While watching the Australian machine destroy everything in its path for the last 10-odd years, I’ve often wondered whether we’ve been experiencing the best Test team ever.
At the turn of the nineteenth century the American city of Philadelphia produced a side capable of defeating Australia and several English counties, spearheaded by Bart King, one of the finest bowlers of all time. But who were the other cricketers who played alongside him, the other Gentlemen of Philadelphia?
Around many a bar or kitchen table cricket lovers debate who is the best batsman in the world, the greatest all-rounder, the top spinner and so on. Sometimes the discussions turn to fielding, and the name of Colin Bland is regularly brought up. Bland’s reputation as a cover fielder was such that he almost solely remembered in this capacity. The fact that his fielding remains the primary legacy of his test career is perhaps a shame, as Bland was also a very good batsman. Nonetheless, it does underline what a magnificent fielder he was, as a Test average of nearly 49.06 places him near the elite level for international batsmen.