Gideon Haigh's XI of those who didn't make the ESPNcricinfo shortlist October 12, 2010

The excluded

Our soon-to-be announced all-time world XI will be picked from a shortlist of 88. But there are plenty of stellar names outside those ranks, as this XI, chosen from those who weren't on the shortlists, proves
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Rodney Marsh, the footballer rather than the cricketer, once said of the sport he played something no less true of the sport he didn't: The club manager had only 11 men to keep happy - the 11 in the second team. Those in the first team were happy because they were in the first team.

ESPNcricinfo has taken precautions in picking its World XI by asking each voter on its jury to choose two teams from all time, whom it will be difficult to separate. But what of the more than 2500 other Test cricketers - and I'm afraid we are talking about Test players - who not only will not feature in either of these teams but didn't even make the shortlist of 88?

Out of a spirit of commendable internationalism, ESPNcricinfo asked representatives of each country to choose their teams from the players in the all-time XIs that the site picked for the leading Test nations over the last year and some. But can anyone say, hand on heart, that Ashantha de Mel or Rumesh Ratnayake, good players though they were, rank superior to Ray Lindwall or Wes Hall? That Daniel Vettori is a better left-arm spinner than Hedley Verity, or that Kevin Pietersen stands taller than that first flag-of-convenience cricketer Ranjitsinhji.

To keep the disappointed 2500 from insurrection, ESPNcricinfo agreed to my choosing a team from the best of the rest, which actually proved at least as difficult as permutating and combining the names on the shortlist. Think of the Australian names to be filtered: Stan McCabe, Charlie Macartney, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill Ponsford, Bob Simpson, Rod Marsh, Steve Waugh. Weigh up the competing Indian claims: Vijay Merchant, Gundappa Viswanath, Bhagwath Chandrashekhar. Brood on the Pakistanis: Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad, Khan Mohammad. Consider the Englishmen: Sir Alec Bedser, Maurice Tate, Denis Compton, Peter May, Ted Dexter, Brian Statham.

Above all, I think, the shortlist gives shortest shrift to West Indians, when you factor in exclusions like the three Ws, Clive Lloyd, Jeff Dujon, Andy Roberts, Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin, while you might have considered Learie Constantine and Roger Harper for fielding alone. Even some very tidy Sri Lankans escaped ESPNcricinfo's attention: Roy Dias, Anura Tennekoon, Frederick de Saram. And don't forget that a hundred years ago the best bowler in the world might have been American: John Barton King.

Anyway, here is my token of recognition to those who did not make our ESPNcricinfo squad. The XII includes three West Indians, two Queenslanders (one adopted), history's highest first-class wicket-taker with a fellow Yorkshireman as his opening partner, history's greatest orthodox offspinner and its loveliest left-arm spinner, Australia's biggest international run-getter and the only Tasmanian who might have matched him as a cricketer. All of them under a captain keenly motivated to demonstrate that the cricketers of the past are at least the equal of those of today.

Bring on those showponies. We'll give them a game.

Pick your all-time world XI here

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hatrick26 on October 14, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    @jsoops - Yours is pretty likely to be the closest to CricInfo's but my XI includes atleast one player from all major test playing nation to be bit democratic. Hobbs,Sunny,Don,SRT,Kallis,Sobers,Sanga,Hadlee,Marshall,Akram,Warne. 2-Oz,2-Ind,2-WI,1 -SA,Eng,SL,Pak,NZ. It includes players across decades- Hobbs to Sanga. My Excluded XI - Sutcliffe,Merchant,Ponting,Compton,Weekes,Border (capt), Lindwall,Evans,Roberts,Garner,Chandra.

  • cricketchopper on October 14, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    @jasoops - Dear your sellected team is almost the same which is going to be selected. Only suspicious position is of Gilchrist. Due to strong Batting line, jury may include Alont Knot in place of Gilchrist.

  • jsoops on October 14, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    My World XI will have: Jack Hobbs, Sunil Gavaskar,Viv Richards, Don Bradman (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gary Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall and Denis Lille.

  • Proteas123 on October 14, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    cricketchopper - Good idea. Your 5th era team is not balanced though and the bowling would struggle outside of the subcontinent. Kallis should come in for Steve Waugh or Tendulkar and Waquar, Donald or Marshall should come in for Murli. You need some pace. Also could consider McMillan or Flintoff fitting in for more bowling options and to accomodate two spinners in Sub-continent or Sydney.

  • cricketchopper on October 13, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    The cricket history should be divided in five parts. First, Before start of World War-I, before 1914, Second from 1914 to 1945. Third from 1945 to 1975, Four 1975 to 1989. The Fifth from 1989 to date. The players who played during two of those eras should be put into the era where they were at their peak and played most of their cricket.

    My team for fifth era is: Mathew Haden,Sehwag,Ponting,Tendulkar,Lara,Stewag,Gilcrisht,Shahe Warne,Murli,Magrah,Waseem

    My team for fourth era: Gavaskar,Greenidge,Richards,Greig Chappel,Jawed,Imran,Hadlee,Alon Knot,Marshal,Lillee,Qadir,

  • NALINWIJ on October 13, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    There are various means of selecting two separate world xi. It is impossible to compare players from 19th century and selecting 2 teams since 1900 it would be reasonable to select a team before SOBERS and after and as SOBERS achieved his greatness after 1956 and most invincibles retired by then this method would be true to two separate eras. ERA 1- 1.TRUMPER 2.HOBBS 3.BRADMAN 4.HEADLEY 5.HAMMOND 6.MILLER 7.LINDWALL 8.G.EVANS 9.O'RIELLY 10.GRIMMETT 11.BARNES ERA 2- 1.GAVASKAR 2.B.RICHARDS 3.V.RICHARDS 4.TENDULKAR 5.SOBERS 6.IMRAN KHAN 7.GILCHRIST 8.R.HADLEE 9.WARNE 10.LILLEE 11.MURALI 12.BOTHAM AND the 2nd era is composed of the big 8 test playing nations. I agree with GIDEON of the domination of his X! with AUS,ENG and WI players as they had a surplus of great players. Omitted XI-1.PONSFORD 2.SUTCLIFFE 3.PONTING 4.WORRELL 5.WALCOTT 6.RHODES 7.LINDWALL 8.DAVIDSON 9.G.EVANS 10.GARNER 11.GRIMMETT 12.CHANDRASEKHAR apart from BRADMAN this X! will give any world XI a good fight.

  • dummy4fb on October 13, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Im going to post two teams: The best Australian team, I have seen and the best non-Aussie side I have seen.

    AUS: Hayden, Langer, Boon, Border, S.Waugh, Ponting, Healy, Warne, Lee, McDermott, McGrath. 12th man: Taylor

    World: Jayasuriya, Smith, Lara, Kallis, Tendulkar, Ul Haq, Sangakarra, Akram, Pollock, Ambrose, Mururitharin. 12th Man: A.Flower

  • HLANGL on October 13, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    Where's Clyd Walcott, Roy Fedricks, Richie Richardson, Craig McDermott, Stuart McGill, Michael Slater, Justin Langer, etc.. ? ... Far better players to be omitted given the pretty ordinary players who had come in to all-time XIs from some countries in the absence of genuine greats from their respective countries ...

  • miza3342005 on October 13, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    How can you choose Mr Ted, he only played 11 test matches at took 43 wickets @ 33.27, hardly a good bowler, even more so a great bowler!!! Anyway my 11 is:

    1. Boycott 2. Sutcliff 3. Compton 4. Lara 5. S Waugh (c) 6. Rhodes 7. Marsh (wk) 8. Lindwall 9. Bedser 10. Garder 11. Chandrashekhar.

  • Proteas123 on October 13, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    Thanks NickHughes, I missed that Rhodes is an all-rounder. Think they could do better but guess it is hard to compare between era's and will normally come down to the selector's preference. REXYCP123, this list is for those excluded from their country's best eleven, hence it is supposed to be the best of the rest. Ponting a head of Tendulkar is not such a stretch anyway, although Bradman was worlds better than everyone else (all most twice as good as Tendulkar). Xolile, i agree about Flower. He should be in the final world eleven, or at least be considered with Gilchrist and the great pure keepers. Sangakara is a part time keeper and should not be in any world eleven as a keeper.

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