XIs January 29, 2009

World's Dullest XI, part 2 - Deities of Dull

Confectionery Stallers, the waiting is at an end
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Confectionery Stallers, the waiting is at an end. Here is the remainder of the post-1981 World’s Dullest XI. (Part 1 | Part 1 appendix)

The selection process has become no easier. Finding bowlers of the requisite level of tedium is not simple – to be a truly dull bowler, you first have to be a good bowler, in order to have the capacity to drive the game into a near-vegetative state. First, however, the wicketkeeper...

7. Jack Russell (England)

I include Russell with a heavy heart (and only after foolishly including Tillakaratne as a special batsman), as he was a favourite player of mine, and his batty quirkiness as a cricketer and hat-wearer transcend the boundaries of statistical dullness. Russell’s minimalist scoring rate was, objectively, unimpeachably tedious, so I have tried to view this from the perspective of non-English cricket-watchers, for whom enduring the Gloucestershire Gremlin as he poked, prodded and persevered must have been inexorably irritating.

Other glovemen made strong applications – including every single pre-Dhoni Indian since Kirmani – but few have bored over a sufficiently elongated career, and none has played an innings remotely in the negativity class of Russell’s great masterpiece – 29 not out off 235 balls in almost 5 hours as he saved the Johannesburg Test with a comparatively explosive Atherton in 1995-96. This was the slowest recorded Test innings of over 20, and, had it been played 500 years earlier, videos of it would have been used by the Spanish Inquisition to extract confessions from even the most blameless cricket watchers.

Career Highlight: Johannesburg 1995-96.

Some South African cricket watchers still curl up into a ball and start crying whenever they see a small man with a moustache. Of the traumatised bowlers, Meyrick Pringle could never bring himself to play Test cricket again, and Clive Eksteen took almost five years off, played one more wicketless Test, and promptly disappeared.

8. John Emburey (England)

Choosing a partner for the great Shastri in the spin-bowling defence was one of the toughest tasks facing the selection panel (namely, me and my 6-week-old son). Many will press the case of Ashley Giles in the most vocal and febrile terms available, particularly those who saw him ‘bowl’ in India in 2001-02, whilst Kumar Dharmasena (who has already created more excitement in his one-match international umpiring career than he did as a player merely by signalling a leg-bye) bowled as if he thought that displaying a semblance of either flight or turn would give him an incurable lifelong ear infection, and also plinked a few useful runs at a pitifully morose rate.

In the end, however, I have been swayed by statistics. Tauseef Ahmed’s numbers are impressive, but his moustache was quite exciting, and Emburey just has the edge, or lack of it, to nail down the spinner’s spot. He had a pleasing, classical off-spinner’s action, but the highest strike rate of any specialist bowler with more than 50 Test wickets in the 1981-to-now period (a wicket every 108 balls), and the third best economy rate, at 2.24. If he had ever bowled unchanged at both ends through a full day of Test cricket, the close of play score would have been a stadium-clearing 200 for 5.

The Middlesex Miser also adds valuable depth and immovability to the lower middle order – he used the least flamboyant batting technique ever developed in the history of the British Isles to jab his often critical runs away at just 35 per 100 balls.

Career Highlight: The entire Test summer of 1987. Bowled through 4 entire Tests without taking a wicket. whilst constricting the Pakistan batsmen to just 2 runs per over. His 0 for 222 off 107 overs series figures showed the control of a tantric Casanova, but the penetration of an inebriated eunuch.

9. Craig Matthews (South Africa)

Of all the South African seamers who have sent down over after over 18 inches outside the batsman’s off stump waiting for their adversary to chase one out of sheer boredom or smack their own stumps to pieces just to make something happen, Matthews was the dullest. Tediously effective from the tip of librarian’s haircut to the hooves of his workhorse feet, the Cape Constrictor ran to the wicket as if he was about to photocopy directions to a municipal rubbish dump for a public safety inspection officer, eyes set firmly on the maintenance of his career 2.26 economy rate.

Career Highlight: Debut v India, Johannesburg, 1992-93. Match figures of 4 for 64 off 49 overs of unmitigated nagging. Admittedly aided by an Indian batting line-up featuring Shastri, Jadeja, Amre, Manjrekar, Prabhakar and More – all of whom spanked it around at fewer than 40 runs per 100 balls over their Test careers.

10. Ewen Chatfield (New Zealand)

Again, it has been hard to narrow it down to one New Zealander from a veritable Pacific Ocean of possibles. How can one ignore the claims of Martin Snedden, for example, who not only bowled the least exciting medium pacers of all time but also once scored a three-day duck with the bat? But the perennially tidy Chatfield was the most economical seamer of the relevant period (2.23 per over). A tearaway fast bowler in the sense that spectators wanted to tear their eyeballs away from their sockets whilst he was in the middle of a long spell, the Manawatu Mogadon took a wicket roughly every two hours of bowling, yet still averaged only 32. Rumour has it that, when facing Chatfield, batsmen would smash themselves on the toes with their bats so that the pain would keep them awake at the crease.

Career Highlight: 1988-89 Wellington Test v Pakistan. A 53-over marathon of probe which yielded 82 runs and 1 wicket. A 1950s spinner trapped in the body of a fast bowler.

11. Alan Mullally (England)

Comically inept batting cannot outweigh his tireless pounding of the corridor of unreachability. The Leicestershire Lolloper gave his captain some control by refusing to aim anywhere near the batsman, let alone the stumps (which he hit approximately once every 70 overs of bowling), and enabled spectators to take regular toilet, refreshment or snooze breaks without fear of missing anything resembling action. Also made groundsmen feel that it had after all been worthwhile mowing the edges of the pitch. They gave Mullally the facilities. He used them. To a fault.

Career Highlight: Any time he heard a commentator utter the words ‘Alan Mullally’ without immediately adding the words ‘wasted the new ball by giving the batsmen too many balls they could comfortably leave alone’.

12th man: Asif Mujtaba (Pakistan)

Statistically, the dullest middle-order batsman of the modern era, with a strike rate of 28 runs per 100 balls over a barely-believable 25 Tests in which he averaged 24. After his promotion from the surprisingly intensive job of being Pakistan’s specialist substitute fielder, Mujtaba found the boundary boards with the regularity of a derailed Antarctican train ploughing into a queue of polar bears. Whilst it would be harsh to lay all the blame for the paltry attendances at Tests in Pakistan at his unspringy bat, it is scientifically provable that he did absolutely nothing to reverse the trend.

Career Highlight: 1992 series in England. The only time the Sind Sedative (a) did anything remotely useful against a major Test team in his 11-year career, or (b) scored at more than 2 per over in a series. His 33.55 strike rate constituted a positively Gilchistian onslaught by Mujtabatic standards.

So, the final post-1981 Dull XI is:

B.A.Edgar G.R.Marsh G.Kirsten C.J.Tavare (honorary captain) R.J.Shastri H.P.Tillakaratne R.C.Russell (wicket-keeper) J.E.Emburey C.R.Matthews E.J.Chatfield A.D.Mullally

12th Man: Asif Mujtaba

I look forward to your personal world and national Dull XIs. Congratulations to all those selected, and commiserations to the many grinders and trundlers who can feel rightly aggrieved to have missed out (of whom Sanjay Manjrekar, as many of you have forcefully pointed out, is probably the most unfortunate).

This is a team of players who have proven themselves dull over long and often distinguished Test careers. Anyone can achieve momentary dullness – Aravinda da Silva, a certified magician described by this very site as “one of the games’ best entertainers” and “an unrepentant attacker”, once clobbered 27 off 191 balls against a mighty Zimbabwe attack consisting of Streak, Rennie, Guy Whittall, Jarvis and Peall. It takes a steely force of personality to accumulate an entire career of almost unbroken inertia, and I defy any person to concoct any team that could force either a win or a defeat on a flat track against this agglomeration of the adhesive, this procession of the prudent, prosaic and parsimonious.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robo on March 8, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    No dull XI can be complete without Jimmy Adams. His nickname was Padams. He played more balls with his pad than his bat.

    Ravi Shashtri probably holds the record for driving most men to baldness (tearing there hair) but all time great was Sanjay Manjrekar. He took 400 balls to score a hundred once. What should put him in the hall of fame is the sheer consistency of his tediousness. Amazingly he was at his highest scoring rate when he was dropped.

  • Erotikkontakte aus Westphalia on February 6, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. (Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81)).

  • best video converter on October 15, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    What words... super

  • best video converter on September 14, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Bravo, seems brilliant idea to me is

  • convert mkv on June 1, 2010, 23:41 GMT

    You are so nice to share these with us.

  • mombasa on March 3, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Fressie, the world is round.

  • Fressie on February 20, 2009, 0:59 GMT

    Great piece Andy. Only one question I feel is left unanswered... What is an Antarctican train doing near polar bears? The bears live at the north pole...

  • Nabarun on February 15, 2009, 20:04 GMT

    Steven, another horror pair would be Ganguly and Laxman. Their calls on the pitch would be akin to a binary pattern -"Yes, No,Yes, No", etc.

  • Steven Lobo on February 13, 2009, 4:34 GMT

    Can we have a World XI made up of the most run-out prone players? Two candidates easily come to mind: Inzi and Javagal Srinath. If I were a opposition team captain or coach and these two were at the crease, I would come up with this guaranteed winning strategy: Simply intentionally let a misfield happen everytime the ball nears a fielder and then take advantage of the inevitable confusion/panic that will result. I can readily visualize Srinath and Inzi both arguing after the eventual runout at 3 possible locations 1) Both end up at bowler's end or 2)keeper's end or 3)both at the centre of the pitch.

  • approach_shot on February 11, 2009, 22:51 GMT

    De-freakin-lightful! This read on the dull eleven lit up my otherwise dull work-day! Andy, your writings are not just witty but also a thrill to read. I hope never stop writing.

  • Robo on March 8, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    No dull XI can be complete without Jimmy Adams. His nickname was Padams. He played more balls with his pad than his bat.

    Ravi Shashtri probably holds the record for driving most men to baldness (tearing there hair) but all time great was Sanjay Manjrekar. He took 400 balls to score a hundred once. What should put him in the hall of fame is the sheer consistency of his tediousness. Amazingly he was at his highest scoring rate when he was dropped.

  • Erotikkontakte aus Westphalia on February 6, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. (Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81)).

  • best video converter on October 15, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    What words... super

  • best video converter on September 14, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Bravo, seems brilliant idea to me is

  • convert mkv on June 1, 2010, 23:41 GMT

    You are so nice to share these with us.

  • mombasa on March 3, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Fressie, the world is round.

  • Fressie on February 20, 2009, 0:59 GMT

    Great piece Andy. Only one question I feel is left unanswered... What is an Antarctican train doing near polar bears? The bears live at the north pole...

  • Nabarun on February 15, 2009, 20:04 GMT

    Steven, another horror pair would be Ganguly and Laxman. Their calls on the pitch would be akin to a binary pattern -"Yes, No,Yes, No", etc.

  • Steven Lobo on February 13, 2009, 4:34 GMT

    Can we have a World XI made up of the most run-out prone players? Two candidates easily come to mind: Inzi and Javagal Srinath. If I were a opposition team captain or coach and these two were at the crease, I would come up with this guaranteed winning strategy: Simply intentionally let a misfield happen everytime the ball nears a fielder and then take advantage of the inevitable confusion/panic that will result. I can readily visualize Srinath and Inzi both arguing after the eventual runout at 3 possible locations 1) Both end up at bowler's end or 2)keeper's end or 3)both at the centre of the pitch.

  • approach_shot on February 11, 2009, 22:51 GMT

    De-freakin-lightful! This read on the dull eleven lit up my otherwise dull work-day! Andy, your writings are not just witty but also a thrill to read. I hope never stop writing.

  • Fouad Khan on February 11, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    No way Jack Russel earns a spot... Shiv's ineligibility clause applies, "too quirky, too good." Also, Asif Mujtaba once hit a last ball six to draw a one dayer in Australia, that's more excitement in a ball than most players generate over their entire careers. But overall, I don't know how you pulled it off Andy, but you finally managed to make a some funnies after all.

  • Fouad Khan on February 11, 2009, 6:33 GMT

    No way Jack Russel earns a spot... Shiv's ineligibility clause applies, "too quirky, too good." Also, Asif Mujtaba once hit a last ball six to draw a one dayer in Australia, that's more excitement in a ball than most players generate over their entire careers. But overall, I don't know how you pulled it off Andy, but you finally managed to make a some funnies after all.

  • daaniyal on February 10, 2009, 10:18 GMT

    fantastic article.....brilliant stuff and the player profiles had me in stitches....

    Now, a word about Asif Mujtaba...good one to have on the list but does have a demirt a having hit a last ball six against steve waugh in australia to tie an ODI...Shoaib Mohammed...Mudassir Nazar...Shahid Nazir...Wajahatullah Wasti and Rao Iftikhar could all have made the cut...Faisal Iqbal could have been in there as well... Although the likes of Gavin Larson...Rajesh Chauhan...Prabharkar...kumara Dharmasena..Langer..Healy...Kiren More...Atherton....keith Atherton....derek pringle.....mark ramprakash...mark richardson...do deserve honourble mentions.. Commentators: L shiva...Amir sohail..Maninder singh....Arun Lal...Mark Nichols....and most of all Ranjit fernando can kill any session of play... Imran Khan would have been on that list but I cant bring myself to do it :).I dont know how he gets himself roped into commentary..my guess is that he just cant be bothered to do a good job with it

  • NZCricketer on February 9, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    Commentators... well im not really sure how you would judge dullest, as there are surely millions of dull cricket commentators. I will have a shot at the worst, and Tony Cozier and Mark Nicholas head my list. Cozier has a remarkable ability to get EVERY SINGLE PLAYERS name wrong over a 5-day game. As for Mark Nicholas...where do I begin, as a Kiwi I hate all of the smug Australian cricket commentators (aww Richie, you are excused) and their constant Australian bias. But Mark Nicholas, for goodness sake, can you please talk about the current game? GILCHRIST AND HAYDEN ARE RETIRED, get over it. I think hes angling for an invitation to "Gillys" house, so he could kiss the great 'keepers jockstrap. Its gotten so bad that he is embarrassing Gilchrist in the commentary box. "Gee Gilly, this Warner fellow looks almost as good as you, all he needs to do is develop your timing and power and toughness and dashing good-looks etc etc..." Gilchrist: "ahem, well I do hope he does well" Rant Over.

  • devansh on February 4, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    can we have similar analysis of other people involved in the game, like dullest/most useless commentator (remember sidhuism), coach, captain@presentation ceremonies (remember azhar'a "we need to bat well, field well and bowl well" in order to win next match", umpires etc etc

    great post btw

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on February 4, 2009, 16:06 GMT

    Why miss out L Siva in commentary Mani and Sayan, "He is Rohit Sharma, He is a very good. He throws from deep. Flat through", was a slow irresponsible thingy. He threw so slowly that batsman took two runs. And the statement stopped superbly at "he is a very good.." would give a run for Arun Lal. How about Maninder singh's commentary.

  • Mani on February 4, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Dullest Commentaters Sunil Gavaskar is the worst commentator I have ever scene. With his "always negetive", "I am the best" attitudes. Aamir Sohail is the best sleeping pill in the market!!

  • rob heinen on February 4, 2009, 14:05 GMT

    Great writing, without doubt. However the mention of one man I missed. An honourable mention in my opinion should have gone to RDB Croft. My son and me have often wondered if his - one and only - trick was to bemuse batsmen by bowling straighter than anyone in the business. We have never discovered any turn in any delivery, which we thought was outstanding for a spin bowler. Later on he perfected his bowling by introducing the stand-still-in-mid-delivery ball, which definately should earn him a mention here.

  • Ado on February 3, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    How about an entertaining XI from the same era to take them on? My choice:

    1. Sanath Jayasuria 2. Virender Sehwag 3. Viv Richards (capt) 4. Kevin Pietersen 5. Shahid Alfridi 6. Ian Botham 7. Adam Gilchrist (wk) 8. Kapil Dev 9. Ian Salisbury 10. Andre Nel 11. Dev Malcolm

    The batting line up could, admittedly, self destruct and be all out in no time, but Viv and KP provide some real talent in the middle order and boy would it score fast! Kapil is in at 8 as an all rounder as much for his batting is bowling and with Devon charging in from one end and Andre Nel doing his pantomime villan act from the other with the new ball the bowling would be nothing if not pure entertainment. Oh, and I had to put Ian Salisbury in, just to tempt the Dullest XI boys into upping their run rate.

  • Rahul on February 3, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    Dear Andy, The article is pure gem..really..amazing piece of funny writing. Congratulations. You have set the standards very high for future articles of yours. As per nomination of bowlers I guess one Gevin larson from NZ will be bvery upset with you. He use to bowl 10 harmless overs in ODIs without giving any runs and taking any wickets. His partner in crime was one certain Chris Harris but he was a pretty handy batsmen so that disqualifies him. But really..larson is one gem you missed out on. Also how about Danny morrison i guess proud owner of so many batting ducks that he could open his own poultry farm and ajit agrkar and courtney walsh can give him company as proud co-founders.

  • Robin on February 2, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    How have you managed to overlook BILL ATHEY?

  • Adway on February 2, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    Hi Andy! Great article(s)! We know of your inspiration in batting. Is the writing inspiration from 'Douglas Adams'? By the way, why not round off the series with Deadly dull: Captain Commentator Grounds Crowd ?

  • jesuswept on February 1, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    lol Sind, you only missed Iran Khan and Hadlee

  • Mustafa on February 1, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Whilst you're clearly proposing a test match XI, Mujtaba once hit a last-ball six in and against Australia to tie an ODI, and Shastri once hit six sixes in a first-class game, which I think is sufficient to excuse both, replacing them with Shoaib "how did his mother get him out" Mohammad and my mate Faraz Kidwai, who was once forcibly retired out by his own captain after batting into the 30th over for 14* without a single run scored in front of the wicket, even though his dismissal risked losing his team the game. All fourteen runs were singles either edged or tickled to third-man

  • the rawalpindi mail on February 1, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    why is the rawalpindi mail, rao iftikar anjum not on this list? what kind of nonsense is this? how can this be a serious list without ifty in there? he is the dullest bowler pakistan has ever produced (i actually thought he was indian when i first saw him bowl), and is pretty boring off the pitch too - he played league cricket in england and on his days off used to sit in his bedsit watching 'countdown'.

  • David C on February 1, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    All-time, Trevor Bailey. Watching paint dry never became an issue. Not only was the paint never given an opportunity to be applied, but the lid was never separated from the can!

  • Dockerhead on February 1, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    I reckon I could pick a duller eleven than that, even in the same period.

    Here goes: Myself- Drove junior opening bowlers mad with a 46-over, boundary-rare 25 once. Season strike rate of 15. Dropped from my Twenty20 side, despite being team captain, and reinstated in the spinner position.

    Boycott- Still playing post 1981, so he still counts.

    Border- Mother Mary, what torture it was to watch him bat. Like Waugh after him, epic in his boring-ness.

    S. Waugh- Capable of true epics of concentration, which drove many teams to distraction.

    Langer- Zzzz. Wrote like he batted. Read his book to know what I mean.

    Gibbs- Good to watch in ODIs but demoralising viewing in Tests.

    Ganguly- Played like the Wailing Wall for much of his career.

    K. Mashud- Anyone who scores 9 off 30 against Zimbabwe is one to avoid.

    Brett Lee post '07- Doesn't sledge enough, isn't fast enough, and is too metronomic.

    Hauritz and Fraser- Never exciting to watch them bowling, except if carted.

  • Rajiv Naik on January 31, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    The funniest comment was by Sayan! 'India will win this game if they play well'!!! Loll indeed man...

  • KarachiFrog on January 31, 2009, 17:48 GMT

    Chickenrags - I agree that Lawry is about the best commentator going around (though he was a bit of a tedious batsman in his day). Perhaps jaymin is the most boring cricket fan alive. Sind - Don't think you missed anyone though possibly could have squeezed Glen McGrath in there somewhere.

  • hari on January 31, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    the dullest commentators charu sharma arun lal russel arnold ranjit fernando ramiz raja aamir sohail sunil gavaskar ravi shastri tony greig maninder sigh yashpal sharma(last 2 hindi)

  • sandwalker on January 31, 2009, 4:48 GMT

    Top ten dullest commentators would make a fantastic read. Fernando is numero uno for me. His earlier commentating of repeating in nearly similar words what his partner says used to have me in splits. A pakistani commentator from the 80's would also make the cut spectacularly and also Imran Khan. For the Indians Arun Lal,charu sharma, Aussies-Mark Nicholas and Ian healy England-Henry Bloefeld. Windies-Tomy Cozier.

  • Josh on January 30, 2009, 22:22 GMT

    Come on! Half of these posts have to be by Andy himself. This article is mildly amusing but there's no way this many people could find it to be the funniest thing ever written.

    I also don't see why only rapid scoring is entertaining. Seems to me 4 for 64 off 49 overs is pretty effective. I wouldn't mind some of that in the England team right now! A lot more "entertaining" than watching James Anderson.

  • maxiimum6 on January 30, 2009, 18:06 GMT

    I cannot believe that having titillated my mind with the thought of Martin Snedden who could actually raise the levels of mental hospital entries with his abjectly tedious bowling that you did not go on to select him. Has anyone ever been quite as unwatchable. Snedds is my man for all seasons in the dull XI. The others seem positively exciting by comparison. Also Matthew Hart( also from Sopophorialand) might rival for a spinner's place. Also who was the dullest keeper behind the stumps? Jack was so mental that he kept me well amused with his antics,notwithstanding that batting.

  • Sailesh on January 30, 2009, 16:28 GMT

    Incredibly funny!! You made my stomach churn the whole time around. Read it over twice and couldnt help laughing.Please write more of such stuff, it keeps us going for the morning grind at work.

  • waqas on January 30, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    what about Mudassar nazar,Mark richardson,Akash chopra,shoaib mohammad(like father like son)and Mark dekker(zimbabwean opener).Grant flower too can be there."specialist substitute fielder" ,i m really impressed by ur keen observation as i remember watching Mujtaba throughout my childhood.go for commentetors as well and put the Sunny at top.

  • Swami on January 30, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    I think there are plenty of traditional English line and length bowlers you have missed out who bowl a million balls on the same spot over and over again. Angus Fraser, Derek Underwood come to my mind. Commentating when these bowlers bowl is a waste of time .. commentators try to describe the same ball in different ways until they run out of vocabulary, patience and simply switch over to other topics.

  • Ali on January 30, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Very nice and funny article. Excellent one in fact. Please do write another one on the most boring commentators. That should also be great to read.

  • chickenrags on January 30, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    great article as ever. the alan mullaly career highlight had me in stitches! i cant believe someones mentioned bill lawry as a boring commentator, he's my favourite one! in fact i think if lawry commentated on andy's dullest XI he could make them sound quite appealing. Apparently he was one of the most boring batsman of his day though. the journalist Ian Wooldridge referred to him as "a corpse with pads on". another one of my favourite commentators would be dean jones, and is it javagal srinath who calls every catch of reasonable quality "an absolute blinder!"?

  • Sayan on January 30, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    Yeah, I can think of Arun Lal offering his invaluable piece of wisdom with the gems "He is a fast bowler, he bowls very fast" or "India will win this game if they play well"!!

  • Jeff on January 30, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    My Dullest England XI 1981-2008

    Qualification criteria: General: At least 10 matches of mind-numbing tedium Batsmen: SR less than 40 Bowlers: SR more than 75, Economy Rate less than 3

    1. Atherton (Batting SR 37.31) 2. Moxon (Batting SR 33.33) 3. Tavare (Batting SR 30.6) 4. Crawley (Batting SR 39.22) 5. Ramprakash (Batting SR 36.18) 6. Rhodes (Wkt) (Batting SR 31.24) 7. Capel (Batting SR 30.38, Bowling SR 95.2, Bowling Econ 3.19) 8. Emburey (Batting SR 35.6, Bowling SR 104.7, Bowling Econ 2.2) 9. Pringle (Batting SR 28.49, Bowling SR 75.5, Bowling Econ 2.85) 10. Hemmings (Batting SR 40.78, Bowling SR 103.1, Bowling Econ 2.46) 11. Allott (Batting SR 39.81, Bowling SR 85.5, Bowling Econ 2.92)

    Average daily score when batting: 187/6 Average opposition score when bowling: 245/5

    Average state of spectators watching them: asleep.

    * Although Capel gave away runs with abandon (3.19 per over) he's an all-rounder and his snail-like batting more than makes up for this

  • Ni on January 30, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    Remember Saqlain Mushtaq? Anyone remember him killing a test match by getting a HUGE 58 in more than 200 balls, in what seemed to take the time a snail would take to eat all the grass at the ground? It was not only agonizing to watch, but it made you want to shoot yourself repeatedly in the head...

  • avoidliketheplague on January 30, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    "I defy any person to concoct any team that could force either a win or A DEFEAT on a flat track against this agglomeration of the adhesive,"

    andy, you're a genius, though i think the current bangladeshi squad will achieve the defeat part

  • thomas johns on January 30, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    I think you missed Javed Omar Belim..I don't once remember him scoring at more than a strike rate of 50 odd even in One-Dayers against Kenya or Zimbabwe

  • susant on January 30, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    As most of readers have pointed out Mr Andy we demand the list of dullest commentators,I just cant wait to read it.My Pick will be Aamir Sohail (Thesse Pakistani cricketers.....),Ranjit Fernando,Arun Lal and Maninder Singh(Especially for their hindi commentry)...........

  • AA on January 30, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Hey, don't forget Asif Mujtaba once hit a big six on the last ball of ODI off Steve Waugh in Australia and tied the match. Doesn't that disqualify from selection. Mmmm, maybe that's why he's not in regular XI, only 12th man, hehehe!

  • uncooldude on January 30, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    arsgad ayub and rajesh chauhan would give emburey severe competition in dullness sweepstakes. chauhan at least had a nice action but ayub looked as if he was dragging himself to the bowling crease. how about vikram rathore for the opening slot. I know he had a short carreer but it was unmitigated dullness. sanjay bangar is my choice for the allrounder's slot.

  • Varun Narasimhachar on January 30, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    How about Fazl-e-Akbar to lend more depth and frustration to the lower order? I remember with disconsolate trauma the time he frustrated India in what would later turn out to be the last Test he ever played. To strengthen his case, he has picked 11 Test wickets at a decently-yawnworthy strike rate of 80.

  • Sind on January 30, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Here's my all time world dull XI:

    1)Gordon Greenidge 2)Matthew Hayden 3)Brian Lara 4)Sachin Tendulkar 5)Viv Richards 6)Gary Sobers 7)Adam Gilchrist 8)Wasim Akram 9)Shane Warne 10)Malcolm Marshall 11)Dennis Lillee

    Did I miss anyone?

  • Vipul Aroh on January 30, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    'the control of a tantric Casanova, but the penetration of an inebriated eunuch.' Just brilliant.

  • Deepanjan Datta on January 30, 2009, 5:01 GMT

    Hilarious .. just loved your monikers and adjectives !!

  • saurabh somani on January 30, 2009, 4:38 GMT

    howlarious list andy!!! to echo the comment of a previous poster - make this a daily blog!

    i think shastri the player has eclipsed shastri the commentator. in my book he's right up there in the dullness stakes in commentary too.

  • starkive on January 30, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    Javed Miandad apparently thought so highly of Ewen Chatfield that he paused midpitch during some drawn-out flogging of the New Zealand attack to offer him a full-time position back home in Karachi - as a replacement for his bowling machine.

  • subramanian on January 30, 2009, 2:00 GMT

    Great series of articles-thoroughly enjoyed them. I beg to differ on Sanjay Manjrekar though-he was at least classically correct.SS Das and Deep Dasgupta are unlucky to miss out. As for as people despising Mark Nicholas' commentary,obviously you haven't had the joy of listening to Siva reading everything that appears on screen(run rates to the Nth significant digit) and Arun Lal talking about ties and birds. Surely commentators has be next,Andy.

  • DK on January 30, 2009, 1:56 GMT

    Aamir Sohail for probably the worst and dullest commentator I have heard. Arun Lal is another dull one.

  • Jaymin on January 29, 2009, 23:13 GMT

    Another masterpiece ANDY. however, as a lot of people have suggested in the comments, i would also like to see a list of the most dullest commentators. It would be funny. I can say arun lal, ramiz raja, l. sivaramakrishnan, James brayshaw (the worst of all), bill lawry, etc....

  • Warwicks fan on January 29, 2009, 22:42 GMT

    Like many others, I was laughing out loud when I read some of the descriptions. I can think of many candidates, such as some of England's inept all-rounders following Botham - giants such as Miller, Capel and Pringle, all of whom gave the spectator the opportunity to go to the bar whenever they came on to bat or bowl. I do have to disagree with Jack Russell as wk though. You seem to include him solely on account of his sometimes tedious batting, but as a man and a wk he was hugely entertaining. We need an effective but boring man who stops most things but rarely if ever makes spectacular dismissals. Someone with Alec Stewart's ability behind the stumps but Russell's batsmanship. Any ideas? Bruce French perhaps? Paul Downton? French has just reminded me of a possible alternative to Tavare. Tim Curtis had an even slower strike rate and was much less effective. He only had a short Test career though. It's certainly a rich field!

  • Charles Davis on January 29, 2009, 21:48 GMT

    Great list, both funny and perceptive. Brings back memories of Tavare at Perth. For the record, I know of a couple of innings slower than Russell's, both by Herbie Collins in the 1920s. At Old Trafford in 1921, he scored 40 off 340 balls, and at Lord's in 1926, 24 off 195 balls. At the Oval that year, Collins backed this up by facing 200 balls before hitting his first boundary. None of these, however, are quite as slow as Hanif Mohammad's 20 off 223 balls at Lord's in 1954.

  • Fez on January 29, 2009, 21:41 GMT

    You guyz who think Tony Greig and Sunny Gavaskar are the "worst" commentators are surely in the minority. Tony Greig is one of the best; Gavaskar is decent. For a long time, I thought the title belonged to Ranjit Fernando, till I heard the sing-song commentary of Russel Arnold in the pak-sl series.

  • sriram on January 29, 2009, 21:05 GMT

    Man, you are too good. Couldnt help laughing out loud at work. Good work, Andy.

  • Gmnorm on January 29, 2009, 20:40 GMT

    And we wonder why no one turns up for test cricket. We have 12 good reasons above. Boycott and Tavare batting together is of course a exercise in watching paint dry

  • Gmnorm on January 29, 2009, 20:40 GMT

    And we wonder why no one turns up for test cricket. We have 12 good reasons above. Boycott and Tavare batting together is of course a exercise in watching paint dry

  • Rishikesh Mehta on January 29, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    The only means of stopping myself from laughing was, stop reading. You could surely add a list of umpires, hellbent on giving decisions which would force ICC to adopt for 3 reviews/decision(including extras).

  • Prashant on January 29, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    Inzamam Ul Haq would make it to the DULL List any time.

  • Tom Sawyer on January 29, 2009, 19:12 GMT

    Great List!!! You must have spent couple of years on selecting this list after watching all of their career highlight videos.

    Notable Mentions Omitted: Dilip Doshi, a master of economical bowling.

    He once took a fabled 8-7-1-1 in a Sunday League match for Notts against Northants and was left out of the county's next game.

  • Ram on January 29, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    IT's allright. Not that funny as some of you deem it to be

  • Franco on January 29, 2009, 18:51 GMT

    Tony Greig as the world's most painful-to-listen-to commentator. What about Chris Pringle as a bowler? He was the archetypal Kiwi trundler. He should get in ahead of Ewen Chatfield. At least Chatfield had one of the great droopy moustaches of the 1980s.

  • Palash on January 29, 2009, 18:51 GMT

    The article was truly brilliant, but I must point out something. Asif Mujtaba disqualifies himself after having hit a last ball 6 of Steve Waugh In Australia to tie a one day game...back in the mid 90's sometime. Fancy that- a last ball 6. Maybe Shastri could be on this list twice....

  • Israr on January 29, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    Penetration of an inebriated eunuch................doesn't get any better.

  • Malay Dave on January 29, 2009, 18:43 GMT

    I distinctively remember Shastri charge the bowler to about half crease and then kill the ball at his feet. Why charge the bowler if you are not going to hit an aggressive stroke. We kids called it the 'deadpan' stroke!

  • Rahul on January 29, 2009, 18:15 GMT

    get your dose of unlimited, splendid confections (even for non sweet lovers like me) cheers zaltzman

  • D Rat on January 29, 2009, 17:10 GMT

    ChooForTwentyChoo - "One could say that" Ranjit Fernando is an automatic choice as well. Sunil Gavaskar is also one of the most rubbish commentators i've had the displeasure of listening to!

  • kmv on January 29, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    lolrotf.... Since I have not seen most of the guys playing.. I would so much love to read about the most boring commentators.. I bet quite a few of the current era would make it to the list... Arun Lal, Dilhara Fernando, Athar Ali Khan... and I would love to read your comments about them!!

  • skimpy on January 29, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    i know you consciously tried to avoid newzealanders, but how did you miss out on all four of wibbly wobbly dibbly dobbly? ok harris could be an exciting batsman but what did latham, larsen and watson do to not get on this list?

  • ChooForTwentyChoo on January 29, 2009, 15:17 GMT

    Sheer brilliance AZ! Laughed until I broke wind. How about a list of dullest/most painful cricket commentators? Criteria: verbalisation of what is clearly viewable on-screen; incessant repetition; irrelevant anecdotes; lacklustre analysis; zero viewer rapport. I'll kick off with Mark Nicholas as an automatic choice. The yawning yarning of this unequaled international non-achiever works better than chloroform. I often resort to rubbing salt & vinegar into my jockstrap-chaffed groin to keep me awake during his shift...

  • raj on January 29, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    Zaltzman, just wanted to point out that not all Post-Kirmani and Pre-Dhoni Indian stumpers were dull. Dinesh Karthik is highly entertaining - either he pulls off brilliant stumpings or showcases sorry bye-giving. His batting his kamikaze, too. Dhoni is a comparitively dull keeper and the recent version of Dhoni is also a nudger and grinder compared to Karthik. So you weree basically wrong on that count. You are thinking of the Dhoni of 3 years ago when he was a swashbuckling batsman. Also, Dhoni gets additional points for his captiancy in which he reduces the game to unwatchable regularly by his off-theory. Dhoni(current version) would have been a worthy keeper-captain in your XI.

  • bentarm on January 29, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Andy ..good one but i cannot agree with you on Jack Russell atleast on the innings you have mentioned..match saving innings are never boring mainly when it involves a tailender actually it is more exciting to watch..but i should agree on one thing zaltzman you are funny man

  • Prem on January 29, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Thankfully my prediction was correct: You won't find a single WI player on these lists - not these guys...they'd rather be flashy and throw their wickets away than sit there and hold the fort!

  • Richie B on January 29, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    It's only looking at the whole team that I see the lack of an obvious captain (let's face it Tavare only gets the captaincy because of a little bit of Kentish bias)- surely Mike Brearley deserves a place. Yes it's a technicality (he played his last test in 1981) and yes his captaincy was positively exciting but this is a man who not only scored his test runs even more slowly than Tavare but also managed a spectacularly dull 45 runs per 100 balls in his 25 one day internationals.

    Great blog - keep it coming!

  • bala on January 29, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    "Rumour has it that, when facing Chatfield, batsmen would smash themselves on the toes with their bats so that the pain would keep them awake at the crease."

    haha hilarious.

  • Ashish Gupta on January 29, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    Andy - you outdo yourself once again. I just wish we could have your column on daily basis but the fear of attracting the wrath of the Zaltman household makes me hold my tongue.

  • Ganesh R on January 29, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    i was rolling on the floor laughing through the entire article!!u gave my dull day of work half an hour of laugh n fun! Thanks a lot Andy..

    cheers, Ganesh, chennai,India

  • kallam on January 29, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    thanks andy.and how about an article on umpires starting from Rudi Koertzen and Steve Bucknor

  • Manoj on January 29, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    Here's my Indian Dull XI (albeit post-1981 as well): SS Das, SB Bangar, S Manjrekar, Yashpal Sharma, AD Gaekwad (captain), RJ Shastri, D Dasgupta(wk), M Prabhakar, Maninder Singh, RK Chauhan, T Yohannan (the only one included despite only playing 3 tests for his incredibly numbing bowling!)

  • StJohn on January 29, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    How about a post-1981 Dull XI world championship decider: the Zaltzman Zenith XI (your team) against any Bangladesh XI you care to name since that sea-level land first gained Test status? I nominate the Bangladesh team for dullness because of it's tediously predictable tendency to lose every Test it plays. I'm all for the minnows and one day they may achieve great things (with a 150 million cricket loving population, they have an advantage the island nations lack). But watching Bangladesh play Test cricket is like watching the EastEnders omnibus after you've already watched all the episodes in the week: you know how it'll end before you begin. Although to be fair the EastEnders omnibus does at least tend to last longer than a Test match involving Bangladesh.

  • Sameer Phal on January 29, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    Thanks a lot again Andy. cant remember laughing so much @ time

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  • Sameer Phal on January 29, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    Thanks a lot again Andy. cant remember laughing so much @ time

  • StJohn on January 29, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    How about a post-1981 Dull XI world championship decider: the Zaltzman Zenith XI (your team) against any Bangladesh XI you care to name since that sea-level land first gained Test status? I nominate the Bangladesh team for dullness because of it's tediously predictable tendency to lose every Test it plays. I'm all for the minnows and one day they may achieve great things (with a 150 million cricket loving population, they have an advantage the island nations lack). But watching Bangladesh play Test cricket is like watching the EastEnders omnibus after you've already watched all the episodes in the week: you know how it'll end before you begin. Although to be fair the EastEnders omnibus does at least tend to last longer than a Test match involving Bangladesh.

  • Manoj on January 29, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    Here's my Indian Dull XI (albeit post-1981 as well): SS Das, SB Bangar, S Manjrekar, Yashpal Sharma, AD Gaekwad (captain), RJ Shastri, D Dasgupta(wk), M Prabhakar, Maninder Singh, RK Chauhan, T Yohannan (the only one included despite only playing 3 tests for his incredibly numbing bowling!)

  • kallam on January 29, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    thanks andy.and how about an article on umpires starting from Rudi Koertzen and Steve Bucknor

  • Ganesh R on January 29, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    i was rolling on the floor laughing through the entire article!!u gave my dull day of work half an hour of laugh n fun! Thanks a lot Andy..

    cheers, Ganesh, chennai,India

  • Ashish Gupta on January 29, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    Andy - you outdo yourself once again. I just wish we could have your column on daily basis but the fear of attracting the wrath of the Zaltman household makes me hold my tongue.

  • bala on January 29, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    "Rumour has it that, when facing Chatfield, batsmen would smash themselves on the toes with their bats so that the pain would keep them awake at the crease."

    haha hilarious.

  • Richie B on January 29, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    It's only looking at the whole team that I see the lack of an obvious captain (let's face it Tavare only gets the captaincy because of a little bit of Kentish bias)- surely Mike Brearley deserves a place. Yes it's a technicality (he played his last test in 1981) and yes his captaincy was positively exciting but this is a man who not only scored his test runs even more slowly than Tavare but also managed a spectacularly dull 45 runs per 100 balls in his 25 one day internationals.

    Great blog - keep it coming!

  • Prem on January 29, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Thankfully my prediction was correct: You won't find a single WI player on these lists - not these guys...they'd rather be flashy and throw their wickets away than sit there and hold the fort!

  • bentarm on January 29, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Andy ..good one but i cannot agree with you on Jack Russell atleast on the innings you have mentioned..match saving innings are never boring mainly when it involves a tailender actually it is more exciting to watch..but i should agree on one thing zaltzman you are funny man