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Peter Roebuck's Stodgy XI

Over their dead bodies

A team of slowpokes who will test the patience of the fiercest opponents and the tolerance of the most obdurate viewers

Peter Roebuck

October 26, 2010

Comments: 90 | Text size: A | A

Glenn McGrath sends down a delivery in his final Test, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, January 2, 2007
If there was ever a meanie with the ball, in terms of runs conceded, it was old Pidge © Getty Images
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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.


Douglas Jardine in action, 1930
Douglas Jardine: if you can take on Don Bradman, the rest of the world is a piece of cake © AFP
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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.

Chris Tavaré Coach
Mike Brearley Manager
Bob Taylor Keeping coach
Jeff Crowe Match referee

Don't bet against this lot!

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ras on (October 28, 2010, 11:14 GMT)

Would have loved to see Mark richardson as an opener. The best stonewaller i have seen

Posted by Mitcher on (October 28, 2010, 9:36 GMT)

@Ajit Tamhane: "How can you omit legendary Bapu Nadkarni". Are you being funny, or are you taking commenting on an article without reading a word of it to giddy new heights? Truly I feel your comment is the true triumph of this article. Otherwise Peter, classic team. Would love to sit in the back of the Bradman stand nodding off while this side toiled away. There'd be no danger of missing anything!

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 22:09 GMT)

my All time 11 against the world 11 is

Sunil Gavaskar Virendra Sehawag George Hadley Brian lara Ricky Ponting Alan Knott Ian Botham Imran Khan Kapil Dev Curtly Ambrose Muttiah Murlidharan

Posted by rson on (October 27, 2010, 21:14 GMT)

How does Trevor Goddard,a quality opening batsman,manage to bat below Ken Mackay and Jack Russell?

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

where are mudassar nazar, shoaib mohammad, anshuman gaekwad and jimmy adams.. and the king of 'em all, rahul dravid?

Posted by Bhatin on (October 27, 2010, 16:10 GMT)

Travor Bailey in place of Mackay. After all the Barnacle has slowest 50 on records in 6 hrs..!!!

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 12:17 GMT)

Very biased team. Jardine and May have 1 century between them. I would cut from this team just like they have cut risky shots and still managed to score 1 century. Just that all fans are not offended please mention that we are only going select from certain countries. Dont call it WORLD XI Do a bit of research. Check my team where each player has scored over 20 centuries, averages over 50 Highest scores over 300 and runs over 6000. To check team you need to go through some of the comments on other articles.

Posted by murthydn16 on (October 27, 2010, 11:35 GMT)

Surprised, no Srilankan players are there. Srilanka is the place where the dullest of dullest test cricket pitches are. So few players should have been in there in pete squad.

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 10:45 GMT)

Hi Mr Roebuck: Have you ever heard of Hanif Mohammad, Mudassar Nazar ( record holders for slowest century and triple centuries

Posted by gyanesh_don on (October 27, 2010, 9:04 GMT)

Where is Ravi shastri? He deserves a place in the squad.

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Peter RoebuckClose
Peter Roebuck He may not have played Test cricket for England, but Peter Roebuck represented Somerset with distinction, making over 1000 runs nine times in 12 seasons, and captaining the county during a tempestuous period in the 1980s. Roebuck acquired recognition all over the cricket world for his distinctive, perceptive, independent writing. Widely travelled, he divided his time between Australia and South Africa. He died in November 2011

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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