Friday, October 8, 2010

ALL TIME WORLD XI - FINAL TEAM WITH A CAPTAIN

Over four posts on this blog, I have analysed and selected my team for the Cricinfo’s All-Time World XI Test team. Here is a look at the entire team: 

1. Sir Jack Hobbs (England)
2. Virender Sehwag (India)
3. Sir Donald Bradman (Australia)
4. Sachin Tendulkar (India)
5. Ken Barrington (England)
6. Jacques Kallis (South Africa)
7. Adam Gilchrist (Australia)
8. Imran Khan (Pakistan)
9. Shane Warne (Australia)
10. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)
11. Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)

Looks a formidable side, doesn’t it? However, when I was discussing this side with a friend, he told me that it is indeed a very strong side, but it really does not have a feel of being the ALL-TIME XI. And so I took another searching look at it.

And I thought that he had a point. The names in the side are big champions in their own right, but does this resemble what an ALL-TIME XI should be like? He told me that I should consider removing either Jacques Kallis or Muttiah Muralitharan, and consider putting in a fast bowler like Dennis Lilllee or Michael Holding or Fred Trueman or Allan Donald or even Curtly Ambrose or Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram.

He was of the opinion that of all the great, fiery and devastating fast bowlers that have ruled our game, it is quite meek that my ALL-TIME WORLD XI’s new ball attack be headed by just Malcolm Marshall and Imran Khan, with Jacques Kallis as the first change pacer. In my post about the bowlers, Elegantstroke had a similar comment about the new ball attack.

And so I made two changes. I replaced Jacques Kallis with Sir Garfield Sobers and then replaced Muttiah Muralitharan with Fred Trueman. Two contemporary greats replaced by two past greats. The rationale behind this is simple: Sir Garry Sobers is another batting all rounder like Jacques Kallis, but he is a spinning all rounder rather than a medium pace one. Having made this change, I could then omit Murali from the team (rather painfully… you see, 800 wickets is quite a loss) and bring in lightening speed and fire in the form of Fred Trueman. With a strike rate of a wicket in a little of every 8 overs, I have ensured that on an average day, my new ball attack will bring me 2 wickets by the end of their first spell.

So here’s the look at my new bowling unit: Malcolm Marshall, Fred Trueman, Imran Khan, Shane Warne and Sir Garfield Sobers. Does this sound better than the previous one… I think so!

So my final team for the Cricinfo ALL-TIME WORLD XI in is:

1. Sir Jack Hobbs (England)
2. Virender Sehwag (India)
3. Sir Donald Bradman (Australia)
4. Sachin Tendulkar (India)
5. Ken Barrington (England)
6. Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indies)
7. Adam Gilchrist (Australia)
8. Imran Khan (Pakistan)
9. Shane Warne (Australia)
10. Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)
11. Fred Trueman (Australia)

And now comes the question of captaincy… there are only three reasonable contenders for this job – Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garry Sobers and Imran Khan. Here are their records as captains:

  • Sir Donald Bradman: M 24 W 15 D 6 L 3, and his batting average improved to 101.51 from a career average of 99.94
  • Sir Garfield Sobers: M 39 W 9 D 20 L 10, and his batting as well as bowing averages were almost identical to his career averages
  • Imran Khan: M 48 W 14 D 26 L 8, and his batting average improved to 52.34 from 37.69 and his bowling average improved to 20.26 from 22.81 
So it was a fight between Imran Khan and Sir Don Bradman. Though Imran’s feats are prima facie relatively more impressive, I would still go for Sir Don Bradman. I know Imran Khan had to lead a Pakistani side, which is always more difficult than Sir Don’s Australia… but the captaincy of ALL-TIME WORLD XI is not only a recognition of their abilities, but also an honour. And no one deserves this honour more than Sir Donald Bradman.

3 comments:

ali said...

well i would support the changes u made
coz for no rational reason it was awkward to find shane warne and murli in the same side
but for captancy i wudnt give it to anyone but imran khan. i m a big fan of the persona of imran khan
here u hav a guy hus last internaional assignment was a world cup final which he won for his side and declared his retirement. perhaps unparalleled till date

Shridhar Jaju said...

Oh yes, Imran Khan was a big candidate for captaincy... and the grandeur with which he left captaincy and bowed out is unmatched, as you very correctly put it, Ali!

But one must remember that Sir Don Bradman has a very good record as a captain as well... plus the fact that he was the only automatic choice in my XI (plus many other XIs, I might add)! And since the captaincy of this XI is also a matter of honour, as I wrote in the blog also, no one deserves this honour more in the history of Test match cricket!

Harsh Thakor said...

I can't justify the exclusion of Sir Vivian Richards,the most explosive and best ever batsman against fast bowling who turned the complexion of a match with the impact of a bomber plane.Dennis Lillee was the most complete fast bolwer of all time.Adding his packer games and those against Rest of the World he had ahaul of 446 wickets at 5 wickets per test.I don't see the need of 2 allrounders in a team and Imran at no6 batting.Gary Sobers as an allrounder was on another plane who could change the course of game and series with both ball and bat unlike Kallis.Instaed of 2 spinners I would have included Sydney Barnes,Glen Mcgrath or Wasim Akram.Barnes has the best ever paceman's record.Sunil Gavaskar or Len Hutton have to replace Sehwag,or even Barry Richards.Hutton and Gavaskar were technicaly far superior as well as Barry Richards.

My 1st 11 would be
1.Len Hutton
2.Jack Hobbs
3.Don Bradman
4.Viv Richards
5.Sachin Tendulkar
6.Gary Sobers
7.Adam Gilchrist
8.Malcolm Marshall
9.Shane Warne
10.Dennis Lillee
11.Sydney Barnes

If I played 2 allrounders in the team or was forced to do so then my 11 would be

1.Len Hutton
2.Jack Hobbs
3.Don Bradman
4.Viv Richards
5.Gary Sobers
6.Adam Gilchrist
7.Imran Khan
8.Malcolm Marshall
9.Shane Warne
10.Dennis Lillee
11.Muthiah Murlitharan

SAVE OUR TIGER!