Having gone through several lists of all-time XIs and polls to choose greatest knocks, partnerships etc. I propose to start a thread in which all of us can play selectors and choose the best team from the past two decades. It might be just a variation of other discussions we've had. But putting together a team with our various national, cultural backgrounds, knowledge bases and understanding of the game might be interesting.
I do have some ideas on how it can be done. Tell me if it makes sense or if we need to change a few rules to start a selection process.
1) The team should be the best possible XI representing players who have actively played test cricket from the English summer of 1986 to the English summer of 2005 - including both seasons. We will base our selection only on performances in the given time frame.
This gives us 20 years of test cricket to base our opinions on. It is not too long and not too short. Also, it might be the correct era for most of our forum members to have a first hand opinion on.
2) The team will have two specialist openers, three middle order batsmen, one genuine all-rounder, one wicket keepr, two fast bowlers and two spinners. If the all-rounder happens to be a spinner (which is highly unlikely for this era), we can choose three fast bowlers and one specialist spinner.
3) A batsman with bowling skills or a bowler with ability score runs or a player with greater fielding ability can be given extra weightage when we discuss their places. We will also select a captain.
4) Since we have very knowledgable members with good writing skills we will have an open discussion for each slot before starting the poll. The poll conductor can decide whent to start and end the polls. I am not experienced in running polls. If someone with the knowledge can volunteer, it can avoid a lot of confusion.
5) As a strategy we can consider having batsmen of different temperaments, left-right cominations, spinners of different styles etc. But it doesnt have to be a rule. We will decide on a case by case basis on what suits the team we are choosing.
6) We will deal with the whole process in a phased manner. The six stages will be: Openers, middle-order, all-rounder, keeper, fast bowlers and spinners.
I will try to name all the possible names who have played in the given time frame. We can add delete before setlling down on the final list.
Australia: Boon, Taylor, Slater, Hayden, Langer
England: Gooch, Atherton, Vaughan, Trescothick, Strauss
India: Gavaskar, Navjot Sidhu, Sehwag
Pakistan: Anwar, Sohail
New Zealand: Wright, Fleming
South Africa: Gary Kirsten, Gibbs, Smith
Sri Lanka: Jayasuriya, Attapattu
West Indies: Haynes, Greenidge, Gayle
2. Middle Order:
Australia: Mark Waugh, Seve Waugh, Allan Border, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, Dean Jones
England: Gower, Thorpe
India: Amarnath, Vengsarkar, Azharuddin, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly
Pakistan: Miandad, Salim Malik, Inzamam, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan
New Zealand: Martin Crowe
South Africa: Kallis, Cullinan
Sri Lanka: De Silva, Jayawardane, Sangakkara
Zimbabwe: Andy Flower
West Indies: Richards, Lara, Chanderpaul
3. All Rounders: Imran, Botham, Kapil, Hadlee, Cairns, Pollock, Kallis, Flintoff, Akram.
4. Wicket Keepers: Healy, Gilchrist, Stewart, Russell, Mongia, Moin Khan, Latif, Ian Smith, Parore, Boucher,
Sangakkara, Dujon, Jaobs, Andy Flower,
5. Fast Bowlers:
Australia: McDermott, Hughes, McGrath, Gillespie, Lee
England: Botham, Gough, Caddick, Harmison, Hoggard, Flintoff
India: Kapil Dev, Srinath
Pakistan: Imran, Akram, Waqar, Akhthar
New Zealand: Hadlee, Cairns, Bond (??)
South Africa: Donald, Pollock, Ntini
Sri Lanka: Vaas
West Indies: Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop
Australia: Warne, McGill
India: Kumble, Harbhajan
Pakistan: Qadir, Mushtaq, Saqlain
New Zealand: Vettori
Sri Lanka: Muralitharan