My fifth selection kinda completes the first phase of this process. I had to think through these five positions in depth and take the final call after much deliberation. The remaining six, on the other hand, are sure shots in any of my XIs. For example, the spinner of my choice here is Shane Warne.
Arguably the greatest spin bowler of all time, Warne looks like a certainty in everyone's all-time XI. Honestly, he shouldn't be. Murali is his equal in every way, and if you look at cold stats, he is probably superior to Shane. We should see Murali's name in half of these dream teams. But we don't.
I select Warne for the same reasons as others. He had bucket loads of match winning quality, a sense of theater, that beautiful-beautiful bowling action, the never say die spirit, and a sharp cricketing brain that plotted the batsman's downfall many overs in advance.
This doesn't mean his stats are bad.
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
145 273 40705 17995 708 8/71 12/128 25.41 2.65 57.4 48 37 10
Except against India anywhere and versus West Indies in West Indies, Warne excelled against all other opposition. He was a great strategist and a useful lower order bat. And he seems to be a good guy to have with you in post-match festivities.
Actually, it's just India. Warne's figures in WI are ruined because of 1 series at time when he had trouble bowling at all. Apart from that, he didn't have a problem with them home or away.
Surprised you went with Warne though; thought you were gonna pick Murali. Maybe both?
As explained earlier, my next two selections are among the six dead-cert selections in my dream XIs.
Not just me, but millions would vouch for the fact that Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist are among the greatest stroke makers of all time. They for me, have epitomised the very purpose of sport. Their commitment to deliver the best effort possible every time they are posed a challenge, rally around their teammates through good times and bad times alike, and accept failure and success with equal dignity say so much about their personal philosophies in life. It is difficult to describe how much pleasure I have derived from their cricketing styles.
I am bunching these two jewels together in my team selection, but not in batting order, for a reason I will be able to explain only later in this thread.
Statistics say this much about Lara:
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct
131 232 6 11953 400* 52.88 19753 60.51 34 48 1559 88 164
What they don't describe are his exquisite timing, the sexiest follow through in the game, ability to produce boundary shots from perfectly good deliveries, uncanny knack of piercing the field and an insatiable hunger for big scores. He is batting out of position here, which also has my own logic to it. We will cross that bridge later.
Adam Gilchrist was a fantastic wicket keeper. It is important to say that sentence once again; because, he was a superb wicket keeper. But we tend to compare him unfavorably with that master technician Healy and pull him down. Also, Gilchrist was such a crack-shot batsman that we gloss over his other job conveniently. I need him in this team to stand up to Shane Warne, mainly. In addition to that, the swing and pace of my fast bowlers will demand some serious acrobatics behind the stumps, which we can expect Gilly to perform without fail at every opportunity.
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
96 137 20 5570 204* 47.60 6796 81.95 17 26 677 100 379 37
In front of the wicket, it is the job of his opposition to do the diving and ducking. There was never a more devastating No.7 in history who batted with such class and aggression over such a long career. Forget his scorching sixers and thumping cuts which by themselves would be worth the cost of a ticket to any test ground. Think back on his ability to bat with the tail, his special skill in building partnerships - not massive ones but the most effective 30-40 runs for lower order wickets, and that frantic running between the wickets supplemented by that long reach of his bat wielding hand touching the crease before turning back for another run. Gilly was fast but never furious. He was all class and energy. In that way, he is aptly bunched here with the greatest stylist of the modern era.
2. Gordon Greenidge
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Brian Lara
7. Adam Gilchrist (wk)
8. Richard Hadlee
10. Shane Warne
11. Joel Garner
****, how much a gun **** was Brian Lara. Cricket lost so much when he left. Techniques are too text booky now.
And you don't see many batsmen (Afridi doesn't count because he's not a batsman) use their own bat brand:
Lara sold himself out when he dumped his own bat for MRF.
Was sad too as I had only recently bought his bat. Was pretty peeved.
I then bought myself an MRF ftr.
Judging by Lara's grip, and the exaggerated angle of his bat in the above photo I would bet several cases of beer that his shot beat the in-field easily. What a player!
Originally Posted by Jono
The Wizard was still a better bat than both the Conqueror and Genius.. ;)
Fair to say the Genius lost its prestige when Sachin stopped using it and Gambhir started using it
Shivvers' reaction when told that he had controversially been overlooked for the spinners position in baggy's team:
And Nohit Sharma :p
Originally Posted by Jono
Hates my team.
Selects Warne and Lara.
Hurry the **** up and pick your team!!!
Two of the top 3 batsmen of 70s and 80s - two of the top 10 of all time - complete my top order.
I can't remember a time when I didn't know Sunil Gavaskar's name. Around 1978 when I was four and started understanding this treacherous depressing world little by little, Sunny was, along with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Superstar Actor Amitabh Bachchan, the most famous personality in our country of 500 million people. He was all over our newspapers, magazines, radio and hoardings. Hell! He was even featured in commercials they played in movie houses.
Sunil Gavaskar was the fathers of Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni combined in terms of popularity. Now, with more than double that population in India, he is still going strong on TV and internet. By the time we picked up our TV in 1985, Gavaskar had already gone past Bradman's record of 29 centuries and Boycott's aggregate runs. He had already scored big hundreds against Roberts, Holding, Willis, Imran, Marshall, Garner, Botham etc and was widely known as the greatest opening batsman since Hobbs and Hutton.
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 6s Ct
125 214 16 10122 236* 51.1234 45 26 108
I don't think I have ever seen anyone looking more perfect at the wicket. He was compact and beautifully placed at the crease to go forward or back. To drive or cut or to leave the ball at the last nano second - an act he perfected like no body else.
Shouldering the responsibility of a not so great batting order, Sunny learnt to spend hours on the pitch negating over after wicket taking over from star bowlers, making it a personal battle between him and the opposition challenging them with his superhuman powers of concentration, focus and technically perfect batsmanship. This self-belief led him to many nasty confrontations with authorities and one or two with the opposition. But I actually like him more for this acerbic quality. His was a celebrated career and he faces the first ball for my team against anyone, anywhere in the world. His technical mastery and steady hands will provide the foundation for my star batsman to come in and play his natural game at no. 3.