Wisden Cricket Monthly / Features

January 2004

The XI ideal tourists

Christopher Douglas names a team for all reasons, few of them cricket

Christopher Douglas

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Christopher Douglas names a team for all reasons, few of them cricket



Douglas Jardine: guaranteed to rub the opposition up the wrong way
© Getty Images


1 Douglas Jardine (captain) Now that winning ugly is fashionable again in English sport there can be only one possible captain. DRJ is guaranteed to rub the opposition up the wrong way and, with luck, reduce them to fury at our perceived arrogance. Worth a hundred runs before he has stepped on to the park. And as an amateur he would save me the cost of a central contract.

2 Andy Caddick A grumpy manner and 106 overseas Test wickets at 29.70 make him a useful spearhead for this win-at-any-cost campaign. Caddy's skills as a handyman have also proved invaluable on tour time and time again. His IT knowhow will be needed to show Jardine how to delete his spam and download his favourite Gilbert and Sullivan chillout tracks on to his iPod.

3 Inzamam-ul-Haq Eleven overseas hundreds and as thrilling to watch at the crease as he is when desperately struggling to regain it. But he earns his place here for his crowd control ability. As the Toronto spectator who unwisely called him an "aloo" (potato) found to his cost, Inzy does not back down from a fight even if it is 70 yards from the middle. He offers my side that extra bit of protection from unruly home supporters.

4 Maharajah of Porbandar The most limited of batsmen - a leg-glance for two at Cardiff was the highlight of his 1932 tour of England - but arguably one of the richest. Reputed to own seven Rolls-Royces, he will be needed to settle any out-of-court costs and buy my boys an upgrade if business class becomes overcrowded.

5 Neil Fairbrother The best ever England one-day batsman and now an influential agent who will secure the very best sponsorship and publishing deals for my players. He will be expected to negotiate lucrative modelling and advertising contracts with local media and hustle for survival TV appearances.

6 Chris Tavare Unexciting? Perhaps. Dependable? Absolutely. There was a time when England tourists held a fancy dress contest every Christmas Day. But with the proliferation of shorter tours the modern player has to be able to slip into a frock at any time of year. Phil Tufnell's diary reveals that Dean Headley's Grace Jones outfit was worn as late as February. A Sky Sports feature on the 1999 A tour showed that it was October when Marcus Trescothick wowed the lads with his Scary Spice ensemble. Perhaps this is a case of being loyal to my own generation but I am still backing Tav to bat all day any day and win fancy dress honours for the side by night.

7 Eddie Hemmings With such a wealth of twirly talent to choose from why pick an English spinner? Well, has Shane Warne ever scored 95 in an Ashes Test? Has either Saqlain or Muralitharan ever looked remotely convincing in women's clothes? Eddie's bowling record overseas is moderate but a 1982-83 Ashes tour batting average of 31.40 and this fetching milkmaid's smock will strengthen the lower order.

8 Neil Foster Performed superbly in India on unhelpful surfaces in 1984-85 and his 11 wickets in Madras helped England to a rare series win. James Anderson is often touted as the new Foster but until young Jimmy proves he can stay fit and succeed on the subcontinent I am sticking with Fozzie, who for my money also shades the Burnley Bullet in the glamour stakes.

9 David Boon Since the tour could be a public relations disaster, I was tempted to pick a diplomat or a churchman to smooth things over (Wes Hall and David Sheppard were mentioned). But having seen the mess the authorities made of England's political predicament in the last World Cup I feel what is needed when things go wrong is a party animal. Boony's drinking record of 52 cans of lager on a flight from Sydney to London proves he knows how to raise morale; plus he will give us a crucial edge at official receptions.

10 David Norrie of the News of the World. Unproven as an international bowler and something of a gamble as a cross-dresser. But my team will be filing newspaper columns and someone will have to write them. Norrie has proved his ability to get 500 words out of a player however jaded, dull, or emotional.

11 Jim Troughton Deserves another chance. A youngster with valuable nude calendar experience who is not going to panic if the fancy dress costumes go astray at the airport.

Christopher Douglas co-writes the Dave Podmore column in the Guardian and is recording a third Dave Podmore series for Radio 4.

© The Wisden Cricketer

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