Originally Posted by The Sean
Strongly agreed. Sobers' versatility as a spinner was of course useful and he did a job in that capacity, but he was a world-class left arm quick and far more effective in that style. In my opinion, Sobers as the fourth quick and back-up spinner would add a lot of value to the attack, but Sobers as the fifth quick (where he would hardly get a bowl) and lead spinner (where in this ATG context he isn't anywhere near good enough) would be a complete waste.
+1. I'm really surprised at the number of posters who believe that this team needs a FOURTH right arm fast bowler rather than a top-class spinner. The issue is not whether Garner (or any other preferred candidate for fourth seamer) is a better bowler than Gibbs but rather which bowler adds the most value to the side. Three great fast bowlers constitute an extremely impressive pace attack. A spinner adds variety to this mix. One of the many reasons why this is important is because some batsmen are much better players of pace than spin. The spinner is also a potential match winner on a crumbling pitch - see Gibbs at Kensington Oval in 1962, Old Trafford in 1963 and 1966, Bourda in 1965, etc.
The great West Indian team of the 1970's and 80's used four fast bowlers only because it lacked a quality spinner. However successful this team was, on certain occasions the lack of variety in the bowling attack was clearly a weakness. Clive Lloyd, who is a first cousin of Lance Gibbs and played alongside him in the WI team for many years, certainly recognized the value and importance of spin. (Lloyd faced, among others, Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Underwood and Abdul Qadir in their prime).
Sobers, whose most effective form of attack was fast medium bowling, is not a bowler who should be the principal spinner in an all-time team. I would expect him to bowl seam most of the time, reserving his chinamen and googlies for occasions when the team needs to buy wickets and runs are no object, and bowling orthodox slow left arm (as the second rather than the primary spinner) mainly if not exclusively when the conditions favor spin.
It may be too late to matter but for what it's worth my vote for the bowlers would be: