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Matt Cleary

Cricket's greatest bearded XI

And so, for no reason, cricket's greatest beard XI

Matt Cleary
Matt Cleary
WG Grace portrait

A colossus of the game, WG's beard had the thickness of a wombat, badger or wolverine carcass  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

And so, for no reason, cricket's greatest bearded XI.
1. S Anwar - How one imagines Abraham Lincoln would look if he was stockier, darker, shorter, less gaunt, and a cavalier opening batsman from Pakistan.
2. CG Greenidge - Great to watch, our Gordon. Instead of calling for a runner when injured, he'd see it as an opportunity to stand back and belt boundaries. Top batsman, top beard. Coincidence? Probably it is, yes.
3. HM Amla - Another Abe Lincoln look-alike, you could put Hashim on a throne and carve him in marble and you'd be hard pressed telling them apart. Potentially the greatest beard to play for South Africa.
4. IVA Richards - With piercing eyes, a hawk-like Arabian countenance, and a cool spade-shaped beard, Viv had the ominous look of a struttin', jive-talkin' street dude comin' to collect the vig.
5. GS Chappell - With skin cancer warnings telling Australians to "Slip, Slop, Slap" (wear a shirt, sun cream and hat) Chappell went one better by sporting a beard best described as an upside-down ginger afro. Ever seen Krusty the Clown do a handstand? Greg Chappell's beard.
6. WG Grace (C) - Cricket's greatest beard. This large lump of England looked equal parts Ned Kelly after a diet of turkey fat and beer, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. A colossus of the game, WG's beard had the thickness of a wombat, badger or wolverine carcass. Top stuff.
7. PJL Dujon - While his beard came across a little blotchy, a little wispy, a little Che Guevara, this Calypso keeper had enough street cred to carry it off like an extra on Miami Vice, one of those Snoop Dog-like drug-dealing pimp guys with "attitood" and bling who'd sit on their huge boats with their mommas and taunt Crockett and his mate, the other one, about their daggy pastel clothes and, of course, lack of beards.
8. MD Marshall - With a tight peppercorn do that made him look equal parts junkyard dog and filled-out Kalahari Bushman, Marshall ran into the crease looking like Danny Glover in the first Lethal Weapon movie, the one when he's in the bath and it's his 50th birthday. Except Malcolm had a cricket ball and ran very fast.
9. TG Hogan - A left-arm orthodox spinner notable for his beard, wristbands and … that is all.
10. RJ Bright - A left-arm orthodox spinner notable for his seven wickets in the '86 Tied Test. But mainly for the beard.
11.BS Bedi - Since he could grow one, the original Turbanator has never not had a beard. Good luck to him.
12. GR Beard - Didn't actually have a beard but a perfect drinks waiter for this XI.

Matt Cleary writes for several Australian sports and travel magazines. He tweets here