Yep I agree Watson and marc, which is my reasoning behind punishing Imran slightly and not including him in my ATG team. Still makes the second team, so its a slight punishment.
Funny thing is I'd still include Imran more often than not based on his bowling, which I feel seems to kind slightly under-rated because of his batting (which I feel gets grossly over-rated)
Add to that his leadership skills, and you get a player whose overall value as a cricketer is exceeded by very, very few.
I have just realized that the only true greats in the 70s and 80s were those who performed overseas since home-umpiring was very prevalent. There is a serious case for discounting home averages. I was just looking through some scorecards and was surprised at the number of LBWs given to away teams compared to home teams.
Having a guy like Imran at 8 is a massive bonus regardless of whether you underrate or overrate his batting skills. He averaged nearly 40 with the bat, so to have him at 8 is a huge bonus when you consider he is without doubt an ATG quick bowler. I love the idea of teams where everyone is a competent batsman, especially when guys like Sobers and Gilchrist are at 6 and 7. If the tail can stick with either of those guys for a session or more, a score of 300 becomes 500 very quickly.
This is no doubt where some absolute moron will come in and say that the batting lineup is already really strong and that you don't need a competent number eight, ignoring the fact that strength is relative, the fact that the standard of the opposition is unknown and therefore the fact that we have no real idea how strong that batting lineup really will be.
Marshall at eight was/would be fine in a fixed moment in time in Test cricket. However an all-time world XI as a concept would play at a theoretical level a couple above Test cricket, so that argument is the equivalent of saying it'd be all good to bat Jimmy Anderson at #8 for England because he averages in the 20s playing club cricket and the rest of the batting lineup is ridiculously strong anyway, all boasting club cricket averages in the 70s. Unfortunately for England and for Jimmy Anderson, their opposition will also be full of such players from another country's mirrored setup and not your typical club cricketers; therefore a batsman competent to bat eight at the level of the match is required. Against a theoretical attack on equal footing with the all-time World XI, however you want to imagine that attack, Marshall at 8 is the equivalent of Anderson at eight in a Test.
All-time XI | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
Obviously they picked the best available bowling attack as they saw it, and considered that the No.1 priority - as it should be.
And that's why you use all the ATG bowlers who can bat in the ATG XI, not spend hours and hours splitting them as pure bowlers and putting some muppet at eight.:cool:
I'm not saying that Imran isn't an excellent choice at No.8, but the fact remains some people don't consider him the best bowler for the job, and just so happen to think that an attack with 3 other quick bowlers is stronger. That could be right, or it could be wrong. Who knows?
All that said, I don't actually have a great deal of issues with that particular lower order. It'd be weak tail no doubt; I reserve the right to roll my eyes at anyone who says it'd be decent based on their logic of imagining it in action against a national side in a fixed point in time or worse still arguing it didn't matter because of the supposed strength of the top order, and I'd be looking at that as a weakness of the side, but it's not a deal-breaking weakness in the way that picking, say, Marshall-Warne-Lillee-Ambrose would be. That'd be fine in a Test match but we need to stop thinking about this side as if it's going to play the Pakistan side of 1994 or the South Africa side of 2001 because that'd be pointless.