Cricket’s all-time alphabetical C team

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England batsman Alistair Cook celebrates reaching 200 runs on day five of the first Ashes test. AAP Image/Dave Hun

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For my next instalment of the All time alphabetical teams, I am going to list the team and bios in a single longer article.

That way, those who just want to look at the team and ask “where is [insert favourite snubbed player here]?” can jump to the “Comments” box straight away, while those who want to take a bit more time to read a bit on the players can do that as well.

So my ‘C’ Team in batting order:

Alastair Cook
Colin Cowdrey
Greg Chappell (c)
Martin Crowe
Dennis Compton
Shiv Chanderpaul
Chris Cairns
Hanson “Sammy” Carter (wk)
Stuart Clark
Andy Caddick
Bhagwat Chandrasekar

A pretty strong batting side (there are some obvious high quality omissions in the middle order) but the bowling is merely good.

Some more detail on the players:

1. Alastair Cook (Eng, LHB) 90 Tests (9 capt) 7,307 runs at 49.04, 24 100s

He has played more Tests and scored more runs than anyone else at the same age, including Tendulkar.

Recently took the England 100s record and will sometime in 2015 take the runs record too. And he’s only just turned 28. Assuming reasonable form, fitness and desire, he could well end up challenging Tendulkar’s aggregate records. An outstanding player.

2. Lord Colin Cowdrey (Eng, RHB) 114 Tests (27 capt) 7, 624 runs at 44.07, 22 100s

With the initials MCC, cricket was in Cowdrey’s blood from birth. A key part of the leading England side in the 50s, Cowdrey went on to break the Tests played, runs and catches records by the time of his first retirement in 1971, including scoring 104 in his 100th Test in 1968.

He then famously, heroically, insanely, answered the call for backup as Lillee and Thompson were cutting a swathe through the English batsmen in 1974/5.

He finished his First Class career with over 42,000 runs and 107 centuries, and was later Chairman of the ICC as neutral umpires were introduced.

He was made a life peer in 1997 and his second wife, Lady Anne Herries, trained the 1998 Caulfield Cup winner Taufan’s Melody.

After his death in 2000, his memorial service was held in Westminster Abbey.

3. Greg Chappell (c) (Aus, RHB, RHM) 87 Test (48 capt) 7,110 runs at 53.86, 24 100s, 47 wickets at 40.70

Still the second best Australian batsman after Bradman, Greg Chappell, at his best, was utterly imperious. His final Test numbers don’t tell the whole story.

If the 1971/2 Rest of the world ‘Tests’ and World Series Cricket ‘Supertests’ are added, Chappell’s figures end up at 8,950 runs at 55.59.

He was also a useful medium pace bowler and a sublime slipper, taking Cowdrey’s catches record in his final Test.

While his faced many down moments in his career, with his string of seven ducks in all cricket in 1981 followed by the ‘underarm’ incident and a flagging desire for international cricket, his brilliance in all conditions against all attacks makes him the first player picked in this team.

4. Martin Crowe (NZ, RHB) 77 Tests (16 capt) 5,444 runs at 45.37, 17 100s

One of New Zealand’s top three batsmen ever, in the dark ages of Australian cricket in the 80s, success or failure in any match against New Zealand was dependent on whether Hadlee could be kept to less than 10 wickets and whether Crowe could be dismissed twice.

The only player to be dismissed in Tests for 299, he is also a one-time holder of the all wickets partnership record (467 with Andrew Jones).

His First Class record is brilliant, with nearly 20,000 runs at 56 and his average against the West Indies is the same as his career average.

However, his final record was blemished somewhat by only scoring 131 runs in his last 10 innings.

5. Denis Compton (Eng, RHB, SLA) 78 Tests, 5,807 runs at 50.06, 17 100s, 25 wickets at 56.40

The legend. He played football for Arsenal and England; became mates with Keith Miller while playing cricket in India during WWII (the player of the series in Ashes contest wins the Compton-Miller Medal); the face (or hair) of Brylcreem for a generation; married three times; commentated for the BBC; grandfather of the current England opener; and in between managed to be the finest English middle order batsman since the War.

His First Class exploits were also immense: the fastest 300 ever; 123 centuries (and 622 wickets); and in 1947 scored a season record 3,816 runs with 18 centuries.

6. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI, LHB) 148 Tests (14 capt), 10,830 runs at 51.82, 28 100s

I first saw Chanderpaul in the SCG nets in 1993 when he could barely get bat on ball against Ambrose.

At the time he looked about 12, and I wondered why Ambrose was bothering bowling at some little school kid. 20 years later, his record compares with any of the modern greats, and his old fashioned stickability is something of a dying art in world cricket.

He probably bats too low given his scoring rate, frequently ending up not out as the West Indian tail inevitably collapses.

He once batted for more than 1,000 balls in Tests without being dismissed and he has four times batted for 1,000 minutes between dismissals (no one else has done it more than once).

7. Chris Cairns (NZ, RHB, RFM) 62 Tests, 3,320 runs at 33.54, 5 100s, 218 wickets at 29.40

A hugely underrated cricketer whose career was blighted by injuries. Notwithstanding, his record compares comfortably with the legends in Botham and Kapil Dev, other than for the number of Tests played.

A genuine batting and bowling option, he batted most regularly at seven where he averaged 43. One time holder of the most 6s in Tests record (with 87) despite only playing 104 innings; only Afridi has a better strike rate of 6s per innings.

His bowling strike rate of 53.66 is also better than the likes of Ambrose, Walsh, Wasim and Gillespie.

8. Sammy Carter (wk) 28 Tests, 873 runs at 22.97, 65 (44/21) dismissals

Another of those whose career straddled WWI, Carter is somewhat of a pioneer, being credited with two cricketing innovations.

He was said to have been the first keeper to squat down on his haunches behind the stumps (previous keepers would bend at the waist). And over 100 years before Brendon McCullum was ramp-shotting Shaun Tait for six, Carter is alleged to have used the shovel scoop as a legitimate scoring shot (without wearing a helmet!).

Carter was also one of the ‘Big six’ who infamously boycotted the 1912 Ashes tour.

9. Stuart Clark (RHB, RFM) 24 Tests, 248 runs at 13.05, 94 wickets at 23.86

Scandalously underplayed throughout his career, Clark can at least boast an average as good as Lillee; a strike rate as good as Ambrose; as many wickets as Spofforth; as well as being Australia’s leading bowler in the whitewash series of 2006/7.

10. Andy Caddick (Eng, RHB, RFM) 62 Tests 861 runs at 10.37, 234 wickets at 29.91

Kiwi-born Caddick ironically left New Zealand because of perceived favouritism being shown to his ‘C team’ colleague Chris Cairns. Each ended up playing 62 Tests.

Caddick was a good bowler, with the ability to bowl truly unplayable spells in the right conditions. His spells at Lords and Leeds against the West Indies in 2000 (helping dismiss Lara, Chanderapaul, Adams and co for 54 and 61) were genuinely brilliant, with his 5/14 at Lords basically winning the series for England.

11. Bhagwat Chandrasekar (Ind, RHB, RLS) 58 Tests, 167 runs at 4.07, 242 wickets at 29.75

The only leggy in the famous Indian spin quartet of the 60s and 70s, Chandra is possibly even better known for being the game’s biggest bunny before Chris Martin.

His total wickets easily exceeds his runs aggregate. But at least he had the excuse of having a right (bowling) arm which had been withered due to childhood polio. When he retired, Chandra had the record for most Test ducks and he is still in the top five for wickets by leggies.

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