Wednesday, October 6, 2010


There are not too many nominees for the All - Rounders spot... and this is such an important role that lesser the better.

A Reminder: I had removed Kallis from the analysis of Middle Order Batsmen and had decided to include him in the All Rounders analysis. That is why you will see his name below (highlighted yellow). Here are the statistics:

Now, I want two All-Rounders in my team. One bowling all-rounder and one batting all-rounder. That would be my ideal combination.

For the role of the batting all rounder, the contest was between Sir Garry Sobers and Jacques Kallis. A tight one... and I choose Jacques Kallis. Both are mighty men, capable of performing the unthinkable deeds. Kallis may never get to a double century in his career, but you won't need too many double centuries from him in a middle order of Bradman, Tendulkar and Barrington (the ones I have chosen).

What tilted the scales in favour of Kallis was a pure statistical detail... it was his bowling strike rate of 67.2 against 91.9. When my batting all rounder can take a wicket once every 11 overs or so, it is commendable. I can;t ask for a lot more. And thus despite the greatness of Sir Garry Sobers, I have to exclude him from my squad.

For the spot of the bowling all rounder, the men on my shortlist were Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee. All these men have enviable numbers above and are legends in their own ways. But for this particular spot, I had long decided that the man I select would be based on fitness. I'll explain why...

The spot of the Bowling All Rounder is, in my opinion, the most important one in a Test team. He is one of the chief men responsible to get you the 20 wickets that can win you a Test match... and if the batsmen fool around, he is also expected to score a few down the order. A team is very dependent of such men, if they are available. And as a result, their absence due to injuries places their team into a big area of discomfort as they have to usually fill in with a regular bowler, thereby giving up a batsman. That is why, I place a high price on the fitness of the men in my shortlist.

So, Imran Khan had a career of 21 years. Kapil Dev once held a record of most number of consecutive Test appearances for India. Richard Hadlee also had just one major shoulder injury to speak of during his career. And Ian Botham also had a decently fit career. But what counts against Ian Botham was his indiscipline, as his career not only surged improbable heights, but also bottomless depths.

So as my shortlist cuts down to 3, my decision (again a very tough one) goes to Imran Khan, who only narrowly beat Kapil Dev. In the end, a career of 21 years overcame the record of most consecutive Test appearances. Phew!

So here's a recap of the team I have selected thus far:

Openers: Sir Jack Hobbs, Virender Sehwag
Middle Order: Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Ken Barrington
Batting All Rounder: Jacques Kallis
Wicketkeeper: Adam Gilchrist
Bowling All Rounder: Imran Khan

Now what remains is the choice of bowlers, which will come in a day or two.


Freehit said...

I haven't watched Imran Khan or Sir Garry Sobers bat or bowl.But,Sir Garry is considered by many as the greatest player to play the game ever.Which is why I would think he should be in the XI.However,thats just me.
I am not picking the XI,since I haven't seen most of them play,so I feel it would be unfair to judge.

Soulberry said...

Good stuff here. Mike Procter was probably a great one by all accounts byt a mere 7 matches induces a skew which may not be reflective of what might have happened after 60 test matches.

Graeme Hick was also a prolific player in the county system and had a formidable reputation arising from there.

As regards Sobers and Kallis, I wouldn't split hairs on the kind of all-rounder I'd like in my team and have both as the two all rounders.

Kallis is a government bond - will honor faith. Sobers could be the stock market of all roundership...especially his bowling. For a large pasr of his latter part of his career, he bowled spin/medium pace.

elegantstroke said...

excellent decisions. If I wanted a batting all-rounder I would have gone with Kallis as well. His record is just staggering :). Based on your decisions so far, I'm guessing your bowlers would be 2 spinners + 1 pace bowler..since you already have Imran Khan and Kallis?

Unknown said...

I know Mayank that Sir Garry is regarded by many as the best all rounder there has ever been. But I also believe that he was helped by the side he was in.

Kallis was also in a very good side, but South Africa of Kallis is nothing compared to the West Indies of Sir Garfield Sobers.

You see, batting-wise, these two men are neck-and-neck for me... it's Kallis' bowling that wins him the race...

Soulberry, you make a good analogy. And some may say that in the World XI, a stock market investment will do because there are many other government bond investments to mitigate that risk.

But I still go with the Bond investment because Kallis is a bond with returns almost as high as a stock market investment. And who wouldn't want such an investment!

Yes ES, you are right... I will be going in with 2 spinners. I believe that spin is a very handy weapon if you have personnel who are good exponents of that art.