The tradesmen

A Barber, a Cook, an Engineer and other cricketers whose names are also professions

Steven Lynch

February 24, 2014

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Seymour Nurse flicks, May 1, 1966
Seymour Nurse: not quite the gentle care-giver while hammering bowlers © Getty Images

It was a close-run thing for one of the opening spots in this team, but the prolific opener Vijay Merchant beat off the challenge of his compatriot Nari Contractor, on weight of runs - and by virtue of a first-class batting average of 71.64, bettered only by Don Bradman.

England's captain Alastair Cook gets the nod at the top of the order despite his recent problems in Australia. He still reached 8000 Test runs at a younger age than anyone else and, rather scarily, is still only 29.

Test cricket's most-capped Butcher is Mark of England, with 71: his family has 72 caps when father Alan's solitary one from 1979 is added in. But Basil Butcher, a stalwart of the strong West Indian side of the 1960s, had a better batting average - 43.11 to Mark's 34.58.

Another representative from that exciting West Indian side, the big Barbadian Seymour Nurse could murder the bowling - as he did most efficiently in what turned out to be his final Test innings, 258 against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1968-69.

A hard-hitting left-hander best remembered for a pulsating 185 in an Ashes Test in Sydney in 1965-66, Bob Barber will also bolster our attack with his legbreaks, which brought him 42 wickets from his 28 Tests.

There was only one choice for our jobbing allrounder - the charismatic Australian Keith Miller, darling of the crowds (and the ladies) in the decade or so after the Second World War. Miller was arguably the last true Australian allrounder - one who could have been selected either for his batting or his bowling.

Not too much discussion about our wicketkeeper: the livewire Indian Farokh Engineer, a favourite from Manchester to Mumbai, was good enough to open the batting in Tests - and score a rapid hundred against West Indies in Madras (now Chennai) in 1966-67.

Opening the bowling for our tradesmen will be Ian Bishop, one of the frighteningly quick bunch of West Indian pacemen in the early 1990s. He took 161 Test wickets, at only 24 apiece. He could also help out in the commentary box afterwards.

There's a case for including the New Zealand slow left-armer Mark Priest if the wicket is taking spin, but we have picked from the top of the Ecclesiastical batting order here, by selecting Derbyshire's George Pope, a long-serving seamer who won a Test cap against South Africa in 1947.

Unorthodox spin is provided by Bert "Dainty" Ironmonger, who had eye-popping Test stats considering he was 46 before he made his debut, and nearly 51 when he said his farewells after the 1932-33 Bodyline series. Ironmonger, who spun the ball off the remains of fingers mangled in a farming accident, took 74 Test wickets at 17.97, including 11 for 24 on a Melbourne "sticky dog" against South Africa in 1931-32.

Seamer Lionel Baker, the only Test cricketer from the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, gets our final place - although I did have the tall Surrey fast bowler Ray Baker more in mind at first. During a televised Sunday League game in the early 1970s, when he played alongside Alan Butcher, he inspired the commentator John Arlott to observe that Surrey had "a Butcher, a Baker... but no sign of a Candlestick-Maker".

This team even brings its own officials along: the Indian umpire Piloo Reporter and England's favourite, David Shepherd. And opener Cook could perhaps lend a hand with the teas.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013

RSS Feeds: Steven Lynch

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by philvic on (February 25, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

We need a gastronomical 11

Cook, Cook, Baker, Butcher, Rice, Kourie, Le Roux, Shepherd (pie), Appleyard, Foster(s), Beet

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 25, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

And, although not a trade, per se, Constable to keep the rest in line! (There have been, I've found out, four Constables, but the one I was thinking about was Bernard C - a regular member of the all-conquering Surrey team of the 1950s - a great character & crowd favourite).

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

Bond, Shane Bond. Need I say more?

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

Some more names: (Mike) Procter, (Sylvester, Michael, and others) Clark(e), (John Barton and Collis) King, (Ashwell) Prince, (Mark) Priest, (Geoff) Millman

Posted by cjb1 on (February 25, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

No room for any Smith? Or Malcolm Marshall? Assumedly the coach would be Duncan Fletcher. Clarke is derived from the professions of clerk and cleric (from the Latin Clericus) and a Bond was a peasant famer, a Hooper made the rings around a barrel, a Harper was a minstrel, a Reeve a constable, a Slater a roofer, and a Dexter a cloth dyer - so Michael, Shane, Carl, Roger, Dermott, Michael and Lord Ted can feel unlucky not to get a run. If we pick an ODI side you may want to also include James Faulkner (a falconer)

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

Katey, I think one of the Cricinfo XI features was a team comprising Smiths.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:05 GMT)

How about Michael Mason, the former New Zealand fast bowler? Speaking of bowlers, there was, in fact, a Peter Bowler on the county circuit.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:26 GMT)

To add to those missed out, Cartwright, an English quick

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 2:20 GMT)

I believe Sachin Tendulkar legally changed his name to Sachin Barrister especially to be included in this article.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (February 25, 2014, 2:12 GMT)

Shame this side is restricted to tradesmen and doesn't have other professions, as the bowling would benefit from Malcolm Marshall.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Steven LynchClose
Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

    'When I became an umpire, I didn't realise how complicated this game was'

Peter Willey on suiting upo against '80s West Indies, and umpiring in England

    'Saqlain was like an English spinner with a subcontinental touch'

My XI: Erapalli Prasanna on a spinner whom even Sachin Tendulkar found hard to bat against

Hitting Warnie for six, and Test stumpings

Think You Know Yourself: Do administrators have their numbers at their fingertips? Not Dave Richardson

    Last ball, last wicket, and Northants' parched spell

Ask Steven: Also, Vijay Manjrekar's nickname, Abid Ali's no-ball, oldest double-centurions, and this decade's leading players

Cricket: complex, unknowable cricket

Jon Hotten: We, as players and spectators, are finite, but cricket, utterly brilliant in its design, is not

News | Features Last 7 days

How India weeds out its suspect actions

The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years

A rock, a hard place and the WICB

The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully

Kohli back to old habits

Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala

Twin Asian challenges await Australia

What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan

West Indies go AWOL

West Indies may have formally played the fourth ODI in Dharamsala but their fielding suggested their minds were already on the flight back home

News | Features Last 7 days