Ed Smith
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Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman; writer for the New Statesman

The grittiest XI

Some players have talent; others make the best of themselves with sheer bloody-minded hard work

Ed Smith

December 21, 2011

Comments: 258 | Text size: A | A

Justin Langer tucks one off his hip, Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, November 26, 2006
Justin Langer: better when the going was uphill © Getty Images

Should a sportsman want to be thought of as talented? It's a more difficult question than it seems. Young players, inevitably, want to be considered talented because talent leads to opportunity. Coaches and selectors "invest" in talent - or that's the theory, anyway.

But by the end of a player's career, being talked about as "talented" implies a hint of underachievement. By then there is - or should be - a proper body of evidence. The worth of a player can be measured in runs and wickets, not in estimations of innate athletic ability.

"Talented" can even be used as a term of reproach. In fact, it is. I saw one disruptive senior player constantly undermine his captain by beginning each sentence to him with, "Don't you think, given all your natural talent…" What he meant was that the captain was an underachiever (he wasn't, by the way.)

In my last column I celebrated talent - beginning with the Brazilian footballer Socrates and then analysing dazzlingly talented cricketers. I was fascinated that the comments made by readers quickly moved towards a discussion of nature versus nurture. It has become a controversial subject within sport. In Bounce, the English sportswriter Matthew Syed calls talent a "myth", an illusion created by hours of dedicated practice.

I am not so dismissive of talent. I am convinced that some elite sportsmen are exceptionally gifted - the gods dealt them a good hand, if you like. But it is also true that some top sportsmen owe their success more to dedication and will power than to the accidents of genetically inherited ability. (Another time we will look into whether will power is also determined by innate talent.)

Having celebrated Socrates and Co last time, this column will look at the other type of sporting greatness: the fighter who succeeds against the odds. Put differently, which cricketers can look back on their careers without any sense of guilt for wasting the gifts conferred at birth? Who made the very best of themselves? Who can look in the mirror without regret?

As this list is certain to prove controversial, let me define my terms. First, it is a personal rather than an objective list. I have only picked players who I personally watched a great deal, even if statistics suggest others may be more deserving. Secondly, some players are excluded on the grounds that they are just a bit too brilliant. That rules out Allan Border, even though he embodied guts and spirit, and also Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid, even though many people believe they owe their colossal achievements more to concentration and technique than Lara-style genius. Thirdly, it must be a balanced side of batsmen and bowlers. Fourthly, please forgive me for picking three Englishmen and no Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Zimbabweans or Bangladeshis (see premise one).

All that said, here it is, my grittiest World XI of recent decades:

1. Justin Langer
I'm not sure if it is physically possible to have your jaw jutting out while keeping your head down. But that was the impression given by Langer. Resilient and brave, he always seemed happiest when confronted with almost insurmountable odds. Being the underdog suited him just fine. In fact, it inspired him.

Being an Australian batsman in the 1990s was brutally competitive. Greg Blewett was a brilliant natural athlete; Darren Lehmann a deft, sublime talent; the imperious Stuart Law played some of the most handsome shots I ever saw. And yet Langer kept them all out of the team for long periods. He didn't just endure and survive, he grew and adapted. He never lost the air of a man being pursued by a pack of hungry dogs - or, more accurately, a pack of sublimely gifted rival Australian batsmen.

I am convinced that some elite sportsmen are exceptionally gifted - the gods dealt them a good hand, if you like. But it is also true that some top sportsmen owe their success more to dedication and will power than to the accidents of genetically inherited ability

He wasn't just a scrapper, of course. He could hit a long ball and attack fiercely. But even Langer's most expansive innings grew out of his relentless willpower.

2. Gary Kirsten
Like his opening partner here, Kirsten combined physical bravery with extraordinary powers of concentration. His 130 at Headingley in 2003 was a model of how to absorb pressure - like Muhammad Ali on the ropes. Kirsten allowed himself to let loose only on his highest percentage blows, with cuts and deflections when the ball was above bail height. It was a masterclass in Test match batting: always playing within himself.

He was also mild-mannered, modest and dignified - proof that some of the toughest fighters don't like to shout about it. (Kirsten just edges out John Wright, a terrific fighter and brilliant bloke, and Mark Richardson, who averaged a stellar 44 in Test cricket.)

3. Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir is one of the most underrated players in the world. It was Gambhir who soaked up the pressure when India were rocking in the World Cup final. It was Gambhir who prepared the stage for MS Dhoni's brilliance.

The purist may argue that Gambhir "chokes" the ball with a closed bat face. When he aims for extra cover, it seems to go through mid-off - like a golfer with a closed grip turning a seven into a five iron.

He is hard to characterise as a player because he is so versatile, mixing up defensive deflections with decisive attack. He brilliantly judges how to change his tempo: just when you think he is retreating into his shell, he dances down the wicket to the first ball by a spin bowler.

He is the pragmatist in a batting order of princes. If you are batting with Sehwag, Laxman and Co, there is no point trying to match them shot for shot. But it takes a distinct kind of self-confidence to be your own man and play in your own style.

4. Shiv Chanderpaul
He is edging towards the too-good-for-this-team zone. But I'll let him in because his average is still just a fraction under 50 (what a relief for him). His style is all elbows and knees rather than elegant drives. But he has defied the world's best bowlers - as well as the MCC coaching manual - for nearly 20 years and over 9000 Test runs.

5. Paul Collingwood
Few contemporaries talked about the young Collingwood as a man who would play 68 Tests and average over 40. Like Langer, he was at his best when he was being doubted. A spate of critical newspaper articles always seemed to produce a Collingwood hundred. Perhaps he should have asked the press to have a go at him more often.

6. Alec Stewart
Surely Stewart's natural gift for timing - his deft flicks off his pads and pivot hook shots - marks him out as a creature of innate ability? But he gets into this XI for his wicketkeeping as well as his batting. His phenomenal work ethic and professionalism turned him from a batsman who could keep into a world-class allrounder. Batting surely came more naturally to him than keeping, but by the high point of his career you would never have guessed because his keeping was so neat and proficient.

Stewart was relentlessly organised, in every respect. "The more prepared you are, the less there is to worry about." That was his mantra.

Makhaya Ntini celebrates the wicket of Brad Haddin, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 2nd day, February 27, 2009
Ntini: blood, sweat and running up mountains © Getty Images

7. Ravi Shastri
Mumbai has produced a stream of sublimely gifted batsmen. Shastri, in contrast, talked about himself as not being especially talented. But he played 80 Tests, providing stability and consistency as either an opener or in the middle order. Handily, he also gets in as a reliable second spinner.

8. Daniel Vettori
Left-arm spinners are usually a volatile bunch. Philippe Edmonds was a joy to watch, but not always to captain. Vettori stands out for his calmness, durability and consistency. New Zealand fans will know how rarely his ten overs go for more than 50 in ODIs. Like another durable finger-spinner, John Emburey, Vettori has gone up the batting order rather than slid down it (he now averages over 30) - a mark of his commitment to self-improvement.

9. Makhaya Ntini
People said you couldn't bowl for long with an action like Ntini's - first angling in, then falling away. Three hundred and ninety wickets later, they have to think again. Ntini was relentless in body and mind - incredibly fit, competitive, energetic and hopeful (perhaps the most important quality a bowler can possess). He looked like he ran up mountains between Test matches, just for fun. In fact, that's exactly what he did.

10. Matthew Hoggard
England has produced a good number of seam bowlers who are prepared to run up the hill and into the wind. Hoggard just shades Angus Fraser in this XI. I played with Hoggard for England Under-19s. He was already a serious prospect. But he wasn't ahead of Jimmy Ormond or Ben Hollioake (who bowled quickly as an 18-year-old) in terms of pure talent. Many swing bowlers are prone to disappear when the ball isn't swinging. But Hoggard always stuck at it, making himself useful to the team even when conditions were against him.

11. Chris Martin
Not many fast bowlers fancy turning up for a day's hard work in their 38th year. But Martin is still at it, helping New Zealand win tight Test matches (he took 3 for 46 in their recent defeat of Australia in Hobart.) Usually it is batsmen who get better with age and fast bowlers who fizzle out. In contrast, Martin has had the rare pleasure of surviving while many batting contemporaries have faded away.

I'm not sure whether these extraordinary performers will thank me for picking them in my grittiest XI. But I've no doubt that this team would have got the job done - no matter how talented the opposition.

Postscript Added 17:15 GMT, 21 Dec
It's always good to get the views of ESPNcricinfo readers but some don't seem to have read the whole article. This is not meant to be the greatest ever XI; it is not even supposed to be the mentally toughest XI. Instead, it is a balanced team of players I've watched who - in my opinion - have come close to maximising their ability.

As I wrote in the piece: "Some players are excluded on the grounds that they are just a bit too brilliant. That rules out Allan Border, even though he embodied guts and spirit, and also Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid, even though many people believe they owe their colossal achievements more to concentration and technique than Lara-style genius."

As a rule of thumb, I've excluded anyone who averages over 50 with the bat (Graeme Smith, Steve Waugh, Dravid, Kallis). And bowlers who average mid-20s or lower.

Some reader suggestions (like the name of Mark Richardson) are very persuasive. But others are clearly not relevant for my criteria. After all, as the editor rightly pointed out to me, you could argue that Bradman maximised his ability. But somehow it doesn't sound quite right, in my role as hypothetical chief selector, to announce a team that begins: Collingwood, Martin, er, Bradman...

I'm sure you understand.

Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith is a writer with the Times. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by Kothandaram on (December 24, 2011, 9:24 GMT)

Nice article. but what about a 'Stylists XI' which can include the likes of David Gower, Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn and others

Posted by   on (December 24, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

Dravid? Steve Waugh? come on...

Posted by vsvinuraj on (December 23, 2011, 9:33 GMT)

How can we miss Michael Artherton in this?? Remember the spell Donald had aganist him???

Posted by frost on (December 23, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

Hi Ed

I see you're reading the comments, sadly that's something that I've given up on on cricinfo a while ago, as it mostly consists of thoughtless insults.

That being said, I'm going to use this opportunity to praise some of your other work. I've read a couple of cricket books in my life, one of which was your book "On and Off the Field". By far the best cricket book I've read in my life, and the only one I've read more than once.

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (December 22, 2011, 23:37 GMT)

I cannot believe people have suggested Viv Richards in a list of gritty players! Richards!! Come on!! He was, by all accounts, the original Master Blaster who never let anything faze him. Guys, a gritty player is one whose defences you try to get around and make sure that you get him before he gets into an I-will-wear-you-out mode. A person who never bothered with a helmet all his life, who had bowlers wishing they had never taken up Cricket, who made 100 in 56 balls in tests (something none has dared approach in the last 25 years) and who jumped from 100 to 181 in 26 balls in a World Cup match doesn't qualify as a gritty player.

Posted by sajjodaalman on (December 22, 2011, 22:52 GMT)

definitly without a doubt shivnarine chanderpaul, and why dont u put his full name?

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 22:45 GMT)

What about Geoff Boycott, surely the epitome of a player who maximised his talent

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 22, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

Wow Smith, thanks for exposing your complete lack of cricketing knowledge. Stewart? HAHAHA!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 21:28 GMT)

@Haleos i think your missing the point of this article gambir is gritty because there are better more talented batsman that could have taken his place... but through pure grit he is there, not talent... as for the wall the had pure talent as well as grit...

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

I would have added Kumble too... like vettori not the most talented... but tremendous courage and determination...

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (December 22, 2011, 19:00 GMT)

Nice list, though given the intent, probably a more apt title would have been "Overachievers XI". That would automatically shut out players who are hard-working and talented (Border, Waugh, Dravid, Kallis). I would have thought most people on this list would be all-rounders not in the league of Imran / Kapil / Botham / Hadlee. One example that jumps to mind is Robin Singh, who epitomized the value of hard work while not being supremely gifted. Vettori and Collingwood make their mark the same way, though they are definitely more talented than Singh. Also, it takes a lot of hard-work for the more gifted players to showcase their gift over long periods. Ask Lara, SRT, Ponting or anyone else who is considered more naturally talented than Dravid, Kallis etc - coaches will tell you that they probably slog as much in the nets as someone branded "hard-working".

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 18:57 GMT)

I don't know Ed how much did you consider about Andy Flower, but as far as am concerned Andy Flower along with Chaminda Vaas shoudl put up a thought or two before forming the Grittiest XI.

Posted by scorbos15 on (December 22, 2011, 17:34 GMT)

Eventhough am Indian, am glad you picked Gambhir - perfect fit for the word Grittiest - Thank you for looking so close :-)

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 17:08 GMT)

I hope Justin Langer sends a card every Christmas to the manufacturers of cricket helmets. Without them, he would never have had a career.

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (December 22, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

salim malik batted with the a broken arm and faced marshall and walsh ... thats grit

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

Great piece, though i do not quite share the opinion about Shastri. Bevan and Miandad could be prospects for this list as well. How about Tugga Waugh and that man Artherton. Anyways superb article.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

Steve Waugh? Viv Richards? Arjuna Ranathunga? Moin Khan? Come on! But Gautham Gambhir?!! lol! Got to be kidding!!

Posted by Lanky1 on (December 22, 2011, 15:00 GMT)

Yet another I cannot believe comment. All the time Mike Atherton played for England there must have been 20 more talented English batsmen than him. Nick Knight for example far surpassed him in ability. He out-thought them and out-gritted them. In terms of thinking he did for himself what coaches now do for batsmen. His 185no in South Africa was not brilliant but for determination could not be out done. Witness the comparison with the immeasurably more talented Robin Smith with whom he started the last day of the match.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 14:37 GMT)

Cmon,steve waugh was the best amon the grittiest and so made it above 50.He should have been there.Others like dravid,kallis,smith at least possessed certain amount of technique.Steve waugh had limited talent and he made the most out of it as a batsman.Also,Gautam Gambhir is too talented and technically sound and hence going by the above logic,he should have been left out.Instead get in Steve waugh..What better grit than S Waugh,Chanderpaul and Collingwood as the middle order..

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

@Ed Smith-Whether average is above 50 or not,how can you rule out Steve waugh.His is an absolute case of resolute will.Its just that he was the best among the grittiest and made it above 50.Yes,dravid,kallis,smith all had a certain technique which made them get good scores but steve waugh did not possess that talent .I think when you talk of grit the first name that comes to your mind should be steve waugh..

Posted by Haleos on (December 22, 2011, 12:09 GMT)

Gambhir has strike rate of over 52 in Tests. Hardly a gritter.

Posted by Haleos on (December 22, 2011, 12:09 GMT)

Whats is Gambhir doing n this XI. Ed - have you not watched pakistan macthes lately? Most of the top order can fit in here. You also missed the Wall.

Posted by Erebus26 on (December 22, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

After seeing the postscript I think I should rule out Border and Waugh (I will admit truthfully that I was tired when reading the article and didn't take the last part in) . But I stand by my choice of Merv Hughes - he had the tache, the snarl and the sledges but he was a tough and gritty player. He bowled through the pain barrier during the 1993 Ashes series. Andre Nel was another comedy villain who often busted a gut for the cause. Another bowler that impressed me was Zimbabwe's Heath Streak.

A few of the Kiwi's from the 1980's and early 90's epitomised grittiness - John Wright, Andrew Jones and Mark Greatbatch all scored runs against world class bowling attacks by maximising their ability. None of them would be classed as graceful stroke players. Mind you I don't disagree with Ed's batting picks.

Posted by billios on (December 22, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Not surprising there are a few kiwi names popping up, as we often select players we hope are going to be "gritty", who are in fact simply "rubbish" e.g. grant elliott, craig cumming, big timmy mac. But really, you NEED RICHARDSON. For his first 50 balls, he could only flick off his body. Then came the backfoot punch. That was all. He scored test hundreds. Grit.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 11:17 GMT)

How could you leave out Steve Waugh and Javed Miandad? These 2 saved their countries on numerous occassions... they were gifted with lots of talent, however, talent alone doesn't win you the games, mental toughness plays a huge part...

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

ED SMITH'S IX is totally baseless.....keeping in view the terms on which he has selected these players, there could have been many players better than this lot....i think he has overlooked some of the players who deserve to be here in this list...!!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 11:00 GMT)

You could go further back into history than 'recent decades'. For a player with infinite grit and limited talent succeeding, what about David Steele (the grey-haired bespectacled John Major lookalike) scoring heavily off Lillee and Thomson in the 1975 Ashes?

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 22, 2011, 10:41 GMT)

I totally disagree with the people who thinks Shastri shouldn't have been in it. I beleive Shastri should be the captain too. Shastri was a player who switched gears according the the situation of the match was in. When slogging was required, he slogged, when attacking was required he attacked(as he showed in the Tied test match in Madras) and when obduracy is required, he just spent time at the crease. I also reember him playing like a tail-ender to give stand to an attacking Kapil Dev against the West Indian pace bowlers in an ODI. All the main batsmen were out and Kapil was smashing the bowlers all over the park. Shastri(captaining in that match) just kept taking legbyes to give strike to Kapil. To be frank, I am yet to see such a thinking cricketer who always kept his cool and always read the match situation so accurately.

Posted by prozak on (December 22, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Did anyone read the article? I can't believe Ed has had to add an addendum just to explain AGAIN what the purpose was. But then in a time of some of the worst cricket "fans" in the world, what can you expect?

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

You have left out rahul dravid, anil kumble, and though it i early days but darren bravo might come in. Two gritty bowlers who may be included instead of ntini probably should be courtney walsh and malcolm marshall

Posted by loudspeaker on (December 22, 2011, 8:01 GMT)

i have started watching cricket from 1996. From that time onwards my grittitest 11 would be

Gary Kirsten Mike Atherton Rahul Dravid Steve Waugh Hashim Amla Chander Paul Alec Stewart Vettori Kumble Makhaya Ntini Hoggard

Posted by lillie_express on (December 22, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

I accept that the sporting world relies heavily on the hard workers. However, sport is all about entertainment and the hard workers are always hard work to watch. They are appreciated at times when they fight it out for a good cause or good result, but after the next days paper is in the bin the effort is forgotton. These good guys, the hard workers, are always a mans best friend but thats not what we pay for to watch. Hard workers play for themselves (kind of set goal, accomplish goal mentality) or their teams; Those that decend from heaven play for us, the paying public. Free spirit v trained spirit...unfortunatley God only releases geniuses once in a whole, so all you good guys, get back to work and keep the sporting world ticking over in the meantime.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

i think MSD is god of grittiness looking at the number of matches that he has won for india just by coming in at any stage taking all the pressure and a true captian calmness ...Especially looking at the way he started his career as a flamboyant stroke maker and then to a responsible gritty guy ..No doubt he is the best think to indian cricket after sachin and before ipl...

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

What about Younus Khan? He fits the criteria perfectly. No talent whatso ever and he averages 48

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

It's my world playing XI team (1) Virender Sehwag (2) Sunil Gavasakar (3) Don Bradman (4) Sachin Tendulakar (5) Brain Lara (6) S. Waugh (C) (7) Adam Gilchrist (WK) (8) Wasim Akram (9) Shane Warne (10) Del Styen (11) Glenn Macgrath (12) Jacques Kallis

Are u agree with my Best World Playing XI Yes or No Reply must

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

Steve Waugh? Javed Miandad? Rahul Dravid? Nasser Hussain?

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

@cricketeria Jumping the gun without reading the article? Tendulkar is overqualified for this XI

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

Jason Gillespie as a batsman was grittiest among the bowlers who can bat. rem'ber the 200.btw i m indian and cant resist myself from saying that dravid is most hardworking cricketer the world has got.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

javaid miandad is missing?

Posted by Vikas_Vadgama on (December 22, 2011, 4:43 GMT)

@ Anas Anwar, Wasim & Mush were natural talents. Though you may say that Wasim overcame the diabetes threat, and hats off to him for that, but that was his mental ability. But his bowling talent was natural. This list doesn't include players with natural talent.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

So Collingwood is grittier than Michael Hussey? Hussey has Test average of 50 in 66 test matches, and you can't call him elegant, stylish, flamboyant, or gifted. But boy is he smart batsman and hard worker of a cricketer!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 4:17 GMT)

I agree with Ed that this is first of all his own discretion and judgement. Hence, he is free to choose whomsoever he may want to choose. Ed, let me congratulate you for a good piece of write-up. Also, I guess people here have failed to understand the point and that is why they are asking for names like Herschelle Gibbs, Wasim Akram, etc. Ed, finally, I would have loved to see two absolutely gritty and determined players that should have been in here. Ejaz Ahmed from Pakistan and Arjuna Ranatunga from SL. Both were never a treat for eyes but equally gritty and hardworking. I am an Indian supporter but would still want to have at least one of Ejaz and Arjuna in your team in place of Gambhir....

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

When I read the title "The Grittiest 11", the first name that came to my mind was RAHUL DRAVID!! Also, HASHIM AMLA!!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 3:41 GMT)

No STEVE WAUGH ????????????????

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

How can Dravid miss this list ? He is no gifted player, he works harder than any other player..

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

I think Alan Border, Steve Waugh and Anil Kumble should top the list. These men turned into legends by sheer application of will and mental strength. Not sure why a raw talent like Vettori should be included in this list.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

What about Rahul Dravid? He for me is one of the grittiest batsmen the world has ever produced.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 2:53 GMT)

Totally agree with Daniel Vettori being here, watching his batting is somewhat painful yet he always manages to rack up large, often game saving totals, also his 100 overs a test match is no mean feat. He deserves to be here most for sure.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 2:37 GMT)

is Gambhir's case one of grit? I guess he is more talented than gritty.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 2:34 GMT)

Horrible choice.... This Team doesn't have any chance to win any test match....

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 2:22 GMT)

I guess you never saw the grittiest players from last century? Brian Close is in a division by himself, Geoff Boycott not far behind. Obviously disqualified on the above 50 rule as well. Why would you disqualify people who could bat?

Posted by Patchmaster on (December 22, 2011, 2:14 GMT)

Alistair Cook would be on my list, not flash, not massive on personality, but can grind teams into submission through pure stubborness. Michael Atherton would be the close contender for this spot as well. Great article, like the inclusion of Hoggard (who interestingly had Langer LBW so many times it was like he had the ball on a string bowling to him)

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 1:57 GMT)

Of course Smith can only comment on players he has seen in the last 20 or so years, There are many more in the previous decades, Brian Close has been mentioned of the ones I have seen

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 1:38 GMT)

What about Arjuna Ranatunga

Posted by Ceylons-Don on (December 22, 2011, 1:26 GMT)

Completely disagree with this XI, forgetting the legends of the game, the players that changed the game, they were the most girttiest to change the norm, and lead by example. Any legend of the game, had to be gritty, or they wouldnt get there.

my 11 would be : Sachin Tendulkar (Verging on 100 centuries is a credit to this), Sanath Jayasuriya (introduced the concept of making the most runs in the field restrictions). Brian Lara, Alan Border, Viv Richards, Ambrose, Wasim Akram, Kumar Sangakara, Courtney Walsh, Don Bradman, Shane Warne, Muraitharan

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 1:22 GMT)

As you said already that it is your personal team. But suggestions are always welcomed! If you have picked players less who average less than 50 in batting than where is LAXMAN?Who the hell is more deserving than him if you see all batting contemporaries of last decade?Where is Andew Flintoff?What about Mohd. Yusuf and Younis Khan?Where is Lance Klucener?Where is Kapil Dev?And who can even argue about picking Adam Gilchrist?Chris Cairns, Ramnaresh Sarvan, Chaminda Vas must be consdered!! al though its personal choice, so its not an issue of debate!! some players are extremely good but some are just insulting the left players!!

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 1:21 GMT)

First of all let me clear one thing, by saying grittiest XI Smith meant players with no natural talent. Someone who is not blessed with any natural abilities to become a fine, attractive, and a valuable player. Laxman, Potning, Mark Waugh,Tendulkar, Sangakkara, Sehwag, H. Gibbs etc., these all are GOD gifted players with timing, strong wrists, quick hand eye co-ordination,and class. But people like Justin Langer, Gary Kirsten, Rahul Dravid (must be a part of that team), Steve Waugh, Carl Hooper, Hashan Tilkaratne, Gavin Larsen, Thilan Samaraweera, etc. have developed skills themselves to survive. Their self-esteem, self confidence, mental abilities, and soaking pressure situations was their greatest strength and essence. They were/are equally great players like naturally God gifted players. I am not trying to compare players over here but just giving an example. I definitely not agree with Alec Stewart over here.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 0:50 GMT)

marvan atapattu is missing,

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 0:44 GMT)

I would have put Atherton on the list...nice list though. Boycott maybe

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 0:30 GMT)

How can this team not include: Wasim Akram and mushtaq Ahmed.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 0:23 GMT)

I think the kat and anil Kumble deserve a go. Kumble took hundreds of wickets with pure line and length. I see this list as people who would give their best despite the lack of ability a Lara or ponting have.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2011, 0:21 GMT)

Have neglected some Aussies that fit your criterea! Boon, Lawson, Merv Hughes, Geoff Marsh just to name a few off the top of my head. Gatting, Greatbatch, Streak, Sohail, Atherton for internationals once again off the top of my head.

Great list though - maybe needed a 2nd XI to play against them??

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

I'm not sure how Kumble didn't make it! I don't think the author saw Kumble bowl in West Indies in 2002 with a broken jaw!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 23:48 GMT)

Grittiest! Brian Close!!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 23:30 GMT)

Gambhir??? I would've had Steve Waugh and Allan Border for their sheer determination and ability to get tough runs. Also, a dark horse could be Mark Richardson? Not much natural talent, but averaged over 45 largely due to his mental toughness and disciplined approach

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

Any grittiest XI squad can't be made without Rahul Dravid....it's almost impossible to even imagine one!!!

Posted by tdobbo on (December 21, 2011, 23:10 GMT)

You are all forgetting Greg Ritchie and Herschelle Gibbs

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:58 GMT)

Ghambir? You've got to be kidding me right! No indian qualifies when it comes to grit, except two for sure - Gavasker and Dravid.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:53 GMT)

as my opinion you can not make a grittiest World XI without Wasim akram , Tandulkar , Imran Khan, Sangakara, R Ponting BC lara ,Sehwag, Waqar Younis and javied. there is also so many high profile names like steve waugh ,muralidaran and etc...anyhow it was is personal opinion .

Posted by limeykev2 on (December 21, 2011, 22:52 GMT)

How can you leave out Chris Tavare? I mean boring? Yes? Makes watching paint dry seem exciting? At times. But brave and unwilling to give up his wicket? Always.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:51 GMT)

Michael Hussey is the grittiest player around.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:49 GMT)

ha ha ...talking about grit without Rahul Dravid...you must be high man!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:48 GMT)

I checked the dictionary for the meaning of the word "Grit" and "True Grit" and it told me "Rahul Dravid". I think the XI would be somewhat close enough to that meaning.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:48 GMT)

Certainly Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, VVS Laxman should have made it to the list

Posted by kenishah on (December 21, 2011, 22:43 GMT)

my best test 11 would be 1) gary kirsten 2) alister cook 3) ricky ponting 4) sachin tendulkar 5) shivnarine chanderpaul 6) 7) brad haddin 8) dale steyn 9) tim bresnan 10) zaheer khan 11) murli. i dnt kno the old players soo havent included dem found gary from the articaln i guess dis aint the best 11 but its a extremely gud 11

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:37 GMT)

I can think of a few - MS Dhoni, Mudassar Nazar, Carl Hooper, Venkatesh Prasad, Marvan Atapattu, Thilan Samaraweera, Geoff Marsh, Michael Atherton, Andrew Hudson, Chris Tavare - all gritty as they come

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 22:31 GMT)

Mike Brearley must be captain of this technocratic bunch; also places for Atherton, Katich, Jimmy Adams, Jonty Rhodes, Larry Gomes, Ewan Chatfield

Posted by Danube on (December 21, 2011, 22:11 GMT)

Definitely former Australian opener Bruce Laird - barely ever described without the term "gritty" in front of it! But showed great courage opening the batting for Oz against the great West Indian pace attacks of the late 70's/early 80's.

Posted by Leonb on (December 21, 2011, 22:03 GMT)

Good list - especually considering the "groundrules". Personally I would possible put Katich in (as has been suggested) - in place of Richardson maybe. Oh and @lcgoon - 'thumbs up' - well said!!! But then maybe all these people DID read it and do not actually consider that VVS, Dravid, S.Waugh, Dhoni, Javed etc etc were that naturally brilliant.

Posted by Samoan on (December 21, 2011, 21:50 GMT)

Everyone has their own grittiest player, for me it has to be John Wright who personified Kiwi grit and determination and got every ounce of ability out of himself. Sold his wicket dearly and you had to get a crane to get him off the pitch.

Posted by Hail_The_Wall on (December 21, 2011, 21:39 GMT)

I didnt understand the meaning of ur thumb rule.. RAHUL DRAVID is a MUST in this list. He did not have the elegance when he came to Cricket, He did'nt have good timing or atleast few good shots when he came to the team. He learnt by blocking the ball,slowly developing his skills, became a wonderful test player,wonderful odi player, then a keeper,then a floater in the team,wat not!!! Boss i hear some ppl have nerves of steel, i hear some ppl talking about determination and self confidence and motivation!!! I SEEE THEM IN RAHUL DRAVID!!!! Also Mahela Jayawardene,Jon trott,Simon Katich,Mohammad Hafeez,Shoaib Malik,Mark Boucher,Jonty Rhodes,Steve Waugh can fit in..I seriously dont think Hoggard,Martin and stewart should be here..

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 21, 2011, 21:39 GMT)

It is interesting that among all the experts reading this article so many seem to have not read the opening gambit about why certain players are not included.It is a personal choice and that does not make it wrong.I think Gus Fraser would be the grittist player I saw coming back from that awful injury.Also Atherton was grit personified.But is is personal choice.How about praveen kumar.Took some grit to keep running in during the summer and he was still there fighting hard

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

daniel vettori deserves his place. there is no new zealander that has saved his team more times than vettori has. how many times has he come to the crease with our nation 5 or 6 down for some pathetic test match score, only to guide us to something semi-respectable with his annoying flicks off the pads and uncouth style.

Posted by chamsy on (December 21, 2011, 20:52 GMT)

Two more players deserving to be in this list r Aussie captain Steve Waugh and Muralidaran.. @Sri Tatsat I agree with u Bevan should definitely be in this..

Posted by TimMoore on (December 21, 2011, 20:52 GMT)

I am guessing Javed Miandad is overlooked since he is one of the greats... + certainly the grittiest along with Steve Waugh in my humble opinion...

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

Good list. I probably would have picked a fast bowler from India or SL. Good list nonetheless.

Posted by cricketeria on (December 21, 2011, 20:23 GMT)

What??? No Tendulkar??? hahahah

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

Abdul Razzaq has no place in this team...I think...he has minimized his talents to an extent.His bowling was way better when he started!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 19:43 GMT)

Steve Waugh and david Boon are two of the most grittiest players to have ever to have donned the creams. Everyone has forgotten how fabulous Boonie was in the mid 90s against the likes of an unplayable Curlty Ambrose. He wasn't just a fat keg on legs. He was a bloody good batsman

Posted by Clive_Dunn on (December 21, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

No Atherton ? One of the few English cricketers of the 90's with any backbone at all.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

What? No Jimmy Amarnath, Anil Kumble or Mike Atherton?? This grittiest XI list doesn't count then.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 19:14 GMT)

Another deserving player who seems to have missed out is Simon Katich, no complaints though

Posted by gingeraddy on (December 21, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

This is probably about right, although I would replace gambhir with johnny trott as I wouldn't describe gambhir as gritty but trott is probably the grittiest player I have ever seen

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

A really nice article and shows that sometimes all it needs is sheer determination and the passion to succeed against all odds/handicaps. Also, the opposite has also been true on many occasions with the ones considered to be supremely gifted just fading away. Take the example of Maninder Singh, Irfan Khan, Dwayne Bravo, Mohd Akram, Mohd Ashraful, Vinod Kambli to name a few

@Ed: I really loved your last two articles, wouldn't a what-could-have-been-great cricket XI be a nice idea for the next one?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 18:58 GMT)

Michael Bevan deserves to be here for sure!

Posted by pussatina on (December 21, 2011, 18:56 GMT)

of players I have watched G Boycott, Allan Border, Ravi Shastri, Tavare? Chanderpaul, could go on!!.........

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

Barry richards..........................in place of chnderpaul.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (December 21, 2011, 18:43 GMT)

Extremely surprised Chaminda Vaas was not put in. The man is an average seamer, but his hard work and persistent lengths turned him into an amazing bowler. Then you have Abdul Razzaq who bowled and batted his heart out. He didn't always succeed, but when he did, he single handedly won games for Pakistan, making him one of the biggest match winners cricket has ever seen

Posted by Raja.Khurram on (December 21, 2011, 18:37 GMT)

I guess Younis Khan deserves a place here as well. I guess he missed out because of 50+ average in tests, but overall, he appears to have limited talent but he works hard to make most of it. I guess, the biggest proof of Younis Khan's eligibility to the list is that he has 32 average in One Days and over 50 in tests - and its pure hard work to score runs in test matches as compared to ODI's because you have to bat longer to get the same number of runs. Of course, exceptional talents like Gilchrist and Sehwag have their own ways to bat in test matches :)

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 18:28 GMT)

As an Englishman I must protest. The sheer notion of mentioning Emburey when writing about Vettori! Emburey was several rungs below Vettori as a bowler and batsman. Only one of them took wickets and made runs.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 18:19 GMT)

Hoggard, Collingwood, Gambhir? Really? They all fall too shy of the mark for my taste. Gambhir has a long way to go before featuring in this list. Mohammad Yousuf and Steve Waugh deserved to be in this team. Kohli will one day make this list. I don't think he's anywhere near as talented as Pujara or Rohit, but still edging them out with his determination and attitude.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 18:14 GMT)

Miandad? I know he averages over 50 but if people associate Waugh with grittiness then Miandad's right up there with him I believe!

Posted by xylo on (December 21, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

I might be wrong about this because I was a kid when I saw him play, but I think Desmond Haynes of the Windies should belong here.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (December 21, 2011, 17:56 GMT)

worst list ever. only agree with langer

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 17:56 GMT)

People are moaning that Collingwood is in here instead of Waugh, Dravid? Read the blooming paragraph under Chris Martin! No one over an average of 50 is allowed.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 17:39 GMT)

Gautam Gambhir may be a double-G man, but grit, nah !! The ultimate man of grit was Ken Barrington, albeit dating back a few decades.

Posted by fataquie on (December 21, 2011, 17:31 GMT)

In my opinion, the author has got it wrong. To me a gritty batsmen is the one who will not throw away his wicket, score runs when batsmen are falling down like 9 pins on the other hand, and make the impossible seem possible. If that is the definition than I only have to say no list would be complete without Steve Waugh...as simple as that! He was not that talented and definitely not the best to watch in terms of shots but in term of making a match out of nothing, i would put my money on him. Other notable misses from the list who had the same gritty attitude are Miandad ('92 WC, last ball six, and many others), Dravid (aka the Wall), and Viv Richards!

Posted by PureTom on (December 21, 2011, 17:18 GMT)

While Dravid is gritty he has too much natural talent for this 11 I think. I would have Steve Waugh and Andy Flower.

Posted by BurningBright on (December 21, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

Yeah, Steve Waugh for sure,also I'd have replaced Stewart with Dhoni..And for ODIs Michael Bevan wud be there..good article though..

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 17:07 GMT)

Missed one Kiwi: Mark Richardson

Posted by Erebus26 on (December 21, 2011, 17:06 GMT)

Yes Steve Waugh and Allan Border are glaring omissions to me as is Merv Hughes.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

I though Steve Waugh was the picture next to "grit" in the cricketing manual ?

In the infamous 2-2 series in the WI, where Lara & Waugh traded blows. while Ambrose & Mc Grath made batsmen seem like tail enders from 1-11...

Waugh, almost unnoticed, matched each of Lara's scores ensuring that Austrailia retained the trophy! Lara's match winning 150 and 200 wen't down as two of the best innings in history... but Waugh (the cheese) stood alone as the strongest batting line up in the world (at the time) cracked under the pressure of Ambrose & Walsh in their Den.

Posted by Blythesville on (December 21, 2011, 16:51 GMT)

Yes, I read the article. Still feel that Border should be included. He has a fantastic record. But look at HOW he performed in one of the weakest eras of Oz cricket. He also had the burden of the captaincy. While it is debatable that he would have had a stronger record in another era, his grit was what Australia required and needed in his time.

Posted by CaughtAndBowled on (December 21, 2011, 16:50 GMT)

How on earth Rahul Dravid and Steve Waugh missed out on this list!!! Paul Collingwood? oh. please!!!!!

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 21, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

Does anyone even moderate these comments? Go find Waheedullah Sulimankhail's and you'll see why I say this.

Posted by leftisbest on (December 21, 2011, 16:47 GMT)

Why are people suggesting VVS? The article is about players who have made the most of their limited talent. You can't bat that gracefully and well without rather alot of talent.

Posted by TheLonelyisland on (December 21, 2011, 16:45 GMT)

ED, you really shouldn't make up a team like this with the expressed intention of upsetting everyone. It marks you out as a poor writer over the long term.

Wum-ing as they call it should really be left to Australians.

From my own perspective, the most ridiculous players that you've put in there to cause the most debate are Gambhir and Collingwood. Only once have I seen either of these guys get a test hundred to save or win a game.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 16:42 GMT)

@Waheedullah - Becaus eht epremis of the whole article was players who DIDN'T HAVE TALENT - BUT MADE UP FOR IT WITH DETERMINATION. Lara, Tendulkar, Sehwag have so much talent...well they'd be bottom of this list.

Why not read before you write and make a bit of a fool of yourself?

Posted by bigdhonifan on (December 21, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

Wonderfull article... People might say didnt included many guys...but this is best possible x1 ... we can only have 11 players on field right,.. and most of the guys dont even know what Grittiest means...this is not about the best 11, this is about grittiest x1...... I still remember Gambhir's near 11-hour marathon in Napier...

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 16:17 GMT)

we can argue about many players which cud have been there, but i suppose i can judge a lil about the author's views and i think he missed Micheal Bevan...

Posted by Super70s on (December 21, 2011, 16:13 GMT)

Allan Border is synonymous with grit! How could anybody not pick him?

Posted by exiledtyke on (December 21, 2011, 16:08 GMT)

nice article extolling the virtues of some of the less lauded cricketers. they were probably the time period that the team was selected from, however you cannot overlook the grit and sheer bloody mindedness of two of my fellow Yorkshiremen. Step forward Geoffrey Boycott and David Bairstow.

Posted by pitch_it_up on (December 21, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

Where is Mr. Kumble!!! The most grittiest player....though low on talent, high in attitude!

Posted by tammimi2010 on (December 21, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

I agree with most of the list....only name that raises a brow is Hoggard...really does he merit a place on this list? He for sure wasn't the grittiest of English seamer, let alone at a world stage!

Posted by Nnskrish on (December 21, 2011, 15:22 GMT)

All those disappointed for dravid and laxman this team is of gritty 11 I.e having less talent but more gritty......lax an and Dravid are very much talented so is Lara,sachin and that's the reason they have been excluded

Posted by lcgoon on (December 21, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

Guys: As the author has clearly stated this is a list of successful players who did not seem to have great cricketing talents. Perhaps the hidden agenda is to create a list of readers who do not have great reading talents!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

forgot to mention Laxman and Boon

Posted by AsherCA on (December 21, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

Guys, the requirement here is Grit without too much talent OR technique. I would add Yashpal Sharma, Steve Waugh and Alan Border to the list. Dravid, Gavaskar, Amarnath....would be disqualified from this list having technique.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

I'm not necessarily against the selections you've made, Ed, but you've acknowledged the arguments that will be generated by such an article. I think I'll agree with some of the other comments. Your parameters leave out too many of the true fighters of recent history..... If I could submit my own team for your consideration, it would look more like this....

Justin Langer Rahul Dravid Jacques Kallis Allan Border Stephen Waugh (Saurav Ganguly just misses out for me) Arjuna Ranatunga Andy Flower Heath Streak Daniel Vettori (narrow choice over Kumble) Darren Gough (although Hoggard or Ntini wouldn't be out of place) Chris Martin

That line-up would give any team in world cricket a real run for their money. Recognised batsmen (effectively) down to Vettori at #9, 5 front-line bowlers and 2 handy part-timers (Waugh, Border), several canny captaincy options.

Posted by maruthikunnuru on (December 21, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

The idea of picking the grittiest XI is good but the author should be gritty enough to do that. He starts off very well with Langer and Kirsten and loses his grit right there. It looks like he was empathetic towards some good players who were probably a bit underrated but don't qualify to be called the Grittiest. That spoils the whole idea. Definitely some (if not all) of S Waugh, VVS, Dravid, Kumble, A Flower should have featured in the list.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (December 21, 2011, 14:38 GMT)

Good article Ed, although I would perhaps take issue with the title, which has sent the readership off into flights of fancy about who were basically the hardest / toughest players of recent era, rather than, as you state in the article, those who (in your opinion) basically outperformed their own innate ability, and consistently overachieved. That is why I think you are spot on excluding Border and Waugh particularly (Waugh was an outstanding, free strokemaking natural talent who changed his game in later years to eliminate risk, for the benefit of our younger readers, who think he was always boring). Paul Collingwood epitomises this: The sort of bloke who, as a bowler, you'd always fancy getting out, but who would somehow find a way to stay in and get runs despite looking absolutely horrible doing so. I would suggest that Gambhir, Chanderpaul, and Stewart all have a little too much natural talent to fall into this category, but I see where you are coming from...

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Dravid? S.Waugh? VVS? Kunble? Yes, they also had talent, but they were gritty? Allan Border?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 14:01 GMT)

Shame no Steve waugh, Dravid and Leader of the team VVS

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

What a 'delicious' read! Thanks Ed. I've always been partial to the gritty type of player than those blessed with talent by the ton. Don't get me wrong, the talented ones make things looks so easy; perhaps therein lies the reason for rooting for the underdogs - those who have to fight for it.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

guys dont worry just remove chanders from the list this is the worst ever 11 in the world how can you leave hyden sehwag anwar smith straus mark waugh from the opening how canyou leave tendulkar dravid inzimam javed miandad lara ponting yousuf clarke kallis petersen naser hussain from middle how can you leave imran kapil wasim botham kallis pollock flintof from allrounders how can you leave murali warne kumble saqlain afridi from pinners how can you leave wasim imran waqar pollock donald mcgrath lee akhtar zaheer asif anderson from bowlers so it is the worst 11 in the world - chinderpaul

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

ahem ,reading the full article will help . Specially his premises . Best of luck deciphering that.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

I have never seen anyone more gritty than Alan Border battling against the fearsome WI attack of the 80's and making century in each innings or a 98 in WI. He comes first in my book. There are others who have been left out like Steve Waugh, Mohinder Amarnath, Larry Gomes, Kepler Wessels, Javed Miandad and many more.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:07 GMT)

From recent memories the following are glaring misses

Steve Waugh, Dravid, Allan Border and Gavaskar are few big names on top my head and are glaring misses. They were all extremely Gritty and in most cases would before of likes of Gambhir and Collingwood....

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 21, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

Good one. I was thinking of the grittiest X1 the other day and here it comes from a writer. I started thinking of the grittiest XI because I was remembering how I used to be thrilled when Ravi Shastri was batting and even took sickies for school to watch him grit it out. He hasn't achieved a lot in terms of career statistics. However, almost everytime he scores, it would have been a great innings. So, I thought about other players who is in his mould. Definitely, Steve Waugh should have been there I thought. Also, Ian Healy and Craig McMillan were there as well. There was also another New Zealand No.3 batsman from mid 2000's whose name I can't remember. But, Shastri was the King among all. I know many fans who doesn't watch the cricket very closely will disagree. I have noticed some mentioning Dravid. True, Dravid has got grit. But, he is a master technician and grit alone wasn't his asset. Same goes with VVS.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

MY 11

Justin langer Gautam Gambhir Rahul Dravid Jacques Kallis Steve Waugh Shiv Chanderpaul Mark Boucher Anil Kumble Daniel Vettori Jason Gillespie Makhaya Ntini

My XV Flemming Ranatunga vass

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

gritty is the only word for DRAVID,KUMBLE,WAUGH also andy flower.....WE WANT A SECOND ELEVEN

Posted by world.cricket on (December 21, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

meaningless 11 i can pick more talented team with more arguments in favour of my 11.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

Nop, Andy Flower is shear and was shear class to be included in this list.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 21, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

May I - as an Englishman - add the name of Graham Onions. I know many will not agree with me but I like the way he has come back from a long injury lay off to force his way back into the England reckoning. Not just that , but I think he has twice been at the crease when England have been staring defeat in the face when 9 down and helped save the test.

Posted by leftisbest on (December 21, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

Perhaps people should read the full article before complaining why certain players aren't in there. He specificaly says it is his personal choice based on players he has seen alot of, and others are excluded for being too talented (Dravid, Kallis, Border) which would explain no Waugh, Kumble etc.

Posted by thewelshboycott on (December 21, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

Pretty random selection. Remind me, how many tests did Ed play in ? Would like to see what Steve Waugh's choices might be!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

Yes I know it is a personal choice but how can you not think of Steve Waugh??

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 12:27 GMT)

considering even naturally gifted but gritty players my 11 would be (considering players i have seen a great deal)

justin langer graeme smith rahul dravid allan border steve waugh(c) vvs laxman mark boucher(wk) richard hadlee(seen mostly from highlight packages always performed for an average kiwi outfit) anil kumble chaminda vaas waquar younis(on subcontinental wickets to perform without that great variation naturally like a bouncer or slower one which wasim seems to have it all since start)

Posted by OConnor on (December 21, 2011, 12:26 GMT)

No Steve Waugh - No credibility to the article!!

And what about Keppler Wessels? I once saw him get his hand shattered by Malcolm Marshalll in a Provincial game against Natal. Despite it being in pieces, he batted on to top score with 50-odd; had surgery to get his hand wired back together ...... yes WIRED; it was that badly broken,( I personally saw the wires coming out of several holes in the back of his hand ) then batted again in the second innings, again top scoring!!! The toughest thing I've ever seen.

I also think Andy Flower is worth a mention. What could be tougher than travelling the world for 20 years in a team that was battered day-in day-out, yet he still returned career stats that match up to the best? That requires serious mental toughness.

As for Gambhir - Don't make me laugh ..... he averages only 17 in Tests away from home; that surely proves him a flat track only player; where's the 'Grit' in that

Posted by Charindra on (December 21, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

I understand that this is a personal XI and therefore I shall not criticize it too much. However I shall comment, since comments are open to the readership. Firstly, the title is wrong. The XI that Ed Smith was trying to pick are the 11 cricketers that overachieved with the little talent they had. The only one that I would have picked from this list were Vettori and Collingwood (I never saw Shastri), because they actually had little talent but achieved so much. The rest would be Chaminda Vaas, Dravid, Steve Waugh, Hashan Tillakeratne, Glenn McGrath etc.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Mark Richardson? no. 10 batter to great opening batsman who averaged close to 50 most of his career.

Posted by Prakhs on (December 21, 2011, 11:58 GMT)

can somebody tell me where is Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid? For that matter even Jacques Kallis should feature in the list.

Posted by AlanHarrison on (December 21, 2011, 11:57 GMT)

I suppose it's inevitable with these columns that people pipe up and say "how can you exclude so and so", and I understand Smith saying he's only picked players he's seen a lot of (although that rather randomises his selection), but I still think there's a lot which can be questioned here, perhaps because Smith himself, being a player who didn't make the most of his talent, has rather limited insight here. I don't see how you can say you are excluding people because they are too talented and then pick Alec Stewart. I'd have included Richardson rather than Langer .. to me Langer taking bad light at the Oval test in 2005 which Australia needed to win epitomises something not gritty about him. I'd also argue there are plenty of players Smith must have seen a lot of who could be included ahead of Collingwood (Nasser Hussain for one) or Hoggard (if you mean to pick a bowler who persists when conditions are uncongenial, what about Srinath?)

Posted by BellCurve on (December 21, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

Nice tail! Ntini, Hoggard and Martin should be good for at least 4 or 5 runs between them. But with Shastri at 7 and Vettori at 8 there is some balance. BTW all the commentators seem to be confusing talent with entertainment. These are not the same. Unless of course you are referring to the TALENT TO ENTERTAIN. But again, that is not the same as batting talent. Someone like Trott is talented because of his will power and grit. Those are the talents that make him a good batsman. Sure, it can be boring to watch if you're not from England or Cape Town. But it doesn't mean he is not talented!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

Jeez, no mention of Steve Waugh? That's a shame.

Posted by casey200 on (December 21, 2011, 11:33 GMT)

Brilliant team, thoroughly researched and couldn't agree more with the inclusion of Chris Martin. The gangly ghost is an inspiration to other black caps who felt obligated to cut their careers short in their early thirties, Martin is true testament to the phrase true grit, and perhaps personifies it better than jeff bridges did in the recent (brilliant) Cohen brothers film of the same name. Also very happy to see the likes of Langer included, god knows it would have been somewhat intimidating sharing the same dressing room as Gilly, Ponting and the other star studded Aussie leather-bashers but the man was blessed with the sort of mental resilience in the face of the new ball that other openers could merely dream of.

Brilliant work Ed Smith.

Posted by Stark62 on (December 21, 2011, 11:28 GMT)

Where's Steve Waugh?

I don't know what Gambhir is doing there because he was one the best talents around.

Posted by LuvThyGame on (December 21, 2011, 11:25 GMT)

How can you miss Steve Waugh !!! I think Alistair Cook qualifies among the current crop..

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

And Misbah-ul Haq dose he not grit it out?

Posted by spence1324 on (December 21, 2011, 11:18 GMT)

I think what ED smith is trying to say is the players selected are not the most talented but used there grit and determination to ground out performances.I think people should read the article instead of just scrolling down the page looking for there modern greats etc

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 11:17 GMT)

Javad Miandad Anyone? And Michael Bevan

Posted by TissaPerera on (December 21, 2011, 11:12 GMT)

What about Aravinda. I would put him high on the list. He was responsible for Sri Lanka winning the Wrol Cup in 1996 when Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana was out cheaply in both Semi Final and Final. As many said, Steve Waugh, Dhoni, Ranatunga, Michael Bevan, Luxman etc should be on the list too. How about bowlers, Wasim Akram, Warne.....

Posted by qpsk123 on (December 21, 2011, 11:10 GMT)

As i expected majority are from England. Bias Article.

Posted by 998ima on (December 21, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

No Tendulkar in the list ? Oh god it's going to be chaos in India

Posted by Markdal on (December 21, 2011, 11:04 GMT)

Very good article, Ed, and it's amazing how many people have missed the point of it! Someone who could have easily been considered, if not for his talent, was Geoff Boycott. Absolutely loved the nets, and loved the tough situation, but then again, he was awol when Lillee was at his peak...

Posted by vinay_nbmc on (December 21, 2011, 10:57 GMT)

I wonder where is Rahul Dravid in this list!when you are talking about GRIT!!!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 10:43 GMT)

I they 50 overs they will score 150 or a little bit more, which can be chased very easily even by afghanistan. Who ever placed Gambiar there, I don't think they have enough knowledge about cricket.

Posted by Kiranraj007 on (December 21, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

Well.. the selection is highly debatable... I cannot imagine a gritties team without Steven Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. Dont think Gambhir is a gritty player.. he is a great player no doubt but he is too flamboyant and aggressive to come under the category... If gambhir makes the list i wonder why MSD doesnot make it? he has very awkward technique despite which he averages 50+ in ODI's.. that gritt!!!i would also think of Andy Flower. Steven Waugh not being der is sin!!!1

Posted by Lozzanova on (December 21, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

Brian Close, surely? The very definition of grit - and that's coming from an Aussie.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

Not written enough about Shiv...i think its an insult..the greatest player ever...check his stat..against the matches and the player innings...and the situation..i dont think..none of the batsmen come closer to him in his ability defy....

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

how can you forget VVS Laxman?? the poor man has lived his life playing only gritty knocks.He deserves to be the captain of "Gritties"!! more than gambhir he should be the one in this side

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:57 GMT)

Gr8 List (only post 90s). You leave out Steve Waugh,MS Dhoni, Border, Ranatunga. Infact Steve Waugh is the first name to come to my mind.

Posted by Blythesville on (December 21, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

So many here miss the mark. We are talking tough as nails competitors who are the the last to bail when the ship is sinking. Certainly Border should be here. Mohinder Amarnath too. Andy Flower and relative newcomer Ray Price fit the mold. And where is Mr. Laxman? Rodney Hogg gritted his way for years. Allan Lamb, David Steele and Dennis Amiss as well. Wasim Raja knew how to dig in with flair. And while he is rarely at the top of anyone's list, Larry Gomes played his his best when the supreme talent around him failed.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:45 GMT)

Have you people not read the article? 'I have only picked players who I personally watched a great deal, even if statistics suggest others may be more deserving. Secondly, some players are excluded on the grounds that they are just a bit too brilliant. THAT RULES OUT ALLAN BORDER, even though he embodied guts and spirit, and also Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid, even though many people believe they owe their colossal achievements more to concentration and technique than Lara-style genius.'

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

Dear gosh. How on earth can the author pick such an XI without the man who was grit personified (and who presumably meets Smith's criterion of having seen him play) - Mike Atherton?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

Grit is Steve Waugh ..and Dravid.

Posted by potter22in on (December 21, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

How come Steve Waugh the "Gladiator" is missed? Still remember his final innings where he made 80 to save the match for Aus and numerous occasions , where he came to crease at 50/4 or 60/5 and also his match/world cup winning ODI innings against SA ( the famous Gibbs drop??)

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (December 21, 2011, 9:19 GMT)

How can you forget 1)Steve Waugh 2)Allen border 3)Rahul Dravid 4)Javed Miyandad 5)Graham Gooch

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:14 GMT)

Well, a neat, thoughtful article. Kudos to that....Meanwhile, where in the world did Shastri character come in this line up....(HE IS PROBABLY GOOD AT ..WELL, WE HAVE SOME FABULOUS DAY OF CRICKET & da....da.....da.....da & TOUGH LUCK THIS TIME, BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME) He has absolutely no place here.

Still you shouldn't have forget Aravinda de Silva. Grittiest of the entire lot. And Anil Kumble / Muralitharan...should also find a place in the list.

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (December 21, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

How can you forget 1)Steve Waugh 2)Allen border 3)Rahul Dravid 4)Javed Miyandad 5)Graham Gooch

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

yep, really surprised there's no AB, he almost single handedly carried the aussie batting during the mid-eighties, a real quality balls-to-the-wall , 'over-my-dead-body' batsmen, also no mention of Mike Atherton from the recent era or Graham Gooch....Also no Raul Dravid, he personifies the word 'gritty' when he drops anchor, it would take the worlds biggest sea-mine to dislodge him! Another English batsmen who would be in with a shout of making this team would be Graham Thorpe

Posted by Rahul_78 on (December 21, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

Shastri seems to be a miscast. He himself admitted that he never achieved his true potential. He also blamed it partially correctly on him never having a permanent spot in the middle order where he was comfortable. Also few other that come to mind are Angus Fraser, Manoj Prabhakar, Mohinder Amarnath to name a few. Also I agree with the majority that Border should have made it to the XI as a captain. And yes Ed, the article is brilliant. Lovely read. How about next time coming up with an under achiever XI, Vindo Kambli will most definitely make the list.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 9:00 GMT)

I think Steve Waugh and Shaun Pollock must be added and Ian Healy as keeper.

Posted by AP_88 on (December 21, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Good piece - some others who may also fit the bill: Simon Katich, Mark Boucher, Steve Waugh, Aamer Sohail...

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Agree with people here.

Add Border, Waugh and Ranatunga, and remove Gambhr, Shastri and Langer

Posted by stark-truth on (December 21, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

Some glaring omissions..also includes also players with oozing talent: Gavaskar / Amarnath - stood up on burning decks against WI unrelenting firepower in the Caribbean backyards; Wasim Raja - averaged 57 against Messrs. Holding, Roberts, Garner, Croft etc. Nobody averaged more against that unmatchable quartet; Border - well, time and again proved he was the hardest nut to crack; Imran Khan - ultimate never-say-die spirit and strategy formulator / executor; Walsh - the indefatigable work-horse; Boon - very gutsy indeed; David Hookes - came out to bat with a plaster around his head in a memorable Packer Series encounter after being hit on head with a bouncer, and yet later proceeded to hook and pull sixes against bouncer barrage from Windies ultra-fasts; Hadlee - the lone gritty Kiwi warrior for over a decade; Moin - extremely gutsy wicketkeeper / batsman; Ranatunga - took on anyone and everyone, including cricket administrators; Willey - the way he rose his game against WI fasties....

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

brilliant article... But where is a certain "Mr Steve Waugh" ? Or even Anil Kumble.. He had his limitations as a bowler, but boy didn't he win so many matches for India.. And how can we forget him bowling with a fully bandaged jaw in West Indies...

Posted by sixnout on (December 21, 2011, 8:34 GMT)

@krishilk... u r kidding right? Did you go through the article? or did a ctrl+F and look for Sachin or Tendulkar or Ponting and decided that an article without those names you would not agree with the author? Ed here is not looking for the greatest XI ever. Just the grittiest XI he admires.

His point of View ppl. If your hero is not on that list dont worry, this is Ed's List.

Posted by asifkhan_kk on (December 21, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

How could you forget J Miandad and Imran Khan?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

Sorry, just read your terms. Good article as always.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (December 21, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

Andy Flower ahead of Alec Stewart for me!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

OMG! The list is really good except for the fact you forgot Dravid!

Posted by MrGarreth on (December 21, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

its amazing how Gary and Justin average exactly the same.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

Sorry Mr Smith, the concept is sound but execution poor. Your definitions do need readjustment, both as to what you "watch a great deal" and especially what you define as players who owe more to dedication than talent. To get you started on essential viewing I suggest four names, the extensive viewing of whom would be eruditional, indeed necessary, for someone with your literary pretentions - Ewen Chatfield, Chetan Chauhan, David Steele, Bruce Edgar. I do believe they meet your criterion "of recent decades", furthermore, the cricket reading public would be far more inclined to agree with you about their success being due to application rather than natural talent.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

Ahhh Ghambir is there because of his talent not grit. yeah Steve Waugh and shoib Malik who started playing as a bowler.

Posted by mqasimf on (December 21, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

Younus Khan should be there in place of Paul Collingwood. Besides Dravid, he is one of the very few sub continent's less talented and more professional batsmen.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

How on earth was Steve Waugh left out of this team?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

First of all cricket has a deep history to just shorten it to 11 players. My take would be (being completely a non biased cricketer, as such):

1) Gary Kirsten / Graeme Pollock / Tendulkar / Gordon G. 2) Justin Langer / Hayden / Mark Waugh / Gavaskar / Desmond Haynes. 3) Inzimam ul Haq / Rahul Dravid / Ricky Ponting / A de Silva. 4) Imran Khan / Border / Viv Richards / Gooch / Miandad / Ranatunga. 5) Gilchrist / Botham. 6) Malcolm Marshal. 7) Wasim Akram. 8) Shane Warne / Murli. 9) Shoaib Akhtar / Glen McGrath 10) Waqar Younis / Andy Roberts 11) Lillee / Thompson

Posted by tghafoor on (December 21, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

Mudassar nazar, Brendan Kurruppu, Misbah will join the list soon. Can't believe you missed out Angus Fraser? Toiled in the carribean heat, as gritty as they come!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

Nice one...Specially Gauti..

Posted by AHamid on (December 21, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

If we are looking at gritty players there is no one better than Javed Miandad

Posted by KiwiPom on (December 21, 2011, 7:23 GMT)

How's this for a gritty XI from an earlier era - late50s/early60s: McGlew, Lawry, Edrich (John), Barrington, Jaisimha, Mackay, Waite, Bailey, Illingworth (c), Statham, Motz

Posted by RightArmEverything on (December 21, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

Those people complaining that Allan Border isn't included, read the article first for Ed's explanation and criteria. I expect Steve Waugh also misses out for the same reason.

Posted by christy29 on (December 21, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

seriously, no mark richardson?

Posted by OttawaRocks on (December 21, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

There are easily another 11 I could argue for. However, I respect this is personal opinion and some of the choices are pretty good - I see where the author is going with his choices. Very thought provoking and well written article. Kudos!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

i am surprised how can you not put the great Wasim akram there?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

I think, there must be Muhammad Yousuf to be included in the team, he had all the abilities to be in this team! He broke the world record of scoring highest runs in a year!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

Gritty column without the most gritted player of world named Misbah is quite strange.

Posted by UFKt on (December 21, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

Think Imran Khan should make the cut too .... selected early with doubts on his capability..played 1 test ... dropped for number of years without mention ... came back re modelled & as a completely different bowler and worked up in batting from number 11 to no. 3 in the line up !..... all this through sheer desire to succeed, while not being too talented (his record might dispute tihs) ... also despite the stress fracture which kept him out for years .... played till he was 40.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:38 GMT)

Where is Steve Waugh, I guess the Author would redo his list , as he is likely to see this question one too many time from my fellow users..

Posted by salarian12000 on (December 21, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

Hanif Mohammad could have made this list if it had not been the "grittiest World XI of recent decades" . But Ravi Shastri !!!! That is mind boggling. He should be included in any grittiest cricket commentators XI but in such a list !! Sorry, but I HIGHLY doubt it.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

Where is Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble ?? Can you find more resolute players than these two ??

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

MSD is the biggest miss in the list. Almost every word in the description of this article prior to the player listing suits MS

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

Like that Column Header ::: Gritty....sheer bloody-minded hard work

Posted by EagleHeightsHawk on (December 21, 2011, 6:33 GMT)

Ian Healy. Love Alec Stewart, being a pom myself. However Healy got a lot of commentary around him being successful despite himself. He was in a pretty good team though.....

Posted by mishmash on (December 21, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

Lucid argument, Ed. I couldn't help notice that four of the five batsmen and two of the four bowlers were left handed/armed. Is this (only) a coincidence or something that, in your experience, contributes to a player being more gutsy? The basis of a future article perhaps ...

Posted by tomhedley on (December 21, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

@Micgyver, Benjamin Yates, Try reading the article!

Posted by rkannancrown on (December 21, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

Shastri rarely displayed any grit. His fielding showed that he was a lazy character. Madanlal & Robin Singh have to be considered for grittiness - not Shastri. Infact, Madanlal should get in ahead of Hoggard or Makaya Ntini. Madanlal was accurate and exemplified the never say die spirit. I also think Ed Smith has got his criteria all wrong. Border was an example of gritty batting and giving his best as a fielder besides occassional bowling. It was his grittiness, examplified by Chanderpaul today, that should be considered - not the fact that he overcame all odds to retire as Cricket's highest run getter. In the same way, Kumble was a success despite minimal talent. That he ended up amongst the all time greats is a tribute to his fighting spiri and grittiness. It was examplified by his bowling with a broken jaw in the west indies - a gutsy feature that viery few in Ed's list can boast about.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:13 GMT)

You missed Rahul Dravid? really? In whole of his career he was overshadowed by master, never considered talented but he worked his way out by sheer determination and hard work. He is Legend when it comes to hard work, dedication and not spectacularly gifted player.

Posted by wc1992 on (December 21, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

how do leave Javad minada out when talk about fight and grit .....can name one player out this list who will beat Javad miandad grit and fight .... once Great Sir viv Richard said if i have to chose someone to bat for my life i will choose Javad Miandad..not even hisself .. and can you put gambir and colingwood there is beyond me ...

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 21, 2011, 6:08 GMT)

some that make no sense like hoggard and stewart and shastri. the rest are good though. peter siddle, allan border, mark boucher, all need to be there. although i will say the criteria is very blurred because some of these are very talented batsmen and bowlers (chanderpaul, ntini, langer) as well as being gritty and whatnot

Posted by Captain_Oblivious on (December 21, 2011, 6:07 GMT)

I just knew some commenters would misinterpret Ed's criteria. He plainly excluded Allan Border and explained the reason why, then some people ask 'Where's Allan Border?" ... too funny... :) Anyways, the likes of Walsh, Border, S. Waugh, I. Chappell, Boucher etc are (as Ed said clearly in his criteria) too talented to include in a pure grit XI. Of course, these guys could match the players chosen in Ed's team for grit, but they were also highly talented players with brilliant ability. And I agree with those who pointed out Mark Richardson; although Langer and Kirsten are equally difficult to displace. Ranatunga is another good one that missed out. The only one I disagree with is perhaps Shastri - I think the guy had lots of ability.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

How can this list be anywhere near complete without Steve Waugh, Courtney Walsh or even Glenn McGrath. These players epitomised grit and determination! God knows how many holes Steve Waugh got Australia out of - not only with his batting but also with his fierce tenacity as a captain. Walsh and Mcgrath had considerable talent yes, but it was their grit and persistence with line and length that frustrated batsmen to yield wickets. Amd all these players proved their "grit" against the best teams of their time.

Serious questions over some of the selections actually on this list - I'm an Indian but Shastri? Alec Stewart???? (could be convinced he didn't even know how to play cricket when he faced Australia).

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

Hands down Steven Waugh should be at the top of this list.Ravi Shastri's grit was once evident against a WC match in 1992 against Australia when he was reluctant to convert singles into two's and twos into three's eventually India Lost that match by 1 run so Shastri should Be excluded from this list

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

border & s waugh in for shastri and stewart - langer can hold the gloves

lol at the domestic bangla team claim - this team would destroy a bangla domestic team by an innings and 700 runs

also the melbourne Stars are a team of gritty battlers - you watch them claim the inaugural BBL with a mix of veteran spin and young unknown batsmen. quiney and wade are two of the most underrated players in australia - look out mumbai bangalore and chennai the Stars are going to dominate the champions league.

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

Where's Sachin????????????

Posted by smalishah84 on (December 21, 2011, 5:48 GMT)

Allan Border? Steve Waugh? Imran Khan? Missed out some pretty big names there

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (December 21, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

where is moin khan ?.......

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

no-one is grittier than Dravid

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

I don't know about this list. Grit?? I think it needs a new title. Surely. No Border, no S.Waugh? What about Rick McCosker or Alec Bannerman? A fast bowler that continually bowled through injury, pain and/or thousands of overs day in day out?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:18 GMT)

How can you miss Imran Khan??? He himself says that he was not gifted. He had to work super hard but his achievements are impeccable.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:18 GMT)

I would probably suggest Anil Kumble in place of Daniel Vettori for grittiness (bowling with a broken jaw in the West Indies?)

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

Considering cricket is talked about as '90% being played between the ears' does talent in a cricket sense just relate to physical prowess? If not then shouldn't some of these players be considered more 'talented'? I, for example, am told that I have the best technique at my club, yet I am playing 4th grade. Does my technique mean I am talented? And if so, maybe you would think again after seeing me bat as a 10-16 year old. I certainly would not have been described as a 'talent' then. So just because you look good at the crease, doesn't mean you are talented.

Posted by thecricketlover on (December 21, 2011, 5:09 GMT)

Younis Khan is the one who fall in same category but since his average is over 51 it is understandable to exclude from the list. Tendulkar and Ponting are real talent so they can not be included in grittiest XI

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

Mark Richardson should almost certainly be in this line up. He started as a left arm spinner, got the yips and transformed himself from a number 11 batsman into New Zealand's third greatest opener. Every run was scored only through sheer determination.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 5:01 GMT)

i love this article..the facts r so true and the right players have been chosen......im a huge fan of chris martin and love his batiing ;) haha.......but ye collingwood, chanderpaul and ghambhir are and were so underated!

Posted by Micgyver on (December 21, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

Allan Border should have been the 1st picked.

Posted by shrikm on (December 21, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

I think you missed Ranathunga, who was a gritty player.. may be not so talented as Aravinda Desilva, but he was very strong fighter.

Posted by manidse on (December 21, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

Steve waugh should be added to this list. Brilliant test player and may i add fiercest compettior ever seen on the field.

Posted by Nishan1980 on (December 21, 2011, 4:37 GMT)

Not the grittiest 11 to me. Where are Steve Waugh, Coutney Walsh, Boucher...?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

Dont forget indian skipper MS. He is not innately talented sportsman and his technique is not sound too.But he is one of the big name in international cricket currently and scores heavily in all forms...He's dedication and temperament is really appreciable.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

A brilliantly written and thought provoking piece but (there's always a 'but', isn't there?) I wish Anil Kumble was on that list too.The memory of him bowling with a fractured jaw against the West Indies in 2002 still inspires me. There are many other incidents and episodes which justify his inclusion. However, it's my personal opinion. Keep up the good work, Ed.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 4:33 GMT)

Where is Allan Border????

Posted by TrexTrainer on (December 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT)

Shastri? Please.....................

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 4:08 GMT)

Can't argue with Chris Martin's bowling ability, but what if he has to bat?

Posted by lebigfella on (December 21, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

Lovely piece... One that springs to mind is Mr Smith of SA... not pretty. but effective and a bloody minded tough man... like him or loathe him still full of admiration. Me just splitting hairs... and all (in your eleven) are men who you know would give their all... unsung heroes, real heroes... Yet another wonderful viewpoint on this wonderfully diverse game. Keep 'em coming Ed

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 4:05 GMT)

Mohinder Amarnath Deserves a mention, I think...

Posted by codegreen on (December 21, 2011, 4:05 GMT)

This team i bet would be beaten by any domestic bangla team

Posted by zack11 on (December 21, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

did u even think of younis khan??? clearly not which makes him the most underrated batsmen in the world ryt now....this guy is sheer example of hardwork and grit making up for lack of talent .. best average as a batsmen since 2005 in the world and has a test avg of 52 and he doesnt make the no 3 spot...amazing

Posted by nonsouravcaddy on (December 21, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

Good selection, but probably the most boring XI ever. This is a good team to keep crowds away from the grounds.

Posted by krishilk on (December 21, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

NO SRT....and PUNTER.............cannot be the greatest team then.....

Posted by samirdube on (December 21, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

I think Dravid is a big name missing. He has scored many run, but has to fight it out every time. He is certainly not most beautiful batsman to watch but grits it out well.

Posted by redneck on (December 21, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

re read the article fair enough! appoligies!

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

Sri Lanka's Hashan Thilakaratne

Posted by Kaze on (December 21, 2011, 3:50 GMT)

No David Boon or Ian Chappell , are you serious ?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

owsame martin...................................................................................

Posted by   on (December 21, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

Nice article. I would love to see graeme smith or mark boucher in this lineup but still i agree with the players you picked. Collingwood is a great fighter,no saf fan will forget how he drawn the test matches about 2 years ago.

Posted by Gizza on (December 21, 2011, 3:23 GMT)

That is an unbelievably gritty XI! Good selections.

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