September 3, 2009

Mike Holmans

Old timers Twenty20 XI- Part 2

Mike Holmans
Richie Benaud in 1961
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In my last post, I selected an Old-Timers Twenty20 XI for England, old-timers being defined as those whose international career finished before 1970. India, Pakistan and New Zealand had too little history by then to pick reasonable teams, so I went for Rest of the World as England's opponents.

Before we go any further, Don Bradman does not make the team. Many will protest that he could adapt himself to anything, but the successful Twenty20 batsman is comfortable with hitting the ball in the air to clear the infield or the boundary and accepts that he will sometimes lose his wicket cheaply because of the risks he takes. Neither of these can plausibly be seen as traits of Bradman's batting. Maybe he could have adapted, but it would have been through gritted teeth at the gross offense to his principles, and I'd rather pick players who are going to relish the thrill-ride of a Twenty20 batting career.

The first two names are obvious. Twenty20 could have been invented for Learie Constantine. Tearaway fast bowler, whirlwind batsman and a strong candidate for the greatest fielder of all time, he was born 80 years too early to be the Maharajah of the IPL he would have become rather than the king of the Lancashire League that he was. Of course, he would have been in competition with Keith Miller, tearaway, whirlwind and superb fielder in the deep, taking running catches the way Constantine ran batsmen out.

As Les Ames was for England, there is a standout batsman-keeper in Clyde Walcott, who might as well open the batting because he would be excellent in Powerplay overs. Unlike England, though, one of the great Australian openers will be ideal as his partner. Victor Trumper, the legendary stylist, was quite happy to send the first ball of a Test match back over the bowler's head if he thought it deserved such treatment.

Charlie Macartney, the Governor-General, is mostly remembered as the great Australian batsman between Trumper and Bradman, but he was really an all-rounder, since his left-arm spin took over 400 first-class wickets at under 21.

Number three looks like his berth, and six and seven for Miller and Constantine, so I want a four and five. Stan McCabe in particular will be disappointed, but I'm picking Everton Weekes and CK Nayudu. It's just about arguable that Nayudu's big-hitting 153 for the Hindus on MCC's 1926-7 tour of India tipped the balance of persuasion that India were ready to join the ranks of Test-playing countries.

Now things get difficult. We will have a leg-spinning all-rounder as captain, but I change my mind hourly on whether it should be the great South African Aubrey Faulkner or Richie Benaud. At the moment, I favour Benaud as the more tactically astute.

We will want a couple of medium-pacers. Fazal Mahmood will be one, moving the ball both ways and being highly economical, but then there is a choice between Amar Singh and Alan Davidson. Amar was the better bat, but Davidson is a left-armer and will add variety.

Finally, we need an off-spinner, and here I shall plump for Hugh Tayfield, the South African spinner of the Fifties who bowled maiden after maiden after maiden, and who will strangle the England batsmen into false shots just as he did in Tests.

So here is the Rest of the World XI I have finally decided on:

Victor Trumper Clyde Walcott (k) Charlie Macartney Everton Weekes CK Nayudu Keith Miller Learie Constantine Richie Benaud (c) Alan Davidson Fazal Mahmood Hugh Tayfield

Now let battle commence as you tear this side to shreds and propose a whole load of people I didn't even consider!

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Posted by RM on (September 12, 2009, 16:24 GMT)

Any regular cricinfo reader will know that you loathe Bradman for all the pounding you Poms had to take from him.

Despite your claims of being an ardent admirer of cricket history, I doubt you'd know that Bradman's strike rate (runs scored per 100 balls) was over 70 during that remarkable bodyline series and it was 80 against Larwood (arguably the finest fast bowler England ever produced).

There are million other facts and stats to suggest that Bradman was amongst the most aggressive batsmen of his era. If you think that hitting in the air is the only way to score quickly, I’ve got two words for you: “seek help”!

Posted by GJ on (September 12, 2009, 15:54 GMT)

Regardless of Mr Holman's list, surely the Don wouldn't have wanted to smear his reputation by playing hit-and-giggle cricket?

Posted by Ed on (September 11, 2009, 11:34 GMT)

I can't believe 2 people have put Hanif forward - did I misread the brief - I thought it was for a T20 match, does T20 stand for a 20-day Test?

Why no love for Tiger O'Reilly - a medium pace leggie, with tons of variety - lets have him in as spinner for Tayfield (who was only a good bowler on 50s wickets against 50s batsmen - yawn - in T20 I reckon it will take a one ball look before batsmen start to tee-off against him)

[Mike: I strongly considered Bill O'Reilly, but since I was committed to either Benaud or Faulkner, I couldn't find the room.]

Posted by rey on (September 9, 2009, 17:22 GMT)

An Indian team without the hard-hitting Salim Durrani?

Posted by Chris on (September 7, 2009, 23:47 GMT)

It's cute that England get their own XI, but Australia don't, despite the fact that I'd back the Australian XI to do it in a canter.

Oh, and Bradman wouldn't be able to do T20? A nice piece of bait there.

[Mike: I'm English. I was bound to start by thinking of an England XI. If I were an Aussie, no doubt I'd have done Aus v RoW, but I'm not.]

Posted by Amit Prakash on (September 7, 2009, 7:27 GMT)

How u think a t/20 team of old mens beside Sir Don if he decide to play the game at retirment age he hit all current bowlers for six four in a over

Posted by pir qaisar shah on (September 7, 2009, 6:28 GMT)

what about three pakistanies great mudassar nazar with a golden arm, wasim hassan raja left arm batsman and a good leg spin bowler ans Asif iqbal all in the late seventees and early eightees. all the three were good alrounders with both bat and bowling. so they must be considered because wasim hassan raja scored two consectives centuries against the great west indian attack in 1976 in carribiean in their home under the captaincy of mushtaq and also bowled very wel in port of spain. same is the case of asif iqbal as wel as mudassar nazar. mudassar was a genuine opening batsman as wel a great swing bowler especially of reverse swing. who can for get his spell of 1982 Lords cricket ground in the second innings.Asif iqbal always batted wel with tale enders. such was his class that he saved a certain defeat against England with partnership with Intikhab Alam.

Posted by daniel on (September 7, 2009, 5:30 GMT)

A fibe side, i thawt myabe Fred Spofforth or Terror Turner as the quickies with their changes of pace and accuracy, if anyone id leave out Fazal Mahmood and replace him with Spofforth

Posted by Anonymous on (September 7, 2009, 3:44 GMT)

This is ridiculous!! Bradman would make even 10-10 cricket!! He scored Hundreds in a single session which todays batsman find hard to do!!

Posted by Dan de V on (September 7, 2009, 2:39 GMT)

Echo Reynold O'Neal's comment, as a West Indian and a fan of Everton even I couldn't include him in a 2020 game if you use the same logic as you applied to Bradman. He is famously proud of never having to hit 6s because he didn't need to take the risk as he was always able to pierce the field. Not sure that would hold true with modern fielders and the need to score at at 2020 pace. If you wanted another "W" I would have thought Worrell was a better choice?

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