Sunday, October 3, 2010

ALL TIME WORLD XI - OPENERS AND WICKETKEEPER

The entire exercise of selecting an All Time World XI is extremely difficult... so I have chosen the two simplest positions to fill in first - the Openers and the Wicketkeeper. Why are they simple? Because there will only be 2 openers in all the World XIs and there will only be 1 Keeper. So first the Openers...

Here is a look at the Test statistics of the 16 openers eligible for selection:


My choices are the legendary Sir Jack Hobbs (England) and the on-his-way-to-be-legendary Virender Sehwag (India).

I did give a lot of consideration to 3 other names - Sunil Gavaskar (India), Barry Richards (South Africa) and Gordon Greenidge (West Indies). But I wanted to pick one aggressor with one solid man at the top. Sehwag easily edged out Greenidge for the role of the aggressor in my squad, and Hobbs beat Gavaskar to the top. A man who averaged 57 in the 1910s and 1920s had to be given some serious considerations. Barry Richards lost out because I am choosing an All-Time TEST XI. Despite his mighty prowess with the bat, Richards does not get into my squad as he played just 4 Tests. It is not his fault... but life was never fair!

Now coming to the wicketkeeper's slot, I don't need to go into the statistics. My choice was simple - Adam Gilchrist (Australia). I know a lot of people would pick Alan Knott, but Gilchrist scores above him for me. His keeping could not be faulted and he was the ideal aggressor lower down the order after what certainly will be a mighty middle order.

When the middle order is a little brittle, teams need to have a solid batting technician in their keeper at No. 6 / 7. But when you have a very strong and solid middle order, you can afford an aggressive man with the gloves. Thus, Gilchrist gets my nod.

I will do the analysis for the middle order soon...

9 comments:

Freehit said...

I agree with you completely.Sehwag is a match changer and has done it over and over again.
Sir Jack's statistics are just amazing and though I haven't seen him or Gavaskar bat,I would also pick him.

Gilchrist is almost an obvious choice considering all he has done for Oz.

Shridhar Jaju said...

I was expecting a bit of opposition to my selection of openers at least. Good to know Mayank that you approve of my selections thus far.

Govind Raj said...

Shridhar,

Jack Hobbs played for the strongest teams of his times. He did not have to worry about scoring big as well as holding forte.

Gavaskar on the other hand played for a weak India which never had a fast bowler of any claim during his formative years. He still went on to script a gigantic career playing during the golden era of fast-bowling !

Sehwag would have found life tough against 4 pronged short pitched pace battery.

I would go for Barry and Gavaskar. Coming to Gilchrist, it is mere formality. No team can miss him !

Shridhar Jaju said...

Govind, you do make a point about Hobbs playing for the strongest team of his time. But then so did Gilly and Bradman and many others.

You see, my point is that Hobbs was one of the reasons why England were the strongest team of his time. Gavaskar did play for a weak India against some very strong bowling attacks, but Hobbs played in conditions when batting was a lot more difficult.

Nothing against Sunny... he's one of India's best. But if I were to choose the World's best, my vote goes to Hobbs.

And Sehwag, as I have mentioned, comes in because I'd like an attacker at the top. Hobbs and Gavaskar would be too sedate an opening, in my opinion!

elegantstroke said...

/* Sehwag would have found life tough against 4 pronged short pitched pace battery. */

I don't agree with this statement, because it assumes that Sehwag wouldn't have evolved when facing them. I believe he would have. He has evolved into a cautiously aggressive player now - making him very dangerous for opposition.

Shridhar-if you wanted a solid partner Gavaskar would have been a better choice. (given that Greenidge is another aggressive batsman, and you say Richards played only 4 tests). Gavaskar faced at least 6 world class fast bowlers and possibly a greater variety than Hobbs. Pitches did not become batting paradises when Gavaskar was playing either :)

Sanya - England Cricket Blog (jimmymycrushie.me) said...

On what exact criteria did you choose the 16 mate? I'm not saying whether I agree or disagree with the list of 16 but....Stats can give you an insight into players but you can only tell by watchin'. Obviously you are not 100 years old and we have not seen some of them play so how can we say? Some tons in Tests are meaningless. Like, if everybody knows that the Test is going to be a draw, sometimes the bowling team doesn't try hard.

And by the way, Gilchrist gets my nod too!

Shridhar Jaju said...

Sanya, those 16 are chosen by Cricinfo, not me.

They are the openers in the 8 All-Time Country XIs chosen by Cricinfo. I am just choosing my 2 from the 16. So there you go...

Shridhar Jaju said...

ES, Gavaskar was extremely solid, but he could not make the Indian team of his era great... the best India managed to be in that era was 'competitive'.

Hobbs, as I said, was one of those responsible to make his team the team to beat of that era. Obviously, he was aided by others and Gavaskar was crippled by the lack of others who could aid him, but then when you have just 1 spot to choose between 2 all-time greats, some hard decisions have to be taken!

Sanya - England Cricket Blog (jimmymycrushie.me) said...

Oh, ok. Cricinfo relies only on stats in these matters. I've seen quite a few stats based observations on cricinfo which I don't agree with.

SAVE OUR TIGER!