Please please me

BC Pires
Four players you could watch bat for duck or bowl 90 overs for no wickets


Clockwise from above left: Donald, Shoaib, Botham, Gavaskar © Getty Images
 

From the point of view of entertainment alone, I would have loved to watch Michael Holding bowling to Courtney Walsh, but my actual choices are picked not because they represent nailbiting personal contests between great athletes - such as Brian Lara facing Glenn McGrath, or because I would just have loved to see with my own eyes what all the fuss was about, such as Don Bradman facing anyone at all. I also resisted choosing Shane Warne because he must surely be everyone's No. 1.

No, my choices are living cricketers whose grace and elegance captivated me. Never mind their averages: these are men I could watch bat for duck or bowl 90 overs without taking a wicket.

My Caribbean blood yearns to name: Curtly Ambrose, the man with the biggest heart in cricket; Michael Holding, the greatest bowler of all time to watch; Brian Lara, of course, my homeboy and a man the cricket world has watched grow up; and Viv Richards, arrogance personified, with the skill to back it up. But I ban myself from West Indian prejudice and opt for four men who never wore maroon, on the basis only of the amount of delight they give me.

Shoaib Akthar, who finishes his delivery closer to the ground than the bails; and Allan Donald, who seems as lovely off the field as he is aggressive on it; bowling to Sunil Gavaskar, whose elegance ripples through him even when he sits in a commentary box; and Ian Botham, still the way coolest guy ever to have played cricket - a man I reckon must have all of Bob Marley's albums on his iPod.

BC Pires writes for the Trinidad and London Guardians. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine