All Time XIs – Match Ups 61

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 end of the Ss, who come into today with 84 of a possible 105 points, and the start of the Ts who have banked 67.5 of a possible 95 points from the matches in which they are alphabetically second.


The Ss have the better opening pair, although both Ws offer bowling options. The Ws win the match up at number three, and both sides have superb skippers. The Ss win every batting match up from four to nine inclusive, though Watling outranks Sangakkara as keeper, Warne comfortably outranks Stevens as a leg spinner and Wardle equally clearly outranks the slower incarnations of Sobers, and the Ws also have Woolley as a third genuine spin option. It is close between the front line pace trios, though the Ss have Stokes and the quick version of Sobers in reserve, whereas the Ws have only Worrell. Boiling it all down, the Ss have an advantage in batting and in pace/ seam bowling, while the Ws have much the better keeper, and much the better spin attack. I think the Ws advantages just outweigh those of the Ss and score this Ss 2, Ws 3.


The Ss win every batting match up down to number eight. To a casual observer it looks like they also win the batting match up at number nine, but Fuller Pilch, the best batter of BoX’s era averaged only 18, and on that basis Box is as clearly ahead of Starc with the bat as he is of Sangakkara with the gloves. The Ss are miles clear in seam/ pace bowling and also have much the finer skipper. As against that the Xs have the better spin attack. I still think however that the Ss are so massively superior in the areas where they are superior that this has to be scored: Ss 5, Xs 0.


With the exception of the number three slot, which goes the way of Younis Khan, the Ss win every batting match up down to number nine. They also have an overwhelming dominance in the seam/ pace department. The Ys have the better keeper, and the better spin attack, but neither can save them from the inevitable: Ss 5, Ys 0.


Full spectrum dominance for the Ss: Ss 5, Zs 0.


The Ss have scored 17 points out of 20 today, to give them a final score of 101 out of 125, 80.8% overall.


The Ts have the better opening pair. A casual observer might think that the Us win the number three slot based on test being more difficult than FC cricket, but Tarrant played a lot of his cricket before WWI, so my own view is that he wins that match up, and he also offers a bowling option. The Ts win the match up at number four, while number five is draw, Misbah Ul Haq’s slightly better batting average being offset by Thorpe’s greater sample size and the lack of support that Thorpe had at test level. Ross Taylor beats Umrigar in the number six slot. Umar Akmal wins the batting match up at number seven, but Bob Taylor wins the keeping element by a much greater margin. The Ts have much the better pace/ seam bowling unit. I also give the spin department to the Ts – Tarrant would be little if any inferior to Underwood as a bowler, and on proven success as opposed to potential Trumble has to outrank Ur Rahman, though their positions may be reversed in a few years time. The Us can make no dent on the Ts, resulting in Ts 5, Us 0.


The Ts are now on 72.5 out of 100, 72.5% overall.


Today’s gallery comes in two parts – I have revisited by cricket cigarette card collection, digging out the first set I ever acquired, some years ago, and the ones I chose to photographs form the first gallery, with links to posts that the players feature in included…

…part two of the gallery features some of my regular photographs.

All Time XIs – Match Ups 41

Continuing my in depth analysis of how my all time XIs fare against one another, with some comments about Ireland’s great win over England in the T20 World Cup and a photo gallery.

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how my all time XIs fare against one another. Today sees the Js occupy the spotlight for the final time, with 50 points out of 100 currently on the board. Before getting into the main meat meat of this post I congratulate Ireland wholeheartedly on their defeat of England. The rain, which washed the second match (Afghanistan vs New Zealand) out completely did play a walk on role – officially Ireland won by 5 runs on the DLS method. However, England deserve no sympathy and will receive none from me – they were behind the asking rate the entire way through the chase, even after Ireland failed to capitalize on being 92-1 after 10 overs, slipping to 157 all out in 19.4. Dawid Malan (35 off 37) and Harry Brook (17 off 18) were chiefly responsible for putting England in a hole they couldn’t dig their way out of – their scoring, with rain an obvious threat, was absurdly slow. England had a very deep batting order, but the approach of Malan and Brook meant that by the time the rain came the biggest hitter in the side, Livingstone, who would have been on a high having taking 3-17 with the ball, faced only two balls. Ireland skipper Balbirnie was named player of the match for his 62, but crucial early momentum was also provided by Ireland number three and keeper Lorcan Tucker.


The Js are stronger in batting and have the better keeper, both sides have similar strength in front line pace bowling, though the Js have Jessop as an extra option. The Vs are stronger in spin bowling, with Verity, Vogler and Vine all front line options, while the Js have Jupp, Johnston in his slower style and the part timer Jayasuriya. I think the Js have got this one, but not by a huge margin: Js 3, Vs 2.


The Js have the better opening pair though not by much, the Ws dominate in positions 3-6 batting wise, though the Js have the better keeper. Warne, Wardle and Woolley are a better spin combo than the Js have (Wardle’s ability to bowl wrist spin means that the Ws effectively have off spin covered even without having a designated off spinner). There is little to choose between the front line pace trios, though Jessop outranks Worrell as a support seamer. The Ws have a clear advantage but not enough to put them in whitewash territory: Js 1, Ws 4


The Js are ahead on batting (only DeXter wins his match up among the Xs top eight), massively ahead in pace bowling, a little behind in spin bowling and BoX is one of the few keepers in this series to definitely at least match A Jones in that department. I don’t think the Xs spinners will help them enough to make any difference to the result: Js 5, Xs 0.


The Js have the better opening pair by some way, the Ys the better nos 3 and 4. Jackson outranks Yallop at five and probably outranks fellow Yorkie Yardley as a skipper. The Js are way ahead in pace bowling and about even in spin bowling. This is a comfortable but not whitewash win for the Js: Js 4, Ys 1.


The Js have the better batting by some way, the better skipper, the better keeper, a far stronger pace attack and a spin attack that probably matches that of the Zs if it doesn’t better it. There can be only one scoreline: Js 5, Zs 0.


The Js have scored 18 out of 25 today, giving them a final tally of 68 out of 125, 54.4%.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (10)

Continuing my analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. Today’s match ups are the last four involving the Bs, and the first with the Cs in the hot seat.

Welcome to the latest in my series of posts analysing how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. This post sees the completion of the Bs and the first match up with the C team in the hot seat. The Bs come into today with 69 of a possible 105 points. Before I get to the main meat of the post, Heritage Open Day 2022 which was to have been this Sunday has been postponed due to the death of a ludicrously over-privileged old woman. Apaarently the council cannot support the event on Sunday and without their support it cannot be run. Provisionally Sunday 2 October is being looked at the new date – I have already declared my availability for that date.


The Bs are ahead on batting, but the Ws are ahead on bowling. I personally think the Ws have the bowling guns to compensate for the Bs batting advantage and score this one Bs 2, Ws 3.


The Xs lose 10 match ups out of 11 fairly comprehensively. Box, allowing for how difficult batting was in his day, can be considered to win the battle of the keepers, but that will make little difference to the overall outcome – Bs 5, Xs 0.


The Bs are ahead in all areas – even if one accepts that Poonam Yadav is a better leg spinner than Richie Benaud was, the Aussie’s batting compensates for this. Bs 5, Ys 0.


The Bs once again dominate this one, with only Zulqarnain Haider definitely winning his match up. I score this as Bs 5, Zs 0.


The Bs scored a further 17 points today, giving them 86 out of 125, or 68.80%. This puts them comfortably ahead of the As, who scored 69, and for the moment first in our ranking table.


The Cs come into this match up with 1.5 points out of a possible 10 from their match ups against the As and the Bs. The Cs have a strong opening combo, albeit both batting out of their very best positions, a good number three who is also a shrewd and resourceful skipper, two unequivocal greats at four and five, a mercurial all rounder at six, a fine keeper, and a decent quartet of bowlers. The Ds lose out in the matter of opening pairs, win the number three slot hands down, but as against that lose on captaincy. Four and five are closely fought, but the greater experience of the C pair gives them the honours. Number six goes to the Ds. Dujon comfortably wins the battle of the keepers, while Davidson beats Cornwall in the number eight slot. Daniel and Donald are a good match for Cummins and Croft in the pace department, and Dennett, possibly the finest bowler never to have played test cricket (he overlapped with Rhodes and Blythe, both even greater left arm spinners), probably has the edge on Chandrasekhar. This is by far the closes contest the Cs have been in, and allowing for Chappelli’s captaincy and the possibility of a turner, where they would have the advantage, I score this one Cs 2, Ds 3. This means that after three match ups the Cs are on 3.5 of a possible 15 points, 23.33%.


Time for my usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter Z

Continuing my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a look at the letter Z.

I continue my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a team of players whose names begin with Z. I included Zaheer Abbas in the As, and in keeping with my policy that no one will feature is two XIs in this trip through the alphabet I therefore do not select him today. Other omissions can wait until the Honourable Mentions section.


  1. Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan). A left handed opening batter with a magnificent ODI record, a respectable test record and a good FC average.
  2. Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan). A right handed opening batter, currently averaging 44 test cricket, and with a good FC record.
  3. Zubayr Hamza (South Africa). A right handed top order batter who averages 48 in FC cricket, though he has not been successful at test level as yet.
  4. Najibullah Zadran (Afghanistan). His opportunities at test level have been limited to date, but he has a fine record in limited overs cricket, and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Khaya Zondo (South Africa). Has an excellent FC batting record, though has not yet been given the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level.
  6. Billy Zulch (South Africa). A right handed batter and occasional right arm medium pacer, he averaged 30 in test cricket when SA were a struggling outfit, had a good FC record.
  7. +Zulqarnain Haider (Pakistan). An innings of 88 in what proved to be his only test (he fled Pakistan in fear of his own safety) underlined his skill with the bat and he was a fine keeper as well.
  8. Monde Zondeki (South Africa). A right arm fast bowler who took his test wickets at 25 a piece.
  9. Zia Ur Rehman (Afghanistan). A left arm orthodox spinner who takes his FC wickets at 19 a piece, but has yet to be given a chance at test level. Afghanistan have amazing strength in depth in the spin bowling department, and his test opportunity may never arrive.
  10. Zaheer Khan (India). A left arm fast medium bowler, his test average of 32 looks on the high side, but he rarely had much in the way of pace support (India having strength in depth in the pace bowling department is a recent phenomenon).
  11. Zahir Khan (Afghanistan). A left arm wrist spinner who claims his FC wickets at 21 a piece and bowled respectably in his three tests, though seven wickets at 34 a piece is a record that needs improvement.

This XI has a solid batting unit, a good keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. It is a pity that the back up seam options are limited to Ibrahim Zadran and Billy Zulch, neither of whom could be classed as front line bowlers, but Zaheer Khan, Zondeki, Zia Ur Rehman and Zahir Khan should function fairly well as a main bowling attack.


The main rival to Fakhar Zaman as left handed opener was Hazratullah Zazai of Afghanistan, but though he has a respectable FC record he has yet to be picked for a test match. No right handed opener comes remotely close to challenging Ibrahim Zadran – while his test average of 44.50 comes from only eight innings at that level (no not outs to boost the average), his first class average of 41 comes from a much larger sample size and confirms his class. He averages about 18 runs an innings more than Zak Crawley at test level and 12 an innings more than the proven failure who happens to be a management favourite manages even at FC level.

Bas Zuiderent of the Netherlands played a fine innings against England in the 1996 World Cup, but overall his record is quite ordinary. Saif Zaib is an alleged batting all rounder, but his FC averages at the moment are the wrong way round – 22 with the bat and 31 with the ball. Tim Zoehrer was Zulqarnain’s rival for the gauntlets, but he had such a poor series in the 1986-7 Ashes that spectators at the MCG of all places were heard expressing the opinion that even the New South Welshman Greg Dyer would be in improvement on him (of course they really wanted their own Dimattina to get the job).

Mohammed Zanhar, a Sri Lankan leg spinner, took his FC wickets at 25 a piece, but only played 10 matches at that level. Adam Zampa has a great record in limited overs cricket, but his FC wickets come at massively pricey 48 runs a piece. Two fast bowlers, Dawlat Zadran of Afghanistan and Nuwan Zoysa of Sri Lanka (who once took a hat trick with his first three balls of a test match) entered my thoughts but neither had that great an overall record. Zak Chappell is expensive even at first class level, and is nearly as far short of meriting serious consideration as the other Zak I have mentioned in passing.

While I regret the absence of a genuine all rounder that omission could only be rectified by outright cheating, using a nickname to avail myself of ‘Zulu’ Klusener.


We have finished our cricketing journey through the letter Z and all that is left is my usual sign off…