With the 12th Cricket World Cup starting in England within eight weeks, cricket lovers and experts are busy selecting their World Cup XIs, either of each participating country or one composite XI.
Rather than following this line, I have come up with a novel concept. Why not select the two best World Cup squads of 15; one from the Southern Hemisphere and one from the Northern Hemisphere?
The Southern Hemisphere team will include players from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with selection based on statistics in World Cup matches.
The Northern Hemisphere team will include players from England, the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan with selection based on statistics in World Cup matches.
Statistical criteria: A player should have scored 900 runs or more or taken 30 wickets or more in World Cup matches. For all-rounders the criteria are not applied rigidly.
Today’s Part 1 will select the Southern Hemisphere World Cup XI. Part II, to be published tomorrow, will select the Northern Hemisphere World Cup XI.
World Cup batsmen
|Ricky Ponting (Aus)||46||1743||140*||45.86||79.95||5||6||31||28|
|AB de Villiers (SA)||23||1207||162*||63.52||117.29||4||6||37||12|
|Jacques Kallis (SA)||36||1148||128*||45.92||74.40||1||9||13||13|
|Adam Gilchrist (Aus)||31||1085||149||36.16||98.01||1||8||19||45^|
|Stephen Fleming (NZ)||33||1075||134*||35.83||76.89||2||5||11||12|
|Herschelle Gibbs (SA)||25||1067||143||56.15||87.38||2||8||28||10|
|Mark Waugh (Aus)||22||1004||130||52.84||83.73||4||4||9||11|
|Matthew Hayden (Aus)||22||987||158||51.94||92.93||3||2||23||12|
|Steve Waugh (Aus)||33||978||120*||48.90||81.02||1||6||13||14|
|Scott Styris (NZ)||26||909||141||53.47||88.59||2||6||17||13|
Gilchrist also stumped 7.
World Cup bowlers
|Glenn McGrath (Aus)||39||71||7-15||18.19||3.96||27.5||2||0||5|
|Allan Donald (SA)||25||38||4-17||24.02||4.17||34.5||0||2||3|
|Jacob Oram (NZ)||23||36||4-39||21.33||4.21||30.3||0||2||13|
|Daniel Vettori (NZ)||32||36||4-18||32.44||4.14||46.9||0||2||9|
|Brett Lee (Aus)||17||35||5-42||17.97||4.57||23.5||1||2||12|
|Brad Hogg (Aus)||21||34||4-27||19.23||4.12||27.9||0||2||8|
|Shaun Tait (Aus)||18||34||4-39||21.50||5.35||24.0||0||1||2|
|Tim Southee (NZ)||17||33||7-33||23.75||5.11||27.8||1||0||3|
|Shane Warne (Aus)||17||32||4-29||19.50||3.83||30.5||0||4||2|
|Chris Harris (NZ)||28||32||4-7||26.90||4.43||36.4||0||1||7|
|Shaun Pollock (SA)||31||31||5-36||31.29||3.60||52.0||1||0||12|
|Shane Bond (NZ)||16||30||6-23||17.26||3.50||29.5||1||0||6|
Australians have a lion’s share in the Southern Hemisphere team. The first three batsmen will be Aussies: Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting.
Dynamic openers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist will give the Southern Hemisphere team an awe-inspiring start. Popularly known as Haydo and Gilly, they have been associated in five century partnerships for the first wicket in the World Cup, the highest being 172 against Sri Lanka at Bridgetown on 28 April 2007.
Gilchrist will keep wickets, having made 52 dismissals – a record number of catches, 45 and seven stumpings.
Ricky Ponting walks in at No. 3. He has played most number of World Cup matches (46) and took most catches for a non-wicket (28). South Africa’s AB de Villiers will bat at No. 4. He lifted 37 sixes, a record he shares with Chris Gayle of the West Indies.
Australia’s elegant stroke player Mark Waugh comes in next, followed by South Africa’s all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Australia’s Michael Clarke (888 runs) and New Zealand’s Martin Crowe (880 runs) narrowly miss out as they did not reach our qualification of 900 runs.
The Southern Hemisphere is rich in batting as Australia’s never-say-die Steve Waugh bats at No. 7. He also took 27 wickets (best: three for 36) at 30.14. He bowled at his best in the death overs, getting vital wickets in over numbers 49 and 50, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Having led Australia to many victories, he will captain this team.
We need two fast bowlers and two spinners – a leg spinner and an off spinner. Who will spearhead the attack?
The selection is easy: Australia’s Glenn McGrath and South Africa’s Allan Donald.
McGrath took the most number of wickets in the World Cup, 71 in 39 matches, with the best bowling figures of seven for 15, a record in the World Cup. Kallis will be the first change bowler and Steve Waugh will bowl the mid-overs and at the death.
Australia’s legendary Shane Warne is the obvious choice as the leg-break googly bowler.
The second spinner is New Zealand’s slow left-arm orthodox Daniel Vettori. He will bat at No. 8, followed by Warne, Donald and McGrath.
My choice is South Africa’s attacking batsman and excellent fielder Herschelle Gibbs. A ‘six-o-maniac’, he belted 28 sixes. On 16 March 2007 in the 2006-07 World Cup match against Netherland at Basseterre in the West Indies he dispatched Daan van Bunge for six successive sixes in one over, becoming the first cricketer to do so in an international over. During this innings he raised US$1 million for the Habitat of Humanity housing project.
We need three reserves from six candidates below to select the Best XV.
Left-handed New Zealand batsman Stephen Fleming, graceful and determined, scored 1075 runs at 35.83 in 33 matches, smashing 11 sixes. He also took 12 catches.
New Zealand’s fast-medium bowler Tim Southee took 33 wickets at 23.75 in 17 matches. Against England at Wellington on 20 February 2015 he captured seven for 33.
Another New Zealand fast-medium bowler, Jacob Oram, took 36 wickets at 21.33 in 23 matches. Kiwi fast bowler Shane Bond, described by Brydon Coverdale in ESPNcricinfo as “fast, fearsome and fragile”, took 30 wickets at 17.26 in 16 matches.
Australia’s express fast bowler Brett Lee captured 35 scalps at 17.97 in 17 matches.
In 31 matches South Africa’s all-rounder Shaun Pollock scored 279 runs (high score: 52) at 17.43 with a strike rate 75.60, hitting four sixes. As a fast-medium bowler he took 31 wickets at 31.29 and 12 catches.
It is difficult to select three reserves from the above six. My personal choice is Fleming, Southee and Lee.
Twelfth man: Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa).
Reserves: New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming and Tim Southee, and Australia’s Brett Lee.
Part 2 will select the World Cup XI from the Northern Hemisphere.