The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Cricket's all-time alphabetical G team

Roar Guru
21st May, 2013
21

Our lucky seventh team and one with a raft of strong candidates. My XI is:

1. Sunil Gavaskar
2. Gordon Greenidge
3. Graham Gooch
4. Tom Graveney
5. David Gower
6. WG Grace (c)
7. Adam Gilchrist (wk)
8. Jason Gillespie
9. Darren Gough
10. Clarrie Grimmett
11. Joel Garner

This is one of the teams where I think strong cases could be made for other players of similar ability and records. I have my own view on who would be in a second G XI but perhaps other Roarers could put their teams forward.

A bit on each player:

1. Sunil Gavaskar
Ind, RHB, 125 Tests (47 capt), 10122 runs at 51.12, 34 100s

The original ‘Little Master’ from India. Gavaskar’s value to India over his 16-year career can probably best be seen in the difference between his last Test and India’s next one.

In his last innings, Gavaskar was eighth out for 96 as India were chasing 221 to win a thrilling, low scoring, series-deciding match against Pakistan. They fell 17 runs short and no other Indian scored over 26.

The next time India batted in Tests, they were dismissed for 75. At the time of his retirement, Gavaskar held all the aggregate records – runs, centuries and Tests.

2. Gordon Greenidge
WI, RHB, 108 Tests (1 capt), 7558 runs at 44.72, 19 100s

Advertisement
Advertisement

As an opening batsman, Greenidge showed good judgement from early in his career. Despite the fact that he lived in England and was qualified to play for England, Greenidge chose to play with the West Indian fast bowling battery rather than against it.

17 years and 108 Tests later, as well as forming half of the game’s most prolific opening pair ever, it turned out to be the right decision.

Generally overshadowed by Viv Richards during his career, Greenidge was an incredibly aggressive and hard-hitting batsman in his own right.

Alas, his overall career record is a little coloured by his lack of consistency in his mid to late 30s, although that didn’t stop him from making a series-defining 226 in his penultimate Test, against Australia, in 1991, days before his 40th birthday.

3. Graham Gooch
Eng, RHB, RM, 118 Tests (34 capt), 8900 runs at 42.58, 20 100s, 23 wickets at 46.48

The third of the great ‘G’ openers from the 70s and 80s, Gooch has to bat at three in my team in deference to his older colleagues.

Gooch’s career can be split into two – his first 42 Tests, starting with a pair against Australia in 1975 and ending with Sri Lanka’s first ever Test in 1982 before joining the Rebel Tours of South Africa.

At that stage, he had 2540 runs at 35. From his re-entry in Tests in 1985 to his retirement in 1995, he played in 76 Tests for 6360 runs at 46.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Included in that era was his world record 456 runs in a Test (versus India at Lords in 1990) and his career-defining 154*, carrying his bat against Ambrose, Patterson, Walsh and Marshall at Leeds in 1991.

That innings is listed by Wisden as the third best Test innings of all time.

4. Tom Graveney
Eng, RHB, 79 Tests, 4882 runs at 44.38, 11 100s

Like Gooch, Graveney had a modest start to his career before a break of three years during his early 30s triggered a career revival.

Graveney scored 175 in his second Test but his next century came 22 Tests later, and his third another 11 Tests after that. After being out of the Test side from 1959 to 1962, his seven year ‘second career’ lasted 31 Tests and yielded 2292 runs at 52.

As if to emphasise his agelessness, he reached double figures in each of his last 13 innings, all past his 40th birthday.

In all his various times away from the Test arena, Graveney continued to monster County attacks and his final First Class tally of nearly 48,000 runs (and 122 tons) is ninth on the all time list, just ahead of Gooch.

5. David Gower
End, LHB, 117 Tests (32 capt), 8231 runs at 44.25, 18 100s

Advertisement
Advertisement

Along with VVS Laxman, Gower was probably my favourite non-Australian batsman to watch. Oozing elegance and style, when he was on-song he made batting look ludicrously easy.

The flip side was that when he was out of form, it was like watching a crippled dove.

He toyed with Australia in the 1985 Ashes series (732 runs at 81) and other than in 1981, he never really had a poor series against us.

As captain though he was less successful, winning only five of his 32 Tests and being the unlucky one in charge in 1989. Of course he is now an excellent commentator on the British Sky team.

6. WG Grace (c)
Eng, RHB, 22 Tests (13 capt), 1098 runs at 32.39, two 100s, nine wickets at 26.22

In many respects, the man who started it all. First Class cricket was played well before WG but he was the one with the name, ability and charisma to drag it into mainstream Victorian English life and, inevitably, to the colonies.

He played few Tests given their infrequency in the early years, yet stamped his mark early scoring 152 on debut (the first ton by an Englishman). In his second Test his 32 on a dire Oval pitch almost prevented the beginning of the Ashes legend.

His First Class record is immense, 54,211 runs (on 1800s wickets), 2809 wickets at 18, not to mention 876 catches and five stumpings for good measure.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Included in those numbers are three triple tons and two 10-fors. He is the only possible choice for captain in this team.

7. Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Aus, LHB, 96 Tests (6 capt), 5570 runs at 47.60, 17 100s, 416 dismissals (379/37)

Keeper. Batsman. Last frontier captain. Walker. Match winner. Legend.

8. Jason Gillespie
Aus, RHB, RF, 1218 runs at 18.74, one 100s, 259 wickets at 26.14

It’s a shame that ‘Dizzy’ will be better remembered as a trivia quiz answer and now a Roar contributor because for the best part of a decade he was one of the finest fast bowlers of his generation.

His career was bookended by fitness issues, but other than 2001 and 2005, he averaged less than 30 each year after his debut.

Of course his scarcely believable last innings 201* as nightwatchman tends to overshadow these achievements. For the record, in 2006 his batting average was 231 and his bowling average was 11.25.

One final gem: his balls faced per dismissal is just over one ball per innings less than Virender Sehwag’s and is better than Adam Gilchrist’s and Dave Warner’s.

Advertisement
Advertisement

9. Darren Gough
Eng, RHB, RF, 58 Tests, 855 runs at 12.57, 229 wickets at 28.40

Appropriately, the leading member of the Malcolm, Fraser and Gough bowling attack for England in the mid 90s, the bustling Gough’s record is better than it seems.

He averaged 25 or less and had a strike rate of less than 50 against all his opponents other than Australia and South Africa. His overall average is tainted by his last three Tests, spread over three years, where took two wickets for 328 runs.

Even then, his career strike rate is better that for Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath and Imran Khan (to name but three).

Due to the impression that he was always trying his hardest and always gave a damn, Gough was extremely popular with Australian crowds, unlike his contemporary Andy Caddick.

10. Clarrie Grimmett
Aus, RHB, RLS, 37 Tests, 557 runs at 13.93, 216 wickets at 24.22

Born on Christmas Day 1891, Clarrie Grimmett was New Zealand’s gift to Australian cricket.

His career was delayed by WWI and a switch of countries, but after his 11 wickets on debut (at 33) against a strong England side in 1924 there were few that could master him until his First Class career ended with WWII.

Advertisement
Advertisement

When he retired he held the Test wickets record, the Sheffield Shield wickets record (which he still holds) and his 44 wickets in South Africa in his last series (at the age of 44) is still the third most ever in a series.

He also had the distinction of dismissing Bradman more times in First Class cricket than anyone else, which some have churlishly suggested is the reason why he didn’t play for Australia again once Bradman became captain.

11. Joel Garner
WI, RHB, RF, 68 Tests, 672 runs at 12.44, 259 wickets at 20.98

Massive, fast and virtually unhittable, Big Bird (or even just Bird), perhaps more than any other bowler, symbolised the irresistibility of the great Windies bowling attacks of the 80s.

Often compared with Curtly Ambrose, while their averages were identical Garner took his wickets more frequently, though he never took 10 wickets in a match.

And as great a Test bowler as he was, he was an even greater ODI bowler; his ODI economy rate is better than Brett Lee’s Test economy rate.

Garner, with his bucket hands and huge reach, was also an outstanding gully fielder.