XIs October 28, 2010

The elegant and the ineffective

It’s all very well picking a world-beating team of players who are attractive to watch, but what about the attractive but useless ones, eh?
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As the cricket world digests the big cricket news of the cricket week − that Alastair Cook still has some work to do to earn inclusion in ESPNcricinfo’s all-time XI; that Australia remain very poor at forcing wins in games that are completely washed out (a shortcoming England, as holders, will be looking to exploit in the Ashes); and that Michael Clarke not only thinks that Ricky Ponting should captain Australia in the Ashes, but said so out loud in an interview, thus proving it − the time seems right for another Confectionery Stall XI.

This is the first Confectionery Stall XI for some time, and as the highly enjoyable season of ESPNcricinfo XIs draws to a close (taking with it the even more enjoyable season of readers’ reactions to ESPNcricinfo XIs), I felt it was time to jump on the XI-selecting bandwagon before it is driven off to the ESPN scrapyard and the pieces sold off to another website.

I particularly enjoyed Suresh Menon’s Elegant XI − a useful team, without question, but heavily biased in favour of all-time greats of the game. I feel this is deeply unfair to the stylish underachievers of cricket history, players who have looked great in action but less great in the scorebook. I therefore submit the Confectionery Stall Elegant But (Relatively) Ineffective XI, a team of the not-so-great-but-nonetheless-pleasing-on-the-eye who have intermittently entranced but more often frustrated the international-cricket-watching universe.

It should be remembered that elegance is not always a reliable hallmark of quality. When I was at school, there was a seam bowler who used to flow into the wickets with the ease of a thoroughbred racehorse, then bowl with perfect rhythm and an easy athleticism, reminiscent of a slow-motion Michael Holding. The last time I saw him play, he was bowling quite well in the West Kent Village League. He had a prettier action than Curtly Ambrose but was, by other conventionally accepted measures of bowling quality, not as good.

In my own village team I used to open with a player who was, in almost every aspect of batsmanship, useless. He struggled to keep good balls out. He struggled to keep bad balls out. He struggled. But every now and again – perhaps twice or three times a summer – he would unfurl an extra-cover drive so majestically perfect that it seemed as if Viv Richards had momentarily invaded his body, as if Wally Hammond’s handkerchief should have been fluttering from his trouser pocket. Next ball he would play down the line of leg stump and see his off peg splattered, or attempt a pull shot and spoon-plonk it to extra cover, or be trapped lbw trying to square-cut a full-toss. But those cover drives were worth a whole summer of single-figure failures.

Perhaps the most elegant English batsman of recent years has been no-Test wonder Vikram Solanki, whose contribution to international cricket comprised 51 ODIs and three Twenty20 matches, in which he averaged in the mid-20s. The first of his two hundreds for England was a magical innings against Pollock, Ntini, Kallis et al at The Oval in 2003. The Wisden verdict: “Solanki finally arrived as an international batsman... few players can demand drooling admiration for an innings. Solanki is one of them.”

His England career, however, generated a disappointingly small pool of drool. He passed 10 once in his next eight innings, was dropped, and departed international cricket three sporadic years later as the latest in an illustrious cavalcade of What-Might-Have-Beens of modern English cricket.

But how good was Solanki? Because he could play shots from the cricketing heavens, there is a tendency to think he underachieved. Paul Collingwood, by contrast, is often regarded as an overachiever who has made the most of his relatively limited talents. His batting has the flourish of an egg sandwich and the elegance of a steamrollered hedgehog. But his fielding reveals phenomenal hand-eye co-ordination and athleticism, and his timing is often extraordinary. But because he nudges the ball for four rather than strokes it, he generates no drool. Plenty of admiration, but none of it drooling. The only drool Collingwood prompts slowly dribbles from the snoozing mouths of opposing fans whilst he is compiling one of his famous match-saving rearguards.

Here, then, is the Confectionery Stall Elegant But Ineffective XI – a personal selection of players in my cricket-watching life (1981 to the present day) who have played the game with style, panache, flamboyance, and above all, limited top-level success. Qualification: must have played Test cricket. Maximum batting average: 38. Minimum bowling average: 30.

1. Gerhardus Liebenberg (five Tests, average 13.00) I have written before about the soul-crackingly harrowing experience of watching Gary Kirsten stodgegrind his way to what Cambridge scientists have confirmed as the dullest double-hundred in human history, at Old Trafford in 1998. Two days of unremitting misery for which I am still awaiting an apology. Opening the batting with Completely Tedious Of Cape Town was Liebenberg. Statuesque, stylish and rubbish – the polar opposite of his opening partner − Liebenberg stroked a couple of imperious boundaries, one leg-side flick finessed to the boundary with the confident flourish of a born batsman. He was then thoroughly bowled by Darren Gough for 16, and spent the rest of the summer being one of England’s key players, a guaranteed early breakthrough. His and Kirsten’s respective career statistics disprove the existence of God.

2. Sadagoppan Ramesh India has produced many great stylish batsmen. In his first seven Tests, studded with two centuries and five half-centuries (including 60 and 96 in a match against Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain and Mushtaq Ahmed), Ramesh languidly caressed his way to an average of 55 and seemed well on the road to becoming another one, albeit that he was travelling down that road without moving his feet very much. Sadly, that road diverted straight into a ditch. Twelve more Tests brought no more scores over 61, and an average of 26, and Ramesh was consigned to the selectorial shredder in August 2001. Over the next three years Das, Dravid, Dasgupta, Bangar, Jaffer, Patel and Chopra opened in 43 Tests between them, and generally poked about to no good purpose, collectively averaging 26. The latter part of Ramesh’s career suggests that he might not have done any better. But he would have done just as badly in a considerably more attractive manner. And more quickly. Life is full of contrasts. Seeing Sehwag open with Bangar was like seeing Beethoven team up with Miley Cyrus for a charity single. Wrong and confusing.

3. Xavier Marshall Included on the basis of one off-drive against Australia that I saw him play on the telly a couple of years ago. It was beyond perfect. Unlike his Test, ODI and first-class averages (20, 17, 24), which are beyond belief.

4. Greg Blewett After Mark Waugh, and possibly Damien Martyn, the most graceful Australian of his era. The panache of his back-to-back career launching hundreds against England in 1994-95 suggested Australia had unearthed a new world-class stylist. The rest of his career suggested they had unearthed a prettier version of Bruce Edgar.

5. Carl Hooper Hooper made batting look simple and majestic. He seemed to have enough time to write a letter home whilst waiting for the ball. Sadly, he often batted as if he was thinking of what he was going to write in it. He could hit forward-defensive shots for six, and get out to almost any bowler in the world given the chance. Not a total failure, but after 50 Tests he averaged 31, which was a sick joke by the same cricketing gods who allowed Gary Kirsten to average in the mid-40s. A hybrid of Hooper’s style and Chanderpaul’s concentration would have been one of the greatest batsmen of any era. A hybrid of Hooper’s concentration and Chanderpaul’s style could have led to cricket being outlawed.

6. Chris Lewis The allrounder who had it all – explosive, round-the-wicket strokeplay, and athletic, sometimes rapid, bowling. All that was missing were the performances to back it up. And the sense not to catch sunstroke on the eve of a Test match. And the ability not to be convicted of drug smuggling. Currently in jail, not looking quite as brilliant as when he smashed a century in India in 1992-93, or when he clean-bowled Tendulkar at Lord’s in 1996.

7. Geraint Jones Intermittently competent behind the stumps, taker of the most important catch in modern English history, and stroker of some of the purest off-side shots you could wish to see. Did not stroke as many of them as you would wish to see, admittedly, but on his very occasional day, he was an old-school stylist mixed with a modern improviser.

8. Alex Tudor Looked like a natural in all departments when he emerged in the late 1990s – a smooth action that generated pace that frightened the all-conquering Australians, and a flamboyance with the bat that immediately raised the suspicions of the England selectors. Tudor dismissed both Waughs, Ponting and Langer in a potent debut in Perth, then in his first home Test flayed his way to a match-winning 99 not out in the most brilliant night-watchman’s innings ever played by an Englishman, playing shots that many had assumed Geoffrey Boycott had officially outlawed from the English game. Then fizzled out like a once-promising sausage on a rain-hit barbecue. One of the lost talents of world cricket.

9. Brendon Julian Lithe left-armer with a sweeping action, and all set to be the long-awaited New Alan Davidson. Took a stunning caught-and-bowled to dismiss Robin Smith in his debut series in 1993, prompting no less a judge than Richie Benaud to eulogise (if memory serves): “That is the mark of a very fine young cricketer.” Unfortunately Benaud was wrong. Julian proved to be only a quite fine young cricketer – 15 Test wickets at a shade under 40, and 128 runs at 16, in just seven Tests.

10. Phil Tufnell His average was little different to Ashley Giles’. His action was from a different universe. Ashley Giles bowled like a broken combine harvester trying to restart itself. Tufnell had a natural fluency and rhythm that touched perfection on his occasional great days for England. Ashley Giles won the Ashes. And could bat. And field. Tufnell loses out in those three categories.

11. Mohammad Akram Richie Benaud said that Mohammad Akram reminded him of Michael Holding. Enough said. Mohammad Akram agreed. Michael Holding was unavailable for comment.

There is my XI. Apologies for the slight English bias, but many elegant but ineffective players from the rest of the world never have made it to these shores, so I could have missed the chance to appreciate both their elegance and their ineffectiveness. Please nominate your own suggestions for this XI.

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

  • Taimur Khan on January 18, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    My team would be those elegant performers who scored runs and took wickets but left us thinking they could have done so much more with their talent but for application issues or fate.

    1. Lawrance Rowe (WI) 2. Richie Richardson (WI) 3. Zaheer Abbas (PAK) 4. Vinod Kambli (IND) 5. David Gower (ENG) 6. Andy Flower(ZIM) 7. Alan Knott (ENG) 8. Freddie Flintoff (ENG) 9. Typhoon Tyson (ENG) 10. Rodney Hogg (AUS) 11. Abdul Qadir (PAK) 12. Lance Kluesner (SA) 13. Shahid Afridi(PAK) 14. Majid Khan (PAK) 15. Rashid Latif (PAK) 16. Stephen Fleming (NZ)

    There are 4 englishmen in the 11, 2 Pakistanis & West Indians, one each for Austrailia, India & Zimbabwe. Honourable mention of Majid Khan and Rashid Latif, in my mind greats who could not make the impact they were capable of, and am tempted to include Kluesner and Afridi. Andy Flower would have had more matches & runs had he played for another test team. Fleming 's talent & elegance was more than his record suggests.

  • Jv on December 17, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    Chetan Chauhan should be right up there in the listas well as Anshuman Gaekwad.

  • saurabh on November 11, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    lance kluesener, his batting at wc 99 was amazing, never saw him again

  • 45runs on November 7, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Also, quick response to No Nowt who made me laugh out loud re Neil Foster. I grew up a stone's throw from the Adelaide Oval and made it my business to be at every game imaginable. During England's 86/87 tour I was a young lad sitting as close to the dressing rooms as possible. I remember one morning during play Neil Foster (12th man) giving the late Wilf Slack (13th man) an almighty lecture in full view of spectators in the manner of a headmaster reprimanding a student for smoking marijuana in the library. Wilf's crime? He hadn't got the towels ready for Neil to run out to the batsman. "Discipline, Slacky" said Neil (this is a direct quote - my brother and I still say it). I clearly remember thinking "Who's this ponse and why isn't he playing?" Then I saw him bowl in a later ODI and my question was answered.

  • 45runs on November 6, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    First of all, "WHERE IS SACHIN?", as this seems to be the compulsory first question of any post even if it's in response to an article discussing the best openers from New Zealand first class cricket in the 1890s. Now that's out of the way...

    1. Tim May - what a deadly combination he and Ashley Giles would have made. Lethal in fact, for every spectator around the world.

    2. Mudassar Nazar - back in the days when you couldn't buy a performance from a Pakistani cricketer, Mudassar made you wish you could.

    3. John Emburey - the Gary Kirsten of offspin bowling. Thank goodness for his infectious smile and devil-may-care attitude.

    4. Graeme Hick - Mike Atherton proved his sense of humour when he declared in an Ashes test with Hick on 98.

    5. Marlon Samuels - proof that wearing the collar of your shirt upturned doesn't improve your batting average.

    6. Arjuna Ranatunga - talent and fitness go hand in hand. Enough said.

  • Silk on November 3, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Andy. You say you knew a guy who

    "would unfurl an extra-cover drive so majestically perfect that it seemed as if Viv Richards had momentarily invaded his body ....N ext ball he would play down the line of leg stump and see his off peg splattered, or attempt a pull shot and spoon-plonk it to extra cover, or be trapped lbw trying to square-cut a full-toss."

    Was this, in fact, Michael Vaughan in the last 3 years of his career?

  • Sulli on November 2, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Hey Andy, Where is the list of Winning / Losing Australia XI similar to the one you made for England a month ago. WAITING FOR IT

  • No nowt. on November 2, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Neil Foster. If only he had been as good as he thought he was. Breeds camels now (apparently)

  • Nicotine on November 2, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    There's gotta be room for Ricardo Powell (West Indies). He battered India out on more than one occasion and then vanished into Oblivion Russell Arnold from SL is another batsman who promised a lot but delivered lesser than what he was capable of. S S Das from India is another potential batsman who failed to perform Nice Article - Loved the Hooper segment but frankly was a big Carl Hooper fan

  • jagdish on November 1, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    Putting agarkar in list is not right he took almost 300+wkts thts a lot

  • Taimur Khan on January 18, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    My team would be those elegant performers who scored runs and took wickets but left us thinking they could have done so much more with their talent but for application issues or fate.

    1. Lawrance Rowe (WI) 2. Richie Richardson (WI) 3. Zaheer Abbas (PAK) 4. Vinod Kambli (IND) 5. David Gower (ENG) 6. Andy Flower(ZIM) 7. Alan Knott (ENG) 8. Freddie Flintoff (ENG) 9. Typhoon Tyson (ENG) 10. Rodney Hogg (AUS) 11. Abdul Qadir (PAK) 12. Lance Kluesner (SA) 13. Shahid Afridi(PAK) 14. Majid Khan (PAK) 15. Rashid Latif (PAK) 16. Stephen Fleming (NZ)

    There are 4 englishmen in the 11, 2 Pakistanis & West Indians, one each for Austrailia, India & Zimbabwe. Honourable mention of Majid Khan and Rashid Latif, in my mind greats who could not make the impact they were capable of, and am tempted to include Kluesner and Afridi. Andy Flower would have had more matches & runs had he played for another test team. Fleming 's talent & elegance was more than his record suggests.

  • Jv on December 17, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    Chetan Chauhan should be right up there in the listas well as Anshuman Gaekwad.

  • saurabh on November 11, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    lance kluesener, his batting at wc 99 was amazing, never saw him again

  • 45runs on November 7, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Also, quick response to No Nowt who made me laugh out loud re Neil Foster. I grew up a stone's throw from the Adelaide Oval and made it my business to be at every game imaginable. During England's 86/87 tour I was a young lad sitting as close to the dressing rooms as possible. I remember one morning during play Neil Foster (12th man) giving the late Wilf Slack (13th man) an almighty lecture in full view of spectators in the manner of a headmaster reprimanding a student for smoking marijuana in the library. Wilf's crime? He hadn't got the towels ready for Neil to run out to the batsman. "Discipline, Slacky" said Neil (this is a direct quote - my brother and I still say it). I clearly remember thinking "Who's this ponse and why isn't he playing?" Then I saw him bowl in a later ODI and my question was answered.

  • 45runs on November 6, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    First of all, "WHERE IS SACHIN?", as this seems to be the compulsory first question of any post even if it's in response to an article discussing the best openers from New Zealand first class cricket in the 1890s. Now that's out of the way...

    1. Tim May - what a deadly combination he and Ashley Giles would have made. Lethal in fact, for every spectator around the world.

    2. Mudassar Nazar - back in the days when you couldn't buy a performance from a Pakistani cricketer, Mudassar made you wish you could.

    3. John Emburey - the Gary Kirsten of offspin bowling. Thank goodness for his infectious smile and devil-may-care attitude.

    4. Graeme Hick - Mike Atherton proved his sense of humour when he declared in an Ashes test with Hick on 98.

    5. Marlon Samuels - proof that wearing the collar of your shirt upturned doesn't improve your batting average.

    6. Arjuna Ranatunga - talent and fitness go hand in hand. Enough said.

  • Silk on November 3, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Andy. You say you knew a guy who

    "would unfurl an extra-cover drive so majestically perfect that it seemed as if Viv Richards had momentarily invaded his body ....N ext ball he would play down the line of leg stump and see his off peg splattered, or attempt a pull shot and spoon-plonk it to extra cover, or be trapped lbw trying to square-cut a full-toss."

    Was this, in fact, Michael Vaughan in the last 3 years of his career?

  • Sulli on November 2, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Hey Andy, Where is the list of Winning / Losing Australia XI similar to the one you made for England a month ago. WAITING FOR IT

  • No nowt. on November 2, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Neil Foster. If only he had been as good as he thought he was. Breeds camels now (apparently)

  • Nicotine on November 2, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    There's gotta be room for Ricardo Powell (West Indies). He battered India out on more than one occasion and then vanished into Oblivion Russell Arnold from SL is another batsman who promised a lot but delivered lesser than what he was capable of. S S Das from India is another potential batsman who failed to perform Nice Article - Loved the Hooper segment but frankly was a big Carl Hooper fan

  • jagdish on November 1, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    Putting agarkar in list is not right he took almost 300+wkts thts a lot

  • Poncey on November 1, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    Cullinan - brilliant and sylish on his day, but part of the SA team (Rhodes and Cronje too) who always managed to have us at 150/5.

  • Greg Anderson on October 31, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    Two personal favourites from the good old days: 1. Wasim Raja (late '70s)--most gratuitously extravagant strokemaker I have ever seen, but more truly effective in the County Durham league than at higher levels. 2. The long-forgotten Martin Kent of Australia (also late '70s). Who was that mustachioed genius with the Test career of a mayfly?

  • Andrew F on October 31, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    Andy, per your biography top right, were you born in Obscurity? The lake in Washington state?

    Well done sir, you've come far in many ways. I can only guess that perhaps your parents were keen spelunkers?

    http://is.gd/gwQ0g

  • Senoroctober on October 31, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Andy did you forget the ultimate Zimbabwean : Guy Whittal. Whose average is only as high as it is due to two very big hundreds. And bowling that even I could tickle for a few runs.

  • Oliver Hunter on October 31, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    West Indian XI

    1. Phil Simmonds 2. Stuart Williams 3. Carl Hooper 4. Ricardo Powell 5. Keith Arthurton 6. Junior Murray 7. Dinanath Ramnarine 8. Mervin Dillon 9. Tino Best 10. Darren Powell 11. Pedro Collins

  • RT on October 30, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    Mark Ramprakash? Greame Hick?

  • sridhara on October 30, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    indian XI

    1. devang gandhi 2. s. s. das 3. gagan koda 4. s. manjrekar {c} 5. V.B. Chandrashekar 6. w.v.raman 7. w. shaw 8. s.banergee 9.dodda ganesh 10. n. kulkarni 11. s. bahutale

  • Nasser on October 30, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    Andy

    I read your article and in spite of being an ardent cricket fan, it was not the topic of the article which interested me, but the writer.

    I can hardly think of anyone who can express so clearly and in such a hilarious fashion as you do. At the same time you seem to be a cricket fan who really analyses the game so closely. You are a gem and wait your worth in gold.

    Cricinfo! take notice.

  • Nasser on October 30, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    Andy

    I read your article and in spite of being an ardent cricket fan, it was not the topic of the article which interested me, but the writer.

    I can hardly think of anyone who can express so clearly and in such a hilarious fashion as you do. At the same time you seem to be a cricket fan who really analyses the game so closely. You are a gem and wait your worth in gold.

    Cricinfo! take notice.

  • waterbuffalo on October 30, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Speaking of really useless players, I would like to add a name, if I may, he is not elegant, he is not pretty, he is a bludgeon, a blaster, unfortunately, he is only talented enough to blast an average of two or three deliveries at best, before getting out to a shot that a 6 year old would be ashamed of, who am I talking about? Shahid Afridi, some players can be accused of playing with a few cards short of a full deck, with Afridi, he plays completely without a deck, thus proving that one does not have to have a brain in order to be a regular international batsman.

  • Anonymous on October 29, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    Xavier Marshall ??? LOL

    The West Indies' Useless XI is also brilliant, still cracking up.

  • ManOfSomerset on October 29, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    I also have to call for the compulsory inclusion of Mark Lathwell, once great hope of Somerset, England and (I think) scorer of 150 against an Aus XI at Melbourne (?) He was heralded as the 'new David Gower', had the best back foot drive against genuinely quick bowling I have ever witnessed, and a lot more besides. Pure class, but nothing else. Within a year or two of being selected (too early) for England and a wretched run with the bat, he was jettisoned by Somerset a forlorn and broken figure. Last I heard he was turning out for Tiverton or someone like that. I bet that even today, every now and again, he plays a shot that's pure perfection - but not often.

  • Nabeel on October 29, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    First of all, an excellent piece of satire. Andy Z, u Rock!! My Team

    1. Sherwin Campbell 2. Adrian Griffith 3. Mohammmed Ashraful 4. Vinod Kambli 5. Marcus North 6. Graeme Hick 7. Ridley Jacobs 8. Richard Johnson 9. Monty Panesar 10.Danish Kaneria 11.Cameron Cuffy

  • JainP on October 29, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Laugh-out-loud writing Andy! Looking forward to the next installment of the confectionery stall!

  • Sajin on October 29, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    As always...hilarious article Andy!

    The best line was about Hooper Chanderpaul hybrid.

    "A hybrid of Hooper’s style and Chanderpaul’s concentration would have been one of the greatest batsmen of any era. A hybrid of Hooper’s concentration and Chanderpaul’s style could have led to cricket being outlawed"

    wonderful writing ..

    There was another West Indian...Ricardo Powell..remember anyone?? ....When he started out in International cricket...with a fantastic match winning hundred against India..I thought they have probably found a replacement for the great Viv Richards...

    another talent wasted!

  • Billios on October 29, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    Certainly some strong contenders from NZ & WI in recent years... I'd like to see Lou Vincent & Craig Spearman opening the batting together, although it would inevitably not last for more than about 10 deliveries. "Two meter" Peter Fulton was often compared to a right-handed Fleming, looked like a dream straight-driving, pity that was his only shot. Brad Hogg also added a flash of excitement to test cricket, and for selectorial purposes would have the advantage of comfortably having the worst bowling average.

  • NonStriker on October 29, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    I am deeply agreived at the omission of Dipak patel and Murphy Su'a. Unless of course the Murph actually was that seam bowler you remember from school. Given we Kiwis have seen so few of the elgant and so many of the ineffective these two should be celebrated for acheiving the double.

  • matt on October 29, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    how about murphy sua, tino best, patterson thompson, tom moody, martin love, martin mccague

  • waqmeister on October 29, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Richie Benaud said that Mohammad Akram reminded him of Michael Holding.... but it was Michael Holding when he broke his back and could not bowl ;)

  • TJ Ramadoss on October 29, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    What about the Indian selector K Srikkanth?

    For those people who hate AJIT AGARKAR and call him useless, he has the record for the fastest to 50 wickets and 288 ODI wickets at 27+ average. He is an ODI specialist. If he is in the list then Nathan Bracken needs to be knocking. Some people don't know $hit about cricket.

  • Ajay on October 28, 2010, 23:43 GMT

    Seeing Sehwag open with Bangar was like seeing Beethoven team up with Miley Cyrus for a charity single. Wrong and confusing!! Hilarious!

  • AmmaGahai on October 28, 2010, 23:40 GMT

    Oh, come on! I don’t care if Cricinfo didn’t had any Sri Lankan Players in their any of the BEST lists. But how on earth u don’t have any of the Sri Lankan players in ur WORST list? R we that bad? Lol

    Now, if any one to open the inning for this team, it has to be Chandika Haturusinghe! He would nick it to the slip cordon so elegantly.

    Chandika Haturusinghe – Elegantly and nicks Athula Samarasekara- best opener we never had Amal Silva – can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t keep wickets Roy Dias – best talent, not enough runs Brendon Kurruppu – Now I thing Gilchrist is his Second coming Indika De Saram – I have seen him hitting massive sixes, only in domestic though Guy De Alwis – Brenden + Guy = Gilchrist Ravindra Pushpakumara- fast and no luck Nuwan soyza – Michel holding – Vass = Soyza Champaka Ramanayake – can only swing one bowl per match Don Arunasiri – Fill Tufnell of Sri Lankan Cricket

  • Buff on October 28, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    Thank you for including Brendon Julian. In Australia, we are not sure how he made it into first-class, let alone test match cricket.

  • Mudassar Rana on October 28, 2010, 22:55 GMT

    Without doubt my favourite cricinfo writer! Whenever i read your articles it makes me remember that cricket is just a sport! Very important as a pakistan fan!

    Really appreciate your style of slapping people with such humour and love they cant say anything to you! hats off!

  • Shahid on October 28, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    I will put Dennis Lille in to it. If you take his hyped media profile out of the equation, and let him bowl on non-fast bowler friendly wickets (other than Australia and England) then you have got your man. In 3 tests in Pakistan he gets 3 wicket @103 a piece. In SL his average 35, In india he never liked to play

  • Gorky Shaw on October 28, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    awesome as usual Andy. Funny choice of topic and you nailed it in a very Zaltzman-ic manner once again.

    I second 'Fuzzy Logic'; I too would love to see a Ravindra Jadeja XI i.e a list of nonsense players making a long career!

  • Oucher on October 28, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    Hey, where is Ravinder Jadeja?

    Oh wait, he is not elegant..

  • Siddharth on October 28, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is on his way to join this list!

  • Markinspain on October 28, 2010, 21:29 GMT

    If you started watching cricket in 1981 you won't remember Keith Boyce. The world's most spectacular batsman managed a Test average of 24, and he creeps into your averages qualification with a bowling average of 30.01. But he was all litheness and coiled-spring power, as any who saw him flay cover drives into the River Chelmer off the top edge of his bat will testify. Any six was invariably followed by an exaggerated forward defensive, even if the ball was up at his throat. And quite simply the best outfielder ever, made Sir Viv and Derek Randall look like donkeys.

  • afzal on October 28, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    1. aminul islam (bangladesh) 145 on debut innings against srinath, zaheer khan and co then 365 in next 25 innings 2. Enamul Haque jnr (bangladesh) 21 wickets in hist first 3 innings then 20 wickets in next 21 innings

  • Venky Venkatesh on October 28, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    These Zaltzman pieces keeps my interest in cricket alive. Much appreciated.

    After ROTFL on Hooper-Chanderpaul and dusting off, I did experience a slight twinge of guilt due to my memory of the May 2002 Barbados test. Believe it or not, of the 4 50+ scores in the WI first innings, Chanderpaul's was the most elegant. Maybe things look different at the ground (I was there!) than on TV. But even this innings was surpassed by an eye pleasing 51 by Wasim Jaffer in India's 2nd.

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    To offer a NZ perspective on this, we have certainly had a few recently!

    Mark Gillespie - Could bowl 140+ in a country where the ball usually travels faster on the way to the stadium than from any bowler! Unfortunately, the ball went to the boundary even quicker

    Peter Fulton - Hailed as equal parts Crowe and Jesus hitting a triple century in FC (only the 6th NZer ever to do so) but batted as if made of pure concrete

    Daniel Flynn - Possibly one of the most classically gifted batsman we've ever had. But in internationals, his pads have a habit of befriending the ball. See also How, Jamie

    Great call on Xavier Marshall btw. I would chuck Sewnarine Chattergoon, Franklyn Rose, Sajid Mahmood, Wasim Jaffer and Wasti into the list.

  • Warks Fan on October 28, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    R H Spooner. Averaged about 30, but Cardus nearly wet himself with excitement over the man's sheer style.

  • AJ on October 28, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    The Hooper-Chanderpaul analogy reminded me of the Bernard Shaw-Marilyn Monroe joke...brains of Monroe and the looks of GB Shaw!!

    Hilarious article! loved it..

  • Luffy on October 28, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    There were two very stylish batsmen in the 70's who were going to be Australia's saviour. Ian Davis and Peter Toohey were very stylish, unfortunately at test level, they were as useful with the bat as that other stylish Australian, Dame Edna Everage.

  • Dilan on October 28, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    @Swaroop - One of the best comments all time. Can't stop laughing.............

  • Nitin on October 28, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Unadulterated, Chandrapul takes guard like a crab. I wonder what the Hooper combination would do?

  • Rohit on October 28, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    Excellent article Andy..and kudos to swaroop also, for 3 very humorous additions

  • PS on October 28, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    lol lol rofl really funny!! keep up the great work

  • jamierocker on October 28, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    Andy at his best again after one or two limp articles(by his exalted standards) recently.The Hooperand Chanderpaul analogies and the bit about Alex Tudor playing strokes which one thought Geoffrey Boycott had officially outlawed from English cricket! Hilarious!

  • Salman Shah on October 28, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    According to Sultan Zarawani's Wikipedia page:

    Under his leadership, the UAE won the 1994 ICC Trophy in Kenya which earned them qualification for the 1996 Cricket World Cup. He also captained the UAE in their first-ever One Day International match which was played against India. Although his team was defeated, Zarawani did manage to capture one wicket - that of Sachin Tendulkar.

    He is best known for facing South African fast bowler Allan Donald without a helmet at the World Cup and being hit by a fierce bouncer. Donald recorded in his autobiography that he feared initially that he had killed him. Despite the blow, Zarawani still continued to refuse the offer of a helmet but only lasted six more balls before he was dismissed and taken straight to hospital.

    He left the international game with ODI batting and bowling averages of 4.33 and 51 respectively. "Swap the figures round, as they say, and you'd have one hell of an allrounder," mused Lawrence Booth.

    Well put Mr. Booth :P

  • Salman Shah on October 28, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    Apologies, apologies. You're right Gonzo, his name was Sultan Zarawani. Confused him with Shaukat, however the rest of this tale is accurate lol :P

  • Salman Shah on October 28, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    @ Gonzo: yes I know who you mean. The match was from World Cup 1996 between UAE and South Africa, played in my hometown Peshawar, Pakistan. The UAE Captain's name was Shaukat Dukanwala (literally means "shopkeeper" in Urdu).

    Haha when the UAE took the field against SA, he misfielded a few times against Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten as well. Also got hit around when he bowled. I remember Geoffrey Boycott, who was commenting on the match, exclaiming "well Shaukat, you can't bowl, you can't bat, and you obviously can't field, and you're CAPTAIN?"

    My father ran into Boycott along with a few members of the England team (Hick, Atherton etc.) golfing that weekend at the Peshawar Golf Club. He asked Boycs why he had been so harsh towards Shaukat Dukanwala during a live broadcast. Boycs response in his classic Yorkshire accent was, "I don't think I was harsh one bit. He's plain ROOBISH isn't he?"

  • Ajay on October 28, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    How did everyone forget Hrishikesh Kanitkar.. played in the indian side for a year just because of a shot that he hit in bangladesh against pak

  • Saurav on October 28, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    I remember a game years ago, a World Cup in the 90s, when the captain of the UAE (think his name was 'Sultan'

    his name was Shaukat Dukanwala

  • Sam on October 28, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    I was so tempted to suggest Ravindra Jadeja.. but he is NOTelegant and far too ineffective..Can we have a bizarre XI.. comprising the list of players who confounded the cricket fans of their continuing selection in their national teams inspite of proving that they are dud cricketers. I nominate Ajit Agarkar and Ravindra Jadeja (please make him captain of that list) from India. and Please someone make a useless cricket commentator's XI too. I can nominate so many names in that list.

  • Deep on October 28, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    Brilliant - the moment I saw the article catchline on the home page I was half expecting to see Hooper in there. This is a no contest - perfect XI. And yeah - Mohd. Ashraful as the 12th man would round it off perfectly.

  • Pushpak on October 28, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    L Sivaramakrishnan would certainly top the Former-cricketers-but-ineffective-commentators list for sure :)

  • shiva on October 28, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    The Hooper/Chanderpaul bit made me actually laugh out loud.

  • Sigismund on October 28, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Ah, good work, Andy; it's great to see your similes flowing again with even more brilliance and panache than any of those worthies in your list. I fear that it may well come to pass that Ravi Bopara will be the first name on my team sheet in ten years' time, I pray that it is not so. Perhaps he wouldn't qualify, though, as my epitaph would bemoan the mismanagement of his development, rather than his innate ineffectiveness. One last thing, @SR: a fitting suggestion, with Hooper's hopelessly suicidal approach to becoming the perpetrator of Cork's hat-trick - the only Test match hat-trick by an England bowler I can remember ever seeing - being a perfect closure of the circle of flamboyant ineptitude. Thanks again, Andy. Don't forget the jockstrap.

  • Saddam on October 28, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    So many players can enter this list. Pakistan has so many players in the last few years who can make this list but Players like Carl Hooper should not be included in it. His career averages of 36 and 35 in tests and ODI respectively and scores of 5762 and 5761 respectively along with occasional wkts can certainly lift him out of this list. He also played over 100 tests which argues well for his effectiveness, not to mention his effective captaincy in which improved his own performances unlike lots of great cricketers.

  • Vicky on October 28, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    I would recommend Vinod Kambli, Laxman Sivamkrishnan ,Jermaine Lawson, Imran Nazir and Franklyn Rose!!!!!!

  • Sajib on October 28, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    MD. Ashraful? Check some of his innings against the likes of Australia,SA,India and then his avg.

  • Gonzo on October 28, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    I remember a game years ago, a World Cup in the 90s, when the captain of the UAE (think his name was 'Sultan') marched out to face Alan Donald wearing a wide-brimmed white hat instead of a helmet. It looked very stylish, and I think he managed one stylish shot before Donald knocked the hat off! Think he was ok eventually (even Donald looked a bit upset at seeing him go down) but it was hilarious.

  • Sayantan Bose on October 28, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    A few more months and some dogged persistence from the Indian selection committee, and Ravindra Jadeja could be making it to this XI as the utterly useless allrounder.

  • Bharadwaj Sheshadri on October 28, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    Arshad Khan, Aakash Chopra, Sunil Joshi

  • Atul Bhogle on October 28, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    You are back at your best, Andy! The piece on Hooper and Chanderpaul was priceless!

    I would find a place for Marlon Samuels in that XI some where, he was the the most stylish batsman to emerge from WI after Lara but such a waste of talent!

  • Singh_Saab on October 28, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    Ian Bell

  • Nafzak on October 28, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    I Must protest the exclusion of another of my countryman from this XI... the handsome, elegant and stylish Sheik Faoud Ahmad Feisal Bacchus. He scored 782 test runs in 30 innings, however 250 of those runs came in one innings (against India at Kanpur) and he might have made more had he not slipped and hit his own wicket. He also made seven ducks in 30 innings. All 19 of his test matces were on different grounds. Glad to see Carl Hooper in the team.

  • Iyer on October 28, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    Truly hilarious mate... One on Mohd Akram... Wow wow.. And on Tuffnell... simply amazing....

  • Arvind on October 28, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    "as the highly enjoyable season of ESPNcricinfo XIs draws to a close"

    With that, you hit the nail on the head. I had been wondering whether everyone at Cricinfo (and certain "expert" guest writers) had been given a school assignment to do their "XIs".

    Very often these "XIs" would make the Cricinfo headlines even ahead of the international matches between real "XIs" of Full Member nations.

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    some people suggested yuvraj singh!!! are they freaking out of their mind ?????? Yuvraj singh...one of the best ODI middle order bat for India...just having a bad patch, this guy won MOS 3 times in a row, fastest 50 in any form of the game, only player to hit six 6's in an over to a strike bowler,when on song...more destructive than Sehwag,played one of the best ODI inngs ever chasing 326 agnst Eng in the natwest finals...dude u guys ever saw cricket???? what r u talking abt??? complete jerks!!!

  • Mohammad Asad on October 28, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    Nice article Andy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep it up ............................... Looks like competition is going on ...................... I think Ramesh has been selected due to ' when he batted, his feet looked like ............... '.

  • CP on October 28, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    WV Raman should make that list easily.

  • zee on October 28, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    two players i can think of are jacques rudolph and yaseer hameed............

  • Arv on October 28, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    What about Dwayne Smith (WI)? Test century on debut in the 4th innings against SA. Cannot get a game for the Deccan Chargers now.

  • Engle on October 28, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    While we're on a roll with a stream of XI's, here's one to think about : " Useless Cricketers who gained fame/notoriety from being affiliated with Illustrious Cricketers XI " .

    For example, Eric Hollies (bowled Bradman in last innings) Malcolm Nash (hit for 6 sixes by Sobers) Rob Bailey (given out after excessive appealing by Viv Richards)

    I'm sure there's lots more

  • Prash on October 28, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Atherton from West Indies... looked like the next in line after Vivian Richards... and Richhie Richardson.... all style... had all the shots in the book of cricket... great Technique... looked tough.... DID NOTHING....

  • Mahesh on October 28, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    Someone commented, may be in jest, "had it not been for Australia, VVS could have been in this list". VVS's average comes down by 2.5 runs to 45 when we remove Australia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh from the equation. This coupled with his style and match winning ability gives a place in the list of top 5 Indian batsmen and one of the greatest of this generation.

  • akhlaq on October 28, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    Finally a Pakistani in a team even if.......... ( Other than the original XI)

  • flashgordon on October 28, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    i would like to give a West Indian XI for this article 1) S.Campbell 2) S.Williams 3) D.Ganga 4)WW.Hinds(Capt) 5)Devon Smith 6)Ryan Hinds 7)D.Ramdin (wk) 8)Patterson Thompson 9)M.Black 10)V.Drakes 11)R.King 12th Man:N.Deonarine All were/are really useless players.

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    i would like to give a West Indian XI for this article 1) S.Campbell 2) S.Williams 3) D.Ganga 4)WW.Hinds(Capt) 5)Devon Smith 6)Ryan Hinds 7)D.Ramdin (wk) 8)Patterson Thompson 9)M.Black 10)V.Drakes 11)R.King 12th Man:N.Deonarine All were/are really useless players.

  • DDRS on October 28, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Marvan Atapattu could produce some of the most elegant drives (nicked to the 'keeper, but beautifully done) that you ever saw.

  • Junaid Asif on October 28, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    mohammad sami shuld definitely be added to the list

  • B2B on October 28, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    What about that turbaned Indian pacer who had a nice smooth run up, only to attempt a kick at the umpire without breaking stride just before the delivery? I cannot recall his name (no surprise there). He did play against Pakistan in Sharjah ODIs, not sure if he also figured in tests (again, no surprise if not)

  • Kryger on October 28, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    What about Neil Foster? Surely the most elegant test bowler to have played for England and to end up with an average above 30? After participating in the rebel tour to South Africa in the late 1980s he played only one more test for England but sadly proved in that test that had not recovered from being smacked around four years earlier by SA's greates apple farmer, Adrian Kuiper.

  • BarryCrocker on October 28, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    Hi Andy,

    Surely while we're in the business of naming levels we now must have the 'Crap Technique XI'??

    Achievement should not be a criteria, just the ability to do things without any suggestion of grace whatsoever:

    'The 11 Stodges'

    1. Kepler Wessels 2. Bruce Edgar (of course!) 3. Peter Willey 4. Mike Veletta 5. Geoff Howarth 6. Paul Downton 7. Chetan Sharma 8. Peter Sleep 9. 'Frog in a blender' Adams 10. Sarfraz Nawaz 11. Martin Snedden 12th man: Ewen Chatfield

    Sarfraz shuffling in from one end on the verge of tripping over with Peter Sleep trying to land it on the pitch from the other - you can just imagine Nevillle Cardus talking about lotus eating and barmy sunlit whitsun weekend afternoons in the same breath!!

  • chris on October 28, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    "His batting has the flourish of an egg sandwich and the elegance of a steamrollered Hedgehog" must be the greatest sentence ever in the English language. The bit about Beethoven teaming up with Miley Cyrus sounds good. I might appreciate it better if I knew who Miley Cyrus was. The adjoining sentences about Hooper's style and Chanderpaul's concentration are hilarious. Great article. I offer only one suggestion - Wayne Larkins. Obviously the selectors liked him, but he was useless. Paul Parker got only one chance (two years later than should have been the case) and the captain didn't like him, so that was that. I must, however, take issue with previous comments about Hick and Ramprakash. Hick had to spend 4 years qualifying, which were his best years and it might have been a different story if he could have played for England earlier. As for Ramps, he had to spend an awful lot of time protecting the tail.

  • SN on October 28, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    I do not have words to describe how funny I found this article.

    Oh wait: excruciatingly, maddeningly, wake-the-neighboury, spill-your-gutsy, annihilate-your-lungsy, spit-on-your-enemies funny.

  • SGeorge on October 28, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    Still laughing...."A hybrid of Hooper’s style and Chanderpaul’s concentration would have been one of the greatest batsmen of any era. A hybrid of Hooper’s concentration and Chanderpaul’s style could have led to cricket being outlawed. ".....

  • Dan de V on October 28, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    12th Man should go to a Guyanese bowler: Reon King the worse fielder to ever play for the West Indies...

  • Il Magnifico on October 28, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    What about that Englishman that cried into his cereal every morning of a match? He was elegant. And when you needed to count on him to show the elegance, he was on a psychiatrist's couch if not running to his mama complaining about "those big boys that tease me a lot."

  • Jonathan Ellis on October 28, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    Dominic Cork doesn't qualify on the grounds of, well, being pretty damn useful with the ball (averaged under 30 at least). Panesar also fails to qualify as a bowler for the same reason.

    On the other hand, as far as Test cricket is concerned, Mark Ramprakash SHOULD be here. In county cricket, a wonderful stylist who can't stop scoring: in Test cricket, he got all crabbed up, couldn't buy a run anywhere, and gritted his way to an average of 27.

    Which was worse than the much-maligned Graeme Hick - who actually did do well enough to spend two years (1993-1995) as one of England's best and most reliable batsmen, including finally scoring a century and a couple of nineties off Ambrose and Walsh, more centuries off Donald and Pollock, and playing Warne better than anyone else in the side - before being dropped after two bad matches and never getting his confidence back.

    Mohammad Ashraful also really ought to be in this list.

    There might even be room for Phil Simmons too.

  • BarryCrocker on October 28, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    1.Mohsin Khan

    2. Robbie Kerr

    3. Wayne Larkins

    4. Stuart Law (no average!! 55 and still counting...)

    5. Kim Barnett

    6. Marlon Samuels

    7. Greg Dyer

    8. Stu Gillespie (mid 80's vintage - there you go Kiwis!)

    9. Phil Edmonds - great cover drive, when pulled out of cupboard

    10. Alan Igglesden

    11. Paul Jarvis

  • west indian on October 28, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    Don't forget Roland Butcher

  • Navillus on October 28, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    Qasim Omar ... one of the most elegant batsmen to have played as few tests as he did Lou Vincent - his fifty on debut made me think NZ had unearthed the successor to Martin Crowe Mohammad Ashraful - almost the Bradman of Bangladesh, if he managed to improve his average by 70 odd. Ajit Agarkar - when on song a most elegant strokemaker, but often left without a score to hum WV Raman - a class act who was more a victim of crazy Indian selection process than own ineffectiveness ... his one ODI hundred against South Africa was sublime, as were his 90s against Hadlee and co. Plus, possessed a superb action as a Slow Left Arm spinner ... without the capacity of taking wickets Atul Bedade - a six hitting sensation who seldom scored more than six

  • Aj on October 28, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    What?? No tendulkar? This is a ridiculous list. Andy doesn't have a clue.

  • S.H. Mohan on October 28, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Since Andy was born in 1974 and obviously took to cricket in mid 80s, he has missed out many from the previous era. The most obvious name that comes to mind is Salim Durani. Incidentally he also tried his hand at movies and needless to say flopped.

    A great piece of typical English writing!!!

    Mohan

  • Mystic on October 28, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    WHAT??? No Tendulkar????

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Mike Brearely as capt. Greame Hick Greame Yallop Rick McCrosker Geoff Greenidge Hirwani Irving Shillingford

  • M train on October 28, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Xavier marshall is a very good get, oozes class. Unfortunately also oozed poor temperament and struggled to knuckle down for a big innings. Have to agree with a previous poster asking for v raju..... mesmerised watching him bowl back in the day

  • M train on October 28, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Xavier marshall is a very good get, oozes class. Unfortunately also oozed poor temperament and struggled to knuckle down for a big innings. Have to agree with a previous poster asking for v raju..... mesmerised watching him bowl back in the day

  • Bugling Confectionary Staller on October 28, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Very good as always Z man. I have fond memories of ?Gerry Liebenberg. My recollection was that in his series in England he kept inexplicably missing straight balls. However, having looked it up he was only bowled once and LBW twice so maybe I am doing him down. Maybe a recall is in the offing?

  • sandeep on October 28, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Mr. Andy Zaltzman. You forgot Ajit Agarkar. He took fastest 50 wickets(in 17matches) in ODI.

  • Minne Marijnen on October 28, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Darren Powell was made for this team. Lovely rhytm and classical West Indian action, wich explains why the selectors overlooked his complete lack of wicket taking capacity for 8 years

  • Vijay on October 28, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    WV Raman Abhey Kuruvilla Ian Harvey Moahamed Sami Mushtaq Mohammed Prasanna Jayawardane Ian Salisbury Franklin Rose Sadanand Vishwanath All in current NZ playing XI (except Vettori)

  • Ramdas Sawant on October 28, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    Ajit Agarkar ?

  • karthik on October 28, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    @thorpedo- yuvraj singh???? :O.....which world are u from dude????....even though he is in a rough patch now!!! he still can replace nyone in any team man!!!

  • D.V.C. on October 28, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Carl Hooper's bowling deserved a mention. Never before have so many overs been bowled by someone so ineffective.

  • Prasanna on October 28, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    What about Atar-Ur- Rehman

  • Deep Cower on October 28, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    With Page 2 full of "humorous" articles these days, we are lucky to still have Andy Zaltzman to remind us what the real funny is.

  • Amit on October 28, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    You are hilarious. This is funny. Reminds me of my college days, when my captains stretegy was to wow the opposition bowlers with wonderful strokeplay. And he led the way. Wonderful guy. He did not believe in running between wickets and refused to take singles, unless it was a well deserved one. We often scored around 60 allout with 12 or 13 fours. (the par for the course was 140 in a 35 over game) but those were elegant runs - full of beautiful cover drives, pulls, square cuts, flicks. But we also saw our stumps fly to full tosses and half volleys all the time. Our bowlers were fast, furious and elegant with long runups. Scared the shit out of opposition batsman. Unfortunately, it scared the wicketkeeper and the slip cordon as well. Our legspinner spun the ball more than Shane warne and we often had a 3rd slip and third man stationed to save buys. Once we conceeded more byes than we scored as a team. But when we played, we drew crowds. Partly to watch us fumble in grace and partly to support us (the non-supporters were tagged as communists in the dorm).

    We all played like Roger Binny.

  • Darren on October 28, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    Ben Hollioake (god rest his soul)?

  • sulaiman on October 28, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Dear Andy.

    I am a grad student at Cambridge, trying to get an MPhil in economics without previously having studied economics in my life. I barely have time to eat or breathe and certainly none to browse the web. yet, cricinfo is the only website i ever visit, and that's only because I know you'll post every now and then.

    I am puzzled why you are demanding an apology for kirsten's innings. if Pakistan had ever clung to a nerve shredding draw which maintained a 1-0 series deficit in a 3rd test, and if Pakistan then won the fourth test, and won an exciting fifth by 23 runs, and if an opposing batsman had stodgeground (priceless!) a double hundred in the third test, which consumed enough time to allow Pakistan to draw the match, and effectively enabled Pakistan to complete a comeback series win, I would quit Cambridge and dedicate my education money and my life to a grassroots campaign in Karachi to rename National Stadium after him. But that's just me.

    Cheers, Sulaiman

  • Supratim Nayak on October 28, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    Is naming contemporary players a sin? I am sitting here with a magnifying glass to find out where Ravindra Jadeja resides in the list.

  • Ramesh on October 28, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    It looks like there will competition for the most useless team. Lets start doing it country wise with most useless captains of each country as the jury.

  • Fuzzy Logic on October 28, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    A few names that i can recall are

    Matthew Sinclair : scored double century on debut against West Indies...another one against Pakistan...where is he now?

    Vijay Bhardwaj : In his first one day series won the man of the match taking 10 wickets at avg 12 and useful runs. Pitched to be the next indian allrounder. Ended up probably as the man with worse difference in odi and test bowling averages!

    Paul Adams : The man with an action that looked like a frog in a blender. 134 test wickets in 45 test matches need i say more?

    Wasim Jaffer : Another Sinclair with two double hundreds in internation cricket, still of playable age.

    Mohammad Kaif : One of the most exciting one day players. Was called as future captain of India (Probably by Ian Chappel).Finds difficult even to get selected in IPL teams

    Andy, would love to see a Ravindra Jadeja XI i.e a list of nonsense players making a long career!

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    good team and excellant article but ramprakash is more important miss than kambli at least kambli has avg of 54 and 40 in test and ODI but injury effected him also. but ramprakash and and agarkar was a better choise than cris lewis: INDIAN XI

    ASHOK MANKAD DEGANG GANDHI AKASH CHOPRA AJAY SHARMA JADEJA ROHIT SARMA AGARKAR SADANAND SIVARAMAKRISHNAN DODDA GANESH RAJESH CHOWHAN

  • WindBadger on October 28, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    "He could hit forward-defensive shots for six."

    Brilliant.

  • absar on October 28, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    someone stupidly named damien martyn? he averages over 45.. i think close to 50... he was a brilliant batsman... i see a couple of people being upset about ramesh's inclusion.. he wasnt bad - it was just that when he batted, his feet looked like he was surfing and his bat was brandishing like a razor... lol... though i did admire the way he batted early on... hick - how could he forget the greatest underachiever of all time? a comment about agarkar had me laughing lol... but i think ravindra jadeja will overtake him...

  • Ravi Kumar on October 28, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Andy Z offers something everyone else writing on Page 2 can learn from - the ability to offer humorous comments on cricket and its players, while displaying a very good understanding of cricket as a sport, and what it takes to succeed at it. His writings should be compulsory learning for the rest of his colleagues on Page 2 and Cricinfo.

  • Shamit on October 28, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Paul Collingwood nudges the ball? I thought he 'nurdles' it. Gary Kirsten has actually destroyed your soul hasn't he? I get the feeling he reminds you of your own batting style. If there was a God, Zaltzman would be in the ESPNcricinfo all-time XI!

    Fanatstic piece. Laugh riot. As usual. Too good.

  • CricketPissek on October 28, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Nuwan Zoysa should make it to your 2nd XI. Such a beautifully economical action that he almost didn't bowl. He performed too well (eg: Hattrick off his first 3 balls in a test) to usurp Moh'd Akram, but I'm sure he would "down his game" to break into this formidable outfit. Also, the memory of Brendan Julian breaking Jayasuriya's arm, with a bouncer off good-length after he thrashed the Aussies around in an ODI, still hurts!

  • Ahmad Saleem on October 28, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Hafeez and Basit Ali from Pakistan Ajit Agarkar, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma from India should also be considered

  • ndigits on October 28, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Good one, as always, Andy. I could think of a few to add to this list, Akash Chopra,Wajahtullah Wasti - only remembered for running out Inzi and getting a mouthful from him on the ground. Stuart Williams from WI too, looked stylish but did nothing of note. For Offspinner, you cant miss Sarandeep singh, a smooth action, and one test, is all he got.

  • Steve Taylor on October 28, 2010, 10:06 GMT

    Another 4 Englismen I'm afraid.

    Frank Hayes and Graham Barlow. Stylish county players, well and truly sorted out at Test level.

    Neal Radford: Show-pony par excellence

    Tony Pigott: What the hell was he doing anywhere near the England team even one as rubbish as the one we had in the 80's?

  • Saurabh on October 28, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    I think we can add Marlon Samuels and Stuart Williams (I remember one of his innnings against SA, he scored only 30 something but was brilliant to watch) of the West Indies to the list as well

  • Junaid Asghar on October 28, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    What about Boom Boom Afridi. the greatest magician and the worst achiever of them all of all times?????

  • palfreyman on October 28, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Hilarious stuff Andy.

    "A hybrid of Hooper’s concentration and Chanderpaul’s style could have led to cricket being outlawed. "

    Just one of the many gems there.

    Thanks

  • varada on October 28, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    A footnote on S.Ramesh's career. He also tried his han at being a movie star and as a host of a comedy show(figure that one out!). Sadly for him flopped out on both accounts

  • nsh on October 28, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Mark Lathwell! Ed Smith! Ian Salisbury! Your mention of Gary Kirsten's batting technique has given me an itchy scalp. I demand that you subsidise the medicated shampoo I shall now have to buy.

  • Matt Stewart on October 28, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    No place for possibly the two greatest flat-track bullies of english domestic cricket, messrs Ramprakash and Hick?

  • Sandy_bangalore on October 28, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    Its disappointing to see Ramesh's name in this list. On what basis does the writer think hes useless?? He started off in great fashion against the likes of wasim and waqar in his first series, scored a lot of 50s and scored in great style. Its just that Sehwags emergence meant that we could have only one opener who made runs at a fast clip? Had viru not been there, Ramesh would have been one of the mainstays, as his timing was second to none. Atleast check the players track record, and then decide whether he should fit into a list or not.

  • Ankur Aggarwal on October 28, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    hilarious....rotfl..this is indeed the best XI...the best line - Seeing Sehwag open with Bangar was like seeing Beethoven team up with Miley Cyrus for a charity single.

  • ShAh00 on October 28, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Darren Lehman (Aus), Basit Ali (Pak), Vinod Kambli (Ind), Muhammad Waseem (Pak) can make up to this XI in batting side. As You mentioned Muhammad Akram, another Bowler from Pakistan, Muhammad Zahid can also make up to this list.

  • Swarnendu Biswas on October 28, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    Excellent. Would like to see a real elegant but effective line up...and I would put Damien Martyn and Ian Bell in that list along with Julian.

  • Rain Man on October 28, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    I could agree with some of your observations, however, with that of Carl Hooper, you did not point out the fact that Hooper made a lot of good runs esp when he was the captain of the west indies. in fact towards the end of his career he was batting better than ever. Sadly the weather really undid the teams efforts in the world cup in south africa and he was dropped into oblivion after that. Placing hooper in the list of really very poor ineffective players was rather unfair.

  • thorpedo on October 28, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Jamie How Mark Ramprakash Ravi Bopara John Crawley Yuvraj Singh Andrew Flintoff* (batting) Tim Ambrose Daren Powell Mohammed Sami Byrce McGain Monty Panesar

  • Ashok on October 28, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    Craig Spearman of NZ - only first class triple centurion in the whole list & Wally Edwards of Oz Ajit Wadekar & Ambar Roy of India Mohamed Ashraful of Bangladesh Faoud Bacchus of West Indies Graham Hick of England Dirk Welham & David Hookes of Oz Mohamed Sami of Pakistan L. Sivaramakrishnan of India

  • alan on October 28, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    Brilliant article - a Chanderpaul/Hooper hybrid would have been something to see! I would nominate Peter Martin - not for his chief skill of bowling, because he appeared to be running through a field of stinging nettles as he came in to bowl, but for his surprisingly elegant batting, which would regualrlay see him to 20 before he would be unceremoniously cleaned up by whichever annoyed Australain/South African seamer he had just hit for four. COnversely, I would also select Michael Bevan - agian, his chief skill of batting was abbout as elegant as a drunken lumberjack trying to chop down a non-existent tree, but his bowling was pure poetry - asomething shared by most left-arm wrist spinners (Paul Adams excepted of course).

  • Thomas on October 28, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    I witnessed one such Sehwag-Bangar partnership at the Wankhede in 2002. The highlight, besides Sehwag's century was the merciless heckling of the immortal Merwyn Dillon by the Mumbai crowd. Dillon finally snapped and flipped the bird. Good times!

  • George on October 28, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Great article, but let me be the first to say it: It's a TRAVESTY that Tendulkar isn't in this team. No team is complete without SRT!!!

  • KP on October 28, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    Superbly funny article!! Bravo Andy!! What about Matthew Elliott ...i thought he was very elegant too...unfortunately not as successful as i thought!

  • reach4venkat on October 28, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    Surprised to see Ajit Agarkar missing in this list. He would be topping the list of players with most number of matches played but still completely useless

  • Rahul on October 28, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Finally, one list where no one is going to ask "Where is Tendulkar?". But I have to ask, "Where is Kambli?". true, he never toured England, but he bashed English team on his way to a double hundred.

  • PietSkiet on October 28, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Good team, I will just replace Phil Tufnell with Nicky Boje, the best slow straight bowler the world has ever seen

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    Ahh, that was brilliant. Favourite line "Paul Collingwood...batting with ...the elegance of a steamrollered hedgehog". But so many more. Being from New Zealand I have nothing to offer in the way of alternative players for this XI. If on the other hand you want a list of ugly players who frustrate, please give me a call.

  • Raks on October 28, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Splended as always Andy. Can we safely say that Benuad is not very good in judging young cricketers?

  • Pramod on October 28, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    The ones about Hooper and Mohammed Akram were really funny..

  • Sandeep kandwal on October 28, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Exceptional Article.. "He seemed to have enough time to write a letter home whilst waiting for the ball. Sadly, he often batted as if he was thinking of what he was going to write in it. " This was really funny.

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Chris Martin?

  • SR on October 28, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Props! My favorite XI to come out of cricinfo this month. Could I suggest Dominic Cork as the 12th man (some might argue he was as useful as Hooper)?

  • Lac on October 28, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Great article as always.

  • Usman Khaliq on October 28, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    Excellent. One of the genuinely funny pieces which I have come across on Cricinfo.

  • Pankaj Joshi on October 28, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    Had it not been for Australia, VVS Laxman could have been part of this list. Oh what a depriviation for you Andy.

  • Aftab Ahmed Awan on October 28, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Mansoor Akhtar and Mohsin Kamal from Pakistan. Both very elegant and at the same very ineffective.

  • Swaroop on October 28, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    Some Indians to add to that list:

    1. Vinod Kambli - Battered England and Zimbabwe with two double centuries back-to-back. When he got that high-backlift game going, he looked like Brian Lara. But when the ball bounced above his waist, he looked like Javagal Srinath.

    2. Venkatapathy Raju - Lovely run-up, smooth action, teasing loop. But his bowling was as friendly as his smile.

    3. Rohit Sharma - Laxmanesque in his off-side elegance and Pollardesque in his late-innings destructiveness, he has a lower one-day average than Gagan Khoda, Ravindra Jadeja, Joginder Sharma, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Has the same Test Match batting average as Andy Zaltzman and Geoff Boycott's mum.

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  • Swaroop on October 28, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    Some Indians to add to that list:

    1. Vinod Kambli - Battered England and Zimbabwe with two double centuries back-to-back. When he got that high-backlift game going, he looked like Brian Lara. But when the ball bounced above his waist, he looked like Javagal Srinath.

    2. Venkatapathy Raju - Lovely run-up, smooth action, teasing loop. But his bowling was as friendly as his smile.

    3. Rohit Sharma - Laxmanesque in his off-side elegance and Pollardesque in his late-innings destructiveness, he has a lower one-day average than Gagan Khoda, Ravindra Jadeja, Joginder Sharma, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Has the same Test Match batting average as Andy Zaltzman and Geoff Boycott's mum.

  • Aftab Ahmed Awan on October 28, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Mansoor Akhtar and Mohsin Kamal from Pakistan. Both very elegant and at the same very ineffective.

  • Pankaj Joshi on October 28, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    Had it not been for Australia, VVS Laxman could have been part of this list. Oh what a depriviation for you Andy.

  • Usman Khaliq on October 28, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    Excellent. One of the genuinely funny pieces which I have come across on Cricinfo.

  • Lac on October 28, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Great article as always.

  • SR on October 28, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Props! My favorite XI to come out of cricinfo this month. Could I suggest Dominic Cork as the 12th man (some might argue he was as useful as Hooper)?

  • Anonymous on October 28, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Chris Martin?

  • Sandeep kandwal on October 28, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Exceptional Article.. "He seemed to have enough time to write a letter home whilst waiting for the ball. Sadly, he often batted as if he was thinking of what he was going to write in it. " This was really funny.

  • Pramod on October 28, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    The ones about Hooper and Mohammed Akram were really funny..

  • Raks on October 28, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Splended as always Andy. Can we safely say that Benuad is not very good in judging young cricketers?