All-time XI - World
ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time

Gideon Haigh's XI of those who didn't make the ESPNcricinfo shortlist

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

Gideon Haigh

October 12, 2010

Comments: 92 | Text size: A | A

A pair for Neil Harvey, bowled by Jim Laker in the second innings, England v Australia, Manchester, July 31, 1956
Neil Harvey b Jim Laker: not in this XI, though, where they're on the same side © The Cricketer International

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.

Haigh's best of the rest XI

  • Wilfred Rhodes, Herbert Sutcliffe, Ricky Ponting, Neil Harvey (capt), Everton Weekes, Rohan Kanhai, Ian Healy, Ray Lindwall, Joel Garner, Jim Laker, Ted McDonald, Bishan Bedi (12th man)

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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,

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by 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 ...

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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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Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

World Jury

Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam
Former Pakistan allrounder. Captained the side in 17 Tests and three ODIs between 1969 and 1975 and later served as team manager and coach.
Ali Bacher
Ali Bacher
Captained South Africa in 1970, when they defeated Australia 4-0; was managing director of the South African cricket board through the 1990s, and executive director of the 2003 World Cup.
Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
Captained Australia in 30 Tests and 11 ODIs between 1971 and 1975. Now a cricket commentator and columnist.
David Frith
David Frith
Cricket historian, writer and archivist. Author of the definitive history of Bodyline
Tony Greig
Tony Greig
Former England allrounder who captained the side in 14 Tests and two ODIs in the mid-to-late 1970s. Currently a cricket commentator and presenter on television.
Ramachandra Guha
Ramachandra Guha
Historian and cricket writer. Author of A Corner of a Foreign Field, Wickets in the East, Spin and Other Turns, and editor of the Picador Book of Cricket
Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh
Cricket historian and writer. His books include acclaimed biographies of Warwick Armstrong and Jack Iverson, and the definitive history of the Kerry Packer era.
Clive Lloyd
Clive Lloyd
Captained the all-conquering West Indies team of the 70s and 80s in 74 Tests and 84 ODIs. Served as ICC match referee and chairman of the ICC's cricket committee.
Duleep Mendis
Duleep Mendis
Captained Sri Lanka in 19 Tests (including in their first Test and series victories) and 61 ODIs, between 1982 and 1987. Currently chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Peter Roebuck
Peter Roebuck
Former captain of Somerset; author of It Never Rains and Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh among other books.
Ajit Wadekar
Ajit Wadekar
Former India captain, between 1971 and 1974, during which period the team notched up their landmark first wins in the West Indies and England. Later a manager of the national side.
John Wright
John Wright
Former New Zealand opener and captain, and later India coach. Led in 14 Tests and 31 ODIs between 1983 and 1987.

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