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A team of slowpokes who will test the patience of the fiercest opponents and the tolerance of the most obdurate viewers
October 26, 2010
All-time XI: World : Ian Chappell's Thrillers XI
Players/Officials: Glenn Turner | Geoff Boycott | Herbert Sutcliffe | Bill Woodfull | Douglas Jardine | Ken Mackay | Jack Russell | Trevor Goddard | Bapu Nadkarni | Glenn McGrath | Charlie Turner | Mike Brearley | Chris Tavaré | Bob Taylor | Jeff Crowe
Other links: All-time World XI home
By way of response to Ian Chappell's exciting team, picked from the history of the game, your correspondent felt called upon to name a cautious team that might in some quarters be regarded as a touch conservative.
Our next step is to issue a challenge to the World Boys. Of course the match rules will be sorted out beforehand. Apparently the Adventurers have better things to do than to chew the cud with match referees, so an early advantage can be gained. Mr Jeff Crowe will be our referee, a choice made inevitable by his achievement in being among the slowest scorers in Test history. Our coach will be Mike Brearley (likewise). Bill Lawry will be our commentator. Alas, no place could be found for him in the side as he was not amongst the game's foremost slow coaches. He steamed along at 20 runs an hour, an oversight that caused widespread dismay
Naturally we will insist on playing a seven-day Test. My fellows don't really get into their stride until the fourth or fifth day. Our tactic is secret and simple. Hold the Swashbucklers for the first few days, send crates of beer to their room and meanwhile talk loudly about all the excellent casinos, clubs and pubs in the area. Or persuade them to start a poker school. In short, wear them out and then pounce.
Our strategy will be to occupy the crease for the first three days. By then Shane Warne ought to have fallen out with his captain and Sir Garfield will be thinking mostly about horses. The hotheads will bat for a day, score 380 and so concede a hefty deficit; we'd bat for two more days and then leave them to chase 600 in a day and a half. Obviously they'd have a crack and be all out by tea for 423.
Regarding selection, apart from slowness, the focus was on quality, with averages taken into account. Only one exception was made. It was not possible to omit Glenn McGrath, whose figures are the most economical of the age. Unfortunately modern batsmen bash the ball about recklessly, so bowlers are about as economical as the Fed.
Anyhow here is my side to defeat the thrill-a-minute merchants:
1. Glenn Turner
A stoical and skilful opener who is the ninth slowest scorer on record. Averaged 47 despite playing on dodgy pitches. Can bat for a week, and unlikely to let his partner run him out. Might manage to upset the opposition selector as well.
2. Geoff Boycott
Could bat all seven days. If Turner cannot upset the opposition then I like Boycott's chances.
3. Herbert Sutcliffe
Haughty Yorkshireman who averaged 63 in Test cricket and, more impressively, stands high in the cautious rankings. Played particularly well against Australia.
4. Bill Woodfull
This admirable school master was the slowest of the Australian batsmen. Pips Chris Tavaré for the vacant middle-order spot. Tavaré rattled along at 13 runs an hour but the selectors felt he did not last long enough.
5. Douglas Jardine
Included mostly for his captaincy. Any man capable of beating Don Bradman won't have much trouble with this mob. Also a fine batsman. Once said, "I have cut out all my risky shots. Now I don't have any left." Won't take any nonsense from barrackers.
6. Ken Mackay It was close run between Slasher and Barnacle Bailey for the coveted allrounder's position. MacKay takes it because he was among the tightest bowlers in the game's history and moved along at 17 runs to the hour. Good man for a crisis. For example, if the team is tottering at 370 for 4 towards the end of the second day, he could be relied upon to hold the fort. Can tie up an end with bat or ball - a rare gift.
7. Jack Russell
Russell had plenty of shots and a tidy average (27) and still chose to put up the shutters. That's the spirit.
8. Trevor Goddard
The meanest bowler the game has known. Grudgingly gave away 1.65 runs an over and averaged 26. Thirty-nine per cent of his overs were maidens. Let them try to attack him off his length.
9. Bapu Nadkarni
Tops the list of maidens (43% of overs delivered) and second in the economy-rate stakes, and so the perfect partner for Goddard. Just resisted the challenge of Derek Underwood - a superior bowler, but he gave away 2.10 runs an over.
10. Charlie "Terror" Turner As a rule fast bowlers tend to get carried away but Turner was tight as a banker. He could bowl as well, and averaged 16.5 with the ball and conceded 1.93 runs an over. Just the man for the new ball.
11. Glenn McGrath Meanest of the moderns. Shooting wild pigs proved to be the perfect preparation for subduing batsmen. Beats Jason Gillespie to the prized position. Gillespie scored slow but was a bit generous with the ball
Trevor Bailey 12th man. No explanation required.
Don't bet against this lot!
Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win ItFeeds: Peter Roebuck
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