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

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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.

Posted by klownact on (February 25, 2014, 1:15 GMT)

Bransby Cooper played in the very test of all.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

I think the Marshall´s gonna be gunnin for you after leaving him out.

Posted by Underbelly83 on (February 24, 2014, 23:09 GMT)

Piloo Reporter - oh I do remember him. He was hilarious when signalling a four. His arm action was hyper-aggressive like he was trying to bat away a wasp.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 22:51 GMT)

Smith is a stunning omission, if only because it's so obvious. Almost as obvious is Clarke (and Clark), which is just a variant spelling of clerk. But there are also (CTB) Turner, (Ross or Mark) Taylor and Max Walker as candidates. A few less obvious choices: Barnes (apparently, one of the derivations was somebody who worked in a barn), Faulkner (falconer), Procter, and Boucher (butcher).

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 22:42 GMT)

I followed Farokh Engineer in the 70tis ,,,I liked his style of play ,,,however he wanted to Captain Indian while Pataudi was Injured in the 74 75 West Indies series ...Its was one of the best Series Both teans were 2 and 2 Final at wankhede I was 14 Some how I got in with no tickets ,,,It was the firt time the match was televised from Wankhede,,, Farokh dropped Clive Lyod Catch and Clive went on to make 242 ,,,,Farokh left india retired went back to England ,,,, I still remember those days ,,,

Posted by 12thUmpire on (February 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

King? Prince? Subcontinental name Khan? Welsh names Giles? Jones? Appreciate comments / debate. ty

Posted by android_user on (February 24, 2014, 20:20 GMT)

nice one really. never thought like that. but good article

Posted by Rajdev on (February 24, 2014, 19:25 GMT)

@vkrp: Taylor isn't Tailor, although pronounced the same way. What about Bertie Ironmonger (altho the irongmonger is not a little obsolete). Rajan

Posted by Bobby_Talyarkhan on (February 24, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

Merchant, Contractor and Engineer were all Parsis - many of whom in India tended to have names based on the equivalent English word for their professions.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

Nari Contractor? How did you writers miss the most famous one!

Posted by Dagur on (February 24, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

Cooks, Smiths and Tailors could form a formidable team. How about Dickie Bird for Umpire ??

Posted by vrkp on (February 24, 2014, 17:01 GMT)

Taylor in the middle order would have helped stitching some big partnerships :)

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

Does anybody remember Shaukat Dokanwala (Shopkeeper) of UAE?

Posted by philvic on (February 24, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

If you had Jimmy and Alastair believe me you would give the tea to Alastair and the bat to Jimmy.

Posted by Katey on (February 24, 2014, 14:49 GMT)

This is too easy! How about building a whole team out of Smiths?

Posted by sjw2k on (February 24, 2014, 14:49 GMT)

Perhaps Ian Butler or Jos Buttler to carry the drinks?

Posted by Engle on (February 24, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

How did Baker get in ahead of Alderman ? Procter would make a fine candidate for Match Referee Jimmy Cook could do tea, why burden Alistair

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

Glenn Turner surely

Duncan Fletcher as coach, or John Wright?

And how you have omitted Lancashire's Ryan Driver is beyond me!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

No "Smith"s in the team? (25 characters)

Posted by londondoc on (February 24, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

Good one. How about (Ross) Taylor or (Craig) Sergeant !

Posted by Matt_in_London on (February 24, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

What about Ross Taylor - he could be good in the middle order but also help mend any torn whites.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:16 GMT)

and 'tailor'?????????Mark,Ross,Jerome,Brendon quite a few!!!!

Posted by usama46 on (February 24, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

i remember the name of one player from UAE The name is shokat dukanwala(shop keeper) played in 1996 world cup..

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 12:11 GMT)

how about 'musical instruments'......Ian 'Bell',Chris 'Drum',Matthew Horne',???

Posted by its.rachit on (February 24, 2014, 12:06 GMT)

malcolm marshall shud definitely had been there ... an attack of marshall, ironmonger, miller and bishop looks pretty awesome ... the batting also looks good ...

Posted by DrTchock on (February 24, 2014, 11:43 GMT)

I think I can trump the Pope in your ecclesiastical lineup too................with Western Australia and Australia's Jo Angel! There are numerous Clark(e)s also, in case Micky Arthur needed someone to write up the team homework. Nick Knight would be useful in a scrap and could return cricket to a more chivalrous age. Reon King and Ashwell Prince surely have full time occupataions?! And if you wanted someone to truly 'lead the line', then Charles could be your Bannerman. A man born to field in the slips would be Trevor Gripper(!) but the person I want on my team above all else? Simple - Travis Friend, surely the best occupation of them all. :)

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (February 24, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

Malc Marshall? the steyn-gun?

Posted by DrTchock on (February 24, 2014, 11:12 GMT)

Bodyline legend, Eddie Paynter could once again rise from his sick bed (with the help of middle order colleague, Nurse perhaps?!) to plunder runs for this side........

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

What about Pragyan Ojha....Lolz

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

I think that the bowling stocks are quite limited, I would have thought adding a few town officials, namely Terry Alderman and Malcolm Marshall would have made the world of difference!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 9:40 GMT)

Wonder how Marshall (Malcolm) didn't make the cut.

Posted by Trufflehund on (February 24, 2014, 8:04 GMT)

How about Turner (various) , Farmer and Ostler (not particularly famous) and Fletcher (worth considering for the team)

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

nari contractor ex india captain

Posted by Markdal on (February 24, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

Perhaps Jesse Ryder, although I don't think I'd like to see him on a horse!

Posted by Rowayton on (February 24, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

sorry, can't resist - I see you didn't consider former Australian fast bowler Des Hoare.

Posted by JohnDLynch on (February 24, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

On the clerical side, we have Prior and Abbott. For other professions, there is Smith (numerous), Wright (quite a few), and, with spelling variations, Buttler and Faulkner)

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 4:41 GMT)

Some other names, not in batting order: (Ghulam) Guard, (Shamji) Dhobi, Marshall, Loader, Smith, Archer, Driver, (Dinshaw) Doctor,

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 24, 2014, 4:36 GMT)

Robert Pearson Carpenter could be the 12th man. A decent allrounder who toured Australia and stood in two tests as 12th man. A case for a debut.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 4:00 GMT)

TAYLOR of which a # exist.

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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.

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