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Cricket's all time alphabetical 'W' team

Shane Warne, Image: Jenny Evans, AAP
Roar Guru
23rd December, 2013
24

We finish with the Ws. As expected, this team is immensely strong and probably the most thrilling of all the teams.

So strong, in fact, I could not find a spot for the likes of Bob Willis, Mark Waugh or Shane Watson and neither Steve Waugh nor Bill Woodfull are the first choice as captain.

The W team XI:
1. Bill Woodfull
2. Sir Frank Worrell (c)
3. Sir Clyde Walcott
4. Sir Everton Weekes
5. Steve Waugh
6. Doug Walters
7. Wasim Akram
8. Wasim Bari (wk)
9. Shane Warne
10. Waqar Younis
11. Courtney Walsh

To a large extent, the team picks itself.

Two of the XI (Warne and Wasim) are in Wisden’s All Time Test XI. The four frontline bowlers took 2014 wickets between them at 24.45.

The batting comprises the famous ‘Three Ws’ from Barbados and three Australian legends.

And the keeper is renowned as one of the finest glovemen ever to strap on the pads.

A short bio on each:

1. Bill Woodfull
Australia, right hand batsman, 35 Tests (25 capt), 2300 runs at 46.00, seven 100s.

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Woodfull could have been the fourth knight in this team but he turned down a knighthood in 1934 because it was given solely due to his cricket exploits and not his achievements in his professional field of education.

Although generally considered a lesser player than his opening partner Bill Ponsford, Woodfull’s cricket exploits were certainly worthy of a knighthood.

His first class average was 64.99, his Test average was around 50 for most of his career until a modest final series.

And of course the stoic class he showed as the Australian captain during the Bodyline series made him a national hero.

He is still the only captain to twice regain the Ashes.

2. Sir Frank Worrell (c)
West Indies, 51 Tests (15 capt), 3860 runs at 49.49, nine 100s, 69 wickets at 38.72.

In recognition of the esteem he and his team were held in during the wondrous 1960-1 tour of Australia, for 50 years the prize for the winner of the Australian-West Indies Test series has been the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy – or, more affectionately, ‘The Frankie’.

Worrell was the first black man to captain the West Indies on ongoing basis (George Headley captained for one Test) and is widely considered one of the finest men to have played the game, which makes his death at the age of 42 from leukaemia all the sadder.

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He is slightly out of place here as opener but did open a number of times for the West Indies with success.

3. Sir Clyde Walcott
West Indies, RHB, 44 Tests, 3798 runs at 56.69, 15 100s.

Walcott started his career as a keeper but his legend was made as a punishing but highly prolific batsman.

He is the only player to score five centuries in a series (which included two in a match twice). Mind you, these heroics didn’t prevent an easy 3-0 series win for Australia in that 1955 series.

His huge Test average was achieved despite only scoring 985 runs at 38 in his first 17 Tests.

He later became the first non-Englishman to be Chairman of the ICC.

4. Sir Everton Weekes
West Indies, RHB, 48 Tests, 4455 runs at 58.62, 15 100s

The third of the ‘Three Ws’ and probably the best. His average is impressive enough but would have comfortably been in the 60s if not for a poor run in England late in his career, where he scored 17 runs in five innings.

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Weekes is the only batsman to score five centuries in a row in Tests (a run broken with a dubious run out decision while on 90 in Madras).

Interestingly, Weekes only managed a single ton against Australia in 10 Tests.

5. Steve Waugh
Australia, RHB, RM, 168 Tests (57 capt), 10927 runs at 51.06, 32 100s, 92 wickets at 37.45

From the depths and easybeat status of the mid to late 80s, then the breakthrough of the 1987 World Cup and 1989 Ashes, through to the epochal victory in the Caribbean in 1995 and climaxing with the team, under his captaincy, playing a hard edged, aggressive yet sublime brand of total cricket in the early 2000s, Steve Waugh left his mark on Australian cricket in a way few others have done.

6. Doug Walters
Australia, RHB, RM, 74 Tests, 4357 runs at 48.26, 15 100s, 49 wickets at 29.08.

Although in attitude and style he is more like Mark Waugh than Steve, Dougie’s reputation as a laconic knockabout hides his genuine appetite for big scores.

He scored a ton in his first two Tests. In 1969 against the West Indies, he was the first person in Tests to score a double ton and a ton in the same match and at the end of that match his Test record stood at 1706 runs at an average of 74.17.

And in 1977 he scored 250 against New Zealand, which is still the highest score by a number six batsman.

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The great flaw in his record was his poor record in England – 18 Tests, no tons and an average of 25 and indeed he retired upon being told he hadn’t been selected for the 1981 Ashes tour.

7. Wasim Akram
Pakistan, LHB,LF, 104 Tests (25 capt), 2898 runs at 22.64, three 100s, 414 wickets at 23.62.

Wasim was an utter magician with the ball who regularly made top batsman look inept with late swing both ways.

Possibly only Alan Davidson could rival Wasim as the finest left arm quick ever but no other lefty, spinner or quick, has taken more than 360 Test wickets.

Wasim is one of only three players to have taken two Test hat-tricks, his 257* against Zimbabwe in 1996 is still the highest Test score by a number eight batsman and the 12 sixes he hit in that innings is an all-time record.

8. Wasim Bari (wk)
Pakistan, RHB, 81 Tests (6 capt), 1366 runs at 15.88, 228 dismissals (201/27).

30 years after his retirement, Bari is still the most prolific Pakistani keeper in terms of Tests and dismissals.

He is superbly credentialed to keep in this team given his history of keeping to the likes of Abdul Qadir and Imran Khan.

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His batting was weak compared to modern keepers but his 60* at number 11 against the likes of Colin Croft, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner in Barbados in 1977 was the second highest score by a number 11 for over a quarter of a century and almost resulted in a famous win for Pakistan until the West Indies held on for a nine wicket down draw.

9. Shane Warne
Australia, RHB, RLS, 145 Tests, 3154 runs at 17.33, 708 wickets at 25.42.

There’s little more to say really about Warne.

Like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Lionel Messi, and the way they did things that others in their sports could only wonder at, Warne made cricket compulsory viewing whenever he had a ball in his hand.

10. Waqar Younis
Pakistan, RHB, RF, 87 Tests (17 capt), 1010 runs at 10.20, 373 wickets at 23.56.

With his reverse swing at searing pace, Waqar revolutionised fast bowling in the ’90s.

His partnership with Wasim Akram was one of the most effective of all time and by the time he retired, Waqar’s career strike rate of 43.50 was unheard for any bowler with that many wickets.

Australian’s probably never rated Waqar as highly as they should due to his relatively modest performances against us generally – 12 Tests, 30 wickets at 34 – and especially in Australia, seven Tests, 14 wickets at 40.50.

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His batting average is the lowest of any player with 1000 Test runs.

11. Courtney Walsh
West Indies, RHB, RF, 132 Tests (22 capt), 936 runs at 7.55, 519 wickets at 24.44.

This mighty, indestructible fast bowler is the only quick to have bowled 30,000 balls in Tests.

Walsh started his days as the ‘easy’ fourth bowler in the West Indies line-up but aggregate wise ended up the greatest of all.

His 519 wickets was a world record until Warne overtook it in 2004. No bowler in the last 30 years has come close to Walsh’s first class aggregate of 1807 wickets.

His 13/55 match figures against New Zealand in 1995 are the best match figures by a Test captain.