I'm halfway through writing up comprehensive player bios in Word. CBF finishing them now that the voting thread's upDan's XI
- Sir Jack Hobbs
- Barry Richards
- Charlie Macartney
- Javed Miandad
- Douglas Jardine*
- Frank Woolley
- Clive Rice
- Godfrey Evans+
- Ray Lindwall
- Harold Larwood
- Muttiah Muralitharan
12th Man: Hedley Verity
We open up with the greatest of them all, the original 'master' - Jack Hobbs.Nobody has scored more first class runs, or matched his 197 (or 199) centuries at FC level. With him is Barry Richards, a man who would most likely have become one of the ATG opening batsmen - in fact, he's remembered as one now despite only playing 4 Test matches. They would complement each other's styles, and give no chance to opposing bowlers trying to make an early breakthrough.
Should an opening bowler get past that strong pairing, they get post-war Charlie Macartney. Once he returned from the war as a top-order batsman, he averaged ~70, and was renowned for his counterattacking play. Scoring a hundred before lunch, against a strong England side on a bad pitch is representative of his credentials. Plus, he was a great fieldsman and a sub-30 averaging slow left armer. On a turner, he would act as a third spin bowling option.
Then, we have a middle order of Javed Miandad and Douglas Jardine. Both are fantastic players, Miandad Pakistan's best, and Jardine a very good defensive batsman who would bail the team out of trouble should they somehow find themselves staring down the barrel.
Frank Woolley and Clive Rice are the experienced pair of all rounders at 6 and 7. Woolley was one of the all-time great county players, playing 978 FC matches, taking over 2000 wickets at a sub-20 average, with mediums and orthodox spin, and making more runs than anyone (bar Hobbs). He was also an ATG slip fieldsman, the only non-wicketkeeper to take 1000 catches. Rice was a fast bowler, averaging 22 in FC cricket, and a 40+ averaging batsman. They form a strong lower middle order, and can function as strong supporting seamers and, in the case of Woolley, a second spinner.
Godfrey Evans comes next, arguably England's best 'pure' wicketkeeper ever. He was electric behind the stumps, finding a way to get to anything thrown at him. He was willing to come up to the stumps to almost anyone, and would be required to do this with Macartney's occasional twirlers, Woolley's mediums and spinners, and he's be more than capable of reading and keeping to Murali.
Ray Lindwall and Harold Larwood open the bowling together, a cricketing purist's dream - very fast, very aggressive and capable of extracting movement. Larwood will forever be associated with Jardine, and as the only bowler to stop Bradman, whereas Lindwall is rated by Bradman as one of the best ever. It is worth noting Lindwall based himself off Larwood. An opening batsman would get no respite from the perfect fast bowlers. They also add lower order batting - Lindwall has 2 Test centuries, and Larwood a highest of 98.
Muttiah Muralitharan rounds out the XI, and with 800 Test wickets to his name, can lay claim to being the best spin bowler in history. He carried Sri Lanka on his back for almost his entire career, and spun them to victory countless times. He can turn the ball both ways, and knows how to out-think a batsman.
Hedley Verity can be summarised with one incredible achievement: 10/10. He averaged a scarcely believable 14 in First Class cricket, and was one bowler who could tame Bradman to an extent. He was a fantastic left arm orthodox spinner, and would complement Murali perfectly on a turning pitch. He was also a competent lower order batsman, who was good enough to open on occasion for England.
Fielding from this side is of an extremely high calibre, and Jardine's leadership credentials are unmatched. He knew his field placings, studied opposition batsmen mercilessly to find (and exploit) weaknesses, and was able to get the best out of his players. Regardless of the differing perceptions of his character, he can unite and lead a team with the best of them.
The team is flexible, with 4 seam bowling options (Larwood, Lindwall, Rice, Woolley), and 3 spinners (Muralitharan, Woolley, Macartney). Rotating bowlers would not be an issue - Murali could bowl all day, Larwood and Lindwall were tough as they come, and Woolley could hold up an end almost forever. Jardine was fantastic at rotating his bowlers as well. The line-up bats deep, and every player is proven at the highest level available to them.