Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Greatest Test XI

Following Tim's rules and list this would be my greatest Test XI, with brief reasons for each selection:

Hobbs - perhaps the greatest batsman of all-time. Played equally well on all surfaces, displaying superb technique and elegance. Acknowledged as the player who took the baton from WG Grace and raised batting skill to the next level.

Gavaskar - a genius of the modern era, who set astonishing records for Test runs and centuries. His patience and bravery ensured that he was the only batsman to tame the fearsome West Indies pace attack of the late 70s and 80s.

Bradman - a colossus, whose sheer volume of runs almost defies belief. On good batting wickets he simply could not be gotten out. On poorer surfaces bowlers had a chance, but only a slim one. Even in the current batsman's era his average remains way out of reach.

Hammond - as fine a player as England have ever produced. Batted with natural power, elegance and intelligence, scoring runs both at home and on numerous tours. He was also an excellent bowler and one of the finest slip fielders cricket has produced.

Sobers - an awesome talent, who could do it all - bat, bowl fast, bowl slow, field brilliantly and captain with intelligence and cunning. Without doubt the greatest allrounder to play the game and for a long time the proud holder of the record for the highest Test score.

Imran Khan - at his peak he would have been selected as either a batsman or a bowler, though for much of his career he was a bowling allrounder. In addition to his great fast bowling and elegant batting he was an exellent captain, who held the mighty West Indies at bay in the 80s.

Gilchrist - capable of taking the game away from the opposition with his ferocious batting, he also learned to be a very capable wicketkeeper, equally adept to McGrath and Warne. Like all the greats he raised his game several levels when his team needed him most.

Hadlee - one of the most accurate and devastating bowlers Test cricket has ever seen. Taking an astonishing 5 wickets a match throughout his career, he carried his country on his back. Despite the pressure of leading the bowling attack he also batted extremely well.

Marshall - the greatest fast bowler ever to take the field. Could extract pace and bounce from any surface, swing the ball both ways and developed a devastating leg cutter. Add this to his work ethic and ferocious attitude and you have the perfect fast bowler.

Muralitharan - the best spinner (perhaps bowler full stop) of all-time, having claimed an astonishing 60 five wicket hauls and 20 ten wicket hauls. Could extract turn on glass, as well as exerting astonishing control, and his devastating variety makes him one of the hardest bowlers to read. Simply a wicket taking machine (with a smile).

McGrath - the ultimate model of consistency and accuracy, allied to a mean streak on the field that saw him single out batsmen, who he invariably terrorised throughout a series. The only pace bowler to dominate batsmen in the batting friendly 2000s, retiring with a massive haul of test wickets.

10 comments:

Rodney Ulyate said...

No W.G.? An outrage!

Rodney Ulyate said...

No Barnes or Spofforth? That's almost just as outrageous!

Rodney Ulyate said...

Of course, I've got no idea about the rules that this Tim character has set down, but they can't be very good'uns, can they? No W.G. or Barney or Spoff? The thought of it!

Tim said...

Just to confirm: all the players must have played at least 20 Tests and made their debuts on 1st January 1908 or later. Cheers!

The Atheist said...

Bit of a long tail there. A push-over, if you will.

Nick Gammons said...

It depends what you mean by the tail. Hadlee averaged 27 with 2 Test centuries and Marshall averaged a shade under 19 with 10 test fifties, including a 92.

Granted Murali and McGrath are natural number 11s, but given what comes before them I doubt this side would worry.

Dean said...

No Warne or Lillee is a strange one.

Ben said...

Yeah, i'd have Warne before Murili. Just for his pure ability to pull out key wickets just when you need them. I see him as a big game player more than I do Murili.

I wouldnt have McGrath either. If you've got Khan, Warne, Hadlee and Marshall already, then depending on the surface I would probably consider either a batting allrounder another spinner such as Murili.

And although a lot probably wouldnt agree, I would have Ponting instead of Hammond. Again, his big game ability is awesome. Much like Steve Waughs ability to pull it out when they needed it the most.

Choice.

Ayush T said...

Warne over Murali for me anyway. Also, no Lara or Tendulkar. Now that is a big call.

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