The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Cricket's all time 'J' team

MJ is back in the whites, and tore through England with both bat and ball. Picture: AFP
Roar Guru
11th June, 2013
24

The all time ;J’ Team is next and as you can see the Jayawardenes and Johnsons are doing a good job of keeping up with the Jones’.

1. Sanath Jayasuriya
2. Douglas Jardine (c)
3. Mahela Jayawardene
4. Dean Jones
5. Javed Miandad
6. Sir Stanley Jackson
7. Prasanna Jaywardene (wk)
8. Mitchell Johnson
9. Ian Johnson
10. Bill Johnston
11. Simon Jones

There’s a pretty good mix here of styles and eras and the quality is reasonably high, especially with the bat.

The lack of an out and out champion bowler probably means this team is at the lower end of the 10 to date. Jayasuriya batting with Jardine is an extreme contrast in styles and Javed and Dean Jones would surely love running between wickets together.

Here are some short bios on each player:

1. Sanath Jayasuriya
SL, LHB, SLA, 110 Tests (38 capt), 6973 runs at 40.07, 14 100s, 98 wickets at 34.35

Jayasuriya is of my favourite players of all time, combining skill and competitiveness with a desire to entertain.

Although better recognised as a pioneering ODI player (only Tendulkar has played more ODIs) Jaya had a distinguished Test career as well.

His record is particularly strong against the subcontinental teams, against whom he averaged over 58 in 32 Tests.

Advertisement
Advertisement

His 340 against India is the seventh highest score of all time, and his 576 run partnership with Roshan Mahanama in that match is the second highest in Tests (and indeed the fourth highest in First Class cricket).

He was also a more than handy part time bowler with best match figures of 9/74.

2. Douglas Jardine (c)
Eng, RHB, 22 Tests, 1296 runs at 48.00, one 100

We go from the sublime to the ridiculous when it comes to styles for my opening batsman.

The dour Jardine batted more at third drop (with much consistency) but did open on a few occasions.

His Test and First Class average (15000 runs at 46.83) are excellent.

However, it is of course his position as England captain in the Bodyline series for which Jardine is best known.

Whether it was because of the perceived personal assault on the beloved Bradman, or because of the cultural cringe from a young nation, I do wonder how Jardine might be seen by modern Australian cricket fans if he were playing today.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Ultimately, his tactics as captain were not very different to those of noted hard-nosed Australian captains like Ian Chappell, Allan Border or Steve Waugh.

3.Mahela Jayawardene
SL, RHB, 138 Tests (38 capt), 10806 runs at 49.57, 31 100s

Mahela is well known as one of the best and most attractive batsmen of the modern era.

He was the ninth player to reach 10,000 runs and the 10th to score 30 centuries.

His 374 against South Africa is the fourth-highest innings in Tests and his monster 624-run partnership with his partner in crime, Kumar Sangakkara, in that match is by some distance the highest in Tests and First Class cricket and the fourth highest at any level of cricket.

He also holds the sixth-wicket record with his namesake and fellow J Teamer – Prasanna Jayawardene – with their 351 against India in 2009, pipping Bradman and Jack Fingleton’s longstanding record in the famous ‘reverse order’ MCG Test of 1937.

4. Dean Jones
Aus, RHB, 52 Tests, 3631 runs at 46.55, 11 100s

It’s hard to know what to make of Dean Jones’ career. Of course, in only his third Test he played one of the great innings in Test history with his 210 in the Madras tied Test (you might have heard him mention it).

Advertisement
Advertisement

And his 216 against Marshall, Ambrose and Walsh in Adelaide in 1989 was arguably the catalyst for the confidence the Ashes tourists displayed a few months later.

Indeed, by the end of the Pakistan tour to Australia in 1990, his Test record was 33 matches, 2617 runs at 53.41.

However, his next 19 Tests only produced 1014 runs at 35 before he was dropped for good at the age of 31. Inevitably, if he were a less abrasive character he might have been given more chances.

5. Javed Miandad
Pak, RHB, 124 Tests (34 capt), 8832 runs at 52.57, 23 100s

Another abrasive character, at least Javed was good enough and connected enough to have a long Test career.

In fact, he retired as his country’s finest ever batsman (which he remains) and thanks to an Inzamam-al-haq brain fade in his final Test, Javed is still his country’s highest scorer.

In Australia, Javed is probably best known for his run in with Dennis Lillee at the WACA in 1981 – an incident which did neither player any credit.

6. Sir Stanley Jackson
Eng, RHB, RM, 20 Tests (5 capt), 1415 runs at 48.79, five 100s, 24 wickets at 33.29

Advertisement
Advertisement

FS Jackson was another pillar of the Golden Age and a classic cricket amateur – Winston Churchill fagged for him at Harrow and he was later a Tory MP himself – who played all his Tests at home as he couldn’t afford the time to tour.

That doesn’t detract from his standing as a very fine cricketer. He was the first player to score a 90 on debut, but if he was disappointed it didn’t affect him as he scored a ton in his next Test.

Drafted in as captain for the 1905 Ashes, he played one of the great all-round series ever, topping the batting and bowling averages on either side.

7. Prasanna Jayawardene (wk)
SL, RHB, 52 Tests, 1900 runs at 30.65, four 100s, 129 dismissals (97/32)

Although Jayawardene holds the sixth wicket record partnership and has scored four tons, he has only reached 50 four other times in Tests.

This suggests that as a batsman he is probably not as good or valuable as his record shows.

However, he is probably the finest pure keeper in the international game at the moment and as such, he gets a gig in this team, despite their being a number of ‘J’ ‘keepers with reasonable claims.

8. Mitchell Johnson
Aus, LHB, LF, 51 Tests, 1406 runs at 21.97, one 100, 205 wickets at 30.93

Advertisement
Advertisement

We all know the enigma that is Mitchell Johnson.

On his day his can be irresistible – fast, hostile and utterly destructive. His pre-lunch spell in Durban in 2009 when he got both Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla in his first over, put Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis in hospital and finished off by knocking Mark Boucher’s stumps over with the last ball before lunch, will always live in my memory.

Yet those days are few and far between and it certainly seems now like he has played his final Test at the age of 31.

9. Ian Johnson
Aus, RHB, ROS, 45 Tests (17 capt), 1000 runs at 18.52, 109 wickets at 29.19

Johnson was a controversial ‘establishment’ selection for Australian captain after Lindsay Hassett’s retirement, with Keith Miller being the more obvious choice (and the more popular one with players).

His term as captain was a tough one with two big Ashes losses in 1954/5 and in 1956.

However, there were two strong away wins in the West Indies and India (in Australia’s first tours to either country).

Johnson’s record is a decent without being great, although only Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Courtney Walsh have had better figures as captain than his 7/44 in Guyana.

Advertisement
Advertisement

10. Bill Johnston
Aus, LHB, LFM, 40 Tests, 273 runs at 11.38, 160 wickets at 23.91

Johnston was an outstanding left-arm swing bowler who spent most of his career in the shadow of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller.

Yet Johnston took 27 wickets on ‘The Invincibles’ tour in 1948 (equalling Lindwall) and topped the bowling sheets outright on the tour of South Africa 18 months later.

By the end of the South African tour to Australia in 1952/3, Johnston’s record stood at 29 Tests, 132 wickets at 21.75, world class in any era.

His last few series were less productive with the ball. However, the 1953 Ashes tour did produce one of the more extraordinary batting statistics, with Johnston topping the First Class averages in England that summer having only been dismissed once in 17 innings and scoring 102 runs for a season average of 102.

11. Simon Jones
Eng, LHB, RF, 18 Tests, 205 runs at 15.77, 59 wickets at 28.24

Such was Jones’ impact on the 2005 Ashes series that I was amazed to find that he only took 18 wickets in that series.

Yet it seemed that just about every time he came on to bowl in that series the Australian batsmen were virtually paralysed by trying to play the fast reverse swinging ball.

Advertisement
Advertisement

His strike rate of 34 for those 18 wickets is testament to how good he was that year. Just as amazing, and quite saddening, is the fact that that was his last series in Tests due to his uncanny knack of injuring himself.