April 12, 2013


Cricket's greatest bearded XI

Matt Cleary
A colossus of the game, WG's beard had the thickness of a wombat, badger or wolverine carcass  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

And so, for no reason, cricket's greatest bearded XI.

1. S Anwar - How one imagines Abraham Lincoln would look if he was stockier, darker, shorter, less gaunt, and a cavalier opening batsman from Pakistan.

2. CG Greenidge - Great to watch, our Gordon. Instead of calling for a runner when injured, he'd see it as an opportunity to stand back and belt boundaries. Top batsman, top beard. Coincidence? Probably it is, yes.

3. HM Amla - Another Abe Lincoln look-alike, you could put Hashim on a throne and carve him in marble and you'd be hard pressed telling them apart. Potentially the greatest beard to play for South Africa.

4. IVA Richards - With piercing eyes, a hawk-like Arabian countenance, and a cool spade-shaped beard, Viv had the ominous look of a struttin', jive-talkin' street dude comin' to collect the vig.

5. GS Chappell - With skin cancer warnings telling Australians to "Slip, Slop, Slap" (wear a shirt, sun cream and hat) Chappell went one better by sporting a beard best described as an upside-down ginger afro. Ever seen Krusty the Clown do a handstand? Greg Chappell's beard.

6. WG Grace (C) - Cricket's greatest beard. This large lump of England looked equal parts Ned Kelly after a diet of turkey fat and beer, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. A colossus of the game, WG's beard had the thickness of a wombat, badger or wolverine carcass. Top stuff.

7. PJL Dujon - While his beard came across a little blotchy, a little wispy, a little Che Guevara, this Calypso keeper had enough street cred to carry it off like an extra on Miami Vice, one of those Snoop Dog-like drug-dealing pimp guys with "attitood" and bling who'd sit on their huge boats with their mommas and taunt Crockett and his mate, the other one, about their daggy pastel clothes and, of course, lack of beards.

8. MD Marshall - With a tight peppercorn do that made him look equal parts junkyard dog and filled-out Kalahari Bushman, Marshall ran into the crease looking like Danny Glover in the first Lethal Weapon movie, the one when he's in the bath and it's his 50th birthday. Except Malcolm had a cricket ball and ran very fast.

9. TG Hogan - A left-arm orthodox spinner notable for his beard, wristbands and … that is all.

10. RJ Bright - A left-arm orthodox spinner notable for his seven wickets in the '86 Tied Test. But mainly for the beard.

11.BS Bedi - Since he could grow one, the original Turbanator has never not had a beard. Good luck to him.

12. GR Beard - Didn't actually have a beard but a perfect drinks waiter for this XI.

Matt Cleary writes for several Australian sports and travel magazines. He tweets here

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Keywords: Hair, Offbeat, XIs

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

the only batsmen that should be there is Mohommed Yousuf. He without doubt was one of Pakistans Finest in the modern era and his record speaks for itself. Haters can hate and envy but the fact will remain.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Panesar's a better spinner than either Hogan or Bright - and as a Sikh, he's never going to get rid of the beard. The others could cut theirs off tomorrow.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Mohammed yousuf I reckon should be there above WG Grace. A massive shortage of fast bowlers. Surely bowlers with moustache counts doesn't it. Otherwise someone like waqar younis, or even go back to Fred Spoffroth from australia.

Posted by SyedAreYouDumb on (April 13, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

Saqlain Mushtaq should be on there. How long do the beards have to be to qualify? Surely beards that are as long as Amla's is the minimum requirement :P . The reason why Pakistan has many bearded players is because of religious reasons.

Posted by Tyrion-and-Tywin on (April 13, 2013, 23:16 GMT)

Come on Matt, make your readers happy. the list should be:

Saeed Anwar, Shakoor Qureshi (from Lahore Tigers Club), Md Yusuf (nee Youhana), Ijaz Ahmad (he has a beard now) and Inzamam-ul-Haq will be the 5 specialist batsmen.

Shareef Halwai (Rawalpindi Bazaar cricket club) will be the WK.

Imran Khan will be captain (he will grow a beard when he becomes PM).

Fast bowlers will be Waqar (has beard now) and Wasim (always had a stubble, which strictly speaking is a beard-though still germinating).

And the two spinners will be Mush and Saqi.

Posted by CricketPissek on (April 13, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

Pfffft! Your XI is no match to my XI captained by Gurusinghe. Monty Panaser was spin webs around your bearded wonders

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (April 13, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

Writer has made some serious blunders. Pakistan's finest batsman Muhammad Yousaf is not on the list. Please do some research M.Yousaf was a grave peronafied....He avereged 50+ in test matches and his century against Australia in Melbourne and his spectacular attack on Shane Warne with those straight lofted sixes were a treat to watch! I had a pleasure to see that innings in the stadium and I rate is one of finest innings in AUstralia...miles ahead of boring scores by boring Indian batsmen on friendly wickets.

Posted by   on (April 12, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

We could probably have "Pakistan vs Rest Of The World" bearded XI's. Pakistan can probably put an extremely strong side out on their own.

Posted by   on (April 12, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

where are mushtaq ahmed and saqlin mushtaq

Posted by   on (April 12, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

How come you forget Yousuf, with very healthy average in Test and ODIs, to me he is better than Anwar, who always struggle in SA.

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Matt Cleary
Matt Cleary reckons he watched more of the 1978-79 Ashes series than any eight-year-old. Despite this punishment - Geoff Boycott batting for days - Cleary was hooked. As a journalist he's written about sport, travel, beer, wine, swimming with stingrays in the Alice waters of Bora Bora, and touring Australia on a four-month lap, playing golf. Yet he counts doing ball-by-ball commentary for ESPNcricinfo as the most fun he's had with a keyboard. He writes for several of Australia's sports and travel magazines, notably Inside Sport, Inside Cricket, Golf Australia and Rugby League Week. @JournoMatCleary

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