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Feature

Anatomical XI: A hand-on-heart list of champions from Head to Foot

Our XI also features, along the way, a Chin, a Butt, a Back and a Knee

Harigovind S
29-Jun-2023
Josh Tongue hatches a plan with Ben Stokes, England vs Ireland, only Test, Lord's, 1st day, June 1, 2023

Who, me, Tongue-tied?  •  PA Photos/Getty Images

Josh Tongue, the fast bowler who trapped Steven Smith lbw in the county championship and claimed a five-for against Ireland on Test debut, is playing in the second Ashes Test at Lord's. That got us thinking: what would an XI of players with names relating to body parts look like?
A right-hand opening batter from Berbice who played a solitary first-class match for Guyana in 1983, scoring 57 and 0 not out. If you're mulling whether a single first-class match should secure entry to this club, Chin would point to the fact that it was not his fault that the league stages of the Jones Cup (later renamed the Guystac Trophy) were not granted first-class status.
His elegant left-hand batting and supple wrists drew comparisons with the legendary Saeed Anwar, but he'll be remembered most of all for his role, as Pakistan captain, in the Lord's spot-fixing scandal of 2009.
A match-defining 163 in the first innings of the recent World Test Championship final may or may not etch his name in history, nor might his 96-ball 92 against South Africa in the second-shortest Test since World War II, on a bowler-friendly Gabba pitch, but what will eternalise Head's memory is his prized possession: arguably the coolest moustache in 21st century cricket.
A fine batter with over 50 first-class centuries, Insole had a modest Test career of nine matches spread over seven years. He was the vice-captain when England visited South Africa in 1956, and topped the England Test batting averages. He would later go on to be the Test and County Cricket Board (precursor to the ECB) chairman and the MCC president.
An allrounder who batted in the middle order and could bowl both medium-pace and offspin, Beard played three Tests for Australia, all on the 1979-80 tour of Pakistan, scoring 39 and 49 in the drawn third Test in Lahore. That was to be his last appearance in Test cricket; he was a non-playing member of the touring party for the 1981 Ashes, and retired a year later to focus on his job with the Australian Workers' Union. Beard, disappointingly, appears to be clean-shaven in most of his photographs.
Miriam Knee was the heart and soul of Australia Women's attack between 1961 and 1973. A right-arm bowler from Victoria who could bowl both seam and spin, Knee took 35 Test wickets in eight matches at an average of 16.28 - the eighth lowest in women's Test history (minimum 1000 balls).
A first-class record spanning two matches with 12 runs at an average of 3.00 may cause you to turn your back on him, but William Back featured in Western Australia's inaugural first-class match back in 1893. He was at the forefront of leading Western Australia to the first-class scene, opening the batting for them. Later, ironically, Back went on to work as a forwarding agent.
Tall and fast - the perfect combination to go with his daredevilish brain, which he used to spearhead Zimbabwe's attack in Pakistan in 1993-94, and to produce numerous cameos with the bat. Eventually, the conflict between cricket and profession - the family hardware business in which he was heavily involved - ended his professional career.
Cricket has a long history of Foots (Feet?). There was, of course, David Foot, the cricket writer who wrote, among other things, the acclaimed biography Harold Gimblett: Tormented Genius of Cricket, and the . There were also the cricketers Henry, Charles and Anthony, born in 1805, 1855 and 1957 respectively, who played one first-class game each. Owing to that sample size, we leave to you, reader, the choice of which of the three to pick in our XI.
Tongue is many things at once - Smith's marked nemesis, Lord's specialist, and capable - in Ben Stokes' words - of being two different kinds of third seamer. But his battle with David Warner on the first day of the second Ashes Test may have settled his identity as the man who gave Australia a tongue-lashing that no other England bowler seemed capable of.
Hailing from Dublin, Hand's best moment on the cricket field probably came against eventual champions England, when he bowled Ben Stokes with what was widely described as the ball of the 2022 T20 World Cup. But there was perhaps even more debate among cricket fans when he debuted opposite Tongue in Ireland's one-off Test against England in June: who else, they wondered, would join this duo in the All Time Anatomical XI?