1) Shivnarine Chanderpaul (capt) - 7858 runs @ 41.14, S/R @ 70.96
2) Matthew Hayden - 6133 runs @ 43.80, S/R @ 78.96
3) Shakib Al Hasan - 1559 runs @ 33.31, S/R @ 70.34, 68 wickets @ 30.05, Econ @ 4.02
4) Jacques Kallis - 10057 runs @ 45.30, S/R @ 71.71, 246 wickets @ 31.72
5) Mohammad Yousuf - 9242 runs @ 43.18, S/R @ 75.34
6) Jonty Rhodes - 5935 runs @ 35.11, S/R @ 80.90
7) Andrew Flintoff - 3391 runs @ 32.60, S/R @ 89.02, 163 wickets @ 24.69, Econ @ 4.38
8) Rodney Marsh (wk) - 1225 runs @ 20.08, S/R @ 82.26, 124 dismissals
9) Umar Gul - 83 wickets @ 25.24, S/R @ 30.7
10) Nathan Bracken - 153 wickets @ 22.60
11) Ajantha Mendis - 61 wickets @ 12.01, S/R @ 19.0
12) Allan Border - 6524 runs @ 30.62, S/R @ 71.42, 73 wickets @ 28.36
Adelaide Oval, South Australia, Australia
First up I have to say, I really couldn't be happier with my side. I thought about this a huge amount and made sure I could find no holes in my tactics, all the way down to the ground chosen.
I chose Adelaide, as I believe it's the ultimate cricketer's ground - that it demands skill and that lesser cricketers fall away and are found out very quickly. It is a ground where bowlers with a lot of pace or spinners with a lot of turn can do nothing without a smart cricketing brain, accuracy and skill. Likewise with the high quality of bowling on display from opposition bowlers, I have chosen the most superb techniqued, intelligent and proven cricketers. I honestly do not see another side selected that could be at all dominant against mine at this ground.
I believe in the strength of the modern ODI player - better fitness, better coaching, more knowledge, etc. This particularly imo refers to bowlers. There can be no doubt that the bowlers of today have it extremely tough - powerplays, small boundaries, better bats, etc. Which is why my bowling line-up has a distinctly modern flavour. Nathan Bracken would open with Umar Gul, Andrew Flintoff at first change, Ajantha Mendis alongside Jacques Kallis and Shakib Al-Hasan in the middle and then Bracken, Gul and perhaps Flintoff at the death.
Bracken is simply one of the best ODI Bowlers the game of Cricket has ever seen. Always chosen by his captain to perform the most difficult of tasks, whether that be an early breakthrough, being brought on to get a wicket or bowling at the death, he almost always succeeds. Adding to that Gul's amazing skill with the ball - particularly at the death - and getting the ball away would be so, so difficult.
Flintoff is just sublime. He is such a big game player and rarely gets taken for runs. With a great average and thirst to prove himself, he is someone you want in your side and know will provide his best and something special. Mendis. Oh Mendis. What a cricketer. There is little doubt in my mind that the older style batsmen in the game would be pretty clueless against him and we all know his amazing record against modern day sides. He is a crucial part of the side.
The crucial, crucial fifth bowler role is shared fantastically by Kallis and Shakib. What a duo for such a role. In the middle overs, there will be no relief here, with testing line and length, movement and quick overs.
I love the depth and talent of my batting. Hayden and Chanderpaul opening is unbelievably formidable. With two of the best averages in the history of ODI Cricket, their records stand for themselves. While Hayden provides aggression and dominance, Chanderpaul is sturdy and unmoving. A great start here is almost guaruanteed.
Shakib, Kallis and Yousuf are three admired and respected players. Shakib again is a big game player, with style and flair and a great talent to either holdfast or up the run-rate, I like him at three. And then we have Kallis and Yousuf. Two delightful accumulators that just churn out the runs in the middle overs. If Chanderpaul/Hayden is great, Kallis/Yousuf is sublime. It just does not seem possible to get through this batting line-up without conceeding so many runs.
Relegated to positions six and seven are Rhodes and Flintoff. Both averaging mid-thirties with top strike-rates, they are ideal finishers. While Rhodes could find ones, twos and fours with unnerving ease at the end of ODIs, Flintoff often didn't bother with that and went for maximums with success. I would love to see these two finishing off an innings and would not be one to bowl at them.
Due to the batting prowess of the side, cruely, Marsh is all the way down at eight. A top finisher in his own right, Marsh is such a fine wicket-keeper, behind the stumps to some of the greatest bowling of the time. Our bowlers couldn't ask for someone safer behind the stumps.
The great man, Allan Border, is kept out of the side, and I don't really know why. He played over 200 ODIs, bowled handy spin and would be an amazing fill-in if someone got injured. He would also surely be of great value to the side with his brains and experience.
A final shout out must go to our fielding. Rhodes, the all-time fielding great, saves so many runs all by himself. Shakib and Hayden are fantastic and the rest more than hold their own, safe as houses.
I really enjoyed this draft and the delight of picking this side. It is an all-round strong side, with such strong batting, quality, smart pace and spin bowling and proven players. I couldn't be happier with the intelligence, experience and sheer quality of this side. I am delighted and honoured for those names to represent me, even just on a Cricket Forum.