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Cricket's All Time K Team

Roar Guru
17th June, 2013
33

With some of the composite teams coming up, we are now past the half way mark of this marathon. To date, the B Team and the H Team are the stand outs and it’s fair to say that they won’t be challenged by the K Team.

Notwithstanding that, the Ks are a talented bunch and include a number of all time greats:

1. Simon Katich (c)
2. Gary Kirsten
3. Rohan Kanhai
4. Jacques Kallis
5. Alvin Kallicharan
6. Charlie Kelleway
7. Kapil Dev
8. Alan Knott (wk)
9. Anil Kumble
10. Michael Kasprowicz
11. Khan Mohammed

With Knott at eight this is strong batting team and there is good depth in bowling with Kallis and Kelleway, although perhaps lacking in variety and a cutting edge. Some more on each player:

1. Simon Katich (c)

Australia, LHB, LC, 56 Tests, 4188 runs at 45.03, 10 100s, 21 wickets at 30.24

Still the best opener in Australia, Katich has been scandalously treated by the Australian selectors for much of his career.

Having played a pair of series saving innings in Steve Waugh’s last Test, Katich was dropped for Australia’s next Test against Sri Lanka. He was brought back for the third Test in that series and scored 86 in the second innings as he and Langer took Australia from a precarious 5/98 to a match winning 7/341.

He was dropped from the team in 2005 but was brought back in 2008 following a record breaking year in the Sheffield Shield. In his 33 Tests following his reinstatement, Katich scored 2928 runs at 50.48 at opener.

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Katich was then left out for good following an injury in the 2010 Ashes in the name of bringing younger players into the team. As I say, scandalously treated.

2. Gary Kirsten

South Africa, LHB, 101 Tests (1 capt), 7289 runs at 45.27, 21 100s

Kirsten was South Africa’s finest post re-admission batsman until Kallis joined the team and on his retirement, held the Tests, runs and centuries and records for his country.

He was a solid batsman with the ability to make big double tons but perhaps Australians never saw the best of him given the quality of Australian opening bowlers he had to put up with for his entire career.

3. Rohan Kanhai

West Indies, RHB, 79 Tests, 6227 runs at 47.53, 15 100s

When I was young and naïve, and Brian Lara was at his peak, routinely dismantling the bowlers of the world, I said to the late Roar Expert, Vinay Verma, “Have you ever seen a better batsman?”

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It was a rhetorical question but his instant response to me was “Rohan Kanhai”.

Vinay did have a habit of wanting to look a bit eccentric on these things but that moment alone gets Kanhai into this team.

Of course, Kanhai’s outstanding record and reputation don’t hurt either!

4. Jacques Kallis

South Africa, RHB, RMF, 162 Tests (2 capt), 13128 runs at 56.10, 44 100s, 288 wickets at 32.43

The Machine who serenely and inexorably accumulates runs and wickets. Kallis of course is the rock of this side (and any side he plays in).

I’ve personally been critical of Kallis and his ability to properly take control of a game (compared to say a Ponting or Lara). However, that is only because I see him playing within his limits in the pursuit of runs rather than test the limits of how good he could really be.

His record against Australia (41.22 average) and Sri Lanka (38.87) are surprisingly modest. Nonetheless, the overall stats are unarguable.

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5. Alvin Kallicharan

West Indies, LHB, 66 Tests (9 capt), 4399 runs at 44.43, 12 100s

“Kalli” started his career with centuries in his first two innings against New Zealand.

He remained a regular for the West Indies during the 70s and even captained them when Clive Lloyd and others were away on World Series Cricket duties. It was perhaps his exclusion from WSC which hastened the end of his career.

At the end of the West Indies tour to Australia in 1979-80, Kalli’s record was 54 Tests, 4071 runs at 49.65.

He played a further 12 Tests in 1980 (the full post WSC year) but only managed 328 runs at 19.29. He later lead a rebel West Indies side to South Africa.

Kalli played many years of County cricket for Warwickshire (ending up with over 32000 FC runs and 87 tons).

He is also responsible for the most remarkable performance in a List A match when, in 1984, he scored 206 runs and took 6/32 in the same match.

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6. Charlie Kelleway

Australia, RHB, RFM, 26 Tests, 1422 runs at 37.42, three 100s, 52 wickets at 32.37

Kelleway is the only person to play Test matches with both Victor Trumper and Don Bradman.

Bradman’s first Test was Kelleway’s last. He was brought back to the team after a three year absence aged 44 and broke down bowling 34 wicket-less overs as England piled on 521 runs. He only played two more FC matches after that.

Ironically, the other debutant in that match was Bert Ironmonger, who was older than Kelleway at the time.

As a player, Kelleway gets relatively little recognition despite his excellent record (and missing his prime due to WWI). In the Ashes whitewash of 1920-21, he scored 330 runs at 47 and took 15 wickets at 21.

7. Kapil Dev

India, RHB, RFM, 131 Tests (34 capt), 5248 runs at 31.05, eight 100s, 434 wickets at 29.65

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One of the four great all-rounders of the 70s and 80s. The indestructible Kapil played more Tests, took more wickets and scored more runs than any of them and indeed was the world record wickets taker by the time he retired.

He also played the game with an enormous amount of panache, as witnessed by his four successive sixes off Eddie Hemmings at Lords in 1990 to avoid the follow on when India were 9 wickets down (the 10th wicket fell next ball).

As bowler he was fine swing bowler and in fact averaged 26.50 in India, 23.11 in the WI and 24.59 in Australia (but had a surprisingly poor record in England and New Zealand for a bowler of his type and quality).

Of the career 11 centuries scored by bowlers, who have taken at least nine wickets in an innings, Kapil has eight of them.

8. Alan Knott (wk)

England, RHB, 95 Tests, 4389 runs at 32.75, five 100s, 269 dismissals (250/19)

My pick as keeper for an All Time XI, let alone for the Ks.

Knott covers the field – the highest quality against spin and pace when it comes to glove work, a gritty batsman who put a high price on his wicket and who scored “quality” runs, a strong dependable body and a popular team mate.

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9. Anil Kumble

India, RHB, RLS, 132 Tests, 2506 runs at 17.77, one 100, 619 wickets at 29.65

India’s mighty leg spinning warrior.

Kumble can point to any number of on-field achievements over his outstanding career – record number of wickets for India (and third overall), only the second player to take 10 wickets in an innings, a Test century and captain of his country.

Amazingly, both he and Kapil ended their careers with identical averages having taken over 1000 wickets between them and both were far more successful at home despite their very different styles.

Kumble blotted his copybook somewhat with his feigned indignation following the Monkeygate Test but overall, he is one of India’s true greats.

10. Michael Kasprowicz

Australia, RHB, RFM, 38 Tests, 445 runs at 10.60, 113 wickets at 32.88, 959 FC wickets

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Such was the big Queenslander’s “journeyman” status that in his 10-year-career he played half of his Tests in the 18 months after Steve Waugh’s retirement.

His most famous Test performances were probably with the bat – his technically not out glance off the glove at Edgbaston in 2005 for a two run loss and then in his last Test in Johannesburg in 2006, a 19 run partnership with Stuart Clark for a virtual one wicket victory.

As a Test bowler, he could be highly effective in the right conditions (such as The Oval in 1997) but it was for Queensland where he stood out, retiring with 441 Sheffield Shield wickets – the most for his state and second only to Clarrie Grimmett all time.

He is currently a Cricket Australia Board member which reflects how well regarded he is in cricket circles.

11. Khan Mohammed

Pakistan , RHB, RFM, 13 Tests, 100 runs at 10.00, 54 wickets at 23.93.

A name that is probably unfamiliar even to most cricket fans. Khan is probably best known as the answer to a trivia question – his 0/259 against a record breaking Gary Sobers in 1958 is officially the worst figures in a Test innings.

Yet, even with this abomination (in Khan’s penultimate Test), his Test record is excellent.

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In fact, it is on the back of his career figures to the end of the first Australian tour of Pakistan in early 1956 (11 Tests, 52 wickets at 17.98), and his fine partnership with Fazal Mahmood, that gets Khan into this side.