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Cricket's all time alphabetical 'T' team

Former Australian Cricketer Mark Taylor (AAP Image/Jenny Evans).
Roar Guru
28th July, 2013
43

There were some big decisions to be made in compiling this team. Which tearaway – the Terror or Typhoon?; which Hugh, Tayfield or Trumble?; where do I bat Trumper?; and how many of the 17 Taylors to have played Tests do I pick?

The T-team XI:
1. Mark Taylor (c)
2. Glenn Turner
3. Ernest Tyldesley
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Graham Thorpe
6. Victor Trumper
7. Don Tallon (k)
8. Charlie Turner
9. Hugh Tayfield
10. Jeff Thomson
11. Fred Trueman

This is another strong side with the only weakness being the absence of a top class all rounder resulting in a long tail.

The attack is terrific and you can envisage Taylor (the obvious captain) rotating his quicks at one end while Tayfield wheels down over after miserly over from the other end:

1. Mark Taylor (c)
Australia, LHB, 104 Tests (50 capt), 7525 runs at 43.50, 19 100s

Taylor scored 839 runs in his first full series (only Bradman and Hammond have scored more) but only scored 500 in a series again in his second last series. Of course that was greatly helped by his 334* and 92 in a single match in Peshawar.

In between, Taylor was more a player of outstanding innings than a consistently dominant batsman.

His troubles in the mid to late 90s are well known, going 12 matches without reaching 50 in an innings.

As a captain, he completed Allan Border’s work and under Taylor Australia, with the addition of a young Glenn McGrath, became the undisputed best team in the world and remained so for over a decade.

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He was also an outstanding slip fielder, breaker Border’s catches world record (156) in his final Test – now held by Rahul Dravid (210).

2. Glenn Turner
New Zealand, RHB, 41 Tests (10 capt), 2991 runs at 44.64, seven 100s

Turner is arguably New Zealand’s greatest batsman (including Martin Crowe) although he didn’t play as much Test cricket as he should have.

As it is, his Test record is excellent (he scored two double tons in a series in the West Indies in 1972 and averaged 100 in three Tests against Australia in 1974) but it was in first-class (FC) cricket that he was dominant.

On the 1973 tour of England he scored 1000 runs before the end of May (only Bradman has also achieved the feat as a tourist) before mostly failing in the Tests.

Following 16 seasons at Worcestershire, he ended up with over 34,000 runs at an
average a tad under 50, including 102 tons.

And he holds the world record for the highest percentage of runs scored by a batsman in a completed innings – an astonishing 141* out of 169 or 83.43% against Glamorgan in 1977.

3. Ernest Tyldesley
England, 14 Tests, RHB, 990 runs at 55.00, three 100s

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One of a large family of English cricketers (his brother played Tests and he is a distant uncle of Michael Vaughan), Tyldesley was another of those whose career was affected by WWI.

He didn’t debut until 1921 (aged 32) and in his debut Test at Trent Bridge found Jack Gregory’s pace too much as he was bowled cheaply twice.

It wasn’t until the 1927 tour of South Africa that he was properly cemented in the England side and in the next two England series he totalled 718 runs at 65.

Age and the emerging superstar Wally Hammond meant that he only played one more Test, at Melbourne in 1929 (the only Test Australia won that series).

At FC level, despite the war, Tyldesley amassed nearly 39,000 runs with 102 centuries.

4. Sachin Tendulkar
India, RHB, RLS, 198 Tests (25 capt), 15837 runs at 53.87, 51 100s, 45 wickets at 54.69

There’s not much I can say about the ‘Little Master’ that Roarers wouldn’t already know.

The totals across all cricket are jaw dropping.

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My personal experience is that I watched him bat live at the SCG for 16 years and about 600 runs before I finally saw the little bugger get out in the second innings of the Monkeygate Test (I did miss the 2000 Test there).

One statistical quirk, Sachin has played exactly the same number of FC matches (307) as Ranji did. Both average about 57.

Indian cricketing royalty separated by 100 years.

5. Graham Thorpe
England, LHB, 100 Tests, 6744 runs at 44.66, 16 100s

Thorpe showed his class early with a fighting ton on debut at Trent Bridge in the 1993 Ashes.

From that time, he established himself as England’s most consistent and taciturn batsman of his era which ended when he was dropped for a young Kevin Pietersen at the start of the 2005 Ashes series.

Thorpe had a consistent record against all opponents it took a quality bowler to dismiss him.

Unfortunately, there were plenty of those around during his career and his most frequent wicket taker list is topped by the greats of the period – Walsh, Warne, Ambrose, Murali and McGrath.

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6. Victor Trumper
Australia, RHB, 48 Tests, 3163 runs at 39.05, eight 100s

So beloved was Trumper by the Australian public that when he died at the age of 37 in June 1915, 20000 lined the streets of Sydney for his funeral procession, notwithstanding that they may have been distracted by the events at Gallipoli at the time.

Raw figures are not part of his story – his average being good by standards of the time but not great compared to later batting stars.

It was a combination of Trumper’s style, speed of scoring (which was about the same of Viv Richards) and his reputation for scoring runs in tough situations but for giving away his wicket to worthy opponents when in a strong position.

Most of all, he was pure Sydney, having grown up near the SCG, running a sports store in the city and playing an instrumental part, with his friend JJ Giltinan, in the formation of the Sydney first grade rugby league competition, now better known as the NRL.

7. Don Tallon (k)
Australia, RHN, 21 Tests, 394 runs at 17.13, 58 dismissals (50/8)

Tallon was the keeper in Bradman’s Best, an Invincible and is still revered amongst Australian wicket keepers.

Such is his legend that his 21 Tests does seem surprisingly low although this was predominantly due to Tallon starting his Test career at 30 just after WWII.

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In fact, if a young but already brilliant Tallon had been chosen to tour England in 1938 rather than the one series wonder Ben Barnett, cricket history may well have been vastly different with Barnett dropping Hutton and Washbrook early in their innings at a certain Oval test.

8. Charles Turner
Australia, RHB, RFM, 17 Tests, 323 runs at 11.54, 101 wickets at 16.53

The Terror’ was the first Australian to reach 100 Test wickets (and missed out by a few days of beating Johnny Briggs to it) and he still has the third lowest average of all players to have reached that milestone.

He took a ‘Michelle’ in each of his first six tests (and indeed eight times in 10 innings in those Tests).

On the 1888 tour of England he was utterly dominant, taking 283 wickets in all FC cricket at 11.27 (and taking a Michelle in every innings he bowled in the three Test series). That season total has only been even been surpassed by two others.

9. Hugh Tayfield
South Africa, RHB,ROS, 37 Tests, 862 runs at 16.90, 170 wickets at 25.91

Tayfield competed with his great contemporary Jim Laker for much of his career.

They are arguably the two finest orthodox offies to have played the game (although Hugh Trumble is also in the mix).

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In fact, just six months after Laker’s 19/90 at Old Trafford in 1956 (and 46 wickets in the series), Tayfield took 37 wickets at 17 against the touring England side (with Laker managing just 11 wickets in the series).

At the end of that series their respective records were: Laker, 34 Tests, 143 wickets at 22.11; Tayfield, 27 Tests, 141 wickets at 23.49. For completeness, Trumble’s career record was 32 Tests, 141 wickets at 21.78.

Tayfield’s 9/113 in the second innings of the fourth Test of that series (following his 8/69 in the previous test) has been rated by Wisden as the finest bowling performance ever.

10. Jeff Thomson
Australia, RHB, RF, 51 Tests, 679 runs at 12.81, 200 wickets at 28.01

Final figures do not do justice to Thommo’s impact on cricket.

Anyone that can be so fast, so intimidating and so destructive that facing Dennis Lillee seemed like the easier option will always be given very strong consideration in any team that I ever pick.

Ignoring his first Test in 1972 where he didn’t tell selectors that he had a broken toe and subsequently took 0/110, for the rest of the 70s Thommo played 33 Tests and took 152 wickets at 24.9 at a strike rate of 48 (ignoring retired hurts and wickets he “took” for his team mates from helmetless batsmen just happy to face someone bowling at less than 95mph).

He was never quite the same after World Series Cricket (which coincided with him turning 30) but went on one final Ashes tour in 1985 to fill in the gap created by the Rebel tours.

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In an otherwise forgettable series for Australia, Thommo at least played enough to reach the 200 wicket milestone.

11. Fred Trueman
England, RHB, RF, 67 Tests, 981 runs at 13.82, 307 wickets at 21.58

As he would have happily told you himself, Freddie was England’s greatest fast bowler.

While he was the first player to take 300 Test wickets, he really should have taken more as he was frequently left out of England sides due to his frequent clashes with the establishment.

As it is, of the 300 Club bowlers, only Marshall and Ambrose have better averages.

Officially he bowled 99,701 balls in FC cricket over 20 seasons (taking over 2300 wickets).

You can imagine what he would have said to Pat Howard as he tried to explain the theory of “informed player management”. “Booger off” would have just been the start.