A couple of things have caused me to write this article. Firstly, there is very little cricket on at the moment and I have an unfortunate affliction that requires me to talk, read or think about cricket and statistics for at least an hour or two a day.
Talking about the IPL and University matches in England just isn’t cutting it.
The second is my observation that despite the thousands of comments on this site about current or recent cricketers, there are few articles about older cricketers; certainly those older than even Lordy and Bayman have seen live.
So, to pass the time and perhaps help educate readers a bit on the history of the great game; and in light of the limitless self-confidence the keen cricket fan has in their ability to pick a better team than anyone else, I am going to attempt a series of articles where I pick my best Test XI representing each letter of the alphabet.
Each article will give a little bit of background to the players picked as well as their key stats and any other quirky tid bits I might find.
Now, I have set myself a few ground rules designed to make the exercise reasonably consistent from team to team.
I will pick each team solely from players who have played Test cricket (sorry Andrew Zesers). The team will be picked to play a five day match played on a ‘fair’ wicket, and a normal team will constitute six batsmen, a keeper, a spinner and three pace bowlers.
Obviously, this will need to vary depending on the available pool of players for a particular letter.
I will pick the teams based on a number of factors including players’ raw stats, but also taking into account cricketing vagaries or the era they played in; their peaks versus career consistency; as well as the ‘legend’ around them.
So it is a fair bet that Victor Trumper would make my ‘T’ team before either Mark or Ross Taylor. Ditto WG Grace and Chris Gayle. Hopefully these less precise selection criteria will help generate some disputes.
If you’ve made it this far through this article, you will probably already be wondering how many Test cricketers with a surname starting with X there have been.
The answer is: none. So out of necessity, and trying to adhere to the Laws of Cricket that start with a game of two eleven-a-side teams, I will do a composite team for Q, U,X, Y and Z.
Some players’ names have always confused the hell out of me about what the first, last or middle name of a player is, particularly when there are hyphens involved.
So I will use the howstat.com website and its very convenient alphabetical list of players as the arbiter. For what it’s worth, that isn’t a great result for the Q team, nor for Paul Adams who will have to make way for Abdul Qadir in the A Team.
If I actually get to the end of the task and don’t get distracted by the Bangladesh Premier League, the Champions Trophy or, more probably the Ashes, I’ll finish with an article about which team I think would be the strongest and why.
With that, I’ve now used up my allocated words and so the A Team will have to wait until a separate article.
In the meantime, I am interested in any thoughts Roarers might have about this exercise including any early predictions as to which team will be the strongest.