Experts versus readers selection of all-time XIs
The online cricket site Cricinfo has so far selected four all-time XIs, the latest being South Africa, and the previous selections being from New Zealand, England and Australia.
While one might quibble with a few selections here and there, generally speaking, the site has done an outstanding job. Ten different selectors, mostly from the country in question, and with a varied background but with cricket as the common uniting factor, have done themselves proud.
Each selection is accompanied by a readers choice XI.
Generally, the choice of the experts has been far more knowledgeable, thoughtful, insightful and objective, and less biased than those of the readers.
The most recent selection was South Africa, as follows: Barry Richards, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Pollock, Dudley Nourse, Aubrey Faulkner, Mike Procter, John Waite (wk), Shaun Pollock, Hugh Tayfield, Allan Donald.
No 12th man was nominated, although I guess it would be a toss-up between Bruce Mitchell and Gary Kirsten.
There were 3 variations with the reader’s choice – AB de Villiers for Nourse; Dale Steyn for Faulkner and Mark Boucher for Waite.
Personally, I might have Mitchell in for Smith and Boucher for Waite, while de Villiers isn’t quite of this class.
But it’s a great team all the same. Massive batting depth down to Waite/S.Pollock at number eight and nine; 4 pacemen – Donald, Procter, S.Pollock and Kallis; complemented by the off-spin of Tayfield, and the legbreaks and googlies of Faulkner.
No captain or vice-captain are nominated in these selections, although I would have Procter as skipper and Richards his deputy. Graeme and Shaun Pollock are uncle and nephew.
Previous selections were as follows:
New Zealand: Glenn Turner, Stew Dempster, Bert Sutcliffe, Martin Crowe, Martin Donnelly, John Reid, Richard Hadlee, Dan Vettori, Ian Smith (wk), Jack Cowie, Shane Bond, Chris Cairns (12th man).
Reader’s choice variations were John Wright for Dempster; Steve Fleming for Donnelly; Cairns for Reid and Brendon McCullum for Smith. My thoughts: readers here have a poor knowledge base of the achievements of Dempster, Donnelly and Reid.
McCullum for Smith? Perhaps only.
England: Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Wally Hammond, Ken Barrington, Kevin Pietersen; Ian Botham; Alan Knott (wk), Harold Larwood, Fred Trueman, Derek Underwood, Sydney Barnes, Denis Compton (12th man).
Reader’s choice variations were David Gower for Barrington and Jim Laker for Underwood. My thoughts: Maybe Laker but Gower not quite good enough.
Otherwise, a pretty balanced selection.
Australia: Victor Trumper, Arthur Morris, Don Bradman, Greg Chappell, Allan Border, Keith Miller, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting (12th man).
Reader’s choice variations were Bill Ponsford for Trumper; Matt Hayden for Morris; Ponting for Chappell; Steve Waugh for Border.
My thoughts: The many variations between the experts and readers reflected the riches of options.
I would have Ray Lindwall in for McGrath, if only because he gives the batting more depth. Not that this batting lineup really needs the help of numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11!
Nevertheless, all in all an excellent effort thus far by the experts from Cricinfo.