After reading Tim Holt’s New South Wales XI v Rest of Australia XI article, it got me thinking of a mighty Queensland XI to match our counterparts from south of the border.
For the purposes of consistency, I’ve decided on the following eligibility criteria for selection.
Players have to be born and bred in Queensland, or at least have debuted for the Sunshine State. This immediately ruled out fantastic Queensland servants such as Allan Border, Ian Botham, Greg Chappell, Graeme Hick, Viv Richards, Jeff Thomson and Kepler Wessels.
I’ve also decided to go with a balanced cricket team made up of six batsmen, a wicket keeper and five bowlers including a spinner, with one of the bowlers to be named 12th man.
I’ve shortlisted a squad of 25 players from which the XI and 12th man will be selected.
Batsmen: Trevor Barsby, Bill Brown, Peter Burge, Matthew Hayden, Stuart Law, Martin Love, Jimmy Maher, Ken Mackay, Greg Ritchie, Andrew Symonds, Sam Trimble.
Wicketkeepers: Wally Grout, Ian Healy, Wade Seccombe.
Bowlers: Peter Allan, Andrew Bichel, Adam Dale, Geoff Dymock, Malcolm Francke, Trevor Hohns, Michael Kasprowicz, Craig McDermott, Ashley Noffke, Ron Oxenham, Carl Rackemann.
My final team is as follows.
The battle for the opening positions was between Bill Brown, Peter Burge, Matthew Hayden and Sam Trimble, with Burge and Hayden winning out.
Peter Burge played 83 matches for Queensland, scoring 7,084 runs at an average of 56.22.
Matthew Hayden made his name as an opening batsman for Queensland. In 89 Shield matches, he scored 7,913 runs at an average of 54.95.
Martin Love holds the record for most runs by a Queenslander in Shield cricket, scoring an impressive 10,132 runs at an average of 45.23 in 139 matches. He will also be remembered for the rare distinction of scoring an unbeaten century in both his final Test and first-class innings.
Stuart Law is currently the most successful captain in Australian domestic history, leading Queensland to five Shield titles. He also sits third on the leading run scorers for Queensland, having amassed 9,034 runs in 142 matches with an average of 43.85.
Greg Ritchie, affectionately known as “Fat Cat” due to his burly build, played 94 matches for Queensland and scored 6,096 runs at an average of 43.54 along the way.
Ken “Slasher” Mackay will always be remembered as one the better all rounders of his time. He amassed 6,341 runs at an average of 45.29 while taking 122 wickets at average of 37.36 during his 100 matches for Queensland.
This was the most difficult decision as all three candidates had claims, but with Ian Healy recognised in the Australian Cricket Board Team of the Century he had to be included.
Healy was the heart of the Australian side after receiving a surprise call-up after six first class matches. He made 165 dismissals in his 45 Shield matches for Queensland.
Ron Oxenham made a name in first-class cricket comparatively late, but became a very solid all-rounder. He took 167 wickets at 22.11 and also scored 2,314 runs at an average of 30.85.
Andrew Bichel will always be remembered as tireless hard worker who gave his heart and soul in every performance. The seam bower sits second on the list of wicket takers for Queensland, having taken 430 wickets at average of 23.24 at an impressive strike rate of 45.7 in 89 matches. He was also not averse to some hard hitting in the lower order.
Craig McDermott spearheaded the Australian attack in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his 67 Shield games, he took 303 wickets at an average of 25.09 putting him in the top five bowlers to ever represent Queensland.
Michael Kasprowicz made his debut as a 17 year old in the 1989-90 domestic season and is known for his swing and relentless hard working approach. He currently holds the record for most wickets taken by a Queenslander in Sheffield Shield cricket, with 441 wickets at 24.56 over 101 matches.
Malcolm Francke is a former first-class cricketer who played 49 Sheffield Shield games for Queensland and took a total of 146 wickets at 29.61.
During his time, he was considered the best leg spin bowler in Australia by none other than Ashley Mallett and was considered unfortunate not to represent at Test level.
There were a number of talented omissions, and Queensland legends like Jimmy Maher, Andrew Symonds, Wade Seccombe, Trevor Hohns and Carl Rackemann could certainly count themselves unlucky.
But going into a match with this team on a nice juiced-up Gabba greentop would cause problems for most sides going around.