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Cricket's all time alphabetical 'QXYZ' team

Roar Guru
15th July, 2013
17

We are coming round the bend now, with the home straight in sight. This is the supercomposite team including all the letters that you love getting in Scrabble but wouldn’t like to pick a team from .

For the record, there are five qualified Q players and no X players. The team, for better or worse is:

1. Yasir Hameed
2. Graham Yallop
3. Qasim Omar
4. Younis Khan (c)
5. Zaheer Abbas
6. Yuvraj Singh
7. Tim Zoehrer (wk)
8. Bruce Yardley
9. Zaheer Khan
10. Neville Quinn
11. Nuwan Zoysa

The batting doesn’t look to bad against anything other than sustained pace. The bowling was a struggle though and looks unbalanced with three leftie quicks.

Amazingly, three of the XI played in the Pakistan tour of Australia in 1983/4. And as you’ll see, a number of players had modest records but some interesting career highlights:

1. Yasir Hameed
Pakistan, RHB, 25 Tests, 1491 runs at 32.41, two 100s

Yasir’s highlight is of course being only the second player to score twin centuries on debut.

Unlike the other to do it, Lawrence Rowe who later scored a triple ton, his career was all downhill after that, not reaching 100 in his further 24 Tests.

For what it’s worth, I did see him score a pair of 50s in the SCG Test in 2005 and thought he looked quite good but he could never sustain any form.

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2. Graham Yallop
Australia, LHB, 39 Tests (7 capt), 2756 runs at 41.13, eight 100s

Less than a year after Yallop averaged 92.33 in the 1983/4 series against Pakistan he was out of the Australian side for good.

That might have had something to do with Australia being halfway through a 10 Test run against the West Indies which eventually also saw the end of Kim Hughes, John Dyson and Rodney Hogg’s careers.

Yallop’s career was a difficult one, thrown into the deep end by being made captain during the WSC era, being subsequently thrashed in an Ashes series and then being on the outer after reunification.

However, he did earn his spot back in 1983 on the back of a record Sheffield Shield season the summer before.

And in the entire decade of the 1980s only Javed Miandad played a higher innings that Yallop’s 268 at the MCG.

3. Qasim Omar
Pakistan, RHB, 26 Tests, 1502 runs at 36.63, three 100s

Due to his whistleblowing on various alleged corruptions in cricket, including match fixing stretching back to the early 80s; that various high profile cricketers took performance enhancing and recreational drugs; and that syndicates were using international cricketers as drug mules, Omar is now far better known for his mouth than for his bat.

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From a cricket point of view, two of his three Test tons were doubles – 210 (out of 6/674) against India and 206 against Sri Lanka (sharing a 397 run partnership with Miandad).

But overall he was very inconsistent and despite claims he was dropped for his whistleblowing, he never really cemented a spot in the strong Pakistan side of his era.

4. Younis Khan (c)
Pakistan, RHB, 82 Tests (9 capt), 6749 runs at 50.74, 21 100s

Let me start by saying that YK is an outstanding batsmen. You can’t not be with that sort of record.

However, he is one of the prime examples of the inflation of career records in the age of the batsman in the mid 2000s.

From 2004 to 2011 he averaged over 50 every year and mostly over 60. Yet his average against Australia is 32 and he’s only managed to play 6 Tests against them in his 14 year career.

Having said that, he scored a superb 111 in Cape Town earlier this year as Pakistan almost pulled off a famous victory.

In 2006 he agonisingly scored 190s in back to back Tests against India including a 199 run out on the Lahore highway.

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His 313 against Sri Lanka in 2009 is the sixth highest score by a Test captain.

5. Zaheer Abbas
Pakistan, RHB, 78 Tests (14 capt), 5062 runs at 44.80, 12 100s

Zaheer stands out for three reasons: his cool nickname of “Zed”; his batting in glasses; and his silky elegance at the crease.

However, he is another of those players whose record doesn’t quite match the legend.

He introduced himself to international cricket with 274 in just his second Test (Edgbaston in 1971) but his average fluctuated markedly over his 16 year career.

Typically, whenever he played against India (1740 runs at 87.00) it would rocket up to the high 40s and whenever he played other nations it would sink below 40.

In 8 Tests against the Windies he only averaged 18.50 and in 14 against NZ an inexplicable 17.83.

As it was he didn’t pass 50 in any of his last eight tests as his average fell from 48.19.

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At FC level he was a machine – 35000 runs at 51 and 108 tons. He has scored a 200 and a 100 in a FC match four times (no one else has done it more than twice) and in each of those innings he was not out.

6. Yuvraj Singh
India, LHB, 40 Tests, 1900 runs at 33.93, three 100s

The quintessential Gen Y cricketer. Outstanding in limited overs versions due to his clean hitting (he famously hit six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad in the first T20 World Cup), superb fielding and clever slow bowling; he has mostly been unreliable and inconsistent at Test level.

In fact, take out his seven appearances against Pakistan (572 runs at 63), the rest of his record shows 33 Tests, 1328 runs at 28.

In 2011 he was diagnosed with lung cancer but made a comeback to international cricket including the 2012 T20 World Cup a year later.

7. Tim Zoehrer (wk)
Australia, RHB, 10 Tests, 246 runs at 20.50, 19 dismissals (18/1)

Zoehrer may well be the only long term wicketkeeper who took exactly as many FC wickets as FC stumpings.

That strange fact came about from a late career realisation that he was a half decent leg spinner.

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In fact, on the 1993 Ashes tour, Zoehrer topped the Austalian tour averages with 12 wickets at 21, better than a certain other legspinner on that tour.

His international career was relatively short, playing 10 Tests in the dark days of the mid 80s and eventually being the long term back up to Ian Healy until he was replaced in WA by Adam Gilchrist.

8. Bruce Yardley
Australia, RHB, ROS, 33 Tests, 978 runs at 19.56, 126 wickets at 31.63

“Roo” was pure 70s. Tall, thin and with a classic mo, he was like a gentler Dennis Lillee.

He was also the finest Australian off spinner for the last 30 years and indeed, only Ashley Mallett (132) and Hugh Trumble (141) have taken more wickets for Australia as offies.

As such, it is surprising that he didn’t play more Tests and, given his form in the summer of 1981/2 where he took 51 wickets at 22 and was International Cricketer of the Year, you do wonder if Australia might have jagged the 1981 Ashes if he had toured rather than Ray Bright.

Sadly he retired after being overlooked for Australia’s disastrous 1983 World Cup campaign and it took Australia another decade to find a long term consistently effective spinner.

He was a very handy batsman as well, falling just short of the 1000/100 Test carer double. I particularly remember his 53 he scored at the Gabba helping Kepler Wessels’ to a large debut ton.

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9. Zaheer Khan
India, RHB, LFM, 88 Tests, 1145 runs at 11.80, 295 wickets at 32.36

Until a few nights ago, Zak had the second highest score for a No 11 with 75 out of a 133 10th wicket partnership with Sachin.

But of course his renown is as quality left arm swing bowler with a pretty consistent record against all opponents.

Having missed the whitewash of Australia earlier this year, he now seems destined to join Derek Underwood and Craig McDermott in finishing with career wickets totals in the 290s.

10. Neville Quinn
South Africa, 12 Tests, RHB, LM, 90 runs at 6.00, 35 wickets at 32.71

As a player, Quinn has two main claims to fame. At Headingley in 1929 he took a superb 6/92 including the wickets of Sutcliffe, Hammond, Hendren and Leyland (who had the small matter of 568 FC tons between them).

In the series against Australia in 1931/2 he was the only bowler to dismiss Bradman for less than 100 in any innings. And he did it in style having the great man caught behind for 2.

Sadly he died from a heart attack at the age of 26, making him one of the youngest ever Test cricketers to lose his life.

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11. Nuwan Zoysa
Sri Lanka, LHB, LFM, 30 Tests, 288 runs at 8.47, 64 wickets at 33.70

Another cricketer with a modest record but a spectacular (and in this case unique) career highlight.

That was his hat trick of the first three balls of a Test match in Harare in 1999.

Given that the opposition was Zimbabwe, that not might appear as impressive as it sounds. However, the batsmen included Neil Johnson and Murray Goodwin who of course had fine international and FC careers.

Otherwise, Zoysa best international performances came in limited overs cricket.