For a World XI I'd like to watch play my Aust XI (best to watch)....
1. Jack Hobbs
2. Sunil Gavaskar
4. Brian Lara
5. David Gower
6. VVS Laxman
7. Imran Khan
8. Godfrey Evans
9. Harold Larwood
10. Michael Holding
11. Curtly Ambrose
It can be argued he was the best Australian batsman before the Great War, which is usually considered to be Trumper.
His average is almost the same as that of Trumper and it can be argued his best innings were played when most needed by his country.
The final word on who was the better should go to Clem, who was in no doubt when he said:
'as a batsman, I'm not fit to lick Vic's boots'
Poetry in motion
....The Elegant XI is also the Poetry-in-Motion XI, as evidenced by the bowlers. Jim Laker once wrote that his idea of heaven was to have Ray Lindwall bowling from one end and Bishan Bedi from the other, so this could just as easily be the Heaven XI, for it contains both Lindwall and Bedi.
To leave out Archie Jackson, Alan Kippax, Roy Dias, Zaheer Abbas, Tom Graveney, Greg Chappell, Martin Crowe, Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman and Saeed Anwar is a wrench, and I am not sure if Jim Laker was a more elegant bowler than S Venkataraghavan. Grainy film footage of him bowling in the 1950s is inconclusive, so even in an XI where records and averages do not matter, he makes it for his superior record.
1. Victor Trumper
"The art of Trumper is like an art in a bird's flight, an art that knows not how wonderful it is. Batting was for him a superb dissipation, a spontaneous spreading of fine feathers." - Neville Cardus
2. Frank Worrell (capt)
"Worrell told me that as soon as a ball was delivered he could tell the blade of grass on which it was going to drop and therefore could place his feet and body for any stroke he wanted to make… There was no memory of anyone scoring runs with such grace and power." - CLR James
3. David Gower
"Half England wants to mother him or marry him, and everyone else wants to bat as he does, as if in some enchanted dream. Wry in calamity, nonchalant in triumph, never straining too hard." - Peter Roebuck
4. Gundappa Viswanath
To many he was the real Little Master, for the mastery involved innovation and the ability to utilise the grammar of the game to compose its poetry.
"He was a law unto himself. His extraordinary quickness of mind and eye allowed him to do things utterly impracticable for others. He broke the hearts of the best fast bowlers by the way he deflected their fastest deliveries to the boundary." - H S Altham
6. Frank Woolley
This great allrounder said of himself, "When I am batting, I am the attack." Robertson-Glasgow said Woolley was "easy to watch, difficult to bowl to and impossible to write about".
7. Alan Knott
"[He was] an original, his keeping so undemonstrative that its excellence was not always appreciated until a wide catch allowed him to display his agility." -Tony Pawson
8. Jim Laker
"Jim possessed a classical action, side-on looking over his left arm, coming down hard on a braced left leg and swivelling so sharply that he even dug a pit on soft turf. It was perfection." -Trevor Bailey
9. Michael Holding
"A former track athlete, Holding, tall and sparsely built, has a long, lithe, lissom run-up, elbows pumping like a dancer's, head reared as if to delight in the zephyr resulting from his own fleetness. His gyratory action climaxes in an apparently effortless release of the ball." -David Frith
10. Ray Lindwall
"The genius of Lindwall was expressed in a variety of ways, not least in his cleverly disguised and devastating pace changes and in a bouncer delivered without any giveaways… When I saw Lindwall approaching I sensed the expectancy. A hush would descend on the ground." -Len Hutton
11. Bishan Bedi
"When you have seen Bishan Bedi twirl down his spinners after 60 overs with the same gentle rhythm as he settled into at the start of the spell, you understand why his is a great bowling action. A clockmaker would have been proud to set Bedi in motion - a mechanism finely balanced, cogs rolling silently and hands sweeping in smooth arcs across the face." -Tony Lewis
Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore
ESPNcricinfo all-time World XI: Suresh Menon picks an elegant XI | All-time XIs | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
nice article on the elegant XI
I must be honest - in terms of the most entertaining to watch, I reckon almost all of the players I'd pick are from the past 30 years. I understand including older batsmen in "World XIs" due to it being generally accepted that picks are made relative to the time ie the standard of cricket back in the day is nowhere near the current standard. When it comes to "who would I most enjoy watching," though, it comes down to actual aesthetics etc, and tbh I can't name one play from back in the day that I've seen footage of that actually played as aesthetically pleasingly as a modern-day star.
You're deranged Prezzy. The bowling actions of Larwood, Tyson, Lindwall... the genius of Hammond, Trumper, Harvey etc
Aesthetic appreciation is not objective, but rather subjective, That is, aesthetic appreciation is based purely on the emotions of the observer.
So relying on another person's eye-witness account which says that watching Victor Trumper bat is an aesthically pleasing experience makes little sense.
It's a bit like saying that Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' must be appreciated by all observers. It might be a pleasing painting to 95% of people, but Watson might be one of the minority who believe that Van Gogh is a rubbish painter. No one can tell me otherwise because the emotional part of my brain informs me that his works are ugly. Period.
It is not up to someone else to tell me what my reality should be. It simply is.
I think in recent years the most elegant players we've seen in Australia are Mark Waugh and Martyn. Michael Vaughan was always good to watch when in form. VVS very very smooth and easy to watch. Lara and Gower as well.
From old footage I've seen (and it's limited), the most beautiful to watch was Archie Jackson. Just so smooth and elegant.
I'd love to watch Jack Hobbs' technique rather than even the best batsman's 'plant the foot and hit' style of the modern day.