none of this form of the game (though over 100 times in each of ODIs and T20Is) demonstrates this point starkly. Her averages are the right way round however, and both are very respectable (42.64 in ODIs and 30.69 in T20Is). Her right-arm medium pace is very much secondary to her batting, but averages of 33.29 per wicket in ODIs and 24.67 per wicket in T20Is show that it is not entirely negligible. She has 10 ODI centuries to her credit with a best of 168.
The only man ever to hold world records for the highest test and first-class individual scores simultaneously, and the only one to set the world test record twice (375 at Antigua in 1994 and 400 not out at Antigua again in 2004, Matthew Hayden having battered 380 against Zimbabwe at Perth in the meantime, being his two test records – I heard commentary on both, England being the victims on each occasion, the latter of which still stands, as does the 501 not out he scored for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994). A caveat against these three huge scores is that all came in drawn matches – the team had no opportunity to push for the win. In the case of the Warwickshire innings he actually asked his captain not to declare as he fancied going for the record (this is one of the incidents recorded by said captain, Dermot Reeve, in his book Winning Ways). The pitch at St Johns where he played the other two innings (the second match was relocated there after the brand spanking new Sir Viv Richards stadium was discovered to be unfit for play) is notorious for its flatness, to the extent that it has been joked that the prisoners who help to prepare it (it adjoins the prison) should made to bowl on their creations since they are supposed to be being punished.
However, Lara has also played a number of high quality match-winning innings in all forms of the game. He remains the West Indies leading test run scorer with 11,953, just ahead of Shivnarine Chanderpaul who racked up 11,867 in his very different style.
After his amazing 281 which, helped by 180 from Rahul Dravid and some excellent off-spin bowling from Harbhajan Singh turned the Kolkata 2001 test match on its head, leading only the third (and at the time of writing last) occasion on which a team following on went on to win a match (Sydney 1894, England victorious by 10 runs and Headling 1981, England beating Australia by 18 runs were the other two) it was said that those initials stand Very Very Special – actually they stand for Vangipurappu Venkata Sai. Undoubtedly that V V S was the best recognised set of initials post “W G” (these stand alone and unchallengable as the most recognisable initials in sporting, never mind cricket history) until A B De Villiers and M S Dhoni came along.
Only one of my top five in this XI is left handed – Lara, but as you will see when I deal with the two I selected as all-rounders there is still a frontline left handed batter to come.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS
When I saw a post on whyevolutionistrue titled “An Underground Map of Science” I was naturally intrigued at a juxtaposition of two favourites. I reproduce the map below, linking to the WEIT post, and the original map, from crispian.net can be viewed here (requires scrolling as it is bigger than the screen).
I conclude this post with some of my own photographs: