November 14, 2012

The fifteen that Gods would stop to watch

A stats-based selection of an all-time XV evaluating mutliple batting and bowling parameters
863

Glenn McGrath is the automatic bowling selection in any location
Glenn McGrath is the automatic bowling selection in any location © Getty Images

Important schedule change announced at the end

This article has been on the anvil for some time and despite my weak shoulder, I have hammered it through. My selection is just a starting point to get a comprehensive user response to determine an all-time World team.

I have selected a team of 15 players. I have also made an attempt to select eleven players for the 8 locations that I expect or would like Test matches to be played at.

I have taken the major decision that this will be a team of specialists. No all-rounder, however great he is, will be considered for his all-round skills. They will be evaluated on their specialist skills and if they qualify, and in this case let me add that two qualify, they will be selected. This may be at variance with other strategies and I am ready to stand by my decision because I believe that specialists win matches.

My fifteen consists of 7 batsmen, 1 wicket-keeper and 7 bowlers. For the playing XI, I expect to select 6 out of the 7 batsmen; the keeper stays on everywhere and 4 from the 7 bowlers. This will give me the flexibility to select suitable bowlers based on the expected conditions and the way the bowlers performed in these locations in their careers. I need more flexibility in the bowler selections than batsmen selection.

I am willing to compromise on batting positions in order to maintain the team balance. I also believe that a top quality early middle order player would be good enough to open. And a great no.3 would bat equally well at no.6. I will not be a slave to preconceived notions and dogmas.

I have selected my XV. The reader may not agree with that set of players. That is democracy at work. Instead of raking me over the coals for my (non-)selections, the readers can now have their voice heard by giving their own fifteen. All of us have a single vote each and this will be truly Vox populi.

My seven batsmen, and the chosen wicket-keeper, are shown below, in alphabetical order.

Batsmen and wicketkeeper in top fifteen © Anantha Narayanan

Bradman, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Tendulkar, Gilchrist

The qualities I have looked for have been listed below. All of them would walk into their own Team XVs. Let me also confirm that Sobers has been considered purely as a batsman and his bowling skills would be a bonus. Any more details are not necessary at this stage. More than 72000 runs at display here at 60+ average.

- Team balance (3 left-handers)
- Defensive skills (Hobbs and Bradman)
- Attacking potential (The middle order)
- The ability to play long innings (Lara, Bradman, Sobers)
- Match winning ability (Gilchrist at no.7)
- Match-saving ability (rarely for this team) and
- No clearly identified weakness.

The wicket-keeper position was very easy. There was only one candidate: Adam Gilchrist. As my recent article on wicket-keepers showed, he is head and shoulders above the others. A great keeper, no weaknesses and a truly match-winning batsman. If there is a keeper or two ahead of him on keeping ability, again an unproven purely subjective view, the run difference per innings would be of the order of 25.

The seven bowlers are shown below, again in alphabetical order.

Bowlers in top fifteen © Anantha Narayanan

Ambrose, Hadlee, Marshall, McGrath, Muralitharan, Warne, Wasim Akram

Again I have looked for qualities listed below. These have been considered as individual bowlers and their ability to bowl together as a pair has not come in for consideration. Again, let me confirm that Hadlee has been considered purely as a bowler and his batting skills would be a bonus. There is no need to provide any justifications for these selections. 3700+ Test wickets at an average of 22 is enough justification.

- Variety (Pace, seam usage, left-handed swing, spin options)
- Match-winning ability
- Top strike rates (Even spinners below 60)
- Injury-free careers
- Ability to bowl tightly, when needed (Ambrose, Hadlee, McGrath)
- Ability to defend a total of 100 in the fourth innings and
- Ability to dismiss a team for a sub-100 total on the opening day.

I have done a Team rating which is

Average of Batting averages of the top-six batsmen
+
12.5% of The wicket-keeper index as outlined in my recent article
(Based on Dismissals, Dismissals per Test, Byes conceded per Test,
Runs scored and Runs per innings)
+
80.0-(Average of Bowling averages of the four specialist bowlers)
The only table which will be presented indicates the selection of the playing XI in the selected 8 countries.

Location Avg / IdxAusEngIndNzlPakSafSlkWin
           
Bradman899.94BradmanBradmanBradmanBradmanBradmanBradmanBradmanBradman
Hobbs856.95HobbsHobbsHobbsHobbsHobbsHobbsHobbsHobbs
Lara852.89LaraLaraLaraLaraLaraLaraLaraLara
Sobers857.78SobersSobersSobersSobersSobersSobersSobersSobers
Richards650.24 RichardsRichardsRichards  RichardsRichardsRichards
Tendulkar655.08TendulkarTendulkarTendulkarTendulkarTendulkar Tendulkar 
Gavaskar451.12Gavaskar    GavaskarGavaskar Gavaskar
.
Gilchrist882.50GilchristGilchristGilchristGilchristGilchristGilchristGilchristGilchrist
.
McGrath821.64McGrathMcGrathMcGrathMcGrathMcGrathMcGrathMcGrathMcGrath
Ambrose520.99AmbroseAmbrose   AmbroseAmbroseAmbrose
Marshall520.95  MarshallMarshall MarshallMarshall Marshall
Akram423.62  AkramAkramAkram Akram 
Murali422.72  MuraliMurali  MuraliMurali
Warne425.42WarneWarne  WarneWarne  
Hadlee222.30Hadlee  Hadlee    
 88
Batting  62.2962.1562.1562.1562.2962.1562.2962.15
W-K  10.3110.3110.3110.3110.3110.3110.3110.31
Bowling  57.4157.7557.7757.4357.0957.7557.7658.43
 
Team  130.02130.21130.23129.89129.70130.21130.36130.88

Bradman, Hobbs, Lara and Sobers are the batsmen who have been selected for all the 8 locations.
Gilchrist is the wicket-keeper in all the teams.
McGrath is the only automatic selection amongst all bowlers.
Gavaskar has been selected in countries where he has done well and there is need for his skill-sets. He will, of course, open in these matches.
Tendulkar will open in the 4 locations where Gavaskar is not playing. He has impeccable technique and I am sure he would do an excellent job opening the innings.

Readers can give their selections by following these guidelines.

- You can select 11 to 15 players.
- 16th and onwards players will be rejected.
- If you select 10 or fewer players or there is no wicket-keeper, the entry will be rejected.
- I have included a few sample comments. I will be pragmatic about it since the content is more important than form.
- However my task will become easier if you maintain format especially because I have to do some cut-and-paste operations to index these submissions.
- Reader identity is desirable but not mandatory. Suppose your selection matches the all-Readers XV, "James Thompson" would sound much better than "Lord-of-Lords".
- In general any selection should be acceptable. My general comment is that your selected players should have a very good chance of selection to their own country XVs.
- I will have no problems if you select Boycott or Bedi but if you select Blewett or Boje, two randomly picked names, I would conclude that you are mocking the selection process.
- If you do not select Bradman, fine, that is your choice. But then you may find your bowlers bowling at him!!!
- If you give duplicate entries, the latest one, if it passes the above criteria, will replace the earlier one.
- Do not give two XVs. I am asking for ONE XV and not two equal strength XIs to play matches between these teams. No problems if you give a First XV/XI and a second XV/XI and ask me take the First one.
- Do not restrict yourself to any period. Your selection will not be accepted.
- Please read all comments. At least read all my responses since the answer to your question might be there.

Justification on your selection, comments on my selections, comments on other readers' selections et al will be fine but not essential. These will be published as received. In general most comments will be published with least amount of response from me. This is the perfect article for that much-needed luxury for me.

Your comments containing the selections should reach me on or before 31 December, 2012. Further analysis articles will appear during December. I will refer to this article in those ones too. I will process your comments and come out with a final wrap-up summary article on or around 15 January, 2013. The Readers' XV, based on an analysis of the readers' selections, will also be posted in that article in which I will also come out with a second XV/XI.

The suggested formats for giving your entry are

Selection of Anantha Narayanan
Gavaskar
Hobbs
Bradman
Lara
Richards
Sobers
Tendulkar
Gilchrist
Ambrose
Marshall
Wasim Akram
McGrath
Muralitharan
Gavaskar
Hadlee
Warne.

Or Anantha Narayanan: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Tendulkar and Sobers Gilchrist Wasim Akram, Ambrose, Muralitharan, McGrath, Gavaskar, Hadlee, Marshall and Warne.

Or XI of Anantha Narayanan: Tendulkar, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Ambrose, Wasim Akram, McGrath, Muralitharan.

Or Something similar.

You could share the link of this article with your friends and acquaintances in order to can get more selections.

The ball has been served and is in your court now. Have fun!!!

My last article elicited very few comments. Understandable since that was a bowler-centric one. However, two related and pertinent questions for the period 1985-2012, for which I have no answers, have to be raised. We have to keep in mind the fact that, in just over three days of play in the Brisbane Test, 3 wickets were disallowed because of subsequent detection of no balls. And all were expensive transgressions.

The first is "How many wickets were lost because of bowler bowling no balls?".
The second one is "How many wickets were illegal because of undetected no balls?".

A few interesting statistical moves at the end of the Brisbane Test (not the "highest score made on a week-end south of Equator" type of tidbits).

- Kallis has crossed the 57 mark. He is sixth in the table, has crossed Hobbs' mark and is now within sight of Sobers, if he continues his excellent form. Hammond's 58.x might not be tough to overtake in this series.
- Clarke has re-joined the 50-average club, which now has 33 members. What a move? More than 2 runs in a single innings.
- Amla has gone above 50, after spending a few Tests away from this mark. Smith and Pietersen are poised to return to the nice number if they have decent showings.

Since I feel most of the responses would be in soon and as requested by a few readers, I have decided to close the acceptance of entries on 7 December and come out with the follow-up article on or around 15 December.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • chris peters on December 17, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    My team is as follows: Donald Bradman; Brian Lara; Jacques Kallis; Matthew Hayden; Gilchrist; Sachin Tendulkar; Garfield Sobers; Muralitharan; Marshall; Curtley Ambrose; Glenn McGrath; Shane Warne; Richard Hadlee; Imran Khan; Graeme Pollock [[ Sorry, submitted too late. All work has been completed. Ananth: ]]

  • Chandru on December 17, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Chandru's XI 1.Sir Don Bradman 2.Hashim Amla 3.Sachin Tendulkar 4.Kumar Sangakkara(Wicket Keeper) 5.Rahul Dravid 6.Mike Hussey 7.Jaques Kallis 8.Kapil Dev 9.Wasim Akram 10.Glenn Mcgrath 11.Shane Bond 12.Muralidaran 13.Shane Warne 14.Gary Sobers 15.AB De Villiers(Wicket Keeper) [[ Sorry, submitted too late. All work has been completed. Ananth: ]]

  • Wade on December 16, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Hard to improve on your 7 batsmen Ananth, except I'd have Dravid instead of Lara and Sutcliffe rather than Gavaskar. But I think they'd all struggle outside the Subcontinent against the best attack from outside your XV: Holding, Garner, Roberts, and Lillee.

  • swarzi on December 15, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    Ananth, the Gods have been here in the last two years trotting around the globe watching test cricket. They said that they had been hearing about cricket magicians - with the bat, with the ball and in the field; so they came to see and make their own assessments. They said that they were however only prepared to watch performances that provided awesome entertainment. Without calling any names, they said that there are one or two whom they may leave their busy schedules to come to watch; but what they saw from some whose names that they had heard so much about, if what they saw from them after watching for two years, in (10+) test matches, nearly 20 innings, they are convinced that such players were grossly overrated. They said that they had their fifteen players whom they would have always stopped to watch, but none of those whom they saw for the past two years is on that list - however, there some very exciting prospects who've come close - they may make the list in the future.

  • Dinesh on December 15, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    So this is how it must have felt during the Days of Timeless test.

    I definitely think this match will yield a result. Things happen overnight in Subcontinent on the last tow days of a match.

    And finally a word on Dhoni and Kohli, totally out of their skin, far removed from their usual way of playing. They have put India in a position from where they can win this match.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 15, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    Dr.Talha, agreed. But let me explain. If I were to be given a choice of one player between Tendulkar and Amarnath for an Indian all time XI, I would select Tendulkar eyes closed. Various factors like productivity, versatility etc. matter.

    But, if I were to select one of the two to face Marshall, Holding, Garner and Roberts in Barbados, and the rest of the batting line up was not very strong, I would select Amarnath ten times out of ten. I wonder if anyone else who has seen both, as I have, would feel differently. 1990s Tendulkar fans would feel differently of course, since values like extreme courage aganist quicks have got diminished.

    Cant explain this further.

  • Dr.talha on December 14, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @Gerry. I think at the end of the day we have to look at the overall record, rather than picking up series & evaluating the player.

    E.g Ponting scored 17 runs in 3 tests at an average of 3.4 in india in 1998. Even before that struggled in india. It was in his 5th series in india when he managed to get his 1st 100. And his last 6 years, not once has he averaged 50 in a calender year. Which is pretty ordinary by his standards.

    Another e.g is Miandad. He sruggled against WI in his first 3 series. It was in his 4th series in 88 when he batted well.

    But does this mean that both Javed & Ricky wont be selected for their countries all-time X1.

    Amarnath though not very attractive to watch, is one of the very few players of sub-continent whose AWAY average is over 50.

    His 100's at Perth,Antigua,Trinidad & Sydney were absolute gem.

  • Murray Archer on December 14, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    ok ok so Ranji & the whatever number and next Nawabs of Pataudi I'll exclude. Not to say they were not worthy of their reputations !!!!!

    The BIG story, to at least me, about Indian cricket is the overcoming of disbelief in self. To me, this has seemed an ongoing story.... I do not want to get deeply (or even at all) into this......

    Only reason I mention; is that some for India (as from everywhere else too) have had self belief. To me, they're the Indian (and all others too) standout players.

  • Murray Archer on December 14, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    @ Dr.Tahla

    While I'll certainly keep right out of any debate about an alltime Indian side. I'd like to just say that I am surprised no-one ever includes Armanath's father. In terms of gaining Indian cricket world wide acceptance, and appreciation, he surely can only be challenged by Merchant, Hazare, Kapil, Sunni and SRT ?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 13, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Dr.Talha, Amarnath is deserving of serious consideration, but while he was a rock in the mid '80s for 4-5 years, averaging in the high 50s, it included the terrible series against West Indies at home in 1983-84 and 1987-88, in one of which he averaged 0.16. Also until his great Pak series in 1982-83, he was struggling to keep his place, and on his previous visit to Pakistan, in 1977-78, where also India was badly beaten, Amarnath was hit on the head by Imran a couple of times, and had a lot of trouble with the hook shot, falling on to his wicket often. He improved beyond recognition from 1982-83, but his overall career stats carry the front loaded drag. Also there is insufficient vintage content to impress Shrikanthk.

  • chris peters on December 17, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    My team is as follows: Donald Bradman; Brian Lara; Jacques Kallis; Matthew Hayden; Gilchrist; Sachin Tendulkar; Garfield Sobers; Muralitharan; Marshall; Curtley Ambrose; Glenn McGrath; Shane Warne; Richard Hadlee; Imran Khan; Graeme Pollock [[ Sorry, submitted too late. All work has been completed. Ananth: ]]

  • Chandru on December 17, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Chandru's XI 1.Sir Don Bradman 2.Hashim Amla 3.Sachin Tendulkar 4.Kumar Sangakkara(Wicket Keeper) 5.Rahul Dravid 6.Mike Hussey 7.Jaques Kallis 8.Kapil Dev 9.Wasim Akram 10.Glenn Mcgrath 11.Shane Bond 12.Muralidaran 13.Shane Warne 14.Gary Sobers 15.AB De Villiers(Wicket Keeper) [[ Sorry, submitted too late. All work has been completed. Ananth: ]]

  • Wade on December 16, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Hard to improve on your 7 batsmen Ananth, except I'd have Dravid instead of Lara and Sutcliffe rather than Gavaskar. But I think they'd all struggle outside the Subcontinent against the best attack from outside your XV: Holding, Garner, Roberts, and Lillee.

  • swarzi on December 15, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    Ananth, the Gods have been here in the last two years trotting around the globe watching test cricket. They said that they had been hearing about cricket magicians - with the bat, with the ball and in the field; so they came to see and make their own assessments. They said that they were however only prepared to watch performances that provided awesome entertainment. Without calling any names, they said that there are one or two whom they may leave their busy schedules to come to watch; but what they saw from some whose names that they had heard so much about, if what they saw from them after watching for two years, in (10+) test matches, nearly 20 innings, they are convinced that such players were grossly overrated. They said that they had their fifteen players whom they would have always stopped to watch, but none of those whom they saw for the past two years is on that list - however, there some very exciting prospects who've come close - they may make the list in the future.

  • Dinesh on December 15, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    So this is how it must have felt during the Days of Timeless test.

    I definitely think this match will yield a result. Things happen overnight in Subcontinent on the last tow days of a match.

    And finally a word on Dhoni and Kohli, totally out of their skin, far removed from their usual way of playing. They have put India in a position from where they can win this match.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 15, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    Dr.Talha, agreed. But let me explain. If I were to be given a choice of one player between Tendulkar and Amarnath for an Indian all time XI, I would select Tendulkar eyes closed. Various factors like productivity, versatility etc. matter.

    But, if I were to select one of the two to face Marshall, Holding, Garner and Roberts in Barbados, and the rest of the batting line up was not very strong, I would select Amarnath ten times out of ten. I wonder if anyone else who has seen both, as I have, would feel differently. 1990s Tendulkar fans would feel differently of course, since values like extreme courage aganist quicks have got diminished.

    Cant explain this further.

  • Dr.talha on December 14, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @Gerry. I think at the end of the day we have to look at the overall record, rather than picking up series & evaluating the player.

    E.g Ponting scored 17 runs in 3 tests at an average of 3.4 in india in 1998. Even before that struggled in india. It was in his 5th series in india when he managed to get his 1st 100. And his last 6 years, not once has he averaged 50 in a calender year. Which is pretty ordinary by his standards.

    Another e.g is Miandad. He sruggled against WI in his first 3 series. It was in his 4th series in 88 when he batted well.

    But does this mean that both Javed & Ricky wont be selected for their countries all-time X1.

    Amarnath though not very attractive to watch, is one of the very few players of sub-continent whose AWAY average is over 50.

    His 100's at Perth,Antigua,Trinidad & Sydney were absolute gem.

  • Murray Archer on December 14, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    ok ok so Ranji & the whatever number and next Nawabs of Pataudi I'll exclude. Not to say they were not worthy of their reputations !!!!!

    The BIG story, to at least me, about Indian cricket is the overcoming of disbelief in self. To me, this has seemed an ongoing story.... I do not want to get deeply (or even at all) into this......

    Only reason I mention; is that some for India (as from everywhere else too) have had self belief. To me, they're the Indian (and all others too) standout players.

  • Murray Archer on December 14, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    @ Dr.Tahla

    While I'll certainly keep right out of any debate about an alltime Indian side. I'd like to just say that I am surprised no-one ever includes Armanath's father. In terms of gaining Indian cricket world wide acceptance, and appreciation, he surely can only be challenged by Merchant, Hazare, Kapil, Sunni and SRT ?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 13, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Dr.Talha, Amarnath is deserving of serious consideration, but while he was a rock in the mid '80s for 4-5 years, averaging in the high 50s, it included the terrible series against West Indies at home in 1983-84 and 1987-88, in one of which he averaged 0.16. Also until his great Pak series in 1982-83, he was struggling to keep his place, and on his previous visit to Pakistan, in 1977-78, where also India was badly beaten, Amarnath was hit on the head by Imran a couple of times, and had a lot of trouble with the hook shot, falling on to his wicket often. He improved beyond recognition from 1982-83, but his overall career stats carry the front loaded drag. Also there is insufficient vintage content to impress Shrikanthk.

  • Waspsting on December 13, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    re: VVS - I'm puzzled by the vigor of Gerry and Ananth's protests about his omission

    realistically, he potentially contends for Sehwag and Hazare's spot (openers, Dravid and Tendulkar relatively safe).

    Choosing Sehwag and Hazare over him is not at all unreasonable.

    I have no beef with anyone who feels differently, but Gerry and Ananth - you are both WAY OVERSTATING your disagreement on this.

    re: aesthetics - see Boll's Bradman quote for Hazare - and Sehwag's value on this front is self-evident

    For the life of me, I don't understand why intelligent, knowledgeable judges of the game such as yourselves feel this strongly about this.

    Its like choosing 2 out of Viv Richards, Kanhai and Weekes - there'll be disagreements as to who's selected - but express horror or refusal to view the game if 1 or the other is omitted - NO, that's you guys being overly attached to your opinions, not me

  • Dr.talha on December 13, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Very suprised, not see M.Amarnath's name in any of indian X1.

    He has a terrific record in WI, Aus & Pak. Three of the best bowling attacks of his time. He was amongst the very few batsman of the late 70's & 80's who averaged >50 in WI.

    My X1 would be:

    Gavaskar Sehwag Dravid Sachin VVS M.Amarnath Kapil Mongia (WK) Srinath Zaheer Chandra

    I believe there should be 3 pacers in the attack because ur selecting a team that has to perform abroad as well.

    Zak will add the left arm variation & reverse swing to the attack.

    In india i will add Kumble in place of either Zak or Sri.

    Mongia had better keeping skills, than others. His batting is on the weaker side, but if u have Kapil at 7 than u can afford to have a keeper with batting skills, similar to Mongia.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 13, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Waspsting, I am speechless. VVS not only does not find a mention in your list, but is left out of your explanatory notes also. Having taken Merchant as opener (worthy choice) instead of Sehwag, you have kept out VVS for Sehwag at #3. Is that a mistake, or deliberate? I hope it is an alphabetical list ending at U. VVS has done for Indian cricket's self belief almost as much as Gavaskar. He was a truly international player, with exceptional ability against spin and pace, and extreme courage under pressure on regular display. Sehwag is a greater entertainer when in flow, but is unquestionably suspect in bowler friendly conditions, except in some innings like 201*, and against top pace. Vishwanath has already been dumped by Shrikanthk, so am not even questioning that. I am getting the impression that we are rapidly becoming slaves of aggregates and hype. If your choices are deliberate, I have no further comments. [[ I cannot certainly think of an Inian team ithout that exquisite classicist. I would refuse to pay money to watch the match. For that matter I would not go if they gave me a free entry. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 12, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @ Boll at December 11, 2012 9:39 AM *blush.... thanks mate.... they did seem mighty high ! lol (reminds self to master stats guru sometime)

    @ love goel :) Good to hear. In this case I didn't have an allrounder spot, so none of them made it. My pure unrestricted inclination though, would be to have about 6 of them ! :).

    I'm a huge fan of Springbok teams / players and personally think it's very sad the Protea's test shirt numbers don't include Springboks. Agree with Proctor think it's amazing he should play in same team as Barlow, Goddard and Lindsay ! (Pretty handy all rounders the lot !)

  • Boll on December 12, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    How times change - in the ESPN XI`s (Sept 2010?) only 1 of the 11 (Indian) selectors didn`t go for Dhoni in an all-time Indian team. Now it`s hard to find anyone with a good word to say about him. Mankad was a unanimous selection (along with Sunny, Kapil and Sachin), Hazare "Hazare was one of the most graceful batsmen it was my pleasure to see and perhaps the best compliment I can pay him is to say that his batting more closely resembled that of the great West Indian star Sir Frank Worrell, than anyone I can remember." Don Bradman ...was selected at 5 and Bishen Bedi(??) didn`t make the XI.

    Too young to remember Prasanna (who was selected), but he must have been something. Seen a lot of Srinath (selected) and Zaheer (not) - for all his faults I`d pick Zak any time.

    To keep VVS out of the team Hazare can`t have been too bad either.

    India to beat England by 113 runs in the 4th test btw and selection inertia to continue - the epitome of a win/lose situation.

  • Waspsting on December 12, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Gavaskar Merchent Sehwag Tendulkar Dravid Hazare Kapil Dev Aamir Singh N. Mongia Gupte Chandrashekar

    few explanations. Sehwag not opening - he gets out to new, swinging ball often. he can do what he does so well at 3, minus the early outs - and the two selected openers, boy they're a depressing thought to bowl to!

    Hard to find pacemen. Plumped for Aamir Singh - highly thought of as a bowler and an all rounder to boot.

    Chandra, I think, the finest of all Indian spinners, and always like a leggie to any other sort (Gupte)

    for keeper - kirmanie's the highest rated, but i've read about many missed chances from him. Dhoni not a great keeper. Mongia was very good - rarely saw him miss much

    Agree with Shri about Hazare - both batsman and bowling parts. I don't like 2-2 pace-spin combo, but for India, that's as good as it gets (1-3 is possibility for them). having Hazare helps, a bit.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 12, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Hazare took 595 wickets? Where? Don't tell me first class once again? Firstly Hazare, then bowling, which was not his main area anyway, and that too first class. Hazare's big contribution was a successful West Indies tour as captain and 2 centuries in Adelaide test, but won't comment on his batting here. I am just waiting for the batsman innings rating to come. Whenever that comes, all these arguments can be easily settled, trust me.

  • shrikanthk on December 12, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Hazare instead of Vishy? On what basis? Surely not because he played Bradman while Vishy did not? There goes Shrikanthk away once again into the history books...

    Oh. I thought that was a very modern XI as it is. I cannot be accused of relying too much on history books there. Hazare has the numbers to back him. More prolific than Vishy in terms of average, be it in Tests or FC cricket. FC average of 58 as opposed to 40 for Vishy. Also offers an option with the ball.

    Hazare was underbowled in test cricket. He was a handy bowler. With 595 wickets at an average of 25. Okay, maybe not in a very competitive environment. But he definitely could bowl.

  • Arnab on December 12, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    I know the current topic is on World XV, but I can't resist myself to tell my All time India XV against the last post: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Mankad, Dravid, Tendulkar, Azhar, Laxman, Ganguly, Hazare, Kirmani, Kapil, Nissar, Kumble, Bedi, Zaheer. It would have been good to include G.Biswanath, Prasanna, Chandra, Merchant & MAK Pataudi. With one eye, if his test avg. is 34.91, with two eyes intact, it may be guessed that his test avg. might have been 1.5 times i.e. 52.37 or something near about plus/minus 50 (based on his reputation prior to car accident & eventual eye damage).

  • shrikanthk on December 12, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    A fairly modern eleven, Shri. I would have seriously looked at Merchant and Vishwanath

    The "modern" look to the eleven can't be helped. India has had a serious glut of talent in the past 20 years. My generation has been very lucky.

    I didn't have too many options.

    Merchant for Sehwag : Not too wise a choice as I need an aggressive complement for Sunny at the other end. Moreover Sehwag at his best - early 2000s was a pretty good player in all conditions. Merchant maybe a greater batsman, but not ideal for this XI

    Viswanath for Laxman : Laxman has a better average. More aggressive than Vishy when in form. Has won a few more games off his own bat than Vishy.

    Tamhane for Kirmani : Thought about it. But I guess Kirmani kept to all types of bowlers and is more fresh in our memory.

    Chandra for Kumble: Kumble more reliable with a longer, more distinguished record.

    The only debatable choice was picking Prasanna over Bedi. Maybe my Bangalore bias crept in there.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 12, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Hazare instead of Vishy? On what basis? Surely not because he played Bradman while Vishy did not? There goes Shrikanthk away once again into the history books...

  • shrikanthk on December 11, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    Apart from Gavaskar, you could easily make a case for the rest of the top 7 from this era (Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly(?), Laxman, Dhoni) as well as Bhaji, Zaheer and Kumble

    Bhajji, Ganguly, Dhoni and Zaheer - No way.

    My all-time Indian XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Hazare, Kirmani, Kapil, Kumble, Srinath, Prasanna 12th Man : Bedi/Chandra [[ A fairly modern eleven, Shri. I would have seriously looked at Merchant and Vishwanath. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on December 11, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    @Murray archer. i considered Aubrey for the allrounders spot. And I am sure other people also did the same. But the problem was the consideration that an allrounder must be good enough with one skill itself to enter the team. 40/ 26 means player is excellent but does not compare to Kallis/Imran on either skill set.

    Look at Mike Proctor also. Maybe could have been considered but too few matches

  • Boll on December 11, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    The big movers in the last 15 years would have to be India - up from 18% at the start of the century, to 25% now, recent disappointing results notwithstanding. I think of all the teams India`s best XI would have the most players from this era. Apart from Gavaskar, you could easily make a case for the rest of the top 7 from this era (Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly(?), Laxman, Dhoni) as well as Bhaji, Zaheer and Kumble. No wonder they were all but invincible at home and flew the flag proudly in every overseas country as well.

  • Boll on December 11, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @Murray - I think you might have added drawn matches to your winning percentages there. I`m pretty sure actually test win percentages are as follows;

    Australia: 47% England: 36% South Africa: 35% West Indies: 32% Pakistan: 31% Sri Lanka: 30% India: 25 % New Zealand: 19% Zimbabwe: 10% Bangladesh: 4%

    I`m not sure what the WI winning percentage until 1995 was, (just checked, it was 39%) but that`s obviously taken a bit of a battering. Nevertheless, you get the feeling that a WI all-time XI would give the rest of the world XI a decent run for its money (as would a few other national XIs to be fair). cheers

  • Vinish on December 11, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Since the team selections and changes are closed now, this is prediction time for me.

    I assume that your XV will retain their place, though the two most striking knocks on your XV can be (a) IMRAN (b) KALLIS. However, it is very unlikely that either of these will find a place because none in your 15 will let them in. Apart from these two, it will be interesting to see who miss the bus by a whisker! Fingers crossed!!

  • Ananth on December 11, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    Officially the polls have closed. Unlike the American Presidential elections, most results are known. We need not act like the American TV channels, vying with each other to announce that "XYZ declares that ...". Let us have patience. Hopefully the final article will appear on 18 December since we have a long-planned and well-deserved holiday to Kochi to finish in the interim. Before we leave on 13th, the article would be sent for editing and will be published soon after we return on 17 Dec. In the meanwhile, have a wonderful time and enjoy the Test matches to come. Will India bounce back at Nagpur (quite unlikely because of the inability to plan clearly, unwillingness to acknowledge own weaknesses and a lack of appreciation of the opposition team's strengths). Will Sri Lanka give a fight down under. I hope so since Australia themselves are re-building. But the two senior batsmen have to step up just as the Indian senior batsmen have to.

  • david ben-gurion on December 11, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    #boll #ananth;

    Thanks again I actually selected Shakib for a few other reasonsas well,which I dont feel like explaining right now,maybe later. anyway,boll,you forgot quite a few players now in your comments about the modern teams: New Zealand-Boult,Southee,Taylor; Sri Lanka-Angelo mathews!; Pakistan-Younis!; West Indies-dm bravo,Roach,Ssmuels,Shivnarine!; Hopefully Afghanistan will get test status soon and then I can add to this list Shahzad,Hamid,Shapoor,Dawlat,Nabi...

  • Murray Archer on December 11, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Just a One player I was very surprised has not been mentioned at all here (worth looking up if never heard of him):-

    Aubrey Faulkner was surely as good a spinning allrounder as any ? [[ To know of Aubrey Faulkner, people would have to go well beyond Bradman/Hammond/Larwood into the pre-WW1 years.Certainly 1754 @ 40+ and 83 at 26.5, playing for a relatively weaker South Africa and with 6 peak years lost to war, should have got not just a mention but serious consideration. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 10, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Eng 929 played 599 won 64%

    Australia 747 played 545 won 73%

    WI 488 played 320 won 66%

    Ind 467 played 264 won 57%

    NZ 377 Played 226 won 60%

    SA 372 Played 258 won 69%

    Pak 370 Played 216 won 58%

    SL 217 played 142 won 65%

    2065 matches all up.

    Just put them here so we can see them nearby the final squad. :)

    It's hard to not overly like West Indians when we've seen them play! On the other hand, there have been about 8 Aust Batsmen picked variously above, so maybe the standouts just weren't so obvious from there.

  • Vinish Garg on December 10, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    Just curious to mention that another gentleman cricketer at least deserved a mention. Gillchrist and A. Flower stole the limelight. Sangakkara too found votes.

    How about A. Stewart. His average may suggest otherwise but he played some bloody minded innings in an era dominated by great bowlers. I remember his knocks against SA (1999), WI (many times), PAK and Aus as well. I dont vote for him, but Stewart deserves a mention atleast.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    @David Ben-Gurion - you`re a big fan of the all-rounders I see! But Shakib, really? One of the best 15 ever to have played the game? [[ Boll Certainly looks intriguing. Probably David wanted to inlude one Bangladeshi player and who better than Shakib. Considering that Reid, Langer, Kirsten, Bland and Gayle have made it to the list with a single vote each, Shakib's is less outlandish than it seems at first. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    ah, knew I`d forget someone - Finn probably just one of them.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Australia:

    Clarke - 18 tests as captain, 2000 runs at 68, and one of the best years with the bat in memory. Can he continue?

    Warner - how often can he be on song?

    Pattinson, Cummins - time will tell.

    England:

    KP - a player of rare ability, who can bat in all conditions against all attacks (except innocuous left-arm spin apparently).

    Anderson - probably only second to Steyn amongst modern quicks.

    Swann - continues to grow as a bowler, and lower-order batsman.

    Cook - probably the only current player in with a shout of breaking Tendulkar`s records. Already England`s record-holder for centuries, will surely finish as the opener with most test runs. Only 27, and a seemingly limitless appetite for batting. Not proving too bad as a captain either.

    There you have it, my predictions. Not saying any will make it to the all-time team, but if anyone will I think these lads are in with the best shout.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    Sri Lanka:

    Sanga - one decent innings away from becoming the fastest (in terms of innings played) to reach 10,000 runs.

    Mahela - already a member of the 10,000 runs club - averages over 60 at home (just 40.11 away counts against him though)

    Zimbabwe: not at this stage

    NZ: no-one at this stage. What are they thinking re.Taylor btw??

    WI: despite Samuel`s resurgence, it`s hard to see anyone figuring.

    Bangladesh:

    - Shakib has already received more than one vote here, and is clearly the star of his national team. Still only 25, but unless his team`s fortunes improve dramatically it`s hard to see him play enough high-quality opposition to match the performances of the likes of Botham, Kapil or Miller, who`ve struggled to rate much of a mention here.

    Pakistan:

    - Saeed Ajmal, brilliant but already 35. Can he play for another 5 years at the same level?

  • Dr. talha on December 10, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Ananth.

    Problem is not only Sachin. They are failing to identify their problem. They r making the same mistake what Pak is making in ODIs. India's middle to late order:

    Kohli Yuvraj Dhoni Ashwin Ishant

    This looks like an ODI or T20 team.

    These players can never be replacements for test match specialists like Kumble, Bhajji, VVS, Dravid.

    I have serious apprehensions about Kohli. Gerry gave me hope that lets not disregard him so soon. I hope Kohli proves me wrong & Gerry right. If he doesnt improve his shot selection, the next year SAF can be a real nightmare.

    On the other hand Pak keeps on playing Younis, Azhar Ali, Misbah, Asad, pure test match players in ODIs

    The end result is, they have not won a single ODI series against major teams in the past 2 to 3 years.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Thank you Sir, I shall proceed...

    South Africa - where to start?

    Steyn - the Rolls Royce of modern fast bowlers.

    de Villiers - wish he`d give up the gloves (recent carnage notwithstanding) and concentrate on being one of the great No.5 batsmen of all-time.

    Philander - a freakish start, can he continue?

    Smith - will probably finish his career as the captain with most test wins, ave 50, SR 60, doesn`t excite the purists but must rate right up there.

    Amla - the best beard in the business, style and time personified.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    India:

    Tendulkar - hard to see time diminishing the achievements of the modern Master.

    Dravid - India`s greatest No.3, most runs at No.3, 3rd highest run-scorer of all-time, world record holder for catches.

    Laxman - sublime and very, very bloody special. A proven match-winner. Hardly mentioned here.

    Sehwag - an average of over 50, a SR of over 80 for an opener (59/85 in Asia), an appetite for big scores that probably only Bradman can better. Wow.

    Kohli - already a superstar, particularly in the shorter format, can he translate that into test runs?

    Ashwin - 60 wickets and almost 600 runs in his first 11 tests, only 26.

    Pujara - very early, but looks a serious test-batsman already. Loves batting.

  • Boll on December 10, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    While we eagerly await the judge`s decision, I thought it might be an opportune time to cast an eye over those current players who could come under selection consideration for an all-time XV in 15/20 years` time.

    Plenty of players have already been mentioned of course: from the recently retired (Ponting, Dravid); to those who`ve played enough for reasoned decisions to be made (Tendulkar, Kallis, Sehwag); to those with still a lot of cricket left in them (Shakib, AB, Steyn).

    Interesting, and in some cases a little unfair to speculate, but it can`t hurt - we`re not selectors speaking to the press after all. So team by team, if you can bear with me Ananth, here are my thoughts. [[ Dear friend, I think you have a lot of spare time or you are a masochist (or both). Anyway have a blast. Ananth: ]]

  • david ben-gurion on December 10, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    no ananth,this is not my first team. I brought back sehwag and took out shaun pollock. thanks! [[ Will take in the correction. Ananth: ]]

  • Girish Patil on December 10, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Thanks for this great effort! Can I please get that $ 100 Amazon gift voucher from you, having spotted Shrikanth's comment without reference to FC (where he defends Garry Sobers)? :)

    regards, Girish [[ If I remember correctly, I said three comments!!! Ananth: ]]

  • david ben-gurion on December 10, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Sorry Ananth I probably misspelled my address,I havent used it for so long. sending now with my sister's address(with her permission) my team: sehwag hobbs bradman viv richards kallis sobers imran khan kapil dev andy flower shakib al hasan marshall thompson murali chandra waqar [[ Thank you, David for providing the confirmation. Will take your team. Although I must say this was your first team. I reminded you on your having no keeper and you replaced Sehwag with Andy Flower. So I will take that team. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 10, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Thanks Anath :) Your selections and your inspired selectors, selections, rock !

    Great to know that "we can become Gods" just for seconds, and just while pondering such questions. (hehe as if they're watching menu is supplied by mortals ;) ) I certainly do not mean to denigrate, by what I just said, any that think here of God in a beyond cricket sense.

    All cricket teams need "gods" as not just players but perhaps more importantly selectors ;). In this, and at least here on one day ..... we're a bit special.

    Thanks again ! [[ Hope the Archer scion continues to enrich us with his contributions. Needless to say, Murray, that you have added great value to the blog with your contributions. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on December 10, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Considering how modern greats including Lara, Ponting, SWaugh, V.Richards, Gavaskar, Border, Dravid scored in their last 10 matches (around 15-20 innings), it is time for SRT to let the Indian cricket move on. A detailed account is available at: http://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/to-hang-boots/ [[ It is a tragedy that Tendulkar probably does not have a very close person who he could talk to in this matter. I think he also thinks too much about "what would happen if I also leave. What about Indian cricket" and so on. I think he should take his own decision and let nature take its course. The real quality player amongst the 10 or so middle order batsmen would move up the ladder and settle down. It will be a period of re-building. But thoughts 4-0 wipeouts have already spelled the doom now. The same thing will surface against Australia and would bring problems. Although I think England out-bats Australia, out-paces Australia and out-spins Australia. India might very well win that series. But Tendulkar should take his own call. Sooner than later. He has always said that he would play as long as he enjoys playing. Has he enjoyed the last 6 Tests. Not even his most ardent supporter can say that. Lest a few readers take up the cudgels, please realize that I am an ardent admirer of Tendulkar for all what he has done on field, his behaviour and his contribution to Indian cricket. We can have aging, greying, balding, tyred(???) superstars run around the trees with lasses, half their age. As long the films sell, it does not matter whether Rajnikanth or whoever looks 65 in real life. But this is sports. The shortcomings are exposed instantly and painfully. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 10, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    Ariz Khan, Mohinder Amarnath did have one great series (1982-83) against the West Indies, and was undeniably a very brave batsman. But apart from that one series his runs productivity against the West Indies was sub par. There are other batsmen who have also had massive success against the four pronged pace attack for one series each, which are Allan Border (1983-84) and Kepler Wessels (1984-85), scoring nearly 600 runs each at incredible averages over a 5 test series and displaying amazing consistency over the entire series, even as their teams were thrashed black and blue.

  • Harsh Thakor on December 10, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Sending again just for re-confirmation my first 15 ,first 11 and 2nd 15.I made a minor change in inter-changing Kallis for Hadlee in the 1st xi.Please accept.sorry for delay.

    1st 15 1.Don Bradman 2.Gary Sobers 3.Shane Warne 4.Adam Gilchrist 5.Jack Hobbs 6.Lillee/Marshall 8.Sachin Tendulkar 9.Viv Richards 10.Wasim Akram 11.Imran Khan 12.Glen Mcgrath 13.Brian Lara 14.Richard Hadlee 15.Sunil Gavaskar

    2nd 15(Sorry,I forgot Alan Knott in the last post) I.Murlitharan 2.Jacques Kallis 3.Barry Richards 4.Sydney Barnes 5.Len Hutton 6.Walter Hammond 7.George Headley 8.Graeme Pollock 9.Ian Botham 10.Curtly Ambrose 11.Greg Chappell 12 Alan Knott 13.Fred Trueman 14.Ray Lindwall 15.Javed Miandad

    final xi

    1.Sachin Tendulkar 2.Jack Hobbs 3.Don Bradman 4.Viv Richards 5.Gary Sobers 6.Adam Gilchrist 7.Richard Hadlee 8.Shane Warne 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Wasim Akram 11.Dennis Lillee

    Kindly accept this latest post.

  • Harsh Thakor on December 10, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Ananth,this is my final list of 15 in order of merit of selection.Thanks again for your great effort.Please accept thislatest selection.

    1.Don Bradman 2.Gary Sobers 3.Shane Warne 4.Adam Gilchrist 5.Dennis Lillee/Malcolm Marshall 7.Jack Hobbs 8.Sachin Tendulkar 9.Viv Richards 10.Wasim Akram 11.Imran Khan 12.Glen Mcgrath 13.Brian Lara 14.Sunil Gavaskar 15.Jacques Kallis

    2nd best 15 in order of merit

    1.Murlitharan 2.Richard Hadlee 4.Barry Richards 5.Sydney Barnes 6.Len Hutton 7.George Headley 8.Walter Hammond 9.Curtly Ambrose 10.Ian Botham 11.Graeme Pollock 12.Greg Chappell 13.Ray Lindwall 14.Fred Trueman 15.Javed Miandad

    Overall Ananth Tendulkar's overall consistency to me overshadows Brian Lara,who was marginally better at his best.Lillee and Marshall were more complete than Mcgrath and Hadlee while Wasim Akram's let arm prowess would be to me a marginally better combination than Imran or Hadlee.In his peak period from 1977-82 Ian Botham could well have made the top 15. [[ Will take it, Harsh. The funny thing is that either Lara made it to the first list or not at all. Not that the second list matters. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 9, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    800+ comments!!! I can't read all. Ananth: I have no problem with your selection, they are all great players. The only problem is with the title. God will definitely not stop to watch a Kallis bat, would definitely prefer to watch a Gower or a Mark Waugh more over most of the batters above. The bowling action of Imran was better than most em bowlers. Watching Holding in action was far more delightful than an Akram or a Hadlee. God would definitely stop to watch a Jonty field. I am not trying to enforce any of these in the list but only emphasizing that title led me to believe that this article was about beauty players brought to the game. I hold Mohinder Amarnath in very high esteem, but definitely would not expect the Gods to stop to watch him, but definitely I would love to watch him play against 4-pronged Windies pace attack, assuming that there is feud between him and the captain (remember 1 run in 6 innings). [[ I di not have Kallis in my team, not that I doubt his greatness and well-deserved position in the pantheon of all-rounders. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 9, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    I saw that you are tracking by IP addresses,please note that my friend david posted 1 of his comments from my computer,so please dont let that mess up your calculations. did my team make it? thank you shmulik [[ Your team was included. David had posted under an invalid mailid. If he posts from a valid mailid his entry will be taken. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 9, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Sobers was ranked World #1 batsman year end for 12 years in a row.

    In his time, there where only two players in his league statistically as a batsmen; Barrington (played less, not as dominant) and Pollock (played a lot less). Everyone else -

    Harvey, O'Neill, Simpson, Lawry, I. Chappell, Cowdrey, May, Dexter, Hanif Mohammed, Kanhai, Lloyd, among others - were left in Sobers' shade.

    Compare to Viv - with Gavaskar, Chappell, Miandad all on the same boat

    Compare to Lara/Tendulkar - w/ Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Jayawardena etc. in the same boat.

    I have no idea why we're even discussing Sobers' standing in cricket history as a batsman.

    His bowling might be overrated, his standing as all rounder might be too, and sure, he talks gibberish unfortunately often

    But Sobers the batsman? His standing needs no defense.

  • Ananth on December 9, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Mail directly received from Pradeep: "" While your selection is very good, I would make two changes, as described below. 1. Hadlee's selection is primarily based on his outstanding performance in Australia. Granted. However I really do not need Hadlee in Australia. I have McGrath, Ambrose and Marshall. However the Indian sub-continent is another thing. Imran Khan would be badly needed there. Hence I take Imran Khan for Hadlee. 2. I know I am swimming against the tide. But I cannot leave Barry Richards out. Who goes out. Well, biting the bullet, I am going to replace the other Richards. So Barry for Viv. Pradeep "" [[ A very nice reason for selecting Imran. Your conclusion that the need for Imran in sub-continent is more important than the need for Hadlee is a new argument. Possibly already stated but is good. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 9, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @ Sam

    Yes there is plenty of evidence to speak of Sober's greatness, and I DO personally think Garry Sobers is the greatest cricketer since WG Grace !

    I do NOT however think he is one of the best 7 batsmen of all time and in fact wonder if he's in the 4 best of his own (in that case Countries) Country. (explaining why would be for Anath the ultimate unending sticky wicket lol)

    I know we'll disagree @ Most and I don't care. I'm fully aware of Garry Sobers as a cricketer and can't pick him as one of the seven best batsmen of all time. (especially as one of the 2 best left handed batsmen of all time) I'd pick him first if we were picking a team without a restriction of specialists. What a super player !

    I know my thoughts are not supported by most (they're genuine - not just something to irritate). I also know why and on what basis I have my views.

    It's nice to meet you Sam as it has been with so many on this blog. lol till they ban me, I'll write. [[ The day you get banned is the day I get banned!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 9, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    @ Sam at December 8, 2012 10:48 PM

    "Bradman" picked Sobers first other (than he) in his eleven. According to "Bradman's" selection notes, Sobers was picked as a new ball bowler. (please read them)

    Bradman (prior to author induced dotage)rated Graeme Pollock the best left handed batsmen he ever saw and Neil Harvey the second best. By the time Lara had been around long enough, Don wasn't quite what he'd been in assessing things and therefore never made an assessment.

    Bradman did and always would have (since 1947) select Morris as another left hander !

    But all too late to adjust teams and great thanks to Anath leaving it this long :)

  • Ananth on December 9, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    IMPORTANT: --------------- This is just a reminder that acceptance of teams and changes to teams will stop by close of play on Monday, 10 December (11 PM, IST). While I will continue to publish comments received I will not accept any new teams nor any changes after this time. The train has to stop for me to start on the huge amount of work. It cannot continue to move. This is the cut-off for the confirmation I have sought from the few. Also for increasing the team size to 15 for the 15 people who have sent fewer entries. They can of course decide to leave their selection as it is. Their names are given below. Sardar/Arch/Jim Stewart/ Sameen/Afraz/APS/Sid Jain Harsh/Venkatramesh/Sarath/Alok/Macfarlane Sree kumar/Akshat/Murali. Ananth

  • Murray Archer on December 8, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    Regarding Miller :

    Clearly one of the better players and also one of the most amazing characters to grace our adored game.

    What's not generally known, is his team mates although thoroughly enjoying his company, thought he mostly didn't try on the field as he might have. By the time Miller passed on, basically no-one who'd played with him would speak with him (they were all more than disgusted with his personal life - long story). People coming to age in those days had life codes a bit more stringent than those of today.

    I read somewhere above, how Miller post 1952-3 had less wickets per innings etc....... not only wouldn't he chose to bowl when didn't feel like it, in that period the Australian side had probably more genuine all rounders than any other team ever? (there were plenty who WOULD like an occaisional bowl)

    Other than Lindwall being considered an allrounder by his team mates (got runs whenever needed), Johnson, Benaud, Archer & Davidson were in Miller's team by 1953.

  • Sam on December 8, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    I think there is more than enough evidence to state that Sobers is unquestionably one of the greatest batsmen to ever draw breadth and arguably the greatest since Bradman.

    Based on everything that I have seen and read, whenever discussion turns to the greatest batsman in the post-Bradman era, the debate invariably seems to come back to the 'Big 4' of Viv Richards, Sobers, Lara and Tendulkar. Because of their skills of excellence and their ability to destroy a bowling attack, the general consensus seems to be that these 4 were just that little bit more special, and just that little bit better than everybody else.

    Who was the best out of that famous quartet? Take your pick.

    But as somebody else pointed out, Sobers really is beyond reproach. As an overall package of batting, bowling and fielding, he was a freak of a cricketer, which is why along with Bradman, there is an almost universal consensus that they are the two greatest players in history.

  • Sam on December 8, 2012, 22:48 GMT

    Bradman named Sobers in his All-time World XI, and not Pollock.

    And Bradman is often famously quoted as saying that he has no doubt that Sobers is the greatest cricketer he has ever seen, a view shared by pretty much everybody else that ever had the privilege of seeing him play.

    As for Sobers' batting, as somebody else noted, some serioulsy good judges including Ian Chappell, Greg Chappell and Geoffrey Boycott all state that Sobers is the greatest batsman they have ever seen. And Bradman himself said that Sobers would make his All-time Dream Team purely on the strength of his batting, without taking into account any of his other skills.

    But if we want a bowler's perspective, perhaps we should consider the words of a certain Dennis Lillee - a man who bowled to all of the great batsmen of the 70s and 80s (Graeme Pollock included), and he said without hesitation that Viv Richards and Garry Sobers were the two best batsmen he ever bowled to.

  • Murray Archer on December 8, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    With regard to players for different regions, I'd find it impossible to select those without a date.

    I recently re-read something (1930's) about Adelaide being the fastest pitch in the world. lol Clearly conditions change through time !

    Any modern batsmen may have a few problems adjusting to a traditional uncovered "sticky dog". Likewise modern bowlers will bowl too short instinctively on an uncovered wet pitch.

    I have no doubt batsmen of previous era's will have less problems adjusting to a modern " I can walk forward at bowling with confidence pitch" with reduced boundaries and lightning fast flat outfields. ( if lol they don't break their wrists trying to pick up a kit bat for pre-game catching warm ups)

    Anath, please (if brave enough) thank your wife on our behalf.

  • Murray Archer on December 8, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    The "Murray continuum method" lol - for assessing batting across ages

    Let's look at West Indies because we all love them :)

    Headley played with Weekes and Worrell (although this is the most difficult to assess because of the gap caused by the war). Weekes and Worrell played with Sobers. Sobers played with Lloyd & Richards. Richards played with Lloyd, Richardson and Hooper. Richardson and Hooper played with Lara.

    It really doesn't take too much imagination to assess what one is seeing compared to what one saw last tour ?

  • Murray Archer on December 8, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @ Anath (and others)

    The cricket Bol was speaking of was not WSC. When South Africa were banned, a World XI was formed to replace the hastily cancelled South African tours to firstly England then Australia. Many good judges rate that team to England right up there with '48 Australians and '84 WI sides as best to ever tour England.

    There was some excellent cricket played by some excellent cricketers in both series. Why those matches no longer have test status is totally beyond me.

    Obviously no man other than Sobers could have assembled and lead such a diverse group (was great to see Saffie's playing alongside West Indian's Indian's and Pakistani's !) effectively. Sobers held the teams together by personally being the performance glue !

  • Murray Archer on December 8, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    RE : Sobers batting :)

    I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne in 1971. I saw the best innings I've ever seen.

    To understand just how good Sobers was that day you have to see the innings in context. The press had written him off and said he was too old to bat against Lillee's pace. (The best spell of bowling I ever saw was in the match before) Sobers sweated on Lillee in Melbourne, he patiently waited around for Lillee's re-introduction into the attack before totally decimating him. Only thing I've ever seen remotely like it was Pietersen going after Steyn this year.

    I was also lucky enough to see Lara score that 277 in Sydney, yet I never rated him (except on low and slow pitches) alongside Sobers as a batsman. In the end I didn't pick either of them, plumbing for Pollock and Harvey instead.

    I agree with Bol that our views will vary depending on where we see the majority of our cricket. That'll be why I didn't pick many .... Gavaskar, Greenidge, Lara & Murali most obviously.

  • Kaushik on December 8, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    @ Boll

    Yeah my bad. As soon as i decided on Ambrose & Marshal, i took Walsh totally out of picture.

    Yeah i did consider lillee & donald but only in comparison with Waqar & Steyn. But Waqar & Steyn have the best wicket taking ability is what i feel.

  • Kaushik on December 8, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    Ananth, I never meant to say Sobers was not an all rounder. He's a great all rounder no doubt but to be labelled as the greatest ever???

    Just look at Bradman. He's head & shoulders above the rest. Hence his being called as the greatest batsman is fully justified.

    The same, however, doesn't apply to Sobers. Kallis betters him slightly. Am not considering runs or wickets as that amounts to longevity.

    As i also feel Imran belongs to the same category, i'd like to point out that the reason why, i feel, Imran's batting avg is a bit less @ 37 is bowling all rounders generally bat very low & do not get the chance to boost their batting avg on flat wickets where the top & middle order make merry.

  • shrikanthk on December 8, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    I don't want to open a can of worms here but regarding Sobers [[ Can of worms: My little toe. More likely a barrel of worms. Boll has talked eloquently of World Series cricket. And Shri has talked of the 1950s. All batsmen have faced lesser bowling attacks. That does not make them lesser batsmen. Ananth: ]] BCG : Sobers in some ways is beyond reproach. I cannot have any list which does not include Sobers among the top 4 batsmen of all time.

    Yes. Sobers may have accumulated lots of runs against some lesser attacks in the 60s. But remember - he was just as prolific in the 50s - when he proved himself against Lindwall & Miller (albeit briefly), Fazal, Davidson, Benaud, Gupte among others.

    And nearly 15-20 years later, he was still scoring runs with gay abandon against the likes of Lillee, Willis and Underwood!

    You seriously cannot fault the guy at all. Barring Bradman, Sobers is perhaps the only other batsman in test history who never had a bad patch over a long test career.

    And Ian Chappell and Boycott among others categorically declare that Sobers is the greatest batsman they've ever seen. That'll do for me.

    Yes. Bradman rated Pollock marginally ahead of Sobers. But only marginally ("only just" in his own words)

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    @bcg, re. `His batting is only rated so highly because of it's pace compared to others in that era.` - that`s a very big call/presumption to make, when so many greats of the game rate him the best batsman since Bradman. [[ Given below is my Average bowling quality index which is weighted by runs scored against different bowlibng attacks and is a clear indicator of the overall quality of bowling faced by the batsmen. Atherton: 30.12 (the best) Gooch: 30.54 ... Lara: 32.02 Sobers: 32.07 Border: 32.79 ... Tendulkar/Ponting/Dravid/Kallis: all above 34. Hammond: 43.86 (the worst) So the talk that Sobers faced average quality bowling is unfounded, inaccurate and grossly subjective. He faced much better quality of bowling than most current batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    @bcg. `Also he didn't face a single bowler selected by Ananth in his XV. Doesn't that call for some more thought?` - the same could be said for Hobbs, or indeed Bradman...and as for the quality of bowling Sobers faced? Come on - you can do better than that...how about Trueman, Lock, Laker, Lindwall, Miller, Johnston, Benaud, Mankad, Bedi, Chandra, Venkat, Prasanna, Underwood, Statham...

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    The last word on that World XI series has to go to Garry Sobers, who dominated it with 588 runs at 73.50 and 21 wickets at 21.52.

    I`ve heard it said of Sobers on many occasions, and also of Tendulkar, that they`re the best people have seen... never of Kallis or Border.

    @b.c.g. No rose-tinted glasses, just that after Bradman, he dominated the batting landscape better than anyone (1954-1974) averaged 58 and scored them at a very decent clip.

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    n 1970, captaining the Rest of the World XI against England, he took 6/21 on the opening day of the First (unofficial) Test at Lord's with pace bowling, the ball swinging and seaming at high speed. He then scored "a magnificent" 183 and helped bowl out England in the second innings using his left arm wrist spin.[43] In the Fourth Test at Headingley, Sobers scored 114 and 59 as his team won by two wickets.[43] In January 1972, in the Third (unofficial) Test between Australia and the Rest of the World XI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sobers played an innings of 254 which was described by Don Bradman as "probably the greatest exhibition of batting ever seen in Australia".[44] He reached his century in 129 balls and after a rest day, reached 254 in 326 balls. It was "one of the most magnificent innings seen on the Melbourne Cricket Ground" and his "superb display of forceful cricket" lasted 376 minutes and included two sixes and 33 fours.[4

  • Arnab on December 8, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    I posted on 16.11.12 9:07AM stating XV of Arnab: Gavaskar, Gilchrist (Wk), Bradman (C), Tendulkar, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Marshall, Warne (VC), Akram, Mcgrath, Hobbs, Imran, Hadlee, Murali.

    The second XV of Arnab: Barry Richards, Hutton, Headley, RG Pollock, Greg Chappell (C), Walcott (Wk), Davidson, Holding, Lillee, Barnes, Laker, Sangakkara, Mike Proctor, Kallis, Ambrose. (I ask Ananth whether I can include Vince van der Bijl or not. If yes, I may include him in place of Holding / Proctor based on his or other learned readers' opinions)

    Please consider my 1st team as my original XV. 2nd XV will be competing the 1st one. If Ananth granted to keep one player for solely fielding (who would field in place of someone from active XI), I would have kept Colin Bland & Jhonty Rhodes in 1st & 2nd XV respectively. Thanks. [[ Your team has been taken. Ananth: ]]

  • b.c.g on December 8, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    RE:Sobers batting

    The greats that Imran & Kallis faced-well look above & you'll find 'em.

    There is a reason why Bradman rated G. Pollock as the best leftie not Sobers.

    The statistician Charles Davis reckoned his strike rate to be b/w 51-52.Hardly Sehwagsque.(Kallis-46 although in the T-20 age) His batting is only rated so highly because of it's pace compared to others in that era.

    I feel he if you remove the tinted rose-glasses he is on par with Sachin,Kallis,Border,etc.

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    @Ananth/Milpand - perhaps `imply` would have been the better word, (no offense meant Milpand) but I`m sure that Ananth has that covered - who are you naughty boys trying to vote more than once? Very cheeky!

    Happy to put my hand up if I`m wrong about the demographics of voters, but let`s agree that a significant majority are from the sub-continent/India.

    For a different demographic, (Australasian dominated for instance) I think the discussion/choices would have differed. People would have been very surprised about comparisons between Tendulkar/Dravid, Sobers/Kallis or the lack of support for Sehwag at the top of the order.

    I also think players such as Hutton, Miller, Pollock (Graeme), Trumper, Hadlee, Headley, O`Reilly and Trueman would have come under closer scrutiny and appeared more often in selections.

    Anyway, it`s been great fun. Kudos again to you Ananth for getting this going and keeping it all together. Please tell your wife that you bring joy to us all.

    cheers, DB

  • b.c.g on December 8, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    I don't want to open a can of worms here but regarding Sobers; especially his batting(for a change);I really get the feeling that this is very similar to Bradman v/s Trumper.Sobers was an entertaining player in an age stonewalling.

    Barrington,Bailey,Boycott,Hanif,Simpson,Bill Lawry........& then Sobers over there.Get what I'm saying.I feel most contempories rated Sobers so highly because of his attacking play.

    Also he didn't face a single bowler selected by Ananth in his XV. Doesn't that call for some more thought?

    Also consider shrikants statememt-May didn't really play as much in the 60s when some of the attacks around the world weakened and there were more opportunities to fill one's boots in more batsmen friendly conditions (especially the subcontinent, in the Nadkarni era when India had no attacking spinner).May didn't but SOBERS surely did.

    Infact think abt it which great bowlers were around in the 60's-Snow,McKenzie,Connoly,Nadkarni,Gupte,Titmus....good but hardly that great

  • b.c.g on December 8, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    @Boll Number of series with 250 runs/15 wickets...

    Sobers: 5 Miller: 4 Kallis: 2 Imran: 0 Botham: 5

    And how many 5 match series has Kallis played??Without looking I'll say abt 4-5(last played in 2004).Even Imran played in mostly 3 test series(Aus,WI,Eng;exception being India).Sobers,Miller & Botham played in much longer test series(at least > Kallis,Khan)Thus they were able to accumulate those figures.

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    @Milpand. I would certainly agree that there is a large selection of voters, have complete faith in Ananth`s ability to discern whether anyone is trying to `fiddle the books` by voting more than once (as you seem to insinuate), but am far less sure about the `diversity of voters` you mention. [[ Milind's concern is very genuine and well-founded, not at all an insinuation. Ananth: ]] I`m not trying to ruffle any feathers, merely being honest here, but I would think that at least 95% of votes are from sub-continental fans, probably 85% from Indian fans, (conservative estimates?) and I may well be one of a handful of people from Australia/South Africa/ West Indies/ New Zealand/England/Zimbabwe. [[ You will be surprised to note that the non-subcontinent votes, going by names as IP address tracking for over 200 entries is too cumbersome, seem to be in excess of 40, making it a minimum of 20%. Ananth: ]]

    This naturally creates a different dynamic (and I`m not for a minute suggesting that the people who have voted here, or who frequent this site are voting based on purely nationalistic reasons) that is simply natural, and reflects the cricket we watch, our ideas about the game, the way we think it should be played, and differs, often significantly, from country to country. [[ You will be surprised, i can assure you. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on December 8, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    If you decide to carry out a simulation, it will be unfortunate if the model uses the composite stats of a player over his entire career. While class is essential to make the final cut, I believe the 30 involved should also be in peak form. Instead of a 5 game series with two captains involved in ball by ball decisions, I much prefer a 100, 1000 even a million random walks and the resulting table of averages. A 2-1 scoreline does not interest me as much as 18.2% chance that Player X will score Y or more against specified attack on a bowler friendly pitch. Similarly how well is a bowler likely to perform on a surface where a draw is the only possible result. [[ Milind A simulation is result-oriented. Slice and dice whichever way want, the resuts have to be 3-1 with a draw or something like that. What you are asking is something different. A player vs team simulation. I am not sure whether I even have the progrms for that. More than 20 years back when I was testing my simulation engine I ran a 9 hour marathon (since the PC was an XT with 16 mhz: possibly equivalent to 1% of a today'a computer). I selected 15 batsmen from Bradman to Chandra and 15 bowlers from Lohmann to Shastri. The bowlers would bowl sequentially, each cycle having random sequencing. The main control was by batsman. The batsman would go through the bowling cycle 100 times. If he was out he carried on until 1500 overs were bowled. Each cycle was on a different ground. Bradman had an RpI value of 92 and Chandra's figure was 4+. Lohmann had an average of 12 and Shastri, 45. Bradman was out 60 times or so and Chandra about 800+ times. This proved to me the robustness of the simulation engine. Something similar is needed, of course, for Test cricket, to get what you want. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on December 8, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    I guess you received hundreds of votes and the we are unlikely to reach a million before poll closes. Keeping in mind that you are recuperating from a shoulder surgery, that you are thorough and fair, and it is your blog space: I am not asking for a detailed analysis of vote distribution. Of course, I will be patient and wait for the article. I trust your judgement in fair selection of eligible votes but I wanted to let you know that the 'one person, one vote' should reflect a fair distribution. I believe that the large selection pool and diversity of voters would automatically ensure that no two votes are too similar especially if it involves a Botham and a Bedi. So perhaps no extra steps needed apart from a few essential data checks. My apologies for stating the obvious. [[ Milind, Which hat do I respond to. I will make sure that any attempt to manipulate the voting will be taken care of. In fact there is a clear document outlining the tough series of steps taken. And these are working. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    @Som - I believe entries closed yesterday, so all submitted teams are final (unless I`m mistaken). Now we await the verdict.

    @Ananth, are we getting a 1st and 2nd XV? [[ Boll You have missed a few of my recent posts. The date was extended to Dec 10. And I will come out with both a first and second XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 8, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    @Dr Talha,

    Thanks for all the responses. Definitely the last from my side on Imran. When I first saw this article and submitted my team, I put Kallis and Imran in my side for all the contribution they make to the game, apart from their pure skills which are top notch. But thinking through and looking through comments and teams from others, I started debating whether superior pure skills is better than a mediocre allrounder, if being an AR was providing them the benefit of the doubt. Have gone through a lot of deliberations in my mind about bringing in Richards, whom I have left out and reconsidering Kallis and Imran (for Hadlee). Sometimes even questioning Sachin and also digging into Lara's data. Also questioning Akram based on his average as compared to some others. Ultimately realized that stats can only go so far, how much ever I slice and dice. Conceded to my ego and now will claim without any shame that my team is my choice more than anything else. Imran, Kallis, Akram stays !

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @Kaushik. Courtney Walsh also passed the 500 mark (wickets and runs - 936 of those at about 7!).

    No Donald, Lillee, Trueman in consideration? Yeah, must admit I didn`t give Steyn too much thought - probably should have, and you`re probably right that after his career is over we`ll be able to better place him in the pantheon. I love watching him and at his best he`s devastating. He can be strangely hot and cold though - recent series vs Aus just an example. Very flat in the first 2 tests, no real pace or incision, before coming to life in Perth.

    I think he still has a way to go before being considered an all-time great, but well on the way.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @Ananth. Sorry to bother u with so many comments brother.

    These realities should come in front of the readers.

    U have provided us such a great forum to voice our opinions.

    Really Gratefull!!

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    So still if somebody denies that Imran can qualify as a bowler should go back in history.

    But believe me whichever way u look into history, u will find Imran right at the top.

    The actual point is, Imran was such a good leader & and a world class all-rounder, that at times it overshadows his bowling abilities.

    LET US PLEASE CLOSE THIS ANANTH.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Mid 80's

    Marshall was at his very best.

    1986

    Imran – 18 wickets at 11.05 Marshal – 16 wickets at 16.62

    1988

    Imran - 23 wickets at 18.08 Marshal – 15 wicket at 18.93 (missed the 1st test, but Imran's avg is better)

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Dr.talha - I presume you`re referring to Ananth`s decade analysis in claiming that Imran was `from 1977-87, ... the number one bowler in the world`. That`s a big call, although he was certainly up there. One of the best would be closer to the mark.

    Just out of interest I`ve gone back to check bowler year-end ratings for the period. (Sobers ranked number 1 batsman 11 times at year-end for all-those who`ve decided to leave him out here).

    1977: Lillee 1978: Botham 1979: Botham 1980: Garner 1981: Lillee 1982: Imran 1983: Imran 1984: Hadlee 1985: Hadlee 1986: Hadlee 1987: Hadlee

    ...some big names.

    LET US CLOSE THIS IMRAN VS OTHERS.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    Imran has always been up for the challenge, with the very best:

    1977

    Lillie was at his prime, and it was his home soil where he was absolutely unplayable.

    A young Imran was in the lions den.

    Results:

    Imran - 18 at 28.83 Lillie - 21 wickets at 25.71

    Gave him a real run for his money

    4 years later

    1981

    Imran - 16 wickets at 19.5 Lillie – 15 wickets at 22.13

    Imran took the lead.

    Cont: somewhere there pl end this. You have sent 25 mails espousng the cause of Iran. Great player but everyone is getting tired.

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    @Dr.talha. There are also measures by which Botham does far better however, such as the series performances I just listed. Also in terms of individual match performances, he scored a century and took 5 wickets in an innings an incredible 5 times. No other player has done it more than twice (Imran once).

    Different players in many ways, but certainly no clear-cut winner for mine.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Was he not a match winner with the ball? Six times he got 10 wicket haul and Pak won every single time. And there are a lot more victories to his credit, only because of his bowling.

    From Aus to Eng, from WI to Pak, Imran has been phenomenol.

    I can go on & on & on...

    These are the realities which, nobody can ignore.

    Cont:

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Are most of his wickets against 2 or 3 countries?? He has an excellent distribution of wickets

    Has he underperformed against the best team of his era. Take a look at his recodr against WI

    Was he a slow medium-pace bowler?? Absolutely not. The fast bowling competition in the late 70’s, showed he was amongst the fastest, only behind Thomson & Holding. Infact on average he bowled quicker than Holding. And after a couple of years Imran got even faster. So if somebody tells u he was the fastest at his time, dont be surprised. Cont:

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    Are most of his wickets against 2 or 3 countries?? He has an excellent distribution of wickets

    Has he underperformed against the best team of his era. Take a look at his recodrd against WI

    Was he a slow medium-pace bowler?? Absolutely not. The fast bowling competition in the late 70’s, showed he was amongst the fastest, only behind Thomson & Holding. Infact on average he bowled quicker than Holding. And after a couple of years Imran got even faster. So if somebody tells u he was the fastest at his time, dont be surprised.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    Now coming to Imran as a bowler.

    Though i have given a whole list, on this blog, why I believe Imran can be easily in the squad only on the basis of his bowling.

    My questions are:

    Is there something wrong with his average? Its one of the very best.

    Has he underperformed in any country? He is the ONLY bowler in the history of the game (with >200 wickets) to average under 30 against every single team he played AND in every country he played. Absolutely Amazing!!

    Has he underperformed against any team? Answer is same as above.

    Cont:

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    If that was not enough

    1987

    Botham came across the Great Khan again.

    Imran – 21 wickets at 21.66/191 runs at 47.75 Botham – 7 wickets at 61.85/232 runs at 33.14

    Absolutley no comparison!!

    And do remember both the series were at Botham’s home soil.

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    I fail to understand how people compare Botham with Imran. Take a look at this:

    1982

    Botham was at his peak. After the unforgettable 1981 Ashes. Also known by his name.

    This time it was the Great Khan to confront.

    This series was labeled as “Botham vs Imran”

    Series results: Imran – 21 wickets at 18.57 Botham – 18 wickets at 26.55

    Imran – 212 runs at 53 (2nd after Mohsin in terms of avg and 3rd in runs,ahead of Gower, Miandad & Zaheer). Simply marvellous!

    Botham – 163 runs at 27.16

    Imran completely knocked him out in both departments Cont..

  • Dr. talha on December 8, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    @Som. Brother u have used the, word decade as if it means 10 months, not 10 years.

    Tell me is it easy to perform for 10 YEARS,the way Imran did??

    He showed he is right at the top in a decade that was known for the highest number of great fast bowlers,playing the game.

    And here is surprise, for the readers..

    Imran averaged 34.45 with the bat from 1977-87, the decade in which he was the number one bowler in the world.

    So how can someone say, he underperformed with the bat when he was at the peak of his bowling.

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    @dale - very interesting, and I think a very important point you raise, because we are effectively choosing players here for a series of test matches.

    If we look at some of these all-rounders` series performances (as well as Ananth`s individual match performances) we get a clearer view of how these players combined both skills at the same time - which is what we want them to be doing here.

    Number of series with 250 runs/15 wickets...

    Sobers: 5 Miller: 4 Kallis: 2 Imran: 0 Botham: 5

  • Boll on December 8, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    @Kaushik, yep I considered Kumble. I`d probably have him in my World XV for a match played in India, where he averaged 25 and well over 5 wickets per test. If he`d performed well in a couple of other countries (such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, where he averaged over 40) I may have given him more consideration. A bowling average of 36 away from home makes it very hard to pick him here though.

    On the topic of spinners (I selected Warne, Murali, and have Sobers/Viv who could help out) I also seriously considered Bedi, Underwood, Saqlain, O`Reilly, Grimmett - probably forgetting a few others. Hard to go past the 2 I went with though, although their combined poor performances in India are a worry - I couldn`t justify picking a player for only 1 test though.

    There seems to be lots of discussion over all-rounders at the moment. Apart from anything else, Sobers is my second batsman picked. Everything else is a bonus. Leaving him out? - the gods would be angry!

  • Ranga on December 8, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    "All the Marx brothers morphed into a single person today, by name Joe Dawes, the Indian bowling coach"

    Well it told one great thing that India doeshave someone called as a bowling coach. India is now not just the worst bowling unit, but is one of the worst batting units as well, living in the euphoria of self denial and "commentator-induced" thought of "one knock away from greatness". That one knock has been elusive since Jan-11. When I see Pakistan & SriLanka fighting abroad, the difference in the levels of commitment are glaringly seen. SL also last to England in the 1st half of their summer last year, but look at how they played! Test cricket will soon die in India. All that would matter now would be whether it is CSK or MI or KKR.

  • Ranga on December 8, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    "For you to remember an analysis probably 3 years back and refer to it here is amazing. It is worthwhile for people to look at it". Ananth - I'm never bored of telling the fact that all your articles are always sequential,never can be seen in isolation. For example, it all started with Batting against quality bowlers, Bowling in all conditions, series performances of batsmen, bowlers, allrounders, T-7 batting index (which kept getting improvised to T-8, T-10, ctd analysis, career slices, ruled day 1 with bat / ball, innings-wise, country-wise batting indices . . . Well I definitely had to look into all these factors for choosing my XV (and the romantic element did come in, but romance was backed by numbers). Today, thanks to media explosion, a lot of views,essentially of the commentators, are thrust onto the viewers, influencing their judgements. Ultimately, it is the player who decides whether he is great or otherwise - not commentators. IT definitely FIGURES!!

  • shrikanthk on December 8, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Maybe the English country bowling attacks were more potent than attcks like India, NZL or Pakistan

    Not sure if you get my point. It's not about who you face. It's about how difficult it is to make runs. Facing Lillee and Marshall at Nagpur on a hot day could well be easier than making runs consistently in the English summer (which involves 60-80 days of cricket in 3 months) on all types of pitches (often dodgy) against all kinds of bowlers, in highly variable weather conditions.

    This is the reason why so many English greats do worse in FC cricket than in tests, especially in the earlier eras (Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Gower, Dexter..I can go on)

    What an average of 45 in FC does suggest is that Barrington was not really in the 58.XX class as a batsman. That high average is an outcome of circumstances (opportunities to fill boots against certain types of bowlers he liked facing in the SC). I just cannot imagine Barrington averaging 58 in the 80s.

  • dale on December 8, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    Regards to allrounders- Ananth completed an exercise a few years ago in which he measured a players' allround performances in individual matches. He had P1= 100 runs plus 4 wickets (in the same match) P2= 75 runs plus 3 wickets Sobers produced at either P1 or P2 levels 24 times at a rate of 25.8% Chris Cairns was next with 12 performances @ 19.35% Keith Miller 10 performances @ 18.18% Tony Grieg 9 performances @15.52% Ian Botham 14 performances @13.73%

    These were the top 5 performers percent wise and I also believe Ananth lowered the tiers to 80 runs / 4 wickets and 75 runs /3 wickets.

    Kallis at that time had 17 performances @10.76% and Imran 6 @6.82%

    This is a reflection of who was more likely to produce an allround performance at the accepted measures.This may shed some light on picking an all rounder for an all time xi or xv [[ Dale I am stunned, speechless and floored. You guys stand very very tall. For you to remember an analysis probably 3 years back and refer to it here is amazing. It is worthwhile for people to look at it. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on December 7, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    As advised I am posting my team once again.

    Gavaskar Jack Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Richards Gary Sobers Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Shane Warne Dennis Lille Richard Hadlee Sydney Barnes Muralitharan Jack Kallis Dale Steyn [[ Thank you, Rama. Ananth: ]]

  • Kaushik on December 7, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    And kindly someone explain to me the Sobers bowling strike rate of 92!! Is it a printing fault? I've rechecked it about 10 times to make sure! still can't believe! [[ I am giving below certain strike rates. Shastri: 104 Emburey: 105 5 English spinners: around 100. Venkat: 95 Maninder: 93 Mankad: 90 Ananth: ]] I also feel Imran Khan has to added to the list of Greatest All Rounders along with Kallis and Sobers. Both Kallis and Sobers are tremendous with the bat and good with the ball. Imran has brilliant figures with the ball and was a good batsmen too. Actually Imran has better bowling figures than Akram!! Better bowling Avg & Better Strike rate! Just 50 wickets apart.

    Infact after all this coming out, i want to make a change. Am convinced Kallis is a better batting all rounder and Imran is a better bowling all rounder. So i want Sobers out of the XV and replace with Imran. This gives great stability for my squad. [[ So, as you write your comments, you change the team. No problem. I will take Imran for Sobers. Ananth: ]]

  • Kaushik on December 7, 2012, 22:05 GMT

    As far as fast bowling is concerned i had 7 contenders: Marshall Ambrose Akram Hadlee Mcgrath Waqar Steyn ( Am conviced he's an all time great )

    (Both Waqar and Steyn have unbelievable strike rates!! )

    I wanted the duo of Malcolm Marshall and Ambrose. Akram gives variety.

    I pick Mcgrath purely on numbers alone. The only Paceman to reach 500 wickets. Thats gotta mean something.

    If we have to do this after 5 years again, the first paceman i'll fit in will be Dale Steyn. IMO he's the best of the lot.

    BTW, did anyone even consider kumble???

  • Kaushik on December 7, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    On Sobers' exclusion from playing XI : I was going thru his stats esp his bowling. His bowling strike rate is 92!! that is, no offense, downright mediocre. ( Sachin's bowling strike rate is almost the same to put that in perspective ). I know stats doesn't tel whole story but stil for me i judge bowlers from their strike rate than bowling avg. Am shocked coz he's considered to be the greatest ever all rounder. And for that tag to be justified sobers had to be more than just good in BOTH departments IMO. Kallis has a bowling strike rate of 68. That is more like it i'd say. [[ Comparisons with Kallis are fine. But you should not compare the strike rates of one player who has captured 230 wickets with another who has captured 45 wickets. Sobers bowled a lot of spinners, in an era when patience, in batting and bowling, was the keyword. Your opting for Richards instead of Sobers is perfectly justified. Others have done it. But let us not suddenly take away the all-rounder definition of Sobers, Ananth: ]] So sobers has to be selected only as a batsmen. But I've 2 more contenders in Kallis & Viv Richards for that position. Both are equally good batsmen! So i went for the impact player in Viv Richards.

    Richards averages 50 as against 57 of the other two. but that is only due to the more number of not outs of Kallis(40) and Sobers(24) compared to Richards( only 12)

    Cont.....

  • Kaushik on December 7, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    My XV

    1. Hobbs 2. Gavaskar 3. Bradman 4. Tendulkar 5. Lara 6. Viv Richards 7. Gilchrist 8. Warne 9. Akram 10.Marshall 11.Mcgrath

    12.Sobers 13.Muralitharan 14.Ambrose 15.Kallis

    Criteria for selection :

    First of all, the playing XI has more batsmen than bowlers so it only makes sense to have 2 addtl batsmen as backup. A squad with only 1 backup batsmen is less i feel. I know there's only 1 fast bowler as backup but the overall squad has 4 pacemen and if we are playing in the subcontinent you generally need only 2 pacemen in XI as both warne and murali will play.

    I have not followed cricket before 2000 but have read about greats of the game. So all my pre-2000 players are selected based on statistical excellence and whatever i've heard and read about them.

    Cont....

  • Som on December 7, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    @Dr Talha, Thanks for your responses. To be considered an allrounder, the point which is most important is 'how often did someone perform to the level of an allrounder'. To know this, one has to look through each test match of all the contenders. I did this for Imran, Sobers, Kallis, Botham, Miller and Kapil. And Imran falls woefully short. In matches where he did great bowling, were not the matches where he excelled with the bat, and vice versa. Imran was a capable batsman with an average of 37, and a bowler with an average lesser than 24, but he did not showcase both these skills together in adequate number of matches. So as a selector, why would you pick him as an AR. Maybe he was not capable of performing along both these lines in the same match. Maybe that was his deficiency. Something that Botham had excelled in quite a few times. Why start the AR search by thinking of batting or bowling AR. The idea should be to see if someone qualifies as an AR. Unless you plan to select both.

  • Ananth on December 7, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    All the Marx brothers morphed into a single person today, by name Joe Dawes, the Indian bowling coach. Granted that his continued stay in the job depends not on producing a new collection of exciting bowling talent for India but making sure that his voice is in sync with His Master's Voice. However to say that Zaheer Khan is amongst the top six bowlers in the world today must be the joke of the month, nay, year, no, not really, millennium. What do we do. Let us look at the 5 bowlers ahead of Zaheer. Morkel, Steyn, Philander, Anderson, Best, Edwards, Roach, Bracewell, Southee, Pattinson, Siddle, Umar Gul and the list goes on. Mind you, Joe Marx said "bowlers" not "pace bowlers". That was today's entertainment from Eden Gardens, Calcutta. Tomorrow's press handler will be the team masseur and day after tomorrow's, the team chef. Maybe they will talk more sense. Ananth

  • shrikanthk on December 7, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Herbie Collins and Warwick Armstrong both named Trumper greater than Bradman

    A lot of these remarks by people like Collins and Armstrong were probably made in the early 30s when Bradman was not yet a legend. But a rising meteor of sorts.

    Am sure Collins in the 50s (if at all he was alive) would've revised his opinions.

    May above Barrington seems reasonable to me. May didn't really play as much in the 60s when some of the attacks around the world weakened and there were more opportunities to fill one's boots in more batsmen friendly conditions (especially the subcontinent, in the Nadkarni era when India had no attacking spinner). Also remember Barrington's FC average. Just 45. [[ Anyone who unearths three comments of Shrikanth without a reference to FC cricket will get an Amazon coupon for 100 dollars from me !!! Maybe the English country bowling attacks were more potent than attcks like India, NZL or Pakistan. Ananth: ]]

  • Krishnan V on December 7, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Being a team that God would stop to watch, I have a team of 15 who can play any where not in specific Geographical location. Hence my 15 would be 1. Hobbs 2. Tendulkar 3. Gavaskar 4. Bradman 5. Lara 6. Richards 7. Steve Waugh 8. Gilchrist 9. Warne 10. Muralidharan 11. Lillee 12. McGrath 13. Wasim Akram 14. Imran Khan 15. Marshall [[ Quite brave of you not to select Sobers and Ambrose. They may play for the other team. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 7, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    I agree with waspsting's attempt !!!! re Bradman

    "Not everyone liked him but EVERYONE respected him" has been heard more than a few times. Etiquette changes with time...... ? Those that didn't think his play gentlemanly enough to be considered great, have since been swamped by who cares, it was effective enough ! Probably rightfully so ?

    One last silly ? Bradman story ...... In 1947 ? (please don't ask me to look up, but am 100% positive it happened) QLD and NSW teams met each other in Melbourne. NSW had just played SA and QLD about to.

    NSW told QLD that when first wicket fell, they put everyone on boundary and it had pissed Don off. When QLD arrived, SA won toss and batted. On fall of first wicket, everyone went to boundary.

    A reedy voice was heard calling out "Not you too Bill! I expected that from "xxxx", but certainly not from you! I was only going to get a hundred today but now I'm going to get 2 "

    Bradman got out after passing his 200 that day.

  • Sam on December 7, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    My World squad is as follows. I tried to choose a team that could succeed in all conditions.

    Herbert Sutcliffe Barry Richards Sir Donald Bradman Sir George Headley Sir Evertone Weekes Sir Garfield Sobers Sir Clyde Walcott Shaun Pollock Kapil Dev Michael Holding Bill O'Reilly

    Reserves

    Gordon Greenidge Andy Flower Jim Laker Joel Garner

  • Waspsting on December 7, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    at the time from 'experts'.

    Now, Barrington makes the ESPN experts England all time team - those guys don't.

    I tell you guys - 50 years from now, many (maybe even most) people will rate Jacques Kallis a better player than Brian Lara, whereas today, few do [[ That is possible even today with Kallis at 57+ and Lara at 52+. But to rate a guy with 100- behind a few others, either side of 50 seems to indicate some jealousy or shallow thinking. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 7, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    k, here's the first sampling of Bradman opinions.

    Herbie Collins and Warwick Armstrong both named Trumper>Bradman

    Lindwall named Stan McCabe. Hutton named Hammond. Both categorically mentioned their choice as greater than Bradman.(so did Collins and Armstrong)

    Jardine named Hobbs and looked out of the window and refused to answer "when another name was asked"

    Sutcliffe named Hobbs on all wickets, but Bradman on hard ones.

    I can find few who unequivocally state "Bradman the best" - i think its just assumed that this is so. Hammond and Constantine do this.

    Ian Johnson is an exception - he minces no words in proclaiming Bradman's superiority.

    more to follow

    --- I firmly believe Bradman to be far and away the best.

    I raised the point to show that it wasn't regarded as self-evident in his time.

    Also, the strenght of stats grow over time - once sentimental opinions die down a bit. Barrington wasn't highly regarded - May, Cowdrey, Dexter got all the 'wows'...(cont)

  • Dr. talha on December 7, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    One of my comment is incomplete

    @Som If u have an allrounder who averages less than 25 with the ball and 37 with the bat than whats the point of increasing the average. The actual probelm is that by averaging LT25 with the ball & GT37 with the bat, Imran has set very high standards for others.

  • Dr. talha on December 7, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    @Ananth. When u asked for remaining members of the 15 men squad. I opted for Akram & Kallis. They can be very good substitutes for my 11. Kallis, a top batsman, who can bowl Akram a world class bowler, who could bat as well. If u allow me a 16th memeber it would surely be Sachin. [[ Thanks, Dr.T for taking the trouble of explaining your selection process. Ananth: ]] @Ananth @boll Weekend is approaching, and i dont use lot of internet during weekend. Prefer giving time to my family. Who is better between Viv, Lara, sachin, Ponting is a long argument. May be on some other blog by Ananth (on post 1970 batsmen) we can debate. And by now Ananth may also be exhausted, due to the number of comments on this blog. [[ I am exhausted, in pain and taking it on the chin from my wife who says I should have postponed this specific article to January. Anyhow it has been a great but tough exprience. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on December 7, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    @Ananth. "Tendulkar does not find a place in your team" As u know i first selected a squad of 11 with Murali as my 12th man. First i selected my bowlers. I wanted Imran & Hadlee to share the new ball, with Waqar & Marshall, two tearaway fast bowlers following them. And then who better than Warne to add variety. Bradman & Sobers are absolutely certain to play & sachin cannot be my opener. So the only spot i was left with was Viv. As i said, who is better between Lara, Viv & Sachin is debatable. Cont:

  • ramarao on December 7, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    I congratulate all the Sachin fans for having the patience and restraint not to burst our emotion on some people who are associating Mediocrity to Sachin. It is motivated to get attention and also inspired on envy and hatred against Tendulkar. Sachin can be on form or off-form, sachin can be retired or still playing, in ODI or test or T20 batting or in Bowling, character and behavior, artistry and aesthetics, batting or bowling, walking or sleeping, in private or in public there are a few things Tendulkar is not blessed with. They are mediocrity, foul mouth, bad behavior and some souls couldnt digest that. Thats why they have to shout against their Conscience. Let them shout, fade in oblivion , with their future generating listening to glory the Tendulkar with awe and respect. God bless the good. God bless such souls who disintegrate and decay in hatred. God bless All [[ I think this is a bit too much. Tendulkar is a wonderful all-time great player. But does not need such deification. Ananth: ]]

  • Fizz on December 7, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    @Som.. My answer to your point is the number of balls that Sobers has bowled in his career compared to the number Kallis has bowled, in my previous comments. Just because Kallis played with high class bowlers, and didn't got a lot of oppurtunity to bowl, your every match contribution formula is not applicable on Kallis.

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    @Som. If i choose ur criteria of contributing in every match with a certain amount of wickets & runs, then in all-time ODI X1, i may end up taking Razzaq ahead of Akram. Akram was specialist bowler capable of making it to any team, PURELY on the basis of his bowling, and then his batting was an added benefit. 92 WC final was an e.g of it. By scoring 30-35 runs in every match & taking 2 or 3 wickets, one day Hafeez (a below average player) may also qualify for a lot of teams. But tell me, can he justify his selection purely as a batsman or bowler??

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @Som. Kallis is not in that formula because he is a batting all-rounder. For that again first u have to justify ur selection as a pure batsman. Which Kallis does. U can read my earlier comments, i said Sobers, Kallis, Imran & Hadlee qualifies for the all-rounder spots. Just because they justify their selection purely on their batting & bowling skills respectively. I have all 4 in my squad. I rate Imran higher than Hadlee. The difference between their bowling avg is only 0.52, while the batting avg differ by more than 10.

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    @Som. "Now it can't be under 25, because, pure bowlers have that"

    Thats's is my actual point Som. Thats what i am trying to explain.

    Firstly u have to establish ur place in the team as a pure bowler & batsman. Then ur other skills are an added advantage for ur team. If u have an-allrounder who averages <25 with the ball and 37 with the bat, then whats the point of raising the bowling avg??

    The actual probelm is by averaging <25 with the ball & >37 with the bat, Imran has set very high standards for others.

    Cont..

  • Sesha on December 7, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    As always a lot of comments will end up with Pro-Sachin or Anti-Sachin or Sachin v Lara/Ponting. Its quite natural as we have seen so much of the great man and we have so much expectations from him...

    Sachin v Lara is the longest comparison ...from my memory the other comparisons he has been put through are

    Sachin v Kambli Sachin v Manjrekar Sachin v Inzy Sachin v Mark Waugh Sachin v Saeed Anwar Sachin v De-silva Sachin v Steve Waugh Sachin v Dravid Sachin v Sehwag Sachin v Ponting

    A lot of post 1980 born respondents have picked players based on what they have read and heard (including Bradman)...and they have eliminated players they have watched and enjoyed and in some case worshipped....some have picked players who have played hardly few tests based on their FC experience or reading about it only

    so the same list 20 years later will have Sachin, Lara and Ponting in more lists than they are now...

  • Atlantic252 on December 6, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Great article and a truly great team. So hard to choose, but you have done a great job and argued it persuasively. It is so hard to judge pre war players, so well done for including Bradman and "the Master" Jack Hobbs. Growing up in the '60's and '70's I rate Trueman, Lillee and Barry Richards very highly. Barry Richards is the greatest batsman I have seen, ahead even of the great Sachin, Sir Viv and Brian Charles Lara (who are 2nd, 3rd and 4th). I might have him in for Gavaskar, and Lillee for Hadlee. What makes our sport so great is we all have our own views and favourites but in the end all of them are magnificent so we are all right. Thanks for the article. Look forward to the next one!

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    RE Bradman.

    As far as I know everyone agreed with one thing about his superiority..... the best cricket brain ever. The guy seemed to have a video in his head where he could replay everything he'd ever seen and his memory was always spot on !

    Here's a classic... in 1964 as chairman of selectors, he watched 4 overs... that's right just 4 overs, before ringing the other 2 selectors from Perth to say "I've just seen the best left hand batsman since Frank Wolley" he was watching Greame Pollock bat for the first time. Interesting to note he didn't say since Sobers !

    Likewise at lunch in 1st Test V WI in 1951 he stormed into Aust change rooms with a huge grin asking "What're going to do about this guy then ?" having first seen Everton Weekes. Of course what they did do, was more than ugly, and only possible because of ridiculous WI team management.

    My 2nd 3rd, 4th and 5th picked batsmen are picked precisely because Don told me lol to pick them :)

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    @ swarzi at December 6, 2012 8:42 AM

    Greg Chapell bowled a bit and only took five for once in Test matches. He did however have a fair idea about what a batsman was doing when he was bowling. Because of ODI's he'd bowled to most of the good batsmen around during his time.

    The game they played was a giggle match in Hong Kong (maybe the opening of new ground - I can't remember). The point was that Greg was a pretty good judge and was raving.

    ohhhhhh as an aussie how I would have loved to have watched Ponting struggling to make 78 against even Tahir this year. :)

  • Som on December 6, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    @Shankar Krishnan,

    In the pecking order of exclusions, to find a place for Kallis, do you think Sobers would come first. Here we are not talking swapping allrounder for allrounder, as both of us understand, but as pure batsmen in test cricket.

    Ananth's articles have shown clearly that after Bradman, there is Sobers, without even considering his bowling. I feel Kallis threatens Tendulkar for a like for like exchange and Richards is perhaps also a candidate for not measuring up some of the numbers, unless you think SR in that era and a 50 average is Gold standard.

    One can have a similar argument regarding Kallis vis-a-vis Lara, but I believe, Lara would come next after Sobers as a choice for the middle order in most people's opinion. [[ Som I have already mentioned elsewhere that if I have to get in a proper Test opener, he would probably come in place of Richards. Similarly if I HAD to get in Kllis, it might have been at Richards' expense. Shankar has been quite courageous to leave out Sobers. But that is the beauty of this method. There is no gun to anybody's head. And he still has the time for a change. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 6, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    Message directly received from Shankar Krishnan. "" I have 4 changes to your team Hutton instead of Gavaskar - better technique on bad wickets Kallis instead of Sobers. As an all-rounder Sobers was probably better. As a pure batsman, Kallis has got a nose ahead. Waqar instead of Ambrose - A personal favourite. Need someone to take wickets in the sub-continent Lillee instead of Mcgrath -Mcgrath bowls quick with a spinners mentality.Lillee could do that too but can also get under the skin of the Mars XI Selection of Shankar Krishnan Hutton Hobbs Bradman Lara Richards Kallis Tendulkar Gilchrist Waqar Younis Marshall Wasim Akram Lillee Muralitharan Hadlee Warne. [[ Thanks, Shankar. All well-thought out changes with excellent reasons. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on December 6, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    @swarzi: I feel that Tendulkar's willingness to grit out runs just shows one more facet of his greatness instead of detracting from it. Making runs is what matters, and if someone does it when nowhere near his best, credit to him. I'd have such a guy in my team any day over someone who is breathtaking when in form but throws it away with a waft outside off stump when going through a lean patch.

  • Ajinkya on December 6, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Regarding Bradman vs Trumper/McCartney etc.: It is highly likely that the number of people who agreed any other batsman was superior to the Don were a minority. What people don't seem to realize is that Bradman is so far ahead of everyone else on stats alone that anything else does not matter at all. If you're talking Tendulkar vs Lara, for example, a debate is possible because the margins are small enough for the matter not to be decided on statistics alone. But Bradman is so comprehensively ahead of anyone else that saying he wasn't the best just seems a bit silly. Very possibly Trumper was more rewarding to watch, but better outright than the Don? Not really likely. [[ I cannot think of one main line sport where one player towers so majestically above the others. I know Boll and others raised Heather Mackay. But that is, it must be said, in a minor sport. Athletics, No. Tennis, No. Football, No. Golf, No. Swimming, remotely possibly. Well said, Ajinkya. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 6, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    (Cont...)

    Dr Talha,

    But there is this small thing called Captaincy, which in my opinion has never been proved to be of such enormous importance but during the time that Imran led Pakistan. He is more than a cricketer, a leader of men. The personal bias that I have resisted in applying when selecting any other cricketer in the team, I have applied to keep him as the captain of the team. Because that's a dimension which cannot be statistically measured but something which we have all seen and experienced.

    But I will continue to strongly contest opinions and data which place him as a pure bowler and allrounder capable of making it in the XV.

    @Fizz,

    The argument that you make in favor of Kallis, goes against him. Sometimes, when the frontline bowlers capture and wear down the opposition, lesser bowlers have some easy pickings. So the case of quality of wickets with respect to the game situation is not as much known to me, and I will have to refer it to Ananth. But Sobers has his case

  • Som on December 6, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    (Cont...)

    Dr Talha,

    Then comes the question of who among those performed the allrounders role with what frequency? And as I showed through some calculations, Sobers, Miller did it better than Imran.

    So Imran cannot be considered an allrounder when he is just 3 best. Imran accumulated most of his batting average when he was not bowling at his peak and vice versa. He used the mileage he gained through his bowling to stay in the team and during that phase excelled in batting. No disrespect, but this does not sell so well in Australia. Shane Watson is often reminded that, if he is to be considered, he needs to deliver with both ball and bat. But yes, I will not compare the legendary Imran with Watson(who no doubt is amazing).

    That leaves Imran as a bowler to compete with Hadlee, Ambrose, Waqar, Donald, Lillee. And dare I say, most people, on pure skill might not always pick Imran as the best of the lot, despite overwhelming evidence that he had the best decade of all bowlers. [[ Som, I have two all-round measures both I developed as part of my TV stint 10 years back. One is the Batting average - Bowling averge. The other one is a quotient: Batting avge/Bowling avge. There are times when i feel the later is better. Ananth: ]] (Cont.

  • Som on December 6, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    @Dr Talha,

    The fact that I still have Imran in my side, despite some strong reservations in my mind, points to the fact that its not so cut and dry. But it sure is a grey area.

    Regarding choosing bowling allrounders - how can a simple formula which like 'bat avg - bowl avg' be used. You have conveniently left out Kallis from the list you have compared. Kallis would have something like 57-33 = 24, which is much much more than Imran. You have missed the very basic constraint, that a bowling allrounder needs to first have a decent bowling average. Now it can't be under 25, because, pure bowlers have that. It can't be under 30, because then you have to set the batting average as high as 40, to do similar justification on the batting skill requirement. So the required bowling average is perhaps somewhere between 30-35 and the batting average above 35. With such measure, Kallis, Sobers, Imran, Miller would qualify.

    (Cont...)

  • Boll on December 6, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    @Dr.talha - reckon he would`ve swapped it all for Ponting`s 146 not out in the final though, not to mention captaining a team to a World Cup.

    I have Viv, Lara and Tendulkar in my XV (no Ponting) but at his best he was as good as any of them. I`d have him in the top 3 No.3 batsmen of all-time, but Bradman`s batting there in every country my team plays...

  • Vimalan on December 6, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    I am doubting if ridiculous comments like the ones posted by swarzi about Sachin will find a mention in this forum if it was posted about Lara or Richards. [[ Here I am handling 800 comments in 15 days and doing work in very difficult situation. I am sick and tired of defending myself against such silly comments. Did you take care to see my own response. I have explained clearly Tendulkar's need to adjust. Why would you not take the trouble to read the response and understand that I myself had given the riposte. Anyhow frankly I do not care. If you find such comments offending, please do not visit this site. Pl see Ajinkya's response to the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 6, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    @Vinoth - yes, some players in my 15 would definitely not be chosen if I only had to pick a squad for one particular country. The difficulty lies in picking the best 15 for 8 different countries though, something you haven`t done. It`s a lot harder than throwing pies from the sidelines.

  • Vinoth on December 6, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Jus now came accross this article. I would never include Lara against Ind and Nzl In fact nobody will seeing his track record against them expect for you Anantha. And Both Sachin and Lara has done equally good in South Africa. In fact Sachin marginally better. also cant find reasons for excluding sachin against WI. As always anantha is Biased towards Lara and against Sachin. [[ Let me grant that I am biased but that is only in selection of players for playing in specific countries. But I still selected a World XV which included BOTH the players. You make some half-baked comments and do not bother to select a XV. It is obvious that you have not understood the article at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on December 6, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    People has critcised Sachin, a lot in the past as well. And at times the critcism has been very pungent. But he has always proved them wrong.

    I remember in the 90's, people used to say that Sachin has struggled in ODI's outside Asia.

    Sachin gave them a brilliant answer in 2003 WC in SAF. Who can forget his inns against Pak. One of the all-time best.

    Ponting, Lara, Kallis all played that WC. But guess who won the Player of the Series award..Sachin!! [[ But, Dr.Talha, Tendulkar does not find a place in your team !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    @swarzi. "you all used to rate him with the Bradmans and Viv Richards and Laras and Pontins! Ridiculous"

    Well thats pretty harsh words for one of the all-time greats.

    He came when Imran, Hadlee, Botham, Marshall etc.. were nearing their end. They all retired he kept on playing..

    Then it was Wasim, Waqar, Donald, Ambrose etc They all retired he kept on playing..

    Then it was Mcgrath, Pollock, Gillespie, Gough, Caddick etc They all retired he kept on playing..

    Then it was Akhtar, Lee, Ntini, Flintoff etc.. They all retired he kept on playing..

    Now it Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Anderson etc Guess what!! He is still playing.

    Do u have a more consistent batsman in history?? The guy has dominated more than two decades of the game.

    It is debatable who was better between Lara, Sachin & Viv. But i certainly believe he was better than Ponting.

  • Ananth on December 6, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Hi Ananth My all-time team (or maybe fifteen) would be Sunil Gavaskar Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Brian Lara Viv Richards Garry Sobers Adam Gilchrist Shane Warne Malcolm Marshall Dennis Lillee Glenn McGrath Subs: Tendulkar, Ambrose, Muralitharan and Imran Khan Madhu, Stats sub-editor, Cricinfo. [[ Thanks, Madhu. Like Rajesh's, an excellent team. Imran and Lillee for Hadlee and Akram. I would not be too unhappy with these changes. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 6, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    @Murray - I fully agree with you re.choosing attacking players with both bat and ball. I tend to feel that it`s easier for an `attacking batsman` to stonewall if required than vice versa. Similarly, with the bowlers I`ve gone for more attacking options (Ambrose, Akram, Lillee) when more conservative bowlers may have the `better` overall figures.

    Would have loved to find a place for O`Reilly or Kumble - fast leg(primarily top?) spinners, with huge hearts, who could bowl all day. In the end went for Barnes, medium-pace probably, for variety - not sure if that one was the right choice...very happy with other decisions.

    Really don`t want a No.3/4/5 who`s going to score 50 not out from 130 balls on Day 1 or 2.

    p.s. Don`t know too much about Barrington, but feel bad about constantly putting forward arguments ( as opposed to putting down, I hope!) against the inclusion of Dravid et al.,players for whom I have immense respect. I just don`t think they`re quite in this company.

  • Boll on December 6, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    @Vinish/Ananth - I`m certainly not trying to denigrate the `balls-faced` factor. However, I would argue that in general batsmen who score at a faster rate deserve precedence in many ways, and on more occasions. Yes, we can not discount the possibility of any team having to bat out time to save a test (or score big to win one), but this is usually a 4th innings scenario. Initially, scoring as many runs as quickly as possible must always be the aim.

    So we should look closely at 4th innings figures then (for the players I mentioned).

    Kallis: ave 43, 1 century. Dravid: ave 41, 1 century Barrington: ave 37, 1 century

    S.Waugh (ave.25) is also surprising.

    Compare;

    Ponting: ave 50, 4 centuries Richards: ave 48, 2 centuries

    Tendulkar (ave.38), and Lara (35) are a little disappointing, but I have Sobers (ave.47) and Bradman (a pitiful ave.74) and `The Master` Hobbs (ave.58) - pretty happy with my (very attacking) team`s ability to save (or win) matches in the 4th innings if required.

  • swarzi on December 6, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Murray Archer, was Greg Chappell a bowler? I never heard about all those five-fors that he took. In fact, I did not know he was so fearsome! That was his last test match in 1989 when he met that youth from India? I am saying all this to show you all the mediocrity with which you associate Tendulkar. I saw him batting on a GRAVEYARD yesterday against Monty Panesar, a no name bowler in test cricket, and he could not get the ball off the square. When he edged one off Anderson to third man, the Indian commentators, especially Ganguly say that he knew exactly what he was doing. I guess that's the reason why his bat has the widest edge these days. The Indian commentators say that he batted beautifully. I agree - a typical Tendulkar innings! Then Mr Murray Archer, you all used to rate him with the Bradmans and Viv Richards and Laras and Pontins! Ridiculous. Tell me which of those names, even at their old age now would allow Panesar to keep them batting so long for only 76 runs. Not in my XV. [[ If Tendulkar had been in form as he has been most of the career, this would have happened. Now he is coming up from the worst trough he has ever gone through. So you have to give him the right to grind his way out. Today Boycott said the same thing Shri told in these columns a few days back. The majestic Tendulkar of 1990s and late 2000s is lost forever. If Tendulkar wants to extend his career it will be on these type of innings. He has to fight his way. No more slapping leg-breaks to mid wicket for six. Give credit to Panesar, unlike today's Indian spinners, to bowl more than a third of the team overs at just over 2 rpo. Ananth: ]]

  • Fizz on December 6, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Som "Kallis was not good enough to push his team mates for a greater share of bowling is another way to look at it..Comparatively, Sobers had better skills."

    I will only agree with u if u believe that the bowlers with whom sobers played were better than Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Steyn, Morkel , Philander etc (the players with whom kallis played)

    Had Sobers been that good, his strike rate would not have been over 90.

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    So the bottom line is Imran is no less than any of the all-time bowling greats.

    In the past 30 years we have seen that teams that has dominated world cricket (Aus &WI) dint had any all-rounders. They played with a combo of 6 batsmen, 4 bowlers & WK.

    So a player should first justify his selection, either as a bolwer or a batsman. And then the all-round part comes in.

    But what if u have an advantage of having a player who is as great (if not better) as any of the bowling greats and averages >37 with the bat. I would surely have him in my team.

  • Vinish on December 6, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    @Ananth, when I open this page to see comments, the count of comments changes like a bowlers tally in a series... 612 to 623 (Warne in India) and suddenly 663 to 703 (Warne in Eng). :)

    We are at Warne'd range [700s], looks a distant possibility to catch up with Murli though. [[ Maybe. With loads of omments from Murray Archer, Boll, Som and Dr.T, we may reach. And Gerry back in his place. If we reach 799, I will send a big Thank you message. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    12 wicktes in sydney in 77 10 wickets in Leeds in 87 Back to back 11 wickets haul against india in 82 11 wickets in Guyana in 88 8 wickets in Lahore against Aus in 82

    Are few of his match winning performancs only as a bowler.

    One should also remember that at times Imran played in matches in Pak, where a spinner attacked from the other end. Thats the kind of wickets, thats were made in Pak in 70's & early 80's. Because the mindset of the whole management was such. They considered drawing a test, equivalent to a victory.

    Later Imran revolutionalized the whole mindset.

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Hadlee was better against Aus but u should remember that Aus was one of the weaker sides of 80's with a W/L ratio of <1.

    Hadlee got the oppurtunity to bowl at the inexperienced Aus team of mid 80's as well, while Imran got wickets against a much more formidable Aussie unit. He didnt bowled in 1985 series due to injury & in 1990 also he played as a batsman.

    Only thing that disturbs me about Ambrose is that, he did not bowled a lot in countries other than WI,Aus & Eng. Has played only 12 tests in the remaining part of the cricketing world. Though he was a genuine match winner. But what about Imran, wasnt he genuine one??

    Cont..

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    In my opinion, even in bowling alone, Imran was as good as any of the greats e.g Ambrose, Hadlee etc. For a number of reasons.

    Imran is the only bowler in the history of the game to average less than 30 against, every team & in every country.

    Imrans record against WI (the best team of that era) is better than any of his contemporaries. Not to forget that the last 3 tests that Imran played against WI, was purely as a batsman. With the 2 W's doing all the damage.

    Cont..

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    @Som Cricket is a game of specialists. U cannot have bits & pieces players in ur World X1. As Ananth said "players were evaluated on their specialist skills to qualify" So whichever all-rounder u select should have the ability to be selected only on the basis of their specialist skills.

    Now tell me will u select Kapil or Botham on the basis of their bowling alone??

    So it comes down to Hadlee & Imran. Both can be selected on the basis of their bowling alone. Like Kallis & Sobers, for their batting.

    So isn't this a big advantage, to have a person in ur team just on the basis of his bowling, and he averages >37 with the bat??

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    @Som. When u need to select a bowling all-rounder, this is the simplest of formulas: Minus the bowling average from the batting average. The greater the answer, the better the all-rounder.

    Imran (37.69-22.81 = 14.88)

    Botham (33.54-28.40 = 5.14)

    Kapil (31.05-29.64 = 1.41)

    Hadlee (27.16-22.29 = 4.87)

    Miller (36.97-22.97 = 14)

    Pollock (32.31-23.11 = 9.2)

    So u can see Imran is head & shoulders above his contemporaries. Miller is the next best after Imran.

    Shaun Pollock is a surprise.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 6, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Boll, inspired by your reply, I looked up Miller. I can certainly agree on his age. But regarding his performances and averages coming off their peak, I have a difference of opinion. His bowling average after his last season (1956), after his last big series as a bowler in England, when he bowled in 4 tests, and took 21 wickets including a 10 in a match, and thrice 5 in an innings, was 22.90. Not much deterioration thereafter. But only 168 wickets in 54 matches (~3/match), whereas Botham after 75 tests was almost 4.5. Similarly, in batting, after the 1955 West Indies series in which Miller scored 3 centuries, he was averaging 39, so not much deterioration there either since he continued only for one year more. But comparable to Botham in productivity (7 centuries in 49 tests) compared to 13 in 75 tests for Botham. Miller batted in century innings at #3, #4, #5. Botham was always #6. But I would wager that many of Botham's innings were impossible feats. Hence on balance, Botham for sure

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @ Anath .... Faf wow ! never thought I'd see a Duminy happen twice ! I expect now that Faf will become lousy (same as forerunner). Yet single handledly winning a series here is a big deal - congratulations to him!

    The boring batsmen I meant were particularly Barrington (there are a few others mentioned, mostly English). I'm certain most great players will accelerate when the need dictates. [[ I always distinguish between batsmen like Dravid, Kallis, Gavaskar, Steve Waugh and batsmen like Barrington, Boycott, Wright. Ananth: ]] Yes Archie Jackson was from all reports a "special".... but to Shrikanthk, I was meaning the Yorkshire great of about same period as Ranji :- Sir Francis Stanley Jackson.

    Bill Brown once told me the greatest contest on a cricket field he ever saw was 1934 ashes. Ponsford and Bradman battling strike ! "Don won because sometimes Ponnie took his single on the 5th ball" lol - too funny! Not sure they needed Jackson ;)

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I once heard a few months before an impending Indian tour of Australia that India had a kid batsmen who was awesome.

    Apparently Greg Chappell bowled 3 balls in a row to the tyro and first went four through cover, second pulled for 4 through square leg and third straight driven for 4. Greg asked Marsh (keeping) "did they all pitch in same spot" Marsh confirmed they did. Greg said "pretty good player then".

    Having heard that, I booked a flight to Perth to see not just first test of impending series. The "kid" (Tendulkar) was awesome in Sydney and even better in Perth. Best air ticket I ever bought !

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    @ Shirkanthk I'm happy to hear Richardson, if you are happy to hear Turner :) (please have a look at Bart King if you havn't yet)

    I agree with what you say about Ranji, yet you have not mentioned Jackson ?

    Reality is, we that think it's always been the same, are in a minority .... not just here (which allows our views held) but moreso everywhere.

    Thanks again to Anath for encouraging differing views :) [[ I hold that the greatest tragedy in Cricket was the untimely demise of, arguably, the greatest batsman of all times, Jackson. Imagine Jackson and Bradman at no.2 and no.3 between 1931 and 1939. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    I am a viewer and interviewer and not a stats person.

    Anyone who picks a batsman to survive in my opinion just doesn't get how good the people we speak of are.

    Same with anyone who picks defensive bowlers.

    I once saw Curtley Ambrose bowl an attacking length - he took 7 wickets for 1 run that day from memory. Rest of his career, like McGrath, Walsh ... many...... he denied rather than destroyed. Destruction through impatience of batting side, just won't happen when batsmen in this league are at the crease.

    To give an example (from personal experience) I remember at 16 wondering why some of the 3rd graders I played with were not being picked in Test side. A guy who was obviously better than Mark Taylor and played with Mark (and no further) told me... "see me blaze that 30 or 40 and no-one can destroy them like that".... till that kid after having poked for hours and when 150 + makes my shots look sick"

    Great batsmen will not get out to restrictive bowlers ! [[ I am not talking of the stroke-less wonders who keep the spectators off. There are many batsmen with all the strokes but also the patience to defend. Let us not confuse the ability to defend and save a Test (Faf du Plessis) with players who would defend at all times. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 6, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    A lot of people are asking - "Why Barnes is not an undisputed selection like Bradman".

    Now this is a classic situation which underscores the importance of FC averages.

    Barnes, for all his brilliant Test record, was not really streets ahead of all other bowlers. This is evidenced by his FC average (16.XX) which was quite common in the era he played in, especially in English cricket. Bradman on the other hand, was streets ahead of other batsmen in whatever he did. Test Cricket, First class cricket, Sydney Grade cricket. Everything. The Gulf between him and next best is close to 1.5X in just about every form of the game he played in!

    That's what makes Bradman special

    The reason Barnes has this mythical status here is because people pay TOO MUCH attention to Test records (based on very small sample sizes) and TOO LITTLE attention to FC records (which are based on very large samples).

    To my mind, Tom Richardson is one of the great bowlers of all time. Yet nobody mentions him except me

  • shrikanthk on December 6, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Wasp: Am aware of that Rhodes comment on Bradman's backfoot play you cited.

    Elsewhere on the net I found this extract :

    Cardus and Rhodes were discussing all-time batting greats when the hard-headed Yorkshireman, not given to praising precocious young Australians, said, "I once saw him come in and hit his first ball straight back past the bowler for four, and the second, and the third. He did it without getting his eye in or anything. Yes, maybe Jack Hobbs second and Victor Trumper third, but Bradman first, without a doubt.

  • Vinish on December 6, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    @BOll's comment as *Ponting, Lara, Richards, Tendulkar et al. win hands down over Kallis, Dravid, Barrington here.*

    I do not agree.

    Some of these batsmen could score freely because they hd support system around them. SRT started us winning more matches when we had Dravid around him, as a bankable support system. In comparison, Lara could not do so often (ins spite of his amazing match winning skills) because he did not have a Dravid or Kallis around him as a support system. So, each individual contributes in one's own way. Remember that when you consider *runs scored* and *Strike Rate* of batsmen, it does not mean that *balls faced* are not important at all. [[ Yes I agree. The ideal batting combintion would be 2 players with 45-s/r and 55+ averages, 3 players with 55-s/r and 50 averages and one who could go either way. Also depends on the keeper. With Gilchrist one could as well go 3 and 3. With Knott my split is preferable. We have to assume that even the selected World XV might go 100 for 3 or have to bat 150 overs to save a Test,. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    @ shmulik zulik

    Players opinions and also changes in batting averages is reason Lohmann is not ranked with Barnes. Barnes came along at a later time when batting averages had increased dramatically and he was a standout.

    Bart King is another that's been forgotten (most probably because USA had no test status and his side was not a national representative side anyway)

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    @ Waspsting Oh I have no doubt that Bradman was the best ever. To present a list of those that rated others higher would be churlish. However, seeing Kippax was among them, it'd be unfair to say they had no idea what they were talking about.

    I'd like to point out that what players say to press and authors is very different to what they say to each other and "trusted" people. Not everyone is as silly as say Harvey has become, and always present a "true" opinion. "He's too gutless to bat his way out of wet toilet paper" is ok for the chairman of England selectors to say about Gooch when England captain, but definitely not for publication !

    RE Fielding.... really the quality of these guys generally picked is outstanding, and they can all field well (unless you picked Sehwag etc.) I'm happy with Weekes, Harvey and Richards in the side :). It's not like Bradman or Hobbs etc were lousy fieldsmen ! lol want a short leg ... pick Solkar as 12th man and Miller to always be off the field :).

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    At the risk of posting about 7 straight comments, congratulations to the South African team for a wonderful win Down Under, and in particular to their captain (mentioned by others in dispatches here). Not sure if many South Africans will make this World XV (Kallis must come close), although plenty have been selected on occasion. But for well-known political pressures and exclusion (in which many SAf cricketers played a proud and often unremarked role) I`m sure some of the greats they have produced would be far more prominent in our discussions. Unless things go quite awry, some current players will also come under serious consideration in the future.

    As a pretty decent Australian side have just found out, they`re a resilient and occasionally brilliant team. I don`t think we`ve seen the best of them yet either. [[ One can accuse of the South Africans of under-performance in the ODI/T20 arenas, but not in Test cricket. Their away performances are amongst the best of all time. The only compromise they are currently making is in the wicket-kepping spot. The spinner is no problem. Perterson fills in and on responsive wickets Tajir would come through. Maybe not comparable to the West Indians of the 1980s and Australians 20 years later but right there at the top. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Som`s opened up an excellent line of reasoning? - what about my fielding conundrum? Anyone know how Jack Hobb`s went at silly point? - perhaps the offer of a helmet and non-breakable box will make him feel it`s worth a shot.

    Nice having Sobers/Viv (covers) there when you`re trying to set a field though - but might leave that to The Don (mid-off), he`d make sure Curtley (fine-leg) stretched out.

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    @Som, also glad to see consideration for SR coming into account. one of the big differences between WI/Oz great teams was the time factor; having a spinner who can get through the overs more quickly, and scoring at a faster rate means you get more time to bowl teams out. Ponting, Lara, Richards, Tendulkar et al. win hands down over Kallis, Dravid, Barrington here.

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    @Som - love the thought processes, and your ability to state them clearly for us to follow. Makes me wonder if I should reconsider...ah bugger that. Anyway, captaincy is an interesting one. Probably many of the players selected will have captained at one stage or another, with varying degrees of success. Imran gets huge respect for managing to captain and succeed with (apologies and no disrespect meant to Pakistani fans) an incredibly difficult team to manage.

    However, I`m not sure the World XV is going to be as difficult to control, or that his particular skills are quite as important here. I`d simply go for the player who immediately demands respect because of his standing in the game - the all but unanimous (what are you others thinking???) selection in the side - The Don. He`s my only choice for skipper, and I`d probably have Sobers as VC. [[ Som has opened up an excellent line of reasoning. Most of us get the same through intuition. But he has tried to streamline the thought process. Thanks, Som. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 5, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    Mail from S.Rajesh: a very valuable input

    And here's my 15: Hutton, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Richards, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Muralitharan, Warne, Hadlee, Marshall, McGrath, Ambrose, Akram. S Rajesh Stats editor, ESPNcricinfo [[ My dear friend Rajesh, a little more of a purist than me, has decided that there would be three proper openers and Lara would go. If I had to take in three openers I might have let Richards go. Thanks, Rajesh. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 5, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    (Cont...)

    And I was always wary of having both Gavaskar and Kallis in my team, and no Richards and Sehwag/Hayden. But with Imran, the most critical member making way for Hadlee, I have no more reasons to stick with Kallis and am now forced to consider Richards to give that attacking edge in the middle order, to neutralize the effect of Gavaskar at the top (sounds harsh, but its practical).

    And Richards lack of average (50, compared to 57-58 of Kallis), is more than neutralized by the difference in SR. And that too, done a couple of decades earlier.

    But the same logic which I am applying now questions Sachin's presence over Kallis? I have to think about that some more.

    But before I submit a new team to Ananth, I need to look into some more data.

    And that other amazing skillset that Imran brought in, captaincy, one would be hard pressed to not consider Warne for that, should Imran not be chosen. But there is no data to support it at the international level.

  • Waspsting on December 5, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    "Wilfred Rhodes, a man of understatement and unparalleled experience in cricket, placed Bradman clearly ahead of both Trumper and Hobbs."

    I agree with him!

    My point is the subjective bias for Bradman as "undisputed greatest ever" clearly did not come about while he was playing

    Whats the source for the Rhodes opinion, btw? The only opinion i know from him on Bradman is -

    -"he's the best I've seen...(long pause)... off back foot" (source, Cardus)

    Anyways, I'll deliver up the whole boatload of opinions i can find within a couple of days

  • Som on December 5, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Thanks Boll and Gerry for indulging in this discussion which is concerning me a lot. And your comments have helped me clear some of my confusions.

    When selecting the team for World XV, we are not to be dictated in any way by a phase in someone's career, which exceeded all expectations. We are to combine one's career with all those excellent phases and the troughs and then see how they fared. Otherwise we would do everyone a disservice.

    Imran's best decade beats everyone, but not his entire career. So even as a bowler he would be behind Hadlee and Ambrose and a few others. And as I found out, as an allrounder he wouldn't qualify, and for that matter no one would.

    Pulling out Imran from my team would need Kallis to be pulled out too, some for his own deficiencies (SR), also because he's contribution as an allrounder is also not to be considered with any merit, because it just does not cross the threshold. And the player he was leaving out was Richards.

    (Cont...)

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    @Gerry. Yes, at the END of his career (which due to the war didn`t start until he was nearly in his mid-late 20s) Miller averaged 37 with the bat and 23 with the ball - both figures also down on career highs. He also batted higher than Botham and was more often an opening bowler. To suggest Botham `would have taken the pants off ANY all rounder in history most comfortably` least of all Miller is simply unjustified by any quantitative or qualitative measure.

    I remember Botham for some of the great all-time test performances, not for his averages, but to suggest he stands head-and-shoulders above those who were (at least) his equals is difficult to stomach.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 5, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Boll, Botham at one time averaged more than 36 with the bat and less than 26 with the ball. At this point, he had played around 75 tests. He would have taken the pants off ANY all rounder in history most comfortably. These numbers included some deterioration of his form from its peak, especially in bowling, post 1982. After 75 tests, he had made 13 centuries and taken 330 wickets approximately. I would trust my judgement to say that no one else before or after would have such good averages and productivity. We remember Botham for an average of 31 with the bat, 29 with the ball, but it includes a 7 year period where he scored only 1 century and took only 40 wickets. Hardly the way to appreciate his greatness. But Imran did not falter against West Indies, plus was captain, plus good enough to be compared to top rank specialist bowlers so I chose Imran.

  • shmulik zulik on December 5, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Ananth: I was reading the comments and I saw Raghav-Alt saying that Barnes needs special treatment like Bradman. Can you explain to me why everyone thinks Barnes was better than Lohmann when Lohmann's statistics were so much better?and why almost no-one has selected him?

    shmulik

  • shmulik zulik on December 5, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    Ananth: I was reading the comments published here and someone said that Barnes should be getting treatment like Bradman!Now,according to statistics,Lohmann was WAY better than Barnes!Why has he got almost no mention? please reply shmulik

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    @Som. The all-rounder `position` is indeed a conundrum, and I think espncricinfo erred somewhat in their selection criteria by forcing pundits to choose one for each national team and their World XI. I much prefer Ananth`s method. However, with Sobers and Gilchrist as pretty clear selections in most teams I tend to think batting strength/bowling versatility is well-covered.

    Not sure about your contention that Botham tops Miller btw - with the latter averaging about 3.5 runs more with bat (as well as batting as a 4/5 rather than 6/7) and about 5.5 less with the ball. And much(?) better than Imran, Hadlee and Kapil? - stunning player that he was.

    One factor most people have rarely mentioned (or perhaps considered, myself included) has been fielding ability and balance. Players such as Ponting, Richards, Warne, (even McGrath or Anderson) make a huge difference in this regard. It will be interesting to see how the final XV stacks up.

  • Tom Hepburn on December 5, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    My XV

    Richards,Bradman,Ponting,Tendulkar,Lara,Kallis,Dravid,Gilchrist

    Hadlee,Warne,McGrath,Murali,Holding,Ambrose,Steyn [[ I might have gone with a middle-order batsman as opener, that too a whim. But I had two great openers in my team. But you seem to have no openers. Even if Richards is the Barry variety than the Viv variety, we are still an opener short. Ananth: ]]

  • Sesha on December 5, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Interesting to see a lot of specific inclusions and exclusions in teams picked to play in SA. Baffling to see specific inclusion of players who have never played in SA and excluding them from team to play in Aus / WI as the wickets are similar with hard & steep bounce...vice-versa is also seen in the selection...

    Another point that I would like to make is that Batsmen from teams with great bowlers (Viv, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Kallis) enjoy a great advantage of their batting performance assuming greater importance as the team wins more often. Batsmen like Gavaskar, Sachin, Dravid, Lara, Andy Flower have the misfortune of even their centuries becoming irrelevant as the team loses more often...

    I remember my uncles and grandfather discussing this aspect is a key reason why Gavaskar was considered better than Viv & Greg Chappell in that era...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 5, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Girish Patil - McGrath was not my favourite bowler either. But he consistently did two things 1) overcome the best batsman of the opposition and 2) no matter what the pressure, he was one bowler who would not wilt. In fact, with Steve Waugh, McGrath and Warne, it was not a miracle Australia won the 1999 world cup beating some excellent teams. They just did not know how to lose. Among bowlers, some others did have that quality, but not that many.

  • Som on December 5, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    (...Cont)

    And that would help give credence to the fact that we perhaps never had allrounders who could push the specialists for getting into World XV's. My very basic, back of the envelop analyses atleast shows so. But the philosophy of that analysis can only be justified if it is credibly applicable in measuring pure skills.

    @Murray,

    Imran, as I found, would not qualify as an allrounder. Without extending the bowling average cutoff to 35, Sobers would also not qualify. Botham, in the modern era was much better than others. He was also better than Miller. Selecting him would come down to whether he could replace a specialist? Because his individual skills were short of the best. Is whole greater than the sum total of its parts? And it all hinges on the question I asked in this and the earlier post, what is a good measure for material contribution per inning/game and with what frequency

    The irony is, Imran still remains in my team, though I am struggling to justify it. Same with JK

  • Som on December 5, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Ananth - Not every batsman will score a 50/100 every inning/test. Not every bowler will take 5/10 wickets every inning/test. Cricket as we know is a game where one is measured over a long period of time. Also scoring a 20 in an inning for a top order batsman might be as good as not scoring anything at all. And a similar threshold might be for a top order bowler. The question is, what is material contribution knowing how cricket has been played over the years. How many runs when scored, one could have made the least amount of material contribution. And what is it for the top order bowler? We might have answered this question directly or in a round about way through other analyses, but do we have a measure, which can be brought in every now and then to compare and justify selections? The reason I ask this question is, when talking of allrounders, I tried to see how often they showed allroundedness in the same match. The question is, why not apply similar concept to pure batsmen/bowlers?

  • Som on December 5, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    @Fizza,

    The argument that quality of team mates enhances or shadows one's performance is true but a weak one when records are to be compared between others and across era. On the basis of that, there is no measurement to say how much is the psychological pressure that Sachin has to bear every time he walks up to bat, when a billion souls pressurize him to act in ways which might hinder his natural game.

    As in economics, so in life, if you want multidimensional optimization, and are willing and open to consider all possible aspects, it is impossible to separate data from decision making.

    Kallis was not good enough to push his team mates for a greater share of bowling is another way to look at it. And in a much more evolved and nuanced bowling environment, his bowling skills are less competent. Comparatively, Sobers had better skills.

    One cannot blame Sachin saying that he has so many aggregate records because he played longer. The fact is others did not blossom early enough.

  • Saroj Chandan Mohapatra_INDIA on December 5, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    BATSMEN 1.S.Gavaskar(IND) 2.J.Hobbs (ENG) 3.D.Bradman (AUS) 4.J.Kallis (SA) 5.B.Lara (WI) 6.G.Sobers (WI) 7.V.Richards(WI) WICKET KEEPER 8.Adam Gilchrist(AUS) BOWLERS 9. C.Walsh (WI) 10.R.Hadlle (NZ) 11.G.Mcgrath (AUS) 12.C.Ambrose (WI) 13.W.Akram (PAK) 14.S.Warne (AUS) 15.M.Muralitharan(SL)

    PLAYING XI IN ASIA(Vrs INDIA,PAKISTAN,SRILANKA)- S.Gavaskar,V.Richards D.Bradman,J.Kallis,G.Sobers Adam Gilchrist R.Hadlle,W.Akram,S.Warne,G.Mcgrath,M.Muralitharan

    In WEST INDIES- S.Gavaskar,V.Richards D.Bradman,B.Lara,J.Kallis,G.Sobers Adam Gilchrist C.Walsh,C.Ambrose,G.Mcgrath,M.Muralitharan

    In AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND- J.Hobbs,V.Richards D.Bradman,B.Lara,J.Kallis Adam Gilchrist R.Hardlle,S.Warne,W.Akram,C.Ambrose,G.Mcgrath

    In ENGLAND- S.Gavaskar,J.Hobbs D.Bradman,B.Lara,V.Richards,G.Sobers Adam Gilchrist S.Warne,C.Ambrose,C.Walsh,G.Mcgrath

    In SOUTH AFRICA- J.Hobbs,S.Gavaskar D.Bradman,J.Kallis,B.Lara,G.Sobers Adam Gilchrist W.Akram,C.Walsh,S.Warne,G.Mcgrath

  • Raghav-Alt on December 5, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    Bradmans exclusion from World X1s is next to impossible because of the sheer weight of his numbers, in that case Sydney Barnes ought to be given the same treatment,but alas,guess cricket's a batsman's game :) [[ I am afraid there is difference between 99.96/60.xx and 10.76/16.43/16.53/16 81. Barnes is behind the top average by 50% and ahead of the third by 3%. Bradman is ahead of the next by 60%. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav-Alt on December 5, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    Raghav's XV :

    Hobbs Hutton Bradman Greg Chappell Graeme Pollock Viv Richards Sobers Gilchrist Malcolm Marshall Allan Donald Curtly Ambrose Dennis Lillee Sydney Barnes Warne Murali

    Im guessing u didnt include Lillee because of his poor returns outside Australia,NZ and England, and i feel Wasim is included in most World XIs for the sake of variety more than anything else..No disrespect to him but i feel there are better bowlers..

  • swarzi on December 5, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Ananth, I have been watching the test match between India and England from 9.00 am India time; and there was a brief moment when Sehwag was batting and I thought that the Gods would have loved to watch him. Then he gets run out; and since that I have been watching up to the time of this post. But unfortunately, I have not been seeing any other batsman whom the Gods would stop to watch. It's a bit boring. Monty Panesar is doing what he wants. I guess the Gods may have to wait until when it's time for Kevin Pietersen to bat to come again.

  • jaleed sarmad on December 5, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    jaleed sarmad 15 1.Bradman 2.wally hammond 3.ponting 4.tendulkar 5.sobers 6.lara 7.kallis 8.A.Gilchrist (wk) 9.Wasim Akram 10.shane warne 11.glen mcgrath 12.richard hadlee 13.malcolm marshall 14.curtly ambrose 15.imran khan

    playing 11.. wally hammond,tendulkar,bradman,kallis,lara,sobers,gilchrist,warne,akram,marshall,mcgrath

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    @Shri - I'll get back to you with ALL the opinions of people who watched Bradman and Trumper as to who was the best they've seen

    Wilfred Rhodes, a man of understatement and unparalleled experience in cricket, placed Bradman clearly ahead of both Trumper and Hobbs. And he was someone who bowled to all three!!

  • Waspsting on December 5, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    @Shri - I'll get back to you with ALL the opinions of people who watched Bradman and Trumper as to who was the best they've seen, that I can find from my collection of books

    pretty sure most plumped from Trumper (some said Hobbs, too). [[ "Most" seems to be an over-statement and if true, seems to be a haundiced view. I like watchig Trumper more than watching Bradman is one thing but Trumper was better Bradman is another thing.than Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    @ shrikanthk at December 5, 2012 2:28 AM

    Very well said ! "There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of records from 1870s English seasons!" Agree totally. In trying to make a point, I conceded one :). For some reason, doubt exists, therefore I just wanted to point to more than double averages.

    Having left he (Grace), Sobers (because we are picking specialists)and Wasim (probably best left arm quick ever) out is hurting my cricket brain, while fully appreciating the brilliance of the other 15.

    In my 15, I've actually been toying with including Sobers as a bowler (I disagree with "Pappu's" statistical analysis on a totally non-statistical basis ). I am starting to think O'Reilly was no more than Barnes with a wrong-un (perhaps too similar ?) and feel a leftie is important in attack. lol Garry'd also make up for my picking a keeper as a keeper.... an attacking left handed batsman at 7 seems the go in these teams :)

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    I am surprised that the name Les Ames hasn't come up yet...he was probably the first genuine wk-batsman in the game.

    Average of 40 not really extraordinary in the 30s. Also a very ordinary record against the Australians! Average of 27. No reason why you should pick him ahead of Gilchrist. Or for that matter great keepers like Oldfield, Tallon, Knott, Evans. Or for that matter even Matt Prior - a very fine keeper batsman.

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    pre-Hobbs, judging players becomes a bit 'iffy'.

    Well, Hobbs himself has stated in writing that the standard of bowling he faced in the early '00s was far superior to the standard of bowling he faced as a 45 year old in the late 20s.

    In fact if you look at Hobbs' FC record, it is very ordinary in the early '00s. It is only post War that he becomes prolific in county cricket!

    Hobbs also said in the same piece that while bowling had regressed between say 1905 and 1925, batting had advanced!! In a way Hobbs contributed to that batting advance by fine-tuning backfoot defensive technique - something that Ranji bequeathed the world of cricket!

    So all in all, we can conclude that bowling evolution happened much quicker and earlier than batting evolution. Which is the reason why batting averages were so poor in the 1890s/00s. Because batting techniques had not caught up with bowling techniques!

    Which is why Ranji is such a special player in my view! Averaging 56 in FC in 1890s! Huh

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    many of the old timers thought McCartney better than Bradman too. Further, almost everyone who saw the two together, expected Archie Jackson to out perform Bradman

    Not sure who these old timers are. Am sure they are outnumbered by oldtimers who think that Bradman was better than either MaCartney or Trumper!

    Alan MiGilvray is one man who saw both MaCartney and Bradman. He categorically stated that MaCartney was no Bradman. This was in a piece he wrote sometime in the 80s, where he also stated that the closest to Bradman as an overall package was Barry Richards (strange claim). He also said that Barry was a better off-side driver than Bradman who was leg-side dominant. Interesting!

    Anyway, from all the footage I have seen of all cricketers from the 20s to the present, the man who has impressed me the most (even though highlights packages are notoriously misleading) is Bradman. That Pull of his is out of this world. It's technically so perfect. So much better than Ponting's pull

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    Being on a stats blog I thought I should think stats. (glad to see the people I regarded already here :) )

    In 2008 David Barry said this :- " Just looking at bat/bowl all-rounders, not keepers. Four criteria:

    1. At least 20 innings 2. At least 2 wickets per Test 3. Weighted (for strength of opposition bowling) batting average above the overall average 4. Weighted (for quality of wickets) bowling average below the overall average.

    You get a grand list of seven 'true' all-rounders:

    KR Miller Imran Khan W Bates TL Goddard IT Botham TE Bailey JM Gregory

    You'll note the absence of Sobers, whose bowling seems to be much over-rated - an average of 35 is pretty mediocre.

    The question of whether or not they'd get picked in their team as a specialist of either is the wrong question, since it depends heavily on the quality of the team. Many sides would not pick Sobers as a specialist bowler (or at least not give him an extended career as one).... "

    I'm not a stats person but they intrigue

  • shrikanthk on December 5, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    RE Grace..... yes the record keeping and indeed competition in FC cricket was dodgy back in 1870's. Same guy averaging more than double with bat than ball is unheard of anytime ?

    There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of records from 1870s English seasons!

    To me, Grace is probably the greatest cricketer to be ever born. Or for that matter the greatest cricketer that will ever be born.

    For the simple reason that the man made the "county cricket economy" possible. Would cricket have survived as an international or even as an English sport without Grace? Possibly not. Would "overarm bowling" have survived as an art without Grace (who showed the world it could be played)? Most likely not.

    And what confirms his greatness to me is his performance in the 1890s (as a man in his late 40s) scoring runs with reasonable consistency against much younger bowlers in an environment vastly more advanced compared to the environment in which he learnt his cricket skills (the 1860s!!)

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    @ Waspsting

    :) not only Trumper... many of the old timers thought McCartney better than Bradman too. Further, almost everyone who saw the two together, expected Archie Jackson to out perform Bradman. The list of "they could have been anything" is long and littered with some super players :(. Tragedy has a way of happening - I still can't get over how good Lawrence Rowe looked to me. Even after all the eye problems etc, still did look great....... till he ran into Thommo that one year where running into Thommo was a horrible idea.(Rowe really got some unplayable jaffa's that year !)

    They are all long dead now, but I have met people (Bill O'Reilly included - best ever advice in his view) who would swear that Charlie Turner may have been the best bowler ever.

    I guess the point is time ?.... when today people play 10-15 test matches a year is impossible to compare with one tour of five Tests taking most of a year, with possibly no matches the next.

  • Murray Archer on December 4, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    @ Som. Thanks for that analysis (particularly all rounder part)very interesting.

    Personally I've always been a bit intrigued by the allroundedness of allrounders. The type that's a batsman and does bowl and the type that are a bowler who does bat are perfect for this exercise. A really allround type allrounder would find it hard to make it in this company on only the one skill. (Eg Miller or Goddard or Reid)

    Sober's bowling skills placed him a poor position as a wicket taker in Test matches. When the WI wanted spinners, Sobers would bowl mainly seam. When seamers were required, Sobers bowled the spin. He was just so versatile it worked against his overall success. I have heard stories of him in England 1970, as captain of World XI, picking up wickets with all 3 styles of bowling in a single day.

    RE Grace..... yes the record keeping and indeed competition in FC cricket was dodgy back in 1870's. Same guy averaging more than double with bat than ball is unheard of anytime ?

  • Abhishek on December 4, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    XV Batsmen:

    Verinder Sehwag Jack Hobbs Rahul Dravid Sachin Tendulkar Sir Donald Bradman Brain Lara Sir Gary Sobers Sir Vivian Richards

    Wicketkeeper( no brainer )

    Adam Gilchrist

    Bowlers:

    Malcom Marshall Wasim Akram Shane Warne Michael Holding Muttiah Muralitharan Glenn McGrath

    Prefered Starting XI and batting order

    Sehwag Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Lara Sobers Gilchrist Warne Marshall Murilitharan Holding Akram

  • Mike on December 4, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    Actually, can you just swap Walsh for Garner.

    Thanks

  • Mike on December 4, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    Here is the team that I dedided to go with:

    Gordon Greenidge Desmond Haynes Don Bradman Ken Barrington Kumar Sangakkara Frank Worrell Clive Lloyd Jeffrey Dujon Alan Davidson Harold Larwood Allan Donald Andy Roberts Courtney Walsh Sydney Barnes Bill O'Reilly

    With the openers I decided to go with the best combination that I have seen, which was Greenidge and Haynes by some way. Barrington gets in for his doggedness and ability to hold an innings together. Worrell and Lloyd were both great statesman who did a lot for West Indian cricket and I wanted their leadership in the side. Davidson brings a left-hand quality to the attack and Larwood adds some aggression and explosiveness.

  • Girish Patil on December 4, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    More teams (and opinions) to dissect... this is making me curiouser and curiouser about the final XV, to say the least! Ananth, hope your shoulder is doing OK (I see you've started another one on bowling trios). I am still a bit baffled by McGrath's inclusion by so many. To me, he was a metronome of the highest calibre - but not the wicket-taking matchwinner I want. To be sure, without him Aus would not have had the same success and among his contemporaries, I place only Ambrose well above him. But when you see how he fared without Warne, or when you see his strike-rate in some unhelpful away conditions, he is strikingly inferior to Dale Steyn.

  • TM on December 4, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Hayden (the best opener of modern era, atleast of past 20 years) Hutton (the best opener of pre 1970 era) Viv (the most devastating batsman of all time) Bradman (best batsman of all time) Lara (only man to score 400 in an inns, not to forget 375) Kallis (best batting all-ronder of all time) Gilchrist (no comparison for him in WK department) Imran (the most complete cricketer) Warne (the best leggy of alltime) Murali (the best off-spinner of all time) Waqar ( the best strike bowler of all time) Wasim (the best left arm pacer of all time) Marshall (will bowl well on any surface, i bet) Sangakarra (who can be better substitute for Gilly) Inzamam (if u have to have a batting match winner, he is the one)

  • Waff on December 4, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    My team would be very similar to yours Ananth. Just a few changes, I will have:

    Waqar in place of Akram (better strike bowler than Akram)

    Barnes in place of McGrath (Cannot leave out a man with such phenomenol stats)

    Imran in place of Ambrose (has won matches for his team than Ambrose) (Imran has performed well against every team, while Curtly has taken >90% of his wickets in WI, Aus & Eng)

    Hayden in place of Hobbs (Want to have modern day openers)

    The remaining members are same, as in your team.

    So the 15 are:

    Gavaskar Hayden Bradman Sobers Lara Viv Sachin Gilchrist Imran Warne Murali Waqar Barnes Garner Hadlee

  • AJ on December 4, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    My squad of 15.

    Hayden Gavaskar Lara Bradman Kallis Sobers Gilchrist Imran Marshall Waqar Murali

    On the bench: Warne Hammond Walcott Wasim Akram

  • stn on December 4, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    This was my team

    My X1:

    Gavasker Hutton Bradman Richards Sobers Gilchrist (wk) Imran (c) Wasim Warne Marshall Waqar

    Extras: Kallis, Lara, Sanga, Murali

  • beverly on December 4, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Ananth, the time is almost up and I have learnt a lot from my fellow subscribers. Based on what I learnt I'll now make my final submission. I want to remind all that we are selecting, "the XV that the Gods would stop to watch". Hence,they have to be the very best "ENTERTAINER". But there is so much competition, that a player has to have some additional credentials in addition to all the common criteria that was set to get in. Starting with the batsmen:I noticed that you picked seven of them. And when I researched their records, I found out that in addition to meeting all of the common criteria, SIX of them (except Sachin) had completed a score of 300(+) at least one time in their first class/test match career.I think things like these need to be spotted to separate the sheep from the goat. And because my bar is raised so high, I decided not to pick any batsman who never scored 250(+) in either their first class or test match career; so Pontin is in for Tendulkar. The bowling is perfect [[ Thanks, Beverly. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 4, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    I would just like to know,which players were selected only once? thanks shmulik [[ Patience needed. Ananth: ]]

  • javneet on December 4, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    JAVNEET 11

    HOBBS GAVASKAR BRADMAN TENDULKAR LARA SOBBERS/BOTHAM GILCHRIST WARNE/MURLITHARAN WASIM MARSHALL MAGRATH

    RESERVES: HOLDING RICHARDS

    Now this my final 15 sorry giving a 11 member team last time now i have 15 , as i have 2 options at all ronders &spinner slot i have not included viv with all due respect to the great man as I thought there was a left hander needed in there in the form of his countryman BC Lara & otherwise I think its a good looking unit I want your thoughts ANANT SIR RESPECT.....

  • Rocky Balboa on December 4, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Mankad wasnt the right type of spinner I was looking for,he was a left-arm spinner.and that spot is taken by Shakib,who's stats are much better as I explained. I reconsider about Benaud,the gap isnt to big and he could make a good vice-captain(after Imran/Kapil) so Rhodes out Benaud in [[ Will do nicely. Ananth: ]]

  • Shobhit on December 4, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Shobhit's XV: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Richards, Kallis, Sobers, Barry Richards, Ghilchrist, Andy Flower, Ambrose, Marshall, Akram, Donald, Warne, Murali. I have willfully gone with the six bowlers as Kallis and Sobers would prove to be more than competent enough to mop away any remnants left standing at the crease by fearsome chosen four. For Australia: Hobbs, Bradman, Richards, Kallis, Sobers, Barry Richards, Ghilchrist, Ambrose, Marshall, Warne, Donald. For SA: no change in the eleveven but Andy Flower in for Ghilchrist. For Windies: Gavaskar, Bradman, Hobbs, Richards, Kallis, Sobers, Ghilchrist, Marshall, Ambrose, Akram, Warne. For Subcontinent: Similar to Windies with the only change of Murali coming in for Ambrose. However, Andy Flower may be given a nod ahead of Ghilchrist. England: Hobbs, Bradman, Richards, Barry Richards, Sobers, Kallis, Ghilchrist, Donald, Marshall, Ambrose, Warne.

  • Waspsting on December 4, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    some loose guidelines for what constitutes legitimate selections might be useful

    (suggestion comes way too late, but i keep seeing it repeated here in the comments)

    We exclude people like Lohmann, Spofforth, Turner - and there's not even an explanation necessary. Its understood that they're excluded on grounds of being too-far-back-in-time, stats regarless

    Other 15's though that exclude certain generations aren't being accepted, though, because of the limited period balance of selections(?)

    Personally, I look at Jack Hobbs as a bit of a cut off - he set the standard of 50 ave. for batsman as a standard that hasn't changed much (not really, but its as good as a loose guideline as i can think of)

    pre-Hobbs, judging players becomes a bit 'iffy'.

    Note - even in Bradman's heyday, many Aus old timers held onto the view that Victor Trumper was a greater player [[ And Grace. Where do we place him. Shri will point to the FC record. But my view is that pre-1900, the FC scene was itself iffy. I agree that Hobbs, or rather 1900 is a good starting point. Ananth: ]]

  • fizza on December 4, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Ananth i did sent u 15 member squad. [[ Yes, no problems. Some issues with spelling. Ananth: ]] @Som. When u compare sobers & kallis,u have to take into consideration, the amount of overs they bowled as well. Kallis in 158 matches has bowled 19437 balls- 123 balls/match Sobers in 93 matches has bowled 21599 balls- 232.24 balls/match

    So u can see that Kallis had bowled much fewer deliveries than sobers per match. So he has less chances of fulfilling ur 3 wickets/match criteria. The reason is simple, Kallis played with far more formidable bowling attacks than sobers, therefore had less chances of taking wickets.

  • Dr. talha on December 4, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    @Ananth. I gave a team of 12 players.

    If u want the remaining 3. It would be:

    Lara Kallis Akram [[ Than you, your entry is complete. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on December 4, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    @Ananth: The parameter as I mentioned is not much different than away average.

    By giving equal weights to countries, we ensure suitability for a World XV. A World XV is expected to play in all conditions equally. Thus all countries get equal weight. Another change is that home average is also included with a 1/8 weightage in the calculation.

    It actually favours NZ batsmen because the weight given to Difficult Home conditions is reduced from 50% to 12.5% for them. On the other hand Bowlers from NZ are adversely affected.

    And for players from say Pakistan/India. They play 5 tests in NZ over a 100 test career. The difficult conditions contribute only 5% of their average. In this parameter its increased to 12.5%.

  • Avi Singh on December 3, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Thanks for the reminder email. My selection to add to your contribution - will be interesting to see the final make-up.

    Slightly coloured by romantic leanings but nevertheless a strong side I feel, most of whom need no explanation for their selections.

    Andy Flower gets my nod as possibly one of the most under-rated players the game has seen - never had the support or platforms Gilchrist had, yet did so well.

    Barnes and Laker picked partly to pay homage to the earlier eras, Laker also to spin the ball into the right-hander as opposed to Warne.

    Captain and keeper also assigned just for argument's sake. Cheers, Avi

    Selection of Avi Singh: Jack Hobbs, Sunil Gavaskar, Donald Bradman, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid (level-headed captain of this strong bunch and as always the back-up wicketkeeper/opener if needed), Sachin Tendulkar, Garfield Sobers Andy Flower (wicketkeeper) Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Sydney Barnes, Jim Laker

  • kamal on December 3, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Kamal's XI Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Knott, Hadlee, Warne,Marshall, Ambrose, [[ Why not 15 players. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 3, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Sesha: The trick is to talk about your selection in a seperate comment. [[ Not at all. Ananth: ]] David Where are you? Ajinkya: Dravid was selected based on his away performance,which a lot of modern greats(eg.Ponting in india,Jayawardene)failed to do. Rohit: Why is Graeme Pollock selected?He hardly played any tests!I can understand those who selected him based on FC but you clearly didnt do that! Pawan Mathur: How could you have missed all the modern greats?what you did is exactly the same as picking bradman but not looking at anyone else from that era! Rocky Balboa: Like your team.will elaborate later insha'allah

  • Rocky Balboa on December 3, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Ananth: I chose Shakib because on statsguru I set a limit of 100 wickets for a spin bowler and then sorted by batting average.Shakib came top!and his bowling average is 10 better than the next 2 as well.Rhodes came next. Benaud was to much a pure bowler for me. You might have been right about Mankad but as I explained now,Shakib is a shoo-in and I chose rhodes for his longevity. [[ The fact that he played till he was 45 does not make Rhodes a candidate for World XV selection. Ananth: ]] I think Pollock is the most underrated player ever so it was really hard to exclude him,however he was the only one.I think Botham had 1 good patch and then fell away,thats why I didnt select him.

  • Sesha on December 3, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Bit surprised that my selection or the analaysis got any comments from him so far...hopefully it was not that bad :-) [[ Who is the "him". If you mean "me" I have passed at least half the entries without comments. 700 entries and counting. You must understand. In reality in this case No comment is good. Ananth: ]]

  • Rohit on December 3, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Rohit's team Openers 1)Hobbs 2)Sehwag(for revolutionising the concept of opening)

    Middle order 1) Bradman 2) Pietersen(He has played some of the most defining innings which have resulted in his team winning) 3) Greame Pollock 4) Sachin( Just the sheer volume of numbers) 5) Steve Waugh(excellent record in tough conditions)

    All rounders 1) Kaalis 2) Sobers

    Wicketkeeper 1) Gilchrist

    Bowlers 1) Marshall 2) Mcgrath 3) Hadlee 4) Warne 5) Murali

  • Raghav Bihani on December 3, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    @Ananth: A World XV is expected to play against top teams all over the world. Thus they would encounter all sorts of conditions. The best way we judge a player on this parameter is by performance in away matches.

    A good index would be the Bowling/Batting avg. across 8 countries with equal weights for each country.

    i.e. (Avg. in India + Avg. in Aus + Avg. in Eng + ......)/8

    The only hitch is that the sample data of a player for all countries should be at least 6-10 matches or 2 test series.

    Sachin - 51.72 Lara - 51.88 Ponting - 48.81 Dravid - 54.08 Kallis - 54.18

    matches played in UAE, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are ignored here. See the massive drop for Ponting (Pakistan not taken as only 1 match) and Kallis (Still the highest). Value of Dravid stands out as he performs very well in different conditions. This concept is slightly different from Away Average.

    Same can be done for bowlers as well. [[ Other than the methodology in what way is this different to the Away Batting average minus the two countries. Okay you give equal importance to all countries . However people would qiuestion that. Across 60 years, scoring in India has varied like anything. And maybe quite unfair to New Zealand batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on December 3, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    I feel that Graeme Smith gets the short shift as an opener- he is a reliable and versatile opener who can attack as well as save matches in various conditions. He'd be in my team over Sehwag any day. Plus there is the small matter of his captaincy. [[ He is competing with H H S G and even S & H. Oh! it is tough. And captaincy should not come in at all. No one can come in because he was a great captain. Then Ponting/Steve Waugh/Benaud would stand in line first. Ananth: ]] I would also like to point out that the notion of Dravid being a superior player to Tendulkar in foreign conditions is a myth...Dravid does poorly in SA and SL, and not too well in Australia either. Tendulkar, I believe, is the only modern Test batsman to average at least 40 against all opposition home and away. That's amazing. If Tendulkar is not included in someone's list, that's fine by me. But surely, with all respect to Dravid, someone like G.Chappell, Border, Steve Waugh, Ponting makes for a better replacement? [[ That I agree. Greg Chappell is a mystery. My feeling is that many people are still hung up on the negative image through his turbulent stewardship of the Indian team. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on December 3, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Some observations about the selection trends: 1)I am surprised that the name Les Ames hasn't come up yet...he was probably the first genuine wk-batsman in the game. [[ Ames's keeping may have been the stumbling knock. Ananth: ]] 2)Greg Chappell certainly deserves more nominations...he was the best batsman in the WSC, by all accounts. [[ Yes, i agree. Ananth: ]] 3)Allan Donald hasn't come up very often either...beautiful action, extreme pace, superb stats (including an excellent strike rate). [[ Very serious competition. Ananth: ]] 4)Wally Hammond seems to get astoundingly less recognition for a player of his class. Geoff Boycott spoke about him in 'Bowl At Boycs' a few weeks back. [[ Yes, he could have come in more often. Ananth: ]] 5)After Pietersen's innings in Mumbai, he now deserves to be spoken of as a genuine all time great. He has played match turning Test innings in all kinds of conditions against excellent attacks now. [[ Probably Pietersen was fighting for a place with lara. Ananth: ]] 6)Victor Trumper seems to have been ignored...remember, this was a man spoken of as the greatest Aussie batsman pre-Bradman. [[ Again, very tough competition. Ananth: ]] 7)I hope Tendulkar's recent bad form does not mean that lesser players will make the list ahead of him. [[ I am not sure whether anyone has gone on recent form. If someone did not want tendulkar it would certainly because of the past 10 months. Ananth: ]]

  • Rocky Balboa on December 3, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    I want to make 1 change: Out-Shaun Pollock In-Wilfred Rhodes

    I realized my spin bowling needed strengthening,and only ann all-rounder could do the job because in my world champs only Murali merits selection without batting. Wilfred is known as the only player to have batted in every position in the batting order,so he provides flexibility,and he is the longest played player as well,provides longevity. [[ Will do. But Benaud and Mankad seem to have escaped your attention. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    Ananth - The T7 approach is more comprehensive and is bottom up. My approach was top down, similar to what I was doing for the bowlers. And 65 is a stiff number, but I was looking to make sense among only Best XV contenders, whose returns are expected to be high. I am assuming with T7 you would aggregate the total runs scored in the match and that would have nothing to do with not-outs. The 65 was set with the same assumption. I agree that if we change 65 to 64, the percentages for players will vary. The thing is every player because of style and other reasons, would have some sweet number, which would drastically alter this ranking. If we assume that player's performances are comparable irrespective of what is the relative split between their home/away/opposition performances, the top down approach can be loosely applied as I did here. Would love to discuss these further when you plan to have the T7 article. This analysis, has helped me see Sehwag/Imran in a better light. Thanks. [[ T7 method brings in context in a round-about manner. Context is very important especially for players from teams such as New Zealnd who play probably over half their matches in bowler-friendly conditions. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    (...Cont)

    Quite interestingly, the top batsmen and bowlers, come within the 40%-75% range of meeting expectations. With Bradman and Barnes topping the list.

    Among batsmen, Lara at 52.7%, is very good for his SR. This challenges the perception that he was a high scorer with many small scores. Dravid for all his repute, has a less than expected return with 50%, matching Sachin. The masters of the yesteryears are much higher at 60+. Sehwag is also very good at 52% and with his kind of SR, his returns look much better than Hayden(48.5) and Richards(47.2). Its interesting to see some of the top Aussie batsmen coming below the 50% mark. Hayden, Ponting, Border, Chappell, Waugh. Wonder why?

    Some inferences:

    --Barrington is underrated. Low SR? --Richards can be pardoned as he initiated the concept of high SR --Lara is phenomenal --Dravid/Ponting is overrated slightly --Sachin for all his talent and approach to the game, just meets expectations --Gavaskar over Hutton is debatable [[ The problem is that a 64 does not count and a 65 counts. I would say that in a third of the Tests with low scores and a T7 average which is below 50, a 64 would be like gold. Why can't we use the T7 average as a yardstick to measure the contribution. This will thus be a variable base. Only thing is that I am the one to do this analysis. So probably we should remember to have this discussion at a later date. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on December 3, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    My name was mentioned for incomplete team. However, i have submitted a team of 15 on Nov 20. I reproduce the same here Openers- 1. Barry Richards, 2. Gordon Greenidge, 3. Arthur Morris Middle Order - 4. Bradman, 5. Sobers,6. Lara,7. Graeme Pollock, 8. Richards Wicketkeeper - 9. Jeff Dujon Fast bowlers - 10. Harold Larwood 11. Fazal Mahmood 12. Wasim Akram, 13. Imran Khan, 14. Malcolm Marshall Spinner - 15.Derek Underwood It looks like there is some confusion regarding my mail id as regardng my query on "cricket talk" simulation of LHS vs RHS match match, you mentioned the name Som in the reply in a comment on Nov 28 [[ There was a lot of confusion ith your original team and changes and the fact that both the Richards were there. Now eberything is sorted out. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    (...Cont)

    With batsmen, guess 65 runs and not 45(as I was thinking) is somewhat of a minimum one would expect out of a test. 65 because, to draw a test one needs to score in total say 450 runs over two innings (not rain curtailed). Now 6 top order batsmen could be entrusted to score say 90% of the runs. This comes to 67 runs per batsman. And then assume some matches are weather curtailed and we can fix this number to say 65. Any less than that in a test match, when the exact situation is unknown, can be taken as 'not meeting bare minimum expectations'. And the noise around the data might cancel when compared across players. So how does it stack:

    % of matches where min 65 runs scored

    Bradman - 69.2 Hutton - 62.3 Barrington - 61 Hobbs - 60.7 Kallis - 53.2 Lara - 52.7 Shiv - 52.7 Gavaskar - 52.8 Sehwag - 52 Sobers - 51.6 Sanga - 51.3 Sachin - 50 Dravid - 50 Hayden - 48.5 Ponting - 47.6 Richards - 47.2 Border - 45.5 Mahela - 45.2 Chappell - 43.7 Miandad - 43.5 Waugh - 41.7

    (Cont...)

  • Waspsting on December 3, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @Shri - re: Destructive 11/Solid 11 - nice teams

    Graeme Pollock, i think was more a effortless timer type than a full follow through type? He was aggressive, but I'd pick someone else for that reason - Kevin PIetersen, perhaps - that was one of the greatest innings I've EVER SEEN in the last test.

    Love the thought of an Ambrose, Garner, McGrath attack!

    ---

    Brave decision by Ponting. I think he's good enough to score well against Sri Lanka - brave of him to do what he feels is best for team.

    Ironic that the the man whose played in more won games than anyone ends his career with a crushing defeat. [[ How one quits speaks as much as how one played. As you have rightly said, a few more easy runs against a weak Sri Lankan attack at home and a new year quitting was very tempting and no one would have grudged him that. But he quit in style. Maybe not with the bat, but with his head held high. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    (...Cont)

    Garner and Holding had relatively short careers when compared with others in their era.

    So the standout bare minimum performers time and again are: Barnes, Marshall, McGrath, Hadlee, Ambrose.

    I see quite clearly through this lens, why Ananth, when he picked up the bowlers chose Marshall, McGrath, Hadlee, Ambrose. Barnes again due to a different era, his records may have some question marks, and Akram as perhaps the best left armer may get in his place.

    It makes me reassess my reliance on the 'best over decade analysis'. Very important inferences from there, but there is so much to say about a top level consistent career than once so often outlier kind of performances and mediocrity many other times.

    On the batting front, the same logic then questions some of the contenders achievements. How often did they score atleast say 45 runs in a test? A really base level criteria. Time to check and ponder.

  • Taqi on December 3, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I am confused, I posted the 15 and playing 11. I am not sure what I am missing.

    Here they are again,

    1, Hobbs 2, Sutcliffe 3, Bradman 4, Lara 5, Tendulkar 6, Richards 7, Sobers 8, Gilchrist 9, Imran 10, Ambrose 11, Marshall 12, Wasim 13, Waqar 14, Muralitharan 15, Warne

    Below is my plaing 11,

    Hobbs Sutcliffe Bradman Tandulkar Richards Sobers Gilchrist Imran Marshall Waqar Muralitharan [[ Thank you. Your previous mail was confusing. Your text and the teams did not match. Now your XV is quite clear. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Ananth - For Miller, the number is 27.3 and for Kapil, 22.1. So among them the pecking order of allrounders is - Sobers, Botham, Miller, Kapil, Imran, Kallis.

    Now looking at some bare minimum effectiveness data for pure bowling skills, this is how it stacks up. The criteria is - in how many matches, they took 4 wickets or more at an average of 25 or less.

    Barnes - 74.1% Garner - 58.6% Marshall - 54.3% Holding - 51.7% McGrath - 51.6% Hadlee - 48.8% Ambrose - 48% Waqar - 44.8% Donald - 44.4% Lillee - 42.9% Imran - 40.9% Akram - 40.4%

    As you will see, consistency was not really Akram or Imran's forte, as much as it was with Barnes, Garner, Marshall, Holding. So selection of Imran as a pure bowler becomes very much doubtful. Akram makes his case as perhaps the best left armer. Though there is no denying that Akram, Imran, Lillee, Donald, Waqar, all of them are candidates who can play for a 'do or die' XI when defending a score less than 100.

    (Cont...)

  • sreekumar on December 3, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Sorry ananth, i didnt notice that i selected only 14. My last entry is Hadlee.

  • Vinish Garg on December 3, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    *What about another 4 players?*

    Yes, sorry I forgot that you need set of 15 players. My other 4 are in Vinlogic XI are: Dravid, Lara, A. Flower, Ambrose.

  • Vinish on December 3, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    This has been an intriguing thread so far. Readers posting their lists after logical selection overlooking the emotional turmoil to pick *x* rather than *y* because *x* makes more sense although I like *y*.

    Ananth: I could not select objectively in my original list and hence my revised list is:

    Vinlogic XI

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Steve Waugh Sobers Gilchrist Warne Marshall Hadlee McGrath [[ What about another 4 players. Probably Gooch, Lara, Ambrose and Flower. Ananth: ]] I am tempted to share my list that I will pick purely on emotions, for the players whom I always loved to watch (some have already made it to logical list whereas others just miss the list narrowly)

    Gavaskar Gooch Dravid Lara Steve Waugh Kallis Andy Flower Warne Marshall Ambrose McGrath

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    (...Cont)

    Based on these measures, as you will see, Sobers stands out, and Kallis is not really a competition for him. But Imran's frequency/effectiveness as an allrounder too is not the very best for him to be considered a shoo in in Best XV. In fact, Botham is much better and is closer to Sobers.

    Now I know Ananth's article on best decade placed Imran as the best bowler, and there is no denying, and based on that he could get in the top XV but considering him an allrounder for the alltime XV would be a stretch, when specialists(like him and others have delivered much more). [[ I think Sobers and Kallis can walk in as batsmen. Hadlee and Imran (to a lesser extent) as bowlers. As all-rounders, the pecking order changes. Then Botham, kapil and Miller have to be given their due credit. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 3, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    "Ananth, This data is good"

    @Murray, @Dr Talha, @Fizza,

    To understand whether Imran had contributed many a times in both the departments in the same match, we first need to see how much is the bare minimum expected. Without knowing how a match transpired, we can say that a bowling unit has the responsibility of taking atleast 10 wickets and at max 20. So if 15 is taken as an average per match, with 3 mainstream bowlers and 1 allrounder, one can expect the allrounder to take atleast 3 wickets in the game to fulfill the bowling responsibility. Even if the allrounder is not the best bowler, one should expect atleast a bowling average of say 35. Similarly, on the batting side, an average of 35 per match is perhaps the minimum one can expect. So let's see how many % of the matches(of the ones they played) did these 4 great allrounders(Imran, Botham, Sobers, Kallis) have, where they fulfilled these very basic criteria. Imran - 21.6% Botham - 28.4% Sobers - 31.2% Kallis - 18.4%

    (...Cont)

  • milpand on December 2, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    An all round player should perform well as a batsman and a bowler in the same match. Only one player appears five times in a list with performances spread between Feb-78 and Jan-84 where the rest usually make a solitary appearance (with 3 appearing twice):

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282793.html

    Only one player appears in both Best Ever Ratings. For his Batting in Jul-82 and Bowling in Feb-80.

    It is extremely difficult to be a wicketkeeper, opener and a captain at the same time. It is extremely difficult to make a difference with both bat and ball at the same time. It is extremely difficult to be an allrounder.

  • milpand on December 2, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    I did not have a list of 11 players significantly better than the next best candidate for that position. I was fortunate to form a team eventually because I did not group players by speciality.

    With plenty of extremely good players in the pool I had decided fairly early not to select an opposition player. The time spent in looking at the charts and manually recording date of birth & date of selection for chosen ones would have reduced if I had selected the opposition in advance.

    Once I got to the stage of 23, Botham and Flower made the cut before Bradman and Sobers. Barnes and Sutcliffe were not selected due to age. Players were eliminated on the basis of nationality. Border, Morris & Waugh made way for better Australians. Kiwi Hadlee selected over Imran so Chappell makes way for Miandad. Gavaskar in favour of Hammond due to selector's bias.

  • milpand on December 2, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    @som My knowledge is fairly limited in most areas hence I avoid selecting even a current XI. This was a one off exercise where I tried my best to ignore both aggregates and career average which I believe can't be fairly used to compare all the players. Index based player rankings were a better indicator which tend to reward a crucial 40 or a timely 3-wkt haul within the context of a match. Both positional superiority and variety constraints were incidental, not designed. I alphabetically arranged 199 players in a worksheet and clicked about 10 of these at a time. A simple IN/OUT decision was visually made generally on the basis of how often the curve remained above the 750 line. Carried out over several days and at various times, this list would have included some other names in a different iteration. More attention was paid to the charts for A Flintoff and A Flower vis-a-vis Z Abbas & W Akram. [[ Thanks to Milind for respecting my wishes to select a XV. Ananth: ]]

  • IPSY on December 2, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Ananth, Thanks for space in your blog to wish Ricky Pontin a successful post-cricketer career. I hope it would be as illustrious as when he played, if not better. Cricinfo needs to know that "only batting records like that of Ricky Pontin IS WORTH HAVING". His BATTING RECORD shows that his BATTING has contributed to him and HIS TEAM being THE BIGGEST WINNER in cricket overall. He has also scored 250+ in his first class and test match careers; making him an All Time XV contender. Where was the media hype, rich well-wishers fanfare, crazy fans human-worshiping, etc when Punter became (and remains) the only player to WIN 100 GAMES IN THE TEST MATCH FORMAT ALONE? And why was the hype and fanfare so loud and boisterous when they PATCHED UP the records from 3 FORMATS to MAKE UP a most DISPUTABLE RECORD to make another player look good? I'm sure the cricket played at the English county level in the 70s and 80s had a greater international flavour than we get from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe today. [[ Why the plethora of upper case comments. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 2, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    Ananth: I think Mani was not trying to mock you in his selection. What he was trying to say is that all those players could have been in this list if not for terrible indian selectors. I dont know him though(being israeli,the only commentator here I know is david ben-gurion)

    did my team get in? best wishes shmulik

  • Rocky Balboa on December 2, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    World champs XV: Hobbs,Sehwag,Bradman,Sanga(keeper),Kallis,Sobers,Keith Miller, Shakib,Kapil,Imran(c),Wasim,Hadlee,Shaun Pollock,Murali,Lohmann

    I think the more bowling options the team has,the harder it is for batsmen to adapt.Also this team can bat till 11!

  • Ravi on December 2, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Hi Anantha, While we are at it, for fun, find below a team of allrounders. May be when you update your simulation software, you could have a series between the allrounders and the specialists. Regards, Ravi All rounder's team: 1. Sanath Jayasuriya (opening batsman and left arm spin) 2. Trevor Goddard (opening batsman and left arm pace) 3. Aubrey Faulkner (leg spin) 4. Jacques Kallis 5. Keith Miller 6. Gary Sobers 7. Adam Gilchrist 8. Imran Khan 9. Shaun Pollock 10. Richard Hadlee 11. Monty Noble (off spin, can open the batting as well)

    Reserves: 12. Ian Botham 13. Kapil Dev 14. Wilfred Rhodes 15. Mushtaq Mohammed

    Only criteria applied is that the batting average should be more than the bowling average. This means someone like Vinoo Mankad misses out to Jayasuriya for the opening slot. Others like Hammond, Worrell are not considered as their bowling skills, though used to a substantial extent by their teams were not really equally good as their batting was. [[ Greig: 40.44 & 32.21. Ananth: ]]

  • Sesha on December 2, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    I have 4 teams - 2 World XIs, One World XI of my choice if a gun is placed on my head :-) and the important World XV

    World XI 1 – Gavaskar, Jack Hobbs, Bradman, Sachin, Greg Chappel, Lara, Alan Knott / Ian Healy, Marshal, Mcgrath, Hadlee, Warne

    World XI 2 – Len hutton , Hayden, Dravid, Richards, Sobers, Ponting, Gilchrist, Lillee, Murali, Trueman, Waqar

    GOH XI – Gavaskar , Jack Hobbs, Bradman, Sachin, Sobers, Richards, Gilchrist (just because I have seen Gilly and not seen Alan Knott play), Marshal, Mcgrath, Lillee, Warne

    World XV – Gavaskar, Jack Hobbs, Hayden, Bradman, Sachin, Sobers, Richards, Lara, Gilchrist, Marshal, McGrath, Lillee, Warne, Murali, Hadlee

  • Ravi on December 2, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    12. Herbert Sutcliffe - reserve opener

    13. Clyde Walcott - Reserve middle order batsman and wicket keeper; he has batted in positions 3-6 and has done well in all of them. Averages, at 3 - 51; at 4 - 78; at 5 - 59; at 6 - 72. Would be a worthy replacement for any of the middle order and the keeper. Allan Border is another with a similarly good record at all these positions but he has not kept wickets and hence Walcott it is.

    14. Curtly Ambrose

    15. Ray Lindwall - the forgotton paceman

    So, to summarise, it is

    1. Sunil Gavaskar 2. Jack Hobbs 3. Don Bradman (c) 4. Gary Sobers 5. Vivian Richards 6. Imran Khan (vc) 7. Adam Gilchrist (wk) 8. Richard Hadlee 9. Malcolm Marshall 10. Shane Warne 11. Muthiah Muralitharan 12. Herbert Sutcliffe 13. Clyde Walcott 14. Curtly Ambrose 15. Ray Lindwall

  • Ravi on December 2, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    8. Richard Hadlee 9. Malcolm Marshall 10. Shane Warne 11. Muthiah Muralitharan

    - The 5 man bowling attack offers me an option of all types of bowling; pace, swing, seam, leg spin and off spin. If I additionally need a left arm option, I have Sobers.

    All of them are matchwinners in their own right and have done well against all teams and in all countries bar a couple of cases like Warne in India and Murali in Australia. It will be relentless attacking bowling at all times in the match.

    The above players will be my preferred starting 11. It is also a good all round fielding side with some good catchers as well for the slip cordon.

    To cover for injuries and bad form or certain pitch conditions/ countries, I have given below the 4 reserve players.

    ...continued

  • Taslim on December 2, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    @Anantha Happy to see the centuries from AB and Amla. AB looks to get his touch back while keeping. May be in next few years or so he would prove himself as a accomplish wicket-keeper and a quality batter.

    What u feel about the target, I thought, If SAF would have got to around 680-690 it would have been more tough for australian. D.Elgar entry was surprise and shocker, instead Rudolph was better than him.

    With 632, they got outside chance, SAF needs to get rid of warner and dangerous watson as early as possible in the morning session. [[ I think anything more than 500 is an overkill, irrespective of the number of overs. No one is going to score at 2.5 rpo and reach 500. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 2, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    5. Vivian Richards - Remembered more for his aggressive batting, swagger, scoring rate etc. but what gets forgotten was that he was a technically capable (correct?) batsman against pace and spin alike in all conditions and countries.

    6. Imran Khan (vc) - Will be in just as a bowler but his batting offers the balance needed.

    7. Adam Gilchrist (wk) - His batting obscures his keeping skills which was as good as any of the best keepers over the years.

    ...continued

  • Ravi on December 2, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    I read some blogs regularly (including this) on different subjects but have never commented on any of them. This topic however was too good to pass. Find below my selection.

    Regards, Ravi **************** Ravi's team:

    1. Sunil Gavaskar 2. Jack Hobbs

    - Both openers, though eminently capable of doing so, cannot be classified as the setting up the match/ match winner type but more of give the first hour to the bowler and then pitch tent type but this is what I need for the middle order to follow.

    3. Don Bradman (c) 4. Gary Sobers - Though he has batted about one third of his innings at 6, the higher he has batted, the more he has averaged; at 3 - 72, at 4 - 63, at 5 - 59, at 6 - 53. So, I put him in at 4 and I have not yet considered his bowling and fielding.

    ...continued

  • Taslim on December 2, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Ananth, Second time, I want to make three changes, if possible Watson,AB & Dravid Out and I.Khan, A.Flower & S.Tendulkar In. Final team as below.

    Team Tiger 1 D.Bradman 2 S.Gavaskar 3 B.Lara 4 V.Richards 5 A. Flower 6 J.Kallis 7 G.Sobers 8 W.Akram 9 S.Warne 10 M.Muralidharan 11 G. Mcgrath

    12 A.Border (Standby batsman) 13 S.Tendulkar (Standby batsman) 14 I.Khan (Standby allrounder) 15 M.Marshall (Standby bowler)

    Many thanks. [[ No problems, Taslim. All three changes done. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 2, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Awesome work Anath - I fully understand Tallon won't make it, yet dispute he wouldn't be in his country's best 15 :)(was in team of 20th century).

    There's been many great players mentioned here in this thread. I'm sort of glad but also sort of sad Sid Barnes got deleted..... lol a horrible man yet a wonderful player :) [[ If you are referring to S.G.Barnes, he is there in K.V.Krishnan's selection. Ananth: ]] The one I'd like to comment on (dangerously because I know) is Imran. I saw all of Imran's career and even played against him a couple of times. Apart from maybe one year, I can't remember him being an allrounder ? He was initially an outstanding bowler who batted a bit and ended up a good batsman who bowled a bit ? In between there was one series in England where it was he Vs Botham and they were both clearly GREAT allrounders ! I'm probably statistically wrong ..... usually am when someone bothers to look. Just my impression was that although a brilliant player and better leader, Imran was not for long a top class allrounder.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 2, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    I would add one more criterion - Ambrose must be in the starting line up...dont know of any other bowler who single handedly dismantled the best batting line up on earth repeatedly in their own den. If there is one, would like to be enlightened. Witness his visits to Australia in 1988-89, 92-93 and 96-97. If this were the sole criterion, Ambrose would stand all alone, above all. [[ Gerry You are going to be in for a big surprise two weeks from now. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @Ananth: My first comment on new team Openers is given incomplete.

    "Posted by: Raghav Bihani at December 2, 2012 11:02 AM" [[ Corrected, Raghav. Problem is use of the sign for "less than". Ananth: ]]

  • Tariq on December 2, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Hi Ananth, As per your instructions, I am expanding my "ALL TIME GREAT XI" to XV players.

    1 Sir Jack Hobbs 2 Sir Leonard Hutton 3 Sir Donald Bradman 4 Brian Charles Lara 5 Sir Viv Richards 6 Sir Garry Sobers 7 Adam Gilchrist 8 Wasim Akram 9 Shane Warne 10 Malcolm Marshall 11 Curtly Ambrose

    Reserves

    12 Imran Khan 13 Jacques Henry Kallis 14 Sydney Barnes 15 Muttiah Muralitharan

    Please let me know if my entry has been accepted. [[ Thank you, Taeiq. I will take in your team. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 2, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Important instructions contd... 3. If teams are limited to partiular periods, these will not be considered. However I will look at the entries rejected and will take a lenient action if I see some justification a la Paul Sime. 4. Positively 10 December is the last day for submission of entries, corrections, expansions or whatever. The final wrap-up article will appear around 17 Dec. 5. Until now 124 players have been selected. Out of these, 27 have a single selection each. I will retain these but feel these are results of flights of fancy of readers. However much I like Hussey or D'Olivera or Flintoff or Bruce Reid or Cook or Watson, I cannot see them getting into their own country XVs, leave alone, the all-time World XV. 6. The First XV will be selected purely based on user responses, after ensuring that team balance is maintained. Similarly the second XV will be selected. Everyone will have a single vote. I know that my own selection might have influenced readers a little bit but in general readers have used their knowledge. Until now only one reader selection matches mine. 7. Hopefully in future I can simulate a 5-Test series between the First and Second XVs.

  • Ananth on December 2, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Important instructions. 1. There are 17 entries with fewer than 15 selections. I will send a reminder to the following, to their given mail-ids, to expand the selection to 15. If the mailids bounce, their entry will not be taken in. If any of these 19 has given a dummy non-working mailid, it is in their interests to re-submit their team. I am giving two chances: through a mail and a reference here. - Dr.Talha/Sardar/Arch - Jim Stewart/Sameen Afraz/APS/Sid Jain - Harsh/Venkramesh/Sarath/Alok/Akshat - Murali/Peter Macfarlane/SreeKumar - Lena Jafri/Fizz. Tariq/Pawan/Taqi have already responded. 2. If they do not want to expand to 15, that is fine. But it has to be a valid entry.

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Wicket-keeper: (Dismissals>200, Avg>25) Contenders: Knott, Marsh, Dujon, Healy, Stewart, Boucher, Gilchrist and Dhoni.

    Without much fuss Gilchrist is chosen. There has not been a keeper like him before and all after are busy copying him. The choice for Team 2 was difficult. Dhoni and Stewart are not the best with the gloves and are a compromise choice because of their batting. The decision was between Healy, Knott and Boucher. I have chosen Knott though would gladly accept any of the other 2 as well.

    Team 1: Gilchrist Team 2: Knott.

    FINAL TEAMS

    WORLD XV 1: Gavaskar, Hutton, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Hadlee, Marshall, Akram, Warne. Reserves: Sehwag, Chappell, Donald, Murali.

    WORLD XV 2: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Headley, Tendulkar, Pollock, Kallis, Knott, Imran, Davidson, Ambrose, Grimmett. Reserves: Hayden, Hammond, Barnes, Laker.

    Consolation XV: Boycott, Smith, Ponting, Weekes, Maindad, Waugh, Healy, Holding, Lillee, McGrath, Chandra. + Waqar, Reilly, Dravid, Langer [[ A lot of work, Raghav and a very objective method of selection. Let us see how the final two XVs turn out to be. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    SPINNERS: (Wkts>140, SR <70, Avg<30) Contenders: Trumble, Grimmett, Reilly, Laker, Chandrasekhar, Kumble, Warne, Murali, Saqlain, MacGill

    Choice is for 2 spinners preferably one leg and one off spinner. MacGill leaks runs @ 3.22 plus he along with Kumble and Saqlain have avg above 30 (w/o ZIM and BANG). Reilly loses out with a SR of 70. Trumble played too early and avg is high for that period and uncovered pitches. Chandra though was mesmerising has a low avg, wkts/test and a low % of 5 wkt hauls.

    Left are Warne, Murali, Grimmett and Laker. Warne, Murali are chosen ahead of Grimmett, Laker due to their better SRs. The number of wkts over long careers also swings it in their favour. It is sad to see no Indian spinner making it but Chandra loses out narrowly to Grimmett for a place in Team 2 as well.

    Team 1: Warne and Muralitharan Team 2: Grimmett and Laker

    Contd...

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Pacemen: (Avg<25, SR<66, Wkt/test>3.5) Contenders: Barnes, Lindwall, Trueman, Davidson, Lillee, Imran, Hadlee, Holding, Marshall, Akram, Ambrose, Waqar, Donald, McGrath and Steyn.

    I need one left armer; Wasim scores over Davidson on SR. Wasim was a magician with the ball swinging it both ways and reversing. Waqar and Trueman have a poor away record as well low avg. relatively in wins. Imran has a poor away record but his avg. in wins and batting take him to Team 2. Steyn though in the greats but needs to finish off well. Marshall and Donald make it to team 1 due to their excellent Strike rates, decent away records and win avg. coupled with acceptable economy rates. McGrath and Lille lose out due to win avg. and away record resp. Ambrose and Hadlee were very close but Hadlee makes it due to Win avg. Barnes is in Team 2 only because of his short career before WW1 on uncovered pitches.

    Team 1: Marshall, Donald, Akram, Hadlee. Team 2: Barnes, Ambrose, Davidson, Imran

    Contd...

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    MIDDLE ORDER: (AVG>48, AWAY AVG>45, RUNS>4000) Contenders: Hammond, Bradman, Headley, Weekes, Sobers, Barrington, Kanhai, Pollock, Greg Chappell, Richards, Maindad, Border, Steve Waugh, Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Younis Khan and Sangakkara.

    Decision was most difficult. Border, Waugh and Dravid are fighters but extremely poor conversion of 50s. Younis and Sanga are below par shown by away records. Miandad and Ponting lose out due to poor scores away and Barrington due to poor FC avg.

    Bradman is a must. Only Sobers, Headley and Pollock come close. Sobers is in Team 1 (Kallis Team 2) . Headley and Pollock are in Team 2 as they played few matches. Richards gets in for his destructiveness and Tendulkar is pipped by Lara because of penchant for high scores. Chappell makes the cut due to his away record and high avg in wins. Hammond was close but is in Team 2.

    Team 1: Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Chappell. Team 2: Headley, Tendulkar, Pollock, Kallis, Hammond.

    Contd...

  • Vinish on December 2, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    @Ananth; Do you remember which was your last blog post that received >600 comments? This post has really caught the pulse the audience! Great thread! [[ There was a batting one couple of years back which received over 700 responses. We still have 10 days to beat that. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on December 2, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    @shrikanthk: Mouth watering Savage XI and Conservative XI. Just tempted to have my say; I would have replace *G Pollock* with *Lara* in Savage XI, and *S. Waugh* with *Barrington* in Conservative XI.

  • Raghav Bihani on December 2, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    OPENERS: (AVG>48, RUNS>3000, 50s>30% of innings) Contenders: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton, Simpson, Boycott, Gavaskar, Langer, Hayden, Sehwag, Smith

    Simpson has done well as an opener (not lower down) that also only when he is captain. Hayden. Langer, Boycott, Hobbs & Sutcliffe do not score big as they have low 150s and 200s. Sehwag outscores his contemporaries (Hayden, Langer, Smith) on this count while doing so at a pace unheard of before. Hayden and Langer have away avg lt 45; not acceptable in this peer set. The 1st of openers is Gavaskar and Hutton. They have lots of high scores and 50+ avg away. The 3rd opener should have been Hobbs given FC record, but I go with Sehwag. His penchant for high scores and strike rate stand out. Plus he redefined what's expected of an opener. Hobbs and Sutcliffe have an amazing % of 50s but conversion is not great.

    Team 1: Gavaskar, Hutton, Sehwag

    Team 2: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hayden

    contd...

  • javneet on December 2, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    javneet

    HOBBS GAVASKAR BRADMAN TENDULKAR LARA SOBBERS/botham GILCHRIST WARNE MACGRATH/murlitharan MARSHALL AKRAM I, think this would be the perfect team in any condition i have murli and magrath as options depending on conditions i have botham and sobbers as option if want to play two spinners then play botham otherwise sobbers would be the choice..... [[ I would appreciate if you look at increasing this to 15 players. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 2, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    was musing on a savage 11 vs stylish 11

    Good idea Wasp. How about a Savage 11 versus a Conservative/Solid 11. [[ How about changing the word "savage: does not look nice" to the destroyers or something like that. Ananth: ]] Savage 11:

    Sehwag MaCartney Don Bradman Graeme Pollock Viv Richards Sobers Adam Gilchrist (WK) Wasim Akram Michael Holding Frank Tyson Sydney Barnes

    Conservative (Solid XI):

    Gavaskar Hutton Dravid Walter Hammond Jacques Kallis Barrington Alan Knott Curtly Ambrose Glenn McGrath Bill O'Reilly (highly reliable capable of really long spells) Joel Garner

  • shrikanthk on December 2, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Richards around 65. Botham: 60. Lloyd: 54 Chappell, Greenidge, Gower: just above 50. Rest below 50.

    Yep. As expected. Richards and Lloyd the only guys above Chappell. Botham not a batsman of comparable class so we can discount him.

  • shrikanthk on December 2, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    there have ALWAYS been professional cricketers (without looking it up, I think the Players V Gentlemen game dates back to about 1810

    Good point Mr Archer. The other assumption many make is the linkage between playing standards and professionalism. A linkage which probably exists but is definitely overrated.

    Take for instance the 30s. That's the age when "professional" England was dominated by "amateur" Australia! This has happened time and again in history - i.e professional cricketers being dominated by amateurs.

    Eg: 1.Ranji smashing the likes of Lockwood, Richardson among others in county cricket

    2.Bradman dominating an army of high class "professional" bowlers in the 1930s - Larwood, Verity, Voce, Bowes among others. In fact the fast bowler that Bradman rated most highly was Farnes who happened to be amateur!

    3.Peter May the quintessential amateur establishing himself as the best Post-War English batsmen despite very stiff competition from hardened professional batsmen

  • shrikanthk on December 2, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    If Barry Richards not to be considered due to lack of test record then Barrington would open with Hobbs

    I don't agree with this. Barrington was not a very special player of fast bowling, as evidenced by his lacklustre record against WI (average in the 30s) and also not an overly remarkable FC average (45).

    If Barry is unavailable in your team, I'd open with the other Richards (IVA) - arguably the greatest player of fast bowling that ever lived.

  • shrikanthk on December 2, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    GC: 51.1 RTP: 58.7

    Ananth: That's not a lot, as I had rightly guessed. Especially if you make an allowance for the difference in eras and the marginal secular increase in test run-rates from 2.7-2.8 in the 70s/80s to 3-3.2 in the 2000s.

    51.1 in the 70s is outstanding. I don't think any other major batsman had a much higher SR than that with the exception of Viv Richards and maybe Walters and Fredericks (not sure). [[ Richards around 65. Botham: 60. Lloyd: 54 Chappell, Greenidge, Gower: just above 50. Rest below 50. Gower, Ananth: ]]

  • Geoff Eldridge on December 2, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    ....

    my 4 player bench would be Bedi, Steyn (though I suspect he'll end up best of all fast bowlers), Barrington and Sobers (taking Chappell's spot if required).

    As a 2nd XV I'd include all of Anantha's picks I haven't included plus Victor Trumper,Neil Harvey,Steve Waugh,Javed Miandad,Clyde Walcott and Bill O'Reilly.

    Now for a selected XV against Anantha's team (my 1st one is the entrant for this though):

    Barry Richards,Victor Trumper,Neil Harvey,Graeme Pollock,Greg Chappell,Ken Barrington, Steve Waugh Clyde Walcott Dennis Lillee,Michael Holding,Harold Larwood,Dale Steyn,Bishan Bedi,Bill O'Reilly,Joel Garner.

    Might have the firepower there to get the Don early on )) [[ Thank you, Geoff. Even the second XV is going to be based on the popular votes. This way there would be no complaints. I will only get a single vote. It migt be true that, as Som has mentioned, my vote might be influential and directional. However most readers have used my XV only as a guidleine. Ananth: ]]

  • Geoff Eldridge on December 2, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Geoff Eldridge's 1st XI team squad:

    Jack Hobbs,Barry Richards,Don Bradman,Viv Richards,Graeme Pollock, Greg Chappell,Ken Barrington

    Adam Gilchrist

    Gary Sobers,Shane Warne,Dennis Lillee,Michael Holding,Harold Larwood,Dale Steyn,Bishan Bedi.

    Have definitely selected Sobers as an allrounder, and he'd bat at 6 if a flat pitch meant a 5th frontline bowler needed. If Barry Richards not to be considered due to lack of test record then Barrington would open with Hobbs. I've picked Barry R and G Chappell in large part from their performances in WSC which (despite still not even recognised as 1st class!!) was surely at a higher level than even most tests before or since and played on somewhat dodgy pitches. Larwood is in because he was perhaps the only bowler that Bradman had trouble playing against, Holding because he had the most fluid action with great pace I've ever seen live. I wouldn't change team due to pitch conditions (apart from Sobers as above) cont'd..

  • love goel on December 2, 2012, 2:10 GMT

    Hi Ananth. Can you please change my selection

    Hobbs Sutcliffe outside subcontinent/Sehwag in subcontinent Bradman Tendulkar Lara Sobers Gilchrist Imran Warne Marshall Ambrose

    Backups

    Kallis Joel Garner Muralitharan

    Second opener was the hardest choice. I looked into gavaskar and hutton. sutcliffe seemed a better choice than hutton. And in subcontinent Sehwag strike rate and average could not be ignored

    Kallis is the floater batsmen. He can replace each and every batsmen in this lineup

    For third pacer it was a tossup between garner and mc grath.Somehow I landed on Garner after reading about his bowling [[ Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on December 1, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Michaels' XI: Bradman, Hobbs, R Pollock, Sobers, Kallis, Lara, Tendalker

    Gilcrist

    Warne, Murali, Marshall, McGrath, Hadlee, I. Khan, Ambrose

    I would have loved to pick (Barry) Richards, but he didn't play enough.

    Also, I realise you said that the selection method should ignore peoples back up abilities, but having Sobers, Kallis and Khan adds significantly to a team.

    Thanks for the thought provoking article.

  • Paul S on December 1, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Hi Ananth , sorry for the delay in my reply , I understand that you were seeking confirmation that I wanted to leave Sir Don Bradman out of my team I can confirm that this is the case . However there are a few changes I would like to make after a fair bit of pondering and looking at the various scenarios that could crop up.The changes I would like to make are replace Geoff Boycott, Waqar Younis and Sydney Barnes and bring in Sunil Gavaskar, Malcolm Marshall and Derek Underwood . Much as Barnes figures are mightily impressive I think you are probably correct in that they are skewed by the limited opposition. Gavaskar for Boycott gives me the opening option for sub-continent pitches. Marshall for Waqar to be honest there is not a lot between them I just feel that Marshall was a more wily bowler. Underwood adds variety to the slow bowling department . Great article for getting the brain working . Cheers . [[ Paul I had already taken in your entry since you had given the rationale behind your selection. I will now take in your changes. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 1, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @Fizz.

    Very good selection. But i think u should have set a lower average cutoff for the openers. They have a lesser chance to remain not-out, unless they are chasing a low 4th inns total. U could have increased the runs cut-off for openers as they get more oppurtunity to bat.

  • Dr.talha on December 1, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    @Som. The all-rounder part is not that complicated.

    When u decide to have a bowling or batting all-rounder in the side then go by the following steps:

    1- He should be as good a bowler or batsman as the other greats of the game

    2- He should be able to be a part of ur team, only on the basis of his primary speciality (whether bowling or batting), not only as an all-rounder.

    3- E.g Sobers,Kallis,Imran & hadlee can be a part of any team only on the basis of their main speciality. Not only due to their all-round strength.

    4- Now u set the cut-offs of their speciality.For any great batsmen obviously u want him to average >50 & for great bowler <25. This will narrow down ur list.

    5- Then u set the cut-offs of their other department. That is batting for bowling all-rounders & bowling for batting allrounders.

    If u go by the above steps u will find that kallis & Sobers as batting & Imran as bowling all-rounder stands out.

  • Fizz on December 1, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    @Som. I agree that Imran can easily be in the team on the basis of his bowling. He has the most complete record. By complete i mean, performing well against every country & in every territory, unlike many other bowling greats.

    He is the ONLY bowler in history, with over 300 wickets to average under 30, in every country and against every country. Which is phenomenal.

  • shrikanthk on December 1, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is the best batsman I've seen play for Australia. The reason I rate him over Greg Chappell is his mindset. Ponting always tried to dominate from ball one and that in itself makes for wins, as well as lowering ones average.

    What's often overlooked is that Chappell scored his runs at a very very good rate. He was quite a free-stroking batsman. And I doubt if his career SR was too far below 50. Agree Ponting is even more aggressive but not by much. [[ GC: 51.1 RTP: 58.7 Ananth: ]] In terms of completeness of technique there is no comparison really. Chappell was a far more organized batsman against all types of bowling than Ponting ever was. Ponting had serious technical deficiencies right through his career. That front-foot lunge was unbecoming of a great player, which he no doubt was.

  • shrikanthk on December 1, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Somehow GS Chappell to me appealed more than Kallis

    Two very different players. GS Chappell - a dominant stylist at most times. Nobody in the 70s scored their runs quicker than Chappell with the exception of Viv Richards (and maybe Roy Fredericks). Kallis - a grafter, a stickler to first principles.

  • shrikanthk on December 1, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    Changing batting method, grafting, crafting 250-ball 100s every 15 innings: Is that what Sachin should do to continuue playing.

    Well he can do it more often than once in 15 innings for sure. I can see him averaging in the high 40s for another couple of years albeit scoring those runs at an SR of 45 or so. Very much possible.

    Am not saying that he shouldn't retire or should retire. Who am I to make that call. All I am saying is that it is possible for someone as good as Tendulkar to do well at this age provided he makes the necessary adjustments and compromises. [[ I don't deny that, But my last sentence in your extract is still very pertinent. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 30, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    @Fizza, The issue with most optimization is that we create a circular reference when we create constraints out of data. Not that it is possible without it, but the idea is to minimize its impact. In an ideal case, what would be the criteria for choosing allrounders purely through numbers? For this we need to ask some questions? 1>What is the threshold for pure batsmen and bowlers to qualify for Best XV assessments? 2>What % of that list have a batting avg greater than 50, 45, 40, 35 and bowling avg lesser than 25,30,35? 3>What is the bare min batting avg and the max bowling avg, one is willing to accept for an allrounder - this will depend on looking at the data in point 2. Remember, as Ananth said, and as I believe, unless someone is not an ace allrounder, specialists are better off in Best XV assessments. Imran definitely is a very strong candidate, but he does so on the basis of his bowling alone. A criteria of 40bat/30 bwl or 35bat/30bwl is a good start.

  • shrikanthk on November 30, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    All these bowled and LBWS - he's played across the line everytime! His eyes aren't good enough for that anymore, if he adjusted to playing dead straight - like Gavaskar or Dravid - I think he could still average 40 up.

    Good insight Waspsting. I do believe that Tendulkar can remain prolific even at 40 in top-flight cricket like Hobbs and Bradman before him provided he makes the necessary adjustments you talked about.

    Hobbs and Bradman remained prolific at 40 precisely because they changed their games significantly to the extent that they barely resembled their pre-War selves. Hobbs in mid/late 20s became a stately accumulator in sharp contrast to the dominant stylist who flayed bowling attacks pre-War.

    Same goes with Bradman. Even from the footage that has survived, one sees how much DGB tweaked his game post War. The 1948 grafter bore very little resemblance with the dominant slayer of 1934.

    Sachin too can prosper if he alters his game and is willing to graft. [[ Changing batting method, grafting, crafting 250-ball 100s every 15 innings: Is that what Sachin should do to continuue playing. That is like Kamal reduced to playing insignificant supporting roles just so that he continues to "act" in films. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 30, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @Yash Rungta - perhaps captaincy might come into consideration there as well...? Anyway, wonderful article by Rahul today re. Ponting`s retirement - measured and thoughtful, as you would expect. I`m not a fan of x vs y articles; not sure they bring out the best in us, and the ratio of Dravid:Ponting mentions in the World XV selections here doesn`t fill me with much confidence. I have little doubt that a survey of peers would find the scales tipped significantly in the other direction. [[ I agree. It would be better to present the numbers in a dispassionate manner and let the readers take over. One thing I am ceratain. If there is an evaluation of players as against bowlers/batsmen, there is no way catches and captaincy numbers can be excluded. Ananth: ]] Hoping for a deserved send-off for the great man tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow...) - Nathan Lyon did him a huge favour this evening. 101 test wins would be a fine way to finish, and a sparkling 40(80?150?) runs would be brilliant. One last time Punter!!! [[ If wishes were... Australia 346 for 5 (Ponting 127*, Hussey 51*) at 3.30 IST. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 30, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    Tried to select from the wealth of info available. Somehow GS Chappell to me appealed more than Kallis. Unfortunately the great Don doesnt get to play in SL (which is the only match he misses). Gilly opens in India for better team balance. I am a big fan of the 5 - bowler theory. However, I have made exceptions in NZ where I have selected an additional batsman and am going with an all pace attack. The lone spinner would by Sir Gary Sobers. I don't see the need for Shane Warne or Murali despite NZ being a reasonable hunting ground for these folks. In tough bowling conditions, I expect flashy top order to play a rash stroke or two. In batting conditions, I dont think we need an extra batsman, rather we need an extra bowler.

    1 Gavaskar 2 Sutcliffe 3 Hobbs 4 Bradman 5 Lara 6 Sobers 7 Gilchrist 8 G.Chappell 9 Tendulkar 10 Hadlee 11 McGrath 12 Marshall 13 Akram 14 Warne 15 Murali [[ Thank you for a late but good selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Fizza on November 30, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    @Som “thresholds are not fair” Initially I had the figure of 8000 as the cut- off for batting. But then,barring sobers nobody from pre-1970 would have qualified.Not even Bradman. And I would be left with no openers.

    In order to have genuine openers in the side, I should have then decreased the avg cut-off to 50. Then I would be left with Hayden & Gavaskar as openers. Well not a bad choice!! Dr.Talha has given quite convincing reasons for their selection. So I had to reduce it to 5000 runs.

    Had I reduced the runs cut-off to less than 5000, than would that have done justice with the players who have scored more than 13000 runs?? It would be just like selecting Ajmal ahead of Murali!! So I settled for a figure in between. That is 5000.

    Its not only me who have selected bowlers from modern era. More than 95% of readers (including Ananth) has done that. So there must be some other reason as well. And I do have trueman in my side.

  • Fizza on November 30, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Imran can be in any team purely as a bowler. He dominated an era for more than a decade (1977-88).An era known for its fast bowlers. As one reader said “his 40 wickets in 6 tests against a formidable indian batting,on flat Pak wickets,was phenomenol. Plus his tours in 77 & 88 of WI, 82 & 87 of Eng and 77 of Aus were the highlights of the versatality of his bowling skills”

    So friends the bottom line is, no matter how u play with the stats and criterias, u will always find Imran at the top.I dont need to fix the cut-offs to have Imran in!!

  • Fizz on November 30, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Hadlee is the one with a lower bowling avg. But then his batting avg is also in 20's. If i keep a batting avg cut-off in the 20's that would make even Vaas qualify as an all-rounder.

    Only Miller comes close in terms of avg but then his total wickets are not even half of that of Imran.

    The problem is that by averaging >37 in batting and <23 in bowling, Imran has set such a high benchmark, for others , that nobody else qualifies.

    Imran is head & shoulders above others.

    When u select a bowling all-rounder u must make sure that he is as good a bowler if not better then the great bowlers of the game. As u do it with batting all-rounders like Kallis & sobers.They are as good in batting as the other batting greats.

    In a squad of 15 u can have 1 or maximum 2 all-rounders. So that’s why my criteria for an allrounder is the most stringent. And Imran is the only one who passes that.

  • Fizz on November 30, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    @Som & Ananth. "to make sure Imran is in". Absolutely not.

    If Imran is the only player in history with such averages and such high amount of wickets than that’s not my fault.

    If I raise the bowling avg cut-off to 30. Will that help anyone else qualify?? The answer is NO.

    Even if a reduce the amount of wickets to 200, then would that help anyone else to qualify?? The answer is again NO.

    There is huge gap between Imran and the number 2 all-rounder.

    Raising the bowling avg cut-off to 30. will make room for Kapil & Botham. But then i have to decrease the batting avg to below 30 as well, in order to have them as competitors for Imran. So do u want a person with bowling avg <25 and Batting avg >35 in ur team or a player with bowling average >25 & batting avg <30??? Choice is urs!! Cont..

  • Yash Rungta on November 30, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Ananth,

    Off topic but how about a Ponting vs Dravid article now that both have retired?? Too much similarity between these 2 except the Strike Rate. Both batting at no.3 for bulk of their careers, scoring 13000+ runs in about 165 matches each. Very similar averages. About 200 catches each. Both equally great catchers but Ponting definitely the better fielder. Dravid on the other hand had a slight advantage of being able to act as a reserve keeper.

    But there are certain things which overall stats do not show us. Ponting's home/neutral/away ratio stands at 92/5/71 whereas Dravid's home/away ratio stands at 70/94 which means Dravid has played more than 60% matches away whereas Ponting has done the exact opposite. Considering this, Dravid clearly has a better record than Ponting albeit just. What say? [[ I am not really in a physical situation to do any article which will invite hundreds of comments. The current one is stretching me a lot. After the follow-up article to this, scheduled for 15 Dec, I will take off till Feb 1. And then we will see. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on November 29, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is the best batsman I've seen play for Australia. The reason I rate him over Greg Chappell is his mindset. Ponting always tried to dominate from ball one and that in itself makes for wins, as well as lowering ones average.

    RE Perth Test..... Has there ever been a 100% bowling attack changeover mid series when no results ? (although I do expect Lyon to play, he actually looked just as tired and less able to extract something at end of Adelaide than Siddle). I hope Hazlewood plays, for a few years, he's looked a "special" to me!

    @ Miland - Nice side :) Good to see the desire (I sure had it) to pick a Thommo or Tyson on a certain date/season didn't enter equation :)

  • Som on November 29, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Milind - Some good logic there in shortlisting the candidates and excluding the people who were part of the teams Ananth rated the highest for each country. What is not clear is, how you selected the final 15 from the shortened list of say 50,40,23. I see you have applied positional superiority in batting and some variety constraints in bowling but the ranking is not clear, unless you picked the highest ranked people among competing ones fighting for the same batting spot.

    Good team, but this begs the question that why would you apply this kind of a logic to select an all time world XV. Because excluding players who were part of champion teams means the others who are left were playing for slightly less successful teams and thus perhaps had team mates who were less capable to compete with each other in delivering wins.

    In a way it amounts to double counting. The other extreme end is also quite misleading for the opposite reason.

  • milpand on November 29, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    My selection does not follow your recommended format. It was important for me to choose a player on a specific date instead of selecting a player in general. I expect this Wandering XV to play the 8 home teams that were involved in 8 actual test matches. Those opposition players could not be part of this XV:

    #  Name          Date Selected  Age
    1  C.E.L.Ambrose 25-Mar-1994    30y 6m
    2  B.S.Bedi      16-Dec-1977    31y 2m
    3  I.T.Botham*   15-Feb-1980    24y 2m
    4  D.G.Bradman   20-Aug-1938    29y 11m
    5  A.Flower+     14-Sep-2001    33y 4m
    6  S.M.Gavaskar  30-Aug-1979    30y 1m
    7  J.B.Hobbs     19-Aug-1912    29y 8m
    8  R.N.Harvey    06-Feb-1953    24y 4m
    9  R.J.Hadlee    30-Nov-1985    34y 5m
    10 L.Hutton      02-Feb-1951    34y 7m
    11 J.C.Laker     23-Aug-1956    34y 6m
    12 B.C.Lara      29-Nov-2001    32y 7m
    13 D.K.Lillee    12-Mar-1977    27y 7m
    14 Javed Miandad 14-Sep-1983    26y 3m
    15 G.S.Sobers    13-Jan-1967    30y 5m

    The Excel file can be downloaded from http://sdrv.ms/Y5Bcsa [[ Trust my friend Milind to be a little different. Be prepared to answer a few searching questions from the readers on your selection process. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 29, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Feeling a bit numb I must admit - farewell the mighty Punter. [[ Yes, I must agree: I had to reach for the hanky when I saw Michael Clarke's reactions. Truly a wonderful all-round player: I doubt if anyone else, ALL included, brought to the ground the batting, captaincy, catching and fielding skills. One of the Indian channels, for a change, showed the top-10 catches and top-10 run outs of Ponting. I don't think I am far off in saying that Ponting must lay claims for being seriously considered the greatest all-round fielder ever. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 29, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Well, the fact remains that Ponting did not say something like "I dont see myself retaining the hunger and drive to play for some more years...". He simply said that he was not good enough, which surprised me, as a case of timing being slightly off, since there is a test match remaining to be played, where he is part of the team. In his previous 5 tests are included scores of 41, 23 and 57.

    But that aside, I rate him as the best batsman of the last 20 years, though with Kallis continuing the way he is, it is getting harder to continue saying this. Ponting had a tremendous sense of the occasion in ODIs, the big match temperament...my favourite memory is however that of his twin centuries on a bowler friendly pitch in the Durban test (he made a total of 5 centuries in 6 tests against South Africa that year), and in which match, Gilchrist smashed Andre Nel for 22 runs in an over. Nel looked like he would just explode like a suicide bomber...His 2008 MCG performance vs SA was tremendous.

  • Som on November 29, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    @Arjun

    Thank God, I had a premonition yesterday, and starting pulling up data to show how Great he was !!

    When I read the Selectors and Coaches reports regarding Ponting, a couple of days back, the writing was on the wall. In many a non-Indian cultures, when there is conditional and transactional backing, it is an euphemism of 'time's up'. Run, run claiming it was on own terms, any more lingering and you are sacked.

    What Indian cricket suffers with, is also what Indian working culture suffers from. Lack of West like hire and fire policies. But the short time view of the west, whether they help is not yet clear, but they have shown tremendous results in the last 50 years.

    The question is, with such policies becoming more stringent, is it possible to create a Ponting in the future with a shelf life of 17 years? If yes, then either the guy is Bradmanesque or the game is no longer followed for corporate gain and might also be declining in mass popularity.

  • Arjun on November 29, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Ananth,

    Sanjay Manjrekar on twitter today....."Ponting retires - And, from this moment on, there will be only nice things said about ponting." [[ Let us see what Sanjay himself says. Anyhow, Ponting has had 5 bad Tests. He has announced his retirement at the end of the 5th Test of this run. We should not forget that 6 Tests before, he scored 281 for one dismissal in the WACA Test. These are the high standards set by the Austral;ian sportsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Ananth - How much credit and how much penalty should a cricketer from another era get when comparing them with later eras. Some earlier era players played less games and had less volume of achievements, but can that be said to be the maximum that they could had achieved during their era? To answer this question, we need to find out what was the age of debut for players from each country in each decade or so. I am sure culture, world wars, mandatory military service, etc might have had a say, but if we get that number then it will help us start one's career from a certain hypothetical date rather than the debut date. For example, say if Barnes(purely as an example without looking at his data), started playing test cricket when he was 25 and if 23 years was an age at which a significant number of players started playing cricket in England during his time, then we can say that maybe he was not good enough to be inducted and therefore his dense contribution done later needs dilution. [[ Fundamental problem. This analysis will be a non-starter since I do not have the age data available. Anyhow pre-war era, they played on well past 40, partly because of the need to earn. Today, Kohli can retire tomorrow (ok, 1915). Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 29, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @Ramarao, During the time that Ponting played, he was the second most prolific scorer in ODIs, only behind Tendulkar. Had a very good SR of 80+ and an average of 40+(both of these measures in combination indicate dominance). Scored 13000+ runs with 30 centuries. Only Viv and Sachin can be said to be ahead of with him. With Jayasurya, Lara coming close but not meeting some of their achievements or criteria.

    In Test cricket, again, he has scored the highest number of runs during his tenure. Has an average of 52+, 41 centuries, a SR of 58+. Dravid, Sachin come close in terms of volume and he is bettered only by Kallis(average), Sehwag, Lara, Hayden (SR). With only Sehwag having a material difference in this matter.

    In short, Ponting during his time has been the second best Test and ODI batsman and looked equally dominant in both.

    In terms of dominance in both forms, I think he leads, followed by Sachin, Viv, Lara. [[ Inviting trouble, do we. But there is no denying that he excelled in both versions. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 29, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    @Fizz, A very good team with the criteria you mentioned. While everyone's team is one's choice, some of your criteria selections are interesting.

    For allrounders: While the cutoff batting average you have selected is 35(36% below) the cutoff batting average of pure batsmen, the cutoff bowling average you have selected is 25, which is exactly the same as the cutoff bowling average of pure bowlers. This trivializes Imran's selection. [[ The all-rounder cut-off was probably fixed that way to make sure Imran is in. Not that the great player that he is, he needs these criteria. Ananth: ]] The batting cutoff of 5000 runs means there are 21% batsmen who debuted before 1970. A bowling cutoff of 300 means, only 8% debuted before 1970. So I think the thresholds are not fair for the bowlers and this would tend to favor modern bowlers more. And as you will see, taking boatloads of wickets in the earlier era was not possible, because the frequency of matches were less. [[ Wheels exist within wheels!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 29, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Am surprised at Ponting's comment that he is not good enough. Great (perhaps the greatest batsman of his time) though he is, by this logic he should not be part of the Perth test for any reasons other than sentimental. [[ Quite disappointed coming from you. Do you mean to say that if a player felt that he is not 100% okay or is down on form, he should not play. Ponting has called curtains on his career one Test away. Should he have excluded himself from that Test also. I myself felt Laxman was quixotic. He could as well have played the two Tests after announcing his retirement. What Ponting says is that he would have played his last Test for Australia irrespective of whether he gets a pair or 300. That is honesty and a clear assessment of his own falling forms. But it does not mean that he should have quit midway through the series. We find fault when someone has the honesty to announce his retirement. We find fault when someone else just hangs on with a longer run of failures. At least let us give credit to Ponting. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 29, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    @Ananth: Your shoulder has taken a lot of pain and more so from my comments. But a sincere request from my side which might give more pain to it. An article on Ponting please since he is retiring after the next test.

    I know you already have articles stocked up for the next couple of months but Please.

    Among the three best batsmen since 1990. I think it will be kind of a tribute to him from thim Blogspace. [[ Will try and do it sometime in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Taslim on November 29, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    @Anantha, Was Happy to see Du plesis inning and the match ended in draw. Watto is back and with Kallis missing, so it will be more difficult for SAF. I feel they should bring solid A. Prince in with Tsotsobe & R. Peterson to have more stable side. Below team looks more solid for third test. 1 G.Smith 2 A.Peterson 3 H.Amla 4 AB De villiers 5 A. Prince 6 Du Plesis 7 J. Rudolph 8 R.Peterson 9 D.Steyn 10 M.Morkel 11 Tsotsobe

    Looking for a century by Amla and AB in atleast one of the inning.

  • Fizz on November 29, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    My criteria for bowlers: - Wickets greater than 300 - Strike rate less than 50 - Average less than 25

    Waqar, Marshal, Donald & Trueman qualifies

    Criteria for batsman: - Runs greater than 5000 - Average greater than 55

    Hutton & Hobbs qualifies as openers Bradman, Sobers, Kallis, Sanga, Hammond & Barrington qualifies

    Criteria for all-rounders - Greater than 3000 runs - Greater than 200 wickets - Bowling average less than 25 - Batting average greater than 35

    Imran Khan qualifies

    Criteria for WK - Greater than 250 dismissals - Greater than 35 batting average

    Gilchirst qualifies

    Criteria for spinners - Greater than 300 wickets - Less than 25 average - Less than 60 strike rate

    Murali qualifies

    So my team is:

    Hutton Hobbs Bradman Barrington Hammond Sobers Kallis Sanga Gilchrist Imran Khan Waqar Marshal Donald Trueman Murali [[ A different method but a very good team. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on November 29, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    "SA must thank that this match was played under DRS. Two reprieves, both correct and deserved." Yes, with no UDRS, Oz would of gone 1 up in the series. Sets up the 3rd Test nicely! I think the South African Cricket Board should have a little chat with the BCCI! I think when a ball is partially in or out of the line of the stumps or partially hitting or missing the stumps, the review should not be deducted from their quota (if that makes sense). I suppose it means you have to be sure when challenging, but for a fan, to see a close decision get overturned, you don't want to lose a review as well.

  • Som on November 28, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    Gerry, There are many angles from which Viv's contribution, numbers, style of play can be seen. And needless to say, he transformed cricket like few people did. Greatest ODI batsman, PERIOD. But during the timeframe that he played test cricket, there were few other batsmen, who scored more runs or had a higher average or scored more centuries - Miandad, Chappell, Border, Gavaskar. And his captain, Lloyd had a higher average than him. But ofcourse, none of them batted at a strike rate Viv did and created the impact he did. So he remains phenomenal and it would be hard to not pick him in one's all time XV. But was he a clear cut batting great in test cricket during his time, the way Don was, or Sobers was? No. Agree that the WI quicks during his time were so phenomenal that the batsmen did not have to stretch, but then that cannot be given too much weightage, otherwise, the questions like Sachin playing under pressure of a billion souls and Kapils heroics in adversity would prop in.

  • ramarao on November 28, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    @ SOM If ever they were anyone who is equally competent and dominant in Tests and ODIS, it will Tendulkar and Richards. Their Averages and Strike rates say so. Ponting will come third followed by Lara. All four are extremely good across formats. In ODIS Sachin and Richards have superior strike rates even without considering Tendulakar started very early in late 80s and still playing and Richards having out of world strike rate in 80s. They are equally dominant in Tests where Sachin is fastest to reach 10000 along with lara in 191 innings, both Sachin and richards have an averages 55 and 50. Where Richards averages more away (nearly 60), Sachin averages identically home and away. The recent slump of Tendulkar invites these sort of comments. The Fact that Tendulkar has some competitors in tests and he & richards are way above others in ODIs may be another reason.

  • shmulik zulik on November 28, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    #ananth After looking at my good friend david ben-gurion's team,I feel the need to change my team again In Andy Flower

    Out Kumar Sangakkara

    I realized that Andy is a much better wk and both are about equal as batsmen,moreover,Perach(Flower in Hebrew)played in a weak team and singlehandedly held them up,much like Shakib. Sorry shmulik [[ Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on November 28, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    #david nice to here from ya my man! I liked how ya chose Kapil and Shaun,however I decided I have that type of player already. Liked how you represented every country to play cricket,although ya seem to have forgotten NZ!maybe Pollock should make way for Hadlee? take care shmulik

  • Nilesh S on November 28, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    [[ Readers are making their honest facts-based comments on Tendulkar. For that matter on Ponting also. But your comments are way-off and belong to other articles in Cricinfo. They would tolerate this type of monsense, not I. Thank you. Ananth: ]]

  • pawan mathur on November 28, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Talks here in the comment section about simulation of matches reminds me of a special issue of a cricket magazine, " Cricket Talk", that i used to read in my graduation days ; probably the issue would be of the year 2000). The special issue was based on a simulated cricket match between Right Handers all Time XI vs Left Handers all Time XiI. I do not have that issue now though, but from some memory I can tell that Tendulkar and Bradman, and probably sobers also scored hundreds in the match. sorry to say, I do not not remember more about the match and the teams further. If in the lucky case Mr Ananth, you were part of the "Cricket Talk" magazine team that simulated the matches, then I request you to shed some light on this further. Or if any of the readers of the blog happens to be a collector of old cricket magazines or has some memories of that issue, he can shed some light on the same match [[ No, Som, I was not involved. I started my simulation work during early 1990s. Sridhar worked a lot with me on this. Then he left and almost all the work since then has been done by me. My simulation results have been published in Sportstar in the form of a ODI tournament between the top 8 teams' all-time XIs. Then the 5 Tests in Times during 2002. Ananth: ]]

  • IPSY on November 28, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    Ananth,there's another quote that Shane Warne made after Tendulkar got out in the Mumbai test match, on which the fans and selectors should all be pondering. Mr Warne said: "It's not how many runs you made, but it's really the value of the contribution of those runs to the situation of your team". You know that Warne was a big "backer" of Tendulkar, I get the impression that he might be reassessing his opinion of Sachin now. And saying that, I think that Pietersen has done enough in his short career to be bordering the realms of the "Super Greats". I think he has done enough of what Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers and Gilchrist have been renowned for, that is, putting his foot on the neck of bowlers and mauling them to their death. He should therefore take the position of the 'Great'Sachin Tendulkar, the only weak link in the batting lineup of your All Time XV. [[ Surprisingly almost no one has selected Pietersen. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 28, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Som, Calling Viv as less than brilliant in tests amounts to ignoring the fact that when West Indies were coimng up (1975-80), Richards averaged nearly 60, and against some excellent attacks. In the post 1981 period his productivity as measured by runs did come off sharply, but till 1989 there was only one year where the Windies struggled, but otherwise they were so powerfully equipped in bowling that their batsmen rarely needed to make 500, and Richards included, their batsmen rarely made tall scores. Contrast that with the the current Aus-Saf series where Aus have already cracked 500 twice in 2 tests and failed to win. Do you really believe the West Indies batsmen of the '80s stretched themselves?

  • Raghuveer on November 28, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    When do we get to see the final final XV and the opposing team ? Sorry for being impatient :) [[ Will come out with the article on the First XV and Second XV on Dec 15. After that I will take a month off to let my shoulder heal. The first article for 2013 will be during the first week of February. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 28, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    @Dr Talha.

    Virat surely is a fine talent. I would disregard his current form and give him more time. Should come out fine.

    Most modern greats who ruled both forms of the game, somehow seemed slightly better in one form than the other. Sachin, Viv - ODI. Lara, Kallis - Tests. Ponting is the rarest of talent who has been equally impressive in both forms and been at the frontier of being counted in World XI's in either forms. So its not easy, and Virat is not alone in that group. But I will have a purely non-judgmental stance for the next year or so, even if he were to utterly fail in tests. As you said, he is that good.

    Yuvi never ever seemed a test batsman. But neither did Steve Waugh appear to me as having the talents to be an all time great batsman. (a great utility player, yes, going by his exploits in the initial days, 85-90). So let's see.

    Cook is a classic case. He is the perfect role model for one who wants to be purely a test batsman.

  • Andrew on November 28, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Jack Hobbs Gordon Greenidge Don Bradman KS Ranjitsinhji Viv Richards Clive Lloyd Garry Sobers Richie Benaud Basil D'Olivera Wasim Bari Alec Bedser Hugh Tayfield Wasim Akram Malcolm Marshall Michael Holding [[ Andrew No one after 1980 has the same problem as no one before 1980. Extremely restricted. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on November 28, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    @Som. "But the Indian batsmen should get a much larger share of the blame" Absolutely true!!

    My real worry is Virat Kohli. What an amazing talent.

    I want him to be the next Sachin or Dravid for India, not Yuvraj!! A genuine superstar of ODIs and T20's, but still struggling to cement his place in tests, even after 12 years of international career.

  • Andrew Gray on November 28, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    Hi Ananth: I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding. My previous comment regarding Clarke was just answering a question where you ASKED "What is this nonsense about Michael Clarke being a flat-track bully" - I was merely answering what I have seen people comment on him over the last couple of years. In no way was I suggesting that you would use the term FTB, I only mentioned I don't use it, as I personally think it is a baseless comment. Sorry for the misunderstanding - I should of made myself clearer. Regarding Faf's innings - they'll be talking about that one for decades to come. I think the only non-Sth African player capable of that sort of resistance is Cook. (Sth Africa have two in Amla & Kallis). [[ SA must thank that this match was played under DRS. Two reprieves, both correct and deserved. Ananth: ]]

  • david ben-gurion on November 27, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    sorry,forgot wk! In-Flower Out-Sehwag [[ thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • david ben-gurion on November 27, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    my xv sehwag hobbs bradman viv richards kallis sobers imran khan kapil dev shaun pollock shakib al hasan marshall thompson murali chandra waqar [[ no keepr ??? Ananth: ]]

  • AB on November 27, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Most unmentioned batsmen that deserve more consideration: Wally Hammond, Greg Chappel, Ken Barrington, Ponting

    Most unmentioned bowlers that deserve more consideration: Waqar, Steyn, Donald, Trueman

  • Som on November 27, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Its hard to say which was a better game. Adelaide or Mumbai ! I think 100's in the last inning should be counted as 250 runs and weighted accordingly. In fact no great batsman is great enough, if they do not have a resume with good 4th inning escape/win. For all the greatness in Clarke's double hundred, Faf matched it with half the number of runs. [[ I can assure you that in my rather antiquated 10-year old Innings Rating system, du Plessis gets more points than Clarke.He would have got more but for Australia's way-below bowling strength. And this is proved. Do you think McGrth/Warne/Gillespie would have allowed SA to escape with a draw. Ananth: ]] I know that an alltime World XI is not likely to face a situation where they will have to save a test match by batting out a long 4th innings, but still, it begs the question. Are we giving enough importance to fourth innings exploits when deciding between two great batsmen, who are hard to be separated when picking the side?

    Some selections of Gary Kirsten, brings back memories of Peter Kirsten. I have never enjoyed watching any South African batsman more than him. But we rarely talk about him in any context. I know he was at the end of his career by the time SA was reintegrated into world cricket.

  • Waspsting on November 27, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    I'm not a romantic sort. AT ALL.

    Pick the best you have from all available options, that's all.

    Tendulkar, - IF he can average 40 over next two years (and I've already said, I don't think he can)?-

    Are you confident that the "Rahanes and Badrinaths" can do better?

    Would you bet money on that? if so, how much - I'll take that bet.

    If not, why not keep Tendulkar - if he could average 40, which i think he has the potential to do (and again, don't think he can)?

    No, I am NOT JOKING. [[ But you are wrong. Do we have any idea how good Rahane/Badrinath would be. Have we given them enough chances. So how can you conclude that it is better to keep an ageing superstar of great pedigree and uncertain future at the cost of younger players of no pedigree and uncertain future. If so why were not Dravid and Laxman talked to by the selectors that their expected 40 averages would be enough. Would it not be better to fail with youth than older players. How long is the rope. It seems to vary considerably for different players. Ananth: ]] @Dinesh - to me its irrelevant what "people think". If they moan that a...

    '95 Tendulkar averaging 60 short term > 2013 Tendulkar averaging 40 short term is more important than ....

    a 40 averaging Tendulkar > a 30-35 averaging Rahane/Badrinath ...

    HERE AND NOW..

    well, good for those people.

    I meet such people all the time. They say Tendulkar is better than Bradman. They say Lara was crap. they say Tendulkar is god.

    usually i smile politely at what they say and change the subject

  • Dinesh on November 27, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    @Ananth:Aah.Thats one of my Blooper's which i seem to be commiting a lot these days. I want Ambrose to be in the team in place of Holding.

    and want Kallis in place of Ponting, given that we have a lot of Flamboyant players in there, so want some sort of Stability in place in some Dire situtations. And mind you , i am not selecting him on just on the basis of his recent performances. I can have him as a Handy bowler as well and i can have him play in every country in the Sub continent unlike Ponting.

  • Som on November 27, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    What a match. England deserves every praise and more. This is what you call the perfect game. Dhoni annoyed with the Motera pitch, wanting something like Wankhede. Playing three of the best spinners India currently has. Against a team demoralized with a 9 wicket defeat. In subcontinental spinning conditions with a horrible track record. And then the table turns. Andy Flower might be ruing his decision to not play Monty in the first test.

    This is why you follow the game. The difference was Anil Kumble. They say that when you have to separate the genius from the similarly looking super talents, you need to take a test in the exponential portion of graph. At other places the threshold is too low to differentiate.

    But the Indian batsmen should get a much larger share of the blame than they are getting now. Their performance was deplorable.

    Sorry to hear Rahul Dravid calling this pitch as a lottery. It sounded like coming from a sore loser, which for his intelligence was strange. [[ For all his knowledge of the game, unfortunately Dravid does not seem to call a spade a spade. He tries to be politically correct, as Gavaskar tries. Only Ganguly is clear in his thinking. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 27, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    I think Tendulkar should not be given any mercy, beyond all the mileage he has gained. And that I presume is getting thin, but may not have reached the bottom. I don't believe in glorious retirements. Its not a game situation, it is romanticism and hero worship. If Tendulkar is playing for records, well that would be disappointing(and he very well might be). But if he is playing because he likes the game and want to be there as long as he is selected, I would respect him more than wilting under pressure from others. Legacy is for those who value themselves more than the object or mission that make them. Tendulkar and Ganguly and Kapil was not lacking anything, its the administration who lacks the guts. That's exactly the reason I respect the Australian administration for their guts. They give the legends a long rope, but are clinical in timing the right moment to force their exits. Most of the time getting it right. I think its a cultural issue. [[ Time to recall a sardonic comment by Shane Warne yesterday. ""I have no problem if Tendulkar plays in another 192 Tests. As long as he keeps on scoring runs. "" Lovely turn of the phrase. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 27, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    @Ananth: I dont know why but not even one comment of mine is getting published. I dont think any of my comments were above the Anantha Rekha. If yes please pardon me.They were not intentional. Today as well i commented but even that did not get posted. And another comment which i posted and did not reflect here was after the 1st day's play of the Aus vs SA 2nd test. [[ Very strong and unfounded words, my friend. You are making me do extra things when I am not able to do. 9 of your comments were published. These are listed below. Posted by: Dinesh at November 17, 2012 9:50 AM Posted by: Dinesh at November 17, 2012 10:23 AM Posted by: Dinesh at November 19, 2012 7:15 PM Posted by: Dinesh at November 21, 2012 7:12 AM Posted by: Dinesh at November 21, 2012 7:18 AM Posted by: Dinesh at November 21, 2012 12:36 PM Posted by: Dinesh at November 21, 2012 7:10 PM Posted by: Dinesh at November 27, 2012 5:28 AM Posted by: Dinesh at November 27, 2012 12:13 PM Pl go through the comments section carefully. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on November 27, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Ananth,

    Yours is very good selection, 3 changes for me (Imran khan, Kallis, Barnes in and Richards, Wasim, Ambrose out) I think Richards and Wasim were better oneday cricketers (in the ratio of say....55-45) Kallis as a batsman alone is worth his place in this team. Batsmen dismissed by SF Barnes, C Hill(11 times) V Trumper (13) HW Taylor (8) AW Nourse (6) G Faulkner (5 times in 3 tests) got good batsmen dismissed often.

    XV of Arjun

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Lara Kallis Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Barnes Marshall Imran khan(capt) McGrath Muralitharan Hadlee Warne. [[ Thank you, Arjun. Without a team from you, the list was incomplete. Excellent changes and good rationale behind these. Ananth: ]]

  • Jenny on November 27, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    You dont have to think for too long before selecting 5 players.

    Bradman Sobers Imran Warne Gilchrist

    Absolutely certainties!

    After going thru the teams of all the readers i believe that teams having Waqar & Marshal looks to have a stronger look to their bolwing. Both Waqar & Marshal gives ur team that Devastating Touch, required to win test matches In teams where these 2 are missing just seems to lack that touch.

    My next choice will be Viv & Lara. They to me are the Waqar and Marshal of batting. Same aggression & flare. With these 4 in the side, team can win matches, from absolutely no where!!

    I will have Hayden & Hutton as my openers.Both from 2 different eras. I think the real test of an aussie is to bat well in india,and Hayden, was phenomenol in 2001. Even greats like Ponting & S.Waugh have not been successful in india.

    So my playing 11 is:

    Hayden Hutton Viv Bradman Lara Sobers Gilchrist Imran Warne Marshal Waqar

    with reserves:

    Kallis Inzamam Murali Fazal Mehmood

  • Jeff Grimshaw on November 27, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    Ananth,

    Yes I do remember your blogs on the all-time series but I had forgotten which grounds you had selected. Your choices were made in a much more scientific way than mine. I wanted one test in each of England, Australia, Windies, India & SA.

    Lords was a non-brainer for the England match (although I briefly thought about picking a Trent Bridge greentop in May, but that would add too much of an element of luck.) Eden Gardens I chose because it’s sheer size. SCG is my favourite test ground outside England (I was there for that amazing test between Aus & SA in Jan 94) and offers a bit of help to both pace and spin.

    For the SA test, I considered Newlands but went with Kingsmead because it added more variety to my selections. For the Windies test, I could have picked any of the big 4 grounds but plumped for Port of Spain based on the fact that it was the happiest hunting ground for my bowling attack.

  • farooq on November 27, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Hayden Hutton Gavaskar Lara Viv Bradman Sobers Kallis Andy flower (wk) Imran Khan (c) Waqar Younis Marshal Warne Murali Dravid

    Imran would lead the team. A truly great leader. I remember when he became the skipper people critized a lot & said that -fast bowlers can never be good captains -all rounders can never be good captains -Botham failed as a captain etc.

    But Imran proved everything wrong. He can be in any team purely on his bowling skills. His 40 wickets in 6 tests against a formidable indian batting,on flat Pak wickets,was phenomenol. Plus his tours in 77 & 88 of WI, 82 & 87 of Eng and 77 of Aus were the highlights of the versatality of his bowling skills.

  • Zulfi on November 27, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Hayden & Gavaskar - An opening pair that can fit into any era. Lara, Bradman & Viv - 3 best batsmen of all time,in my list Sobers - the best batting all-rounder Gilchrist - has no comparison Imran - the best bowling all-rounder & and exceptional leader Warne - the best spinner of all time Waqar - the best strike bowler of all time Marshal - never dependent on pitches & conditions

    Well that completes my 11. The remaining 4 are:

    Kallis- a perfect substitute to the formidable middle order i have Wasim - the best left arm fast bowler of all time Murali - the only guy who can be sustitute for warne Sanga - my second WK & can open as well

  • Dinesh on November 27, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    @Intikhab: Nice team. Good to see almost all the players from the 70-80's era when some of them ignored almost all from that time period.

    @Wasp: 40's would be good enough for lesser Players but not for players like Tendulkar/Lara/Ponting from whom people expect something more.

    @Ananth: I was among my friend biggest advocator of Sachin and wanted to see him play as long as possible.But to currently see him limping around and playing like Also-rans hurts a lot.It really hurts. I would rather wanted him to bid goodbye at the end of series than watch him conjure up painful 20's 30's or once in a while 50's.

    Here i would like to Quote a line from one of my Fav movie The Dark knight. " You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain" In the same way "You either retire on a High or play long enough to let people question your place in the Team and Tarnish your legacy". Coming to tarnishing the legacy part i might be exaggerating.

    [[ No, he has achieved too much for his legacy to be tarnished by his desire to maybe play the 200th Test against Australia at Mumbai. Oh I know that schedule is not in but BCCI might very well schedule the fourth Test at Mumbai. I can only say, ill-sdvised and lack of understanding of his own aging body. Just a minor point. You wanted to change McGrath for Ambrose. But then you had never selected McGrath. Pl go through the comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on November 27, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    @Ananth - re: Day 5 Adelaide Oval. What a match! I wonder from a statistical viewpoint, whether you would consider losing a strike bowler (Patto) as more damaging to a victorious cause, versus a batsmen (JP Duminy) or Allrounder (Kallis). I think you should be able to bat your way out of trouble when a bowler down, but it must be hard to get a result with 3 specialist bowlers. It's hard to remember a series where injuries have had such critical impacts on consecutive games. JP Duminy would of altered Smith's mindset & he was very defensive at the Gabba, gave Oz a very real chance of winning at the Gabba. No Watto for Oz in both matches meant the balance of the team was out. Losing Phillander before the match MAY of made Smith defensive again - although even losing Kallis after 2 overs, can't really begin to justify his captaincy during the 1st Day! Oz covered for Patto on Day 3, but they couldn't do it 2 innings in a row against the #1 team. Can't wait for the WACA! [[ Andrew I loved Mark Nicholas' piece on Faf. I wish I could write like that. Maybe I have other skills in compensation. I will recreate the situation for India. Declaration at mid-afternoon fourth day. 450 runs in 120 overs. Sehwag thinks it is reachable, belts a run-a-ball 25 and is out. I will then dismiss Gambhir and Pujara, who have pretensions of patient batting. The score is 50 for 3. I will give India one more wicket. Will the current India ever save the match. For that matter, will the current Australia or England do it. Faf is Fab. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on November 27, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @Ananth - regarding Clarke called a "flat track bully". Clarke has been bagged for many things (mainly by Ozzys) for ages! At one point during the last Ashes (& for about 6 months after), he was probably the most disliked Ozzy sportsmen in the country - nothing like beating a few Bradman records to change opinion hey! I am proud to say I was ALWAYS a fan of his, & regularly put people in their place that would make outrageous statements about him without any facts to suppport. Another common criticsm of late, is that Clarke is jealous of Watson! (Seen it written a dozen times by fans in the last month). Clarke's been blamed for Katich & Symonds being dropped, despite these things happening before Clarke was a selector & regardless of other critical info. I NEVER use the term flat track bully, it is used primarily as a way to dismiss Indian & SL batting performances, but if it was that easy to bat in India & SL, why doesn't everyone average over 65 in those countries? [[ Don't even get me wrong. I never said you used the term "ftb". It was some other guy who has never reached 80 in a Mensa Test. In fact I always think, since those columns are my time-pass, you are the odd one out there. Pushing in sane comments which stick out like a sore thumb. Ananth: ]]

  • Martin on November 26, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    A pretty strong team. I particularly wanted some tough middle-order warriors who led by example and thrived under pressure when the heat was on (ie Miandad, Lloyd, I. Chappell etc).

    Herbert Sutcliffe Desmond Haynes Don Bradman Ian Chappell Javed Miandad Clive Lloyd Garry Sobers Jeffrey Dujon Imran Khan Kapil Dev Richard Hadlee Malcolm Marshall Michael Holding Curtly Ambrose Muttiah Muralitharan

  • Gustav Gous on November 26, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    One last remark: @Ananth: You are doing unnecessary work copying and pasting anything. Surely the nice people at ESPN could lend you a web developer that can whip up a voting page. They should be able to output a .csv file that can be loaded into Excel [[ But that would mean I would not be able to put in my comments, evaluate the team for content, look for possible duplications and prevent manipulations. And Mani's team of Indian Test players who have played 1/2 Tests will get through. And finally ESPN may not be greatly enamoured with the idea since they came out with a similar poll couple of years back and received a lot of criticism for the Indian/Modern emphasis of the final team. I am sure my Readers' XV will reflect the enlightened readers' selections. Sorry to say, automatic polls invite all and sundry. Readers who would be influenced by what they see on TV yesterday. Kohli/Amla/Pujara et al. Thanks for the thought. Ananth: ]]

  • Gustav Gous on November 26, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    (cont): Comments: - Since this is a thought exercise I assume ideal conditions i.e. no injuries. If Gilchrist gets injured I'll call for Boucher without delay - I disagree slightly about allrounders - Batting allrounders just give a captain more options when bowling - they also seem to be partnership breakers (because they're thinking cricketers maybe?). And they can be usefull in conditions that suit their bowling style. Bowling allrounders shepard the tail and helps it wag which can demoralize the opposition - That being said: Their strong suit should be strong enough for them to be a consideration on that skill alone - I just used it as a tie breaker. - People who leave out Tendulkar and Ponting are doing so on current form which is a mistake because if you look at their whole careers you can't ignore them. I left out Ponting with a sad heart due to my tie breaker rule

  • Gustav Gous on November 26, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    After much procrastination here is Gustav Gous' team (roughly in batting order)

    Gordon Greenidge Gavascar Don Bradman Brian Lara Tendulkar Kallis Sobers

    Gilchrist [Wicket keeper]

    Imran Kahn [Captain] Hadlee Warne Muralitharan Lillee Allan Donald Waqar Younis

    Comments in next post

  • intekhab ali on November 26, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    my playing XI Jack Hobbs Len Hutton Don Bradman Sachin Tendulkar Viv Richards Gary Sobers Adam Gilchirist Waseem Akram Malcom Marshall Denis lillee Shane Warne

    rested players Brian Lara Mutthia Murlitharan Sunil Gavaskar Glenn Mcgrath

  • Jeff Grimshaw on November 26, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    3rd test (Jan) – SCG What better way to start the new year than with the traditional new years test at the SCG? Richards & Ambrose drop out and are replaced by Tendulkar and Imran. Murali and Sobers come back in the expectation of some turn.

    Starting XI - Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Imran, Warne, Murali, McGrath

    4th test (Mar) – Queen’s Park Oval All of my seam bowlers have great records on this ground so I’m going to leave out both Warne & Murali. Richards has to come back for this one.

    Starting XI - Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Imran, Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath

    5th test (Jun) – Lords Where else could we finish but at the home of cricket? Hopefully the weather will be kind! None of Lara, Tendulkar or Kallis have ever prospered at Lords but Lara gets the chance to put that right.

    Starting XI - Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath [[ Jeff I did the London Times simulation of matches between an all-time England XI and Rest couple of years back I did two articles on that. I am sure you have probably seen that. My choice of grounds were almost the same you have selected. The links are given below. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on November 26, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    As I found myself with a rare bit of spare time, I thought I’d choose the grounds where my all-time team would face their opponents (presumably the best cricketers from the rest of the galaxy.) I think a series of this magnitude needs a full 5 tests, and we can take as long as we like to play it, so this would be my itinery:

    1st test (Nov) – Eden Gardens We’d need a good start and a packed Eden Gardens would be very intimidating for the opposition. To maximise the atmosphere, I’d play SRT and hope that Warne improves upon his poor record in India.

    Starting XI – Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Richards, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Marshall, Murali, McGrath

    2nd test (Dec) – Kingsmead We’d then move to SA and a more seam friendly deck. Out would go Tendulkar, Sobers and Murali and in would come Lara, Kallis (for his home test) & Ambrose

    Starting XI - Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Kallis, Gilchrist, Warne, Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath

  • Waspsting on November 26, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    " He has to score a 100 every 6th innings"

    I assume you're joking?

    Great batsman don't score a 100 every 6th innings over the course of their career - what kind of a standard are you using here? [[ I was wrong. If I change it to once in 10 innings, it better be accepted. Ananth: ]] Lara's ratio is 6.82 - and he went out on top, Ponting's 6.95. Sehwag 7.56 and Dravid finished 7.94

    Tendulkar's at present is 6.22, only Kallis 6.05 is better.

    He doesn't have to do anything remotely like what you say to stay in the side, he just has to do better than his potential replacements - none of whom will ever come anywhere near a 100 every 6th innings.

    Averaging 40 from here on out, 2 years max - that's more than enough to keep his place in the side - and I believe he has the ability to do that (don't think he will though) [[ Averaging 40 and staying in the side for 2 years while the Rahanes and Badrinaths get older and celebrate their 30th birthday. Now you must be joking. Ananth: ]] and for the pure statistician types, that'll keep his overall average well over 50 (probably closer to 55) with 2-4 more 100s (a record i assume is important to Tendulkar himself)

  • Sancho on November 26, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Ananth - can I ask you a question - and I am typing this from memory, so it may not be a hundred per cent correct. I think you have mentioned some where in the comments (and I paraphrase, not quote) that Syd Barnes wickets against SAF were just too good to be true. And while Barnes was in the mix till the end that fact tilted away from him. However, if I remember correctly, in the past you have been against comments made on Murali getting cheap wickets against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - because a test wicket is a test wicket. Am I stating the facts correctly (because it is from memory- and I apologize if I have got it wrong). And if so, is there not a slight contradiction there? [[ I have always maintained that a Test wicket is a Test wicket and a Test run is a run. Having said that my only concern with Barnes is the 40% at sub-10 averages. The only comments I do not want are the ones which question Murali's action. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 26, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Excellent article. I guess I would do my homework before coming up with my XV - includes going through the past articles and statistics from various angles.

    One thought though - Gavaskar was not necessarily a dour batsman as made out to be. He could well play strokes. Just that he decided to curb his instincts. He can unleash strokes if need be. A good technician is not necessarily one who would just consume balls. He would pick and choose his ball to attack. So having Gavaskar to open does not necessarily mean that Bradman would lose strike. Gavaskar is equally adept at rotating the strike. If India had a more consistent middle order (They did have a formidable middle order of GRV, Jimmy & Veng) but SMG was the best bet to bat through most attacks. Like Viv, he too batted without a helmet, that too being an opener. To his credit, he didnt miss a single test due to fitness problems.

    I like Boll's remarks somewhere midway, when he spoke about Dob vs SMG. To me both need to be in!

  • Waspsting on November 26, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    straight - like Gavaskar or Dravid - I think he could still average 40 up.

    The slight across play to work the ball to leg side has been a part of his game - losing it would slow him down, but that's better than getting out!

    Compare Tendulkar's trend of being bowled missing angled bat shots to Dravid's ending trend of being bowled beaten for pace, through the gate.

    one's a technical glitch, that can be set right. the other was abilities falling below a reasonable level.

    Tendulkar's career's in his own hands at this point, but it looks like the end for him to me. [[ Technical adjustments to score a decent 50 will not solve the problem. He has to score a 100 every 6th innings and a big hundred every 20th innings. And it is likely that the bowlers would learn to adjust. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 26, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    With Tendulkar looking done, Jacques Kallis stands an chance (not a great one, but still) of finishing his career the highest run scorer in cricket - and the highest 100s maker.

    If he should achieve this, I think his subjective rank relative to Sobers will change in a lot of people's eyes (not to mention 300 wickets as a bowler will also be his if he plays that long)

    I wouldn't rule out Ponting or Tendulkar COMPLETELY yet.

    Ponting I think is good enough to maul Sri Lanka in Aus - and might very well do so. Given Quinney's pair, apparently there isn't any obvious replacement for Ponting.

    Tendulkar's abilities have obviously fallen away, but i thought if anyone had the brains to adjust his game accordingly so as to still make runs, it'd be him (he's done so many times in his career).

    he hasn't - and apparently can't, which is sad.

    All these bowled and LBWS - he's played across the line everytime!

    His eyes aren't good enough for that anymore, if he adjusted to playing dead (cont)

  • Bur on November 26, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    Hayden Hobbs Bradman Hammond Kallis Sobers Gilchrist Imran Warne Waqar Barnes

    Murali Viv Lara Garner

  • Dr. talha on November 26, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    @Ananth. "Not to forget Kallis who, despite being incapacitated, batted for over 4 hours" Absolutely!!Its a strange game. A reader after 20 years may consider this inns as mere 46 runs. Only the people who watched the match actually knows the value of it.

  • Murray Archer on November 26, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Looking at all these batting sides, I started to wonder about strike. All these players basically used to take most of the bowling. Often they were "fed" strike as well.

    I wonder how it effects a dominant player when they're not dominant ? Whether it disrupts their rhythm ?

  • Ayaz on November 26, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    Hutton Hayden Lara Bradman Viv Gilchrist Imran Khan (c) Keith Miller Waqar Younis Warne Fazal Mahmood

    S Waugh Inzamam Dravid Murali

    Have not included Kallis, Sanga & Sachin. I think its wise to wait till their retirement. I like the reason that Dr.talha gave."if this blog was published 5 years back, i am sure a lot of the readers would have included Ponting."

  • Biophysicist on November 26, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Dear Ananth:

    I don't think that you can have Tendulkar as an opener for tests. In the only test that he opened (that too at no. 2 position), he scored only 15 runs. Hardly any justification for someone to be considered as an opener in test cricket. In almost all tests, he played at no. 4 and not even at no. 3. Therefore, I would rather have Gavaskar play as opener everywhere as an opener and not Tendulkar. If you can't accommodate both of them in the team, then have Gavaskar instead of Tendulkar as opener. After all, comparing Gavaskar's average as opener to Tendulkar's at no. 4 position is like comparing apples and oranges!

  • Dr. talha on November 26, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @Gerry the Merry. Ya brother. Really happy for SAF efforts. All eyes on the final test. It would be a cracker. May determine Ponting's future as well. Hats off to England. Remarkable performance. As far as india goes, 4 out of their top 6 batsmen are not in the best of form. Dhoni is also not as good in tests,as in ODIs. Lets see what happens in kolkatta. Hope Sachin does well. [[ The real tragedy is that Dhoni is attributing most of the blame on the boelers while the real problem was that there were 12 scores of 30 or fewer in the Indian 14 top innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Sriram on November 26, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    My invincible XV

    Gavaskar (first to 10k runs) Hobbs (Most prolific scorer in FC) Bradman ( Best in tests) Tendulkar(Best and second best batsmen to have played both ODIs and Tests by wisden) Kallis ( Statistically the best allrounder) Richards ( 3rd and 2nd best batsmen in tests and ODIs by wisden) Sobers ( Greatest Batting allrounder) Gilchrist(Raised the bar too high for others to reach) Imran( best bowling all rounder) warne (The greatest of all bowlers) Marshall (shortest and one of the fastest swing bowler)

    Mark Waugh ( most stylish batsmen, best slip catcher) Murali ( most prolific bowler) Hadlee (one of the best of all time, equally good or better than Imran with bowl but Imran edged him with bat) Ponting(best batsmen in 2000s) [[ Why bring in ODIs at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 26, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Looks like Dr Talha will have a balanced scorecard. What a heroic performance by Du Plessis on debut. Two unforgettable innings in two days. [[ To see a debutant, with a reputation for ODI/T20 fast scoring, bat for over 8 hours to save a Test makes you feel how over-rated the Indian batsmen are. Not to forget Kallis who, despite being incapacitated, batted for over 4 hours. Ananth: ]]

  • Assu on November 26, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    My XV:

    Gavakar, Hutton & Hayden Lara, Bradman, Viv Sobers, Kallis Imran (c) Gilchrist (wk) Wasim, Marshal, Waqar Warne & Murali

  • Dr. talha on November 26, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    Today is a bad day of cricket for me:

    I support SAF when they play Aussies and i support India when they play Eng. Both my teams may loose today :(

  • Sheikhs on November 26, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    So my final team is:

    Hayden Gavaskar Lara Bradman Viv Gilchrist Imran Wasim Warne Marshal Waqar

    Kallis Sobers Sanga Inzamam

  • Sheikhs on November 26, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    The other two bowlers are Marshal & Warne. Any questions about them?? So that completes my bowling list: Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Marshal & Warne. There cannot be a more formidable bowling attack. For sure!!! As far as my openers are concerned, i would also go with Gavaskar & Hayden. There is absolutely no comparison between post & pre 1970 new ball bowlers. And my middle order will have Lara, Bradman & Viv. Cant get any better!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 26, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    2 exactly opposite teams by Pete and KV Krishnan - one includes many 1980s West Indies stars, and the other does not include even one! [[ Yes, I missed it. Krishnan seems to have missed out the entire 1980s while including West Indian players before and after. Ananth: ]]

  • Dennis on November 26, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    After thinking about it for a while, my side is as follows. I went for the extra depth with the all-rounders.

    Len Hutton Gordon Greenidge Don Bradman George Headley Graeme Pollock Garfield Sobers Wilfred Rhodes Mike Procter Allan Knott Michael Holding Bishen Bedi

    Erapalli Prasanna Frank Worrell Everton Weekes Andy Roberts

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 26, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Yes. It is evident that Ponting will be removed soon unless he produces a good innings in Perth, which means that he will have Sri Lanka to feast on, and will board the plane to England in 2013 (what a cracking series that is promising to be under the new charged up captains).

    On Tendulkar, in a worst case scenario, if he plays till 200 tests and twice in every test for 15 runs in each innings his average will still be above 53, which would place him among all time great batsmen.

    But after England visit we dont seem to have any more tests at least as per cricinfo calendar in the near future. So it may mean a long wait for him for 200 tests, so he may announce his retirement soon (assuming that he does not take one days seriously).

  • Taqi on November 26, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    - I am kind of a silent reader to your articles and a huge fan.

    - Regarding this article, I have couple of conerns in your playing 11 side,

    1, Why Tandulkar has to open the lineup, when he never actually did that in test. When you have so many choices for openers, why to have this compromise. I don't think it will be a good idea to make him open. I will rather make him sit on the bench rather than making him open.

    2, Regarding your bowlers, every one in your team is good with Top order batsman but who is going to take the tail out. Definitely you don't want last 4 batsman scoring 100 runs extra. Wasim was good with tail but only with Waqar on the other side. We cannot consider him as much aggressive as marshall, Waqar or imran were.

    - I know when you have a 100 yrs of history with only 15 to choose out of 100-200 all time legends. It becomes more of a personal choice rather than fair choice as every one of them is better than the other in someway and actually there is not much of a difference between them.

    Below is my personal choice of top 15,

    1&2, Hobbs & Sutcliffe as opening pair as they are the wasim/waqar of openers. I had a choice of Gavaskar and Hutton but since they all are almost equal so why not go with the pair.

    3&4, Bradman & Lara are my two no.3. I have kept 2 no.3 players. As there is no better batsman than Lara in the remaining players.

    5, Tendulkar his record speaks for him as a no.4, so I won't say much about it.

    6, Richards - best no. 5, Probably the most stylish/aggressive batsman along with Lara. The one who can take the opposition.

    7, Sobers - probably the best batsman with the tail.

    8, Gilchrist - There are wicket keepers available of his class but no one can bat as he can.

    9, Imran - Probably the best alrounder of all time, with almost unplayable bowling at his peak.

    10, Ambrose - The most economical bowler of all time.

    11, Marshall - A complete bowler, I haven't seen him at his peak but his stats showing the strike without giving runs must be a treat to watch.

    12, Wasim - The best left arm bowler having infinite variety to test the batsman.

    13, Waqar - My favorite cricketer of all time. Never seen a more deadly/devastating bowler as he was during his 5 yrs peak. Agree with Alex Bowden, his reverse swinging yorker might just be the most destructive delivery in the history of cricket.

    14, Muralitharan - The best spinner of all time. He just wiped all bowling records of the last century. There is always a debate between warne and him. Its nice to see that he is there in your playing 11 over warne.

    15, Warne - The best leg spinner of all time.

    Below is my plaing 11, I have gone with the aggression in my bowling.

    Hobbs Sutcliffe Bradman - I wish I had Lara in my team but he had a competition with the wrong guy and I don't want him to play on a position where he has never played. He had played at no. 4 but his record is not as impressive as Tandulkar @ no. 4. Tandulkar - Who can ignore the ruler of the last two decades. Richards Sobers Gilchrist Imran Marshall Waqar Muralitharan

  • K.V.Krishnan on November 26, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    The best XV I choose is like this. This is, of course, not based on any cricket statistics, but solely on the knowledge I have gained by reading many books of prominent writers on the game. Don Bradman (Aust) Barry Richards (S.Africa) S.G.Barnes (Aust) Sunil Gavaskar (India) Clyde Walcott (W.Indies) Adam Gilchrist (Aust) Ray Lindwall (Aust) Dennis Lilee (Aust) Shane Warne (Aust) Muralidharan (Sri Lanka) Brian Lara (W.Indies) Sachin Tendulkar (India) G.S. Sobers (W.Indies) Ian Botham (England) Dennis Compton (England) The Team is very strong in the batting dept. with Bradman leading and in pace dept. it has sufficient fire power with Sobers lending his hand. Some of them might not have played sufficient number of tests to build up records, but their cricketing ability or to be amongst the best cannot be questioned. [[ A very different team. You are the first one to select the outstanding opener SG Barnes and Compton. Barry Richards is another lovely selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Pete on November 25, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Pete's team

    G. Greenidge D. Haynes D. Bradman (vc) D. Compton P. May C. Lloyd (c) G. Sobers J. Dujon I. Botham J. Laker H. Verity A. Qadir A. Roberts M. Holding J. Garner

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 25, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    The Indian team's performance is so disappointing that it is necessary to point out that at least one batsman is consistent - Sachin met expectations of performance in the second innings of a test. The rest underperformed, as usual. I would axe the following immediately - Dhoni, Sachin, Ashwin, Harbhajan (who got into the team without even a single first class match bowling success during his absence from the test team), and Sehwag too, and bring in Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya. [[ Two great players whose recent run of scores reads like this. Ponting: 4, 14, 7, 41, 23, 57, 0, 4, 16 Tendulkar: 15, 8, 25, 13, 19, 17, 7, 13, 8, 8. And if anyone says they are one innings away from form, they show their ignorance of Cricket. There is a problem with reflex and technique. The selectors might very well take a call on Ponting. Here we are still saying that Tendulkar should decide himself. What happens if he has 3/4 more sub-50 scores. Mind you, Tendulkar is a player who I admire most. He is a wonderful all-time great player and I want him to go out like Gavaskar/Dravid/Laxman and not Kapil. To see Tendulkar walk in and the fielding team think he is an easier prey than the other batsman (whoever it might me) is a painful sight. Ananth: ]]

  • Sheikhs on November 25, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    I will have Waqar & Wasim both in my team. Undoubtedly its the best pair in history. Both could have taken 500+ wickets had there not been a conflict between both, due to which both lost quite a few tests. And unfortunately when both were at their most devastating best: Wasim had taken 48 wickets in his last 8 matches and Waqar 45 in his last 6, guess what happened??? "No test matches for the next one and a half year (dec'90-june'92)" Who is better than the Guru of both W's to "control" both. Imran Khan is my next member. Even if had a batting avg of 27 instead of 37 and a bowling avg of 32,instead of 22, i would have included him just because of his leadership qualities. Cannot have a better man in the dressing room to lead a team of such big stars. He was as good a bowler as anyone in history. People not selecting him as a bowler should also consider the fact that at times he took the new ball with a spinner bowling from the other end. Thats the kind of wickets he played on(cont..)

  • Vishwanath on November 25, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    In general your selection is an excellent one. The only thing I do not agree with, as a few have done, is to compromise the opening positions. Hence I am making only one change. Barry Richards for Tendulkar. Rationale. 1.I will not give up either of the other openers. That would negate the very idea of mine. 2.I will not give up any of the bowlers. They are all needed. 3.Much as I dislike it, I have to give up the little master since the others are must-play for me.

  • Murray Archer on November 25, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    @ Anath

    I don't know how this match will pan out, because is a lot of time left yet. Scoreboard pressure obvious, yet perhaps negated by lots of time? Good game to watch though :).

    The DRS ....... I am so old fashioned, umpires to me, are infallible ( no matter how obviously failed). So I still have problems with it in principle. On a Technical basis, seems to me, that in hot conditions hotspot does not show fine nicks. Sometimes it's ok and your example is good one of those :).

    The really interesting thing is how umpires themselves perform with or without DRS ? In terms of confidence, I think there's a trend happening ? [[ Murray I am for DRS but no more than 67-33. However the one thing I am certain is that DRS should be applied uniformly across all countries. One country, because they hold the cheque-books, should not dictate terms. That was an excellent declaration by Clarke, around 3 RpO. Most captains would have gone on to tea. Ananth: ]]

  • mohammad hassan on November 25, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    My Team

    Hobbs(199 FC centuries)(o) Bradman(o) Kallis Sobers Tendulkar Boucher(wk) Shakib Imran Khan(c) Kapil Dev Wasim Waqar Warne Murali Lohmann Holding

    Coach Keith Miller,will get them some messerschmitts to teach them what pressure really is. ehis team is unbeatable!

    shmulik: I beat your team in versatality quotient,my team has 6(!)allrounders who could adapt to anything! I challenge you to beat that!

  • Murray Archer on November 24, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    @ Sancho

    Nice reasoning :)) I wonder though, if anyone in this quality of team ever needs to bat for anyone's lives ?

    They are more likely to come in at 3 /350 ? When rarely not, why not lead the counter attack ? [[ Murray Another 100 runs and the match will be Australia's. Only if SA set themelves a sub-300 target that they would have any chance. And Clarke is also a factor. Lyon, on the fourth/fifth days is not going to be easy to play. On another topic: DRS. The Kallis dismissal was a perfect example of correct DRS at work. There is no way the umpire could have given that decision since the glove touch was hidden. But DRS showed the near 90 degree deviation of the ball. Without DRS it was a 100% not out. With DRS it was 100% out. Zaheer Khan's bat was 6-9 inches from the ball and was given out. There was a very close Cook appeal which was a possible DRS dismissal. But I would shed no tears on these two events. The stupidity of the Indian administrators and players is preventing the proper use of DRS. We should put the concerned people (5 Bcci guys and 3 Indian players) in a locked room and show these two dismissals about 100 times and then let them out. Tomorrow DRS might become universal. Ananth: ]]

  • Praveen on November 24, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Okay, thanks. I guess my point as for Bradman is: his was a rare phenomenon. We haven't seen the likes of his in all these years with such a high average. To me he seemed very unusual. That was the reason behind not including him under this study. If I had seen someone with avg of 99 odd even occasionally, then I'd have included him(them). So that's why I didn't try to "touch" him... In other words: he might be the God who would stop and watch these gentlemen playing the game. Best, Praveen [[ That does not answer my question nor get your team in. Ananth: ]]

  • SR on November 24, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    ANANT: Glad about your article. This is my Dream XV with following batting order: G.Greendiege J.Langer G.Kirsten D.Bradman A.Flower (w) I.Haq G.Sobers S.Pollock I.Khan © S.Warne S.Barnes

    Bench : B.Lara, W.Akram, M.Marshall & S.Ajmal Back to the query of Boll & Taslim. I think the way you have describe the criteria is not correct. You mean u will be putting all about this 200 team in excel sheet and according to no. of votes, u will come with XV that’s not the right way I am sorry to say. This will betray all of us. Further if you analze expert like u and M.Crowe also came out with their team and layman like me and others in this blog also came with one team each. If you consider one vote of expert and layman as one vote the team which will come will not be best XV. Infact, we all will be deceived by that. You rather put this all 200 team on some site and without anybodys name and let people vote for it. Sorry if I have said something wrong. Hope u will clarify and not delete mess [[ I really cannot put 108 players in some place, ask for a fresh selection and ask people to select again. First, many readers will lose interest. Second, I think that is wrong. Third it will not solve anything. Whether Imran was selected by me, Martin, you or Talha, it is one selection and should carry equal weight. I am confident that the final selection will be VERY GOOD. Let me say this. You have selected the most unique opening pair. In that no one has selected Langer and Kirsten. So they will become the 109th and 110th players with one vote each and will be at the bottom of the table. I am certain that if I remind the 185 other readers of these two very good, but not great, players, they would not get a second vote. Why should I do that. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on November 24, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    @beverly everybody has their own opinion. You have yours. But dont write that Sachin should not be considered and in he not in their league. Yes the guys mentioned are well below Sachin's League for Lara however exiting he may, he might have never invented or revived a shot or two like Tendulkar. Seems you are talking out of hatred. If he is not great or exciting no body else who can be exciting. Who improvised the cut over slips which Sehwag and many others play now. Who invented the helicopter sweep which Dhoni adapted. Who invented the paddle sweep? [[ I will only intervene here. To my knowledge Azhar played the paddle sweep first. Ananth: ]]The scoops and helicopter shots which many play now were played in 90s by Tendulkar. Everybody has their own choice and favorites but why I dont know why some people are so envious on him

    @ everybody . I am privileged to watch Great Viv Richards with in two yard distance in Adelaide Oval. Got an autograph from Brett Lee. Part of Standing ovations to Great Ponting and Kallis. feeling gr

  • Praveen on November 24, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    But Gods only watch if it is an even contest - so here is my another team that would play against the first(this would be my second pick, so please go with the first one). This is for illustration only: Anwar Javed Miandad Ponting Aravinda Border [Captain] Rodney Marsh Hadlee Holding Kumble Saqlain Ambrose Extras: Steve Waugh, Lillie, Ranathunga

    Thanks, Praveen

    [[ Unfortunately by my strict qualifying criteria, both your teams cannot be considered. And I never said that this is selection of two teams. It is simply the selection of the best XV with no restrictions whatsoever. Just because someone is 6 SDs away from the normal how can you exclude him. That is like saying that in a class, the best, who scored 99% is excluded because he is a genius and only the people with "mean +- 3 SDs" will get selected. Ananth: ]]

  • Praveen on November 24, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    Anantha, great article as always.If it not too late,below is my pick.I have excluded Bradman,Hutton,Sobers et al,not because they aren't great, but because I haven't followed them much,and Bradman is by definition an outlier.His avg is 6 std deviations away from the normal.Here is my pick in that order: Gavaskar Tendulkar Lara Viv Richards Ian Chappell [Captain] Gilchrist Imran Khan Wasim Akram Shane Warne Murali McGrath Extras/Bench/Beach: Kapil Dev, Greg Chappell, Mark Waugh[Yes,I am biased here].I believe my pick,generally,satisfies the criterion you defined.I would swap G Chappell with Ian if it is not for Ian's leadership.I excluded Ambrose and Walsh because despite their genius they couldn't win many matches for WI, in my opnion. Other than the fact that I love M Waugh(and the extra ordinary fielding and handy bowling),I need him because he is probably one of the finest Aussie batsmen to play spinners. How are you going to simulate?I'm curious. Thanks, Praveen

  • Boll on November 24, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    @Ananth, yes, my reply at 3.26am came before I saw your comment re. Kallis. What a player and what heart indeed. Perhaps due to his less than brilliant performances vs Aus I`d been very hesitant to rate him amongst the test greats (stats aside) - the innings I saw him play vs India a few years back made me reassess, and since then he`s been imperious.

    Sadly he`s probably playing his last test in Oz at the moment, but even on one leg he looks a class batsman. No fuss, lots of time, I was wrong. [[ Not for a second, okay, a milisecond, did I imply that you were not fair in judging Kallis. In team selection he tends to lose out to Sobers. Although I wonder why he should not edge out one of the batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 24, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Not sure if G.Smith has been mentioned yet. I`d certainly rate him up there with Hayden - slightly limited player in some ways, and not the prettiest to watch, but he worked out a long while ago where he can best score runs, and reduce the chances of dismissal, and has produced time and again - a true professional, very gutsy and mentally strong - an admirable figure. Wouldn`t look out of place aside some of the openers given more recognition here.

    Kallis - blimey, wouldn`t have come close to considering him 2 years ago, and still don`t have him in my 1sts or 2nds, but what a player.

  • Boll on November 24, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    @Ananth - nor do we Japanese apparently (very disappointed) - `English Premier League Talking Points` was small consolation. IVA (for a 60-year-old?) looks as if he could still score a few runs...I think he`d back himself at Adelaide as well. Lots of people with better averages, but he`s a solid choice in my World XV - quite a few that I`ve tossed and turned about, after making my original selection, he`s not one of them.

    Must admit (along the lines of your own thinking - select the specialists) I would like to select the best pure `keeper. I just don`t know enough about it to make an informed decision, but plenty who do seem to rate Knott/Grout extremely highly. [[ I seem to have had a good crystal-ball gazing day yesterday. I mentioned that if Australia got Smith early they could get a lead of 150+. Happened exactly. But Kallis, what a player and what heart. Only the truly biased can deprive him of a place amongst the greats. 2 top wickets before injury and a valiant 58 after. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 24, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    The mighty Viv, The Master Blaster, live on the Cricket Show (lunch at Adelaide), with Big Bird and Whispering Death, shortly if anyone is interested. [[ Unfortunately, Boll, we Indians do not get to see the Cricket show. Instead we would be shown "India Glorious" or some such thing where the Indian win in the Natwest 2002 Final might appear and soon celebrate its 100th appearance. Ananth: ]]

  • Sancho on November 23, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    'cont'd For the other 4 – I chose to have a spare opener, middle order bat, fast bowler and spinner each.

    Gavaskar is chosen for his ability to handle the WI quicks – and well, his general greatness as an opener. I have gone for Ponting as the middle order bat – perhaps some “viewing bias”.

    Given the bowling in the main team (especially with sobers as a left arm medium to slow bowler) I have chosen to have a left arm quick and an off spinner. I think Wasim Akram as the left arm quick is fairly uncontroversial.

    The off spinner took me some time – Harbhajan, Swann, Prasanna, Gibbs, Laker…difficult. I think Swann’s been helped a lot by DRS, which if available to earlier cricketers would have perhaps boosted their tally as well (debatable…but my view). Harbhajan, for all his wickets, seemed too variable to me. As for the others- well could have been anyone of the 3 – just went for Gibbs for taking as many wickets as he did. Could have been a different decision another day.

  • Sancho on November 23, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Glichrist - well I did think of Sangakarra and Andy flower…but I think Gilchrist’s done enough to just pip them. And he’s kept to a more varied set of bowlers then most others.

    In the bowling, having seen him bowl, I cannot go beyond Warne and have to choose him over all other current bowlers and the “viewing bias” keeps him ahead of Clarrie Grimmet, Bill O’ reilly and the Indian spinners.

    There has been discussion on Barnes – for me the clincher is that (again from reading) just about everyone from his era agreed he was the best – something which, other than Barnes can perhaps only be said of Don Bradman and no other cricketer.

    Ambrose and Hadlee - different kinds of bowlers with amazing records – with Hadlee’s batting an added plus

  • Sancho on November 23, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    My XV

    1. Hobbs 2. Sutcliffe 3. Bradman 4. Tendulkar 5. Steve Waugh 6. Sobers 7. Gilchrist 8. Warne 9. SF Barnes 10. Ambrose 11. Richard Hadlee 12. Gavaskar 13. Wasim Akram 14. Ponting 15. Lance Gibbs

    I chose a 11 and then added in 4 to complete the squad. Hobbs and Sutcliffe are chosen for their records as players and as an opening pair together. Further, if you are going to have a world team then they need to be able to play in all sorts of conditions – across time as well. The sticky wicket may be a thing of the past but it is a very real part of cricketing history. And if stories are to be believed they were no better player on a sticky wicket than Hobbs and Sutcliffe was close behind.

    The middle order perhaps does not need too much elaboration- Steve Waugh is in there because in the 30 years or so of cricket I have watched, I cannot think of a player I would more want to “bat for my life”, if required. (cont'd)

  • beverly on November 23, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Ananth, I don't agree that Sachin should be used as any "steadying influence in the exciting middle". We already have Hobbs and Gavascar, the two best openers ever - they'll do the job. And we don't want any anti-climaxing effect to bore the Gods when they leave their busy schedules to come to watch these 5 mortals (Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers and Gilchrist) in the middle beaing leather. Here's a parallel Ananth: Your exciting blogs on Cricinfo are, "the blogs that the Gods would stop to subscribe to"; and I'm sure every time you publish one you try to weed out any subscriber you think would reduce the flow of the excitement. This too is my trend of thought when I pick my XV But why Tendulkar, whom I've shown before is not in this league, and not Hutton or Headley who have all the credentials for the job? We can't continue to give favours to Mr Tendulkar at the expense of others. You see what he's doing to Rohit and Raina? Look out for "10 Reasons Why Sachin Is Not In This League" [[ Many thanks for the kind words. Let me summarize. Considering only the middle order batsmen. Assuming Bradman's automatic selection, I would not select Tendulkar ahead of Sobers, Lara and Richards. But I would select him ahead of the other illustrious contenders like Chappell, Waugh, Weekes et al for the simple reason that barring periods of poor form and uncertainty, as is happening now, he has been a model of consistency, excellent technique and has no discernible weakness. Ananth: ]]

  • MAT on November 23, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    I fail to understand why people dont remember Fazal Mahmood. A genuine match winner of the 50's.

    Hayden Hutton Lara Bradman Sobers Inzamam Gilchrist Imran Warne Waqar Fazal Mehmood

    Reserves: Marshal Wasim Sanga Kallis

  • Yash Rungta on November 23, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    My Team: 1) Gavaskar(Sehwag misses out) 2) Hobbs 3) Bradman 4) Viv Richards 5) Brian Lara 6) Garfield Sobers(Kallis misses out) 7) Imran Khan (c) 8) Gilchrist(wk) 9) Richard Hadlee 10) Shane Warne 11) Malcolm Marshall 12) Curtly Ambrose 13) Wasim Akram 14) Mutthiah Muralitharan 15) Shane Bond/Dale Steyn

    Imran Khan: Although he was a terrific all-rounder, he was a great bowler(has a better bowling average than wasim/waqar as well as a great captain). Even if he would've batted as Chris Martin, he's in my team as a bowler and captain.

    If playing in the subcontinent, I will have murali and warne both playing. Overseas, I'd drop Warne and pick Murali unless you're playing in pitches like Sydney.

    Mcgrath: Wasn't probably better than the fast bowlers selected in my team. And doesn't deserve a place because of his sledging too.

    Bond/Steyn: These are terrific bowlers. I know Bond was more often or not injured but that was not just because of his fitnes but also the way NZ handled him.

  • Pawan Mathur on November 23, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    So, for me the following two models are feasible in discusssing up any transnational team 1) The World Series Cricket model - WI, Aus, and the best of Rest of World ( a world XI to play in a country A against the country's then best available XI , but that world XI should not have any of the home country's player Something similar was the super test of Aus vs ROW in mid 2000s) 2) One transnational team vs another same type team (ROW vs MCC) ( something like the Diana Memorial One Day Match, 1998, which had Tendulkar and Desilva facing Akram)/Mcgrath).

    So considering the fact that in a likelihood, a player will opt for country over world team, I think some readers are justified in asking the question where will you play the matches. SO in my opinion rather than picking up world XI/XV, the process should be more like model 1, to combat 'conflict of interests'.

  • Pawan Mathur on November 23, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    one issue in picking an All time great team - Suppose your/mine/anybody's XI that has Bradman, Warne, Gilly is scheduled to play in Australia. Now against an all time XI, Australia will not select Usman Khwaja and Gavin Roberstson. It will select its strongest possible team with Don Bradman definitely and , Shane Warne, and Gilchrist in all likelihood. Which means the core of some world XIs, which relied on these 3 players to give extraordinary performances in Australian grounds will be shattered. One 'remedy' to this is brazen display of cash (something like modern IPL)and might, and give more heavy cheques to Bradman to stay in your XI as Bradman can not be a part of both teams. Still, assume that Bradman, Warne, Gilly will opt to play for Australia.This does weakens your team Similarly, if an all time world XI plays against India,me as an indian fan would like to watch Gavaskar and Tendulkar play for India against rather than for the world team (contd)

  • Girish Patil on November 23, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Thanks for your comments. My approach, in fact, echoes yours in that the numbers are not the end-all and be-all for my team. I did consider many of the greats of yesteryears in my long list, but ended up choosing more modern greats in the end. That is not 'limiting selection', but just personal preference. Also agree with your comments on M Waugh/ Laxman - I would do much the same. As mentioned in my selections, I chose Steyn over Ambrose/ McGrath. The latter two had left nothing to prove, and Ambrose is my all-time favourite, even. But my team needed a wicket-taker par excellence (not the best all-round bowler or the best metronome). Finally, just one expression for M Clarke's form this year: IDDQD! :)

  • Andrew Gray on November 23, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Tariq at November 22, 2012 3:28 PM - mate, I'd rather remember Sachin's other 99 International tons. Whilst normally I would say slowing down to get a ton in an ODI is on the selfish side, he needed to get that monkey off his AND the teams back. It's not like it was a World Cup. == == == Regarding the Adelaide Test, great fightback by the Saffas. I never really rated Morkel, but he has been lionhearted & as far as I am concerned the best pacer on display in this series. Also - I think on Day 1, Oz exacted revenge on Tahir, for what was done to poor old Bryce McGain! (quite a few similarities) [[ With Kallis I would have feared for Australia's chances. The combination of Adelaide, 200 for captain and a 500+ total might have spelt doom for Australia. Australia scored too fast for this match to end in a draw. If Australia gets Smith early they would fancy their chances of a lead of 150 and on the last day, Warner, yes, you read me correctly, himself might prove handy. I know you visit the other blogs and comment on those. I read these rather infrequently. What is this nonsense about Michael Clarke being a flat-track bully. The same reader would elevate the Indian batsmen scores in Australia as scored on very good, on bouncy tracks. Ananth: ]]

  • Markus on November 23, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    I'm taking exception to your comment, Anath! :), that no team can compare to yours, sorry, "that Not One Selection has matched mine"... haa,haa,haaaa! So, my selection has 7 Bowlers (bowlers Win matches), 3 Pace & 1 Lefty, & W.G., followed by a Leggy & a Murali! Enough said!....O.K.... The only change to my line-up, is to re-arrange my batting order, I'd have G.Sobers coming in after D.Bradman, followed then, by S.Tendulkar, I.Khan & Gilly at 8 (count D.Bradman at 3 & 4 Ha Haa!). I'd say Not One Selection has Matched Mine! [[ Mark, probably wrong chice of words. I hould simply have said "No one selected my specific team". In fact I am wrong. One reader, KC, on 15 Nov, has sent an entry matching mine 100%. It was only when I did the player-weighted index that I found this out. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 23, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    National Holiday here in Japan today - what a treat with 3 tests being played at the same time. @Ananth, no chance of you opening up a little blog for live tests? - just been reading some of the cricinfo blogs for each match, and it`s just not worth the effort. Love to chat with some of the people here about what`s happening live, without the usual misinformed `trash talk` that seems to pass for discussion on other forums.

    @chaitanya - an unusual selection, but great to see Holding (the forgotten man of WI fast bowling) get a mention. re. Mark Waugh, Miller, Flintoff, Laxman in the XV - why not, the Gods would definitely stop to watch, as would I - just hope I got `em on a good day (and Flintoff after a quieter than usual evening!)

    cheers

  • Dr.talha on November 23, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    @Ananth "the greatest sight for me were the 9 balls "bowled" by the genial giant" Ya Ananth i remember that match. It was against India at singapore in 1996. That tournament was famous because of the brilliance of Sanath Jayasuriya. He scored the fastest ODI hundred. Later that record was broken by Afridi.

  • kalyan on November 22, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    My topXV

    Neil Harvey Tendulkar Bradman K Peterson Richards Hammond gilchrist Mcgrath Warne Marshall Lille Davidson Botham Imran Tyson

  • chaitanya on November 22, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    Mark Waugh Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar VVS Laxman Gary Sobers Andy Flower Curtly Ambrose Muralitharan McGrath Micheal Holding

    Richards Flintoff Miller Hadlee

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    @ Murray @ Anath "One of the greatest single day's play in Tests. And this was not a 150 for no loss, 275 for 2 and 363 for 4 at close type of day. For a few overs Australia did not look like reaching 250. Then the counter-attack by all three batsmen. Ponting suffers by comparison. Ananth:" Easily the greatest 1st days batting play I've heard of. :) (Fredricks both ends)

    To anyone unaware (what I wrote would have made more sense if middle page with stats had gone through). Yesterday saw the second highest ever 1st day total scored in a test match. Aus 484/5 in 87 overs Vs SA @Adelaide. The highest total was 494 about 100 overs (unknown exactly) in 1910. In Amassing those runs, Clarke (224* off 243) became the first batsman in history to score 4 double centuries in a calendar year. Aus were 3/55 in first 75 mins before being 4/484 at stumps time.

    To other comments on this - there is NO WAY Clarke will get 400. He'll declare well before tea (lunch?)even if don't lose another wicket.

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    The case for Grace (having finally worked out that links aren't accepted even when to ESPN cricino lol noob)

    It's hard for any of us to imagine what cricket was like in 1870's. Even harder to imagine someone dominating cricket from 16 yo till 60 yo.

    Whatever style or method it was, one person was clearly the best. His margin of superiority to next best the widest ever known in the game ! That's WG Grace! 1st class : 54,000 runs at avg >x2 avg for 2,800 wickets ! WOW !

    Let's look at his years from 20yo till 32yo :- From an excellent Cricinfo article found on his profile :-

    "Between 1868 and 1880, he topped the first-class averages 10 times, including seven times straight till 1874. Between 1868 and 1876, he scored 54 first-class hundreds; the next highest didn't even manage 10.

    In the decade 1871 to 1880 he averaged 49, a period during which nobody else averaged more than 26 or scored even a third of his runs. He also took 1174 wickets in the 10 years, which was the second-best "

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    @ Shezi

    re : Waqar. One of my favourites. That reverse swinging yorker was just to die for.

    Reverse swing bowling's been around since about the 1920's btw. The original Pakistani master of it was Khan Mohammad.

    Anyway being a huge fan of Waqar, I once looked up his percentage of combined bowled and lbw's. Oh boy was I surprised to find out Ray Lindwall's was a lot higher percentage and Fred Trueman's higher still.

    Reason being they also bowled savage reverse swinging yorkers at high pace. I picked Waqar myself, but have no idea why he'd be so obviously better than Trueman who was a world record wicket taker with a better average.

    I picked Waqar because he's the only Pakistani in my team and I already had 2 Englismen.

    I find it difficult to believe that 3 of the 4 best swing/seam bowlers the world has ever seen, all played together for one country. Especially when I personally saw that team with those 3 get beaten 1-0 (in 3) by a team with none of the world's best ever players.

  • sreekumar on November 22, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Hi Ananth, i have submitted my team and i dont know it is accepted or not. In any case i want to make a change, if you permit. I want to bring Inzamam Ul Haq in place of Ponting. I think he is is the most underrated player of sachin/Lara/ era. And he came into my mind when i re-read your beautiful title, “fifteen that gods would stop o watch”, the title gave me an image of entire greek pantheon watching our great fifteen to play, and who else other than Inzamam, the classiest player (at least in my generation) would produce the beautiful and stylish cricket?. [[ Of course it was accepted and now Inzamam has walked in. Truly gifted batsman that dear Inzamam was, the greatest sight for me were the 9 balls "bowled" by the genial giant. Did I say "bowled". A slight exaggeration. All the 15 people on the ground were in splits. Or did I see this in the ODI match against India. Ananth: ]]

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    There was a hidden belief instilled when i used to watch Waqar coming back to bowl that something gonna happen now and more then often it would

    Finally my team is

    Hayden Gavaskar Bradman Lara Viv Sobers Gilchrist Imran khan Warne Marshal Waqar

    Reserves: Wasim Dravid Kallis Sanga

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Readers may question my selection of Waqar.Reasons are simple friends

    What Waqar did was create batting collapses where none should have occurred

    He gave u that belief of being in game even in worst situations

    U needed hope that the opposition's 150 for 0 could become 200 all out. Waqar gave me that hope.

    He was the one who made bowling look exciting even in test matches..across boundaries..whether it be Usain Bolt in WI, or Shoaib akhtar in Pakistan, like millions of other people who idealized him and watch matches not to see who wins, but to see his spells

    Just as batsmen thought they were coming to the end of the bouncer era, up popped Waqar and things got even more difficult

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    My choice is Waqar & Marshal. Both were head & shoulder above the rest,around them.

    Both had the air full of unflinching confidence about them.

    Even when wickets seemed hard to come by their way, they still looked aggressive,imposing & intimidating.

    Belligerent not by mouth but by their skills

    Their glorious run-up esp Waqar's gave away some anxiety to the spectators,as they always anticipated booming deliveries blasting wickets out of the ground splitting them in half.

    Quite a few times the furniture would be disturb yards above & away from their footing.

    Waqar's LBWs were not any less spectacular then his Clean Ups.

    Such was the aura of them that pound for pound, Waqar & Marshal were the best in business

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    So going by this approach I would also have the left & right hand combo of, Hayden & Gavaskar as my openers. Both have 19,000 test runs at more than 50 RpI with 64 hundreds. The other 2 in my top six would be Lara & Viv. Situation may demand a double hundred from any batsman. Though I have Bradman for that , but whats wrong if I have 2 of them, with that potential. Lara, can get not only 200’s but even 300’s and infact 400 for u in an inns. What if the situation demands real quick runs, so for that purpose who can be better than Viv. Now the two fast bowlers, along with Imran & Warne. Cont..

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    So going by this approach I would also have the left & right hand combo of, Hayden & Gavaskar as my openers. Both have 19,000 test runs at more than 50 RpI with 64 hundreds. The other 2 in my top six would be Lara & Viv. Situation may demand a double hundred from any batsman. Though I have Bradman for that , but whats wrong if I have 2 of them, with that potential. Lara, can get not only 200’s but even 300’s and infact 400 for u in an inns. What if the situation demands real quick runs, so for that purpose who can be better than Viv. Now the two fast bowlers, along with Imran & Warne. Cont..

  • Shezi on November 22, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    I will start with the players who are almost certain, to be included, without any debate.They are undoubtedly the greatest in their departments.

    Bradman (best batsman) Sobers (best batting all-rounder) Imran Khan (best bowling all-rounder) Gilchrist (best WK batsman) Warne (best spinner)

    Now comes the openers. I agree with the point,first raised by Dr.talha,that when u have included all the bowlers from post-1970 era, than how can u select ur batsmen from pre-1970.It means ur selected batsman have never played the greatest bowlers of the game. More than 99 percent of the readers (including Ananths team) have bowlers from post-1970 era. Barring Bradman & Sobers (both have some unbelievable stats),i wont include anybody from pre-1970 era. Cont..

  • Vimalan on November 22, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    proof of why Tendulkar can be both attacking and defending which you can't say about others in this list..need not be only for steadying influence always.

    look at some of his best innings in Tests and the strike rates: 119* vs Eng Manchester 1990 - SR 63% 148* vs Aus Sydney 1992 - SR 69% 114 vs Aus Perth 1992 - SR 71% 122 vs Eng Birmingham 1996 - SR 69% 169 vs SA Cape Town 1996 - SR 67% 92 vs WI Bridgetown 1997 - SR 63% 155* vs Aus Chennai 1998 - SR 81% 177 vs Aus Bangalore 1998 - SR 86% 113 vs NZ Wellington 1998 - SR 75% 116 vs Aus Melbourne 1999 - SR 61% 155 vs SA Bloemfontein 2002 - SR 84% 51 vs NZ Wellington 2002 - SR 69& 55 vs Aus Mumbai 2004 - SR 66% 153 vs Aus Adelaide 2008 - SR 75% 160 vs NZ Hamilton 2008 - SR 62%

  • Tariq on November 22, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    I totally agree with Beverly's comments regarding Tendulkar's inability to score big. Tendulkar hundredth 100 probably sums up his career where he scored a cautious century to make his record while helping mediocre Bangladesh to win and eliminate India to reach the final of Asia cup. Even after playing cricket for 23 years, he is unable to even cross 250 score in his entire career on dead pitches. That’s why I rate Lara ahead of him especially in Test cricket where you need big match players.

  • Vimalan on November 22, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    @beverly

    your are talking about one of the best ever batsmen who can steady or attack depending on the need, who has proved in almost every conditions across the world. even though he may not have a 300+ score, he is very consistent in his 150+ scores which I think is a far score in most of the situations considering the batting riches the team has.

    Coming to your other greats, their 300 + 200 + 150 are :

    Hutton 1 + 3 + 6 = 10/19 = 53%

    Gavaskar 0 + 4 + 7 = 11/34 = 32%

    Hobbs 0 + 1 + 5 = 6/15 = 40%

    Lara 2 + 7 + 7 = 16/34 = 47%

    Richards 0 + 3 + 4 = 7/24 = 29%

    Headly 0 + 2 + 2 = 4/10 = 40%

    Tendulkar 0 + 6 + 14 = 20/51 = 39%

    Now, tell me why Tendulkar is not in THAT league ?

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    .... What amazed me most about today was Greame Smith - he looked like he's working on plans to be the next Stuart Surridge. Waiting for both batsmen to reach their milestones before taking the new ball a bit too nice for test cricket ?

    To those that didn't see much, please look at commentary:- 1) first few overs after lunch when Smith gifted us 10 an over while trying to remember which end who was bowling from. The let's move out slips and when 4 go straight through where 2nd was put 2nd at 3rd and get bisected is schoolboy errors !!

    2) Over No 65 - Steyn had gone off with a niggle and Morkel got brought on. Clarke brutalied "the last man standing" - outstanding cricket not to mention the shots !!!

    The match of course is far from over and last time Aust scored 400 on a first day it was at same place and we were beaten by India.

    Only relevance to this article is if you picked Steyn drop him! I always suspected he was a protected species hidden by others - today near proved it

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Having tried and failed to purge myself with a WOW on WG. I'm still rattling from what I saw today. WOW :) Today I saw Australia play cricket the way it's meant to be played.... When in trouble attack, when on top attack, it's real "Fortune favours the brave" stuff. :) [[ One of the greatest single day's play in Tests. And this was not a 150 for no loss, 275 for 2 and 363 for 4 at close type of day. For a few overs Australia did not look like reaching 250. Then the counter-attack by all three batsmen. Ponting suffers by comparison. Ananth: ]] The cynic in me wonders if this is just Arthur actually knowing that these South Africans will fold when the pressure is applied.

    The cricketer in me knows this is exactly how the great Australian sides played (I don't mean 1990's etc) I mean 1970's and before. So until it disappears at series end I'll expect (hope) it's maintained at all times against all opponents.

    Seeing the traditional "pass it on to the next generation" - I called it the Bradman legacy - disappeared around the time of Packer. I call it's re-emergence the Warne Legacy. Today it really felt like he was captain coach whole spirit of the side.

    Play to win. If not good enough we'll lose, but we may just crack them :) Wonderful approach !!!

    (cont'd

  • Ravi on November 22, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Ananth, sorry for the digression. I could not help commenting watching Clarke in action- again. He is one to whom leading by example seems to come naturally. Going from a good batsman, to a great captain and is on the way to become the greatest leader. Lifts his team with himself and that is making Ponting's poor form stand out sorely. Australia's near-continuous string of excellent captains for the last 40 years (Simpson, Chappell, Border, Taylor, S Waugh, Ponting, Clarke) has been a massive contributor to their cricketing success.

  • Murray Archer on November 22, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Hi Anath, Just wondering if you got my thing on Grace and or Warner/Clarke/top order/today. I understand if you (probably rightly) think I'm writing too much here - please feel free to ask me to shhhhh anytime :). I have had some strange PhP glitches today - so maybe they just didn't go through ? [[ Murray I have published every mail you have sent. The enlightened insights you send are priceless and the public (not the hoi polloi out there but the slightly more enlightened readers of this blog) will never be deprived of the same. Partly edited. Ananth: ]] I like the tone of discussion on this site :) Thanks for making me feel so welcome :) Cheers and thanks again Maz

  • Dave Bollen on November 22, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Great, now that the self-opinionated loud-mouth known as Boll (Sydney and Sojo, not Canberra and Sophia I believe Ananth) has gone on strike, I might be able to get a word in edgewise. How about those Aussies today though hey?! [[ Pl see my response to Gerry on this. Ananth: ]] Boll informs me that A.Knott and V.Sehwag are coming under serious consideration for a revised 1st XV, G.Chappell for the 2nds - fickle bloke...apparently he is strongly with those who`ve chosen an enforcer (fast and frightening) in their teams but currently considers Ambrose/Lillee/Marshall sufficient over an out-and-out express-man (Tyson, Lee, Bond, Shoaib). [[ Pl see my reponse to Raghav on Sehwag. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 22, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    Today's murder does not surprise me. This was coming for long. I was taken aback that SA won in England - i expected them to be carved up there as well, but England were battling too many internal problems and with Tremlett and Finn missing or left out, they did not seem quite up to the mark. But Australia are well led, and while their bowling is at half strength (Harris, Starc, Cummings missing or left out), on the true pitches, the SAFs are lacking ideas. If this poll were done 2-3 years later, I would take Clarke into my XV. [[ 180 in a session followed by 200. What is happening to Steyn and co. At this scoring rate Clarke could as well take a shot at 400, if the others hang on. Scoring rate of 5.55 Just 9 runs short of a 100-year record. How can this match not have a result. Clarke's year is well on the way to be the best ever. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 22, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Steyn has taken 19 wickets at 36 in Australia. But 14 at 12 in Bangladesh, at 20 in India, but at 36 in Sri Lanka and 34 in England.

    By comparison Hadlee is at 17 in Aus, 22 in India, 24 in England, 46 in Pakistan but that was in 1976 when he was just winding up (like Imran he had a late blossoming).

    Not likely to include Steyn in my top 10 bowlers. Was also thrashed very badly by Pietersen (who surprisingly has not made it to too many XVs here).

  • beverly on November 22, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Ananth, By now ESPN/Cricinfo knows that your blogs are the best on Cricinfo. I hope they're paying you properly for enhancing their popularity. [[ LOL (first time I have used this) ??? Ananth: ]] In this context, why is this blog no longer on the front page, if you give us up to Dec. 7th to still subscribe? Answering Diptendu's query: Lara is an automatic choice and Tendulkar is not because Lara's style of batting suits both conventional cricket and the era of timeless matches. That's why it's an "All Time XV". The automatic choices are batsmen who show that at some time in their test or first class career they were able to pile up "HUGE" scores of not less than 250, 300+, etc on a regular basis. That's why Bradman remains "KING". Lara is the only batsman who has challenged Bradman so far. Tendulkar on the other hand is the only batsman in Ananth's 7 who has never ever made a HUGE score, though he's batted in not less than 250 innings more than some of them. So he should lose his place to Headley or Hutton. He's not in this league. [[ In a way will use Tendulkar as a steadying influence in the exciting middle order. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on November 22, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    @Murrray. You are right,Sachin is by far the most wholesome Batsmen India has Produced and Arguably one of the top 3 or 5 of all time in world. As you said, he is disliked a lot but that is momentary. Believe me he still more liked than any body else. And once he retire people will project him same way as he was 1 year ago even if he retires in poor light. An Excerpt from L.M Lambert "Wg Grace is adored by 15 million English, Sir Donal Bradman is Admired by 10 million aussies, the same number of West Indians liked Sobers. But Sachin Tendulkar is answerable to 1 billion hyper expectant and too easily dissatisfied Indians." [[ Ramarao, The stupid term "billion hearts" was coined by media. I hate the term since it ignores the real problems facing India. Half a billion stomachs (not hearts) are not sure where their next meal is coming from. I understand you are only quoting, but it should stay outside this blogspace, if possible. I would be quite surprised if 10% of India waited with beating hearts for the 100th ton. Even today, the sound in the stadium when Tendulkar walks in should not be equated to India stopping work, as the media says. This should not be mistaken. In my opinion Tendulkar is one of the three greatest Indian sportsmen ever. But we should stop there. Ananth: ]] I also think ponting who is best batsmen in 2000s is not often ignored in Australia compared to Chapell, waugh, Harvey, Trumper,border. For me he is next only to Bradman in Australia. Seems majority dont share my opinion. Opinion is not polarized in west Indies either. Some still say Sobers is best, some say headley is better, then what about Lara and Viv. :)

  • Chowdary on November 22, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    All Time World XV

    Leonard Hutton Virender Sehwag Sir D Bradman Sachin R Tendulkar Ricky ponting Sir Gary Sobers Clyde Walcott Richard Hadlee Shane Warne Sydney Barnes Waqar Younis

    Imran Khan Clarrie Grimmett Viv Richards McGrath

    The team is not based on ability, statistics, decadal analysis posted earlier, aggression and ability to force a win rather than comprising with a Draw. I have also taken Longevity as a criteria when there are two or more eligible for that place. Very hard to exclude Great Kallis, Weekes, Prince Lara, Hammond, Great Hobbs,Chappell, Gavaskar, Gritty Border, aggressive Neil Harvey, sangakkara, Murali, s Waugh, Marshall. They just missed out because of other's strenght than their weaknesses. V Trumper, Headley, B Richards, Pollack however great they are lost to Longevity. Dravid, chandrapaul, Barrington, Boycott, Hanif are not considered for Obvious reasons. Walcott avg of 56 which is a diff of 8 over gilchrist is not a blunder.

  • Murray Archer on November 21, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @ Boll 'tis true, I often stress things more than needed. Harvey however was a fine player indeed. (so was Chappell and is Ponting).

    @ Som

    Morris batted very well with Bradman. They together famously chased down 404 in well less than a day in test #302 on a pitch the press had decided would be over before lunch. Morris 182 Bradman 173*

    He also scored a Sheffield shield century on a horrid Sydney wicket to win a match against QLD before the rain came. His 110? on last morning was completed more than half hour before lunch ! I can't seem to find Sheffield shield cards at cricinfo - help pls if anyone knows. From memory that match was Benaud's 1st class debut.

    I understand EXACTLY what your aim is.... I didn't choose Morris because in my side ; was either he or Harvey, too many Australians, or too few left-handers.

    To solve that problem of aggression from outset, I picked Viv Richards as an opener having seen his test career take off when he was moved there from No 5 or 6. [[ Murray Finally Warner is showing some sign of controlled aggression. I hope he goes on to at least cross 100.Somewhere there one has to wonder about the Australian top-3/4. Ananth: ]]

  • Sree on November 21, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    My team:

    Hobbs Hutton Bradman Viv Lara Sobers Gilchrist Imran Marshall Warne Murali

    Squad picks:

    Greg Chappell (Pondered for a long time over Border and Tendulkar but went with Greg for his sheer mastery) Ambrose Lillee Barnes

    So many greats have graced our beautiful game, how can we possibly do justice to them all? I feel this is akin to asking a father to pick his favourite child !

  • bbpp on November 21, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    Cont'd Seamers from: Marshall, Lillee, Ambrose, Wasim, Holding, Hadlee, Donald, Trueman, Barnes, Imran, McGrath.

    I prefer impact players i.e ones who can take a game or series away and keep opposing captains nervous. That is why McGrath, though great, is a bit down the list for me because he was a metronome and very successful but his partner in crime so often, Warne, could just turn a game on its head. And not wanting to raise a hornets nest, though I consider SRT one of the greatest batsmen ever, has not been as impactful on games or series as even Laxman or Sehwag nor as immovable as the Wall and that is just among his teammates.

  • Raghav Bihani on November 21, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    @Boll: I agree with your observations on Dravid. The fact that India away wins are seldom has been a factor. I am now looking at many more players with similar innings to decide and a fresh list is on its way.

    Tendulkar was initially in my shortlist. He lost in a shoot-out with Dravid (Anantha guessed it right). I preferred Dravid over Tendulkar for the reasons mentioned and Indian context. That opinion still remains true.

    But now I am questioning all my selections with more players including Dravid's place (Waugh, Border, Chappell and many more). Another selection I am reviewing is Sehwag. What goes in his favour is that he changed the definition of opener and he breaks the Hobbs, Hutton, Sutcliffe, Gavaskar & Boycott mould. SR of 82.5 is very important if you face another World XI and can be the diff. between draw and win. [[ Raghav You must seriously consider whether Sehwag will be successful against Waqar, Wasim, Marshall, Anbrose, Lillee, Holding, Garner, spinners. Many people have selected Sehwag ignoring his poor-to-unimpressive averages down under and England. If you want an attacking option Gilchrist can open. His average was nearly 50 until the past few Tests. Ananth: ]] Since I cannot recall innings before 80s off the cuff the new list will take a few days. [[ Whatever happens do not limit your selections. Ananth: ]]

  • bbpp on November 21, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    I have looked at a lot of these selections and there doesn't seem to be a unanimous choice for ANY single player! I would think the non-selection of the Don would be sacreligious and no matter how you like your eggs you still have to start with an egg! But I guess there are now artificial eggs... [[ There are 3 cases of Bradman-omissions. I have asked for confirmations from two. I may even be a case of the need to stand out and be noticed. Ananth: ]] Assuming the XV is the final dish, from my somewhat limited knowledge i would think the ingredients should be taken from the following, depending on your taste:

    Openers from: Hobbs, Hutton, Gavaskar, Sutcliffe, Trumper

    Middle from: Bradman (non-negotiable), Sobers, SRT, Richards, Lara, Headley, Pollock, Chappell, Hammond. If you go Grace, Border, Javed, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Waugh, Compton, Weekes they are all excellent but could they make a final all time XI at the expense of any of the other 8?

    Keeper from: Gilchrist, Knott - should really be one or the other.

    Spinners from: Murali, Warne and both seem way ahead of the others

    Seamers to follow

  • Satadru Roy on November 21, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    continued...

    Mcgrath may have more consistent returns than Wasim (particularly in India), but in a a team of heroes I would prefer a more glorious one than the nagging one. Moreover, when Wasim is ably supported by Marshall from the other end, I don't think Mcgrath would be my first choice barring any injury to Wasim or Marshall. My other two bowlers would be 1 pacer & 1 spinner or 2 spinners depending upon the situation & the venues. If the 3rd pacer is required I would prefer Ambrose, for his extra pace & extra height. I won't comment on spinners as your justification is spot on. However as a reserve pacer I would want someone who can terrorise opposition batsmen whenever he is played. So enter Shoaib Akhtar, perhaps the most feared bowler whenever he was on target. Last but not the least, Dennis Lillee a definite.

    Hence my 15 (in your style) would be:- Sehwag, Gavaskar, Bradman, Sachin, Lara, Viv Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Wasim, Warne, Murali, Marshall, Ambrose, Akhtar, Lillee

  • Satadru Roy on November 21, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    cont...

    Hence, with Sehwag & Gavaskar forming an ideal chalk & cheese combination, its murder from one end and technique from other. This will ensure that the team will never have a quiet opening. Even if one gets out early, Don is at no. 3 and he is the greatest, so he can attack or defend equally according to the situation. Since in Don I am having a master of big scores as well as consistent scoring, I would ideally like to switch between Sachin & Lara in the position no. 4. Both will have their primary job to hold the innings together and counter-attack whenever necessary. No. 5 for me is fixed with Richards, appropriately ready to combat the spinners or the fast bowlers with 2nd new ball. No. 6 is Sobers without question, adding the valuable 5th bowler's option (switching between pace & spin as per requirement). Gilly is fixed, no questions. My bowlers as a constant would be Wasim Akram. ... to be continued.....

  • Dinesh on November 21, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    @Ananth: If possible I would like to make a change and Bring in Ambrose in place of Mcgrath. I dont know how i missed Ambrose. [[ Will change. Ananth: ]] How badly i want this to be XVI member team so that could have both Ponting and Kallis in the team.I had somehow resisted the change to bring in Kallis in place of Ponting.

  • Satadru Roy on November 21, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Hello Ananth,

    Firstly my sincere thanks to you for conjuring up a brilliant piece as this one. Also I must admit your excellent analysis based on pragmatic beliefs of performances in different country-based venues. Honestly there is very little to disagree from your excellently prepared list. However, the only anguish from me is that, your brilliantly crafted list has everything but heart-touching romanticism. Of course Viv, Sachin, Don, Lara, Sobers in batting; or Wasim, Marshall, Ambrose, Murali or Warne in bowling are heroic to say the least (not to mention the legendary prowess of Gilly). I would have wanted a better set of opening batsmen, something which belies traditional number games, and provides a more realistic chance for bowlers to claim 20 wickets with ample time to spare. Hence for me, Jack Hobbs goes out despite his envious records, and Virender Sehwag comes in. Everytime he clicks its a test match won for sure. And with Gavaskar he can be the ideal foil. to be cont...

  • Taslim on November 21, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    @Boll, Thanks mate, Nice to hear from you. Yours is excellent team as well.

    @Ananth, Thanks for giving us the insight of your selection step. Shall be waiting for the final XV with eagerness. [[ Taslim Thank you for your predictions. But it is better that I do not publish it since we are still gathering in teams. You may very well be on the dot. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 21, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    I have a problem with Mani's selection on 16th November. He has deliberately excluded Bharti Arun, who fell down in bowing his first ball in Test Cricket. [[ Look at Arun's wickets in his first innings. Aravinda de Silva (that too bowled) and Dias. In the second Test, Gurusinha. Who can boast of 75% top order dismissals. Trouble was our dear friend Arun played in one more Test match. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 21, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    XV of Gerry_the_Merry

    Gooch Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Richards Sobers Steve Waugh Gilchrist Imran khan McGrath Ambrose Holding Marshall Lillee Warne

    Notably, ... I disagree with notion that Tendulkar must substitute for Gavaskar as opener, since you have said that all players will be considered as specialists, and the opener position is a specialist position for which only the eligible batsmen must be considered.

    ...The bowling line up will be thin on spin, which could be a handicap if presented with a turning track. But on most other tracks the bowling will be a handful for any line up.

    ...Initially i had chosen Kallis, but on the basis that one could have 3 openers, opted for Hobbs (could quite easily have been Hutton, as both are cricketers of a higher stature, in my opinion, including Hutton being captain). [[ Thanks, Gerry. Your ansence has been felt by some readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 21, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    @Murray, Great insight. Thanks. But I am all willing to consider an opener who could score at SR around 55. With an all time XV, it would be really sad if someone blocked the way of Bradman, Lara, Richards by not getting out and not scoring at atleast that rate. Lara sometimes makes me nervous, so there is some virtue of a more stable and defensive opener, should Bradman also fail on a particular day. Even though not Bradmanesque, Tendulkar shows no rough edges. Can be as aggressive as Lara and as defensive as Kallis.

    Does Taylor, Morris or someone from the past with adequate overall numbers qualify in terms of all these aspects. The urgency factor being a must.

    Again reverting back to Ananth's best decade analysis. Hayden ranks high, but Sutcliffe even higher.

    If an overall batting strategy were to be there, and as such the question of team combo, why would we choose Gavaskar/Hobbs over Hayden, Sutcliffe, Greenidge, Taylor, Smith, Morris, Sehwag, Langer.

    Ananth/Morris, thoughts?

  • Murray Archer on November 21, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    @ Som at November 21, 2012 11:09 AM

    I'm a Hayden fan but not convinced against great swing bowling. Having poor technique shows when opening the batting in England :- (you can't believe how worried I am about Warner opening there ! ) [[ One truly great innings but poor returns compunded by lack of technique and loss of form. I think Katich was dumped too soon. Ananth: ]] Hayden 10 tests 552 runs at 34.5

    Sehwag 6 tests 278 runs at 27.8

    As a comparison to Hayden, those I believe to be Australia's 2 best ever left handed opening batsmen :-

    Morris 10 tests 1033 runs @ 57.4

    Taylor 18 tests 1584 runs @ 52.8

    Mark Taylor scored a few runs. Had Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Donald, Pollock, Kapil, Marshall, Ambrose, Bishop and Walsh to bat against.

    Taylor retired as Hayden came into the side (after taking 7 years from his first tour to get regularly selected) and got even more runs. Had Pollock & Shoaib - Donald and Waqar both only in their last year of playing - and many other seamers that are largely forgettable to bat against.

    Morris might be worth considering - he was opener in Aust team of century and Bradman's XI

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 21, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    We are thinking of all time XV. I was thinking, why not add whole-some cricketing performances to it. Because, most of the pre-1980 cricketers had major cricket careers at first class level. Great players remain great at any level. However, we can exclude eras where cricket was still learning to play with a method(e.g. WG Grace generation) Your thoughts...!!!

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    @Ananth - just to follow up Taslim`s question (team`s looking better mate - apologies if I offended you earlier), I`d also be interested to know how you`ll be selecting the final XV.

    Will you be simply be taking the 15 players who`ve been selected most often (irrespective of batting position/no. of batsmen vs bowlers) or will you be making some cut offs (eg. no more than 8 specialist batsmen regardless of number of votes/at least one spinner/ at least 2 specialist openers)? [[ I will select the top 15 players but keep in mind the balance in terms of Batsmen, Keeper, Pace bowlers and Spinners. For opening positions, I will select two and the third, if the third gets reasonable number of votes. I am not going to select a third opener just for the sake of selecting one. I will anyhow present all facts and you guys can tear me to shreds if I do not do the right thing. Ananth: ]] I think most people have been selected (roughly) batting line-ups rather than the XV best players to have played the game, which is not exactly the same thing.

    Very interested to see final results of course, but also interested to see how the very open selection criteria (as opposed to the ESPN cricinfo XI say, 2 openers, 3 middle order players, 1 allrounder etc) will effect the final outcome.

    Just been looking back through some old articles - absolutely stunned by the amount of work you`ve put in. PhD x 3!!! [[ I will keep two of the Ph.Ds granted by the University of Canberra and Sophiya University in Chiyoda and give up the third if I can have pain-free shoulders. Ananth: ]]

  • Karthick G on November 21, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    I would like to make one change to the team I chose on November 14, 2012 12:26 PM:

    In: Hadlee Out: Botham

    Thanks [[ Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 21, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    @Ananth: yes..after i read it now.I felt i exxagerated it a lot. IT was in the heat of the moment.

    But most of the times people do get swayed by the Public perception that is for a player at that point of time and for tendulkar it is at its worst now. This blog is on altogether a different Space.

    @Ananth: I havent seen Gerry_the_merry/Alex teamin this article or have i missed them. [[ Gerry is travelling and will post on his return. I independently sent mails to quite a few people and some have replied to me. Gerry is one. But I have requested him to post directly. Alex has been reminded. Maybe like Shri this is too mundane for him. Or he is very busy with mid-term work. Ananth: ]]

    @Murray: Absolutely Agree with you. I was just pointing to Draivd's contemporaries who were as good as him and if not better.

    Coming to WG grace: I dont think we should look at his stats given that he played in an ERA when even if use other Worldy normalisation process, we cannot know his true worth. But at the same time we cannot put down his 54k First class runs.I think he and Barnes were exception. Of course some people wont accept the exception part for Barnes though.

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @Raghav Bihani. Yep, there is no denying some of Dravid`s brilliant overseas (match-saving/match-winning) performances, or his willingness to bat out of position.

    However, plenty of great batsmen have equally good (if not better) records overseas (including some of the Australians I mentioned). While some of Dravid`s overseas performances have been huge in the context of Indian cricket, the very poor overseas record by the international team (37 test wins in 230 test) has perhaps clouded people`s perceptions of their unique qualities.

    The excellent performance of Australian teams away from home for example (128 wins /99 losses in 353 tests) shouldn`t detract from similar/greater performances by these players merely because they have happened on a more regular basis.

    Border`s match-saving twin 150s vs Pak (Imran/Sarfraz), 100no and 98no vs the Windies (Garner/Marshall/Daniel), twin 100s against a rampaging Hadlee..are just some examples. [[ I agree that while Dravid has played many memorable innings, there have been many equally great and valuable innings by others. At times the mind zeroes in on the recent ones and watched ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 21, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    was musing on a savage 11 vs stylish 11

    Sehwag MaCartney Lara V. Richards Sobers J.Reid Gilchrist Botham Mailey Waqar Younis Lillee

    Sayeed Anwar Rowe Worrell Gower M. Waugh Zaheer Abbas Imran Khan Dujon Lindwall Holding Bedi

    (lets throw in a dullards 11, too shall we?)

    Hanif Mohammed Lawry Boycott Barrington Chanderpaul McGlew T. Goddard J. Russell Willis C.Croft McGrath

    (quick explanation of McGrath. its a personal choice based on the not infrequent percentage of the time when he'd make no attempt to make the batsman play, and we'd just have good lenght wide balls going through to the keeper ball after ball, over after over.

    Croft and Willis make it due to ugly actions.

    Hard to find "dull" bowlers, but i don't think anyone would sit through 3 days of watching that side bat.

  • Som on November 21, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that while composing the best XV of all time, team chemistry is not very important. Because once you want to create a team based on chemistry, these factors play in this order: --Select the non-negotiable players --Select players who would complement and not inhibit the execution of the non-negotiable players --Compare that with other combinations based on slightly less non-negotiable players and then see how much that team complements each other

    When selecting Bradman, it becomes very important to ensure that he is able to bat the lions share of any innings, otherwise if there is a shortage of time because Gavaskar batted too long, the returns would be suboptimal. So with Bradman, Gavaskar is not allowed. But with Lara as the mainstay, Gavaskar is allowed because Lara is not consistent.

    But choosing Bradman and not choosing Gavaskar is disservice to one of the greatest openers ever. [[ Lovely thought process. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @Murray, cont`d. I would certainly agree with you (as I think would most neutral observers) that Tendulkar is the best batsman India has produced, although I wouldn`t agree with the `VERY big margin`. Gavaskar has to be up there as well. Those 2 are the standouts for me. The freak/anomaly that is Sehwag would probably be my 3rd pick, and if I was picking an XI to play in India he would be one of the openers (I`d also be finding a place there for Anil Kumble).

    Certainly against the Aussies, Laxman was a more troubling proposition than Dravid - in a recent post I referred to his average record vs the 2 best attacks of his era (Oz and SAf) - 4 centuries in 54 tests, ave/SR of 36.

    Can`t say that I agree with your selection of Harvey (WAY ahead of that trio?) - but I was merely referring to Modern Aus players I thought deserved a shout before Dravid - I`m sure West Indian, Pakistani, English fans would also point to players from their countries.

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    @Murray Archer - to follow-on from your comments (from another Australian`s perspective). I`m not sure that SRT is disliked as such, but I do you think that recent events have unsettled (disillusioned?) people a little, particularly when contrasted with Dravid`s behaviour. Dravid`s performance in England was obviously excellent, but I think his selflessness in opening the batting when required (as opposed to Tendulkar`s refusal to bat anywhere but No.4) was seen as putting the team before himself, as was his recent retirement. Tendulkar`s recent cherry-picking of test/ODI tournaments has also been questioned (rightly or wrongly) and again raised the spectre of him playing for himself (records?) rather than the team.

    I`m making absolutely no judgements here, just calling things as I`ve seen them from a (considerable) distance. The recent Tendulkar fever (surrounding the long awaited 100th century) certainly seems to have cooled somewhat though, along with his form.

  • AB on November 21, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    I know its not strictly on topic, but have made up some squads by decade:

    70s squad: Boycott, Gavaskar, B Richards, G Chappell, C Lloyd, G Pollock, A Knott, M Proctor, D Lillie, A Roberts, M Holding, J Thompson, B Bedi, D Underwood

    80s XI: Greenidge, Gooch, V Richards, Border, Javed, Dujon, Imran, Hadlee, Marshall, Qadir, Garner (backups unnecessary but throw in Crowe, Gower, Botham, Kapil)

    90s squad: M Taylor, Anwar, Lara, Tendulkar, S Waugh, Inzamam, M Waugh, Flower, Akram, Ambrose, Warne, Kumble, Waqar, Donald, Walsh

    00s squad: Hayden, Sehwag, Dravid, Ponting, Chanderpaul, Kallis, Sangakarra, Gilchrist, Steyn, Murali, McGrath, Pollock, Lee, Vettori, Shoaib)

    pre-70s squad: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Hammond, Hutton, Sobers, HEadley, Lindsay, Trueman, Grimmett, Barnes, Miller, Lohmann, O'Reilley, Davidson

    my 80s team is unbeatable imo!

    Overall: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, V Richards, Lara, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Murali, Imran, Hadlee, Ambrose, Marshall, Lillie

  • Som on November 21, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    @Murray Archer - Hayden was definitely not the prettiest of batsman to watch in terms of technique. Neither was Steve Waugh. Dravid had great technique, but was not even half as pretty to watch as Gavaskar or Tendulkar (not because of flair but because how the technique was executed). Even Vengsarkar was better. Mark Waugh had everything. Amazing technique and flair. Beautiful to watch. But did not convert it into numbers.

    The thing is, technique is very very important but when someone scores 30 centuries playing little over 100 tests and with less than 9000 runs with a Strike Rate over 60, opening the batting and almost always putting the fear of the God/Devil in oppositions mind, its impossible to ignore him. Add to it, he was the only person to usurp Lara off his throne(380).

    Sehwag is amazing, a SR of 82.5 is horrific for the opposition, but test matches also require attrition and use of time. If you leave enough time, you might lose. SR 60 is close to optimal, 82.5 is not.

  • Murray Archer on November 21, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    @ Dinesh at November 21, 2012 7:18 AM

    and WAY before selecting "Steve Waugh/Ponting/Chappell" could select Harvey ! (just my Aussie take on Aussie batsmen) Or May or Headley or Hammond or ..... well lots really...... Grace ? - 54,000 1st class runs in that era is nothing to sneeze at.

    Please don't be fooled by statistics. The eras of huge scores (30's and 90/00's) only produced a handful of champions each, just like the era's of low scores (50's 60's). As indeed did also the eras of middling scores. e.g Bradman was only really one and a half times as good (not the twice often said) as Headley or Hammond.... everyone's averages in that period were high. On the other hand someone (G Pollock) averaging 60 in the 1960's was also near one and a half times as good as most (Sobers withstanding) others in his period.

    The trick is to read the opinions of those that played with and against. The stand outs STAND OUT :)

  • Nitin Gautam on November 21, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Contd.. I selected team considering how well they played over their long career & not how gud they were in bursts so missed out champions are waqar & Ponting. G.Chappel,Richards,lille,hadlee,imran, kallis are as unfortunate omissions as wessley hall, andy raberts, 3Ws etc. Cricket has been blessed with such legends, it's sacrilegious to group them in best 15. If I have to select an alternate team to play with my XI, Im sure matches would be enthralling to the core yet I would want my team 1 to win purely on emotions (being 1st choice). Alternate XI 1.Graham gooch 2.Victor trumper 3.Greg Chappel 4.George Hadlee 5.Vivian Richards 6.Kallis 7.Sangakara 8.Imran khan(C) 9.Hadlee 10.Murli 11.Donald I am sure matches would be nail biting & quality would be paramount. Re. Dravid, however great player he is & champion of crisis, I dont see him in a world 11 prior to ponting,g.chappel, & even S.waugh let alone tendulkar.

  • Murray Archer on November 21, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    An Australian perspective......

    Our country recently awarded an AM (Australia Medal) to Sachin Tendulkar.

    This is an award that very few in any field who are not Australian residents receive. I also believe only a dozen or so Australians have received it for cricket (although many ex players have received for services in other fields.

    I read a LOT of stuff written on cricket and for the life of me cannot understand how seemingly disliked SRT is. In my mind (and I'm pretty sure most aussies) he's the best batsmen India has ever produced by a VERY big margin. In our (I hope no aussie's shoot me down)opinions, Laxman was a more worrysome opponent than Dravid. (and WAY better to watch beat us :) )

    Obviously I (we) don't follow Indian cricket as closely as many Indians do, yet I find it amazing... Personally, I think Vishwanath was a better batsman than Dravid and Vengsarker very close.

    "Hutton was hard to get out but Compton or May were what we feared" Aust 1950's palyers

  • Nitin Gautam on November 21, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Anantha Really very good effort & equally gud team of yours. Selecting a XI or XV has to be the most pleasing thing as it is evident by the no. of comments here.Like many others I have not seen many greats playing but read/heard so much about them, its impossible to ignore them. Really cant compare how SRT/lara would have played in 40s or how hobbs/bradman would hv coped the frequent travels & constant scrutiny so in totality have to respect the figures each player has produced in conditions/opposition offered to them. My team 1.Jack Hobbs 2.Sunil gavaskar 3.Don Bradman (non negotiable in all countries) 4.Sachin Tendulkar 5.Brian Lara 6.Garry Sobers 7.Adam gilchrist (Non negotiable) 8.Wasim Akram 9.Shane warne(non negotiable) 10.Malcom marshal 11.Curtley Amborse 12.Hurbert sutcliff 13.Andy flower 14.Murli 15.Mcgraw [[ Nitin Fantastic team. I have a vague suspicion that there is an exactly matching one somewhere there. The changes you have made seem to have been conveyed as changes to me. Anyhow all will be clear when I complete the Excel work. Ananth: ]]

  • Girish Patil on November 21, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    Some thoughts on the 'characteristics' of the long-lists seen so far: I think it is only human to trust your eyes more than your ears, and so people tend to select players they have seen. I have not seen Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton, Miller, Headly, Weekes, Barington, Trueman, Lohman or Barnes - and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. Some of their stats scream out to me, but are less convincing when I talk to people who have seen them (e.g. Barington). On the other hand, I have seen Sobers(YouTube), Warne, Lara, Richards, Sachin, Ponting, Ambrose, Marhsall, Steyn, McGrath... and I know that there is no justification needed for them to be counted among all-time greats. There is no denying that this influenced my long-list. [[ Nothing is gained by limiting the selection. I expect that the readers of this blog have enough insight of their own and gathered to take a fair shot. Numbers have to be used but put in perspective. Numbers matter but not the end-all and be-all of everything.Likes matter but cannot be used to make outrageous selections. I have selected Lara since I am 100% convinced that he deserves his place. Selecting Lara to play in all matches is a personal decision and could very well change. I like Mark Waugh and Laxman almost as much as I like Lara. But I would never dream of selecting them in my team. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 21, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    Conthd..

    If people still want Dravid to open,why not select Len hutton or Herbert Sutcliffe as reserve opener, who would have done a far better Job than a Make shift Opener.

    And before selecting Dravid, we have Steve Waugh/Ponting/Chappell. These people have had records similar if not better than Dravid's.

    @Ananth: Had this article come up around Tendulkar's 51st test Ton, he would have been an automatic selection in all of the XI's that people selected. or in 2007 then Ponting would have been given a Direct place in the XI/XV. [[ Not really. That would have been true with most other Cricinfo blogs. I am certain not this one. It did not need that century for people to be aware of the many many strengths of Tendulkar. And that century would not take away the very few weaknesses of Tendulkar also. You are completely over-stating the situation with your phrase "all of the XI's that people selected". Ananth: ]] Ananth this is my second of comment away from the Article. If you find it not worthy and distracting from the main theme of the article then please delete it.

  • Taslim on November 21, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    (Contd:)

    Team XV: Bradman Avg: 99.94(All location) G. Pollock Avg: 60.97(All location) Hammond Avg: 58.45 Sobers Avg: 57.78 (All location) Sutcliffe Avg:60.73 Kallis Avg: 57.3 (All location) Sanga. Avg: 56.44 Gilchrist Avg :82.5 (All location) McGrath Avg: 21.64 S.Barnes Avg: 16.43 (All location) Marshall Avg: 20.95 (All location) J.Garner Avg: 20.97 Murali Avg: 22.72 Warne Avg: 25.42 Hadlee Avg: 22.63

  • DIPTENDU on November 21, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    I would like to question Lara as automatic choice and why Tendulakar is not.. [[ Lara's selection is MY choice. I do not have to explain that just as I do not expect your (or anybody's) choices to be explained. I have mentioned this many times. Total waste of time posting the figures of both batsmen. You have not selected Lara in your team. That is your choice. I have no problems with that. Leave it at that. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 21, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    @Raghav: Sure Sachin's knock didnot win india matches. But please dont forget that,during the 90's no one stood up when tendulkar did. Had Tendulkar been part of either a Soutafrican or Australian team,there would have been value to his performances.

    Be it the 99-00 tour of Australia, where after tendulkars 270 runs the next highest was 212 from laxman of which 167 came in single innings. Dravid scored 93 in the whole series.

    Even in the cape town test in 1996/97 india were 58/5 when SRT and Azhar produced probably the Best counter attacking Partnership seen in Cricket. Next highest after Azhar was 20 from extras.

    And i dont need to remind people of the Chennai 1999.

    In India's 1996 tour of england Tendulkar scored 428 runs. Next highest was Ganguly with 315 and Dravid with 187 runs. So it was his Peers who let tendulkar Down and not Tendulkar who let his peers down.

    Contd...

  • Santosh Sequeira on November 21, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    Without much a do My XV

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Viv Richards Sobers Gilchrist Mcgrath Akram Marshall Barnes Warne Imran Kallis Lara

  • Taslim on November 21, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @Ananth, With my eagerness, I wanna know how you are going to compare all the teams and how you will be putting best XV. I understand you are good analyst, but I fail to understand how u could put forth best XV. [[ Reader's XV will be based on the reader selections and not on numbers. Ananth: ]] How will u describe run scored by bradman against murali or saed ajmal(if in opponent team) in srilanka or indian pitch. I don’t know how u will do this. Does the avg remain same ? I really doubt ?

    I will quote one good example, If Warne was not there in Daryl Cullinan life he would have been much better than he actually is.

    If you go by pure stats also, like you did the Team rating which is Average of Batting averages of the top-six batsmen + 12.5% of The wicket-keeper index + 80.0-(Average of Bowling averages of the four specialist bowlers)

    Then in that case the team below is the much better team (Contd..)

  • DIPTENDU on November 21, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Hobbs Hutton Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Akram Gilchrist Marshall Sidney Barnes Muralidharan Warne

    My Bench Gavaskar Ponting Kallis McGrath

    I did not include Viv as I thought he would not fit for my TEST eleven for his "temperament" which I wanted to be extreamly "Test"ful. Barnes would be a debatable selection as he was not tested in all conditions, but the same is for Donald and Len and Jack too.... Six batsmen and 5 bowlers as I felt this bunch of 6 would be sufficient enough to bat for long 2 days. 7th would never get a chance if it is not a timeless test. 5 bowlers to fit Offie and leggie together. Wasim is counted as allrounder in terms of test parameter and batting ability at 6/7th position, which never let Kallis go in to the XI. Reserve: Gavaskar; where Len or Jack would not fit due to conditions. Kallis; where wish to play 7 batsman in Fast bowler friendly pitches in place of Murali. Ponting; confused in which place, Perhaps Tendulkar in SAF or WINDies. McGrath for Barnes.

  • Ananth on November 21, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Since I feel most of the responses would be in soon and as requested by a few readers, I have decided to close the acceptance of entries on 7 December and come out with the follow-up article on or around 15 December.

  • Abdullah on November 21, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Abdullah Khalid's team Hobbs Dravid Bradman Miandad Tendulkar Lara Kallis Sobers Gilchrist Imran Wasim Marshall Mcgrath Warne Muralitharan

  • Raghav Bihani on November 21, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    @Boll: Averages are mere indications and mean nothing without context. Dravid is being chosen by most for his match-winning capabilities overseas in difficult conditions. Sachin has an excellent record at Sydney, but mostly it has not got India a great matchwinning or matchsaving result. Sure, such innings will be there and have to be appreciated like Sachin,s 100 when he along with Azhar provided the best batting session of those times in SA.

    Dravid knocks in winning Adelaide, Eng, 50s in WI and 180 at Eden are once in a lifetime innings. Plus I needed a player who is not averse to move about from 3-7 in the middle order. You cannot have your position when you have Bradman, Richards, Sobers, Lara for company. Dravid bats 1-7 is a bonus.

    @Anantha: I am guilty of not delving deeper into innings analysis of players and yes, Dravid vs Tendulkar was a toss up. I am redoing my list which I will send after a more thorough analysis. Right now I have started the list with 50. [[ Take your time. Even in the revised time-table you have until 7 Dec. Ananth: ]]

  • LJ on November 21, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    Hayden Gavaskar Lara Bradman Kallis Inzamam Gilchrist Imran Khan Marshal Waqar Warne

    Murali Wasim Akram Border Miandad

  • ramarao on November 21, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    @Boll agreed. Even I am surprised by Number of teams with Dravid in them. He is a an All time great as well. But more I hear from people, more I convinced about the Diversity of the Opinion. I am wondering how many teams would have had Ponting if this exercise is done in 2007. Same with Tendulkar if this is done in 2010. Ponting followed by Tendulkar lost lot of ground on their recognition among top batsmen of Alltime. But I sure it will be corrected once they retire. Ponting, I think is only batsmen to have a wholesome record both in ODIS out of Sachin and VIV. I am surprised about how well informed most of the people about players we hardly saw and who hardly played Test cricket. With exceptions of Bradman and Sobers who are widely acclaimed, its good to see people believe in the legends about Headley, pollack, B Richards, Trueman, Barnes, Hutton, Hobbs, Hammond, Barrington, Sutcliff etc. I appreciate everyone for their diverse opinions and diverse criteria for their selection

  • Vimalan on November 21, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    @Boll,

    absolutely agree regarding Dravid's selection by some compared to Chappell, Border, Waugh, etc.

  • Andrew Gray on November 21, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    @Taslim at November 20, 2012 5:01 AM - good on you. @Ananth - loved your response to the topic of Gods. "Men made religions, religions made Gods, but all are one." - wouldn't that philosophy have stopped the odd war or two? Came on here for a cricket education (tick), & also got the added bonus of a Theological awakening! Top stuff! [[ I was born Hindu but am not a serious practitioner the way many are. I am also a very strong believer in "single God but with different names and forms". I did not want to be harsh or condescending. I hope everyone takes it in the right (and nice) spirit. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    cont'd. Secondly, if I were to omit Tendulkar (very very tough to do) there would be quite a few people I would consider before Dravid. If you're including Dravid on his overseas record then surely you need to consider others with equally good (or superior figures).

    A.Border (1978-94) played in probable the greatest bowling era of all-time, and undoubtedly faced better attacks than Dravid has. He averaged 57! away from home; 65 in England, 53 in the Windies, 62 in Pakistan.

    G.Chappell, averaged nearly 54, again in a far more difficult period for batsmen (53 away) - averaged over 55 against every test nation except England (46)

    S.Waugh - averaged 56 away. 69 in the Windies, 74 in England, 50 in Saf.

    Not to mention Ponting who has a similar record to Dravid, but has scored his runs 40% faster - a far more traditional No.3.

    I would consider all of these players at least on a par with Dravid, and most slightly ahead, and yet he has collected more votes than all of them put together... [[ It seemed as if only Dravid had to replace SRT if at all he had to be replaced. Why not Waugh, Chappell or Border. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 21, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    @Vinish Garg (and others). I remain surprised at the number of selections for Dravid, my deep respect for him as a player and ambassador for the game notwithstanding.

    Quite a few people have mentioned that they picked him over (instead of?) Tendulkar because of records in specific overseas countries (and seemingly overlooked other players with more impressive records in those places).

    Firstly I would find it extremely difficult to choose Dravid over Tendulkar based on overall performances. If we look at their records vs the two best attacks of their time (Aus and Saf) - Tendulkar averages a touch over 50, Dravid averages about 36 in 54 tests (SR.36) - clearly a large enough sample to suggest that he's often struggled against top quality bowling. I think most of their contemporaries would agree that Tendulkar has been the greater player and would find it difficult to omit him from an all-time XV, and find it equally difficult to include Dravid, despite his wonderful record. [[ Amen to that. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on November 20, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    @Beverly I have utmost respect for others opinions. Its ones own perception of who is good and who is better. Broader scope is a very dishonestly and loosely used diplomatic word. Everybody has their favorites, opinions and preconceived notions. I am not exception to that. Talking of troughs, how well Viv Richards ended his career, is he not removed from WI team? Doesn't he have a long enough patch. The fact that Tendulkar Started early and played more he has more success and failures that people you mentioned in your team. Lara has number of failures. Isn't sobers survived in the team for first 17-18 tests just because he is a bit of bowler and a batsman. I tell you most teams posted are based on their favorites and preconceived notions than based out of stats or analysis. Awesome generosity is not Sachin is Reaping on, he is in our team because he deserved.

  • Murray Archer on November 20, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    ....

    The one person that most stands out to me is one Bobby Simpson. He had to came back from 10 years retired to captain Australia at 41yo and only averaged 53.....

    It got funnier yet when in 1986 he was hired as coach ( from memory the first professional coach of a national side). The players openly hated him !!! He made them do all kinds of drills and practice fielding and running between wickets for hour after hour..... EXACTLY the same preparations as he had ALWAYS done himself.

    So in 10 years of professionalism the standard had dropped to below that of 30 years before..... amazing !

    We all see the same thing everyday. The sales attendants must now have qualifications (and of course coaching and training) to ignore the customer and talk to each other about their plans for the weekend.

    In the Immortal words of Alec Bedser (RIP) ".... Just get on with it "

    I hope you all understand this has been heavily tongue in cheek, yet my attitude i.e no improvement is genuine.

  • Murray Archer on November 20, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    ... Secondly I would suggest that no amount of pay makes anyone more determined to achieve their dream (whatever that may be)

    How many youngsters spend about 4 hours a day hitting a golf ball with a broom stick back and forward against a tank base ? Did that particularly famous one, need sports psychologists to become so focused to his aims ? (If they'd been around they would probably have suggested that the boy needed a more balanced leisure mixture in his life ? lol)

    To keep it short (and hopefully sweet) I'll move forward to 1978, when we were all shocked that Mr Packer's "circus" had so many really great players, who were clearly prepared to have life bans imposed. I guess this is the point in time that most would be referring to as the game starting to become professional.

    Now fitness of course would instantly improve lol... and just 5 years before, Dennis Lillee had made medical history through sheer personal hard work and desire.

    (con't)

  • Murray Archer on November 20, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    Some thoughts on "improvement" in player standards and fitness since the "professional" age of cricket. (and other sports)

    I have been somewhat bemused by the ideas that sport has changed (improved) dramatically since an arbitrary date of 1970's. I have been wondering why the 1970's ? What happened then to make it so much better ? The only definitive thing I can think of is that Nadia Comăneci was in the 1970's and couldn't possibly be included by anyone as being back before the improvement came..... (watch her balance beam and compare to the gold medal in London 2012)

    In cricket I am even further mystified. Did Ian Chappell instantly become a better player as the decade ticked over ? Probably !!! he didn't have to play South Africa anymore !!

    I personally think the improvement suggested doesn't exist :-

    Firstly there have ALWAYS been professional cricketers (without looking it up, I think the Players V Gentlemen game dates back to about 1810.)

    (con't)

  • dale on November 20, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Ananth:It is quite fascinating to see how we all react to the thought provoking presentations of your articles. I suspect the response to this article will be a record breaking one - congrats. I also think that at the end of this exercise we will be better students of the game. Of all the very good batsmen who have kept wicket I believe Gilchrist is by far the most explosive at #7 plus statistically he is on par as a keeper by any measure used. Of all the great batsmen who bowled consistently I believe Sobers was the only one who was one of the top 4 bowlers in his team - actually I think he did too much bowling for a batsman of his calibre.He is also the only player who among a galaxy of stars could outshine them all. These two players along with Bradman were automatic choices for me. [[ Probably for many. On rough mid-way calculations, either of these two is NOT second to Bradman!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Kripa on November 20, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    "Tendulkar will open in the 4 locations where Gavaskar is not playing. He has impeccable technique and I am sure he would do an excellent job opening the innings."

    REALLY? He is such a pussy to open an innings. Sunny Gavaskar is the best opener hands down. Why isn't Dravid on the list. There should be Dravid instead of Sachin. [[ The team is yours to select. Nothing stops you from making that change yourself. Ananth: ]]

  • Hemant Brar on November 20, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    Here is my team:

    1. J Hobbs 2. L Hutton 3. D Bradman 4. S Tendulkar 5. V Richards 6. G Sobers 7. A Gilchrist 8. Imran Khan 9. S Warne 10. M Marshall 11. D Lillee

    12. S Barnes 13. G Headley 14. M Muralitharan 15. G McGrath

  • ARad on November 20, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Selection of ARad:

    Jack Hobbs Barry Richards Don Bradman Garry Sobers George Headley Brian Lara Viv Richards Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Richard Hadlee Malcolm Marshall Muttiah Muralitharan Shane Warne Sydney Barnes Curtly Ambrose

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 20, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Was just wondering..!! Whether any two selections matched out of more than 150 entries? May be a futile exercise at this point. :) [[ That can only be done after completing the Excel work which is some time away. Ananth: ]]

  • Rohith R on November 20, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Jack Hobbs Sunil Gavaskar Don Bradman Viv Richards Brian Lara Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Malcolm Marshall Wasim Akram Shane Warne Glenn McGrath Sachin Tendulkar Gary Sobers Richard Hadlee Muralitharan

    This is my 15 in batting order and first XI. Pretty close to your's but I have Imran Khan and no Ambrose. Just on a hunch of choosing a bowler who did well in India against one who never played in India. (Surely that's no fault of Curtly).Am not listing my notable exclusions which includes my favourite players(viz Rahul Dravid,Steve Waugh, Kallis,Anil, et al...well i almost did list them did I?). They might as well form a 'Mortals who put Immortals to Shame' Team.

  • suresh reddy on November 20, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    my playing 15 are: sanath jayasurya virender sehwag don bradman ricky ponting mahela jayawardene shivnarine chandrapaul adam gilchrist wasim akram glenn mcgrath dale steyn mattiah muralidharan STAND BY ARE: kumara sangakkara hashim amla shane warne vernon philander [[ I am not sure how serious you are when you include one who has captured 63 wickets. It is Bradman + a post-1975 team. Ananth: ]]

  • OldFan on November 20, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    My team:

    JB Hobbs S Gavaskar DG Bradman BC Lara IVA Richards GS Sobers A Flower MD Marshall SK Warne DK Lillee CEL Ambrose

    SR Tendulkar JH Kallis Wasim Akram GD McGrath

    A few things: I think Andy Flower as a wicket-keeper batsman deserves much more credit than is given to him. Secondly, it is surprising how many players from the West Indies get selected in almost all the teams in the comments.

    I also have another team of players purely from an aesthetic point of view:

    ME Waugh BC Lara MD Crowe DI Gower CL Hooper VVS Laxman KC Sangakkara SK Warne Waqar Younis IR Bishop SE Bond

  • Som on November 20, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Ananth - I see your point. The irony, as you pointed out was that no one has selected your exact team ! Would request you to publish a top XI along with the top XV. [[ Som, not possible since more than half the entries, for that matter including myself, do not have a first XI. Ananth: ]] Also wonder why would you wait for 2 months, before publishing the results. Do you think the visitors to this blog would be enough after 2-3 weeks to actually wait for them. Or would you want to publish this link with your next few blogs so that it does not lose the eyeballs. [[ I think you are correct. I should probably move the whole thing forward by a month. I will probably close the entries on 7 December and come out with the final article on 15 December. My feeling is that I already have over two-thirds of the entries. Ananth: ]] (Cont...)

  • Shakti on November 20, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Hi,

    Just three changes to your team

    Greg Chappell comes in for Lara(personal choice) lillee in for Mcgrath, being an Indian never have had any out and out pace bowler in team so have a fascination for them. Bishen bedi in for Shane Warne, didnt do much against India, and worlds best spinner should atleast be able outfox Navjot siddhu.

  • beverly on November 20, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Ananth, thanks for helping "ramarao" to see things in a wider scope. I also would like him to know that I have the greatest respect for Tendulkar as a "GREAT" player; but there are lots of other great players whose names are left out because the number of picks is limited to only fifteen. I left him out because he has had too many of these long trough performances in his career; and most times they last too long - for years nearly every time. Example, one lasted between 2003 and 2007 when he scored just one 100 against the big 8 teams (SL)in nearly four consecutive years; at an average of 31. Now for almost two years again he has been playing against all the top teams without scoring a single 100' and going at an average of 33. If every player in the world who was as good as him or better had been accorded such awesome generosity by their selectors, their names for sure would have been up for consideration. I therefore cannot pick him in my "first VI". I respect those who picked him

  • Michael Catford on November 20, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    Alrighty, my XV; Hobbs Hayden Bradman Viv Richards Headley Tendulkar Sobers Gilchrist Imran Khan Lillee Hadlee Marshall Barnes Warne Murali

    So my personal preference for attack has swung a few of my selections - Tonk merchants like Hayden and Richards over plodders like Gavaskar and Boycott. Also given the nod to Lillee over McGrath purely for the skids in the undies factor. Despite reading your thoughts on Barnes, I couldn't go past him after all that I've read and heard about the fella.

    Anyways, cheers for the blog. Interesting thoughts from some interesting people! Looking forward to the final analysis

  • Som on November 20, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Ananth - I am wondering if at the end of it, 14 members of your team prevail and it becomes a toss up for the fifteenth poition. - Would you wonder if the initial bias by virtue of you (immense authority and credibility) selecting your team (a fantastic one!), had a say in the final composition? In hindsight, would you had rather selected some 12 bats and 12 bowlers and 3 wkts as your basic list and then waited till the very end to declare your XV? The same thing can be done even now, if eventually you select the top XI and not the XV. Thoughts? [[ Som, you have gone over the comments and have done some sort of counting. You are properly close to the truth. Let us look at the options. 1. I select 12 + 3 + 12 and tell the readers that they could select ONLY from that list. I will have 50 readers complaining that their own favourites, say McCabe, Sehwag, Greenidge, Steyn, Walcott, Prasanna et al could not be selected. And I would have no answers. 2. I select 12 + 3 + 12 and tell the readers that they could go out of that list. Stupid on my part since nothing would be achieved. Som might complain that I am subtly influencing readers' decisions. 3. Do a half page post and ask for the selections and then do the analysis. I am not sure whether I would ever shirk my resposibility like that. Cricinfo may not like it and most readers would not. So what have I done. Done my own selection after spending hours, pruning from a short list of 25. Posted the same and explained the rationale. Have posted many statements that this was my selection and carries one vote. Why should people be influenced by my selections. I expect that at least the readers of this blog have their own strong likes and dislikes, backed up by excellent knowledge. Finally NOT ONE SELECTION has matched mine. It may also be that the hours I have spent has produced a near-perfect XV. The XI is of course another thing. Ananth: ]]

  • Ansari on November 20, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    I@Ananth. I really liked the comment."If my life depended on dismissing the other team for below 100, my bowlers would be Ambrose, Wasim and Waqar. I would expect them to bowl 25 overs between them, capture 10 wickets and I would be alive to shake their hands". I would add Warne to the list just to complete the bowling attack. Infact if my life depended on dismissing the other team for below 100,and i had to choose only 2 bowlers to bowl from two ends, my choice would be Waqar & Warne.

    MY TEAM: Hayden (With Dravid at 3 i can afford to have aggression at top) Gooch Dravid Bradman Lara Kallis Gilchrist (WK) Imran Khan (C) Wasim akram Warne Waqar

    Back-up players Marshal Gavaskar Sobers Murali

  • Maryborough CC on November 20, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    D.Bradnam (AUS)-CAPT V.Sehwag (IND) J.Kallis (SAF) V.Richards (WI) G.Sobers (WI) VC G.Pollock (SAF) B.Lara (WI) K.Sangakkara (SL)(WK) S.Warne (AUS) G.Lohmann (ENG) W.Akram (PAK) R.Hadlee (NZ) M.Marshall (WI) C.Ambrose (WI) J.Laker (ENG) Went with Sangakkara just over Gilchrist for the WK spot, Sehwag to get us of the a flyer, if he fails plenty of more attacking players or some steady influence through out the team, had to pick Kallis, he is already one of the all time greats, and while his batting is where he will be used he would be able to bowl and take wickets when required. Pollock was a shoe in and the rest of the batsmen give variety and plenty of bowling options in there to give the attack a good break........The bowlers, I am not a big Warne fan but how could i not pick him, went with a couple of left field picks in Laker and especially Lohmann, while never seeing this fella bowl (or anywhere near him bowl) his where enough & from the past to now my team is covered

  • b.c.g on November 20, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    b.c.g.'s XV

    Openers Sir Len Hutton Sir Jack Hobbs Reserve-B Richards

    Batsmen Sir Don Bradman G Chappell(best player of pace ever)

    A/R Sir Frank Worrell(only Eng,Aus,WI) Sir G.Sobers(all over) Reserve-J.Kallis(SA,subcontinent)

    W/K D.T.Lindsay(aggressive & can bat in crises;also kept to pacers & spinner Eddie Barlow) Reserve-A.Gilchrist

    Bowlers M.D.Marshall A.K.Davidson(best left arm pacer for me;his record on flat asian pitches is unbelievable;can also bowl for days on end) W.J.O'reilly D.K.Lillee Reserve-A.A.Donald(can replace Lillee in Asia,Eng) [[ Probably the most balanced of all seections. Right across 100 years of Test cricket. Ananth: ]]

    Notes-Had to leave out Murali,Warne & Bedi(best sla ever)

    I believe Hutton to be the best opener ever.He tackled the pace attack of Miller,Johnston,Lindwall in 1953 & the spinners O'reilly,Fleetwood-Smith in 1938 admirably.Also played well on Pakistan's matting pitches.

    The squad does appear short of bowlers;offseted by 3 all rounders.

    Why aren't G.Chappell,Davidson not mentioned anywhere?

    Also does anyone remember DENIS LINDSAY

  • Krishnan on November 20, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Richards Lara Tendulkar Dravid

    Allan Knot

    Warne Marshal Ambrose Akram Lillee McGrath Waqar Yunus

    If we have to go by specialists alone, i would fit in Dravid for Sobers,despite the aura/flair that tends to sway our decisions. Same for gilchrist... as a batsman/wicket keeper, none to think about. but if i have to pick someone purely as a wicket keeper, Knott scores above all.

    Was also bit perplexed with McGrath/Hadlee, two of the classic percentage/corridor bowlers. Thought of having one rather than both and bring the pakistani Waqar for his accuracy and quickness in air which can be handy in any condition. Could not discount the strike rate of Waqar and a personal choice over Steyn.

    Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Warne, Marshal, Akram, Ambrose play in all locations

  • Rusheel on November 20, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    I'm just 18 and so I haven't really watched Gary Sobers or Viv Richards or even Gavaskar playing or any of those legendary players in your list play.I pick a test team of 15 whom I have watched play and who made me love cricket. 1.Adam Gilchrist 2.Mahtthew Hayden 3.Ricky Ponting(c) 4.Sachin Tendulkar 5.Rahul Dravid 6.Jack Kallis 7.Kumar Sangakkara 8.Mohammad Yousuf 9.Shivnarine Chanderpaul 10.Shane Warne 11.Muttiah Muralidharan 12.Glenn Mcgrath 13.Wasim Akram 14.Curtly Ambrose 15.Courtney Walsh Ricky Ponting is the captain as he has an excellent captaincy record.That 15th position can be replaced by Waqar Younis if it's a limited over game as he's a specialist in it.And no matter the debate whether all rounders are fit for Test cricket,you cannot ignore someone like Kallis. [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Fahad on November 20, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    Imran would certainly lead my side.

    By the way my team is:

    Gavaskar Hayden Bradman Lara Kallis Sobers Gilchrist Imran Khan Warne Waqar Younis Murali

    Viv Marshal Sanga Inzamam

  • Fahad on November 20, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    "FROM SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE"

    SURPRISED!!

    Well my title is not an Australian touring guide but its the story of the Great legend Imran Khan

    Sydney 1977 was the beginning of his unbelievable achievements and Melbourne 1992 was the climax. Everyone knows what happened in between,those 15 years

    He changed the mindset of the whole team, who before him, considered any draw against WI, ENG or Aus as a victory. He lifted such a side and made them a top team of the 80's & 90's

    Who will forget his "Cornered Tigers" speech before the 92 WC match against Aus. Pak were down & out before that & then they went on to lift the WC

    So the bottom line is, its impossible to leave him out from any team..

  • K.Kalyan Chakravarthy on November 20, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    well i believe dis would be a perfect blend of batsmen and bowlers...

    a personal feel its bowlers who win d matches ... [[ I am not sure about this. Bradman + all players after 1970. Ananth: ]]

  • K.Kalyan Chakravarthy on November 20, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    Hi Anatha.. First of all i would like to say uve done a great job in fact doing a great job by handling these comments. the team selected by u z absolutely perfect,but dravid should have been a addition i feel. and to aal anti sachin guys he is great and will be...was it sachins fault he would perform and team would fail..der are numerous occasions when more dan half of the team score was sachins...well leavin des things aside my final XV would be...

    1)Sir Don bradman(cant dare to leave him out) 2)Sunil gavaskar(Stability to top order) 30Rahul dravid(The wall) 4)Sachin ramesh tendulkar(The Master) 5)Brian Lara(Greatest modern day Crickter) 6)Viv Richards 7)Adam Gilchrist(kereepin and batting ability rare combination) 8)Shane warne(Greatest turner of ball) 9)Muttiah Murlidaran(Fighter) 10)Curtly amrose 11)Courtney Walsy(Fearsome pair) 12)Glenn Mcgrath(Economical) 13)Wasim Akram(Do i need to mention his credibility) 14)Richard hadlee 15)Marshall

    contd..

  • Sana Acma on November 20, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Ananth i like your team but i would like to include C.Walsh over Ambrose My team would be: Bradman, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Tendulkar, Gilchrist Walsh, Hadlee, Marshall, McGrath, Muralitharan, Warne, Wasim Akram

  • Ryan's on November 20, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    My XV is the most different. I have all the 15 players from Asia, and i firmly believe that this team is as strong as any other team.

    Gavaskar Sehwag Dravid Sachin Sangakarra (WK) Inzamam Imran Khan (c) Kapil Dev Wasim Akram Waqar Younis Murali EXTRAS Miandad M Yousuf VVS Laxman Fazal Mahmood [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on November 20, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    One of the most interesting aspects of this blog is the quality of follow up comments and responses of some of the readers and the information given (eg - Mcgrath failing to make an NSW all time team). At times some comments also leave you with "no words". (a team with Bradman, Sobers,Akram alongside Virat Kohli and Mohd Aamir). If it isllowed , then I would like to submit some changes to my original team. I may admit,it that the first team i choose was mostly on statistical records.This changed team i choose is a combination that in my opinion would be world beaters , plz consider the following team as the final entry Openers- Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge,Arthur Morris Middle Order - Bradman, Sobers, Lara, Graeme Pollock,Richards Wicketkeeper -Jeff Dujon Fast bowlers - Harold Larwood, Fazal Mahmood, Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Malcolm Marshall Spinner - Derek Underwood The selection of Dujon over Gilchrist is due to pace dominated attack. [[ Murray Archer has been a great addition to our good collection of readrers. Will take in your selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijendran Jayaveerasingam on November 20, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Vijendran's XV

    1.Grace 2.Barry Richards 3.Bradman 4.Headley 5.Gavaskar 6.Sobers 7.Gilchrist 8.Marshall 9.Warne 10.Akram 11.Murali

    12.Barnes 13.Tendulkar 14.M.Proctor 15.V.Richards

  • Rajesh_CricManiac on November 20, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    I was just curious to pick my 15 based on your guidelines if i have have my team play against yours in a 3 match test series in all 8 test playing nation. So i will not have any team member that you have but i am confidant my team cannot be written off against any world 11... Selection of Rajesh Selvaraj. Batsman: 1.Len hutton 2.Viru Sehwag 3.George headley 4.Graeme pollock 5.Kallis 6.Inzamam 7.Ricky ponting

    Keeper: Sangakara

    Bowling:

    1.Imran Khan 2.Dennis lille 3.Holding 4.Waqar 5.Alan Donald 6.Anil kumble 7.Bishan Singh Bedi

    Imran to lead my team like he lead the Pak against the dominant WI. [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • SAM on November 20, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    ANANTHA, Your article is very good. I think you should have gone with kallis and keeping hadlee a side. My team XV: Hayden, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Inzamam, Kallis and Sobers Andy flower Wasim Akram,Imran khan, Muralitharan, McGrath, Marshall and Warne.

    I was wondering about your title "Fifteen that gods should stop to watch", My personal opinion please remove the word god and the change the title. Is there any other meaning of word gods then please elaborate. Would appreciate, if you consider my opinion. [[ Sameer God is there everywhere. Or nowhere (for athiests and agnostics). Whatever religion one follows, at whatever level, God exists, under different names and in different forms (or is formless). The interpretation of God as I have used is a supreme being, beyond our comprehension. The collection of Gods stopping to watch these wonderful players is a wonderful flight of fantasy. It has as wide an interpretation as possible. You should listen to a 1961 classic sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film "Hum Dono". It starts "Allah tero naam...". The idea is that God may go by different names but is the ultimate saviour for all. Or listen to that wonderful Malayalam singer Jesudas sing "Manushyan mathangalai srishtichu...". Men made religions, religions made Gods, but all are one. Regards Ananth: ]]

  • Ali Shah on November 20, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    My XV barring bradman would be

    Sunil Gavaskar Jack Hobbs Viv Richards Tendulkar G Pollock Gary Sobers Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan (c) Shane Warne Wasim Akram Malcolm Marshall Glenn McGrath Richard Hadlee Muttiah Muralitharan Michael HOlding

  • Murali on November 20, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    My Xv

    1. Gavaskar 2. Sangakkara 3. Bradman 4. Lara 5. Sachin 6. Richards 7. Gilchrist 8. Marshall 9. Mcgrath 10. Holding 11. Akram 13. Warne 14.Murali 15. Abdul Quadir

    Sangakkara will open with gavaskar, and will be a back up option for Glichrist, as he is also world class keeper batsman. Either Quadir /warne will play in a match, depending on the conditions. Quadir will walk in to any team, and was the pioneer of leg spin bowling.

  • John Clark on November 20, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Ananth,

    with respect, I think that the 'no allrounders' thing does not work. I agree that in the practical cases here there is no candidate allrounder which could not be argued for on the basis of batting or bowling alone - Sobers, Imran and Kallis are all in this category (though I doubt Kallis is even close to being one of the 7 best bats ever but I guess some people think he is). But consider that in ten years time there could be a player who you regard as the 10th best batsman and the 10th best bowler of all time. I think that player would be enormously difficult to omit from your XV but you would have to. Also, consider teams for different countries. Your methodology would not allow Botham to appear in the all-time England team - he is clearly not one of Englands best seven batsmen or bowlers. Neither would it work for JR Reid for New Zealand, Vinoo Mankad for India or Keith Miller for Australia. That seems to me to be a problem. [[ At least we are off the "nonsensical" route. I did not say "no all-rounders". You said it. I said "specialists only" and still selected two all-rounders. You said many things and still finally selected two all-rounders. So it boils down to semantics. Anf finally I would select an all-rounder for his all-rounder skills for ODIs, probably not for Tests. Anyhow finally, this is my method. One vote (no more than that, not even 1.01) out of 150+ currently. Why would you bother. You could have 5 bat + keeper + 2 a/r + 3 bowlers. Did I say anything about it. Ananth: ]]

  • Bhargav on November 20, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    I would like to carry out one change in my team:

    Out: Michael Holding

    In: Bishen Singh Bedi

    [[ Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 20, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    Mail directly received from Vicky "" I agree with your selections barring two changes. I would probably not split the Hobbs-Sutcliffe partnership since I think they would contribute more together. And play them everywhere. Unfortunately Gavaskar has to give way. The other change is Andy Flower for Hadlee. This will give me a back-up keeper, get a solid batsman for the middle order and get in a Zimbabwean, I agree, at the cost of a New Zealander. "" [[ Both are very nice changes. Andy Flower is also a near all-runder. Ananth: ]]

  • Taslim on November 20, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    @Andrew Gray Nice to hear from you.

    But, I would like to stick with Watson (as All-rounder) in my XV squad. Though with J.Kallis and G.Sobers in my playing XI may be very seldom he will be utilized. But he is game changer for me and dangerous customer. Besides that, I would not like him to be in my opponent team.

    Regarding AB vs my fav Gilly, AB is gifted with enormous cricketing skill, I would go with AB. This is my personal choice as well.

    Thanks.

  • Farhan's XV on November 20, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Hayden Hutton Bradman Andy Flower (WK) Kallis Inzamam Imran Khan (c) Wasim Akram Warne Waqar Younis Murali

    My Extras: Marshal Dravid Lara Alan knott

  • dr.fak on November 20, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    My XV

    Hayden EXTRAS: Gavaskar Sanga Bradman Viv Lara Akram Kallis Sachin Sobers Gilchrist Imran Khan (c) Waqar younis Warne Murali

    I would have both Kallis and Sobers in my line up.

    Waqar younis is the best strike bowler of all time, and since we are selecting a test match eleven, so in tests its important to take quick wickets to win matches.

    Both the great spinners are there in my line up.

    I would prefer to have modern day (post 1970) openers, since all the great bowlers played during this time. So i have gone with Hayden & Gavaskar.

    What can i say about the great Imran Khan? Along with Bradman he is the greatest cricketer of all time!! PERIOD

  • Vinish Garg on November 20, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    @Dinesh: I never said Dravid doing well in SA, please check again. @ramarao: I dint compare these batsmen (or any bastman as a matter of fact) purely on averages. I merely stated that for overall consistency, Dravid had been better than SRT in ENG/WI, and at par in NZ. My comment was only in response to BOLL that readers may not have necessarily picked Dravid out of emotions; it is on merit. Simple!

  • Karthik Krishnamurthy on November 20, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Ananth,

    I really like your list. Personally, I would prefer Greenidge as an opener, and would prefer Michael Holding to MacGrath. You can't really go wrong with the other selections. They are all legends and deserve a place on this "dream team".

    Selection of Karthik Krishnamurthy Gavaskar Greenidge Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram Holding Muralitharan Hadlee Warne [[ Thank you, Karthik. Nice to have a 1980 opening pair. Ananth: ]]

  • Sridhar Krishnan on November 20, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    Now for the bowlers – I wanted some of fast bowlers to be physically intimidating & match winners. Marshall, Ambrose, fit the bill nicely and for variety I would want Akram and consistency would be McGrath – all of them greats with records to prove.

    Now for the spinners – Warne, Murali, Kumble.

    I debated quite a bit about taking 3 spinners vs 5 fast bowlers. If I have to play a team in Sub-continent – I need to play at least 2 spinners and I cannot play Warne. On the other hand – if Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath, Akram cannot produce the goods on a bouncy track with Warne to support – no one will.

    Finally my 15 would be

    Gavaskar, B.Richards, Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara, Viv Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Marshall, Ambrose, Akram, McGrath, Warne, Murali, Kumble. [[ Sridhar, thanks. Yours is the 150th team. My only comment is on Barry Richards. You have invested a lot of faith in his 4 Tests rather than the 115 Tests played by Hobbs and Sutcliffe. But I have no problems since you have clearly explained why you considered and did not select Hobbs/Hutton. Ananth: ]]

  • Sridhar Krishnan on November 20, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    Automatic selection – Bradman, Sobers, Gilchrist and almost impossible to ignore – Tendulkar, Lara (Modern greats, left/right combination)

    Somehow I cannot subscribe to Gavaskar/Hutton/Hobbs as opener combination. With this team I do not want the score to stand at 150 for 1 at Tea so I probably will select only one for Technical/bad-wicket expertise – Gavaskar. The other opener would be Barry Richards. I could make Tendulkar open but found it difficult to replace the position with better quality than Barry – so I will stick to the conventional positions. Scoring 325 in a day against Lillee & co in any type of match takes some talent.

    I now have Richards, Ponting, G.Pollock, Dravid, Weeks, Kallis to look at for 6. Not sure if Pollack is right for 6 and do not require a defensive batsman coming in at 6. I will go ahead with Viv Richards – match winner in any form but could be suspect against spin on a turning track. Add the fielding capacity – Viv seems to be a decent choice. cont...

  • Cameron on November 20, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    As a challenge i have tried to select a team excluding all of your selections: Openers: Jack Hobbs Barry Richards Leonard Hutton

    Middle Order Ricky Ponting Graeme Pollock Greg Chappell Everton Weekes

    Keeper Andy Flower

    Bowlers Dennis Lillee Joel Garner Imran Kahn Ray Lindwall Waquar Younis Jim Laker Bill O'Reilly

    Tough ones to leave out included Frank Worrell, Walter Hammond, Archie Jackson, Whilfred Rhodes, Keith Miller, Rahul Dravid, Richie Benaud, Michael Holding, Javed Miandad etc etc [[ Three points. First is that I have Hobbs in my team. Others have already done it. Your selection will not get into the mix. Sorry about that. You should give this in addition to your own XV. Ananth: ]]

  • BHARAT TIWARI on November 20, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    read all previous writer's picks but could only come to the conclusion that they have never heard of the dynamic ROHAN BABULAL KANHAI of Guyana.What a tremendous player.Certainly the best batsman in the world from 1961 through 1965.tremendous batsman with all the shots in the book and then some.PS ask the great SUNIL GAVASKAR and ZAHEER ABASS. [[ Why so many capital letters. Ananth: ]]

  • Minura Mogambo on November 20, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Ananth Im really sorry to say that i totally disagree with your choices

    Hutton Hobbs Bradman Richards Sobers (c) Kapil Dev Gilchrist (w) Akram Warne Marshall Muralitharan

    Benched

    Tendulkar - obvious choice for a back up,but sachin has shown reluctancy to bat up the order in tests so if an opener gets the cut bradman will have to move up and slot tendulkar in the moiddle.

    Rhodes W - he is only spinnng all rounder (bowling all rounder) who made a mark in world cricket..More than world cricket if you look at his frist class career, people will be shocked.

    Hadlee - hadlee was certainly the best choice for the all rounder paceman in the side.

    Thompson - selection is purely due to his aggressiveness...for me Thompson is one of the most under rated bowlers of all time

    Kapil's selection - extra paceman (with 8 centuries and 400+ wickets). A side with that quality of batting need not have extra specialist batsmen,so a bowling all rounder could fit in.

    Also a world XI should have two spinners

  • Andrew Gray on November 20, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    @Taslim at November 19, 2012 4:42 AM - no worries mate, I just felt that Watto hasn't done enough in Tests to be even considered. I don't know whether you know of Keith Miller, if I were you, I'd had have a look at his career profile, IMO he leaves Watto way behind. As for AB deVilliers v Gilly, you might want to have a look at AB's stats batting when Keeper, they are quite low. I'd rather Flower or even Sanga before AB - but then that is preference. Must say your response was very civil as my original comment on your selection of Watto was a bit rude on my behalf - well said! [[ I suggest that you use your other names for those other blogs. Here you can stay Andrew. I like your style, typically Australian, of coming with a quick apology. And I like the way Taslim took it lightly also. The chest-thumper in me says that it happens only this blog!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on November 20, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    @ Som at November 19, 2012 3:42 PM

    Yes Hayden was missing something - technique. His rise to prominence coincided with all the good fast bowlers retiring. Prior to that he hadn't done very well at all. Was no mistake the selectors considered Slater a better player OMG even Blewett and Elliot !

    In assessing Aust Left hand opening batsmen consider, ..... Morris, Lawry and Mark Taylor to be much better players than Hayden. Please ?

    In assessing .... I will break your heart by destroying you batsmen ; hard to go past Bradman, Weekes, Pollock & IVA Richards. (although sure not complaining if anyone chooses Lara or Sobers) If we wanted (needed) an opening batsman that would take an attack totally apart for long periods, hard to go past Morris or B.Richards. [[ There was a time when that forgotten Lancastraian, Barber, caught my fancy. And what about Fredericks. Ananth: ]] Just my thoughts. I believe the heavier bats, smaller grounds and better wickets are the only reason Hayden or indeed Sehwag (also please read in that Gale, Warner, Dilshan and a few others) ever averaged even 30 in Test cricket

  • Andrew B on November 20, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    Re your earlier comment: Denis Compton's second wife (Valerie) was South African; they separated when their sons Patrick and Richard were young and she and they went to live in South Africa. Patrick and Richard both played for Natal a few times, and Richard is now Nick Compton's father. [[ So there is an other lineage of Comptns there through the fist wife. And I just now read the priceless statement on Denis' running capabilities. Trevor Bailey says "A call from Denis Compton is only the initial call for further negotiations"!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    Looking at stuff for this blog, I just re-ran into Bart King..... Anyone who'd like a USA player in their team (for I don't know what reason) should seriously consider this guy ! What a champion ! From what I have read, he may have been the first to bowl seam up swing.....

    Just for the fun of it and not to be included in any final results, my mind drifted to all rounders - that most extraordinary species.

    In something like batting order :-

    Eddie Barlow W.G. Grace Jaques Kallis Frank Worrell Garry Sobers Kieth Miller Imran Khan Ian Botham Lala Armanath Trevor Goddard Kapil Dev Richie Benaud Alan Davidson Wasim Akram Richard Hadlee

    I'd bet my bottom dollar at least half of those would keep wickets well.... what couldn't they do ?

    Bound to have a serious omission or 2 but :)

  • ramarao on November 19, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    @Beverly Nedd There is considerable Negative wave against Tendulkar in India, so be assured that many responses from Indians will not include Tendulkar because there are some % of Indian Fans who like other players like Dravid and Ganguly or simply dislike Tendulkar. [[ No, Ramarao. I think Berverly's problem is not with Tendulkar. Most non-Indian readers appreciate Tendulkar's qualities. His fear is about the lesser players who would sneak through. Let me assure that that is unlikely to happen. Of course Sehwag will get more votes than Weekes. But that is bound to happen. Ananth: ]] Due to his recent form, rest assured entries from India have a more probability of Non Inclusion of Tendulkar due to the Current Mood. Now I ask many people who have not included Sachin, whether they would justify their conscience of his absence in their Team just based on ability?Leave the 2010 people's choice X1, the experts X1 also included Tendulkar in it. Isn't it? @vinish : Tendulkar Averages 47.6 in West Indies, 54 in ENG over 7 tours to England. He never toured West Indies when its weak. I Personally rate Sachin, lara not only above ponting, Dravid, Kallis but even above great Richards.Some may feel Miandad, chapell, S Waugh are better than sachin, lara and Richards. After all, its one's own choice.

  • John on November 19, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    You bowling attack is very modern. You need to argue why SF Barnes, O'Reilly, Grimmett, Lillee and Fred Trueman don't figure. I find it very hard to believe that all seven of the best bowlers of all time just happen to come from the last 30 years. [[ Pl see my response to Murray. Lohmann bowled in an era during which the average RpW value was 30% below the all-time average, I think Barnes has to be the one serious contender. I have already told that he was in the mix until the last day. Only his 86 wickets at 9 against a weak SA tilted the scales in favour of Hadlee who has 130 @ 20.6 against Australia. And Grimmett and O'Reilly suffer in comparison with Warne. If I have to swap Barnes for Hadlee. Fine any day. Ananth: ]] My XV Hobbs Hutton Bradman Pollock G Richards Sobers Gilchrist Warne Marshall Lillee O'Reilly Imran Tendulkar Barnes SF Lara

    The specialists only thing is pretty arbitrary and non-sensical. [[ Nonsensical? A bit too strong, don't you think. If Sobers did not bowl a ball in his life, he would be in my team, as a batsman. If Hadlee's batting average was lower than his more illustrious mate, Chris Martin, he would be in my team, as a bowler. I play Sobers and Hadlee against Australia and India as specialist players. That is nonsensical, is it ? If the same are played as two all-rounders, is it fine ? Semantics. And if all-rounder qualification is so important, why is there almost no selection at all of Botham and Kapil. Because their specialist skills are not enough to get them into any team. Sobers and Kallis are in, as batsmen. Imran and Hadlee are in, as bowlers. I think word usage has to be careful and thought out before putting finger to keyboard. Ananth: ]] By the way, is this match going to be played with helmets or not?

  • shmulik zulik on November 19, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    Very sorry Ananth,but I would like to make 1 change in my team. In-Jack Hobbs Out-Sunil Gavaskar [[ Done. Ananth: ]] After my post I remembered how useless Gavaskar was in ODI's and remember my team is all about versatality,so I had to go back to the drawing-board, and in the end I decided that a man who got 197 first-slass centuries CANT be out of my team,I mean,197 centuries in england means you have to be damn versatile! The strength of my team is that if ANYTHING happens to the match(eg. played in SL Dec 2004 and hit by tsunami)this team could beat anyone! thanks and sorry again shmulik [[ While ODIs cannot be brought in I (and Shri would) like the way you have given importance for FC. Ananth: ]]

  • swarzi on November 19, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    Ananth, your team is very interesting. I agree with the majority of the picks. I think that the nucleus would be Bradman, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Akram, Marshall and Muriliteran. Add any other four of your names to these (or four that other serious subscribers)suggested to make an eleven and that is an invincible team.

  • Dinesh on November 19, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Ananth: Pardon me for going off topic. @Vinish: For your information: Sachin has been only moderate in england. he averaged 54.3 in 2007 series tendulkar averaged 38. In the three times when he toured England before 2007 tendulkar averaged 61, 85. and 66.3 respectively.

    Dravid avraged Paltry 25 in 2007.Yes he was Outstanding in the other three series like tendulkar.

    Coming to South Africa:you said Dravid was better.In only one series out of the four Dravid played in South Africa, he averaged over 50 and in other 4 he averaged under 25 with 1 century in 11 matches.Dravid's overall average in less than 30 in south africa.

    And for your Moderate Tendulkar out of the 5 series which tendulkar played in South africa more than 60 in twice.and more than 40 in 3 series and over 33 in all series.He aqverages 47 there. that is 60% better than Dravid's performances.

    Coming to WI/NZ:Dravid was better.far better.Tendulkar's was Crap in the 2002-03 series in NZ.

    Please back up stmts with Stats.

  • akshat on November 19, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    1 hutton 2 S.Gavaskar 3 bradman 4 lara 5 kallis 6 G.Sobers 7 flower 8 W.Akram 9 S.Warne 10 prasanna 11 barnes

    12 tendulkar (Standby batsman) 13 mcgrath (Standby bowler) 14 murali (Standby bowler) 15 jonty rhodes (specialist sub)

  • Vinish Garg on November 19, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    @Ananth, for your comment on Dravid. All others are comparable to Dravid and if there is a mix and I have to select one (such as from those you listed), it has to be my judgement of how well this player fits in the squad. So, again this is not a selection out of emotion. It is on merit (your stats suggest it).

    PS: If I could go by emotions, I would have included Imran in the squad.

  • Taslim on November 19, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    @Ananth,

    I want to revise my team tiger by making three changes in my team (if you allow me).This is the first time, I am changing my team. After due consideration I will bring D.Bradman,A.Border and M.Marshall IN and Sanga,S.Pollock and H.Amla goes OUT.

    Team Tiger 1 D.Bradman 2 S.Gavaskar 3 B.Lara 4 V.Richards 5 J.Kallis 6 G.Sobers 7 AB Divilliers 8 W.Akram 9 S.Warne 10 M.Muralidharan 11 G. Mcgrath

    12 A.Border (Standby batsman) 13 R.Dravid (Standby batsman/keeper in exigency) 14 S.Watson (Standby allrounder) 15 M.Marshall (Standby bowler)

    Final XI will be declared / selected at the morning of the match based on opponent team.

    Thanks.

    [[ Thank you. Your team just got better by 30%!!! Ananth: ]]

  • rosh on November 19, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    Sorry, Ananth, should not have signed off in a hurry. To begin with as always your articles are always fascinating and thought provoking too. But my contention is that Viv Richards has just got be on top of every single batsman out there other than Bradman, and that only statistically. For the sheer pleasure he gave, not chasing records, he should be in the first XI above Lara and Tendulkar in terms of recognition of class. And Lillee should be an automatical choice. For all out aggression there is no match. And he bowled at a time when the class in batsmanship was much better than the time McGrath, Wasim and Ambrose bowled. Otherwise I think your team selection is excellent except that I would bring in Lillee at the top of the pace bowler list and leave out McGrath. Hadlee would do his job even better and he did it against better batsmen than the ones McGrath bowled at. Need Wasim as he is the only leftie.

  • alik on November 19, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    I would like to change the title of the above an to 11 I would pay to watch. The ones I feel are the most exciting in a Test Match scenario and these in the 1970s onwards as I have not seen those before play.

    1 Barry Richards 2 Sehwag 3 Richards 4 Lara 5 VVS Laxman (David Gower) 6 Imran Khan 7 Gilchrist 8 Wasim Akram 9 Murlitharan (warne) 10 Marshall 11 Holding (lillee)

    This might not be the best team statistically or a matchwinning one. However as far as I am concerned this would be the most exciting to watch.

  • beverly nedd on November 19, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    Cont'd: Ananth, Continuing from above: An even better way to reduce the biases that you biund to get from us in your results, would be to pick random samples of an equal number of responses from each participating country; then award points to players on a neutral basis. Example,Pontin would not be awarded any points for submissions from Aus; Barrington none from Eng; etc. Players would have to depend on neutral countries for their picks. There should be some objectivity by this method. My All Time 11 in order is: Hobbs,Hutton,Bradman,Lara,Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist,Akram,Marshall,Lilee,Muralitheran. This 11 is based on the expression "All Time" which means fit for timeless matches also. Note that each batsman above scored 300 at least once in his first class career You had to play these very long innings then to win or draw. Hence players who never did that in a long enough career, might cause his team to lose at least one timeless match. The others are: Hammond,Gavascar,Headly,Warne

  • Vinish on November 19, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    @Boll: Regarding votes for Dravid. I do not think it is out of emotions; if it is, the same can be said of SRT. Ananth and almost all readers have picked players based on different countries/conditions, as to who fits best in Aus/Eng/SA and others. If you look at RD, look at his run in Eng ever since his debut, and in WI, right from 1997-2002-2006-2011. He had been decent in NZ as well. And SRT had been ordinary in WI and 'only reasonable' in Eng, moderate in SA/NZ. RD has earned his place in readers' mind purely on merit and not out of emotions. [[ Vinish Picked up from my recent article. In England. Dravid 1376 @ 68.8 Chanderpaul 1399 @ 66.6 Border 2082 @ 64.3 Steve Waugh 1633 @ 74.2. in West Indies Dravid 1511 @ 65.7 is the best middle order player. But Steve Waugh's 1000 @ 68 and Cowdrey's 1000 @ 70 were against much better attacks. So things are not that much cut-and-dried.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 19, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    Ananth - Getting in Martin Crowe's selection is so great. Glad I got 11 out of his 15, and that too with Barnes and Imran in ! I see the respect that Akram has for Crowe is mutual. Along with Bradman, you should also have a criteria for Viv Richards. Leaving him out of one's team should warrant a serious justification, close to the one you are expecting for Don. Having not included him, I know how much of a misery I am in. If I were playing for my life, I would take him. The problem is, the man called Bradman. With him selected, there is very little that the others need to provide to change the equation of a match. In fact, one should run a similar poll to select a team leaving out Don. And Sobers and Viv would automatically get in almost for 99% users, I presume. [[ Bradman is so far ahead that my putting in a rider that "pl consider very carefully if you are not going to select Bradman" is correct. Even then I have no problem if someone says "I know what I am doing". No one else, not Sobers, not Warne, not Richards, deserves that level of additional validation.. Ananth: ]] For those selecting Sehwag(whom I adore), my question would be, was Hayden missing something? For those selecting Dravid, as you and Boll mentioned, did one even consider Barrington, Chappell, Border, Ponting, Kallis?

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 19, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Hi sir.., Sorry to trouble you reg. an amendment. You are already loaded with immense work. No changes in my team. But, two corrections for final XI conditions. 1. I previously said..hadlee or marshall out on spin tracks. I want to retain Marshall. 2. I want IVA in final XI in place of Lara in seaming/swing conditions.

    thanks [[ If the XV stays the same, there is no change. Ananth: ]]

  • Naren on November 19, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    My XV below, not that far from where where you are (I have sehwag instead of Sobers and Lillee instead of Hadlee): Naren XV: Sehwag Gavaskar Bradman Lara Richards Tendulkar Gilchrist Wasim Marshall McGrath Warne

    Bench: Hobbs Murali Ambrose Lillee

    I play Sehwag simply because he puts the fear of God when on song. He can be substituted with Hobbs on some pitches or with Ambrose (yes play 5 bolwers!) based on conditions and have Lara open. My captain would be Warne.

    Ananth: was just curious if any reason you picked Bradman over Warne for captain.

    good analysis Ananth and good luck.

  • shmulik zulik on November 19, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    I must add that this time I looked through all the years of test cricket this time,and my squad reflects that. I left out a lot of greats that I seriously wanted to include and on paper it looks like I made a few mistakes,however,this way my team has more versatality than any other and I would back my team against any other. Thanks shmulik P.S. Ananth,can you reply to me?and when is the next article coming out? [[ There is nothing to reply to. I post most of the selections without comments. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on November 19, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    cont. 4. Lohmann has got the best stats of any bowler ever!Dosen't a bowler who when you take his average,add 25% and is still better than the next best by 25% merit a selection?

    To summarise: My XV Gavaskar Bradman(wk) Sangakkara Lara Tendulkar Kallis Sobers Imran(c) Shakib Marshall Waqar Murali Warne Lohmann Steyn

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    I really do appreciate your efforts in attempting to educate our wonderful game's newer fans ! The David is not "plum" (Warner) comment should be framed ! Having failed all my life to date (apart from a few championships winning seasons) to take what I had heard and put it before a wider audience, I admire and congratulate you on working so hard! Thankyou [[ Thank YOU. Ananth: ]]

  • GB on November 19, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    My team mainly consists of players whom I have seen live in action, with the exception of Bradman and Sobers. Here is my team of 15 players:

    Sunil Gavaskar Gordon Greenidge Don Bradman Sachin Tendulkar Brian Lara Viv Richards Gary Sobers Adam Gilchrist Malcom Marshall Shane Warne Wasim Akram Denis Lily Muralitharan Dale Steyn Michael Holding

  • shmulik zulik on November 19, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    I'm back! My revised squad(to fulfill yourn conditions) My squad- Openers-Gavaskar,Bradman Batsmen-Tendulkar,Lara,Sangakkara(wk), All-rounders-Kallis,Shakib al hasan,Imran Khan(c),Sobers Bowlers-Waqar,Marshall,Lohmann,Murali,Warne,Steyn

    I'll elaborate on my surprise picks- 1. Bradman as an opener because if his average is true,I want him doing as mush damage as possible. 2. All these all-rounders provides huge versatility in my bowling attack-in fast tracks Waqar,Marshall,Lohmann,Imran,Kallis as fast men and Murali,Sobers,Shakib as spin(Sanga would open)and on spin tracks Waqar,Imran,Kallis,Steyn would be my fast men and Murali,Warne,Sobers,Shakib would be my spin option-this gives me 8 bowling options on each track,which would keep the opponet guessing,or maybe to bat very deep and make it impossible to get me out. 3. Steyn and Shakib have proved themselves on batting pitches so I think they deserve a mention.In addition,Shakib didnt get any support and yet is no1 allrounder. cont.

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    @Posted by: Dan at November 19, 2012 12:27 AM "The Governor General" :) and Stan McCabe :)...... nice choices ! [[ You are forcing this out of me. If I have to select the most watchable, brilliant, never-a-dull-moment and straight-from-the-heart XI of cricketers, my first four selections would be Lara, McCabe, Mark Waugh and Warne. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    I hope Martin Crowe recovers well. Super player and nice bloke as well. remote thanks for his contribution (thanks Ananth).... interesting to see no Hadlee in his pick but lol that's a long story..... He (Martin) himself worthy of discussion here (if we have G Chappell's, PA DaSilva's, Miandad's, Border's, Gower's, Vishwanath's in it, which (I'm sadly .... all awesome players) pretty sure we shouldn't. All our best wishes Martin !

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    It's interesting to note simple things like Neither McGrath or Gilchrist selected in the NSW team of it's first ? 150 years. No room for McGrath in that sort of attack. My team shows it's weakness in comparison because I left out Wasim. No similar mistake when they had selected Davidson. (greatest teams really should have a left hand seamer) "but Murray you must understand Ray (Lindwall) was a real bowler. He'd get you out, not just wait for you to make a mistake" - was an explanation from one chosen to pick that team, when I asked about lack of McGrath. I only write this to open eyes of some readers of this excellent article. In the days of having rest (lol rotation) there were some pretty damned good players. Not all would have enjoyed, or even tolerated, having a job playing cricket - they just liked playing cricket :). To the stats freaks - Andy Sandham summed it up best - "I played cricket to run for the master". Minute I heard that, I KNEW Hobbs was a genius !!! [[ Murray Where have you been hiding. Some wonderful insights. You have added a lot of value to this blog. Ananth: ]]

  • beverly nedd on November 19, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    Ananth, I realise that you're only doing this exercise to provide fun for your readers. [[ Why do you say this. Ananth: ]]However, you know how seriously some fans take cricketing matters like this; and they'll do anything to see that their favourite player is picked in the final 15. Example, some would submit multiple lists with the same names via different Email accounts. [[ Email is unimportant. I can locate duplicate submissions easily and would do a verification. Ananth: ]]Also, you know the population of India would not only swallow up that of all the other countries, but their level of participation in these exercises is so much more than the rest of the world put together. That's why we had so much discontent with ESPN/Cricifo All Time 11 that was picked in 2010. Hence, if you are seriously going to publish any results based on the responses from this exercise, I think for the sake of fairness and objectivity, you should take a random sample of say 10 responses from the 10 main countries to do the statistical analysis for your results. The sampling method is left to you. Only so we might have some fair results. [[ I can confirm to you that the response until now has been very good and on the lines expected. If I say that there is no Indian in the top-7 selections in the 140+ team selections would it satisfy you. I would be stupid to take a random sample. That would be a completely skewed method. I agree that if there were 10000 responses you could take 50 from each country. Here the numbers are low but most are quality responses. I would consider every response and use my judgement. The readers of this blog are genuine cricket enthusiasts. The fanatics stay out. I have been ruthless in doing this. The 2010 debacle WILL NOT be repeated. Ananth: ]]

  • Rohit on November 19, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    Rohit's XV

    Openers: Chris Martin, Glenn McGrath, Maninder Singh Middle order: Hirwani, Brian McMillan, Courtney Walsh, Shoaib Akhtar Wicket Keeper(s): Kamran (or any of the Akmals) Pacemen: Ajit Agarkar, Ganguly, Mohd. Sami, Shaun Tait Spinners: Tendulkar, Mark Waugh, Ravi Shastri

    Thought this could be a nightmarish side, but it looks good in a way.

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Thanks, Ananth, for waiting. Now looking forward to the final XV... In the meantime, its a pleasure to read other posts here, wonderful teams chosen by most participants.

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    @ Posted by: Boll at November 19, 2012 7:58 AM

    Yes, I feel that our collective lack of age is showing.

    I think I'm the only one so far to pick Harvey, who I believe (having watched all of G Chappell's and Ponting's careers) is the best batsman we (Australia) has had since WW2.

    Not one mention of Peter May ! Only cursory support for Hammond, Headley seemingly forgotten. Dudley Nourse not mentioned....

    Imran all the rage but Miller forgotten.... I wonder if Fasil Mahmood is remembered ? (would be in my team if we had to play on mats !)

    With bowlers, No CTB Turner, no George Lohman, no Maurice Tate and what better bowler for any conditions than Alec Bedser ? No Wes Hall, not even a mention of Andy Roberts *shudder and only one so far picking Jeff Thomson (I would just so he's on MY bench lol). No one has yet picked Laker ? .... amazing

    Point is that our views will always be skewed by what we've seen. Same in any sport (love watching Federer cry meeting Laver - at least HE knows) [[ I get the feeling that the older players are at a disadvantage because they have to perform at a much higher level to be considered. We are ready to look at Dravid seriously. Great away record notwithstanding, his overall average is 52.xx. But we are unable to look at Barington who averaged 6 more or for that matter Weekes. Bradman has numbers which make his omission illogical and/or oversight and/or lack of insight. The only equivalent to Bradman is Lohmann. But the period summary I did some time back shows that the average RpW pre-1900 was 22.2 compared to most other periods' value of 30+. So I can seriously discount Lohmann's figures. But not Bradman's figures. I get the feeling Laker is associated, probably wrongly, with doctored pitches. Greg Chappell's almost total non-selection is amazing. Ananth: ]]

  • aravind on November 19, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Aravind XI

    Sunil Gavasakar Greenidge Rahul Dravid Mark Waugh Viv Richards Kapil Dev Gilchrist Warne Richard Hadlee Mcgrath Wasim Akram [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. This is a post-1973 XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 19, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    @Vimalan - i like your chemistries for different conditions, and agree with you that often, a spinner is unnecessary.

    With Murali, Warne and O'Reilly excepted, I'd prefer a 4 pace attack in ANY condition. Balance for balance's sake... misguided, IMO.

    @Kanu - sorry, missed you revised list. The reason Sehwag in NZ had caught my eye is when your specifying which places you want the guy in, Sehwag in NZ was an odd choice. Sehwag's a fine player overall - a good contender for a spot - but i thought the specification was odd.

    @Mohan - a combo of blasters and nigglers, nice. I wonder which attack would do better in the long term - a)Waqar, Steyn, Donald, Lee or b)Ambrose, McGrath, S. Pollock, Walsh?

    Your probably right, a balance works best - but if one had to have a pure type attack, i'm not sure which i'd go with!

    re: allrounders, I'm against excluding them as "allrounders". there area few guys who contend strongly for a place in a single discipline (cont)

  • Sharjeel on November 19, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    tempted to post another top 15 or at least a modification of the already submitted top 15 team. oh so tempting! oh what conundrum! [[ No problems as long as you tell me. And you have a unique name. So no confusion. Ananth: ]]

  • garry on November 19, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    good pick mate. tough to make many changes. but i would like to bring in Waqar Younis for ambrose so we have someone who can run through batting line up quickly and bowl reverse swing at good pace with old bowl. plus, hobbs place will be going to jacques kallis as he has proved himself against more kind of attacks than hobbs .he is selected as a pure batsman , his bowling will be also an advantage over hobbs. my xv. sachin bradman kallis lara richards sobres gilchirst wasim akram shane warne malcom marshall glen macgrath

    12th man waqar younis on bench: gavaskar,hadlee,murli

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Girish Patil's XV: Matthew Hayden, Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Imran Khan, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, M Muralitharan, Dale Steyn.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 19, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Ananth/Boll,

    regarding your comments on exclusion of some greats by many. I can probably speak for myself.Ponting misses out on No 3 due to the presence of a freak.Somehow he does not seem alright in other positions. The problem is in the middle order esp no 4 & No 5. If you pick holes on Sachin & Lara, may be you can pick more holes in others. I debated a bit on sheet achor batsmen in the mix like Dravid/S Waugh/Border/Barrington as there is a possibility of a run thru the top half-out of form Bradman missing out on a century(?),SRT going thru one of his troughs and lara gets out from the wrong side of his bed etc. Then my logic is that you want a team to win and not really a team to save. Having Kallis in the mix can fill in the void, if one of the two modern greats are not in form. Also, players pre 60s either need to have extraordinary figures or to be chosen on nostalgia without any help of comparing with our vision of modern game. It is a pity, though [[ Ramesh, I get your points. I have a problem when I see a team solely of post-1975 or post-1985 or post-1990 periods. It does not matter whether Bradman gets thrown in or not. I see that XV as a team with restrictions. I have no problem if someone considers Sobers and Kallis and selects Kallis. I have no problem if someone considers Gavaskar and plumps for Sehwag. But I have problems if the greats of yester-years are not even in the mix. Anyone who does not consider Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton, Sobers, Bradman, Gavaskar, Lillee seriously has not done justice to these wonderful players only because they belong to a previous (and previous) era. If I do not wield a gentle stick here we will get Kohli, Amla, Shakib and maybe even Pujara in the mix. Let me give a comparison. If Cricinfo asks its readers to vote for the Test Cricketer of the year 2012 and does not set qualifying criteria, they would get guys, for the heck of it, sending in various names. Cricinfo might have an automatic poll method and just throw out the Kieran Powells and Masakadzas. They will ultimately get the best selection properly done. With me it is a tough, labour-intensive task. I cut-and-paste teams into a work file and now have to do the tough job of posting into Excel sheets. Then I have to do a unique player weighting to look for specific selections to see which reader comes closest to the final XV. All these take time, effort and heavy load on the aggrieved shoulders. So, naturally I do not want Kohli/Amla/Shakib/Pujara to be there at all. Maybe in 10 years, not now. I think I have the intelligent readers who would understand this. This is not a collection of T20-driven enthusiasts whose only brush with Warner would be David, not Pelham. Ananth: ]]

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    (...contd_FINAL) Dale Steyn faced a stiff competition to break into the team: greats like Lillee, Holding, Ambrose and Hadlee. He finally made it not only because of his pace and control, but also because of having claimed wickets at an unprecedented clip. Hadlee and Ambrose (my all-time favourite) could hold up one end as well, but with the batting line up I have, I do not worry about it too much - my priority is to have one of the best strike bowler always available. The last two spots are a bit obvious: Sachin and Lara, contemporaries and all-time greats, each one says the other is the best. No holes to be picked in either's resume; just tremendous pleasure to watch anywhere in the world. Just to maintain the left-right balance, I would use Lara in subcontinent and Sachin outside it. Of course, both can be a good replacement of each other in any condition. (finally, Girish Patil's XV follows)...

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    (... contd) Now for the remaining spots in the team: Having chosen the most successful test opener, I would not like to put another solid-but-slow opener with him. It would much rather be someone who has demonstrated ability of successfully turning the traditional concept of an opener on its head. So I choose Sehwag (strictly in subcontinent) and Hayden in the team. I am aware that these names would not make it to many teams as all time greats, but I am just keeping the matchwinning prospects of my own team in sight. This leaves four spots still open, for which I choose two batsmen and two bowlers. For the bowlers, I choose one spinner and paceman each - Murali and Steyn come in the team. It would be mind-blowing stuff to see Murali and Warne bowl in tandem, and weave their magic against any mighty batting lineup! But at the same time, I am inclined to keep Murali on bench for matches in India and Australia. [[ What is your final XV. I cannot cut and paste reams of data. OK I will wait. Ananth: ]]

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    (...continued) If Gilchrist is injured, a replacement should be called. If the team is playing in the subcontinent, the replacement should be Syed Kirmani (kept successfully to the spin quartet as well as to Kapil - most suitable replacement in the conditions); anywhere outside subcontinent, it should be Jeff Dujon. These two players will however, not be a part of XV. Having built the core of the team, I prefer to add great players who'd best serve the purpose of a balanced team, capable of winning matches in all circumstances (and not just going by individual stats, although the stats have to be world-class as well). So in come Viv Richards (greatest matchwinner the game has seen; an asset to any team of any era under any conditions), Malcolm Marshall (bowling counterpart of Viv's description above), Imran Khan (capable of making it to the team on bowling alone, but could win matches in other numerous ways too; brings tremendous fighting spirit - did not lose to great WIndies) (contd)

  • Boll on November 19, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Not a bad effort by Martin Crowe (all the best with things mate) - he`s managed to pick 11 of my 1st XV, and the 4 others made my 2nds. I`m sure he`s suitably proud!?

  • Girish Patil on November 19, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    The first decision to be made was about including players who offered unique advantages to the team that no other player could've offered. So the core of the team would be built around these players: Don Bradman (damned if this needs any explanation), Garry Sobers ('God sent him on earth to play cricket'), Sunil Gavaskar (most successful opener in the history of the game), Wasim Akram (best left arm bowler and one of the best of all time) and Shane Warne (champion bowler in any era, any condition; the x-factor at the core of a world-beating team). Adam Gilchrist is also an automatic choice, like all of the above. He was simply two world-class players rolled into one, and in my opinion, should always be included in the discussion about the greatest all-rounders in the game (alongside Sobers and Kallis). I follow Ananth's logic in including only one wicketkeeper. (continued...)

  • ramesh m on November 19, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    IYER's XV

    Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar Lara Viv Richards Gilchirst Ambrose Wasim Akram Muralitharan Sobers Warne Malcom Marshall Sangakarra Hutton

  • Ananth on November 19, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I am doing this on behalf of Martin Crowe who I had mailed. His response was within the hour. A great player and person. "" Anantha I selected my top 100, top 50, top 20, top 12. So why not top 15! J Hobbs L Hutton D Bradman S Tendulkar V Richards G Sobers A Gilchrist S Warne M Marshall D Lillee S Barnes S Gavaskar Imran Khan Wasim Akram B O'Reilly "" Martin Many thanks for the prompt response. A truly wonderful team. Great thing is that it covers over 110 years of Test cricket with inclusion of that master, Barnes. And no compromises as I have done. I get the feeling that your team will beat mine. If only I could convince you to get Lara in, at least as a reserve. No!!! I am only joking. A true Test selection of peers by one of the very best.. Once again wishing you all the best. Having faced the quartet of West Indian quicks on the field for many an hour, I am sure you will win the current battle hands down. May God be with you and family. Ananth

  • Jeff Grimshaw on November 19, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    ...Continued...

    That left me with one spot left in my 15 man squad, which I wanted to keep for a “wildcard” pick as the best player available, regardless of position. I chose Imran but other players who just missed out included: Miller, Lillee, Compton (D not N !), SF Barnes, & Hadlee [[ Can anyone tell me what happened to the middle Compton. He seems to have migrated to South Africa. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on November 19, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    My team;

    Hobbs Sutcliffe Bradman Richards Lara Sobers Gilchrist Warne Marshall Murali McGrath

    Tendulkar Kallis Imran Ambrose [[ Jeff, great team. Look at the bench, at least for the first Test. And both Sobers and Kallis. And I have missed you a lot. Where have you been. Ananth: ]] A few comments explaining my selections;

    Hobbs & Sutcliffe – I think opening partnerships are important and this was the best ever – plus both players have records that would justify their inclusion individually.

    Bradman has to be in and Richards is my favourite player of all-tine so he couldn’t be left out. That meant that the final batting spot was a toss up between Lara & Tendulkar and, for me, Lara just shades it so Tendulkar has to be content with a place on the bench.

    All-rounder, I decided I needed one to balance the team and Sobers just edges out Kallis for the starting XI.

    Wicketkeeper = no contest

    For the bowlers, Warne, Murali & Marshall were fairly easy picks and that meant it was a straight fight between McGrath & Ambrose for the final slot and McGrath just sneaked in... TBC

  • Murray Archer on November 19, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    I am glad someone mentioned opening pairs rather than players. I am however only picking one specialist opener.

    I have not included Sobers ONLY because we are picking specialists and to my mind Garry can't make this 7 batsmen.

    I can't pick Gilchrist because in my mind wicket keepers are wicket takers, not the modern - batsmen with catching gloves.

    My team is :- Hobbs, IVA Richards, Bradman, G Pollock, Weekes, Tendulkar, Harvey Tallon Marshall, Lillee, Waqar, SF Barnes, O'Reilly, Warne, EAS Prasanna [[ If I am not wrong, first selection of Tallon. And lovely to see that rotund master of flight, Prasanna. Ananth: ]] THAT was tough on a lot of GREAT players. Thanks for opportunity :)

    I expect Weekes will raise a few eyebrows. Wouldn't surprise say Sobers, who knows how much better Weekes was than he as a batsman only (by playing in the same team). Likewise Prasanna is certainly my considered choice of a finger spinner (did think Athol Rowan for a while but that really IS left field)

    Still choking on having no spot for Grace and also Wasim.

  • Abraham Kuruvilla on November 19, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    I'm totally with you Ananth but for Adam Gilchrist. As an all time great wicketkeeper I'd pick Godfrey Evans. He kept wickets and batted in the era of uncovered wickets, playing 91 tests with 173 catches and 46 stumpings [[ Tnanks, Kuru. An excellent change. For purely wicket-keeping skills, there was no one to beat Evans. And he could bat both ways. Score-less for 95 minutes in 1947 and 98 before lunch against India in 1952. Unfortunately the lure of Gilchrist was too much for me. Ananth: ]]

  • sreekumar on November 19, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    My Eleven

    Bradman Gavaskar Dravid Lara Kallis Ponting Steve Waugh

    Gilchrist

    Ambrose Akram Marshall Warne Pollock Bedi

    I prefer Ponting over Richards and Kallis over sobers. Steve Waugh is my personal choice, in his place Miandad would have better, but against fast bowling i trust Waugh, and i think if somebody is going to give world eleven a test pace bowlers would be their choice. like Shaun Pollock over McGrath.

  • Peter Macfarlane on November 19, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    My picks would be: Hayden, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Sobers (capt), Richards Gilchrist McGrath, Warne, Akram, Ambrose, Lillee, Murali

    I couldnt put Hadlee before Lillee and felt that McGrath was a better bowler than both. Murali only as 2nd spin option to Warne in subcontinent and WI as Warne is the better spin bowler. Difficult to comment on pre 1970 cricketers - apart from Bradman and Sobers as their records speak for themselves. So many great cricketers still missing

  • SANKHA SUBHRA GUHA BISWAS on November 19, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    SANKHA- BEST XV

    1>V.SEHWAG 2>S.ANWAR 3>B.LARA 4>S.TENDULKAR 5>G.SOBBERS 6>R.POINTING 7>M.S.DHONI(CAP & WT KEEPER) 8>S.WARNE 9>W.AKRAM 9>C.AMBROSE 10>M.MURALITHARAN 11>G.McGRATH

    12> A.GILCHRIST 13> R.DRAVID 14> K.DEV 15> V.RICHARDS [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 19, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    At the risk of offending his many fans (of whom I count myself as one, wholeheartedly) I`ve also been surprised (shocked?) by the number of selections for Rahul Dravid in the World XV - wonderful player that he was, admirable man that he is. Very few selections for Headley, Ponting, G.Chappell, Border, Walcott, Weekes, Barrington, Javed, S.Waugh...all his equals, if not slightly ahead. Perhaps a recent retirement, outpouring of (understandable) emotion have clouded things somewhat? [[ I am also surprised. Barrington, Chappell and Weekes are the batsmen who were seriously in the mix for me until the end. Dravid almost never entered the equation. Maybe the last paragraph explains. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 19, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    1st XI 2nd XI

    Hobbs Hutton Trumper Gavaskar Bradman (c) B.Richards Tendulkar Headley Lara WG Grace (c) IVA Richards G.Pollock Sobers (vc) Border Gilchrist Miller (vc) Lillee Knott Marshall Imran Ambrose Hadlee SF Barnes Waqar Wasim Underwood Warne McGrath Muralitharan O`Reilly

    Just wanted to see what my 1st/2nd XIs would look like matched up - not much between them I don`t think.

  • Barrie-John on November 19, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    not matched by NZ that is.

  • Barrie-John on November 19, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    @Boll accepted that Bond didn't take many wickets those first two tests against Australia, however they were matches which NZ didn't lose - which is a rarity as far as the black caps are concerned. A more compelling statement on the impact that Bond had on NZ was he played 18 tests 10 victories only 2 defeats. (look at the difference between his last test and the next game that the black caps had) During the entire length of his career NZ only won 15 matches (i think) I can guarantee that Bonds loss proportion is not matched. Irrespective of his 18 matches I think he deserves his place. I would have loved to have seen him during the two years when his career was stolen from him via a gutless NZ board and politics. We were genuinely robbed of the finest of the finest of fast bowlers at his peak.

  • mohan on November 19, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    @ Wapsting Thanks for writing mate. If you see my selection its all about attack yet maintaining balance. For attacking Barry there is Hutton to compliment. What a sight Bradman batting with Tendulkar, both who can temper their innings and compliment the batsmen coming before or after them. And thats why Andy flower instead of Gilchrist after sobers and pollack. Coming to your question on Larwood, Thompson and Brett lee. All of them are super fast and uncompromising about their pace and can compliment a accurate yet aggressive bowlers like warne and MCgrath/Trueman/Garner. Its about balance and complimentary skills.

  • sid on November 19, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    My XV:

    Hayden Gavaskar Bradman Lara Kallis Gilchrist Imran Khan Wasim Akram Marshall Warne Waqar Younis

    Extras: Murali Sangakara Sobers Inzamam

  • Taslim on November 19, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Contd..

    Note, These all players are tried and tested against different condition (including subcontinent) and against all the world class team. So choosing someone else who has only played in two or three conditions (or country) would be slightly risky. I would love to have these players in opponent team and put warne and murali in. My bench players are : H.Amla (stand by batsman),K.Sangakkara (stand by wicket keeper), S.Pollock (stand by allrounder/bowler) & G.Sobers (stand by allrounder). Also, If you see I have gone with AB Divillier (5687 avg 49.02, still playing) rather than my fav gilly (Total runs 5570 avg 47.6). I feel he is more dependable than my fav gilly. As if you see If I 100 runs are required to win in a test match against any team. If I would have a chance of sending either gilly or AB , I would send AB. He is more dependable though not as aggressor as gilly but more dependable.

  • Taslim on November 19, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    @Andrew Gray Thanks for writing mate. Watson in my team would be playing as an All rounder, (No doubt about his hitting capability). He is a game changer for me. He also has a bowling average of around 28 which is not bad which adds cherry on piece of cake. Moreover if you see my side, With two world’s best spinner in side (Warne and Murali), I have two Genuine world class fast bowler (W.Akram & G.Mcgrath) in addition to other two option which are (J.Kallis and S. Watson). Besides that, I don’t want Watson to be in my opponent team. As I have more of defensive and good test players at number 2,3,4 & 5. I would love to have some aggression at number 1,6 and 7. Also my number 2,3,4 and 5 has scored more than 10,000 runs in test cricket with average more than 50. No doubt, This position can be made up or down as per the opponent team and playing condition. Note, These all players are tried and tested against different condition (including subcontinent) and a (Contd.)

  • vamsi on November 19, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Richards Alan Knott Imran Marshall Warne Ambrose

    Muralitharan Waqar Ponting Larwood

  • aditya on November 19, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    My Greatest greatest XI would be

    Sehwag (Ruthless) Herbett Sutcliff (avg 60) Bradman (100 runs per innings) Sachin Tendulkar(Both aggressive and Defensive) Greame Pollack (agressive) Sobers (aggressive and Stock bowler) Gilchrist Hadlee (skill and perseverance) Dale Steyn (Swing and Speed) waqar Younis (reverse swing and speed) Warne (wicket taker in most places)

    Shoaib Akthar (super fast) Muralitharan (wicket taking skill) Fred Trueman (fast ) Ricky Ponting (aggressive )

    Defense: Sutcliff, Sachin , Bradman Attack :Bradman, Sachin, pollack, sobers, gilchrist

    Stock bowler: Hadlee, Warne, murali attack: warne, shoib, waqar, steyn , murali, Trueman

  • peter avery on November 19, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    A very interesting concept. But 15 players??? Take a look at the quality of players that everyone has selected. All of these players are champions in their own eras...both home and away. So, you pick 11, plus the 12th man and have three reserves. Whoever is picked in the team would want to prove just how good they are, even on pitches that don't suit them. Telling Dennis Lillee that he's being dropped because the pitch is not suited to him is a bit like saying we'll replace Viv Richards with Geoff Boycott...I would only make changes because of injury or tiredness. Anyway, it's an interesting proposal and here are my top 15 players. Batting-: Barry Richards, Gordon Grennidge, Don Bradman, Walter Hammond, Viv Richards, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Wilfred Rhodes, Malcom Marshal, Wasim Akram, Dennis Lillee. 12th man, Richard Hadlee, 13th man, SF Barnes, 14th man Graeme Pollack and 15th man Curtly Ambrose. I realize it's an insult to have players 12 to 15 as reserves, but hey...what can i [[ Peter There is no need to select a XI and use 4 reserves. I have selected 15 players and have not used the term reserve at all. The decisions can be taken on the morning of the match. The other 4 are there, equal to the eleven. Ananth: ]]

  • Shuvo Brahmachari on November 19, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    On a completely different note, I've been toying with the idea of an all time 'Bratty 11' who've been in the news/controversies for other than cricketing reasons and came up with this list. Would love some comments/feedback. Have left out the likes of Salim Malik, Salman Butt, Hansie Cronje, Manoj Prabhakar, etc. for obvious reasons. Had a tough time with the keeper deciding between Rod Marsh and Faroukh Engineer. I guess Rod Marsh wins out by the sheer fact that he's an Aussie. Point to note – not a single cricketer before 1970. Cricket was really a gentleman’s game then:

    1. Chris Gayle 2. Geoff Boycott 3. Kevin Pietersen 4. Javed Miandad 5. Arjuna Ranatunga 6. Ian Botham 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Rodney Marsh 9. Harbhajan Singh 10. Dennis Lillee 11. Shoib Akhtar

    12th Man: Shane Warne

    Special mention:

    Mathew Hayden, Ravi Shashtri, Douglas Jardine, Sandip Patil, Tilakratne Dilshan, Navjot Siddhu, Makhaya Ntini, Chappel brothers, Sunil Gavaskar, Kiran More. Additions welcome.

  • Alfio Sciacca on November 19, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    My selection will speak for itself. NO need to explain.

    1)Matthew Hayden 2)Michael Hussey 3)Don Bradman 4)Brian Lara 5)Sachin Tendulka 6)Stephen Waugh 7)Viv Richards 8)Ian Healy 9)Shane Warne 10)Malcolm Marshall 11)Wasim Akram 12)Bruce Reid 13)Allan Donald 14)Glen McGrath 15)Dennis Lillee

  • Kalim Khan on November 19, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    Kalim's XI: Dravid Kallis Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Imran Warne

    The unlucky ones who didn't make it: Sangakara, Ponting, Miandad, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Walcott, Hutton, Pollock and a few more.

    Would like to see in the future: Younis Khan: He's my personal favourite and I think if he continues to play for the next 2-3 years and overtakes Miandad as the highest run scorer for Pakistan, he can easily be a candidate for this list plus his 4th inning man of crises can play a big role in his favour. Cook & KP are the other ones who won't take long to make it to such list, KP has already made it to Eng XI. Ajmal: Age isn't on his side, but if he takes 300 plus wickets, I think anyone here will have him at the rate he's going at. Kohli, Steyn, Philander & a few others.

    Who would you chose as your captain Ananth? Mine has to be Imran.

  • Andrew Gray on November 19, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    "I am speech-less or rather word-less." - Kholi's selection was priceless! @Taslim at November 17, 2012 10:41 AM - I'm Ozzy but Watto in an all time XI? Maybe an All-time ODI side - maybe! [[ Andrew, Looks like I have over-hyphenated. See, the habit stays on!!! Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on November 19, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    Man I love selecting ALL TIME XIs! I have a problem with not selecting allrounders though. I understand your logic, but a near perfect allrounder like Imran Khan & Keith Miller are a fantastic edge. Excluding allrounders (the position of), means that batting or bowling centric allrounders are preferred, when it is debatable as to whether they are "better"! [[ The funny thing is that despite my self-imposed restriction I HAVF selected two all-rounders. Really what does it matter how the selection was done. Many of the teams do not even have 1/2 all-rounders. Again it is your decision and yours only. Ananth: ]] My All time XI (+ squad) are; 1. Hobbs, 2. Hutton, 3. Bradman, 4. Headley, 5. Lara 6. Khan (c) 7. Gilchrest 8. Warne, 9. Akram, 10. Ambrose, 11. Lillee 12th: K Miller 13th: G Sobers 14th: R Hadlee 15th: Muralitheran In the end I have gone with a side that statistically was superior to most of my preferred picks. I would of wanted Greg Chappell instead of Headley - but anybody labelled the Black Bradman has my vote! I HAD to pick Imran Khan, he probably could of batted @ #7, behind Gilly. I ended up going with Murali although I have a strong preference for Grimmett, I was challenged ethically here too!

  • Alok on November 19, 2012, 1:15 GMT

    My all time best fifteen Bradman Sehwag Dravid Kallis Lara Sobers Gilchrist Akram Lillee Murali Warne Hobbs Hutton Hadlee Lilee

  • Darren Bailey on November 19, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    Stats can not show how good a player was or how valuable a team player he was. Some people had good stats but played for themselves often destroying team harmony. My 15 would be.in no order.

    Gavaskar Hayden Barry Richards Bradman Richards Tendulkar sobers Gilchrist Botham Lillee Mcgrath Warne Murali Wasim Marshall/Kallis Lillee was the best bowler of his era.Botham lifted his team and could any team when a team was down. Warne and Murali pick themselves. Marshall and wasim could not only bowl to win a game they had superior batting to other allrounders.Kallis is the second best if not the best allrounder of all time. Gilchrist is superior to any other keeper and Barry Richards was once the worlds best batsman until S.A were removed from international cricket. Gavaskar and Hayden were dominant as openers and to suprise many I only selected Bradman for his avg as I believe many test cricketers from the past would have found it hard to compete with todays modern cricketers for fitness.

  • Dan on November 19, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    Hobbs, J Richards, B Bradman, D Macartney, C McCabe, S Dravid, R Worrell, F

    Evans, G

    Miller, K O'Reilly, B McGrath, G Marshall, M Muralitharan, M Larwood, H Procter, M

    An unbeatable squad on any surface, in my opinion. Dravid and Macartney can both open, Bradman can be omitted on a sticky and a pure wicketkeeper can be allowed by the batting skills of Miller, Procter and Marshall.

    First XI would be: Hobbs, Richards, Bradman, Dravid, Worrell, McCabe, Procter, Evans, Marshall, Larwood, O'Reilly (McCartney, McGrath, Muralitharan and Miller missing out).

  • Gary Murphy on November 18, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    Selection of Gary Murphy Hobbs Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Dravid Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Cook Trueman Warne.

    I've replaced Gavaskar with Alastair Cook due to his outstanding numbers for his age and his recent showing of his ability to thrive under pressure and make huge runs in any conditions.

    I've replaced Tendulkar with Dravid due to Dravid's ability to anchor the innings in an unlikely crisis, also a pure match turner.

    Also Trueman for Hadlee (loss on the batting but I think I can live with it).

  • Dave Burrow on November 18, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Alistair Cook Matthew Hayden Jacques Kallis Brian Lara VVS Laxman Shivnarine Chanderpaul Adam Gilchrist Shane Warne Shoaib Akhtar Dale Steyn Glenn Mcgrath

    Reserve 4: Chaminda Vaas Anil Kumble Andy Flower Andrew Symonds

    Ok, I know this team is not as strong as some of the others but I made this team in terms of a team mix of the explosive, the dynamic, the elegant and the determined. The article was never about a team that would win 100% of the time, it's about who the Gods would stop to watch and a team like this would always provide edge of the seat entertainment.

    I have left out players who I never actually saw play a game because I didn't want to make selections based on stats alone; these were the players I either grew up watching or watch right now. I know leaving out Tendulkar is probably a crime for most, and I agree he is one of the greatest batsman ever to step on the cricket pitch but as mentioned previously, this wasn't about making the greatest team. It's one to watch. [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Kanu on November 18, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    @Waspsting: Yes you are right, Sehwag does not have a good record in NZL, but at the end of the day we have to select 15 best (although I changed my 15 later on) and hope they play well. Going by the same logic, Sir Don never played in NZL, India, PAK, SLK etc. so how can we deduce he will be play as good there as in ENG or AUS? We have to trust the talent and back our team. [[ There is a diffrence between playing and not doing well and never playing at all. The later cannot be helped. Ananth: ]]

  • Vimalan on November 18, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    @Waspsting Depends on the pitch condition, I'll probably go with the below combinations.

    True bounce or spin conditions (3 Pace, 1 Spin and 1 Medium): Marshall Hadlee Garner/McGrath Warne Sobers

    Pace conditions ( 4 Pace, 1 Medium ) Marshall Ambrose Hadlee Garner Sobers

    Swing conditions ( 4 Pace, 1 Medium ) Marshall Ambrose Hadlee McGrath Sobers

    Batsmen friendly pitches (4 Pace, 1 Medium, 1 Spin): Marshall Hadlee Garner McGrath/Ambrose Warne Sobers

    Richards/Sachin to share few overs of spin. In case Warne gets injured, I will replace him with another pace bowler since my top guys are world beaters on any type of pitch conditions. In that scenario, I'll ask Sobers to bowl few overs of spin as well. When you have someone like Sobers, it adds to the flexibility.

  • arif aajakia on November 18, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Arif Aajakia's team:

    11

    Herbert Sutcliff Sunil Gavaskar Don Bradman Brian Lara Jaques Kallis Garfield Sobers Adam Gilchrist Richard Hadlee Denis Lilee Mutiah Muralitharan Glen McGrath

    Reserve 4: Javed Miandad (to play in south asian countries) Malcolm Marshal Dale Steyn Kumar Sangakara (makes him reserve wicket keeper and better batter in south asia) I think there was never a better fast bowler than Dennis Lilee and you left him out, although its your choice, but surprising. He was a true description of a fast bowler, fast, aggressive, wicket taking ability and keeping batsmen in fears.

  • Navin Agarwal on November 18, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Ananth, Nice article.

    My team would be same as yours with one change in composition and one in position.

    I would leave out Murali and include Graeme Swann. I always thought Murali has no business playing cricket. So cant have him in my team despite his 800 test wickets. (My personal views and no need to open Pandora's Box by anybody).

    Second where Gavaskar would be left out I would not open with Sachin but would open with Lara or even Gilchrist. Tendulkar was reluctant to open in tests for India so I would respect that and have him at his position of 4. He is too great a player to be left out.

    The players missing out on final births in most conditions would be Ambrose,Marshall,Swann and one of the batters. [[ Nice to have you back with us, Naveen, after quite some time. Ananth: ]]

  • rosh on November 18, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    If you are going by the your justifications then the headline of the piece got be changed. No God would forgive the omission of Sir Viv Richards and Dennis Lillee , easily the most feared batsman and bowler respectively. Only Sobers can match Richards for 'watchability' - forgive the lingo. And Lillee personified total aggression. Quite simply he bowled to get wickets - a better judge than any on this blog,er, a certain Clive Lloyd had no doubt who was the best fast bowler. [[ At times I don't understand a comment. Where have Richards and Sobers been omitted. And Lillee is an option. He does not just walk in ahead of Ambrose & Marshall. Anyhow why would you not give a team of your own. Ananth: ]]

  • WAJID ALI on November 18, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    1.HOBBS 2.GAWASKAR 3.BRADMAN 4.SUCHIN TENDULKAR 5. GARY SOBBERS 6.ADAM GILCHRIST 7.IMRAN KHAN 8.McGRATH 9.HOLDING 10.MURLI 11.WARN BACKUP 12.VIV RICHARDS .13 RICHARD HEADLEE .14 WASIM AKRAM .15 G Pollock

  • Alex Pickard on November 18, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    1. BA Richards 2. JB Hobbs 3. DG Bradman 4. IVA Richards 5. RG Pollock 6. GS Sobers 7. AC Gilchrist 8. Imran Khan 9. RJ Hadlee 10. MD Marshall 11. M Muralitharan

    12. SR Tendulkar 13. SK Warne 14. CEL Ambrose 15. GD McGrath

  • dale on November 18, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Dale's XV : Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar Lara Sobers IVA Richards Gilchrist Marshall Barnes Trueman Hadlee Imran Murali Warne

    The starting XI- Hobbs,Gavaskar,Bradman,Lara,Tendulkar,Sobers,Gilchrist,Imran, Marshall,Barnes,Murali

  • Andrew B on November 18, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    JB Hobbs, SM Gavaskar, DG Bradman, BC Lara, KR Miller, GS Sobers, AC Gilchrist, Imran Khan, SK Warne, SF Barnes, M Muralitharan

    Reserves: WR Hammond, H Verity, MD Marshall, DK Lillee.

    Hammond replaces Miller on turning pitches. Marshall and Lillee are available if it's a fast pitch. Verity adds variety to the spin attack, and was highly rated by Bradman - could replace Warne/Murali in India.

    Barnes's fast leg-breaks add another dimension to the attack. Miller, Sobers and Imran are all all-rounders, but are all also top-class fast bowlers. Lara sneaks in ahead of other candidates because I thought another left-hander would be useful. Finally, Gilchrist gets in ahead of (say) Knott because, with such a strong batting line-up, his ability to score a quick 100 is more likely to be useful than Knott's ability to rescue a side after a bad start. [[ Nice to see nearly half the side from the pre-1950 period. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 18, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    "Why are you questioning other people's ideas. Does not your selection have weaknesses." [[ Probably I was too strong. You can question other's ideas. It is just that there is almost no interaction in this article. I have considered this to be mostly a reader's-selection article. Ananth: ]] As ever, I am doing so to encourage vigorous discussion - and I'm happy to put my selections up to the same standard (and accept that often, both for me and others, discussion will often end in agreement to disagree)

    I think my next posts that you haven't got to just yet, would clarify this - you've read my posts long enough to have a sense of whether this is true or not

  • Waspsting on November 18, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    i'd divide it into "aggression" vs "style" - Sehwag and Waqar Younis vs M.Waugh & Imran Khan, so to speak ("aggression" in batsman more apparent in method, "style" in bowlers more apparent in ease of manner)

    ---

    Too much to look through right now!

    This article is brilliant, but seems to propagate everyone saying their thing rather than discussing their thing with one another.

    I'd like to redress that... always with the given of respect for differences and differences in values especially. [[ WS, there is an alternative. Many of the exchanges can be reserved for the follow-up article. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on November 18, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    @Lucky Strike - "Hobbs - only in Eng" - Hobbs averaged 52 in Eng and 60 abroad - higher than 52 in Aus and even more so in SA.

    @Vimlan - what bowling chemistry are you thinking of for final 11?

    With Hadlee - you have 5 pacers, and 4 without - assuming no spinner in final 11.

    @love goel - re: Frank Tyson - he was an out and out express pacer, which means after his extra pace edge dipped, his success fell. [[ Yes, I agree. In general, meteors should not be selected. Ananth: ]] IMO, not a good choice for all time team. if you cut the time frame of "quality" down lower and lower, you reach a point where all kinds of guys warrant selection - along with guys who did it for much longer (and whose best short period was probably as good as guys like Tyson)

    @Kanu - bro, i don't get ur picks. Warne outdoes Murali in SA, and Sehwag's test record in NZ is poor.

    @Mohan - i'd love to hear more about your selection of Thomson, Larwood and Brett Lee(?) - i confess, it sounds very curious to me.

    @John Rambo - i like the idea of a "most entertaining 11" (cont)

  • Chamika Iresh on November 18, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    The xv, should be like this... 1.Hutton 2.Sobers 3.Bradman 4.Lara 5.Tendulkar 6.G.Pollock 7.Sangakkara 8.Akram 9.Warne 10.Mcgrath 11.Ambrose 12.Murali 13.hadlee 14.Ponting 15.I.Khan

  • Waspsting on November 18, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Ananth, I don't agree with your "specialists only" philosophy for i can see no logical basis in it.

    Real teams have all-rounders as well as specialists - why exclude them in your selections? [[ I have a single-sentence answer. Sobers and Hadlee are in my team. And many teams have no keeper-backups. Anyhow one thing I do not understand. If I have only one keeper, that is my problem. More than 80% of the selections have only one keeper. If you want you should have a back-up keeper. That is your right and privilege. Why are you questioning other people's ideas. Does not your selection have weaknesses. Ananth: ]] I accept your explanation for squad chemistry. if one's making "all time world 11s" as a norm, its churlish to make a strangling point of having 2 keepers.

    Bradman couldn't play in the same side as Lara is as good a point (better actually) than my original "if Gilly gets injured, then what your in trouble, so you need Knott too".

    Both are based on imaginative wondering.

    Let me look through comments and get back with a bit more - for my role, feel free to include the 15 from the first post

  • John Rambo on November 18, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    ctd. Although Kallis is a defensive player,his bowling is what makes him through,which gives me a 5 man pace attack.in spin conditions,replace Trueman and GPollock with Sobers and Shakib,that gives you a 4 man pace attack+3 spinners which compliment each other real well,amazing versatility! My XI to put against the team I chose:(this is NOT my team) 1.Gavaskar(o) 2.Sehwag(o) 3.Dravid 4.Tendulkar 5.Sangakarra(wk) 6.Lara 7.M Jayawardene(c) 8.Murali 9.Wasim 10.Kumble 11.Chandrasekar battle of pace vs spin,and of all-round vs specialists. My bet still is,though,that the team I chose would beat this team. yours truly, Rambo

  • charith on November 18, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    my revised team xv viv ,don, lara, sobers, sanga, sachin,s waugh,adam , hadlee , warne, murally,ambros,mcgrath,akram, holding i hope this selection will meet your given criteria. i was hoping to watch your favourite batsman bat in galle but taylor seems to have different ideas.

  • kifayat ullah khan on November 18, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    brad man richard sobers virat kohli hashim amla kumar sangakara lara hayden waseem shoaib ambrose mcgrah aamir warn ajmal [[ I am speech-less or rather word-less. Ananth: ]]

  • John Rambo on November 18, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    All right,lets say the match is played in England,take my england XI and add to it Imran,Waqar,Holding and Shakib al hasan. Final XV(assuming match in england)(post this squad) 1.hobbs 2.bradman(with stats like his,I would like him where he could do the most) 3.GPollock 4.Kallis 5.Sobers 6.Imran Khan(c) 7.Boucher(wk) 8.Warne 9.Marshall 10.Trueman 11.Thommo

    back-ups 12.Richards 13.Holding 14.Waqar 15.Shakib al hasan

    I think Shakib is very underrated as a player,being from an extremely weak country,managing to snare no.1 allrounder...and hes only 25!I thimk he could replace Sobers very nicely if needed. these are my 15,although I would be uncomfortable with them in subcontinent,still I think they would do OK. I very much wanted to include Dravid and Sanga but I think those 2 players are more suited to weaker teams where you have a chance of losing wickets,however in a strong team like this,no need to defend,you can just destroy them! ctd

  • manish on November 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    Hobbs Bradman Lara viv Richards POllock Ponting GILCHRIST GLenn McGrath Ambrose Botham Akram Warne waqer sir Richard Arvinda de silva

  • Vimalan on November 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    I know we are not supposed to question or discuss other's selections. I also understand your preference of Lara over other batsmen. However, just curious to know why we have to leave out Gavaskar who has done very well in India, his home conditions, to accommodate Lara who doesn't have that great a record in India that too by pushing Sachin to open which really is not his preferred position anyway. that doesn't seem very logical to me.

  • Sumit Jain on November 18, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    XV of Sumit

    Batsmen: Greenidge, Gavaskar, Lara, Kallis, Sachin, Viv Richards, Sobers

    Wicket keeper: Gilchrist(undoubtedly)

    Bowlers: Marshall, Ambrose, Akram, Warne, Muralitharan, Steyn, Hadlee

    Tried to come up with competitive 15...n it doesnt look so bad...

  • Raj on November 18, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    I LIKE I LIKE

    "Ambrose is the ultimate bowling match-winner. If my life depended on dismissing the other team for below 100, my bowlers would be Ambrose, Wasim and Waqar. I would expect them to bowl 25 overs between them, capture 10 wickets and I would be alive to shake their hands. Ananth"

  • Kanu on November 18, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Alright. My fault as did not notice the period restriction point in guidelines. I have reviewed my list according to the guidelines set. Please accept.

    Sunil Gavaskar (ASIA, WI, NZL, AFR) Matthew Hayden (ASIA, WI, AUS, NZL, ENG) Jack Hobbs (AUS, ENG, AFR) Rahul Dravid (ASIA, ENG, NZL) Donald Bradman (ALL) Sachin Tendulkar (ALL) Brian Lara (WI, AUS, AFR) Jacques Kallis (ALL) Adam Gilchrist (ALL) Shane Warne (AUS, NZL, ENG, WI, ASIA) M. Murlidharan (ASIA, AFR) Wasim Akram (ALL) Alan Donald (AFR, ENG) Glenn McGrath (ALL) Curtly Ambrose (WI, AUS, NZL)

  • Jay on November 18, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Agree with you on most of the selection. I think, 6 bowlers will be enough & Hadlee can make way for Kallis. So, just one change.

    Bradman, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Tendulkar, Kallis, Gilchrist, Ambrose, Marshall, McGrath, Muralitharan, Warne, Wasim Akram.

    Moreover, you may have selected Lara on most places, I may not do the same. Richards or Sachin would be more preferable on most places. However, you have your own likes... :)

  • Ram on November 18, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Ram's XV

    Sunil Gavaskar Len Hutton Don Bradman Graeme Pollock Brian Lara Gary Sobers Sachin Tendulkar ------ Adam Gilchrist ------ Malcolm Marshall Dennis Lillee Richard Hadlee Imran Khan Muthiah Muralitharan Shane Warne Erapalli Prasanna

  • Jomesh George on November 18, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    There are always comparisons between great players.Bradman with Hobbs,Sobers with Kallis,Lara with Sachin,Imran with Botham and Warne with Murali.But one player who has never compared with another was the great Viv Richards because he was so unique.What he achieved for him and his team during his era was amazing and beyond imagination.A 56 ball century in a test for an early declaration,189 in an ODI match (92 of them in a last wicket stand) 138 in a WC final(1979)from a desparate position a T20 kind of innings to win a rain affected test against India and so many.He was always swimming against the flow and performed big in bigger occasions.I believe Viv should be included not only in the greatest test and ODI XV's but also in the greatest T20 XV along with Gayle Jayasurya Gilchrist Watson etc.

  • lucky strike on November 18, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    the 15

    hobbss (only in england) gavaskar (not in england) hutton (all conditions) bradman (all conditions) tendulkar (all conditions) lara (not in swinging conditions like england/saf) richards (only in england) sobers (all conditions) gilchrist (all conditions) khan (subcontinent) marshall (all conditions) warne (not in india) ambrose (not in subcontinent) murali (not in australia) mcgrath (all conditions)

    apologies to headley but great batsman though he was, a lot of runs were scored against 2nd or 3rd string mcc teams. pollock, very good but too few tests in too few conditions (might as well have had hussey after 20 odd tests!) hadlee, but imran was as good a bowler and a much better batsman. akram, excellent but there were quite a few better bowlers ie variety for variety's sake not important. lillee -- too many wickets in home conditions (about 70 percent, if memory serves), not such an amazimg record in england either, compared to mcgrath. kallis, just one word -- sobers.

  • Engle on November 18, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Alan Edgar - finally a poster who know's his cricket

    Hobbs and Sutcliffe is the tried and true partnership - I would have very little to quibble about. The only reason for SMG to displace Sutcliffe would be to cover another era, where 4 man pace attacks ran amok. SMG would have that experience over Sutclffe.

    Gilchrist is the greater cricketer than Knott, but Knott is the better fit. The only reason I had Gilly as reserve is in case Knott got injured or if an opener got injured, where Gilly as a LH batsman with much opening experience, albeit in ODI's could step in.

    Continuing in the vein of teamwork and partnerships, G.Pollock would make the perfect partner to Bradman. Tall, powerful, LH, and a natural #4, he could possibly usurp Lara, Richards and Sobers for the perfect partner to DGB

    And Barnes. I would venture to say that of all the past bowlers, he is the one I would most want to watch. There was never another like him since.

  • Alan Edgar on November 18, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Keeper & Bowlers:

    Knott Imran Akram Marshall Lillee Barnes Murali Warne

    Knott may average 15 less than Gilchrist, but his keeping was way ahead and Gilchrist's runs are less important when the top 6 is as good as this one will be.

    Imran would be a handy 7 but even without that makes the squad on ability and force of will.

    Akram being a lefty poses a different challenge, and his control of swing and pace make him a redoubtable adversary.

    Marshall and Lillee would open in my all-time XI in most conditions - aggressive and skilful. Any queries over Lillee's lack of playing time in Asia are repelled by mentioning Bradman, universally rated as the best despite not having the chance to play all over the world in Tests.

    Barnes took 7 wkts a Test when hardly anyone else with 100+ has taken 5 - unplayable at times.

    Spinners complement each other as offie and leggie, but both stand head and shoulders above the rest in this department.

    Looking forward to the results of this !

  • Alan Edgar on November 18, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Batsmen:

    Hobbs Sutcliffe Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Pollock

    Openers should know how to bat with each other as a good start will make the job of the rest easier - Hobbs & Sutcliffe have by far the best Test average as a partnership and Sutcliffe never dropped below 60 in his career. Gavaskar very close but some of the attacks he got his big scores in WI against weren't that great.

    Bradman - no explanation needed.

    Lara - lots of 200+ scores and even some of those less than that (like the 153 v Oz) were sensational.

    Richards - dominance personified athough perhaps lucky not to have to face his own attack ?

    Sobers - gets in as a pure batsman although I have also taken into account his skills as bowler & fielder since this XI has to play a 2nd XI almost as good, so all cricketing qualities have been assessed.

    Pollock - as dominant as Richards, his lack of Tests compared to Sachin not a problem given what he achieved in those he did play.

    Keeper and bowlers discussed in next post.

  • Clive Young on November 18, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    I've been watching cricket since 1979 and these are the guys I admire most in their department and position therefore it was easy for me to pick a world 15

    Viv Richards Allan Border Gordon Grinnidge Graham Gooch Brian Lara Tendulkar Gavaskar Mark Taylor

    Gilthrist

    Murali Mcgrath Ambrose Marshall Garner Akram [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Vimalan on November 18, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    Vimalan's XV

    Openers

    1. Hobbs (1st choice) 2. Gavaskar (1st choice) 3. Len Hutton (reserve)

    Middle Order

    4. Bradman (all countries) 5. Tendulkar (all countries) 6. Sobers (all countries) 7. Greg Chappell 8. Viv Richards

    WK 9. Gilchrist (auto selection)

    Bowlers 10. Marshall 11. Ambrose 12. McGrath 13. Hadlee 14. Warne 15. Garner

  • love goel on November 18, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    As Ananth has put a date of 12/31 to finally submit a team, I am still reviewing my choices. Right now,trying to find more about Frank 'Typoon' Tyson. See how good he was . Whether even after playing less than 20 matches , can he be considered better than players who played 100 matches.

    Most people prefer Gilchrist as the keeper. But where does Andy Flower stands in comparison. One played in a team which never lost , another in team in which never won!! How to you comapare and choose? [[ Personal preferences. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on November 18, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    @Bolll @Barrie

    Bond for me remains a wonderful fast bowler , who unfortunately who could not play more games. But whenever he played he was awesome, He could lift the NZ team single handedly.

    His strike rate is 4 best of all bowlers after 2 who played in 1880's and Philandar who strike rate is bound to be corrected soon

    Bond performance in 2 tests against Australia is bad. But you have to understand they were his debut matches. He did destroyed australian top order again and again in ODI and there is no reason to believe he could not do do again.

    I always have Bond in my team. You want to see magic, Bond is your guy.

  • mohan on November 17, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    B Richards Hutton Bradman Tendulkar Greame Pollack Sobers Andy Flower Mcgrath Grimmett Thomspon Brett Lee Garner Trueman Warne Larwood

  • Lalith on November 17, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Sehwag B Richards (both can make a century in a session) Bradman (Gaurentee performance, even failure fetches 50) Tendulkar (Successfully Faced most types of bowlers on all types of pitches. Can be agressive or defensive based on situation. No apparent Weakness) Kallis (can steady the ship along with tendulkar on tougher pitches) Richards (can take advantage of the starts. Demorlises bowlers like sehwag) Ian Healy (specialist) Ambrose (Fearsome attacking yet accurate and economical) Brett Lee ( consistent fast attacker. Nobody else whom I have seen bowled fast till his retirement) Wasim ( variation) Muralitharan ( based on pure stats like bradman and Tendulkar)

    Sobers (Replacement for any of the middle order) Imran (Replacement for any of the fast bowlers. Can inspire the team) Warne ( can replace murali in Aus, Pak and Eng) Holding (very fast )

  • sam on November 17, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    Sam's Team

    Victor Trumper Len Hutton Don Bradman Sachin Tendulkar Greame Pollack Sobers Gary Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Waqar Younis Dale Steyn Shane Warne

    Jack hobbs Hadlee McGrath Dennis Lille

    Reasons:

    Victor trumper attaker and the best before hobbs. Hutton has knack of big scores along with Bradman who on an average scores 100. Sachin tendulkar for his 40+ consistent record in all 9 countries + the way he can temper his innings based on requirment, either defense or offense. Greame Pollack, Gilchrist and sobers their attacking style at 5 and 6. Waqar and Steyn for pace and wicket taking ability. Imran for his captaincy and shrewd bowling skills. Warne for his attacking leg spin where he tasted success in most countries.

  • Kanu on November 17, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    And here is my girlfriend's 15. The 15 she would stop to watch; although I must say her reasons go beyond the cricketing talents. Here is her list:

    Nathan Astle Graeme Smith Jacques Kallis Stephen Fleming Steve Waugh Johnty Rhodes Chris Cairns Kapil Dev Mark Boucher Daniel Vettori Irrfan Pathan Wasim Akram Brett Lee Shane Bond Glen McGrath

  • Kanu on November 17, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    With due respect to the Gods of past, I would include only the cricketers I have seen batting and bowling myself. Moreover, I am more aware of today's environmental factors affecting the game and cricketers. I am not implying that cricketers I have watched playing are better or face more difficult circumstances, its just that I cannot fully appreciate the old greats without being in their times. The locations for matches are ASIA (Ind, SLK, PAK, UAE, BAN), AUS, NZL, AFR (SAF, ZIM), ENG, and WI and my list is:

    V. Sehwag (ASIA, WI, AUS, NZL) Matthew Hayden (ASIA, AUS, NZL, AFR, ENG) Graeme Smith (WI, AFR, ENG) Ricky Ponting (AUS, NZL, AFR, WI) Rahul Dravid (ASIA, ENG) Sachin Tendulkar (ALL) Brian Lara (ALL) Jacques Kallis (ALL) Adam Gilchrist (ALL) Shane Warne (AUS, NZL, ENG, WI, ASIA) M. Murlidharan (ASIA, AFR) Wasim Akram (ALL) Alan Donald (AFR, ENG) Glenn McGrath (ALL) Curtly Ambrose (WI, AUS, NZL)

    P.S.: Sorry Bradman! [[ I thank you for the time spent and have published your comment. However I am unable to take the entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • mohammad hassan on November 17, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    ananth: I would like,if possible,if you could do a simulation between the 2 teams I posted now and publish the results,preferably in a post about associate teams. Looking forward to the next blog! thanks MoHa

  • Vijay K on November 17, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Vijay: Hobbs Hutton Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Barrington Miller Ames Marshall Barnes Grimmet -------------- Warne Imran Gilchrist Gavaskar

  • John Rambo on November 17, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    ananth: Tell me where the match will be played and then I can give you a world XV. [[ You may need to know the location to finalize a starting XI not a XV. Ananth: ]]

  • mohammad hassan on November 17, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    Just for fun,a few limited XI's Associate/affiliate XI: 1.Paul Stirling(ire)attacking option 2.Chetan Suryawanshi(singapore)read shmulik's post to see how amazing this guy is 3.Mohammed Shahzad(afg)(wk)best wk-batsman in associate cricket 4.Steve Tikolo(kenya)top batsman for most of his career 5.Nawroz Mangal(afg)(c)selected purely as a captain,a great one 6.Ryan ten Doeschate(ned)best associate all-rounder(besides maybe suryawanshi) 7.Raymond van Schoor(namibia)great player 8.Shakti Gauchan(nepal)most economical spinner associates have 9.Boyd Rankin(ire)provides height and bounce 10.Hamid Hassan(afg)sheer pace 11.Shapoor Zadran(afg)seam option please respond

    Zim/bang XI: 1.Tamim Iqbal 2.Vusi Sibanda 3.Hamilton Masakadza 4.Andy Flower 5.Shakib al Hasan 6.Sean Ervine 7.Grant Flower/Mortaza 8.Mushfiqur Rahim/Tatenda Taibu(wk) 9.Mahmudullah 10.Chris Mpofu 11.Heath Streak Batting is strong all the way down to 9.Ervine could be a 5th bowler while Mahmudullah/Shakib take care of spin.

  • John Rambo on November 17, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    I think that to know a real XI/XV we would need to know the conditions,ex.in eng/aus the squad would have Bradman,Hobbs,Trueman and virtually no 2000 players,however in subcontinent I think prewar players would fail.therefore I have gone for 2 teams,1 for eng/aus/sa/(wi),the other for anywhere else. Eng/Aus/SA/NZ/(WI) XI: Hobbs(o) Sobers Bradman(o) GPollock Richards(c) Kallis Gilchrist(wk) Warne Marshall Trueman(in eng,otherwise holding) Thommo

    In subcontinent/zimbabwe/anywhere else:(maybe in Israel,Shmulik) Gavaskar(o) Sehwag(o) Dravid Tendulkar Sangakarra(wk) Kallis Imran Khan(c) Murali Waqar/Wasim Kumble Chandrasekar In the 2nd team Imran and Kallis could support Wasim/Waqar 3 spinners in a dustbowl sounds right,Warne wasnt good in subcontinent so kumble and chandra come in

    Please dont overwrite my 1st team(the exciting one),post them both [[ I will post all teams but have no idea what to push into the mix. Probably nothing. The need is to select an all-time World XV. You should attempt that. Ananth: ]]

  • John Rambo on November 17, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    My excitement XV: Gayle Sehwag Dilshan Imran Khan(c) Tendulkar Viv Richards Lara Gilchrist(wk) Waqar Wasim Warne Murali Marshall Thommo Holding

    This is NOT my best XV,however we were asked to make an XV that the gods would stop to watch and this XV the gods would not be able to stop watching!We dont know how exciting the old timers were so they didnt make the cut. Tendulkar,Laxman,Imran provide stability Wish I could include Afridi,Warner,Watson,Dhoni,Pollard,Dananjaya,Steyn!hopefully in a couple of years.....

  • bprasad01 on November 17, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    bprasad01 selection:

    Only 2 changes:

    Batting: Have brought in Dravid instead of Tendulkar. Less attacking than Tendulkar but with Bradman, Richards and Gilly there, it is not an issue. But provides more stability and can open better. Can also keep wickets in emeregency (not a key criteria though).

    Bowling: Have added Kumble as an additional bowler as he is better in India and some other countries. He takes place of Richard Hadlee. Also, would play 2 specailist spinners (Kumble and Murali in Sub continent) and only 2 fast bowlers. Sobers can bowl his faster ones and spin as need be.

    Bradman, Gavaskar, Hobbs, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Dravid,

    Gilchrist

    Ambrose, Marshall, McGrath, Muralitharan, Warne, Kumble, Wasim Akram

  • Taslim on November 17, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    CONTD..

    11 G. Mcgrath (Classic, Avg less than 22 and good economy rate) You cannot accommodate more than 11 in one team at a time. Some of the well know players who only played in two or three countries, so if the match is in srilanka or Pakistan or India. I would put Murali and Warne to bowl. Such players,I would love them to be in the opponent team. Also, I have not picked any of the pre-war players as i dont think it is possible to judge pre-war players in comparison to post-war players as cricket has changed significantly since then. Thanks

  • Taslim on November 17, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    @Boll, Not surprised by your comments after reading your other interference in almost most of the messages. So NO COMMENTS.

    @Ananth, I shall try to justify my selection. Since there was a limitation of 15 members squad so some of the well knows player were skipped. 1 S.Watson (Will play as a AR,Agg.batsman & exc. bowling avg and econ.) 2 S.Gavaskar (Solid defence, Avg more than 50 & more than 10000 runs) 3 B.Lara (Left hander, Avg more than 50 & more than 10000 runs) 4 R.Dravid (WALL , Avg more than 50 and more than 10000 runs 5 J.Kallis (Genuine Allrounder, Avg more than 50 & more than 10000 runs) 6 V.Richards (Most destructive batsman, Avg more than 50) 7 AB Divilliers(wkt) More dependable than my fav gilly, Avg almost 50 & highest score of 278 n.o) 8 W.Akram (Best Left Arm bowler, Avg less than 24 & good econ rate) 9 S.Warne (A Greatest Spinner, Avg less than 26 & good economy rate.) 10 M.Muralidharan (Best Off spinner and highest wicket taker,Avg less than 24) 11 G.Mcgrath CONTD.

  • Ravi on November 17, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    Boll, Raghav, Ananth, Wanted my post to reflect my thought process. After all what is written with interest is read with interest. Here is a clearer list.

    Ravi's XV Pos1- Gavaskar (all venues). Pos2- Hayden (in Aus,Ind,NZ,Pak,SL,WI), Hobbs (in Eng,SAf). Pos3- Bradman (in Aus,Ind,Eng,NZ,SAf), Javed(in Pak,WI), Dravid (in SL). Pos4- Javed (in Aus,SAf,SL), Dravid (in Eng,Ind,NZ,Pak,WI). Pos5- Lara (in Aus,Eng,NZ,SAf,SL,WI), Javed (in Ind,Pak). Pos6- Sobers (in Aus,Eng,Ind,NZ,SAf,WI), Lara (in Pak,SL). Pos7- Gilchrist (all venues) WK. Pos8- Garner (all venues). Pos9- Marshall (in Aus,Eng,Pak,SAf,WI), Imran (in ind,NZ,SL). Pos10-Lillie (in Aus,NZ,SAf,WI), Imran (in Eng,Pak), Kumble (in Ind,SL). Pos11-Murali (all venues).

    Total players selected = 15.

    Summary- Gavaskar, Hobbs, Hayden, Bradman, Dravid, Javed, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Garner, Marshall, Lillie, Imran, Kumble, Murali.

    Thought of O'Reilly,Barnes,SRT,Viv,Akram but ultimately decided against them.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 17, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Aditya's Romantic XV - please feel free to replace my previous list with this one: Hobbs Trumper Grace Bradman Headley Sobers Graeme Pollock Gilchrist Learie Constantine Keith Miller Larwood Lillie Akram Rhodes O'Reilly

  • Sarath on November 17, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Selection of Sarath Chandra 1. Leonard Hutton 2. Jack Hobbs 3. Sunil Gavaskar 4. Don Bradman 5. Sachin Tendulkar 6. Garfield Sobers 7. Vivian Richards 8. Adam Gilchrist (k) 9. Shane Warne 10.Muttaiah Muralitharan 11.Dennis Lillee 12.Malcolm Marshall 13.Wasim Akram 14.Glenn McGrath

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    I do think that one thing which often goes missing here is attention to batting order, team balance. I imagine quite a few of us looked at left/right batting/bowling balance, or off-break/leg break balance (or left-arm orthodox, and nice to see the great Bishen Bedi getting some mentions here) - it can really change things.

    I`ve also been surprised by some people talking about players (such as Kallis) who can apparently cover all positions in the top 6. Kallis opening the batting for the all-time World XI? Coming in as a counter-attacking No.6? Even though I didn`t pick him, I `m a big believer in playing people in position. There is a huge difference between batting at No.3 as opposed to No.5, let alone opening the batting.

    Another thing we (I) tend to forget is a balanced fielding side - players like Sobers, Richards, Ponting would really make a difference. Warne`s fielding, in a specialist position, is a big plus - albeit for a bloke who`s probably going to be picked anyway... [[ I have seen that quite a few people have selected Sehwag. Today his fielding was straight from Marx brothers. A spinner's delivery through slips was gaining yards on Sehwag until it finally stopped and 3 runs were taken. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    @Aditya - love the team, and there`s a touch of ageless balance about it which brought a smile to my face. Wish I`d been able to find space for Hutton, Headley, and O`Reilly in mine (not to mention Imran and Larwood).

    I think the differences between many of the players mentioned here are so slight that it`s almost a toss-up. I do think that if I could have the first 3 choices (Bradman, Sobers, Marshall) I`d give the next man his choice of XI before choosing my last 8 and win more often than not.

  • olden days on November 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    I went with batsmen from the past due to uncovered pitches and very different bats and more recent bowlers from the professional era:

    Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Sobers Headley Hutton Weekes Imran Khan Walcott Wasim Akram Ambrose Marshall McGrath Murali Warne

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    @Taslim, glad it`s only a hobby mate - that`s woeful stuff.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 17, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Aditya's XV:

    Hobbs Hutton Bradman Headley Tendulkar Lara Sobers Gilchrist Imran Marshall Larwood Barnes Ambrose O'Reilly Warne

  • Som on November 17, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    When excluding players from a previous era, the only question one should ask is, were they not pushing the enveloping enough out of their own free will, and do players from the current era do so because they 'purely' want it and are not pressurized by the current eras growth or competitive demands. An example of this is Richards as a batsman. Transformative. Jayasuriya - Changed the way ODI's are played. Jayasuriya may not get picked up in an all time ODI XV, but he proves that during the time that he played, it was an era which tried to change the game and push the envelop. And therefore, players in his era need to be recognized when selecting an all time team. Regarding Barnes, consider this question, were there others who took equivalent amount of wickets against say with a better average? If not, he couldn't have done better. And the normalization factors have ensured that he comes 2nd only to Imran in the best decade analysis. Its hard to expect anything more from the player. [[ If I were selecting an all-time England XI, Barnes would be the first bowler in. However this is an all-time World XI. Who do I replace Barnes with. McGrath, No. Hadlee: not with Hadlee's away performance in Australia, almost inarguably the best ever away bowling performance by a bowler. During 1901-14 period, Blythe had 100 wickets at 18.6. Trumble had 78 wkts at 18.7. Saunders had 79 wickets at 22.7. Noble had 89 at 25. Ananth: ]]

  • Taslim on November 17, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Nice article, infact this is my hobby since last many years. I write team on a peice of paper and keep with me. Test team XI, Current Test team XI, One day XI , T20 XI etc. Great to see your team, but this is my Test team. I have inculuded one stand by keeper as well.Shall beat your team on any day.

    Team Tiger 1 S.Watson 2 S.Gavaskar 3 B.Lara 4 R.Dravid 5 J.Kallis 6 V.Richards 7 AB Divilliers(wkt) 8 W.Akram 9 S.Warne 10 M.Muralidharan 11 G. Mcgrath

    12 H.Amla (stand by batsman) 13 K.Sangakkara (stand by wicket keeper) 14 S.Pollock (stand by allrounder/bowler) 15 G.Sobers (stand by allrounder)

  • Dinesh on November 17, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    COnt..

    Bowlers:

    Malcolm Marshall: Could take more wickets than a spinner in India. That says it all about him.

    Sir richard hadlee: His performance in Australia says it all. A WPT of more than 5.Enough said.

    Michael holding: Need that express Quick bowler to ruffle up the batman and they dont come any better than Holding.

    Wasim Akram : Just for moments like these http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFOjvZaXeQ8

    Spin:

    Shane Warne: Everywhere except Pakistan and West indies Murali: In west indies and Pakistan.

    Keepers: Gilly hands Down.

    IN my team: Bradman, Gilly and Sobers and Hadlee are a Shoo in.

  • Hamza Ahmed Khan on November 17, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    When it comes to the bowlers, its very difficult to choose as alot of them have equally impressive records with more or less the same levels of success and destruction. I dont think exclusing any1 out is an insult to them.

    I'd agree with Ambrose being present in all conditions, too good to be left out. I have included Trueman for the fearsome factor. I was tempted to include Larwood (1000+ country wkts at 17avg, but went with Lillee because of his all-round success around the world. Also, Richard Hadlee was too big a giant to be left out, though Imran makes it to XI for his penetration on unhelpful tracks!

    My team again : Hammond Gavaskar Bradman Lara Pollock Sobers Ames Imran Warne Ambrose Trueman

  • Hamza Ahmed Khan on November 17, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Les Ames also was a terrific batsmen of his time, having an average of 40+ in the 1930s was terrific, not to forget his firstclass career has more than a hundred centuries. I think I have enough reasons to select Ames ahead of Gilly.

    I'd always pick G Pollock in my team,wsnt easy not pickin Sachin, but I just cudnt drop Viv Lara Sobers Pollock. I also regret not including G Headly. But he played only against 2 teams. (cont.)

  • Hamza Ahmed Khan on November 17, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Les Ames also was a terrific batsmen of his time, having an average of 40+ in the 1930s was terrific, not to forget his firstclass career has more than a hundred centuries. I think I have enough reasons to select Ames ahead of Gilly.

    I'd always pick G Pollock in my team,wsnt easy not pickin Sachin, but I just cudnt drop Viv Lara Sobers Pollock. I also regret not including G Headly. But he played only against 2 teams. (cont.)

  • Hamza Ahmed Khan on November 17, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Very interesting article Ananth.

    Hamza's selection :

    Wally Hammond Sunil Gavaskar Don Bradman Brian Lara Graeme Pollock Garry Sobers Les Ames (WK) Imran Khan Shane Warne Curtly Ambrose Fred Trueman

    Bench: Vivian Richards Muttiah Murlitharan Richard Hadlee Dennis Lillee

    I am tempted to nominate Shane Warne as captain, but because of no prior test experience, I'll have to go with Imran Khan.

    Probably the biggest question must be over Les Ames. Well, I think when you have those 6 names in the batting, you may not need a world-beating batting wicketkeeper in the form of Gilchrist. Les Ames, was the best wicketkeeper as written about by many writers, including the Wisden. I have read extensively on Bodyline, where Les Ames featured n to keep wickets successfully being Jardine's preferred choice, with unpadded gloves against fearsome bowlers such as Larwood, Voce n Bowes, n Verity on uncovered wickets required special skill (cont)

  • Dinesh on November 17, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Aah.. The article we have been waiting for.

    Here is my XV and the reasons for the players selection:

    Openers: Will have 3 in My Squad,Opening is a specialist position and can't expect Stop gap SRT or dravid.

    Sir Jach Hobbs: No brainer Sunil Gavaskar: Everywhere except England.Average england record. Len Hutton:Everywhere Except India.He dint play a Game in India.

    Middle Order: Don Bradman: No comments even though he dint played in only two countries.He would have still averaged the same if not more. Tendulkar : All countries. He has to be in my XI. Lara: All countries except England and in India. Ponting: In England. Viv Richards: All countries Except Pakistan.

    All rounders: Gary Sobers: The best all round cricketer ever.If any doubts please read what Bradman said about him.

    COnt...

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    @Raghav/Ananth, I`d like to reconfirm my very strong agreement with Ananth`s criterion - select your 15 after giving due consideration to every test player. I don`t think Ananth has put any `constraints` on selection at all really - those constraints seem to have been self-imposed by selectors, and have generally taken one of the following forms;

    1) I`ve only been watching cricket since 19xx, so I`m only choosing a team from that period onwards.

    2) Cricket has changed so much since 19xx, so...

    3) Modern cricketers are obviously so much better, so...

    4) Player x didn`t play in countries y and z, so I`m only considering people that did.

    I`m not convinced that any of these arguments are justifications for not considering a player for selection.

    Yes, all of these arguments make the selection process more difficult. How do we compare George Headley (22 tests over 23 years, ave 60) with Sachin Tendulkar (190 tests in the same period, ave 55)? Well, we should at least do our best.

  • MMI on November 17, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Selection of MMI Hobbs Sehwag Bradman Lara Javed Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Imran Khan Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Shane Warne

    I have largely agreed with you. [[ I will be the first person to agree that Javed was, in many circumstances, as good as or better than Richards. Ananth: ]] My only changes are to bring in Javed for Richards, Javed was exceptional against spin and would play all games in the subcontinent and would do well in NZ and England also. Javed's strength costs him in places like RSA, Aus and WI. Javed kept his hands low when facing the spinners which allowed him to play them well, on bouncy pitches he'd struggle. Imran for Hadlee, again Imran could play in the subcontinent. he would be a shoe-in in England and would do well in WI too. Waseem stays in as someone (probably you, Anantha) stated above his being a left armer helped him. My third change my provoke the most controversy, Shewag in for Gavaskar. I grew up as a Gavaskar fan but Sehwag can just break bowling attacks. an hour of sehwag ont he first morning of a test and you have bowlers wanted to be batsmen;)

  • Raghav Bihani on November 17, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    @Ananth: Where is Ravi's team that you managed to figure out? I cannot go beyond the bowlers nd wk. [[ Yes, you are correct. I also only "cut and pasted". There are more than 15 players in the mix. Ravi has to sort it out. Ananth: ]] On another note, I feel you are being harsh on some team selections. There is something that has ensured that only modern bowlers are being selected by most including yourself. I am also guilty of the same. All of your bowlers have major careers after 1980 and none retired before 1990. Earliest debuts are 1973-Hadlee and 1978-Marshall and then all after 1985. I am not accusing of bias but the list like many others is gravitating towards modern bowlers. Wicketkeeper is also a player of 2000s, though again few would bet against him. Any tribute to old times comes from Bradman, Sobers and Hobbs. Out of these 2 select themselves and are a no brainer. Thus most of us including myself stand guilty. Ananth, I have no doubt that you considered all players, but ultimately Hobbs is the only old-timer in the list Bradman and Sobers hardly need selection). Same is the case with my team. [[ I am confused. Do you think I should not put in any constraints and take any XV that is given. Then should I also accept Mani's XV (incl Noel David). Or XVs which exclude my selections. Or selections which clearly exclude 50-60-70 years. Or HP's selection, if he could do it, of post-2000 players only. After all I have over 100 entries and I have asked 2 of them to confirm their selections which they can do. I have asked 3 of them to re-submit for reasons I have explained. That is all. Re my selections, I have taken over 15 days doing that. While in hospital I finalized in my mind Hobbs/Gavaskar/Hutton/Sutcliffe as opener candidates. But finally I had to give up one and accommodate the extra middle order batsman. I knew about Barnes' lopsided hauls. I knew about Hammond's high scores against weak opposition. Incidentally almost all modern batsmen, barring Lara, have got these cheap runs. However some of the readers might have taken 15 minutes to finalize their XV and I needed a confirmation. If I accept whatever comes in, then what is the difference between my method and some other all-entries-acecpted selections. Anyhow what is preventing Barnes, Davidson, Grimmett and Verity being selected. Not my constraints. In fact I am suggesting that the readers must look at the early periods carefully. Incidentally Balu has selected Amla. Then when I see that he has Bradman, Sobers, G Pollock in his team I realize that he has gone over the entire period. So I have accepted his team. I have accepted Paul's Bradman-free team because of the extent of his basis as narrated by him. The ball is in your and the other readers' court. I will go by what you guys suggest. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    @Barrie-John - I was a huge fan of Shane Bond, wonderful fast bowler. However I think you might be confusing his ODI performances vs Aus (44 wickets in 17 matches, ave.16, SR.24) where he did destroy the Oz top-order on a regular basis, with his test performances against them (3 wickets in 2 tests - Hobart and Perth - at almost 100) although his 3 wickets were S.Waugh, Langer and Hayden...all for 0!

    Having said that, 87 wickets at 22 (SR.39) are seriously good figures - spread over almost a decade. It was a tragedy that he only played 18 tests. A very similar story to Typhoon Tyson really (76 wickets at 19 in 17 tests, SR.45) - both seriously fast and dynamic world-class bowlers, but not sure it`s fair on some others to include them here.

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    @Ramesh Kumar, yep fine team. I thought it was almost exactly the same as mine - went back and checked and realised there were 5 differences! I think everyone except Kallis I had typed in at some stage though...it`s a tough job

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 17, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    Ananth,

    Let me try selecting the team.

    Openers: Hobbs & Hutton: Back-up Gavaskar No3: Bradman No4 & No 5: SRT & Lara No6: Sobers, Back-up: Kallis Keeper: Gilchrist Spinners: Warne & Murali Fastbowlers: Marshall, Ambrose, Imran & Hadlee

    Bradman, Gilchrist & Marshall are my automatic choices in all locations. Lara’s record is not as consistent as SRT locationwise and hence I’d put SRT in all locations. Sadly I would let go Richards, Ponting & Wasim akram. [[ Great team. I would have been happy owning that team. Ananth: ]]

  • Barrie-John on November 17, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    My fifteen Bradman Tendulkar Kallis Sobers Sutcliffe (Herbert) Hammond Hobbs Gilchrist Warne Bond Hadlee McGrath Barnes (Sydney) Grimmett Akram

    I picked Bond because his ability to take out most of the Aussie top order was pretty much second to none. As for the rest I don't believe I need to justify any of them. I do think that having Hammond and Bradman in the same team would have been an interesting one.

  • Boll on November 17, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    @Ravi - correct me if I`m wrong, but I think you`ve selected a total of 21 players there - 4 openers, 10 middle-order players, a keeper and 6 bowlers - I think you`ve picked 15 players for each country, instead of 15 in total, am I right?

    I look at my 15, and there are still players from outside that 15 I would prefer in a particular country (eg. Jayawardene in SL, Javed in Pakistan, or Kumble, who has a vastly superior record to my spinners - Warne and Murali in India), however the limitation of 15 players in total means they have to miss out. It makes it a lot tougher... [[ No, Boll. It seems because Ravi's presentation is less impressive than his selection process. There is a "selection" hidden somewhere there. I have got the fifteen correctly. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 17, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Tamim / Hassan / Giri Nair: Your selections are not taken in since you have selected post-19xx sides. Pl select alternate teams. Yagambaran: Your selection is not taken in since you have selected a post-1970 side and thrown in Bradman. Pl select an alternate team. Ruudraza / Kiani: Pl confirm that you have not selected Bradman as conscious decision. Then only will I take your selections. Paul Sime: I have accepted your Bradman-less team since I clearly understand that it is your conscious decision. You can correct me if I am wrong. Ananth

  • Ananth on November 17, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Today we have reached a landmark. I have been able to extract the 100th team. Since there have been over 200 comments, we have a near-50% ratio until now. The comments will taper off and the valid team extractions will taper off. Time to post some reminders. - Select the best XV as far you are concerned. - Do not select competing XVs or era-based XVs. These could be posted, in addition to the main XV. - Do not limit your selection in any way. Lack of knowledge or insight cannot be cited as reason. The readers of this blog are beyond these constraints. I use Bradman as a weather-vane. If your selection includes Bradman I know that you have gone as far back as 1930s. I may do some more checks while actually transferring to the Excel sheet. If your selection does not include Bradman I need to know more. If I think that you have limited your selection to post-19xx period, I have a problem and will not accept the entry. If you have consciously decided to exclude Bradman, I need that connfirmation from you. I will then have no problem with your selection. Pedantic, semi-dictatorial, freedom-limiting, this process might be. But there are valid reasons. I need to be certain. Pl understand and co-operate. I must be certain that you have valid reasons for excluding a batsman who is 25% higher than the next best AFTER his average is cut by 25%. Having said that, let me assure the readers that all of us are in for surprises. Pl wait and see. Ananth

  • Ravi on November 16, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    Ravi's XV Openers contenders: Gavaskar,Sehwag,Hayden,Hobbs Opener selection: Gavaskar(all venues), Sehwag(in subcontinent), Hayden(in Aus,NZ,Eng,Saf), Hobbs(in Eng,Aus,WI).

    Position 3,4,5,6 contenders: Bradman, Ponting, SRT, Lara, Javed, Dravid, Sangakara, DPMD, Viv, Sobers. Pos 3,4,5,6 selection: Bradman(in Eng,Aus,NZ,SAf), SRT(in Ind,Aus), Dravid(in Eng), Ponting(in Aus,NZ,Saf), Lara(in WI, Aus), Sanga(in SL,Aus), DPMD(in SL,India), Javed( subcontinent,Aus), Viv(in Eng,WI,Aus,SAf), Sobers(in Eng,WI,Aus).

    WK: Gilchrist

    Bowler contenders: Garner, Marshall, Imran, Lillie, Murali, Warne Bowler Seln: Garner(all venues), Marshall(in Aus,Eng,SAf), Imran(in Aus,NZ,Eng,SAf), Murali(in subcontinent,Eng), Lillie(in Aus,SAf), Warne(in subcontinent,Eng).

    Note 1- Capt Imran-I feel when facing strong batting, a bowler captain is more effective. Note 2- While past performance at a venue is important, the selection must also see a player's skill vis-a-vis venue and so the likelihood of success. [[ You have been very careful in selection. Only where you are certain have you considered a player. e-g of Bradman only in countries he played in. Not a bad idea. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha Gupta on November 16, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Hi Anantha, wonderful article - probably everyone's dream to pick these 11s. While I read your articles regularly I get attracted to the comment (writing) section mostly due to your non-cricketing comments (S D Burman, Rafi Sahab before) - this time Puskas and Lev Yashin. Keep going Sir. [[ Normally I would have kept greater extent of interaction. But my shoulder is crying foul, especially as it has been only 3 weeks since the surgery. Anyhow, thanks. Ananth: ]] Team name: Ani's 11 Openers: Jack Hobbs, Gordon Greenidge Middle Order (3,4,5): Don Bradman, SRT, Lara No. 6 : Allrounder - Gary Sobers Wicket Keeper: Anan Knott Four Bowlers: Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts 4 extras: Gavaskar, Viv Richards, Abdul Quadir, Malcom Marshall

    The above should be considered as my official entry (as per logic/brain/head), while below is a list of 11 that my heart says (not to be included)

    Openers: Victor Trumper, Gavaskar Middle order: Dravid, Bradman, Steve Waugh All Rounder: Gary Sobers Wicket Keeper: Gilchrist Bowlers: Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Bishan Bedi, Curtly Ambrose Extras: Barry Richards, SRT, Chandrashekhar, Joel Garner

  • Prashanth on November 16, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    Here's my 15.

    BATSMEN: 1) Don Bradman 2) Brian Lara 3) Garfield Sobers 4) Vivian Richards 5) Jacques Kallis 6) Rahul Dravid 7) Sunil Gavaskar

    WICKETKEEPER: 8) Adam Gilchrist

    BOWLERS: 9) Wasim Akram 10) Shane Warne 11) Mutthiah Muralitharan 12) Malcolm Marshall 13) Glenn McGrath 14) Richard Hadlee 15) Imran Khan

    The only left-field selections I see are Dravid and Kallis over a Sachin/Ponting or Hobbs. I haven't seen much of Hobbs but personally, Dravid and Kallis have a far better record in different playing conditions and have also contributed to more team wins than Sachin & Ponting.

  • Ranjit on November 16, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Ranjit's 15 Gavaskar Sehwag Bradman Lara Viv Richards Sobers Gilchrist Akram Marshall Murali Lillee Sachin Kallis Imran Warne

  • Venkataramesh K on November 16, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    MY XV 1. Bradman 2. Jack Hobbs 3. Dravid 4. Lara 5. Sachin 6. Sobers 7. Gilchrist 8. Wasim Akram 9. Shane Warne 10. Muralidharan 11. Curtly Ambrose

    Bench 12. Glenn McGrath 13. Kallis [[ Only 13 !!! Ananth: ]]

  • PS on November 16, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    PS's XV

    Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lara, Dravid and Tendulkar Sobers and Kallis A Gilchrist Steyn, McGrath, Hadlee Warne, Murali and Laker

  • arch on November 16, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    I must confess that your evaluation of Syd Barnes has me thinking. Considering that his record as a bowler rivals Bradman as a batsman, can I request an article analyzing his career? I think it is only fair to do that and then finally compile an all time XV. [[ Not worth doing an article analyzing SFB's career. Only two countries faced and most of the info is available in the Test Bowlers by Country analysis done a few months back. But let me say he is one who I admire a lot. It is only that the 16.xx is slightly overstated because of SFB's 86 wickets against a weak South Africa. Just as Hammond's 58.xx is devalued by the huge average of 100+ against very weak New Zealand sides. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on November 16, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    @Ananth: my mistake.

    Here's my best 15.

    Openers: Hayden, Hobbs, Gavaskar Other batsmen: Bradman, Harvey, Headley, Tendulkar Wicketkeeper: Sangakkara Fast bowlers: Ambrose, Donald, Marshall, Imran, Wasim Spinners: Saqlain, Warne [[ No problems, Vikram. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on November 16, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Very interesting article Ananth. Here's an attempt at an alternate team. There are some personal preferences (like yours) especially when there was a close call. After all, as the manager, I should be comfortable with the players in the team, right? Same rules as yours, players selected for being specialists, split of 7-1-7. However, I have chosen 3 openers with one of them (Sehwag) having the ability to cover the middle order if needed. Openers: Hayden, Gooch, Sehwag Other batsmen: Dravid, Harvey, Headley, Crowe Wicketkeeper: Sangakkara Fast bowlers: Imran, Waqar, Donald, Barnes, Pollock Spinners: Saqlain, Chandrashekhar [[ Why do you people insist on doing the very thing I do not want you to do. That too, sensible readers like you. Your criteria is "excluding my XV". To me that seems quite silly. How do I take this. Is it really the best world XV. Pl remember we are not playing a match. I am trying to get the readers' responses into an Excel sheet and work out a wonderful Readers' XV. Are you helping me in doing that. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    Ananth - I thought through the specialist vs allrounders thing and I will agree with you that 6 all time great specialist batsman and 4 all time great specialist bowlers firing at all cylinders will always produce more runs and wickets than a team where there is one or more allrounders. The only question that will then need to be addressed is utilization of lower middle order batsmen, failure rates of batsmen and bowlers and any need to supplement 4 bowlers with 5 or 6 given any slack. In short, is 5 all time great batsman and 5 alltime great bowlers, a better unit than 6 and 4. What is true for traditional teams may not be true here. And if the answer happens to be that 5 bats and 4 bowls are enough, the last spot has to go to an allrounder. Any analysis on this to see if the allrounder vs specialist theory can be quantified. [[ Overall a good idea. Only a simulation will prove or disprove this. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    (Cont...) Your best decade analysis also confirms it. Syd Barnes is definitely amongst the very best and is non-inclusion in any side should raise a flag as much as say the non-inclusion of Warne/Tendulkar/Lara/Marshall does. If its ok to overwrite my previous XV, then I would make this change to include him in place of Hadlee.

    Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Sachin Lara Sobers Kallis Gilchrist Imran Barnes Marshall McGrath Akram Warne Murali [[ No problem, Som. Excellent decision. The one reason why I did not select Barnes was the lopsided nature of his wicket s distribution. 106 wkts vs a strong Australia at 21.6. But 83 wkts vs a weak South Africa at 9.9. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Ananth - The non-inclusion of Syd Barnes by most of us has been intriguing. In fact I have regretted not including him in the XV, I had sent you earlier. Cricket might have changed, the conditions might have changed but the challenge has always remained against constraints relevant to the times. And more than anything, mental constraints, which would not had allowed many to think that it was possible to score at a certain rate, bowl at a certain pace, bat with certain kind of shots and field as we do now. Its all been a process of evaluation. One important indicator to judge a player is to see if the players career spanned a decent number of years. In pre 70s, maybe 12 years and pre WW2, maybe 10 years. And during that period, did the player play almost all the matches possible. The record that they create out of that is non-negotiable against any era and conditions and at most can be normalized, but can never be considered less than the cutoff. (Cont...)

  • Priyank Misra on November 16, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Selection of Priyank Misra: XI + IV(Reserves) in batting order: 1.Virender Sehwag 2.Sir Jack Hobbs 3.Sir Donald Bradman(c) 4.Sachin Tendulkar 5.Brian Lara 6.Sir Garfield Sobers(vc) 7.Adam Gilchrist(wk) 8.Sir Richard Hadlee 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Wasim Akram 11.Muttiah Muralitharan

    12.Sunil Gavaskar 13.Imran Khan 14.Jacques Kallis 15.Shane Warne

  • SP on November 16, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Sam's XV Hobbs Gavaskar Sobers Lara Dravid V Richards Bradman Gilchrist Warne Khan Ambrose Hadlee Garner Akram McGrath

  • Amit on November 16, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Perfect XI: Gavaskar,Bradman,Kallis,Lara,Tendulkar,Steve Waugh, Gilchrist, Warne,Muralitharan,McGrath,Wasim AKram Extras: Ponting, Dravid, Ambrose, Denis Lillee

  • Mani on November 16, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Mani's All Time Test XV:

    1) Devang Gandhi 2) Vikram Rathore 3) Sujit Somasundar 4) Jacob Martin 5) Vijay Bharadwaj 6) MSK Prasad 7) Doddanarsaiah Ganesh 8) Aavishkar Salvi 9) Nikhil Chopra 10) David Johnson 11) Jaidev Unadkat 12) Abhimanyu Mithun 13) Sharandeep Singh 14) Noel David 15) Thiru Kumaran [[ I agree they have all probably played a Test or two for India. But one thing is certain. Your selection will not get into the mix. You have had your fifteen seconds of fun. You probably needed that sitting in cold and rainy London. Next time you can either be serious or stay out. Ananth: ]]

  • randy on November 16, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    Ananth, I think what this article has done is to reduce the wanton bias that certain fans had for their favourite player(s). Now they are seeing that the really great players should be picked based on concrete cricketing facts right up to the end of their career; and not by any quantitative statistics they pile up over time; or what happened when they were in form in one or two periods of their career. For example, Bradman played until he was forty years old but was still able to destroy any attack at that old age just as when he was in his prime years; that was the same situation with Brian Lara and Garfield Sobers, Ken Barrington and and as we are now seeing from Kallis. Apart from these names we know there were "a few others". On the other hand we see players like Pontin, Tendulkar,etc are playing as if they are just learning to bat; and that is why we should not erroneously include such guys among the "super greats". [[ The one thing the great players have earned is some time to get over their down-periods. Maybe longer than others. Let us give them that. Both Ponting and Tendulkar either will come out and do well or somewhere there will quit. in all probability on their own. Ananth: ]]

  • InvisiblePJs on November 16, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    For what it's worth, my XV is as follows:

    Hayden Gavaskar Bradman Dravid Lara Border Sobers

    Gilchrist

    Lillee Marshall Ambrose Imran Khan Wasim Akram Kumble Warne

    Couple of quick justifications: Hayden over Hobbs purely for aggression factor with Sunny at the other end; Dravid over Tendulkar for versatility; Sobers over Kallis for match-winning ability rather than playing for statistics; Kumble over Murali for a far superior record in Australia (spinners graveyard)

    Apologies to Sir Viv and Graeme Pollock

  • stn on November 16, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    My X1:

    Gavasker Hutton Bradman Richards Sobers Gilchrist (wk) Imran (c) Wasim Warne Marshall Waqar

    Extras: Kallis, Lara, Sanga, Murali

  • Sharjeel on November 16, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    (cont...)

    fast bowler choices: Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshal, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Imran Khan, Curtly Ambrose, Andy Roberts, Dennis Lillee, Waqar Younis, Richard Hadlee

    spinner choices: Shane Warne, Abdul Qadir, Jim Laker

    my pick (for bowlers, not in any order): Shane Warne Malcolm Marshal Michael Holding Joel Garner Imran Khan Wasim Akram Dennis Lillee

    my final XV:

    Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Viv Richards W.G. Grace Garry Sobers Graeme Pollock Brian Lara Alan Knott Shane Warne Malcolm Marshal Michael Holding Joel Garner Imran Khan Wasim Akram Dennis Lillee

  • Sharjeel on November 16, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    interesting topic. It would be a very difficult team to beat. However, instead of picking all-rounders , i would go for specialists.

    wicketkeeper choices: Adam Gilchrist, Alan Knott, Ian Healy

    my pick: Alan Knott no doubt Gilchrist changed the wicket keeper paradigm by being a destructive batman, but i still believe Alan was a more accomplished keeper)

    Batman choices: Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers, Graeme Pollock, Brian Lara, W.G. Grace, Walter Hammond, K. S. Ranjitsinhji, Denis Compton, Clive Lloyd, Alvin Kalicharan, Hanif Mohammad, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Javid Miandad

    my pick(not in any order): Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Viv Richards W.G. Grace Garry Sobers Graeme Pollock Brian Lara (Just imagine the left and right hand combination with 4 righties and 3 lefties that would drive the opposition bowlers and captains crazy. All crowd pullers ensuring a packed stadium and a great game).

  • Dr. talha on November 16, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    I dont see a lot of Ricky Ponting in the readers teams. That's the reason why i believe, we should wait till the retirement of Sachin, Kallis & Sanga. Because if this blog was published 5 years back, i am sure a lot of the readers would have included Ponting.

  • Dr. talha on November 16, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @Ananth. I have always believed that Imran & Waqar were better than Akram in tests. Though Akram was better than both in ODI's. As far as the left arm option is concerned, i have Sobers in my line up to add that variety. Readers choosing Murali & Warne for Indian conditions should also consider that indians are absolute masters of playing spin.Thats the reason y both the greats have a very ordinary record against them. So if u are playing against india than re-think ur strategy. Considering how wasim & Shoaib bowled in 99 & how Holding, Marshal, Donald have bowled in india, i would go with extreme pace & reverse swing in india.

  • Mohit Sharma on November 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Oh btw, my playing XV will be 1. Gavaskar 2. Hobbs 3. Dravid or Miandad 4. Bradman 5. Richards or Sobers 6. Kallis (AR) 7. Gilchrist 8. Warne or Ajmal (depending on oppn. teams and conditions) 9. Walsh 10. Wasim 11. Hadlee or Mcgrath Extras Lara Sehwag Waqar Lillee Dravid/Miandad will provide adequate anchor while Don piles on the runs, then Kallis will grind them in case of a collapse before Richards and Gilly shut the doors on them!

  • Arnab on November 16, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    XV of Arnab:

    Gavaskar, Gilchrist (Wk), Bradman (C), Tendulkar, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Marshall, Warne (VC), Akram, Mcgrath; Hobbs, Imran, Hadlee, Murali.

  • Santhosh on November 16, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    I would prefer warne and murali against india in the above table

  • Mohit Sharma on November 16, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Your choice is excellent though going by the events of the past 5 years(or even more),Im convinced that Dravid is a better choice over SRT.Dravid is a much more technically accomplished batsman in all conditions(spcly NZ and ENG) & can bat longer but because you mentioned that no match saving scenario would arise,maybe SRT could be replaced by Miandad? Ok,not a match saving scenario,but what if its a very difficult batting wicket, like St. Lucia where batting is more important than scoring? Richards,SRT,gilly etc wont survive. Surely Dravid is going to be handy there,along with Gavaskar, Miandad, Inzamam and Waugh Sr? One more thing, I'd not take Murali in my side purely for the reason that you may not rank turners to assist him everywhere.Ajmal would be a better choice there! 2 questions: 1.If there was a timeless test btw pre-1985 and post 1985 era(starting careers), who would win? 2.Courtney Walsh over Ambrose?I know you are better equipped to take these dcsns, but pls some clarity? [[ Will answer both later. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on November 16, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    My top 2 revised elevens

    1.Barry Richards 1.Tendulkar 3.Bradman 4.Viv Richards 5.Brian Lara 6.Sobers 7.Gilchrist 8.Hadlee 9.Warne 10.Wasim Akram 11.Lillee

    2nd 11 1.Hobbs 2.Headley 3.Hammond 4.Graeme Pollock 5.Greg Chappell 6.Kallis 7.Imran Khan 8.Knott 9.Marshall 10.Mcgrath 11.Murlitharan.

    I have chosen the bowling combinations of Imran,Marshall,Mcgrath and Murli in one team and Lillee,Hadlee,Akram and Warne in another.Imran=Wasim,Lillee=Marshall,Mcgrath=Hadlee and Warne =Murlitharan.Kallis ,like Sobers may play a complementary role with the ball.Headley could also perform an opening role.

  • Giri on November 16, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    Steve, Kallis, Lara are no brainers as they did well against almost all type of pitches and attacks, Richards no contest for sheer presence and destructiveness.Afridi, Jayasury, Gibbs, Sehwag come close but without helmet against likes of Imran, Lillee and all make King Rich my fav. Chanders for the sheer fight for life for wicket same as Steve. Bowling was tough Warne vs Murali but on dead pitch Murali still gets turn. Marshall in dustbowls create fear :) Walsh sheer work horse poetry and intimidation mixed, Wasim sheer talent. But I vote for Hadlee for his success in even all conditions and Wasim with Marshall and Murali for final XI

    I have an emotional XV/XI to suggest no logic just sheer personal respect:

    Haynes, Srikkant, Hick, Stewart, Gower, Shastri, Gomes, Botham, Kapil, S. Pollock, Dujon, Kumble, Holding, Maninder Haynes, Srikkant, Gower, Gomes, Stewart, Shastri, Botham, Kapil, Pollock, Holding, Kumble these were people who sheer grit over skill made it above their cut

  • Dr. talha on November 16, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Few important points:

    - I chose Hayden & Gavaskar as openers in place of Hobbs & Hutton, for the simple reason, that they played in era in which all the bolwing greats played. - For e.g look at Ananth's XV. All the bowlers are from 1970-2007. And this was exactly the time when Gavaskar & Hayden played. - Plus its a great combo of aggression & defence.Both brilliant players of spin & pace. We know how Hayden stood firm when Bhajji was unstoppable in that 2001 series. He even played Murali very well. And Sunny was always rock solid in front of the pacemen of his era. Both my openers have nearly 19,000 runs at more than 50 avg, with 64 hundreds.

  • Giri Nair on November 16, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I have to say two things. One your articles have been amazing for me massive effort and dedication. Second it made me think about my favorites. It was too much. Here is list a 15. Gavaskar, Dravid, Gilchrist (3 openers/ WK and back up WK for ODI :)) Kallis, Steve Waugh, Richards, Lara, Chanderpaul, Sobers ( Steady Kallis, Waugh, Chanderpaul, Flamboyant Lara, Murderous Richards and balanced Sobers and two Kallis and Sobers can share bowling load)

    Marshall, Walsh, Akram, Warne, Murali, Hadlee (In any condition Hadlee, Warne, Murali are steady to defend and attack, Walsh and McGrath can contain and Walsh can attack also, Akram can mix anything)

    Playing XI taking peak form in Oz, Eng, NZ, Pak, WI, SA, Ind as a fixed team this will be my fav

    Dravid, Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Richards, Lara, Kallis, Chanderpaul, Akram, Hadlee, Marshall, Murali

    Reason being Dravid in peak amassed in Oz, Eng, NZ, WI, Pak, Ind condition so did Gilly and turn around to score fast cont

  • HP on November 16, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    I respect the old legends but while selecting a team current players will win over them which is biased,so I can't.You can so kudos to you. Always want to watch Bradman,Sobers & Richards,mostly Sobers's bowling but never got a chance.

  • Anup on November 16, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Starting XI: hobbs,gavaskar,bradman,sobers,lara,kallis,gilchrist,warne,wasim akram,mcgrath,hadlee

    Subs: Boycott(backup opener) tendulkar(backup middle order batsmen) murali(backup spinner,will play on sub continent wickets in place of marshall) holding(back up fast bowler)

  • Paul S on November 16, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Ok after having my 1st entry rejected for breaking the rules here is my 2nd attempt basically an XV of players who I think will complement each other in style and offer variety. 1 Sir Jack Hobbs (Test ave of 56 as an opener not too shabby) 2 Matt Hayden (Bludgeoning attacks on all grounds at 50) 3 Geoff Boycott (Hold up the other end while Hayden makes hay) 4 Jacques Kallis (12k runs at 57 can play as a rock or attacking) 5 George Headley (The first great WI batsman ave 60 mostly against stronger opposition) 6 Graeme Pollock (Attacking flair and ave of 60) 7 Sachin Tendulkar (51 test 100's) 8 Adam Gilchrist (Game changer at 7) 9 Dale Steyn (SR 42 ave 23 280 wkt) 10 Waqar Younis (2 words "Inswinging yorker") 11 Wasim Akram (Can't pick Waqar without Wasim) 12 Shane Warne (The best spinner there was) 13 Murali (Next best) 14 Michael Holding (Whispering Death) 15 Syd Barnes (The numbers 189 at 16 every 41 balls) [[ I have looked at over 170 comments in less than two days. On top of that I have to cut and paste each qualifying entry into a work file. When I see some limiting observations I do not go further. I also use Bradman as a barometer. If I do not see Bradman in the team, there can be two reasons. One is that there has been later cut-off which I do not like. Another is that the reader genuinely does not want Bradman in his side. Fine. If that is what the reader consciously wants I will take the selection, as in your case. Ananth: ]]

  • lucky strike on November 16, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    very interesting article!

    one minor quibble. would have tendulkar to play in all locations instead of lara since he does have a more complete record than lara.

    and perhaps imran instead of hadlee, since he was as good a bowler, and a far better batsman. and no comparison in the charisma stakes.

  • ramarao on November 16, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Since I sent two entries in that, I thought its better to send a single X1 which would make it easy. Unfortunately it was source of confusion. As a rule, the last one overrules the first. Thanks.

  • Paul S on November 16, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    To be honest Ananth I find your rules slightly on the pedantic side . If I hadn't mentioned the fact that I had based most of my selections on players that I had actually seen play then you would have been none the wiser note the use of the words "based" and "most" at no point did I say I had restricted my selections to after a specific date. My team contained 4 players that are well before the time that I said that I started to watch test match cricket and I feel that the 15 players I selected would all merit a place in any all time greats team. But hey ho it's your blog and your rules but I feel that following your rules you might as well just pick the top 7 each of batsman & bowlers & chuck Gilchrist in the middle. You say that Hammond is not as good as his figures , how do you draw this conclusion? But I'll have another go and spread my team further across the spectrum.

  • Shafiq on November 16, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Javed Miandad Gilchrist Waqar Younis Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Imran Khan Hadlee Warne

  • MTC on November 16, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    You say at the start that you do not select players on all round ability...therefor Gilly would be pipped by Boucher as a 'keeper. Gilly has a better batting record, but as a 'keeper, Boucher was the best. Boucher was also a match winner and a never say die player. As a all rounder, Gilly would be the first choice, but as a specialised wicky, I would still go for Boucher. Furthermore, no mention on Ponting. Coming from SA, he is the enemy, but he is a legend. [[ What is the basis of saying that Boucher was better. Purely your subjective conclusion. Someone who says Knott is better than Gilchrist might not even have seen Knott keep. Finally how do you judge a keeper. Gilhrist's CpT is amazing and his Byes/Test is quite low. Ananth: ]]

  • Sifter on November 16, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Sifter's selections

    Don Bradman (c) Jack Hobbs Len Hutton Brian Lara Ricky Ponting Garfield Sobers Sachin Tendulkar Adam Gilchrist (wk)

    Curtley Ambrose Sydney Barnes Alan Davidson Imran Khan Glenn McGrath Muttiah Muralitharan Shane Warne

    Bradman was the only lock. Hobbs, Lara, Ponting, Tendulkar were the next 4 in my mind. After that it was a matter of filling in the holes in the squad. I took Hutton as a 2nd opener, and Sobers as someone who could bowl.

    Bowlers were very difficult to choose. I took McGrath, SF Barnes and Ambrose as my preferred pace trio of all-time. After that I was looking for extra skills and possible variety in selection. Alan Davidson has my vote as the best left armer of all-time, sorry Wasim - so he gets a go. Then I took Imran Khan because he could bat well and knows how to reverse the ball, the one thing I was worried about with no Wasim Akram.

    Spinners were Warne and Murali. Wish I could have done something more original!

  • ramarao on November 16, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Ramarao Gangina's XV in order:

    Gavaskar Jack Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Richards Gary Sobers Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Shane Warne Dennis Lille Richard Hadlee Sydney Barnes Muralitharan Jack Kallis Dale Steyn

    While Bradman, Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Kallis and Sobers should walk in to any team build out of Rational, its very hard to say the other 11 players when replaced another 11 ( Trumper/Hutton/hayden/sehwag for Gavaskar/hobbs, lara for richards, Marshall for Lille, donald for steyn, Miller/botham for Imran, Mcgrath for Hadlee, Grimmett/kumble for Warne/murali, Lotham for Barnes) doesn't make the team any stronger or weaker. That how good they all are. Legends. Immortals in fame and great memories they left. [[ You had already sent one entry. Why is there a second one. Is there any change. I do not have the time to compare the two entries. Ananth: ]]

  • Sifter on November 16, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    Beware of calling out people for not looking at older players Ananth - you have selected only 2 players who played before the ODI cricket era (Hobbs and Bradman) - and one of those is a given. So really only 1 of your 14 selections is an 'old' player. I'm cherrypicking a little bit as Sobers played only 1 ODI, but that cutoff point is as good as any. Where are SF Barnes? George Lohmann? Len Hutton? Ken Barrington? Alan Davidson? Bill O'Reilly? Fred Trueman? Clarrie Grimmett? Wally Hammond? Any of the 3 Ws? Herbert Sutcliffe? Neil Harvey? George Headley? Maybe even the great WG Grace? I do not mean to belittle too much, just wanted to hear your response, as surely 1 or 2 of these elderly gents might have been able to be snuck into your squad? There had been 675 Tests before the first ODI, roughly 1/3rd of all Tests - perhaps the squads should reflect that a bit better. After all if we are talking about a team to play in all conditions, what about sticky wickets? [[ 1. I never set any limit. Barnes had too many cheap wickets in his last years against South Africa. Lohmann's figures are pre-1900. 2. Three of my 15 made their debut before Test no.400. 3. I have never thought of ODIs as cut-off. You are the one bringing that concept. 4. On sticky wickets I will play with Hobbs, Gavaskar and Bradman as the fulcrum. 4. Hutton missed by a whisker against Gavaskar. It is my belief that Hammond is not as good as his figures are. 5. For every position I compared players and arrived at the final selection. I felt Akram was more attacking and incisive than Davidson. Same with Warne against Grimmett. And I would not miss Lara, Murali, Ambrose, Marshall and McGrath for anyone else. So I suggest leave it at that. Finally I am only saying this. Do not have a cut-off. Nothing else. Post-final: You have the chance to select a wonderful XV of your choice. Why would you not do that, if you have not already done so, instead of arguing on my selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Engle on November 16, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    (contd)

    Now for the bowling. Marshall leads the attack. Who best to complement him ? The tall Ambrose, a perfect foil who in partnership, would confound the best batsmen.

    Warne is automatic. Who complements him best would be Murali and Barnes. I'm going for Barnes, we need some historical representation (romanticism) for the good of the game.

    Now, for the extra 4 : 1. Murali - reasons above 2. Gilchrist - We need keepers to instill confidence in the all-star bowlers. Part-timers will not do. 3. Imran Khan - has the amazing ability to lift his game according to the occasion. As well, we may bump Sobers up, and bring Imran in seeing that DGB is akin to 2 batsmen. 4. Colin Bland - one of the finest fielders the game has known, who would field in case of injury.

    To summarize :

    01. Hobbs 02. Gavaskar 03. Bradman (c) 04. Lara 05. Richards 06. Sobers 07. Knott 08. Marshall 09. Warne 10. Ambrose 11. Barnes

    Extras: 1. Murali 2. Gilchrist 3. Imran 4. Bland

  • Engle on November 16, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    A few points to consider in picking the best XI. 1. Pick the best TEAM, not the best collection of individuals 2. Each person must bring something special to the table 3. Pick the best XI, then complement with 4 extra players

    For Openers, Hobbs and Gavaskar is the generally accepted choice. For #3, Bradman is automatic. Now, the #4 spot has to complement the greatest batsman. Tendulkar does not. Whatever he can do, DGB can do better. We need a leftie or a six-hitter. The choices are Lara, Richards, Sobers. Pollock with his LH, height and power would make a marvelous complement, but alas did not play enough. Bradman/Lara, Bradman/Richards, Bradman/Sobers in partnership. The best of one and the best of the other. What a treat ! So far, I have : 01. Hobbs 02. Gavaskar 03. Bradman 04. Lara 05. Richards 06. Sobers

    With a batting lineup like this, the keeper has to be superb behind the stumps first, batsman next. So Gilly gives way to Knott, the effervescent livewire. (contd)

  • Sumit on November 16, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    It's obvious that you've considered a lot of factors in picking your team, Anantha. It's hard to find fault with most of your selection as you've picked for most surfaces, and situations! After a while, it just comes to personal preference, and here's mine, with Lillee in for Hadlee.

    Selection of Sumit Mittal Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Lara Richards Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Gavaskar Lillee Warne [[ Sumit Excellent selection. I would be proud of that. Also I appreciate the way you have made my task easier by describing the change to my list. Ananth: ]]

  • Markus on November 16, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    W.G.Grace(a/r), J.Hobbs, D.Bradman, (2 in 1 Batsman?) S.Tendulkar, G.Sobers(a/r), I.Khan(a/r), A.Gilchrist(w/k), M.Marshall, S.Warne, C.Ambrose, M.Muralitharan. Squad to include; V.Sehwag(a/r), G.Headley, R.Hadlee(a/r), S.Barnes.

  • Markus on November 16, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    I read G.Armstrongs Top 100 Cricketers a while back & 1 surmise was seeing D.Lillee running into bowl to W.G.Grace! O.K. We're not going to see it! For W.G. to be transported to D.K.'s era & face him, you have to also consider the senario of D.K. growing up & bowling in W.G's era! Experience of the Time, Training etc. all era's are unique. The Team has to be a personal 1 & Argued to be the Best, Never proven to be! A Champion in 1 era has to be considered as a Champion in any era!!

  • Paul S on November 16, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    I've tried to go for a balance of attack and defence both within the batting line up and the bowling.The majority of my players are from the mid 1980's onwards as that is the era I started watching test cricket therefore basing my selection on players I have actually seen rather than just on their stats and reputations alone. However there are a few oldies thrown in that I feel would complement my other selections. 1 Matt Hayden 2 Sir Len Hutton 3 Sunil Gavaskar 4 Graeme Pollock 5 Rahul Dravid 6 Brian Lara 7 Sachin Tendulkar 8 Adam Gilchrist 9 Wasim Akram 10 Shane Warne 11 Dale Steyn 12 Glenn McGrath 13 Malcolm Marshall 14 Muttiah Muralitharan 15 Fred Trueman So there we go,a blend of batsman that can flay the ball all around the park whilst someone holds up the other end like their life depends on it. Gilchrist is the shoe in for wicketkeeper. The bowling a mix of miserly precision deadly pace,swing,seam and the two best spinners ever giving options for all pitches [[ Unable to take entry because of restrictions in selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Ayush Kumar on November 16, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Ayush Kumar's All-Time XV

    1. Sunil Gavaskar 2. Virender Sehwag 3. Bradman 4. Viv Richards 5. Sachin Tendulkar 6. Garfield Sobers 7. Adam Gilchrist 8. Hedley Verity 9. Shane Warne 10. Muralitharan 11. Wasim Akram 12. Malcolm Marshall 13. Dennis Lillee 14. Jeff Thomson 15. Joel Garner

    Call it the innocence of youth, but I had to forego a batsman to include Sehwag in this. I must qualify that my intention would be to only let him play in matches within the subcontinent, where the ball doesn't bounce too high. Outside the subcontinent, the Indian pair of Gavaskar and Tendulkar would walk out to open. What a sigh that would be! The two little Masters walking out together to open the batting.

  • bigtall on November 16, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    1. hobbs 2. gavaskar 3. bradman 4. tendulkar 5. richards 6. kallis 7. sobers 8. gilchrist 9. akram 10. warne 11. mcgrath 12. barnes 13. ambrose 14. marshall 15. muralitharan

  • Som on November 15, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Ananth - I know its quite impossible to think of a world XI without Bradman, but in a democratic poll, one has to accept that. I understand that the data can get skewed if a large number of users are from an era who value players only after say 70s or 80s or 90s. But there can be mathematical solution to it. Why don't you take all the recommendations and see who is the oldest player (who can genuinely be considered for the world XV) and then count the number of years from that persons debut and then apply a normalizing factor to the weight of players selected by that person. For eg: If person X chooses a team after 1970, and we see that there is person Y who has included player A who started playing from the 1910's, then the value of the team chosen by person X is 40 years / 100 years = 0.4. Or some factor like that which is non-linear. You can obviously have the curve in a way based on player era density, such that the factor could be adjusted accordingly. [[ Too complicated a solution to solve a simple problem. The readers here are not just some 20-somethings who think IPL and T20s are the greatest spectacles. Even if they are on the sub-30, they understand Test cricket. All I am asking them is to consider all the players and not have any restrictions. If a reader told me that he has considered over 100 years of Test cricket and still left out Bradman, I will take his selection. But if he told me that he has considered only post-1945 or only post-1960 players and hence has not considered Bradman, I will ignore the selection because that is being unfair to over 70 years of Test cricket. You have every right to leave out a batsman who, if you shave 25% of his average is still 25% over the next highest, but not because you have ignored over 50% of the years. Consider this as "controlled democracy". Ananth: ]]

  • Aamir Ahmed on November 15, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    First, Federer is the greatest mens tennis player. Laver comes second followed by Laver, Sampras, Borg, Nadal... Second, the 1954 Hungary and the 1958 Brazil teams are the two best teams of all time. Brazil 1970 stands no chance vs the 1958 team. Third, the pound for pound best boxers are (and always will be) Sugar Ray Robinson ,Muhammad Ali,Sugar Ray Leonard

    Okay, now to the cricket..

    Aamir Ahmed's all time XV (in no order) Gilchrist Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar Imran Khan Wasim Akram Gary Sobers Shane Warne Muralitharan Viv Richards Malcolm Marshall Brian Lara Curtly Ambrose Glenn McGrath and Waqar Younis

  • Sid Jain on November 15, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    I have decided to compose two teams which, in my limited viewing experience at least, are fairly balanced in terms of aggression and dependability.

    I've also tried to pair up players who have a history of working well together as well as fantasy pairings that would be a treat to watch. Check em out!

    First XI

    1 Gavaskar 2 Hutton 3 V. Richards 4 Graeme Pollock 5 Tendulkar 6 Kallis 7 Sangakkara 8 Hadlee 9 Warne 10 Ambrose 11Marshall

    12th: Dravid 13th: A. Donald 14th: I. Botham

    This is easily the more aggressive of the two teams, but I've tried to include the stabilizing power right at the top to provide a solid base for the more flamboyant middle order to flay the attack once the openers have worn them out. :D

    Second XI

    1 Sutcliffe 2 Hobbs 3 Bradman 4 Lara 5 Sobers 6 W. Hammond 7 Gilchrist 8 Akram 9 Younis 10 McGrath 11 Murali

    12th: Kumble 13th: Imran Khan 14th: B. Richards

    Alternatively, this one's the team to post high scores on a regular basis and impose follow ons. :P [[ Again you have not addressed the problem put. While the need was to select ONE XV you have selected two. I am going to take a chance and take the second XV since that seems to be the stronger XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Deep on November 15, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    I do not understand why people keep picking Akram as a better fast bowler than Imran Khan. Imran's bowling average and strike rate are superior, and he was clearly a better batsman. EspnCricInfo XI also dumped Imran for Akram, and this article has done the same. Are people swayed by the fact that Akram played in an era of greater TV coverage and hype than Imran did?

  • Raghav Bihani on November 15, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    @Ananth: Do not take this as my new list. This is specifically a list of players I have loved watching whether it meant staying up late or getting up before sunrise. The list is of players after the World Cup of 1987 when I started following cricket and hence is not my all time XI. Lets call it my favourite cricketers to watch.

    XI: Hayden, Sehwag, Lara, Dravid, Laxman, Steve Waugh, Gilchrist, Warne, Wasim, Mcgrath, Donald

  • sk12 on November 15, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    Interesting article. I disagree your opinion that good batsmen can bat anywhere. Its not just about battign talent, it takes a lot of mental preparation. Just ask Tendulkar and Dravid where they would like to bat. Esp Dravid, as most of us would think #3 to #1 should not really be a tough transition as he would be facing the new ball anyway. And even though Dravid has played few good innings opening (Eng 2011, Pak 2006 come to my mind), his average is much lower when opening, and he has never hidden his apprehensions about opening. Its not for nothign that the best batsmen in the team always play in a fixed position.

  • Raghav Bihani on November 15, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    Wicketkeeper: Adam Gilchrist. No discussion needed. Knott and Healy were very good but this guy changed the definition of what is required.

    Spinners: Murali, Warne, Kumble, Reilly, Bedi, Chandra

    Final: Warne & Murali. It pained to leave out Kumble (one of my favourite cricketers) but to be fair the ones selected are in another league.

    Pacers: Mcgrath, Lillee, Donald, Wasim, Imran, Ambrose, Marshall, Hadlee.

    Final: Hadlee, Marshall, Wasim & Donald. This was the most difficult choice because Mcgrath, Imran, Ambrose & Lillee are equally good.The 4 I have taken are a personal choice though i would happily accept any 4.

    Final XV: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Sehwag, Bradman, Richards, Dravid, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Murali, Donald, Hadlee, Marshall & Wasim.

    A special inclusion as permanent twelfth man outside of XV is Jonty Rhodes. He made the third dimension as important as it is today. Though not on purpose the Final XV has players from 8 nations which feels nice. [[ I like the measured and composed way in which you have approached this and met the requirements 100%. No going off-track. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitish on November 15, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Selection of Nitish Hutton Hobbs Bradman Lara Kallis Sobers Tendulkar Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Gavaskar Hadlee Warne.

    I had thought a lot about Walsh/McGrath and steyn/hadlee. Instead they would be injury replacements.

  • Raghav Bihani on November 15, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    Choosing an XI can be a daunting task and you need to prepare for all conditions, to attack, to defend and to win. First its a relief that we are choosing a XV and thats gives a lot of flexibility. I have chosen an XI with one back up each for Opener, Middle Order, Pacer and Spinner.

    Considered Openers 2+1: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Hobbs, Hutton, Greenidge, Hayden. This has defensive as well as aggresive styles.

    Final: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Sehwag. It was difficult to choose Sehwag over Hutton but I needed one aggressive opener.

    Middle Order: Bradman, Ponting, G. Chappell, S. Waugh, Dravid, Tendulkar, Richards, Lara, Sobers, Miandad, Kallis, Hammond and many more.

    Final: Bradman, Dravid, Lara, Richards, Sobers. The most cluttered space but most select themselves. Lara for me was a no brainer. The toughest choice was between Dravid and Sachin. Rahul won it because of match winning performance overseas. Also he provides much needed balance and is capable & willing to bat anywhere from 1 to 7.

  • raja ashutosh on November 15, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    how on earth can u leave out sydney barnes????he is unarguably the greatest bowler.surf the net n read any account of his.could do almost anything with the bowl.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 15, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    hi anantha, there are 3 players from your list that are not in my balance XV x 2 - richards, hadlee and mcgrath.

    richards is my @#*&% oversight - i'll swap him for border.

    hadlee and mcgrath - great bowlers!! but i'd prefer larwood, imran, waquar and garne to them.

    thanks aditya [[ Finally what is your final XV. You have taken out 3 from mine and given 5 instead. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 15, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    hi anantha, sorry to quibble with you, but when you say >>The right way to select a XV and THEN offer an opposition XI. That would be the right thing.<< there's a minor problem - any all time XV that doesnt have bradman and sobers is not a valid XV. They need to be separated if we want 2 competitive teams. I have given my all time XV - here are my 2 balanced XV:

    team 1: hobbs, gavaskar, headley, tendulkar, pollock, sobers, border, gilchrist larwood, ambrose, lillie, akram, o'reilly, imran, warne

    team 2: hutton, barry richards, bradman, lara, chappel, ponting, kallis, sanga marshall, holding, lindwall, waquar, garner, murali, grimmet

    i haven't included any pre -WW1 player. if we bring them in, to have a "triangular", i'll go with shrikantk's team.

    thanks aditya [[ You have not addressed the question put and have gone your way. Why should Bradman and Sobers be separated. Have them both. Your method is valid if I asked you guys for two XVs/XIs to simulate a series. Ananth: ]]

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Ultimate XI of APS Openers :Gavaskar,WR Hemmond Both openers are as solid as rock with a mind-set of typical opener. Both have very good record against the top teams.Both complement each other perfectly as one is from subcontinent and other is from England so no problem to play pace or spin. Middle order: Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers,As you can see each player selects himself as each one of them is a legend and could be a contender for best ever of the game Keeper : Gilchrist. No doubt about that. He is a class of his own, unmatched .Safe as a keeper ,intimidating as a lower order batsman. One more thing goes to his favour that he is a true represented of the game. A real crowd puller . Pacers: Marshall , Akram, Ambrose It was a real tough choice for me as I have to see so many considerations like Varity, pace and accuracy. More so I want to go for the kill so I have chosen the bowlers who can run through the teams. It was a hard decision for me to omit likes of Lilly, Holding and Trueman as no batsman of the world wold like to face them either. But as I had to choose only three probably no one can match the selection I made. Spinner : Shane Warne, the ultimate magician with the ball. He could get a wicket at any movement of the match. In his hand cricket ball talk just like football dance under the legs of Pele. Please just go through the stats analysis and see how good is this team. Anant this team matches all your criteria like team balance defensive skills, attacking potential etc. whatever standard you ask this team could beat them all

  • Krishna on November 15, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    God's XV: 1.Jack Hobbs 2.Don Bradman 3.Jacques Kallis 4.Brian Lara 5.Sachin Tendulkar 6.Gary Sobers 7.Adam Gilchrist 8.Glenn McGrath 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Wasim Akram 11.Muttaiah Muralidharan 12.Ricky Ponting 13.Imran Khan 14.Kumara Sangakkara 15.Shane Warne

  • mohammad hassan on November 15, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    My XV(in no particular order) Gavaskar Dravid Kallis Richards Tendulkar Imran Khan(c) Sangakkara(wk) Sobers Lara Warne Murali Marshall Ambrose Waqar Holding I think Shmulik is right.The fact that there are trainers today that make players better dosent contradict the fact that those players are actually better. [[ Better means better averages. If so, why would you ignore the high batting averages and low bowling averages of older players. The readers who do not select Bradman must give a good reason for that omission. Else I have to take these as covering only the second half of the Test match years. Ananth: ]] Keep up the good work!

  • ALI on November 15, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    to all sachin bashers on the ground that he wasnt a match winner, i put my counter argument. sachin's average in tests india won is 65 and in lost tests its 37. Only lara hutton hobbs chanderpaul and a.flower have better average in lost tests if we consider 1500 runs as bencmark. Respective averages for dravid are 65 and 30, for laxman 55 and 26 and for gavaskar 44 and 35. sachin didnt play many marvellous innings to win tests frm lost situations bt how many such innings have been played by others? lara 3 or 4? sachin scored consistently even in losses and it was the fault of other batsmen to loose tests more often than not. previous england series was an exception bt remember disastrous tours of aus in 99 and 2011. he was fighting to save matches without avail. he is no god that he would save every test on his own. he possesses a weak nerve under pressure for sure bt never fails regularly how hard the situation might be. He is a great batsman and we need no one's testimony for it after the don of cricket himself acclaimed his talent [[ I suggest do not start by going off the thread like this. Will be counter-productive. Ananth: ]]

  • saif on November 15, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    the team looks amzing and one of the most balanced set ups. but i do not see you mentioning who would be the captain??

    Bradman?? Akram??? Richards??? [[ I will go with Bradman. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 15, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    @Shmulik.

    1. As a big fan of both both rugby and soccer/football I`m really not sure what the stats you refer to are? Do any of these prove that x was a better player than y?

    2. Yes, the greatest WI team was from the late 70s onwards, but to suggest, as you did, that pre 1970 there were only 2 good teams is simply not true. The West Indian teams of the 50s and 60s regularly won series against the best in the world, home and away (see 5/6 series wins between 1948-53 and 5 straight wins between 1962-66)

    re. South Africa, (a test nation since well before the turn of the 20th century)yes their greatest ever side was between 1965-1970, regardless of the percentage of the population that was represented - many of those men were brave enough to force their team into exile.

    3. Proving your worth against 1 team? You refer to Bradman perhaps? 75 vs WI, 90 vs Eng, 179 vs Ind, 202 vs SAF...95 in 1st class cricket.

    4. 3 formats? Talking about tests here mate

    5. Sobers started in 1954.?

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Cont. My Second Ultimate XI Opener : Barry Richards and Jack Hobbs. Both are as good as opener as they could be. They could walk any one dream XI.I must confess that I was tempted to choose Sahwag instead of Barry but Sahwag record outside subcontinent prevented me. Still I think what he has done as an opener is just extra ordinary. He change the concept to see an opener (and add two triple century to his name). Middle Order: George Headley,Lara ,Callis: They are as great as my ultimate XI middle order.For me Headley is as great as Bradman Keeper:A Flower.The choose was between him and Sangakkara.I have chosen Andy as Sanga played batter as non-wicket keeper .His record as keeper is impressive but not extra ordinary.I believe Andy would have much batter record if he would play for any batter team. He is a class player of both spin and pace. Pacers :Imran Khan/R Hadlee,Lilly, McGrath.They can also pack any team under 100 and challenge any batting order Spinner:Muralitharan

  • Prakash on November 15, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    XV of Prakash:

    Hutton Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Sobers Richards Lara Tendulkar Gilchrist Warne Mcgrath Marshall Hadlee Holding Murali

    I have 3 specialist openers in the squad. 5 middle order batsmen where Bradman, Sobers & Lara can play all around the world. Richards for SA,WI and Eng with Sachin in Aus, NZ and the sub-continent. Gilchrist is the keeper. Mcgrath & Marshall have performed well eveywhere. SO they are certainties to start. If the pitch requires 2 spinners ,no need to look beyond Murali & Warne. In Aus, Eng & SA,Warne will play ahead of Murali and in the WI, Murali gets a look in. As for the other 2 seamers slot, i have Holding & Hadlee. Reason why i have gone for Holding is that i think his record in the sub-continent is better than Ambrose. Anantha - You can probably either confirm that or reject it through your stats. [[ There is very little to choose from the two. Holding bowled only in India: 30 wkts at 22.1. Ambrose: 18 wkts at 22. He never bowled in India. Ananth: ]] Otherwise there is very little to choose between the two.

  • randy on November 15, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    cont'd: Ananth, you would notice that many of Sachin's fans are glad that you provided the option for him to rotate the opening position with Gavascar; so they are including him in the fifteen on that ground. However, one of my reasons for disqualifying him also is due to his lack of flexibility. Flexibility I think should also be an integral characteristic of any player picked into an "All time 11" team. Tendulkar has shown the world that he does not have any confidence batting in any other position than No.4 in test cricket. In terms of my team, I think that Tariq has picked the best 11 from 15; except that I would pick Murali before Warne. Murali is the greatest mortal who has ever bowled a ball. [[ Everyone has a right to select or not select a particular player. There is no need to go to town on that. It will only draw counter arguments and the thread will go off track. Ananth: ]]

  • Ali on November 15, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    sir viv richards was a great arguably the greatest odi player only comparable to srt. bt as a test player he would not come in even ten greatest test players of all time. he played tests against india eng aus pak and nz. india and eng during his playing years didnt have great bowlers as is reflected by your selected bowlers. all the bowlers u hav selected are from pak aus nz and wi except murali. he averaged less than 45 against aus pak and nz and didnt have to face wi bowlers while he averaged over 50 against ind and eng who had good bowlers at best. so i conclude that he would not fare well against top quality bowlers in tests. i rest my case.

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Cont. Spinner : Shane Warne, the ultimate magician with the ball. He could get a wicket at any movement of the match. In his hand cricket ball talk just like football dance under the legs of Pele. Please just go through the stats analysis and see how good is this team. Anant this team matches all your criteria like team balance defensive skills, attacking potential etc. whatever standard you ask this team could beat them all.

  • randy on November 15, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    Ananth, cricket-india has made one of the best submissions so far. The most important criterion for picking a player (after covering all the basic requirements: consistency, technique, etc) should be his "match winning record". And, Tendulkar has squandered too many opportunities to show that he has this SPECIAL" ability; always leaving it up to the likes of the Sehwags, Laxmans and Dravids. It's a pity that he's picked before any of these three guys, whose records in terms of value to the success of the India team are far superior to his; and they also have all the other basic criteria. The world knows that Sachin plays cricket just to satisfy his own desires, as evidenced in the current match which he's playing against England; which Raina should instead be playing. Your work too has shown that his QUANTITATIVE record in test cricket, when peeled to the core contributes little to the winning successes of India cricket. So there really is no place for him in a test match All Time 11.

  • shmulik zulik on November 15, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    boll, to answer your points, 1.look at soccer and rugby stats to see what I mean

    2.the great WI teams were in 1970-1980 NOT before 1970.before 1970 WI was "calypso cricket".As for SA,if their best team was before 1970 with 10% of their population represented,then the situation in really bleak.

    3.with all due respect,it is imposible to prove your worth against 1 team,no matter how hard the conditions are.a great player needs to be great against different teams all over the world to be considered great.Besides,I think the pitch is very overrated compared to the quality of opposition,here in Israel the players play on pitches way harder to play on than international standard pitches but does that make them better than this list?NO!!!

    4.You seem to forget that nowdays the players have to adapt to 3 different formats,a very hard task(look at Watson,Cummins).

    5.Sobers played some of his career in the 1970's. reply if you have any more questions shmulik

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Cond. According to me these represents the best all time players who could walk into any ones dream team .You can make a team by even randomly select players from the group and believe me that random team can also win a match against any all-time team on any condition. The group contains players from most of the country and decades. Few prominent omissions are there from the group but I have valid reason for that. Each of these players is a proven match- winner and the he charisma to pull the crowd into the stadium. Because I have made already made a group of players so I am not going to choose my Dream XV but I will choose two different team out of this group.Any way these all are too good to leave. How could you choose Tendulker and discard Lara from your ultimate XI or vice versa.Similarly its impossible to choose between Warne and Murali at least for me(May be I am too greedy but I want both of them in my team. If it is not possible to adjust them in one team then why not two

  • Dr. talha on November 15, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    So now i have in my team:

    - The best bowling all rounder of all time - Imran - The best batting all rounder of all time - Sobers - The best new ball bowler of all time - Hadlee - The best reverse swing bowler of all time - Waqar - The best fast bowler of all time - Marshall - The best spinner of all time - Warne - The best WK batsman of all time - Gilchrist - An extremely formidable top order with mixture of both solid defence & agression.

    Imagine Imran & Hadlee sharing the new ball, and then Waqar & Marshal as first change. My bowling lineup is lethal even on the 5th day of a match on a flat track, with Waqar & Warne bowling from the two ends. And my team bats till number ten. As we all know that both Warne & Marshal were pretty decent with the bat.

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Cont. 4)I would take horses for courses. Means no more substitute opener and a middle order batsman has to play in middle order only.It’s very important for test cricket. So I have made group of players for each position Openers:1.Sunil Gavasker2.Len Hotton 3.Barry Richards 4.Jack Hobss5.H Sutcliffe 6. WR Hammond 6.V Sehwag (India)

    Middle Order(3-7) :1. R Dravid (India)2. JH Kallis (SA) 3.SR Tendulkar (India) 4. BC Lara (WI) 5. RT Ponting (Aus) 6. SR Waugh (Aus) 7.IVA Richards (WI) 8.KP Pietersen (Eng) 9.George Headley(WI) 10. Javed Miandad (Pak) 11. AR Border (Aus) and Yes SIR DON BRADMAN( World –can’t let him belong to only one country ) Special Player : GS Sobers (WI)

    Wicket-keepers : 1.AC Gilchrist(Aus)2.A Flower(Zim) 3. KC Sangakkara(SL)

    Pacers :1.MD Marshall(WI) 2.GD McGrath(Aus)3.RJ Hadlee (NZ) 4. Wasim Akram (Pak) 5. Imran Khan (Pak)6. CEL Ambrose (WI)7. DK Lillee (Aus) 8. MA Holding (WI) 9. Fred Trueman(ENG) Spinner: 1. SK Warne(Aus) 2. M Muralitharan (SL)3. CV Grimmett [[ Too many players. Ananth: ]]

  • Tom on November 15, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    (cont.) I brought in Hutton as a specialist opener and to captain the side if Waugh or Khan isn't playing. I've preferred Bedi to Murali again as a defensive option, although I'm already having second thoughts about that. Imran has been preferred to Wasim, and Lillee to McGrath, largely on the basis of personal preference.

    Players who just missed the cut: Pollock (G), Trumper, Kallis, Sobers, Murali.

  • Tom on November 15, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    My selection, assembled through roughly equal parts statistical record and sentimental gut feeling:

    Jack Hobbs Len Hutton Don Bradman Sachin Tendulkar Viv Richards Steve Waugh Andy Flower Alan Knott Richard Hadlee Imran Khan Shane Warne Malcolm Marshall Dennis Lillee Bishan Bedi SF Barnes

    I had a dilemma over whether to include Barnes due to the different era, but his record can't be ignored. Trumper missed out, though.

    Flower would play in situations where a defensive batsman/keeper would be more useful, and is probably good enough to make the team as a specialist batsman. Knott to play where a specialist keeper would be preferable. I would have liked to include Godfrey Evans as a specialist keeper, but his formidable reputation is difficult to justify with figures. Waugh is also here to provide a bit of lower-middle-order steel. I wrestled with Dravid but thought his inclusion would make the team too defensive. (cont.)

  • Dr. talha on November 15, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Unlike others i will select only 11. And there will be a 12th man.

    My World X1: Gavaskar Hayden Bradman Viv Sobers Gilchrist (wk) Imran Khan Richard Hadlee Warne Marshal Waqar younis

    Murali (12th man)

    I just believe that Hayden is the most perfect combination to open with Gavaskar. Cannot even think of dropping Imran. The man who has won 8 Man of the series awards in 28 series he played in. Agree with Ananth that Hadlee has a better record against Aus, but remember Imran's record against Windies (the best team of that era). And how can u drop the best reverse swing bowler of all-time, knowing that reverse swing is so necessary nowadays?? I would never like Waqar bowling at his best,to my batting line-up. There may have been faster bowlers than him & better swing bowlers too, but u wont find a bowler in the history who swung the ball at the pace of Waqar. Cont..

  • APS on November 15, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Hi Anant,For me any team that is going to play anywhere in the world should have some qualities and for my team these are : 1)The team should be invincible in all the conditions all over the world and in all type of pitches against all opposition. I will not render my team wherever my team is playing. 2)All the players should be a match winner on their own .Because we are choosing a world XI all the players should be the best of the best.Means we can’t see just one dimension of their game.Whatever the external factors like opposite team, pitch,era and situation of the match,they should be able to perform.That is why we called them the legends.So forget about choosing different team for different country (any way that is why four reserve players) 3)All players must have the magic,x-factor,the charisma that force the people not only to see their game but to remember their game though rest of their life.Without this I won’t take the player how good stats ststsguru show against him.

  • shmulik zulik on November 15, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    ananth regarding my earlier comment about pre 1970's I saw your comment,but tell me, could any of those be on par with the greats today? [[ YES, without any doubt. Just because Owens did not cross 10 seconds does not make him any lesser than Lewis or Bolt. Rod Laver is probably second only to Federer. Yashin is the greatest goal-keeper who ever lived. Puskas was magic. Records are post-1970s because they have better training methods, coaches, equipment, analytical facilities and earn millions of dollars a year which makes them be ultra-professionals. They can spend 6 months with the sole aim of cutting 0.01 secs off the WR. Ananth: ]] I mean,is Owens really better than today's athletes?NO!look at their records!All the records in other sports are post 1970!so I think cricket should be the same!the best teams-cricket-1970 and1980 WI soccer-1970 brazillians rugby-1990's NZ 100m-2012!! In my XV last night I picked sobers because his career came into 1970's as well and he proved he belonged,however I am not sure about the others,so they werent selected.

    I very much like your articles and am looking forward to the next one! can I suggest one?analyses of Associate nations and players,prefarably a series of articles that at the end have an associate/affiliate XV like this one.my surprise pick for that woyld be Chetan Suryawanshi of singapore,who in everything has excelled(in the top 5 of both bowling and batting +taking tons of catches and stumpings as wk) thanks again shmulik

  • Harsh Thakor on November 15, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    I apologize Ananth but I wish to re-post my alltime 11's .I praise your efforts considerably and value your work.I thought it was worth mentioning that in Richard Sydenham's 100 cricket legends of all Gary Sobers won the most votes at 73 followed by Viv Richards with 64 and Dennis Lille with 53.Tendulkar had 42 ,while Marshall had 35. [[ Harsh No problems at all. I never take offence easily. Ananth: ]] top 15.

    1.Bradman/Sobers 3.Warne 4.Gilchrist 5.Tendulkar 6.Lillee/Marshall 8.Viv Richards 9.Glen Mcgrath 10.Brian Lara 11.Sunil Gavaskar 12.Muthiah Muriltharan 13.Wasim Akram 14.Imran Khan 15.Barry Richards

    Barry Richards great match-winning ability which made me include him.

    1st 11. 1.Barry Richards 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Don Bradman 4.Brian Lara 5.Viv Richards 6.Gary Sobers 7.Adam Gilchrist 8.Shane Warne 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Wasim Akram 11.Glen Mcgrath

    2nd11 1.Gavaskar 2.Hobbs 3.Headley 4.Bradman 5.Graeme Pollock 6.Gary Sobers 7.Imran Khan 8.Alan Knott 9.Richard Hadlee 10.Dennis Lillee 11.Murlitharan

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 15, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Hi Anantha, I didn't mean any disrespect for your selection when I picked a team to play your 15. My thinking was simple - there needs to be a match and hence, one needs 2 (equally) strong teams. Ideally, I would separate Bradman and Sobers into opposing teams.

    Anyway, my 15 (including those in your selection): Hobbs, Hutton, Bradman, Headley, Tendulkar, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Imran, Marshall, Larwood, Akram, Ambrose, O'Reilly, Warne

    My 15 to play against your 15: Hutton, Barry Richards, George Headley, Graeme Pollock, Greg Chappel, Kallis, Sangakara, Ponting, Imran, Holding, Lillie, O'Reilly, Grimmet, Larwood, Lindwall. [[ I also do not mean any disrespect. However , by picking 15 other players, you throw everything out of gear. It is similar to Post-70s, post-war and such restrictions. The right way to select a XV and THEN offer an opposition XI. That would be the right thing. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Bruce Walton on November 15, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    Selection of Bruce Walton Hobbs Greenidge Bradman Richards Sobers Tendulkar Compton Gilchrist Imran Khan Ambrose Warne Barnes Lillee McGrath Muralitharan

  • Vinish on November 15, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Ananth, sorry that I dint understand the context of what you had asked for. I posted my XI for all 8 locations, without giving you final XV. Here is my list:

    Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Dravid, Richards, Lara, SRT, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Murli, McGrath, Marshall, Ambrose, Hadlee

    My comments as taken from my last message:

    [I too believe in specialists. However, if you can make SRT open, I will certainly go for RD in Eng] [Right from series in 1997 to 2011, RD has been phenomenal in WI, he has to be there by default] [In total, RD has always been better than SRT in NZ] [In PAK, it is RD, and Lara, over SRT, anyday] [SRT in SA makes a lot of sense]

    Thank you - Vinish

  • Boll on November 15, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Lots of teams I look at here (eg. Brendan`s/Harsh`s directly above as I type) that I could easily have put in, and while perhaps would prefer someone else in a position or two have no problem accepting. A few I struggle with (Flower?Dravid?Gooch?). I also have a bit of an issue with people selecting players out of position - I think you`ve simply got to select specialist openers (Ananth - Tendulkar there? he won`t even bat at 3). Or Kallis at 6 in a World XI? - that`s when the greatest team ever assembled is plundering a weary attack...not looking for a great defensive batsman with an SR of 45.

    Anyway, we all think we`re right I suppose... [[ Even the great Tendulkar will bat at no.2 if you say that he is going to open with Hobbs. His not wanting to bat at no.3 is for India, not for a World XI. Anyhow there is nothing to prevent the captain from taking an alternate team. Don't forget that I have two of the greatest openers in my XV. Ananth: ]]

  • bbpp on November 15, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Two things surprise me with these selections...I was under the impression that Lillee was one of the top two fast bowlers (with Marshall) of all times if not the best but is absent from many 15's (not 11's!). Also in the West Indies Lara (though my favourite) is usually at the bottom of the big four with Headley, Sobers & Viv but is very prominent in most of these selections! Anyway, except for maybe Bradman, Sobers and Gilchrist the rest is personal choice and even Sobers not so secure anymore with the phenomenal Kallis going and going.

    My 15: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Sobers, SRT, Lara, Viv, Bradman, Gilchrist, Murali, Warne, Marshall , Lillee, Ambrose, Wasim, Imran.

  • Boll on November 15, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @Shmulik, there`s so much wrong with what you say that I`m not quite sure where to start, although Ananth has done an admirable (and typically polite) job to start with.

    1. This 1970 `cut-off point` that you suggest exists in cricket or other sports is a complete myth. Apart from the drug-fuelled breaking of Olympic records there is nothing to support your claim. References?

    2. Before the 1970s there were plenty of decent test cricket teams - South African and West Indian fans would be in particular disagreement here.

    3. How you conclude that a pre-1970s player `never properly proved himself` is beyond me - on uncovered pitches, with little protection, for little financial reward, some of the greatest of all time showed their worth.

    4. Yes, since 1970 there have been some minor rule changes - mainly in favour of batsmen. I fail to see how this makes post 1970 a `different sport`.

    5. If 1970 is the cut-off, why Sobers, who played almost his whole career before then?

  • Dan Madden on November 15, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @shmulik zulik

    The major flaw in you inference is that you assume great players of the past would not be great players of the present. Were the players from the past playing now - they would indeed be more professional, fitter, faster - because that is the environment in which professional sport is played...

    Besides, what a sad lack of imagination you have, to dismiss the first 90 years of test cricket like that. We're all students of the game - in various stages of our cricketing education. Some further along than others.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 15, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Hi Anantha - I am picking up my 15 to challenge your team (despite you having both the Don and Sobers): Hutton, Barry Richards, George Headley, Graeme Pollock, Greg Chappel, Kallis, Sangakara, Ponting, Imran, Holding, Lillie, O'Reilly, Grimmet, Larwood, Lindwall.

    Imran will captain, Sanga will keep and you can choose the grounds :)

    Thanks [[ Aditya, If you select a team solely to challenge my team, your ego will be satisfied. But it will not be included in the compilation. Pl see the responses to Rizwan. Ananth: ]]

  • Brendan on November 15, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    My xv

    Hobbs Grace Bradman Tendulkar V. Richards Sobers Gilchrist Marshall Warne Lillee Barnes Muralitharan Gavaskar Hadlee Ambrose

  • HarshThakor on November 15, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    My order of conviction of selection in final eleven

    In this list I will state the order of merit of the players in terms of merit of selection

    1.Bradman/Sobers 3.Warne 4.Gilchrist 5.Tendulkar 6.Lillee/Marshall 8.Viv Richards 9.Jack Hobbs 10.Glen Mcgrath 11.Brian Lara 12.Sunil Gavaskar 13.Muthiah Muriltharan 14.Wasim Akram 15.Imran Khan

    I agree Mcgrath is great but yet did not posess all the qualities of Marshall and Lillee,particularly in terms of pace ,agression and repertoire of deliveries.Tendulkar ,to me is a more likely choice than Lara because of his greater consistency,although Lara was more talented and better at his best.His domination at the top for over 20 years is something never equaled.Wasim Akram,was the most versatile of all pace bowlers who mastered reverse swing and is Mcgrath's greatest competitor for a place to me with Imran Khan.

  • shmulik zulik on November 15, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    3 reasons why I picked players only from 1970 and onwards- 1.Judging from ANY other sport in the world(soccer,athletics,basketball etc)the level of playing has gone WAY up since pre that era due to stuff like fitness techniques,professionalism and proper training. 2.Before 1970's there were only two good teams(england,aus)and a player never properly proved himself 3.There were so many rule changes to the game in that period,it makes pre 1970 cricket a different sport!

    my choice of 1970 as the cut-off date comes from that being a cut-off date in many other sports(example-soccer's 1970 Brazil,noone before that could even think of making it into a world XV)as I explained in point 1

    I like your analysises though very much thanks shmulik [[ Di Stefano, Puskas, Garrincha, Yashin, R Charlton. Rod Laver, Margaret Court.. Jesse Owens, Blankers-Koen, Zatopek, Balbir Singh, Dhyan Chand. Bradman, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Grimmett, O'Reilly, Trueman, Mankad, Sobers. Common trait of above greats: All played before 1970. Ananth: ]]

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 15, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Contd…A note on Sobers-Kallis discussion: Firstly, I am fan of both. Even if I have to select one batting all-rounder for all time XI, Kallis will make entry may be into my third team. Sobers is a match-winner with both bat and ball. Kallis (with due respect), is not a match winner with neither ball nor bat. He is a gritty batsman and will not make entry into top 25 great batsmen. Because, let alone match-winning innings, number of centuries with a strike rate above 50 are very few and above 60 I doubt have any. No. of times he scored a century and topped the score chart (mark of lead player) are also less than normal for great batsmen. Even if sobers is absent, I will select Faulkner, Botham, Flintoff or Watson as batting all-rounders. However, he scores perfect 10 on fitness and longevity.

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 15, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    This is an after-thought to my team XV. All-time great XV must be expected to win almost every time and not lose at all and yet, Gods must stop to watch. Batting: To win–All have the ability to take the game away. To rise from debacle and not lose–7 of 9 batsmen have technical prowess + grit (other 2–IVA & Gilly knows only one way though). Even bowlers have temperament & technique if there is any utterly off-day for batsmen. Stopping Gods: Gods won’t need invitation here. Bowling: Pacers–There could be faster and stylish bowlers. But, Marshall, Hadlee, Imran, and Lillee are up there with anybody. All are regular match winners and not too many off-days. Spin–Murali has the similar traits. Warne can entice Gods to sit beside umpires to watch him bowl. So, having all match winners with excellent temperament and gods on their own right, this team is expected to have a W/L ratio of infinity. On hind sight, all 15 are safe but not excellent fielders. Few are brilliant on field though.

  • Harsh Thakor on November 15, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    In a batting team to give it all the ingredients there should be match-winners and batsman to bat for your life.Hutton and Gavaskar were champions to bat for your life,while Barry Richards,Sehwag,Greenidge and Hayden could shave the top of the ball to win games .A combination of Barry with Hobbs or Gavaskar would be great.In the middle order Viv is the best match-winner with Bradman.Lara and Sobers could win games and bat for their lives in a crisis as they proved repeatedly. Miandad,Headley or Border were champions when the chips were down.A batting combination of Hobbs ,Barry Richards,Bradman,Viv Richards, Headley and Sobers would be ideal or of Sehwag,Tendulkar,Bradman,Lara,Miandad and Sobers.

  • AJ on November 15, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    Are you aware that Jacques Kallis is a better batsman than your selections apart from Bradman ? Apart from been able to bowl.

  • Harsh Thakor on November 15, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    If it came to a question of comprising the most diverse elements in a pace bowling attack then a worthy quartet in a pace attack could be Holding,Garner,Mcgrath and Akram or Imran,Ambrose,Hadlee and Donald.The former list has the sheer pace of Holding,versatlity and left-handed variety of Wasim,accuracy of Garner and control of Mcgrath.The 2nd list has the speed of Alan Donald,the accuracy of Ambrose,the control of Hadlee and the movement of Imran Khan.I liken Holding with Donald,Mcgrath with Hadlee,Garner with Ambrose and Imran with Akram.Lillee and Mrshall posessed all the above elements,just marginally short of all these in terms of respective qualities.

    In a batting line up Barry Richards would have been the best match-winner as an opener,Javed Miandad the best in a crisis,Richards,Lara and Sobers the best middle-order match-winners while Tendulkar posessed all the ingredients like Bradman and Hobbs.

  • Dan Madden on November 15, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Selection of Dan Madden:

    R. Dravid W. Hammond D. Bradman K. Sangakara J. Kallis B. Lara E. Paynter

    L. Ames

    M. Marshall D. Lillee R. Hadley J. Garner W. Younis S. Warne H. Verity

  • Afraz on November 15, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    I think Dis team can rule d CRICKET world, especially TEST cricket

    Jack Hobbs Sunil Gavaskar Don Bradman Brain Lara Viv Richards Garry Sobers Adam Gilchrist Richard Hadlee Malcom Marshall Shane Warne M.Muralitharan

  • SAMEEN JAN KHATTAK on November 15, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    1. Gavaskar 2. Hasim Amla 3. Bradman 4. Viv Richards 5. Garry Sobers 6. Imran khan 7. Gilchris 8. Richard Headly 9. Deal Stane 10. Marshall 11. Murlidarn

  • Vinish Garg on November 15, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Vinish-XI:

    Aus: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, SRT, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Hadlee, Ambrose, McGrath

    ENG: Dravid, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Hadlee, Ambrose, McGrath [I too believe in specialists. However, if you can make SRT open, I will certainly go for RD in Eng]

    WI: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Dravid, Sobers, Gilchrist, Murli, Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath [RD has been phenomenal in WI, he has to be there by default]

    SA: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, SRT, Kallis, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Marshall, Ambrose, McGrath [Kallis and SRT in SA make a lot of sense]

    NZ: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Dravid, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Hadlee, Ambrose, McGrath [In total, RD has always been better than SRT in NZ]

    India and SL Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Murli, Akram, Ambrose, McGrath

    Pak Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Dravid, Kallis, Gilchrist, Warne, Akram, Marshall, McGrath [RD, Kallis, Lara, over SRT]

    Many thanks! [[ You have not made the task easy for me. I cannot go through 8 teams and work out the XV. You should do that and post the XV to let me take your entry. Ananth: ]]

  • Naveen Sequeira on November 15, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Selection of Naveen Sequeira Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Richards Lara Sobers Gilchrist Wasim Akram Warne Marshall Shoaib Akhtar Imran Khan Barry Richards Fred Trueman Waqar Younis

  • Boll on November 15, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Selection of Dave Bollen

    Hobbs Trumper Bradman (c) Tendulkar Lara IVA Richards Sobers (vc) Gilchrist Lillee Marshall Ambrose SF Barnes Wasim Warne Muralitharan

    - Bradman, Sobers, Marshall (in that order) my first 3 picks.

    10 of the excellent ESPN all-time XI in there (no Hutton) 7 of the (rather embarrassing) ICC 2011 all-time World XI (no Kapil, Sehwag, McGrath, or Gavaskar)

    Hopefully we can come up with something better here...

  • Tariq on November 15, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    I havent got your comments on my previous post. In terms of sheer ability, talent & record, the team I selected is the greatest across all eras. [[ You would have noticed that I have reduced my responses a lot. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 15, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Just a couple of things before I put in my 2 cents worth. Firstly, I completely agree with Ananth that, limiting selection to post-war/post 1970/post 1990 (or whatever) for whatever reason, completely defeats the purpose of the exercise. None of us have seen all of these players live, or on TV, or perhaps even much on youtube, but we still should be able to make reasonable and reasoned choices based on our own experience, the experiences and writings of others, and the statistics available.

    Having said that, test cricket has changed a lot in 135 years, although perhaps not quite as much as some people suggest, and I think shriknathk gets 3 distinct periods pretty much on the money.

    Taking all that into account it`s still our job to try and pick a squad of 15 over that period of time. Keep in mind I.Chappell`s warning that when choosing a team of this nature, you`re choosing a team to play another excellent team (the 2nd XI?) - so if you don`t pick `em, you might be facing them.

  • Harsh Thakor on November 15, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Ananth, I am repeating but I feel Imran Khan and Dennis Lillee should have made the top 15.Imran is the best match-winning cricketer after Sobers with Viv Richards.Dennis Lillee posessed all the ingredients of the perfect pace bowler and had better match performances than Glen Mcgrath,with greater variations,pace an agression.I added Headley because he was better than Bradman on wet pitches and a champion in weak team.

    To me with Bradman and Sobers the top 2 11's of all time are equal.Knott was the best man behind the gloves.

    ist11 1.Gavaskar 2.Hobbs 3.Bradman 4.Headley 5.Tendulkar 6.Sobers 7.Gilchrist 8.Shane Warne 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Dennis Lillee 11.Glen Mcgrath

    2nd 11 1.Barry Richards 2.Hutton 3.Bradman 4.Lara 5.Viv Richards 6.Sobers 7.Imran 8.Alan Knott 9.Wasim Akram 10.Ambrose 11.Muriltharan

  • Shahnawaz on November 15, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Did you consider Sangakara instead of Gilchrist? ... it just came to my mind and I was a little horrified at my bias because Gilchrist was just so much more fun to watch ... but if u look at it objectively, Sanga is the better batsman and a very good keeper especially to spinners. [[ No, not really. I really want the batting flair of Gilchrist at no.7. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on November 15, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    My 15 would be

    1.Jack Hobbs 2.Sunil Gavaskar 3.Don Bradman 4.George Headley 5.Sachin Tendulkar 6.Viv Richards 7.Brian Lara 8.Adam Gilchrist 9.Wasim Akram 10.Shane Warne 11.Muthiah Murlitharan 12.Dennis Lillee 13.Malcolm Marshall 14.Imran Khan 15.Glen Mcgrath

    My final 11 1.Jack Hobbs 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Don Bradman 4.George Headley 5.Viv Richards 6.Gary Sobers 7.Adam Gilchrist 8.Shane Warne 9.Malcolm Marshall 10.Dennis Lillee 11.Glen Mcgrath

    My alternative final 11 would be 1.Barry Richards 2.Len Hutton 3.Don Bradman 4.Brian Lara 5.Graeme Pollock 6.Gary Sobers 7.Imran Khan 8.Alan Knott 9.Wasim Akram 10.Curtly Ambrose 11.Muthiah Murlitharan

    To me Ananth,the only automatic selections are Don Bradman and Gary Sobers.They were both 2 cricketers combined into one,like creatures from another planet.From the 15,I would always add Imran Khan and Dennis Lillee.Lillee the most complete pace bowler and Imran the best allrounder of his era.

  • Jimmy Stewart on November 15, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    I suppose I should actually post this eleven here as well.

    I think Hobbs, Bradman, Tendulkar, Sobers, Imran, Murali and McGrath are must selects - no difference of opinion can leave them out, if you know cricket, these seven are automatic.

    Jimmy Stewart

    Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Sobers, Flower, Imran, Hadlee, Murali, McGrath a 12th man would be Jacques Kallis

  • Shahnawaz on November 15, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Team composition: 5 batsmen (out of top 7), 1 Gilchrist, 1 Imran, and 4 bowlers.

    1.Hayden (30 hundreds in 90 tests, enough said) 2.Gavaskar (one of the most technically correct batsmen ever) 3.Bradman (No need for explanation) 4.Kallis (Probably the best among modern batsmen, replaces Gavaskar in seamer friendly conditions) 5.Vivian Richards (The master blaster - but against a spin heavy attack would make way for Lara) 6. Lara (My favourite batsman) 7.Sobers (Probably the best cricketer to have walked the earth) 8.Gilchrist (Haven't seen Walcott but have seen what gilly can do) 9.Imran (Probably the best quickie ever in his prime, plus Captain of my side) 10.Akram (Variety in the attack plus can take wickets anywhere any time. Permanent) 11. Warne (same reasons as wasim - Vice Captain) 12. Marshall (the smartest quickie ever, permanent) 13. McGrath (a metronome and much more) Bench 14. Donald 15. Murali (replaces warne against india or if spin friendly conditions both play)

  • Farrukh Hanif Awan on November 15, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    You have stirred the hornets nest this time. Oh well, you always do that for some. Here are my picks but they are just my picks and I will give a reason for why i choose them.

    For Openers Gavaskar Bradman Lara --->> First three are automatic Choices Kallis ---> Can bat, can bowl, can field. Tendulkar ---> Can't be denied Ever Gilchrist ---> No words other then the only WICKETKEEPER ever Imran Khan ---> Every team needs a captain and he is the first choice for it to control this awesome group of players Wasim Akram ---> Left Arm Magical Rockets :D Mcgrath ---> Off stump barrel of fires Waqar Younis ---> Picked up Wicket as no other person could Shane Warne ---> Can Bowl anywhere.

    Reserve Ambrose , Marshal Murli (bowlers) Graham Gooch , Dravid

    They need Imran to control this band of Extraordinary Gentleman this game has produced. Ambrose comes on top if the wicket has bounce and will be selected Above Wasim.

  • RAHUL on November 15, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Dravid need to be there in the team.....he is the best no. 3 batsman in world cricket ever...

  • Raghuveer on November 15, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Anantha, I distinctly remember seeing a series of simulated matches between two XIs in Wisden Cricket Asia. Were you involved in that? What would be your benchmark in selecting a second XV, it would be useful to share that info too so that we could know who were considered seriously (though I dont know whether they would make up the other XV). [[ I did the London Times simulation of matches between an all-time England XI and Rest. Couple of years back I did two articles on that. The links are given below. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php Ananth: ]]

  • Vivek Shantharam on November 15, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Pretty good selection. But it springs up an interesting but ironical question. There s a widespread opinion that the game is being more batsman friendly and bowler hostile. But the list has 4 bowlers who played till 2000 or more. And only 3 batsmen make it to the list who played till 2005 or above. And of course they made it because they were purely above others irrespective of other "conditions". And I am sure even if in 2050 this team would be unchallenged.

    My only change would be to fit in Kapil somehow for his heart...

    and as usual hilarious comments pouring - Gibbs, Sanga etc..:)

  • HP on November 15, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    As I have not seen anyone before 2003 so I am not eligible to choose all-time XV. May be if you come with a XV post 2000 I can. But I have a question for you. How easy it is to leave out Kallis? Any better allrounder than him statically? [[ Surely Sobers is there. Ananth: ]] One more thing to those who want a back-up for Gilly,go & find how many games he left out for injuries,that will answer you. He is the ultimate WK in world in this regard. Thanks [[ If you select only players who you have seen then not one of us can succesfully select a team. I have seen Sobers, that is all. But I go by many data nuggets available. You should find a way to understand even unseen greatness. Otherwise the word great loses its value. Ananth: ]]

  • Rohit Chamkur on November 15, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    My XV member Team:

    Bradman Gavaskar Dravid Tendulkar Sobers Lara Viv Richards Gilchrist Subash Gupte Shane Warne Wasim Akram Glenn McGrath Marshall Holding Lillee

  • Shadab Raza on November 15, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    Selection of Shadab Raza Hanif Gavaskar Bradman Richards Kallis M.Crowe Gower Gilchrist Marshall Hadlee Imran Ambrose Botham Warne Gibbs

  • rizwan on November 15, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    No Ananth , I would not mock you , you are far too cerebral for a simpleton like me to make fun of . I wanted to select batsmen who will be dificult to dismiss.Not many players perform when the pressure is on - Dravid is one such player ( those half centuries in WI was a case in point ) I am a sri lankan but do not think Murali belongs in the top 15 because of his appalling record in India & Australia- Let me hasten to add that Murali is probably the nicest cricketer ever and has done wonderful charity work.

    I know the glaring omission is Bradman,but how many great bowlers did the Don face and how would Don fare if he was up against Murali in Galle or againstHolding/Roberts on a Perth flyer?Gavaskar was able to score 13 hundreds against WI because Suuny was good at defending and was patient.Would the Don be willing to bat ugly ?Once again,I reiterate,my selection is serious-How can you dismiss a line up of Kallis,Dravid,Waugh,Sanga &Boycott? These are men & will not flinch in battle [[ I re-iterate my comment only because you have specifically excluded anyone from my XV. In effect you have selected your XV to play mine. That is not the purpose of this exercise. If you had seen fit to include a single player from my XV I would not make this comment. Not selecting Bradman saying you do not know how he would have fared against Murali at Galle or against Holding/Roberts at Perth seems to support my view. How would Sanga have fared against the same set of bowlers you have referred to. How would Kallis have fared against Steyn/Morkel at Perth. We can go on and on. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on November 15, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Finally we have started the XI game!!. Though I have not yet come out with my XI, one player making it there is Dravid. He has been a great match-winner overseas and come once in a while to defend. Surely this team will also need it if they come across Lillee, Donald & Imran in peak form.

    Aslo, though it did not influence me, it solves the Gilchrist issue. If he is injured on the morning or during a match, Dravid can keep. If he is injured before, Knott/Healy can fly in as replacement.

    But this is not a factor for selecting Dravid. If it had been a factor I would have gone for Sanga, but I have gone for Dravid. Gilchrist rarely missed a test/ODI if I recall correctly.

  • Vaibhav on November 15, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Providing a squad of 15 players with the intention of allowing the captain to pick the best team depending on the surface. I would expect the 11 of this all time world champ team to have 7 batsman and 5 bowlers, which means that the team needs to have a bowling all rounder. My squad will have 6 batsmen, 1 bowling allrounder, 1 wicketkeeper, 2 spinners, and 5 fast/swing bowlers. The squad is as follows

    Batsmen: Sutcliff Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Richards

    Toss-up between Sobers and Richards for the 5th batsmen in the 11. Sobers bowling skills not considered (not good enough as the 5th bowler for an all time world 11). Hammond and Lara were close omissions

    Bowling allrounder: Imran

    Miller a close ommission

    Wicketkeeper: Gilchrist

    Fast bowlers: Akram Ambrose Marshall Donald Barnes

    Akram a certainity. Toss up for other 2 spots. This was real tough - Larwood, Trueman and Lillee were close ommissions.

    Warne Muralitharan

    Murali as back-up

  • rizwan on November 15, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    How about a team of stylists

    1 David Gower 2 VVS 3 Azhar 4 Mahela Jayawardena 5 Stephen Fleming 6 Vishy 7 Mark Waugh 8 Saed Anwar 9 Lara [[ There is no danger of the one-hour debacle since batsmen like Lara, VVS, Jayawardene all have long-innings reputations. Ananth: ]] This lot would score 500 in a day or more likely be all out in less than an hour . But , I would rather watch a stylish 30 from any of the 9 above than kallis scoring a double hundred

  • srini on November 15, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    If I may I have 1 11 & 1 15

    My flamboyant XI Fredericks, Majid Khan, Richards, Lara, Gower, MWaugh, Gilchrist, Imran, Wasim, Warne, Marshall.

    My XV (8Bat,1WK,6Bowl) Greenidge, Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Richards, Lara, Sachin, G Chappell, Gilchrist, Imran, Hadlee, Marshall, Warne, Ambrose, Prasanna.

    I believe my flamboyant XI can either win a series 5-0 or lose one 0-5 depending upon the days they have but either way I'd rather watch a 2 day test like Eng-WI '00 than 5 day bore draw like Colombo '97.

    I dunno how sims will turn out after all these teams are separated by the slightest of threads. So, I totally believe they'll end up like a coin toss over a 10000 sims i.e ending in a tie (x-x) in a 6 test series.

  • Craig on November 15, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    Craig's XV First XI Barry Richards, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Sobers, Hammond, Gilchrist, SF Barnes, Marshall, Warne, McGrath

    Reserves Hayden (back-up opener for all but top-class swing bowling, and could replace Hobbs if fast scoring was required) Laker (for dirt bowls and sub-continent pitches) Andy Flower (back-up keeper) Akram (fairly handy reserve fast bowler)

    There are two men in my XI that I would love to have seen play live (and preferably on opposing teams) - Bradman and Barnes. Does the best batsman of all time get the better of the best bowler of all time? I have included Barry Richards without knowing how he really would have gone in Tests. I was tempted to include Mike Procter as well, but have decided that one (almost) unseen South African is enough. Hammond is in as a personal preference - but probably best to keep him away from Bradman.

  • rizwan on November 15, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    My bowlers 9.Bill O Reilley( Don thought Tiger was the best) 10.Michael Holding (that over to Boycott , need I say more ! ) 11Fred Trumen ( quickest to 300 ) 12.Imran Khan ( his captaincy alone is worth a place and he will get the ladies in to the ground) 13.Keith Miller ( he has and will bounce the Don , good stats too and if required can pilot a Jet) 14.Allan Donald ( Made his debut at 26 , an age when Pakistani bowlers retire – If not for Apartheid may have ended up with 600 wickets ) 15.Colin Bland ( best ever fielder and almost 50 avg as a batsman

    The batters in my team ( Kallis , Boycott and Dravid ) could bat for 10 days and still be at the crease. My bowlers Imran , Miller and Trumen are fit enough to bowl 40 overs a day .

    Ananth , I bet my team can wallop yours [[ Possible. But if your sole criteria is to select 15 excluding my own selection, I am not sure whether I will take your selection seriously and include the same. I am close to thinking that it is a mockery of my selection. Ananth: ]]

  • rizwan on November 15, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    My XV The batsmen

    1. Boycott (How many greats can bat in early May in old blighty) 2. Sutcliff (Average never dropped below 50 and ended up with 60) 3. Dravid (the half centuries in west Indies is better than double or triple centuries) 4. Kallis (fantastic track record against all comers) 5. Steve Waugh (the guy you want to bat if you are fighting for your life unlike his brother who you would want to see if you have a few moments to live) 6. V.V.S.Laxman (how many 4 innings match winning knocks has VVS crafted in comparison to the god?) 7. Sangakkara (Wk.) - (A fighter and the best sledger in the world who would not hesitate to give lip to even the Don) 8.Mahadevan Sathasivam (Ghulam Ahmed said Satha was the best he had ever seen )

  • shrikanthk on November 15, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    The older I grow, the more reluctant I am to pick all-time elevens.

    An "all-time eleven" should be able to do well in conditions and circumstances that have existed since time immemorial. Eg: Would Tendulkar be able to handle the round-arm bowling of Alfred Mynn? Would Holding be able to bowl just as effectively if only one new ball is made available per innings as was the case in the 1890s? Would Barnes be able to handle the heat and curry of India? Questions galore.

    Hence I prefer considering 3 eras for this purpose - 1. Pre WWI 2. 1915-1970 3. Post 1970

    Pre WWI XV: Grace, Hobbs, Trumper, Ranji, Clem Hill, Herbie Taylor, Faulkner, Armstrong, Lilley, Rhodes, Richardson,Spofforth, Barnes, Blythe, Lockwood

    1915-1970 Hutton, Ponsford, Bradman, Headley, Hammond, McCabe, Sobers, Harvey, Evans, Miller, Davidson, Lindwall, Trueman, O'Reilly, Verity

    1970-2012 Gavaskar, Hayden, Greenidge, Lara, Sachin,Richards, Chappell, Sangakkara, Gilchrist, Imran, Lillee, Marshall, Akram, Warne,Murali [[ Growing old??? at 30. You have to make a choice. The decision is yours. You probably do not care a tuppence about being included in the selection group. But, at times, you have to fall in line. Ananth: ]]

  • Balu R on November 15, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    There may be slight favoritism to newer players as i have watched them play extensively over players before 70s or 60s as i have to rate them purely on statistics.

    Team Selection of Balu R

    Bradman Amla Pollock (Graeme) Sobers Kallis Tendulkar Lara

    Flower

    Pollock (Shaun) Akram Marshall Warne Garner Bond Saqlain Mushtaq

    I truly believe that Amla has already reached Ponting/Kallis stage of greatness and it is only a matter of time before reaching Lara/Tendulkar if not passing them.

    Andy Flower for me was a better keeper and better batsmen than gilchrist. Gilchrist had many great innings but only a few when Australia were in trouble.Flower had lot more responsibility as a batsman. So i pick flower over gilchrist.

    Shaun Pollock over Mcgrath as i feel he is almost as good as mcgrath and an extremely good technically correct batsman.

    Only other contentious selection might be Saqlain. Personally i feel he was a better off spinner than Murali.

  • Anil Kumar Tandon on November 15, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Firstly, I think while selecting the 7 Batsmen, one should select the 7 best of all time and not worry about who would open. And numbers and averages do not decide greatness. My 15 is:

    7 Batsmen: Bradman, Tendulkar, Sobers, Viv Richards, Hammond, Lara & Graeme Pollock.

    7 Bowlers ( 4 quicks/3 spinners): Marshall, Akram, Lillee, Lindwall, Warne, O'Reilly & Prasanna.

    Wicket Keeper: Gilchrist.

    I have not considered Murali for reasons I do not wish to put down here.

    Anil Kumar Tandon New Delhi

  • love goel on November 15, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Love Goel:

    Hobbs, Gavaskar,Bradman, Kallis, Tendulkar, Lara, Imran

    Gilchrist

    Ambrose, McGrath, Shane Bond, Marshall , Warne and Muralitharan. [[ Thank you, LG, very important to follow the thread. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 15, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    A common response I thank all the readers, especially from Pakistan, for the dignified manner in which the non-selection of players, especially Imran, has been raised. Not one reader has questioned my integrity. I am pivileged to have you guys as valued readers. I spent hours debating first betweeen Imran and Wasim and then between Imran and Hadlee, Finally the clinching factors were - Team balance - Broad representation, especially when very little separates the concerned players - Hadlee's figures in Australia: 77 @ 17.8 - inarguably the best away performance by a bowler. Do not worry. Another selection has already been made. One more request. Please do not limit your selection. I will find it difficult to include an XI covering the past 20 years or whatever. It will be unfair to the truly great players of the past. Tomorrow a youg reader would come out with Kohli, Philander and Ajmal since he has only seen these players. All of you have enough knowledge and understanding to extend your selection to cover at least as far back as 1921. Ananth

  • arch on November 15, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    Frankly, I used to think of players whom the gods would want to watch, and these two names would pop up first, before any other: Zaheer Abbas and Wasim Akram. Both of them, Zaheer as a batsman and Wasim as a bowler had an elegance, skill and timing that gave viewers joy. Of course Zaheer was nowhere near being one of the greatest batsmen of all time but my point is that I always thought the gods would stop for aesthetics. My XV:

    Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Richards Tendulkar Lara Sobers

    Gilchrist

    Imran Marshall Barnes Murali Warne Akram

    I have always thought Andy Flower would have been rated a higher keeper had he played for a major test nation but that is another story.

  • ramarao on November 15, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    Statistical XI of Ramarao Gangina: Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Bradman, Kallis, Lara, Sobers, Sangakkara, Hadlee, Barnes, Lille, Muralitharan.

    Statistical XV of Ramarao Gangina: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Kallis, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Sangakara, Hadlee, Warne, Murali, Barnes, Lille and Clarie Grimmett

    Reasons: Bowlers:Wikects per Innings Grimmett(3.22), Barnes (3.78), Murali (3.47), Warne (2.59), Lille (2.68), Hadlee (2.87) Batsmen: Pretty much standard set with longevity of 50 or above test matches which disqualifies George headly and Sutcliff)

    Impact XI of Ramarao Gangina: Hayden, hobbs, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Imran, McGrath, Steyn

    Impact XV of Ramarao Gangina: Hobbs, Hayden, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Imran, Ambrose, Steyn, Lara, McGrath, Trueman and Barnes

  • Yagambaram on November 15, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    Everyone got excellent squads, & the reality is that nobody can argue about each others' selections cos the players chosen are guarenteed to do a good job. I chose players who I'M SURE WILL WIN, rather than draw, on specific pitches. Unfortunately I have to choose 15 only . My squad => sehwag, hayden, gavaskar, greenidge(openers); bradman, Laxman(no 3/middle); lara, ponting(middle); Gilchrist(wick); waqar,wasim,mcgrath,marshall,warne,murali. BATTING Paradise(sub-cont)=> Hayden,sehwag, Laxman, bradman, lara, gilly, waqar, wasim, marshall, warne, murali. These Players will get runs very, very quickly plus are able to bowl opposition out with attcking fields, where others can only expect draws. Greentops/seamers paradise=> gavaskar,greenidge, bradman, ponting, lara, Laxman(default), gilly, mcgrath, marshall, waqar, wasim. The bowlers r great but in batting,200/ 250+ will give the edge. good batting conditions outside asia, Hayden in place of gavaskar & for rank turners vice versa

  • ramarao on November 15, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    So,I argue that Gavaskar can be played in SL ahead of Sobers or Hobbs and Sobers can take Hobbs place in Pakistan. Also, the Record of Tendulkar in Pakistan is not up to his Standard, Can be treated an anomaly(since he played there very young at 16 against the best bowlers) but I think there are others batsmen who are not from this list who can take place of all 7 Mentioned. Barnes, donald, Barnes, Steyn, Hadlee, Imran, Lille, Trueman are much better than Ambrose, Wasim Statistically as they all have greater than 2.5 wickets per Innings overall. That a Feat. McGrath is Great Selection for his Consistent and aggressive wicket taking ability. While Murali is statistically a Bradman Equivalent, Warne is better bowler outside Sub-continent. But Clarie Grimmett and Anil Kumble are worth a mention.

  • KC on November 15, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    Excellent article Anantha. As a stat-mongerer I've enjoyed your articles and this is my first comment. I agree with your selection. Nothing out of the left field. Every entry is justified beyond doubt. I like that you have left out Dennis Lillee even though he made it to the cricinfo World XI. You cannot walk into an all-time XI with 6 wickets outside of Australasia and England. As much as I like Michael Holding, he hasn't played against Pak, SAF, SL so it went against him. In the future I see Dale Steyn challenging Ambrose, but it's too early in Steyn's career to decide right now. The title of your article justifies leaving out Kallis. This is the Harlem Globetrotters' cricket counterpart. Kallis can fill the stat column any day, but his austere style makes him a box office bomb. My XI: Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara, Richards, Sobers Gilchrist McGrath, Warne, Murali, Ambrose, Marshall, Akram, Hadlee Tendulkar replaces Lara as the shoo-in, Gavaskar plays in India.

  • Ramarao on November 15, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    Having faith in your ability and your cognigence of the stats, I couldn't understand how Sachin Tendulkar cannot be featured ahead of Lara,Sobers,Hobbs, Gavaskar in South Africa and ahead of Hobbs in west Indies. Also, how Lara with such a Poor Record in India will feature in India ahead of Gavaskar and how Gavaskar features ahead of Richards in Australia. I agree its an Anomaly that Lara failed in India virtually against nothing. But his selection ahead of Tendulkar who played some brilliant Innings against best bowlers can be reviewed. Also, I think any one of the top 8 can feature any one of the countries and by my Rational Tendulkar can be opted ahead of anyone in that list except Bradman and Sobers(as sobers is an allrounder) owing to assumption that Bradman's failure statistically is as good as Average Performance of Others in the list. Barring Bradman, Tendulkar, Gavaskar and Lara must be the best players of Spin and Tendulakr,Gavaskar,sobers,Richards are best against pace.

  • Dhana Venkatesan on November 15, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Dhana's XV: Hutton, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara, Sobers Walcott, Gilchrist Imran, Hadlee, Marshall, Akram, Lillee, Muralidharan, Warne

    Walcott would be the replacement keeper for Gilchrist and a great batsman should any of the other batsmen need to be replaced. Sobers could be the second or third spinner as required. He could also be the third or fourth seamer.

    It was really tough to leave out Kallis. But I think in a comparison between Kallis and Sobers, Sobers edges him out.

    I have picked Imran, Marshall, Akram and Lillee as the pure fast men. I would replace Lillee with Hadlee on the slower tracks.

  • shmulik zulik on November 14, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    First of all, I think the game has totally changed since the 1970's,so I only picked players that were in that era. My squad- Openers-Gavaskar,Dravid Batsmen-Tendulkar,Lara,Sangakkara(wk),Richards All-rounders-Kallis,Sobers,Imran Khan(c) Bowlers-Waqar,Holding,Mcgrath,Murali,Warne,Steyn Dravid is happy to open,so I put him there. I think all-rounders add a very important dimension to a team,thats why I picked quite a few of them. According to your analysis with bowling pairs Wasim performed badly without Waqar,but Waqar was good without Wasim.Same with Holding. I think the team needs aggresive fast bowling(besides McGrath who is the best container)so my main pace is aggresive.If any additional containment is needed,Kallis/Imran can do. I think Steyn deserves a place because of bowling in poor conditions. I would like to add that because I am from a non cricket playing country(Israel)I have hardly watched cricket live,since they dont show it on TV.I therefore think my squad is unbiased.

  • Hamim on November 14, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Dear Anath, first of all it's really a very analytic and logical selection. But I have a question, why we keeping both McGrath and Hadlee in our team (or your team in this case); as we know both of them are almost similar kind of bowler who mainly depends of length and accuracy. Can't you replace one of them with Waqar; who is probably best ever yorker bowler as well as a master of reverse swing with a consistent express pace. I really do believe, this will bring more variety in the pace department. Hope you consider it positively.

  • danny on November 14, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    cont.

    in my side above, its viv richards not Barry opening

    i also agree that you need a 2nd keeping option if choosing 15 players. If we assume that a reserve keeper can be flown in at short notice, then i would replace Sanga with either Headley or Imran Khan. Although i rate Kallis highly, i think he averages around 57 in an era when many people average above 50. Sobers averaged 57 in an era when only other regular players of the 1960s averaged 50+ (Barrington and Pollock - both nearer to 60). That is why Sobers is the greatest allrounder (their bowling and fielding are close enough).

    the selection of Tendulkar is the toughest for me (against Hammond and Headley in particular). The keeper is also tough, as i think there is no standout pure keeper in history, and you can only select one + a spare

    i think Hobbs (199 FC hundreds), Bradman, Pollock are clear cut. The rest are all arguable. Search youtube for Pollock and marvel at his batting

  • danny on November 14, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    great article...i like to think of it in the way, the author (and Jamaican prime minister) Michael Manley put it:

    You are picking a side for a test match between earth and mars, and then a squad of 15 for the return tour.

    the side for a one off test represents, essentially, a merit team or all-star team, but the tour party i believe should reflect the challenges of a tour (spare opener, spare keeping option, extra quick, and ideally an all rounder).

    My all time XV is as follows (first XI to play, last 4 make up the spares)

    Richards Hobbs Bradman Pollock Tendulkar Sobers Knott Marshall Warne Ambrose Barnes

    Sangakkara Hutton Lillee Akram

    A few comments:

    - for a one off 'home' test, my 12th man would be Roger Harper, the greatest fielder ever, but he could not be selected in a touring party!

    - I have chosen Richards to open as he did against Australia in 75/76 (he scored 30, 101, 50 and 98)

    - i have chosen Knott as a true 'specialist' keeper

  • Nigel Christensen on November 14, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    Nigel C's XV

    1. J. Hobbs 2. H. Sutcliffe 3. D. Bradman 4. S. Tendulkar 5. G. Pollock 6. G. Sobers 7. A. Gilchrist 8. R. Hadlee 9. S. Warne 10.M. Marshall 11.D. Lillee

    12. A. Flower (back up keeper as well) 13. W. Hammond 14. M. Muralitharan 15. G. McGrath

  • Tansen Varghese on November 14, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/484478.html

  • Meer on November 14, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    My XI: Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Tendulkar Richards Lara Gilchrist Imran Mcgrath Marshall Ambrose Akram Waqar Warne Muralidaran

    A few comments Ananth. Where I completely agree that you have every right to your own fifteen without any justification, the exclusion of imran is just jarring for me in an otherwise splendid 15. I have assumed each bowler bowling at his peak, and like you, hoped to heaven that Gilly is immune to injury, but a balance between what are in a sense quiet accumulators like gavaskar with explosive characters such as Richards is just as crucial. That for me is the difference between hadlee and imran, the latter has the charisma and sense of unpredictable brilliance that characterized the later Pakistani pacemen. Imran could inspire and conspire to victory which makes him such a great candidate for captain in what is already a team full of leaders. Leaving Sobers out was not easy but for me the balance between attack & defence & resulting synergy just feels appropriate

  • bks123 on November 14, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    My XV is

    1. Gavaskar 2. Hobbs 3. Bradman 4. Tendulkar 5. Lara 6. Kallis 7. Sobers 8. Gilchrist 9. McGrath 10.Marshall 11. Warne 12. Steyn 13.Akram 14. Murli 15. Hadlee

  • bks123 on November 14, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    My team XV is

    1. Gavaskar 2. Hobbs 3. Bradman 4. Tendulkar 5. Lara 6. Kallis 7. Sobers 8. Gilchrist 9. McGrath 10.Marshall 11. Warne 12. Steyn 13.Akram 14. Murli 15. Hadlee

  • cricket-india on November 14, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    wish to add a final note here - i would've never been able to come up with an all-time 50, let alone an XI, but for the work done by ananth. kudos to his insight and zeal. don't mistake my posts as an attempt to poke holes in ananth's work. they are only meant to foster positive discussions. [[ Not a chance. I can make out the trend of a reader comment instantly. You guys are wonderful. Ananth: ]]

  • cricket-india on November 14, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    selection of hadlee may be justified statistically and by other parameters chosen by ananth, but if a bowler is good only in his home conditions, does he deserve to be in an all-time World XI? every player in ananth's XI is picked for atleast 4 of the 8 regions, except hadlee. surely we can have a better bowler who can perform in all regions. my take? remove hadlee from the XI, period. marshall or akram are good enough. add walsh if you insist on having 15 players to ensure bench strength. in any case i don't think there'll be a big furore if i declare between hadlee and walsh the latter is the superior bowler irrespective of the conditions the test is played in.

    so finally, here is Cricket-India's XI

    XI of Cricket-india: Gavaskar Hobbs Bradman Lara Kallis Sobers Dravid Gilchrist Ambrose Marshall Wasim Akram McGrath Muralitharan Gavaskar Walsh Warne.

  • Imran on November 14, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar in place of Ambrose :D ?

  • Blaze-501 on November 14, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    My 15 :

    1) Gavaskar 2) Hobbs 3) Bradman 4) Tendulkar 5) Richards 6) Lara 7) Kallis 8)Gilchrist 9) Hadlee 10)Steyn 11)Ambrose 12)Wasim 13)McGrath 14)Warne 15)Murali

  • cricket-india on November 14, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    now if i replace SRT with dravid i have a standby opener for all seasons and regions. ananth, really? SRT to open where you consider gavaskar not good enough to open???

    now talk about richards; with due respect to his proven abilities and records, he's a one-dimensional attacker who knows no other way to bat. i'd rather have someone with a watertight technique and a mindset flexible enough to attack, consolidate or defend based on the situation he finds himself in. kallis and mahela come to mind, and kallis makes it for the runs he has scored in all conditions (better record than mahela, anway; sanga loses out on the same note despite the backup wicketkeeping option he lends). also remember the key to selection is a winning record; mahela hasn't won tests in australian and (gasp!) indian territory so far! KevP was also a contender for this slot but lost out to kallis' superior technique (left-arm spin, anyone?) and bowling skills.

    to be continued in my next post.

  • Ali Khan on November 14, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Please note, you can not keep out Imran Khan from any era. He was top fast bowler in the era of great fast bowler; His batting was superb agianst the top bowling line of all time. Another exception was Wasim Raja, whose performance gainst might West Indies of 80's was perhpas best as compare to all bestman. I wish instead of record, individual performences must be recognized in terms of selection. Remeber, Wasim Raja, hit first ball six to Garner.

  • tamim on November 14, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    My XV M Hayden S Tendulkar J Kallis B Lara V Richards K Sangakara/R Ponting A Gilchrist (Wk) W Akram S Warne M Marshall/W Younis G Mcgrath

    M Muralitharan D Lille W Younis/M Marshall R Ponting / K Sangakara

    Sanga is picked purely as a batsman for asian conditions while Ponting to replace him in non asian conditions. While Marshall and Waqar to play alternatively to attack with raw pace as Marshall to play in hard bouncy pitches while Waqar to play in dry humid conditions to use reverse swing. I definitely ignore post ODI cricket era as i think the limited version has changed the dynamics of the game significantly. But honestly if the author didn't give restrictions of fitting 7 bowlers i would have gone for 8 batsman adding R DRAVID as replacement of J Kallis while drop D Lillee.

  • Ahsan on November 14, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Selection of Ahsan Ali Matthew Hayden Sachin Tendulkar Bradman Lara Javed Miandad Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Glenn McGrath Shane Warne Wasim Akram Muralitharan

    Remaining: Ponting, Waqar Younis,Kumble,Gayle

  • Tariq on November 14, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    I BET THIS IS THE GREATEST WORLD XI TEAM OF ALL TIME. No other team can match these individuals.

    Sir Jack Hobbs Sir Leonard Hutton Sir Donald Bradman Brian Charles Lara Sir Viv Richards Sir Garry Sobers Adam Gilchrist Wasim Akram Shane Warne Malcolm Marshall Curtly Ambrose

    The most over-rated player of this generation is Sachin Tendulkar, I would pick Brian Lara in place of him any day. If Sachin has tendency to score centuries then Lara has tendency to score double, triple, QUAD centuries, there is no match between the two. Near misses are Imran Khan, Kallis, Barnes, Murali.

  • Ali on November 14, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    my xv would be 1. Hobbs 2. Gavaskar 3. Bradman 4. Sachin 5. Lara 6. Sobers 7. Kallis 8. Gilchrist 9. Imran 10. Hadlee 11. Marshal 12. Ambrose 13. Mcgrath 14. Warne 15. Murlitharan

  • cricket-india on November 14, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    SRT has scored tons of runs, sure, but hasn't won test matches the way you'd expect someone with so many runs to. you have to win matches to make it to the all-time XI, and SRT doesn't fit the bill. on that count even gavaskar wouldn't make my XI but for his technique, determination and concentration that make him an ideal opener. sure SRT has positives too but none that stand head and shoulders above other contenders. if two guys have scored 14000 runs and 12000 runs in their respective careers, i wouldn't rate the 14000 guy as the greater one by sheer weight of numbers alone, for if i did, i'd have to rank bradman way down the line instead of at the top. what i look for is how many matches each guy has won or saved for his team, and in what circumstances, against what quality bowling attacks, etc. on difficult pitches/situations, dravid and laxman have done as well as (if not better than) SRT.

    so bottom line - no SRT in my all-time XI.

    to be continued in my next post...

  • cricketpundit on November 14, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    The most controversial inclusion is one that of Allan Border over either Gary, Lara or Tendulkar but for me allan was better batsman than the other mentioned because he played in an era of far more competetive bowling and also because he always carried his team on his shoulders. Among bowlers i had a liberty to choose two spinners because of Imran.Malcolm Marshall in my opinion is the best, i was tempted to include GlennMcgrath or Dale Steyn instead of Wasim but his being left arm shifted the weight in his favour. I would like your thoughts!

  • Ahsan Ahmed on November 14, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    What about Waqar in England? Nobody can forget his 1992 series or the 1996 tour. I believe he was underrated when comapred with Wasim as he does have the greatest strike rate for bowlers with 200 wickets. 200 wickets is a line where taking wickets luckily can be eradicated.

  • cricketpundit on November 14, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    (9)Wasim Akram(HE has been chosen above many others because of his angle. He would be useful for creating the rough for spinners as well.) (10)Shane Warne(The best leggie!) (11)Murali(Best spinner!) I would play this team all over the world irrespective of opposition or conditions.It does not contain Bradman,Sober&Tendulkar!Bradman played in an era from which i did not select a single player because in my opinion that era had only two cricketing nations with competitive teams,one English, other Aussies.And all greats of then belonged to either nation,so practically played against only one quality team,and performance againt one team cam not be the perfect gauge. Sobers failed to break in because i feel Kallis is a better batsman than him and as an all rounder,Imran prevailed because of his better overall skills and you dont make your skipper sit on bench.

  • sardar waqas bashir on November 14, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    bradman, viv richards, tendulkar, Lara, javed miandad, sobers, gilchrist. wasim, waqar, hadlee, marshall, ambrose. macgrath, muralitharan

  • partha on November 14, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Good Job Sir: Guess we may not overlook sydeny Barnes, Dennies Lille in the overall team: We have to pick 15 for all conditions...if we consider crickets who have played more than 30 test matches, my 15 is as below (Hence I have not included Greame pollack or barry Richards). Hard to leave out Wasim Akram, Waugh, ponting, Sangakara, hayden, Hutton, Hamond, Hadlee, Dravid, and Imran Khan..

    1. Sunil Gavaskar 2. Jack Hobbs 3. Don Bradman 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. Brian lara 6. Viv Richards 7. GARY Sobers 8. Jack Kallis 9. Adam Gilchrist 10. Shane Warne 11. Muralidharan 12. Sydeny Barnes 13. Glen Macgrath 14. Dennis Lille 15. Malcom Marshall

  • cricketpundit on November 14, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    (3)Viv Richards(No need for an intro.) (4)Jack Kallis(O man!what a plyer he is.I have put him here on the basis of sheer statistics.) (5)Allan Border(A left hand batsman accounts for diversity.And allan was far more than just a capable batsman.) (6)Imran Khan(He averaged almost 50 with the bat in his last years and combining that with his 22 balls per wicket ratio.But he has outdone his contemptories because of being an exceptional leader.Many dont rate him highly as a batsman but remind you that he played many tests as just a batsman.) (7)Andy Flower(Gilly good but based on my instinct i am going for Flower.Also i feel there should be some representation from minor countries as well.His keeping skills were not exceptional but he can compensate for that with his batting.) (8)Marshall("You wanna drive, go and drive a car. You aint getting anything to drive here."recorded by Sunil Gavaskar who rates him high as a sky.) CONTINUED........

  • Rajesh Enjamoori on November 14, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    Enjamoori's XV:

    XI to field on Balanced wicket any country: Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar Lara Sobers Gilchrist Imran khan Hadlee Warne Marshall

    Extras: Viv Richards Clyde Walcott Murali Lillee

    Spinning track-Hadlee or Marshall out & Murali in On absolute green top-warne out lillee in (Sobers & tendulkar can spin) If Opener is injured Lara or Gilchrist will take charge and Richards in. Gilchrist injured Walcott in. Imran and Hadlee were purely on bowling abilities. But, being top class bowling all-rounders the team can bat till No. 10 (Can't call warne as tail-ender). Captain: Imran Khan; Vice-captain: Bradman Coach: WG Grace; Manager-John Wisden

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Ananth - I take back my choice of Sanga. If Gilchrist does get injured, the substitute can come in and keep for him. In any case having Sanga and Gilli in the side, with Gilli getting injured would mean Gilli may not bat. So doesn't make a difference. So Kallis, despite what he brings to the table, would be replaced by Sanga. Who as a batsman, like Kallis can bat anywhere up and down the order. The Ambrose vs Hadlee debate is a tough one. Though I have chosen Hadlee, its easy to get swayed to choosing Ambrose. Ananth, any unique insights that gives either of them the definitive edge? [[ Ambrose is the ultimate bowling match-winner. If my life depended on dismissing the other team for below 100, my bowlers would be Ambrose, Wasim and Waqar. I would expect them to bowl 25 overs between them, capture 10 wickets and I would be alive to shake their hands. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on November 14, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    Sydney Barnes???!!!!!

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    The question raised by Wasp is very important and needs to be addressed in a team selection of not only the XV but the XI. There needs to be a back up wicketkeeper in the side. This person may not be the best in the trade, but should be able to handle the job. And each of these candidates should be able to be selected in the XI, purely on the basis on their batting skills. The candidates that come to my mind are: Flower, Sanga, Dravid, Stewart and Walcott. Now one of them should be better than or almost equivalent to the batting stalwarts we have in the fray and should be able to replace them in the XI. Dravid has never kept in tests. Stewart's batting average is low. Walcott has not played much. Flower's average is by far the highest when keeping(>50), but quite low when not(which would be his job). Sanga is the opposite and fits the bill perfectly. And the only candidate he can replace is Lara. It may look ridiculous but is practical. Sanga has 8 double centuries too. Thoughts Ananth [[ If England can undertake a very important tour of India, a real-life event, with no recognized second keeper, why should I spoil the balance of the squad with a second keeper just for the sake of having one. That too in an imaginary context. Even then, I think Trini Traveller's idea of Walcott is fine. But I would not do it. Tomorrow morning if Prior wakes up with a flu what would England do. I know, they will play Bairstow. But he is also being played as a batsman. For that matter if Dhoni has a fall in the morning, what would India do. Ask Tendulkar or Kohli to keep wickets. Let us be practical and pragmatic and not dogmatic. Ananth: ]]

  • Hemant Brar on November 14, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Seems like you took me wrong.

    I am very much in agreement with your XV. What I meant was why not have Richards playing in Australia than Lara. (More of an internal selection) [[ My personal wish to have Lara playing everywhere. Biased? Probably, yes. Ananth: ]]

  • Jackwin on November 14, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    i believe SYD BARNES,by pure statistical brilliance, is by far the best bowler. And i believe STEYN's got all the attributes of a ferocious pace merchant..pace swing accuracy..also GEORGE HEADLEY is a certainty in any team i pick based on pure numbers...sorry curtly and hadlee... My 15...bradman hobbs lara tendulkar richards sobers gilchrist and headley ........barnes steyn mcgrath marshall akram muralitharan warne

    P.S : though I'm not a big fan of sehwag, his records are pretty good..in fact real good..a little more consistemcy and he'd have displaced cricket's most prolific batsman from my team...:-)

  • Mahendran on November 14, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Mahendran's XV: Openers-Gavaskar(defensive & long innings), Gilchrist(aggressive+wk-this will allow me to bring Viv as an aggressive no.7) & Sehwag(aggressive & big innings but limited to sub-continent pitches) Middle order-Bradman(solid & big innings),Tendulkar(bet on him on all surfaces, can play pace better than spin), Lara(long & big innings, can play spin better than pace), Viv(aggression thy name), Sobers(a natural player) & Sanga(back-up for Gilchrist) – 3 lefties+3 right handers Bowlers-Marshall(express pace), Garner(nagging accuracy+those lifters-for him they call it as lifters and not bouncers), Warne(leg spinner but gives away runs), Murali(off spinner but doesn’t give away many), Mcgrath(not express but has the knack of picking wickets) & Akram(for variety-left arm pacer+good with older ball)

  • love goel on November 14, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    I am only selecting players from 90's onwards as those are the players I have watched.

    Love Goel:

    Dravid, Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar, Lara, Steve Waugh and Sangakarra

    Gilchrist

    Ambrose, McGrath, Shane Bond, Dale Steyn , Warne and Muralitharan.

    Bond had a small career but it sure was spectacular [[ This is a selection which does not address the issue. Why select a XV of the past 20 years when the need is to select an all-time XV. I am at this stage unsure whether to even consider including such very limited XVs especially as there is alrewady a selection or two on such basis. And you do not have a single opener. Please do not point to my selection. Of the 16 opening bat positions, I have filled 12 with two great openers. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on November 14, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Also, could you please explain why you think Tendulkar would do a better job of opening than Gavaskar? Tendulkar is known to be reluctant to vacate his favored no.4 spot. Vacating two specialists from their regular positions and pushing one into an unfamiliar position is something I cannot see why you would do. As an interesting aside, as far as I have heard, Hadlee is agreed to be the best bowler among the 4 great all rounders, something with which you seem to agree. I remember Botham saying so too. Any specific reason as to why he's generally put above Imran, despite theirsimilar records? [[ Ajinkya I am going to reply to your quesry and further queries with one sentence. This is my XV and multiple XIs and why ask for further explanations. I can ask all the readers similar questions. But will not do. The opening decision is a judgement decision on my part. Imran, I have already talked about. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on November 14, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    (contd.) Steyn is still in the middle of his career while McGrath is too similar to Ambrose, just not as fast. My final XV:Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara, Sobers, Kallis Gilchrist, Akram, Marshall, Ambrose, Hadlee, Imran Warne, Muralitharan Your team is pretty well balanced, however I disagree on the following points: 1)Tendulkar instead of Lara would play in SA. Lara failed in SA against Donald. Tendulkar has 2 tons against Donald, 2 against Steyn and one more against Pollock, Ntini etc, all in SA. I feel he is a better all-weather batsman. 2)Also, since you have decided to include only specialists, why not pick a specialist opener when Gavaskar is not playing? Opening the batting in Tests is decidedly a specialist's job. 3)Why not pick Marshall over McGrath as the all-weather paceman? Or Ambrose, as he was similar to McGrath, but faster.

  • Chandra on November 14, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    My XI is

    Hammond Hobbs Bradman Lara Sachin Sangakkara Kallis Gilly Mcgrath Warne Murali Wasim Steyn Marshall Kumble

  • Ajinkya on November 14, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    (contd.) Tendulkar is Marshall's batting analogue-versatile, consistent and equally at ease in any conditions. Lara makes it on his ability to score fast and big, with style. The pacemen Marshall, Akram and Ambrose combine various qualities-Marshall being the fast, fullish length swing bowler; Ambrose the thrifty back of a length seam bowler with extra bounce and Akram as the left armer who is also a master of reverse swing. Regarding Hadlee and Murali, they would probably be more dangerous on a Headingley greentop and subcontinent dustbowl, respectively, than Ambrose. Rounding off the XV are Kallis as the back up opener/middle-order batsman and Imran in case either Sobers or Wasim is injured. I was sorely tempted to include Richards, but each of the chosen batsmen brings something more to the table than him-Lara as a left hander, Sobers and Kallis as all rounders and Tendulkar consistency and reliability. Also wanted to include Steyn and McGrath, but (contd.)

  • raj on November 14, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    My XV:

    Sunil Gavaskar Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Sachin Tendulkar Brian Lara Gary Sobers Viv Richards Adam Gilchrist Shane Warne Wasim Akram Malcolm Marshall Curtly Ambrose Michael Holding Mutiah Muralitharan Richard Hadlee [[ Holding for McGrath. Not bad. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on November 14, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    My playing XI in batting order, for all conditions, except the subcontinent would be: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Akram, Warne, Marshall, Ambrose. In the subcontinent, Muralitharan would replace Ambrose. If the wicket is green and conditions are overcast, I would consider replacing Ambrose with Hadlee. Some justification: Bradman, Sobers, Gilchrist, Marshall and Warne are non-negotiable inclusions for me. Bradman needs no justification. Sobers would make it purely on his batting ability alone (as the best left handed bat of all time). Gilchrist, you have explained yourself. Marshall is, for me, the greatest all round paceman cricket has ever seen-fast, supremely versatile and consistent everywhere. I chose Warne over Murali as I felt the former was a more attacking bowler. Also, he was successful in Australia, unlike Murali. I feel Hobbs and Gavaskar, brilliant technicians both, would successfully open in any conditions.(contd.) [[ Finally please give me an XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Salim Khan on November 14, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Salim's XV: Sunil Gavaskar, Len Hutton, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards, Greg Chappell, Garfield Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Glenn McGrath, Curtly Ambrose, Shane Warne, Muttaih Muralitharan.

  • Trini Traveller on November 14, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    Trini Traveller's view on a World XV Reading the comments and the need to have a back up to Gilly I have added Walcott as a back up wicket keeper and a pretty good bat in his own right:

    Bradman Sobers Kallis Lara Gavaskar Tendulkar Gilchrist Walcott Garner Ambrose Marshall McGrath Lillee Murali Warne [[ Excellent solution to the problem raised by WaspSting. Ananth: ]]

  • Hemant Brar on November 14, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    I have question Anantha.

    On which factor Lara (Ave 42)has been chosen above Richards (Ave 47.5) to play in Australia. Similarly if I look at Warne and Murali based on their averages/ SR in Pakistan there seems to be something missing (?). [[ I will not explain any of my country selections. I have not blindly selected the best avge player. Then Sangakkara should be selected in Pakistan. Steve Waugh should be selected in England. Lloyd should be selected in India. And so on. Ananth: ]] PS: Will post my XI/XV later tonight.

    Regards

  • Mayur Kumar on November 14, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Miandad was better than Tendulkar, Imran, Wasim and Waqar should be the bowlers in all condition (variety in speed and swing). Others were nothing compared to them. And Ajmal is the spinner who is better than Warne as of date. In short whole bowling attack should have been Pakistani and instead of Gavaskar it should be Miandad because he played more match winning knocks. [[ I have to check my article to see whether I have selected an all-time Paxistan XV. No, I have selected a World XV. Why don't you get in Inzamam and Md. Yousuf also. Ananth: ]]

  • shashank on November 14, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    Shashank's team: Hayden sehwag kallis sachin lara chanderpaul gilchrist warne akram murlitharan mcgrath

  • OAK on November 14, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    No Waqar?: / Not even in England and New Zealand? : / The guy with the 2nd best strike rate (with over 200 wickets) amongst ALL bowlers to have played the game in the last 150 years? NOT even in the reckoning? I'm sure you must have had a SOLID reason for not even mentioning the king of swing - Would appreciate if you could let the readers know as well. Cheers! [[ Team balance. Between Imran, Waqar and Wasim, I plumped for Wasim purely because of the need for a top-drawer left arm pacer. Please notice that there is no mention of ANY player other than the ones selected. I would love to have your XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghuveer on November 14, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Perhaps the perfect XV. My changes would be Imran (for Hadlee)and Dravid (for Tendulkar).

    I know it is quite controversial to leave out Tendulkar and all that, but being a nineties (late) and noughties cricket watcher, I believe, Dravid is a better away player (on difficult pitches) against largely good bowling (perhaps of a slightly lesser quality) than what Tendulkar may have faced in early 90s. Additionally, I believe Dravid could do the opener's job (and has done it a couple of times before).

    Given that all the pacers selected are all known to be niggardly, none apart from Marshall have that express pace, which could really hustle the batsmen barring Ambrose, that too to a certain extent. To this extent, I think Imran might be a better bet in replacing Hadlee.

    If I could, XV would have been: Hobbs; Gavaskar; Bradman; Lara; Dravid; Richards; Sobers; Gilchrist; Imran; Warne; Muralidharan; Ambrose; Marshall; Akram; and Mcgrath.

    Any chance that Anantha could simulate matches ? [[ I had anticipated this question!!!. I would love to simulate a series of 5 matches between the First and Second XIs. Lot of work to be done since my 2002 Times simulation programs have to be given a thorough makeover. But the idea should never be forgotten. Ananth: ]]

  • Karthick G on November 14, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Selection of Karthick.G Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Kallis, Sobers, Gilchrist, Imran Khan, Botham, Warne, Muralitharan, Wasim, Mcgrath, Marshall.

  • Waspsting on November 14, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    openers (3) - Gavaskar, Hobbs, Hutton

    batsmen (3) - Bradman, Headley, Tendulkar

    keepers (2) - Gilchrist, Knott

    all-rounders (3) - Hadlee, Imran Khan, Sobers

    pace (2)- Marshall, Waqar Younis

    spin (2) - Muralidharan, Warne

    That's my fifteen - I'll publish the one that i think the readers overall will pick. few will pick two keepers or 3 openers as i have, IMO, its the best way to go in a touring party. An injury can leave you with Tendulkar opening as in Ananth's team - a guy who shies away from playing at 3, let alone opening!

    And what are you going to do if Gilly gets injured?

    Just one surprise from your choices to me, Ananth.

    No Imran Khan? [[ 1. In my imaginary fourth-dimensional world, I would call for Knott to be transported instantly and maybe postpone the contest for couple of days. I may ask you "what happens if Gilly is injured in the first over". 2. I have already explained. Only specialists. I could not convince myself that imran, purely as a bowler, could edge out any of the selected ones. Ananth: ]]

  • CricketPissek on November 14, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Excellent selection. I would make a couple of changes myself purely on subjective terms, but it is interesting to note that most of the players come from the 80s-00s. My XV would be Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Richards Gilchrist Kallis, Sobers, Akram, Murali, Warne, Lillee, Marshall, McGrath

    On a rank turner I would put McGrath, Kallis, Akram, and *shock* Bradman on the bench On a pacey/bouncy wicket I would put Murali, Kallis, McGrath, and Lara on the bench.

    To begin with anyway. Depending on form I would change the XI :) Kallis and McGrath wouldn't get into the starting XI for me either way. Since Bradman has never played in India (and the times he played in Ceylon (aka Sri Lanka) I know of a few bowlers from that era that troubled him) I am not convinced he would have dominated the same way

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    (Cont...) Now comes the question of selecting one spinner in conditions which cannot have two spinners in the team. I agree with Inverarity and others who call for clean bowling action. I with the mindset that I had when I played school and gali cricket during my teens, would not had selected Murali to play in my team. Just because someone's arm cannot bent, one cannot be allowed to change the rules. There could be cricket for the physically challenged and we could have the Malingas and Muralis and tons of others bowling Teesra and Chauthas there. But not in my side. But for the brand of cricket that ICC currently administers, there is little doubt that Murali is the greatest bowler ever. And he will be selected in my starting XI almost always, unless there are specific conditions where Warne has done much much better than him (which there are some).

    Would be interesting to see what would be the XV selected through this poll of some great readers. Have a feel it would mirror yours.

  • sgs on November 14, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    sgs: barry richards,tendulkar,bradman,lara,headley,graeme pollock,sobers,gilchrist,ambrose,mcgrath,imran khan,marshall,mike procter,murali,warne

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    (Cont...) Some inspired selection regarding the opener. In had always wondered, how could someone leave out Gavaskar. And it gives be great joy seeing him in your list. But as a backup for the two openers, my candidates would be Bradman, Kallis and not Tendulkar, because I feel opening is such a specialized position, which can only be substituted (if need be), by a number 3 batsman. And Bradman and Kallis would do better there.

    To sum up my selection: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Kallis, Lara, Sachin, Sobers, Gilchrist, Imran, Hadlee, Warne, Akram, Marshall, Murali, McGrath.

    Among the batsmen, Kallis would almost always come as a backup. And his greatness is in the fact that, he can bat as an opener, a number 3, 4, 5, 6 batsman without losing any of his ability. He can bowl and take wickets. And the greatest thing of all - he will not be missed and will not challenge anyone for his inclusion into the first XI (like the quandary Richards selection would have been). [[ Despite my decision to publish most of the comments without any response from me, I cannot but compliment you on the level of logical thinking you have put in. In fact I would confess now: the two decisions I had to regret most were leaving out Kallis and Imran. But I went with my instincts on the former and my self-imposed "specialists only" constraint re the later. You have both. Now I envy your selection!!! Ananth: ]] (cont...)

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    (Cont...) Now Richards remains the King and my alltime favorite cricketer. But such bias' cannot come in when selecting an alltime world XV. One of the best articles you have published in my opinion is the best decade one. Of course it could be further refined as discussed through your comments, but it gives us the blueprint. Despite watching Sachin and others over the last 3 decades, I was not totally sold on Sachin being a part of the all time test XV. I consider him, along with Richards, the two greatest ODI batsmen ever, but tests, I was not so sure. But that article confirmed his place as unquestionable. When selecting Imran, the one to be left out could had been Ambrose, Hadlee, Akram, McGrath. It was a very tough call choosing Ambrose and my logic was to leave out the lower ranked one amongst Ambrose, Hadlee, Mcgrath (somewhat similar accuracy and nagging bowlers). And your decade best article said it had to be Ambrose. I kept Akram, because he has that 'X' factor. (Cont...)

  • Som on November 14, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Ananth - Excellent choices for the XV. I tried to challenge your selection with some marginal 'left outs', like Weekes, Walcott, Barrington, Chappell in place of Richards, but finally decided he was superior for the aggressive intent he displayed throughout his career. Now given Gilchrist is unquestionable, through him batting aggression is guaranteed. That made selection of both Richards and Lara together a bit questionable, over Kallis (purely for his batting) and all the bonus for his bowling. Also Kallis' best decade is better than Richards. So if Kallis' were to come in, would it be at the place of Richards or Lara? What Kallis does not provide is scores of the tall order and Lara does that beautifully. So between Kallis, Lara and Gilchrist, on an average, we get everything and more of what Richards is capable of. Since Kallis is in, his bonus bowling meant, one great bowler had to make place for another great, who could bat. And Imran comes in place of Ambrose. And he would lead.

  • Khushrav Patel on November 14, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    XV of Khushrav Patel: Gavaskar, Boycott, Bradman, Kallis, Richards, Lara and Miandad. Gilchrist Akram, McGrath, Marshall, Holding, Warne, Muralidharan and Styne.

  • kartekay on November 14, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    Selection of Kartekay: Gavaskar Hutton Bradman Viv Richards Sobers Steve Waugh Graeme Pollock Gilchrist Marshall Lilee Akram Mcgrath Imran Khan Murali Warne

    Lilee comes in for Ambrose. Ihave picked Imran over Headley mostly for subcontinent matches. I have picked Hutton as specialist bat instead of Sachin opening. I have picked Steve Waugh over Sachin for tight match situations..

  • Sunil on November 14, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    Bowling almost ok, the only thing is we cannot accomodate Lilley, Bothom (a good mover of the ball) & Waquar (king of reverse swing!). But batting, where is V.V.S.Laxman? where is Dravid?

  • Keshav on November 14, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Keshav's XI - Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Lara, Sachin, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Marshal, McGrath, Ambrose Backups - Kallis, Murali, Steyn, Viv Richards

  • Pawan Mathur on November 14, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    Saf - Greenidge, Hobbs, Richards, Bradman,Lara,Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Warne, Akram, Marshall, Mcgrath Aus/nz- Gavaskar, Hobbs, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards,,Sobers,Gilchrist, Warne, Hadlee, Marshall, Mcgrath While selecting my teams for various conditions, a lot of subjective factors weighed. and since choice was from 15, there were severe restrictions. For eg- While choosing a team for playing in subcontinent only, Miandad and Imram would be my preferred choices . so in any future article, could you just pick an all time XI to play in a specific country without applying squad restrictions

  • Pawan Mathur on November 14, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    Dear Sir, Can you please specify your batting position (of specialist batsmen) in brackets for different conditions so that we readers may be able to comment on this aspect as well 2) In your team, who would take up the captaincy role- Sir Don and Sobers look most likely in my view among the four who play everywhere 3) My pick of 15 - 3 openers, 5 middle order batsmen, 1 wicketkeeper, 6 bowlers ( 2 spinners + 4 fast bowler) The squad of 15- Jack Hobbs, Gavaskar, Greenidge, Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist, Marshall, Akram, Mcgrath, Hadlee, Warne, Murali Playing XI- (subcontinent)- Gavaskar, Greenidge, Richards, Bradman, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Akram, Marshall,Murali,Mcgrath Playing XI(Westindies)-,Greenidge,Gavaskar, Richards,Bradman,Lara, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, Akram, Marshall, Mcgrath Playing XI (England) - Hobbs, Gavaskar, Richards,Bradman, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne, , Akram, Marshall,Mcgrath. (contd)

  • charith on November 14, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    i was very pleased to see you pick hadlee because i think he deserves to be given a lot more credit than many people give him. my world team is; lara, sachin, viv, ponting, sanga, kallis, kp, adam , warne, murally, akram, ambrose, hadlee, waquar,mcgrath. i admit that my selection is biased towards modern players but its mainly because i haven't seen many cricket before 1990. i have great respect for don's stats but because i haven't seen him bat i am reluctent to include him. all the batsmen that i have included ; when they came into bat i always felt they would score a century until they got out and of all the bowlers that i have picked; when they bowled i always felt they would pick a wicket from their next bowl.

  • kiani on November 14, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    My starting XI Hutton,Hayden,Richards,Sachin,Lara,Waugh,Gilly,Warne,Akram,Marshall,Lillee Bench Javed,Kallis,Murali,Ambrose

  • Karthikeyan on November 14, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Karthikeyan's XV

    Hammond Bradman Pointing Kallis Lara Sobers Sehwag Gilchrist Murali warne Ambrose akram Imrankhan McGrath Marshall

  • Shahnawaz on November 14, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    I'm a little surprised you didn't include Imran Khan as a bowler after the "bowlers over a decade" analysis you did earlier where you concluded he was the best bowler of his age

  • Pavan Kumar on November 14, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    My selection would be Hutton for Gavaskar with Hutton and Hobbs as openers, Bradman at 3, 2 out of Sachin,Lara and Richards playing based on conditions at 4 and 5, Sobers at 6, Gilly at 7. Bowlers would be McGrath,Warne,Murali,Marshall,Ambrose,Akram and Hadlee.

    My bowling combination would be Mcgrath, Warne and Murali in the subcontinent along with Akram when playing either in Pak or SL and Marshall in India. In England it would be Mcgrath,Marshall and Ambrose along with Warne In Aus and Saf Mcgrath,Ambrose, Hadlee and Warne In NZ Mcgrath, Akram, Hadlee, Murali and in WI it would be Mcgrath,Marshall,Ambrose and Murali.

  • Bhargav on November 14, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    My Team: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Lara, Sangakkara, Warne, Akram, McGrath, Muralitharan, Marshall, Ambrose, Holding.

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on November 14, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    I was very tempted to bring Steve Waugh and Imran Khan into my team but then again getting an all time XV is very tough. Problem of plenty. But I stuck with Bishan Bedi and Warne because my spinners have to attack in style and I stuck with Lillee to give that bit of aggression. Healy was the most stylish specialist keeper I have ever seen. Pure stuff of delight, him standing up to warne was. If not for anything, I would put Healy and Bishan in the same team to enjoy the keeping. If only I had a non-playing captain, I would have Ian chappell leading this side. Two more years, I would like to think Dale Steyn would feature in these discussions.

  • ruudraza on November 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Sorry, i wrote mcgrath and murali twice the bench 4 complete the 15

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on November 14, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Selection of Bharath Rajeswaran Geoffrey Boycott Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Brian Lara Sachin Tendulkar Garfield Sobers Vivian Richards Ian Healy (k) Shane Warne Bishan Singh Bedi Dennis Lillee Fred Trueman Malcolm Marshall Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose

  • ruudraza on November 14, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Great job, it looks like a genuinely honest and unbiased pick. Very happy to see mcgrath being picked. I think Imran Khan, dennis lille missed out more due to team balance than ability though i think steve waugh and kallis should have been there. My pick( starting) Hutton, Gavaskar, Richards, Tendulkar, Sobers, Steve Waugh, Gilchrist, Muralitharan, McGrath, Hadlee, Marshall,Muralitharan, McGrath Bench Kallis, Wasim Akram, Warne and Hayden

    I have not picked any of the pre-war players as i dont think it is possible to judge pre-war players in comparison to post-war players as cricket has changed significantly since then. I have picked 3 openers becoz i think opening is a specialist position in test cricket and non openers no mater how good they are struggle when asked to open. Also steve waugh has been picked becoz at number 6 guts, determination and ability to bat with tail are more important than technique and flamboyance. [[ Thanks for an excellent and balanced first comment. Yours will be the first team into the mix. You have only 13. You could nominate two of the bench group thru a comment. Ananth: ]]

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  • ruudraza on November 14, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Great job, it looks like a genuinely honest and unbiased pick. Very happy to see mcgrath being picked. I think Imran Khan, dennis lille missed out more due to team balance than ability though i think steve waugh and kallis should have been there. My pick( starting) Hutton, Gavaskar, Richards, Tendulkar, Sobers, Steve Waugh, Gilchrist, Muralitharan, McGrath, Hadlee, Marshall,Muralitharan, McGrath Bench Kallis, Wasim Akram, Warne and Hayden

    I have not picked any of the pre-war players as i dont think it is possible to judge pre-war players in comparison to post-war players as cricket has changed significantly since then. I have picked 3 openers becoz i think opening is a specialist position in test cricket and non openers no mater how good they are struggle when asked to open. Also steve waugh has been picked becoz at number 6 guts, determination and ability to bat with tail are more important than technique and flamboyance. [[ Thanks for an excellent and balanced first comment. Yours will be the first team into the mix. You have only 13. You could nominate two of the bench group thru a comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on November 14, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Selection of Bharath Rajeswaran Geoffrey Boycott Jack Hobbs Don Bradman Brian Lara Sachin Tendulkar Garfield Sobers Vivian Richards Ian Healy (k) Shane Warne Bishan Singh Bedi Dennis Lillee Fred Trueman Malcolm Marshall Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose

  • ruudraza on November 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Sorry, i wrote mcgrath and murali twice the bench 4 complete the 15

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on November 14, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    I was very tempted to bring Steve Waugh and Imran Khan into my team but then again getting an all time XV is very tough. Problem of plenty. But I stuck with Bishan Bedi and Warne because my spinners have to attack in style and I stuck with Lillee to give that bit of aggression. Healy was the most stylish specialist keeper I have ever seen. Pure stuff of delight, him standing up to warne was. If not for anything, I would put Healy and Bishan in the same team to enjoy the keeping. If only I had a non-playing captain, I would have Ian chappell leading this side. Two more years, I would like to think Dale Steyn would feature in these discussions.

  • Bhargav on November 14, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    My Team: Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Sobers, Lara, Sangakkara, Warne, Akram, McGrath, Muralitharan, Marshall, Ambrose, Holding.

  • Pavan Kumar on November 14, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    My selection would be Hutton for Gavaskar with Hutton and Hobbs as openers, Bradman at 3, 2 out of Sachin,Lara and Richards playing based on conditions at 4 and 5, Sobers at 6, Gilly at 7. Bowlers would be McGrath,Warne,Murali,Marshall,Ambrose,Akram and Hadlee.

    My bowling combination would be Mcgrath, Warne and Murali in the subcontinent along with Akram when playing either in Pak or SL and Marshall in India. In England it would be Mcgrath,Marshall and Ambrose along with Warne In Aus and Saf Mcgrath,Ambrose, Hadlee and Warne In NZ Mcgrath, Akram, Hadlee, Murali and in WI it would be Mcgrath,Marshall,Ambrose and Murali.

  • Shahnawaz on November 14, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    I'm a little surprised you didn't include Imran Khan as a bowler after the "bowlers over a decade" analysis you did earlier where you concluded he was the best bowler of his age

  • Karthikeyan on November 14, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Karthikeyan's XV

    Hammond Bradman Pointing Kallis Lara Sobers Sehwag Gilchrist Murali warne Ambrose akram Imrankhan McGrath Marshall

  • kiani on November 14, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    My starting XI Hutton,Hayden,Richards,Sachin,Lara,Waugh,Gilly,Warne,Akram,Marshall,Lillee Bench Javed,Kallis,Murali,Ambrose

  • charith on November 14, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    i was very pleased to see you pick hadlee because i think he deserves to be given a lot more credit than many people give him. my world team is; lara, sachin, viv, ponting, sanga, kallis, kp, adam , warne, murally, akram, ambrose, hadlee, waquar,mcgrath. i admit that my selection is biased towards modern players but its mainly because i haven't seen many cricket before 1990. i have great respect for don's stats but because i haven't seen him bat i am reluctent to include him. all the batsmen that i have included ; when they came into bat i always felt they would score a century until they got out and of all the bowlers that i have picked; when they bowled i always felt they would pick a wicket from their next bowl.