Monday, October 25, 2010

ALL TIME WORLD XI

The Cricinfo jurors have completed their exercise of selecting the All-Time World XI squad. And it looks a good one too (as it was bound to)! Here's a look at it:


Now, 7 of my XI that I had chosen here have been selected in the First XI by the Cricinfo jury. 2 find a place in the Second XI... and 1 finds himself in the Third XI, which was not officially selected but was mentioned here.

The 1 player in my XI to miss out completely was Ken Barrington, which is a shame really. A man with a batting average of 58.67 with 20 tons during the 1950s and 60s missing out... well, one cannot help it when spoiled for riches!

I was surprised to see Wasim Akram in the First XI... not that I think he was not good enough! I was expecting Wasim Akram in the Second XI definitely though.

I was disappointed to see Virender Sehwag absent from the First XI as well as the Second XI. Ian Chappell mentions in his interview that his choice had been Sehwag for opening... and he has a very sound logic too. You select teams to win matches... and with Sehwag taking on bowlers right at the top with consistency unmatched in modern day cricket, you had a guy who can win matches on his own.

I have always believed that bowlers win you Test matches. The same can be said about very few batsmen. Virender Sehwag, in my opinion, is one of them.

Otherwise, the team looks awesome. In respect of the Readers' XI, it is obvious that the team has been voted for by readers who have not bothered to consider cricket played before 1970s. Only Sir Don Bradman from that team played exclusively before the 1970s, and Sir Garry Sobers played before and through the 1970s.

One last word... the biggest surprise, disappointment and shock was to see that Jacques Kallis is missing from the First XI, the Second XI as well as the Third XI. An all rounder of his capability... one I regard as equal to Garry Sobers amongst the best batting all rounders of all time... if he's missing from such a list, it's more than just a shame... it's a tragedy! If such an exercise of picking the All-Time XI were to be repeated in a few years' time (after Kallis' retirement), I wouldn't at all be surprised to see him even replacing Sobers in the First XI, because a guy as good as him with the bat and the ball, you just cannot ignore!

7 comments:

Govind Raj said...

Shridhar,

I believe the team that selected these teams were influenced by the fact that people of the yore played on uncovered pitches with no helmet and no restriction on bouncers. I wouldn't judge their judgment on the negative.

The modern day greats including Dravid, Kallis and even Tendulkar have been exposed on those pitches with lateral movement and bounce.

If I am disappointed by the inclusion of any particular batsman, it is Gavaskar simply because he played for India during perhaps the best era of fast bowling. He was equally good against spin and his home and away records don't show a big home advantage.

Wasim Akram was always a great because he played more during the fielding, and bouncer restriction days.

I wouldn't select Sehwag simply because I don't consider him in the same class as Tendulkar. Not even Dravid. He is a modern day great. But when it comes to aggressive batting, Vivian Richards was the best and I doubt if anyone will ever better him !

Shridhar Jaju said...

Govind,

We all know that selection of such a team as an All-Time World Test XI is obviously a very subjective process and a matter of one's judgement over the other's.

One of the reason for my inclination towards inclusion of Sehwag was that he has brought about a huge change in a modern day Opener's role.

Gavaskar was a great batsman and as you correctly said, played in an era of the best fast bowlers in the world and was equally adept at playing spin... right till the end of his career when he made that famous 96. But there is no denying that he was a stereotype opener of that age and the ages before him. If two stereotype openers are to be picked in this XI, then Gavaskar would definitely have had tremendous competition... and in such a case, one really cannot grudge the inclusion of Hutton and Hobbs over Gavaskar!

The case for Sehwag was a little different. It was a case of whether you want to pick an opener who has changed the job profile of "Opening Batting" or you want to pick an opener who was amongst the best in that role as it was defined in an earlier era!

Like I said for Kallis, I think at the end of his career if this exercise is repeated, I guess he will find himself promoted atleast to the Second XI!

greyblazer said...

I was surprised that Lillee got selected.He got just 28 of his wickets outside Eng and Aus. If you take out his matches against NZ it is worse as he took 6 wickets! I would have picked McGrath as he has done well in all conditions. In-fact if I am right he averages over 30 only in Pak and that too just 31.

If batsmen played on uncovered pitches what about bowlers like Barnes who had the advantage of bowling on it.

Sidthegnomenator said...

Grey, you don't say bad things about Lillee! I'd love to have seen S Waugh on the list, but there was a lot of competition there.

Shridhar Jaju said...

GB, in my opinion, if its a fight between Lillee and McGrath, my vote would go to Dennis Lillee... but yes, even I don't think he should have been there in the World XI.

On the basis of I have heard and read (for I have not seen him), I have in my own list put Fred Trueman ahead of Dennis Lillee.

Sid, there was so much competition for the Middle Order slots that Steve Waugh didn't feature in the Third XI also. It is quite unfair to see that a guy like Sangakkara can get in the Third XI just because he can keep wickets. The selectors conveniently forgot that Sangakkara rarely keeps in Tests. That slot could so well have gone to a much more deserving middle order bat... like Steve Waugh!

Shridhar Jaju said...

On second thought people, if I am allowed one change in my squad, I'll have George Headley replacing Ken Barrington.

What a middle order it would be then! The original Bradman, followed by the modern day Bradman and then the Black Bradman!

Soulberry said...

You mean you already have the White Headley and want the originalas well? :)

I like all teams and would favour Gavaskar - Sehwag combo for opener's slot.

Gavaskar was at the cusp of modern and old cricket conditions and is the best indicator of consistency across all of them. He was great against pace and spin.

Rest are all merely arguments against these facts.

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