Cricinfo XI September 20, 2007

Different era, same brilliance ... Pt 2

Martin Williamson and Siddarth Ravindran
A second batch of XI players from the past who would have excelled at Twenty20

After their first attempt at picking XI former players suited to the Twenty20 format attracted considerable feedback, Martin Williamson and Siddarth Ravindran offer another XI choices, based on your feedback.

Richard Hadlee: a master at exploiting a batsman's weakness © Getty Images

Richard Hadlee
New Zealand's Atlas for much of the seventies and eighties was a shining example of a player who maximised potential through rigorous practice and a sharp cricketing brain. With a model side-on action that delighted the pundits, he carried New Zealand to their first Test victory over England and helped them (temporarily) gain the upper hand in the bitter trans-Tasman rivalry. A master at exploiting a batsman's weakness, his one-day record is underrated: he finished with 158 wickets at an impeccable 21.58. While his batting was explosive, it lacked the class of his bowling - though he did score 99 in a match where England mustered 82 and 93 in their innings.

Sydney Barnes
Read any contemporary account of Barnes and they all speak of his unerring accuracy, variation of pace, and ability to move the ball off the pitch and in the air. John Arlott wrote that Barnes was "a right-arm fast-medium bowler with the accuracy, spin and resource of a slow bowler, whose high delivery gave him a lift off the pitch that rapped the knuckles of the unwary and forced even the best batsmen to play him at an awkward height". Barnes played little first-class cricket, preferring the lucrative rewards of league cricket, and so his records look sparse. But even in the bat-dominated format of Twenty20, Barnes, one of the greatest bowlers of all time, would have been the scourge of the most bullying batsman.

Lance Klusener
Klusener's astonishing bat speed ensured that a baseball-style back-lift didn't hinder his unmatched ability to dispatch death bowling's most potent weapon - the low, fast full-toss. His tenacious attitude was on display early in his career - after being dismantled by Mohammad Azharuddin in the first innings of his debut Test, he bounced back with eight wickets in the second. A calm temperament coupled with the ability to hit big helped him take South Africa over the line many a time. While his heroics with the bat are legendary, his six five-fors in ODIs (fourth highest of all-time) demonstrate his match-turning skills with the ball.

Graeme Pollock
In the brief period during which he played against the world's best, before South Africa's expulsion from international cricket, Pollock left nobody in any doubt about his right to be regarded as one of the all-time greats. His timing of strokes was exquisite but he could also hit with real power, and his placement was unparalleled. The only fly in the ointment is that he might not have wanted to play. He turned down lucrative offers from three English counties in the late 1960s and early 1970s because he felt the domestic grind was not "my type of game".

Chris Cairns: there have been few better at clobbering the ball © Getty Images

Chris Cairns
The fact that Cairns has hit more Test sixes than Viv Richards - in half the number of matches - speaks volumes of his ability to clobber the ball. Added to this he was a genuine pace bowler and the natural successor to fill the void left in New Zealand cricket by Hadlee's retirement. Unfortunately his career was blighted by injury and he managed only 62 Tests in a 15-year career - though that didn't stop him from taking 200 wickets and 3000 runs in both Tests and ODIs.

Joel Garner
Big Bird was built for Twenty20. He had the pace to trouble the best, and could make the ball rear alarmingly off a length - unsurprising, given that he was 6' 8" - which meant that batsmen found it all but impossible to play forward or back with any certainty. The icing on the cake was his toe-crunching yorker - lethal and unerring - as he showed to devastating effect in the 1979 World Cup final.

Waqar Younis
While helmets protected batsmen from bouncers, there was nothing to protect them from Younis' WMD - the inswinging, screaming yorker. During the death overs in ODIs, when the ball was old, Waqar was at his most lethal. Case in point: Durban 1993, where, with South Africa needing 45 to win, and seven wickets in hand, he sliced through the batting with a 5-for-25 spell to deliver an improbable 10-run victory. His 373 Test wickets came at the second-best strike-rate among all bowlers since the First World War and his 17 Man-of-the-Match awards in ODIs is the most by a specialist bowler. He and his hunting partner Wasim Akram shared more than 1700 international wickets to help Pakistan remain a potent force in the post-Imran Khan era.

Alan Knott
With the bulk of bowlers in Twenty20 verging between brisk medium and dead slow, Knott's skill at standing up to the stumps, honed by keeping to the fastish left-arm spin` of Derek Underwood at Kent for almost two decades, would have been invaluable. As a batsman he was an impish, scurrying irritant, and an improviser. Against the pace barrage of Australia and West Indies, the diminutive Knott realised he would be on the receiving end of much chin music. He adapted his grip and style, and emerged with his reputation further enhanced.

Mohammad Azharuddin
While this Hyderabadi artist's ODI strike-rate languishes in the mid-seventies, his Test resume is replete with blazing centuries, with the magical 121 at Lord's in 1990 and the 74-ball hundred against South Africa at Eden Gardens standing out. He retired as one-day cricket's highest run-scorer, and was an excellent runner between the wickets. In addition he was an exceptional fielder, taking more than 100 catches each in both the traditional forms of the game.

Imran Khan: inspirational leader, bowler and batsman © Getty Images

Imran Khan
Genuinely fast and a master of reverse swing, his one-day record as a bowler alone suggests that Imran would have been a real handful in the short format. And his ability to take the attack to the best bowling would have bolstered any middle order. As a tactically astute and inspirational captain - he is the one man to have brought relative tranquility to the Pakistan side in modern times - he would be the perfect man to lead the side.

Michael Bevan
With Bevan at the crease, there was no situation which was unredeemable, no target too large. If your team was at 36 for 4 or 74 for 7, he was the man to call. Unlike most successful ODI batsmen, clubbing sixes or bludgeoning boundaries wasn't his specialty. Rather, he simply refused to get out - concentrating on survival, pinching the singles and resolutely chipping away at the target, remaining unbeaten on 67 occasions. His part-time chinaman bowling once fetched him a ten-wicket haul in Tests. Oddly enough, though he had two World Cup winner's medals, in neither final was he called on to bat or bowl.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abbas on September 23, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    Let's not forget Wasim Raja of Pakistan - A hard hitting fast scoring batsman & useful legbreak spinner.

  • arun on September 23, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    Team isnt Bad, However I would replace Waqar for Wasim Akram and try to find a place for Richards. Richards would have crossed 110 mts mark easily and when he hits, he hits it cleanly.

  • Zahran on September 23, 2007, 10:17 GMT

    Weird Selections!! although it includes several of the games greatest - Selecting players like Azhar, Knott and Bevan ahead of Aravinda De Silva and Sachin Tendulkar makes your selections ludicrous.

  • Abid on September 23, 2007, 9:55 GMT

    Alan Knott .... a batsman/wicketkeeper with a 20.00 AVG in ODIs ... no great strike rate... yes great pick that one ... heck Jeff Dujon, Ian Healy, even Dave Richardson would be better choices...

  • laxman on September 22, 2007, 18:21 GMT

    Its a futile excercise. There are too many to pick up the world XI. A West Indies XI can be, 1.Desmond Haynes 2.Gorden Greenidge 3.Rohan Kanhai 4.Vivian Richards 5.Clive Lloyd 6.Garfield Sobers 7.Jeff Dujon 8.Vanburn Holder 9.Malcom Marshall 10.Micheal Holding and 11.Courtney Walsh.

    1 and 2- are best opening pair during their times. 3- Gavaskar named his son Rohan admiring this batting provess. 4 and 5- Easy picks for any world XI. 6-Pioneer of 36 runs in a over) 8- Naggingly accurate and is the best line and length bowler I ever have seen. 9 and 10-Fire Is The Key. 11- Look at his economy rate.

  • Zubair on September 22, 2007, 10:14 GMT

    Apropos to the comment made by "cricinfo1" on september 21 about the inclusion of Imran Khan. Well i agree that Imran didnt have the strike rate of above 70 and Kapil Dev has had the better Strike rate in the ODIs but bowling wise Imran was better than Kapil Dev, career strike rate in bowling, average in bowling and the wickets taken throughout their respective careers in every department Imran outclasses Kapil so one would love to have a better bowling all rounder like Imran Khan than Kapil Dev. No doubt Kapil was a hero n a legend but Imran was better than him.

  • aijaz on September 22, 2007, 0:54 GMT

    The list would be endless, there many players and how many more would you include. But how can you not inlcude the man who started it all in the 1992 World Cup,Mark Greatbatch from New Zealand. His heroics almost got his country to finals till they Pakistan who were the eventual winners, so one more to add to the list MARK GREATBATCH

  • Ramelton on September 22, 2007, 0:51 GMT

    This is THE HEIGHT of Sachin haters.

    Just give me Sachin and Jayasuraya and any other 9 player which are not in your selection. We will beat any of your team ahnds down.

    You forget, probabaly conviniently, that Sachin and Jayasuray are the one who perfected the art of clean hitting as opposed to slog.

    A Very Feeble attempt I must say. Get real frineds. Your hate is not going to afffect the greateness of both htese players when it comes ODI or even 20/20. The bowlers are lucky that Sachin did not play 20/20.


  • Dakshitha on September 21, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    Aravinda De Silva would top Chris Caines, Sydney Barnes, Michael Bevan, Alan Knott, and Lance Klusener (and his brief career) any day. Excluding Aravinda and naming any mentioned players above is a suprise.

  • sameed on September 21, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    well i cant imagine any world 11 without wasim akram, but as is has to go, the team that has been selected is surely a powerhouse of class. and i dont want to change anybody as it is the choice of writer.

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