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Suresh Menon's elegant XI

Poetry in motion

Eleven players who couldn't be graceless if they tried

Suresh Menon

October 18, 2010

Comments: 121 | Text size: A | A

Ray Lindwall in his delivery stride, England v Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, 2nd day, August 17, 1953
Ray Lindwall: one half of Jim Laker's dream bowling pair © Hulton Archive

The trick in choosing an Elegant XI is to list favourites and then find slots for them rather than go by positions, balance, or indeed, records. It helps, for example, that Frank Worrell opened in four of his 51 Tests; he moves to the top, therefore, opening up a slot in the middle order. Sir Frank, as Neville Cardus said, never made a crude or ungrammatical stroke in his life - and that is as good a description as any for the batsmen here.

The Elegant XI is also the Poetry-in-Motion XI, as evidenced by the bowlers. Jim Laker once wrote that his idea of heaven was to have Ray Lindwall bowling from one end and Bishan Bedi from the other, so this could just as easily be the Heaven XI, for it contains both Lindwall and Bedi.

To leave out Archie Jackson, Alan Kippax, Roy Dias, Zaheer Abbas, Tom Graveney, Greg Chappell, Martin Crowe, Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman and Saeed Anwar is a wrench, and I am not sure if Jim Laker was a more elegant bowler than S Venkataraghavan. Grainy film footage of him bowling in the 1950s is inconclusive, so even in an XI where records and averages do not matter, he makes it for his superior record.

1. Victor Trumper
"The art of Trumper is like an art in a bird's flight, an art that knows not how wonderful it is. Batting was for him a superb dissipation, a spontaneous spreading of fine feathers." - Neville Cardus

2. Frank Worrell (capt)
"Worrell told me that as soon as a ball was delivered he could tell the blade of grass on which it was going to drop and therefore could place his feet and body for any stroke he wanted to make… There was no memory of anyone scoring runs with such grace and power." - CLR James

3. David Gower
"Half England wants to mother him or marry him, and everyone else wants to bat as he does, as if in some enchanted dream. Wry in calamity, nonchalant in triumph, never straining too hard." - Peter Roebuck

4. Gundappa Viswanath
To many he was the real Little Master, for the mastery involved innovation and the ability to utilise the grammar of the game to compose its poetry.

5. Ranji
"He was a law unto himself. His extraordinary quickness of mind and eye allowed him to do things utterly impracticable for others. He broke the hearts of the best fast bowlers by the way he deflected their fastest deliveries to the boundary." - H S Altham

6. Frank Woolley
This great allrounder said of himself, "When I am batting, I am the attack." Robertson-Glasgow said Woolley was "easy to watch, difficult to bowl to and impossible to write about".

7. Alan Knott
"[He was] an original, his keeping so undemonstrative that its excellence was not always appreciated until a wide catch allowed him to display his agility." -Tony Pawson

8. Jim Laker
"Jim possessed a classical action, side-on looking over his left arm, coming down hard on a braced left leg and swivelling so sharply that he even dug a pit on soft turf. It was perfection." -Trevor Bailey

9. Michael Holding
"A former track athlete, Holding, tall and sparsely built, has a long, lithe, lissom run-up, elbows pumping like a dancer's, head reared as if to delight in the zephyr resulting from his own fleetness. His gyratory action climaxes in an apparently effortless release of the ball." -David Frith

10. Ray Lindwall
"The genius of Lindwall was expressed in a variety of ways, not least in his cleverly disguised and devastating pace changes and in a bouncer delivered without any giveaways… When I saw Lindwall approaching I sensed the expectancy. A hush would descend on the ground." -Len Hutton

11. Bishan Bedi
"When you have seen Bishan Bedi twirl down his spinners after 60 overs with the same gentle rhythm as he settled into at the start of the spell, you understand why his is a great bowling action. A clockmaker would have been proud to set Bedi in motion - a mechanism finely balanced, cogs rolling silently and hands sweeping in smooth arcs across the face." -Tony Lewis

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Sportsscientist on (October 21, 2010, 21:02 GMT)

i don't think people are reading this is the leegant XI????? why are people nominating Inzy??? and I agree that it's tough to have sachin ahead of lawrence rowe, zaheer abbas, or vvs, or even calr hooper (I must admit I forgot about him) you could argue that Imran Khan was graceful....but again he had a dynamic edge to him.....but marshal??? NO WAY.....and I am the biggest west indies fan there is !!!!!! marshall was the supreme master.......but he was not graceful..... how about Garth Mckenzie for a graceful quick bowler???

Posted by   on (October 21, 2010, 18:44 GMT)

I think, in bowling Marshal and Imran are two names this guy has either deliberatley missed or he never saw them, Imran's action was a hero's action, hearts would beat along his run-up, and on his final jump as a lion, the girls would faint, Someone tell this writer, the meaning of poetry!!

Posted by Navillus on (October 21, 2010, 17:55 GMT)

This is an interesting take on the AT XI fever, much better than Dileep Premachandran's version ... here is another interesting take on the difficulties of All Time XI selection by this blogger who is turning out to be my favourite writer ... .. he discusses whether he should take Sachin of 98 or 2010 ... and Sehwag with or without hair ...

Posted by   on (October 21, 2010, 10:00 GMT)

i saw David Gower's batting clips and found that he was good, but to liken him to Mark waugh is stretching too much. Mark had that grace, elegance, finesse which was best amongst his peers and he can find a place in any xi picked on the basis of elegance.

Posted by bongalkar on (October 21, 2010, 6:03 GMT)

Hello Mr Menon you are unanimously selected as the captain of the mediocre jury XI. Now pick your X yourself .... enjoy

Posted by PakPhenom on (October 21, 2010, 5:09 GMT)

Was there ever a more aesthetically pleasing batsman than Brian Lara? VVS should get a mention too. And Abdul Qadir was literally poetry in motion...

Posted by waspsting on (October 20, 2010, 17:08 GMT)

Lawrence Rowe, Sayeed Anwar and Zaheer Abbas should all make the cut. Zaheer was far easier on the eyes than Viswanath. Gower and Worrell i would retain, and Trumper just on reputation. Imran Khan would be in in place of Laker - his action was so beautiful. As for keepers, Dujon wold get my vote. he was a very elegant batsman, and his keeping was very stylish-acrobatic.

Posted by Biggus on (October 20, 2010, 12:23 GMT)

@JKSFB-I demand to have an Aussie in that ugly XI. I suggest one of my childhood heroes former NSW and AUS allrounder Gary (Gus) Gilmour, who I reckon could break a mirror at 20 paces. @cozico-sure do. One of the great could have beens of modern cricket. Was indeed a sweet player but he didn't look to good here in 75/76 but such is life when you are desperately out of form against an attack like that. Cheers all!

Posted by Biggus on (October 20, 2010, 7:02 GMT)

@Santhosh Kudva- A friend of mine once said that listening to jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli was like "watching honey drip off a table". Watching David Gower bat was a but like that-he was awfully pretty to watch, which is the point of this XI. You have mentioned some names that might have well been included and I acknowledge the beauty of their play but I guess the list has stop somewhere. It just shows what a thankless task being a selector is, even of a fantasy XI. My fellow countryman Mark Waugh could as you said have easily been included but, c'est la vie! Just too many beautiful stylists and not enough space. We should consider ourselves lucky that this is so. Cheers!

Posted by   on (October 20, 2010, 6:14 GMT)

mark waugh, damien martyn, vvs laxman, sangakkara, andy flower esp. against spin, aravinda de silva and carl hooper. gower is overrated.

Posted by   on (October 20, 2010, 3:39 GMT)

@Suresh Menon, I feel Sachin & Bradman should be included in all formats of World XI. Don't they? Just consider their run scoring capabilities, attacking bowlers etc.

Posted by cozico on (October 19, 2010, 21:57 GMT)

anyone remember Lawrence Rowe ?

Posted by JKSFB on (October 19, 2010, 21:18 GMT)

How about an ugly XI? Here's my list - Gary Kirsten, Clayton Lambert, Shiv Chanderpaul, MS Dhoni, Pieter Strydom, Russel Arnold, Fanie De Villiers, Bob Willis, Paul Adams, Kumar Dharmasena, and Gladstone Small

No offence but these guys are/ were not easy on the eye!

Posted by Biggus on (October 19, 2010, 15:40 GMT)

Bishan Bedi and Jim Laker bowling in idea of a good afternoon's cricket watching. Sweet!

Posted by mafiasam on (October 19, 2010, 15:34 GMT)

Btw, i just read comments by Bongalkar after i posted my comments.. I must say, the guy is spot on and said the exact thing i wanted to say. Elegant XI w/o Lara and Dravid is like giving a million dollar charity and not signing the cheque.

Posted by mafiasam on (October 19, 2010, 15:23 GMT)

two comments from me: 1. I really wonder how many of these players have Suresh Menon have actually seen playing live and how many have he just heard about. It seems like the author has dug into fantasy world and placed more confidence in quotes of players from previous eras than his own eyes for majority of those XI. I think Mr. Menon shud rename the list as Poet's XI instead of Poetry in motion XI, coz a poet's creation is based on fantasies as much as this XI. Because if he really meant to make a true Elegant XI trusting his own eyes than hearsay.. he wud include likes of Dravid, Lara and Warne.there is no better view/posture than to see dravid hit a square cut in cricket. For Lara, need i say anything. and Warne, I dunno wat u call elegant in spin bowling if u dont consider Warne's action worth it. I am not even goin to broach the topic of tendulkar, a straight drive may not feature in ur cricketing books, if u dont consider Tendulkar elegant. My second comment follows:

Posted by KnightRiderX on (October 19, 2010, 14:38 GMT)

i agree with your XI... some others who could perhaps hope to break into the team : Azhar, Ganguly (for his OFF SIDE PLAY alone...NOT dada against balls that were short or angling into his body ), and maybe Graeme Pollock... Viv Richards (in a way, i would call him elegant but not graceful)

Posted by bluebillion on (October 19, 2010, 13:25 GMT)

Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Zaheer, Bhajji, Ashwin, Ojha, Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth, Kohli, Yusuf - India squad for world cup

Posted by NALINWIJ on (October 19, 2010, 12:11 GMT)


Posted by bluebillion on (October 19, 2010, 11:43 GMT)

No Lara? Come on! No fair!!! Even the shuffle was elegant.

Posted by PGW81 on (October 19, 2010, 10:52 GMT)

Here is my String II (read as page2) XI who can beat the living daylights out of anyone : Alan Tyers, Anand Ramachandran, Dileep Ramachandran, Imran Yusuf, Imran Yusuf,Andrew Hughes, Andy Zaltzman, Alex Bowden,Sharda Ugra, Sahil Rizwan and Ant Sims. The perfect bunch who can mock any plan of the opposition and make the opponents cry..... This is poetry in motion.....

Posted by PGW81 on (October 19, 2010, 10:38 GMT)

@ Cricket chopper : You have chosen a spectators XI - the crowd will pay a lot to watch these players run around and jump and high-five.... If you are the leg umpire, I will join as third umpire - you can refer the decisions upwards...... I dunno if this is a graceful XI - but definitely a charming XI - for XIIth woman you can have deepika padukone

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 19, 2010, 10:04 GMT)

My Poetic XI: Nikol Kidman, Kate Winslet, Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Madhoori (captain), Malaika Sherawat, Amisha Patel, Lis Hurley, Anjelena Jolie, Charliz Theron, Katherine Zeta Jones.

Posted by pom_basher on (October 19, 2010, 9:49 GMT)

These XIs are turning out to be jokes! Elegant XI without Mark Waugh and Azharuddin are unimaginable.

Posted by PGW81 on (October 19, 2010, 8:53 GMT)

@ Suresh Menon : The XI that you have picked up surely makes for a very graceful team. I would definitely have chosen Mark Waugh for one of the batsmen - he was silken batting personfiied - for those who keep bragging on Sachin in every team - he may have scored runs effectively but I do not consider him in the same graceful class as a Mark Waugh or a Gower. I have not seen Trumper in action or his clippings - he must be good. But among the players whom I watched Mark Waugh was a visual treat - a bit languid at time but always a very graceful batsman. Some notable mentions of graceful yet a languid bunch - Inzy, M waugh, Saeed Anwar, Trescothick, A De Silva, Atapattu, D Martyn, Carl Hooper, Kallicharan, A Donald, Darren Gough, Dominic Cork, Hadlee....... But on the whole I agree with your selection - these are some of the best and most graceful cricketers - on their day they could crush any opponent with their sheer charisma and elegance on the field.

Posted by Pathiyal on (October 19, 2010, 8:23 GMT)

interesting article to read. i thought mohd. azharuddin was the most elegant and artistic player to ever grace the field, have not seen many of whom have been mentioned here. azhar's stance, his wristy batting, running between the wkts and the body language which assures us that he is gonna be there until the winning shot etc.etc....not to forget his brilliant fielding, one handed throws, covering almost impossible distances to take critical catches and what not. its unfortunate about his exit from the scene leaving his fans awry....job being half done :-)

Posted by andnfpsfhps on (October 19, 2010, 7:58 GMT)

My elegant XI would go as follows 1) Gavaskar 2) Tendulkar (promoted) 3) Bradman 4) M. Waugh 5) Lara 6) Kallis (demoted) 7) Gilchrist (he could play some of the most elegant drives) 8) Dev (more elegant with the ball than the bat, but anyway) 9) Lindwall 10) Grimmet 11) McGrath

Posted by Qzjawed on (October 19, 2010, 7:35 GMT)

Any of the jury members has passed away??? I am talking about World II. 12...18??? 19....sad..sad...i am not impressed.

Posted by daivapreethi on (October 19, 2010, 7:30 GMT)

with full respect to list made (and the beautifully written article) are modern day players any lesser in style than the old timers?? though i am an ardent cricket fan i must confess i have never watched one of these players. may be you can think of creating one more list that appreciates the contemporary stylists----- and that should include VVS, sachin mahela, warne----- because just because we are living in an era of T20 'slam bang' does not mean there are no 'mozarts' living today

Posted by theswami on (October 19, 2010, 5:57 GMT)

NO VVS , stupid list With VVS, great list .... period

Posted by bongalkar on (October 19, 2010, 5:37 GMT)

guys, no more selection of XIs on cric info please, first up its idiotic to see Ranji but no Mark Waugh or Laxman, you seem to be overawed by 'royal lineage'. You guys on the jury cant identify elegance when it comes from true sons of soil. Where is Brian Charles Lara ? Did you see him dance down the pitch to the spinners ?? If not please do, you wont regret the time you spend! Ofcourse, you would regret once you are done. Looks like the selection has been done based on idiosyncratic views of mediocre cricket historians who were waiting to applaud and snatch on qoutes by fellow mediocres . Go get a life ...

I nominate you guys as the All time mediocre jury XI.

Posted by tikna on (October 19, 2010, 5:21 GMT)

Admitedly I have not seen most of the guys in the team in action except Gower, Bedi Holding and Vishwanath but I believe Mark Waugh should have made it into the team for the sheer ease on eyes that he was and mind you he made catching in slips look easy as adding 2 and 2.

Posted by   on (October 19, 2010, 4:21 GMT)

Who is Sachin ? Apart from him,,its a nice selection..He must be replaced by Kapil Dev or any one played for the team..Poor Indian Sachin fans..When are people in India going to change and have some self respect instead of idolizing the actors-Khans/actresses-minimum dress users/sportsmen like Sachin/ politicians-Family affairs. DON'T WE HAVE ANY SELF RESPECT?

Posted by   on (October 19, 2010, 4:14 GMT)

A.lan Kippax, Mark Waugh, Greg Chappell perhaps deserve consideration. More recently, one could watch VVS Laxman for a long long period of time and never feel let down

Posted by kayarr on (October 19, 2010, 3:28 GMT)

What about Aravinda DeSilva? Unlike many of his successors in the SL team(Sanga being an exception that comes to mind readily) he didn't need flat tracks to showcase his wonderful artistry. PS I'm Indian.

Posted by srikeshi on (October 19, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

Carl hooper should be there. He was equally graceful against both pace and spin unlike some others who though very stylish when facing spin and medium pace were awkward against real pace particularly on fast and bouncy tracks.

Posted by   on (October 19, 2010, 2:36 GMT)

Mark Waugh has to be in the list and for me, watching Damien Martyn was always a pleasure, a very stylish and graceful batsmen......loved watching him play!

Posted by Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on (October 19, 2010, 2:15 GMT)

I have nothing against the batsmen that were included in this list. But any elegant XI or poetry in motion that doesn't include VVS, Azhar and Brian Lara is plain amusing. It is a given that both VVS and Azhar can be very tentative in the beginning (Brian Lara isn't as tentative as these two at the beginning of his inning) but once that initial period is over, then one gets to see poetry in motion. Elegance personified. It's a real shame that these 3 players are absent from the list.

Posted by   on (October 19, 2010, 2:12 GMT)

With out Mark Waugh, i do not think any thing associated with elegance and class, could ever be completed. He was class personified on field in every aspect of the game, be it his silky drives or slip catcing or bowling with goggles on, a true style icon for the game of cricket.

Posted by RogerC on (October 19, 2010, 1:06 GMT)

MOHD AZHARUDDIN.....most graceful while batting and also while fielding.

Posted by bridget01 on (October 19, 2010, 1:00 GMT)

Gundappa who??? Greg Chappell derserves a spot in this 11. Good to see Lindwall in there and Holding was sublime...

Posted by NickHughes on (October 18, 2010, 23:13 GMT)

No quibbles with this list: All supreme stylists. Although it must have been tough leaving out Colin Cowdrey and Tom Graveney.

Posted by Sportsscientist on (October 18, 2010, 22:44 GMT)

ammarRajar - come on!!!! Have even read the article ??? Elegant XI ??? Inzy??? McGrath ??......I know people are entitled to their opinions......but please..... be serious !!!!

Posted by aus_trad on (October 18, 2010, 22:34 GMT)

What about Mark Waugh? I rate him and David Gower the two most elegant and graceful batsmen of the past 30-odd years.

Posted by rick333 on (October 18, 2010, 22:17 GMT)

Nice to read about some of the gifted vintage players. As far as graceful X1, @CricketPissek in his comment summed it up beautifully.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 22:01 GMT)

Where is the "Don" Bradman?

Posted by bzzd on (October 18, 2010, 22:01 GMT)

I would have thought Graeme Pollock qualified for this team. My guess is that as he was a South African in the bad old days, the writer never saw him bat.

Posted by Jonathan_E on (October 18, 2010, 20:42 GMT)

Hm. When it comes to elegance, a lot of people called Knott one of the best wicket keepers around... but, to be frank, not as a batsman :-)

Posted by AmmarRajar on (October 18, 2010, 20:35 GMT)

wht abt Inzamam-ul-haq??? Dravid,lara cant be taken out from the middle order..thy r wonderful....Javed Miadand was also great....wht abt Zaheer abbas the Asian bradman...great player...n laxman??? bowling i think Warne better than Murli or anyother spinner.. Glen Mcgrah(Aus) n Wasim Akram....surperb

Posted by BillyCC on (October 18, 2010, 20:00 GMT)

Perhaps the reason why there are no current or recent generation players in the lineup is because of the ultra professionalism era that exists today. Guys like Mark Waugh and Laxman look natural and a touch above compared to many of their peers who train and train and hone their technique to the point where their shots or their deliveries look somewhat elegant. Steve Waugh's cover drive and Ricky Ponting's on drive are damn good shots and they look good, but there is a difference between that and Mark Waugh and Laxman, but not much. However, before this era, perhaps the above mentioned players had a massive gap in elegance and natural ability compared to their peers and as a result, they make this World XI.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 16:14 GMT)

What about Azhar? Irrespective of what transpired at the end of his career, one cannot wish away his elegance..

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (October 18, 2010, 16:06 GMT)

Gower, Bedi and holding are the three most obviously aesthetically pleasing players of my era. Of recent moderns I suppose Vaughan rates quite highly,while Bell too is very easy on the eye. Of all types of player I guess it is these ones who make the longest lasting impression. Of the rest of the side Woolley and Ranji were particularly heralded in writings, while no-one has matched up to what I saw of Laker's bowling on film till Swann. A good omen hopefully. I love Lewis' remarks about Bedi. It's good to move away from the freneticism of today to appreciate real culture.

Posted by CricketPissek on (October 18, 2010, 15:17 GMT)

hehe... surely the author knew what he was getting himself into when he dared pick an XI. even if he picked the "Best Left Handed XI" someone would say Sachin could bat left handed better than most :-D on a serious note though... I've not seen cricket before the 90s in more than short clips, so I won't bother judging the players. I would have loved to have seen Sanga in the XI as the keeper, because the bit of Knott I've seen was quite "meh" for style as far as I'm concerned. but it's such a subjective thing isn't it? Since it's artistry and art is subjective. Heck, I bet Paul Collingwood's mum thinks his batting looks beautiful :)

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 18, 2010, 15:12 GMT)

ALL TIME ELEGENT XI: Majid Khan, Barry Richards, Atapattu, Zaheer Abbas, David Gower, Laxman, Waseem Bari,Waseem Akram, Holding, Kumble, Marshal,

Posted by Engle on (October 18, 2010, 13:55 GMT)

Here's what CI have to say about Zaheer Abbas : " There was not a touch of arrogance about Zaheer's batting but of lyrical, fluent movement, his innings memorable for a refined, effortless beauty. His strength was precision and timing….. When the going was good, he seemed like a maestro at work, his artistry, his elegance leaving connoisseurs awestruck. "

The fact that G.Pollock and C.Lloyd were powerful should not detract from their smooth, curvaceous brushstrokes. L.Rowe rowed effortlessly without rushing. B.Richards, picture-perfect poise.

Posted by ritearmover on (October 18, 2010, 13:40 GMT)

What about Rahul Dravid?

Posted by sairaghavan5694 on (October 18, 2010, 13:22 GMT)

Not sure if there is going to be any other kind of XI chosen. But let me choose a Steady XI, which would have all non-flashy but literally steady cricketers. Openers: Barry Richards, Sunil Gavaskar Middle Order: Jaques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Chanderpaul, Miandad (his average never went below 50) Allrounder: No specific all rounder spot as Jaques Kallis is present Wicket Keeper: Sangakkara Bowlers: Glenn McGrath, Anil Kumble, Shaun Pollock, Malcom Marshall.

Posted by NALINWIJ on (October 18, 2010, 13:09 GMT)

WONDERFULLY POETIC DESCRIPTION OF THE PAST BY WRITERS BEFORE TV CAME ALONG BUT I EXPECT THE SELECTION PANEL TO COME UP WITH 1.HOBBS 2.GAVASKAR 3,BRADMAN 4.V.RICHARDS 5. TENDULKAR 6.SOBERS 7.GILCHRIST 8.WASIM AKRAM 9.WARNE 10.MARSHALL 11.LILLEE. If Gavaskar is replaced by Trumper you select the greatest batsmen of each era.Trumper,Hobbs ,Bradman, Sobers,Richards,Tendulkar forms a sequence since 1899.Murali v. Warne or both is also a controversy but as a legspinner Warne complements Sobers. Wasim Akram gets the nod as the second allrounder as he is a left arm swing bowler who is also good with reverse swing and completes the awesome attack.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 12:50 GMT)

WAITING FOR OFFICIAL CRICINFO's XI.. It's already 18th Oct...

Posted by robheinen on (October 18, 2010, 12:42 GMT)

Leaving out Glenn 'the Metronome' McGrath can almost be called a criminal act...

Posted by David_Boon on (October 18, 2010, 12:22 GMT)

An Elegant XI with no Mark Waugh? Ridiculous.

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 18, 2010, 11:53 GMT)

Now, come to the elegence of bowlers. Michael holding seemed to be doing no exertion at all when bowling. He was most poetic and elegant bowler. Imran Khan was clumsy as he used to jump and seemed to be exerting a lot. To some extent Waseem Akram had some elegance. Marshal had a touch of elegance. Lillee seemed to be exerting a lot, he was not elegant. Jeoff Thomson had a considerable toch of elegance in his run up. Kapil Dev was the most un-elegant fast bowler. Murli is the clumsy and un-elegant spinner. Anil Kumble has some elegence. Yes, Laxman is the most elegant batsman of present Indian team and Yousuf in Pakistan. Lara was one of the most clumsy one jumping to hit the ball.

Posted by George11 on (October 18, 2010, 11:49 GMT)

Any one remember carl Hooper? Wasnt he elegant ?

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 18, 2010, 11:43 GMT)

First of all, all should no what is elegence. Listen, when some batsman or bowler seems to be striving hard he can not remain elegent or rythmetic. It means batsman like Bradman and Viv or Lara who seems to be moving and exerting a lot are not stylish and graceful. MAJID KHAN was a batsman who used minimum foot work to play elegant strokes. His personal facial and body beauty was also helpful to show elegance of his shots. Few strokes of Zaheer were elegant and rythmatic as he had best wrist work I have ever seen. Even the clumsy playing Viv seemed to be rythmetic when he used to come at the top of the bowl to slice it to leg side. Gower, to some extent, was elegent. Jwed Miandad was clumsy and blunt. Marvin Atapattu had some grace in few shots. Recently, Sachin can be considerd graceful to some extent because when he plays a big shot it seem he is not exerting at all.

Posted by Venkatb on (October 18, 2010, 11:38 GMT)

I was on a visotors' tour of Lords about 15 years ago and the guides took us through a history of great cricket players - he had this to say "In the past century, this ground has witnessed powerhouses such as Bradman, Hammond and Richards, and the most elegant of batsmen - Ranji and Azharuddin. This was before Indian tourits became the norm at Lords!

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 18, 2010, 11:25 GMT)

O My God, Menon has not included the most stylish batsman of cricket history: MAJID KHAN. It seems he is completely unaware and ignorant of what is a style. Even the stance of running between the wickets of Majid Khan was a thing to watch. Can anyone forget his late-cutts, squire-driver, pull, hook, cover drive. In my whole life I never saw any one even close to be as stylish as Majid Khan was.

Posted by sifmeister on (October 18, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

any team based on elegance and grace, surely must include M. Waugh at number 4, B C Lara at number 5 and Very Very Special Laxman at number 6.

Posted by thestunner316_15 on (October 18, 2010, 11:05 GMT)

style XI and no mark waugh?? mark never hit a ball in anger, took catches with even greater style than which he batted.. hell he even bowled with his goggles on... and where is laxman?

Posted by AmmarRajar on (October 18, 2010, 10:55 GMT)

Rahul Dravid,Brain lara and Javed Miandad must be selected in the middle order....its just my personal view that sachin tendulkar was not tht good under pressure as the other 3 players are...u cant also miss Imran khan ,wasim n waqar

Posted by AmmarRajar on (October 18, 2010, 10:53 GMT)

i read a survey by a magazine they highlighted the best players who use to give performance under pressure...they were Rahul dravid,brain lara n javed miandad...they were in top 4...couldnt remember the other names...

Posted by D.Sharma on (October 18, 2010, 10:42 GMT)

SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN SACHIN yes he is a worthy contender for this list but why can't people comprehend that some people are just more elegant than him?

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 10:35 GMT)

What's the point of a elegant XI without Mehela Jayawardena.

Posted by GeneralC on (October 18, 2010, 10:34 GMT)

Surely Carl Hooper and Brian Lara are worthy contenders

Posted by Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on (October 18, 2010, 10:24 GMT)

What? No Chanderpaul??? :P

Posted by Gizza on (October 18, 2010, 10:15 GMT)

Yep the Sachin Trolldulkars have come out in force. He is not even the most elegant in the current Indian team let alone the world across all eras. Laxman in Tests is more elegant and Yuvraj is more elegant in ODI/T20's. Note that DOESN'T mean they better batsmen than Tendulkar. Not at all. But Sachin outdoes them in other aspects, like determination, cricketing intelligence (Yuvraj especially has a very average cricketing brain), and is way better technically (in fact Sachin in technically perfect). I would also rate Dravid above Tendulkar in terms of elegance.

It is a pretty good list by the way Suresh Menon. I suppose there is a difference between beauty and elegance but Warne could come close to Laker or Bedi. Doesn't matter if he getting hit for 6 after 6, when you watch him bowl it is just amazing.

I personally believe the most unlucky modern player would be Laxman. Mark Waugh and Anwar didn't seem to live up to their elegance in the true form of the game - Test cricket.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 9:44 GMT)

Why do these lists never contain any New Zealand players. Stephen Fleming was about as elegant as they come.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 9:35 GMT)

What about Mahela Jayawardene? you cant miss mentioning him!!

Posted by Vivek.Bhandari on (October 18, 2010, 9:30 GMT)

@Aussasinator/rvpanakkal: i also wish there's an "ugly but effective" XI as well...i can suggest three names...Langer, S.Waugh, name a few...:)

Posted by anikbrad on (October 18, 2010, 9:29 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 9:29 GMT)

MARK WAUGH!?!?!??!?!? how can u not include the most beautiful player of all time

Posted by Gilliana on (October 18, 2010, 9:26 GMT)

Without Azharuddin and Laxman, there can never be a Poetry in Motion XI. I remember him scoring a magnificent century at the Adeliade Oval on his last visit to my country. I had travelled almost a thousand kms to see him bat. It was the most stylish innings that I had seen in my long life.

Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (October 18, 2010, 9:10 GMT)

And what about a certain BC Lara.

Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (October 18, 2010, 9:08 GMT)

Like others here - I'd love to see Mark Waugh and VVS in this artists' list. Having said that, I haven't seen any player prior to the 90s, so a small write-up on why those in the list are indeed better than these 2 above is very much warranted.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 9:02 GMT)

well, the list is good but what about Sachin Tendulkar? i agree that the list is not about records and runs etc. but it should be made clear what are the criterias taken into account when choosing Elegant XI??

Posted by Etrnlwanderer on (October 18, 2010, 8:50 GMT)

@shahid6995: You didnt have to wait too long did you? You already have the mourners waling about "Tendulkar the Graceful". If only half these idjits could understand that the process behind selecting a team in this list is based on their style and poise while batting and no other criteria.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 8:48 GMT)

Ok it is a decent effort, but as mentioned by yourself, an elegant XI is not complete with VVS Laxman (very very special says it all), Saeed Anwar (that Piccaso like flowing drives through the covers, effortless) and not to forget Waqar Younis (that run up, burst and slingy action).

Must be worth a review Suresh, dont you think?

Posted by Sehwagology on (October 18, 2010, 8:38 GMT)

What is this nonsensical obsession with Tendulkar? It's almost as if this great game, its history and the players who have adorned it are a sideshow to the grotesque homage to Tendulkar. I'm an Indian but I find it cringe worthy that every interesting article that is published here is somehow turned into a celebration of Tendulkar's greatness. Any playing list that omits him is summarily dismissed. Are people so insecure about his greatness that they require validation in every article, from every source and every author? And to refer to any sportsman as God is not only outrageous and outlandish but deeply offensive (at least to those deluded enough to believe in religion in the first place!). He is undoubtedly a great batsman but to be so definitive, absolute and categorical about his place in the pantheon is plainly absurd. Equally to regard him as more stylish and graceful than VVS Laxman or Mark Waugh or Brian Lara or indeed Gower is to have no conception of aesthetical beauty!

Posted by KBowser on (October 18, 2010, 8:27 GMT)

Nice work. I would've picked Barry Richards, Trumper, Gower, M Waugh, Ranji, Laxman, Dujon, Lindwall, Lillee, Holding and Bedi. As for Zaheer - elegant until someone bowled a bouncer.

Posted by rvpanakkal on (October 18, 2010, 8:15 GMT)

Hope cricinfo picks an ugly XI or a crap XI, just saw that there will be one list where trolls will not clamour for Sachin. But then they just might too...

Posted by Dhaanu on (October 18, 2010, 8:12 GMT)

Nicely picked XI. My XI (based on visual evidence and the chronicles of the past great writers)

1. Victor Trumper 2. Barry Richards 3. Ranjitsinghji 4. Brian Lara 5. VVS Laxman 6. Garfield Sobers 7. K. Sangakarra 8. Shane Warne 9. M. Holding 10. Richard Hadlee 11. Bishan Singh Bedi.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 8:07 GMT)

While I agree bye and large with Suresh Menon's selected XI, I would definitely be interested in knowing his reasons for omitting Sir Garfield Sobers. I am unfortunate in the sense that I have not seen Woolley bat (nor for that matter would Suresh have seen him, I presume) but I have surely seen Sobers. And, by God, was he languid, you bet. As silky and smooth as any. About the wicketkeeper's slot, Knott was definitely excellent but what about Godfrey Evans or Wally Grout? Avadh Lal

Posted by prins72 on (October 18, 2010, 7:55 GMT)

The Poetry in Motion XI also needs a bowling all-rounder...and the incumbents are Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan. Richard Hadlee used to literally glide to the bowling crease (long or short run up) and the skill sets that he had were simply awesome. Hadlee however never fulfilled his enormous batting potential. Imran Khan was the style icon of the 70s & 80s. Fantastic fast bowler... Imran's final leap while bowling used to be so very unique and graceful. To top it, Imran was also a charismatic leader. My vote is for Imran Khan in place of Frank Woolley.

Posted by AhmadSaleem on (October 18, 2010, 7:54 GMT)

Saaed Anwar, Laxman and Mark Waugh can replace any of the batsmen in this team. Only the selection of Gower is justified. And where is Adam Gilchrist??????? He is heads and shoulders above every other keeper batsman

Posted by 2929paul on (October 18, 2010, 7:54 GMT)

I once called in at a cold and grim Grace Road (Leicestershire) just to watch Gower bat, knowing that he was (unusually) not out overnight. When Gower batted it was about the only time the name fitted at that ground and after about an hour or so, Gower nicked one and wandered off for a typically elegant 50. I drifted home (some 100 miles away) happy at the memory and waiting for the next chance to watch him bat. I once attended a batting clinic held by Boycott who said I batted just like Gower. He meant it as an criticism - little foot movement, loose outside the off stump, too many edges, no application. To me it was the best compliment ever. I don't have Gower's genius so inevitably I never made it past club level but I still have that comment from Boycott to live on. I love this list. Who wants to watch Boycott for hours when you can spend an hour getting a memory like Gower batting or Holding bowling.

Posted by Joy_Of_Cricket on (October 18, 2010, 7:39 GMT)

Why and How is Mohammed Azharuddin missing from that middle order. There has never been a more graceful and elegant stroke maker than Azhar...

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (October 18, 2010, 7:37 GMT)

my Rest of the World XI (any player representing one of the 8 major countries is excluded): Tamim Iqbal (Bang), William Porterfield (Zim), Steve Tikolo (Kenya), Ryan Ten Doeschate (Neth), Dave Houghton (Zim), Shakib Al Hasan (Bang), Andy Flower (Zim), Thomas Odoyo (Kenya), Heath Streak (Zim), Bart King (USA), Ray Price (Zim). Honourable mentions to: Trent Johnston, Pommie Mbangwa, Maurice Odumbe, Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Habibul Bashar Would have included Eoin Morgan & Ed Joyce if they hadn't played for England Thoughts? Opinions?

Posted by Muksforyou on (October 18, 2010, 7:26 GMT)

Sad to see some of the real elegant masters missing form the list.

1.Mark Waugh 2.Mohammed Azharuddin 3.David Gower. 4.VVS Laxman

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 7:20 GMT)

Have we missed Richard Hadlee....but it is diificult when we have to select only 11 players....

Posted by hatrick26 on (October 18, 2010, 6:11 GMT)

I think Kanhai should have been included in this team.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 6:10 GMT)

There are Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman, Mohammad Azharuddin, Saurav Ganguly who was once described by David Gower as the most elegant of the batsmen he'd ever seen..

Posted by CricIndian9 on (October 18, 2010, 6:10 GMT)

Where is VVS LAXMAN??????? Seriously, Where is HE??

Posted by statshank on (October 18, 2010, 6:06 GMT)

Suresh, good collection. You may also want to add Mark Waugh. I also beleive Dennis Lillee was poetry in motion in his bowling and finally, none would agree, I think Kapil dev for the sheer artistry in his bowling and batting also needs a look in

Posted by Aussasinator on (October 18, 2010, 5:51 GMT)

Maybe you should also list out an XI comprising the 'Ugly to Watch but Effective" !

Posted by sbansban on (October 18, 2010, 5:29 GMT)

Hmmmm. I have seen footage of Sobers and have to wonder why he didn't make this list.

Posted by ygkd on (October 18, 2010, 5:23 GMT)

This is the way the game should be - cricket approaching an art form. But for how long will we see players like these? They're still around, like Laxman, but in today's climate are the young geniuses going to get the breaks they need or are the power game ideals going to break them? Sure Holding and others here were fine athletes, but was Ranji ever really like that? It's hard to say when all you've ever seen is a few old photos, but one suspects that sometimes genius takes longer to develop than mere athletic ability. Would an 18 year old Knott's batting be good enough today to see him play under 19's for England? It is so easy to simply believe that geniuses will always be so no matter what, but the reality is that a lot of geniuses don't really do that well at school. They don't think like others do, they don't always have big egos & they drop out. With the current obsession with youth cricket, it surely is truer to think that some won't be given enough time or attention to shine.

Posted by shahid6995 on (October 18, 2010, 5:21 GMT)

Yes, again, please lets see all the Indian trollers start moaning about how Tendulkar is not on this list either.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 5:01 GMT)

I would put Sangakara in as well

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 4:59 GMT)

Where is Sachin Tendulkar? No World XI in the world is complete without the inclusion of Sachin. What more you need from him??? absurd and ridiculous

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 4:53 GMT)

I would have put Mark Waugh in the list

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (October 18, 2010, 4:47 GMT)

Hmm, not bad at well. Right arm off, left arm orthodox - two contrasting styles in spin and Lindwall and Holding are good bowlers too. I suppose Woolley and Worrell would be the fifth bowler combination since both of them were batting all-rounders.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 4:27 GMT)

Im sorry but Mark Waugh and VVS Laxman MUST be in that Middle-Order for me, they are two of the best technical batsmen i have ever watched.... Only four I wholeheartedly agree on in this list is Sir Worrell, Gower, Bedi and Michael Holding. The others are open to debate and can be replaced as far as im concerned

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 4:14 GMT)

How in the world you can think that Sachin and VVS laxman are not more graceful than any of these 11 people you listed here.... Come on Dude....

Posted by harshthakor on (October 18, 2010, 4:05 GMT)

Zaheer Abbas is a must inclusion.His batting resembled a violinist strutting his strings or a musical composer.He was the supreme stylist of all and held his bat like a musical wand.Rohan Kanhai had he greatest batting prowess of all ,while Denis Compton literally invented his own strokes with phenomenal imaginative skill.Ted Dexter,was also a great stylist,overshadowing the likes of Peter May and Colin Cowdrey.

I applaud your inclusion of Gundappa Vishwanath,David Gower and Michael Holding.Viswanath 's wristwork was genius,Gower's drives looked like a baby being put to sleep,while Holding's bowling was sheer poetry in motion.

Posted by vinjoy on (October 18, 2010, 4:02 GMT)

Nice pick. For sheer poetry, I am tempted to suggest 'Lara' as well.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (October 18, 2010, 3:46 GMT)

Malcolm Marshall has one of the most elegant actions you will ever see. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his action. Sir Donald Bradman should be here too. He only hit about six sixes in his entire test career. It seemed like he had two opportunities to move his feet, unlike others who only have one.

Posted by point_2_cover on (October 18, 2010, 3:44 GMT)

Really? A description of graceful 11 without even an honourable mention (in the ones left out) of Brian Lara? Or of Imran Khan the bowler? Really?

Posted by cantwaittosee on (October 18, 2010, 3:41 GMT)

There is no one in the history of the game that can come close to Sunil Gavaskar in elegance....pure poetry in motion. The most beautiful bowler to play the game is Glenn Mcgrath.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 3:37 GMT)

A few names would deserve a mention in this list. VVS Laxman, Mark Waugh

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (October 18, 2010, 3:33 GMT) come the NO TENDULKAR!!! comments - but seriously, interesting XI you have there

Posted by   on (October 18, 2010, 3:24 GMT)

Talking about grace and sheer poetry, if you hadn't seen Zaheer Abbas, then you don't know what elegance is all about. He needs to be there. Have a look at his Edgbaston innings of 1974 as an example. Nothing but grace and poetry.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 18, 2010, 3:20 GMT)


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Suresh MenonClose
Suresh Menon Suresh Menon went from being a promising cricketer to a has-been, without the intervening period of a major career. He played league cricket in three cities with a group of overgrown enthusiasts who had the reverse of amnesia - they could remember things that never happened. For example, taking incredible catches at slip, or scoring centuries. Somehow Menon found the time to be the sports editor of the Pioneer and the Indian Express in New Delhi, Gulf News in Dubai, and the editor of the New Indian Express in Chennai. Currently he is a columnist with publications in India and abroad, and is beginning to think he might never play for India.

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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