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Favourite XI

Western Warrior

School Boy/Girl Captain
Fictitious and All-time XI’s have been a common thread throughout the Internet. But has anyone thought about listing his or her favourite XI. Throughout my cricket watching career I have had the opportunity to see many players ply their trade and whilst some have been average, and some downright bad there have also been quite a few who have caught my eye and quickly become a favourite.

Well, here is my favourite XI. Quite a few Australia’s but also a few internationals to spice up the mix. Also, this is obviously not a best off so please no “why did you leave out X, or Y should be in the team” J

1) - Issac V A Richards – West Indies (120 tests @ 50.24; 187 ODI’s @ 47.00)

The Master Blaster. As a child of the eighties I used to hate how Viv could carve up any attack whenever the mood took him. He was arrogance, menace and power all rolled into one. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity I cannot help but recognise him as a supreme talent who ruined more than a few bowling averages.

2) – Geoffrey R Marsh – Australia (50 tests @ 33.19; 117 ODI’s @ 39.97)

My Dad used to dislike Geoff with a passion since he was ‘so damned slow’ but when you have someone like Viv at the other end then you need someone as an anchor when the prior goes out early in a blaze of glory. He doesn’t have the highest average, nor was he the most spectacular but he was as solid as a rock.

3) – David C Boon – Australia (107 tests @ 43.66; 181 ODI’s @ 37.04)

Boonie - an Australian legend and the focus of a small but persistent campaign to have him as Australia’s first President! Boon was the ideal number three even though he had a habit of being run out when walking (rather than running) a single. He gave hope to many a test match when Australia was 5 down for not many. You knew that as long as Boon was at the crease that we still had a chance.

4) – Brian C Lara – West Indies (112 tests @ 52.85; 244 ODI’s @ 42.28)

What do you do when someone breaks your test innings record of 375? You get it back by scoring 400. Brian Lara has been the foundation of West Indian cricket since the retirement of Walsh, Ambrose, Richie Richardson etc. Whilst not the best captain he has most certainly been their best batsman in nearly a decade. Flashy, aggressive and capable of making big scores, he has long been a favourite of mine.

5) – Dean M Jones – Australia (52 tests @ 46.55; 161 ODI’s @ 44.62)

Many say that the likes of Rhodes, Afridi or Bevan were the first of the modern type of limited international players. I have to disagree. Jones perfected the art of cheeky singles, amazing run outs and unorthodox shot selection when the above were still playing grade cricket. His battles with the likes of Ambrose have become legend and so has his 216 in the test match against India where he quite literally almost played himself to death in an effort to force a draw. Go Deanno!

6) – Lance Klusener – South Africa (49 tests @ 32.86; 171 ODI’s @ 41.10)

Considering Pakistan’s poor performance in the final, Lance came very close to winning the 1999 World Cup for South Africa with a frighteningly powerful display on hitting during the final overs of the semi-final. I had to feel sorry for Damien Fleming as every ball that left his hand was despatched to the fence at a rapid pace. His flat four to the long on boundary was hit so hard it punched through Reiffel’s hands despite Paul being in a good position to take the catch. Capable of batting anywhere in the order he is most lethal at 6 or 7 when facing the part timers who often cringe when they know they are facing ‘Zulu’

7) – Rodney W Marsh – Australia (96 tests 343 catches 12 stumpings; 92 ODI’s 120 catches 4 stumpings)

Have a look at the scorecard of any team which played Australia during the eighties and you will quite often see a batsman’s mode of dismissal as being c: Marsh b: Lillee. Whilst Lillee was one the greatest bowlers to pick up the leather ball his effectiveness was partially due to having a determined and talented wicketkeeper at the other end. Rodney was one of the first wicketkeepers who contribute effectively with the bat and gave rise to the current crop of wicketkeeper batsman. Probably also the only player to light up a cigarette during a test match whilst leaving the ground after a days play!

8) – Wasim Akram – Pakistan (104 tests 414 wkts @ 23.62; 356 ODI’s 502 wkts @ 23.53)

Anything I say about Wasim will sell him short. He is one of true greats of the game. I may be exceeding my bounds but I believe him to be the left-arm fast equivalent of Donald Bradman. He holds the world record for the most number of ODI dismissals at 502 and is one of a select few to have joined the 400-test wicket fraternity. Arguable the best left armed pace bowler to ever set foot on a cricket pitch. Certainly not bad for a person who was a diabetic!

9) – Mervyn G Hughes – Australia (53 tests 212 wkts @ 28.38; 33 ODI’s 38 wkts @ 29.34)

“Runs like a pelican, turns like a battleship”, “Big heart, bigger guts”. Many words have been written about big Merv’s athleticism but irrespective of a constantly losing battle with his weight he was still an excellent cricketer who gave his all in an effort to ensure Australia vanquished all before them. A clown, a larakin, a very heavy drinker and possessor of more facial hair since W.G. Grace, Merv was a legend!

10) – Peter L Taylor – Australia (13 tests 27 wkts @ 39.56; 83 ODI’s 97 wkts @ 28.25)

I wasn’t the only one who went “Peter Who?” when Peter Taylors test selection was announced in 1987. Mark Taylor had been making a fist full of runs in Australia’s domestic competition and everyone was expecting him to receive his call up for the series versus England. Instead a totally unknown off spinner got the nod instead. Despite the controversy Peter did very well indeed. Many a spinner can get more turn, more flight or more drift but none had the heart and determination of Peter. That, coupled with a bowling style which looked like a man trying to change a tyre on a moving tyre, made him someone who I had plenty of time for.

11) – Curtly E L Ambrose – West Indies (98 tests 405 wkts @ 20.99; 176 ODI’s 225 wkst @ 24.13)

Probably the most dangerous and menacing fast bowler to ever take the field. Whilst lacking the outright pace of the likes of Thomson etc he more than made up with pinpoint accuracy, steppling bounce and an extremely competitive attitude. As with Viv I used to dislike Curtly with a passion as he knocked over more than one Australian batting line-up. However, talent must be recognised regardless of who they are. So Curtly gets my nod and round of my favourite XI.
 

tooextracool

International Coach
Western Warrior said:
Capable of batting anywhere in the order he is most lethal at 6 or 7 when facing the part timers who often cringe when they know they are facing ‘Zulu’
actually klusener was more capable of hitting the faster bowlers, the faster you bowled them to him the faster the ball went to the boundary.
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
Gavaskar - For the sense of pride that we felt for the first time as India fans

Zaheer Abbas - For the sheer frustration and the grudging admiration that he drew from us everytime he played India. The one Pakistani we wished was an Indian.

Dexter - For the unforgettable experience of watching him bat oh so majestically in the nets. 'The ball says I am hit'

Vishwanath - For the sheer magic of his effortless strokeplay. I can never , ever, forget his going forward in defense ( I swear thats what it was visually) to McKenzie at the Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi on a cool winter afternoon in 1969 and for the ball to scream to the cover fence ! It was only his second test and we felt, like , WOW !!!

Sobers - For the sheer awe and sense of history one felt by just being at the ground on a day when he was playing even though it was not in an international game.

Imran Khan - For showing what the term 'unplayable' bowling was meant to be used for. The only time in 43 years of watching cricket that I have felt so.

Alan Knott - For being the most restless and effervescent presence on the field I have ever seen with his contagious nervous energy. There was electricity in the air when Knott was in the act batting or keeping.

Richard Hadlee - For showing how you could bowl at frightening pace with what looked like a spinners effort. He just glided in on well oiled limbs that seemed to have been programmed . I was always amazed that the ball behaved differently each time from a run up and an action that seemed so amazingly identical every time. But the ball talked and it spoke differnt languages everytime !

Wesley Hall - For the immense sense of power that he seemed to exude as he ran in. It scared you just looking at him running in but it was almost as smooth as Holdings running in, just looked somehoe devastatingly powerful, inspite of the smoothness.

Bishan Bedi - For providing the most beautiful sight I have ever seen on a sports field (other than synchronised gymnastics and skating to music). If ever the terms 'poetry in motion ' could be applied to a cricketer, it had to be Bedi during his entire bowling action. Playing against him (when he played for State Bank of India) was at the same time an education, a revelation and a privilege.

Erapalli Prasanna - For being the greatest master of the flight of the cricket ball. The ball seemed to stop in mid air and drop vertically downwards even as the batsman lunged for the half volley.
 
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Western Warrior

School Boy/Girl Captain
SJS said:
Richard Headley - For showing how you could bowl at frightening pace with what looked like a spinners effort. He just glided in on well oiled limbs that seemed to have been programmed . I was always amazed that the ball behaved differently each time from a run up and an action that seemed so amazingly identical every time. But the ball talked and it spoke differnt languages everytime !
I agree. I can remember Bradman once saying that Hadlee was the only bowler who would have caused him a few anxious moments had Hadlee been playing in the 30's/40's.

I can remember him at the Allan Border tribute match, still batting with the effortless abandon that he had. Sadly his bowling lacked the zip but it was still good to see him having a go after illness put an early end to his career.
 

ReallyCrazy

Banned
1. Gary Kirsten
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Brian Lara
6. Jonty Rhodes
7. Adam Gilchrist
8. Wasim Akram
9. Brett Lee
10. Waqar Younis
11. Muttiah Muralitharan
 

The Baconator

International Vice-Captain
Chris Gayle
Matthew Hayden
Andy Flower
Nathan Astle
Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Chris Cairns
Adam Gilchrist
Shaun Pollock
Heath Streak
Brett Lee
Harbhajan Singh
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
SJS said:
Richard Headley - For showing how you could bowl at frightening pace with what looked like a spinners effort. He just glided in on well oiled limbs that seemed to have been programmed . I was always amazed that the ball behaved differently each time from a run up and an action that seemed so amazingly identical every time. But the ball talked and it spoke differnt languages everytime !
.


Who??? :wacko:
 

Tim

Cricketer Of The Year
Richie Benaud once said that he believed that Hadlee was so good that he could put a coin anywhere on a pitch & hit the coin nearly everytime.
 

twctopcat

International Regular
Tim said:
Richie Benaud once said that he believed that Hadlee was so good that he could put a coin anywhere on a pitch & hit the coin nearly everytime.
Richie says a lot of stuff, but then again he is a legend so fair play to him in my book. Him and Hadlee are two of the great legends of the game,end of story.
 

Western Warrior

School Boy/Girl Captain
Tim said:
Richie Benaud once said that he believed that Hadlee was so good that he could put a coin anywhere on a pitch & hit the coin nearly everytime.
In my time watching the game Ambrose, Hadlee and McGrath have been three of the most accurate bowlers I have seen. I think a coin may be overdoing it but I believe if you put a 10cm x 10cm square in the pitch they could probably get the ball to bounce in it every delivery.
 

JBH001

International Regular
I remember Alec Bedser saying that his early bowling training (with his brother Eric) involved placing a square white piece of paper on a good length in the nets, and bowling at that hour after hour.
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
JBH001 said:
I remember Alec Bedser saying that his early bowling training (with his brother Eric) involved placing a square white piece of paper on a good length in the nets, and bowling at that hour after hour.
I have seen Bedi doing it too.
 

Western Warrior

School Boy/Girl Captain
SJS said:
I have seen Bedi doing it too.
I can recall Warne's 12 wicket haul against South Africa at the SCG in January 94. He kept targetting the same 15cm x 15cm patch of rough outside the off-stump and time after time drew batsman into a drive which instead went off the edge into Mark Taylors more than capable hands.

That sort of bowling is mesmerising and you could tell the Saffie's batsmen getting more and more impatient to the point where Warne forced them into playing a rash shot.
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
Yes.

You know I am in the very small minority who is unsure of calling Warne the greatest leg spinner of all time. But what Warne has is an amazing quality to throw up these huge turning legspinners over after over after over and maintain his accuracy. For a wrist spinner who is not fastish and gives such a massive tweak, he is astonishingly accurate.
 

Nate

You'll Never Walk Alone
JBH001 said:
I remember Alec Bedser saying that his early bowling training (with his brother Eric) involved placing a square white piece of paper on a good length in the nets, and bowling at that hour after hour.
i do this also. get an 14 piece of paper, cut it in half and put it on a good length. i then try to hit it everytime. my best ever is four times in an over i think (which doesnt sounds like many but i find it really hard sometimes). great practice. sorry to go o-t...
 

FRAZ

International Captain
A Batting training I used to do was , Putting the ball in a sock then tieng and hanging it with a slinging wire on the roof of my room and then trying to go forward and playing a drive making bat and pad combo.....
And for bowling , Tennis ball with a coating of electrical tape and just bowling as fast as i Could .......I remember that some players used to put a shining coin on the pitch and tried to hit it ........
 

Western Warrior

School Boy/Girl Captain
SJS said:
Yes.

You know I am in the very small minority who is unsure of calling Warne the greatest leg spinner of all time. But what Warne has is an amazing quality to throw up these huge turning legspinners over after over after over and maintain his accuracy. For a wrist spinner who is not fastish and gives such a massive tweak, he is astonishingly accurate.
His accuracy is the result of a lot of training. An Australian magazine Inside Cricket recently had an article on Warne where they described his first attempts at perfecting his flipper. The first time he bowled an over of flippers in the nets four didn't even land on the pitch. The fifth would have been a wide and the last was so short it would have been pulled for at least a 4. :D
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
I like to list what I call a VISUAL DELIGHT XI. Players whom I enjoyed the most watching.

1. Majid Khan
2. Mark Waugh
3. David Gower
4. SachinTendulkar
5. GR Vishwanath
6. VVS Laxman
7. Taylor
8. Richard Hadlee
9. Dennis Lillee
10 Michael Holding
11 Bishan Bedi
 

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