Peter Roebuck's Stodgy XI October 26, 2010

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
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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.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ras on October 28, 2010, 11:14 GMT

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

  • 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!

  • dummy4fb 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

  • 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?

  • dummy4fb 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?

  • 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..!!!

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • 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.

  • dummy4fb 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

  • gyanesh_don on October 27, 2010, 9:04 GMT

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

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