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The Roar



The Australian cricket all-time great alphabet teams: Letter K

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Roar Guru
5th March, 2020
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So following on from last time’s J team, we come to the Ks.

They are another team struggling a bit for depth, although they boast a side with only one non-Test player and they have some quality batsmen who have scored mountains of first-class runs.

Robbie Kerr (QLD) — two Tests, 31 runs at 7.75
Robbie Kerr only played two Tests with limited success, but he was a stylish opening batsman for Queensland with a first-class record of 93 matches and 5709 runs at 37.31 with 16 centuries. He played for his state throughout the 1980s as they tried but failed to claim their first ever Shield title. Between 1981-82 and 1987-88, Kerr scored over 600 runs and averaged over 30 in every season.

Kerr was selected for Australia during their lowest period, in 1985 as they lost a series to a Richard Hadlee-inspired New Zealand. He replaced Andrew Hilditch after the first Test defeat, but a batting order of Wayne Phillips, Kerr, David Boon, Allan Border, Greg Ritchie and David Hookes struggled and Kerr’s final Test innings was a first-ball duck, bowled by Hadlee. He toured India thereafter but lost his place in the team to the new opening combination of Geoff March and David Boon.

Kerr also played for ODIs for Australia in 1985 and had more success, scoring 87 not out against England and being named man of the match as he shared an unbeaten 150-run stand with Dean Jones to comfortably chase down the English total.

Charles Kelleway (NSW) (right-arm medium fast) — 26 Tests, 1422 runs at 37.42, three centuries, 147 high score, 52 wickets at 32.36
Charlie Kelleway was an opening batsman who played 26 Tests between 1910 and 1926 and would likely have played more but for World War One. Kelleway was a captain in the Australian Armed Forces.

Kelleway’s career was divided into two parts. He was first selected in 1910 and built nicely until he scored two centuries in England against South Africa in the triangular tournament of 1912. Kelleway was also a handy pace bowler. In the game in Manchester, he complemented his century with five second-innings wickets opening the bowling. Kelleway averaged 60 across the six matches against England and South Africa before war intervened to halt international cricket.

After an eight-year gap, Kelleway played in the 1921 and 1924 English tours of Australia. His greatest innings of this period was a painstaking 147 from 414 balls in the second innings in Adelaide in 1921, allowing Australia to secure a 119-run victory after being 93 runs behind on the first innings. This was during Warwick Armstrong’s team’s famous five-nil victory over the touring English. Kelleway’s contribution was to average over 47 with the bat and around 21 with the ball.

Kelleway was a still a formidable player at the end of his career, topping NSW’s Sheffield Shield runs table during their title winning 1925-26 season.


Usman Khawaja (NSW/QLD) — 44 Tests, 2887 runs at 40.66, eight centuries
Usman Khawaja is often derided as failing to capitalise on his talent, but a 44-Test career to date with an average over 40 is not too shabby. Maybe the problem is that he looks so talented that there is a nagging expectation that he should be great, not merely very good.

Khawaja was drafted into the national team during their disastrous home Ashes loss in 2010-11. His composed 37 on debut was seen as something special, possibly because there had been very little to cheer about up to that point. This created expectations that were not met by a string of middling scores over the next two years, with only two half centuries.

Khawaja was dropped from the side but returned in the 2015 home series against NZ and the West Indies. His 504 runs at 126 including three centuries established him in the side and led to a reputation as a great home player, but his subsequent failures and dropping on the tour of Sri Lanka reinforced his frailties overseas.

Khawaja returned for the home summer and enjoyed prolific series against South Africa and Pakistan (581 runs at 58). But he seems stuck in a pattern of not being trusted overseas, either being overlooked entirely (India 2017) or being given a very short leash (Bangladesh 2017).

A wonderful rear-guard century in the UAE looked to have turned this all around, but Khawaja then struggled to impose himself as the senior batsman as a side missing Steve Smith and David Warner lost at home to India for the very first time. His subsequent failures in the 2019 Ashes resulted in another demotion, and this one looks like being for some time.

Usman Khawaja

(Lindsey Parnaby / AFP / Getty Images)

At first-class level Khawaja is approaching 10,000 career runs at an average over 40. He is also a fine limited-overs player, with an ODI average of 42 from 40 matches and an imposing domestic 50-over and 20-over record.

Michael Klinger (SA) — three T20 internationals, 143 runs at 47.66
Michael Klinger has enjoyed a prolific first-class career, scoring over 11,000 runs and 30 centuries. He also retired as the record holder for most BBL career runs. But his national appearances were limited to three T20 internationals in the twilight of his career. He performed admirably, but more chances were not forthcoming.


Klinger had a slow start to his domestic career after debuting as an 18-year-old with Victoria in 1998. On moving to South Australia a decade later he was named state captain and was the domestic player of the year in 2009 and 2010, after topping the Shield run scoring in both years. His 1203 runs in the 2008-09 season is the eighth most in Shield history. Klinger holds the dubious record of being the only player in Australian domestic cricket to be stranded on 99 not out by a captain’s declaration.

Simon Katich (NSW) (captain) – 56 Tests, 4188 runs at 45.03, ten centuries, 157 high score
Our captain here for the Ks is Simon Katich, another player with an amazing first-class career. Katich is unlucky to have not played more than his 56 Tests and would have made a fine national captain. He was dropped in 2011 while averaging over 50 as an opening batsman in Tests, one of the very few Australians ever to do so.

But he had already enjoyed a fine career. Katich is one of the rare players to average more away from home (45.4 vs 44.2). He averaged over 40 in Asia. On his return to the side as an opener in 2008 he averaged 50.48, scored eight of his ten centuries and scored over 1000 Test runs in two of three calendar years. Talk about going out on a high!

The first half of his Test career was less impressive but still very solid until, like others, he was undone by the impressive England attack in the 2005 away Ashes. He lost his position for three years on the back of that series, but his career average up to that time of around 44 was probably worth persevering with.

Katich’s first-class record is huge: 266 matches, 20,926 runs at 52.84, 58 hundreds and a high score of 306. In 2008 he set the all time Shield season record of 1506 runs. He had also topped the Shield runs table the season before.


Alan Kippax (NSW) — 22 Tests, 1192 runs at 36.12, two centuries, 146 high score
Alan Kippax was a stylish and dominant player at first-class level (12,762 runs at 57.22) who did not quite bring this prolific run scoring to his Test career.

Kippax was a long-time leader for NSW and his greatest feats, including a world record 307 tenth-wicket stand, were for his state.

Despite scoring prolifically between 1922 and 1926, Kippax struggled to get into the Test side (his omission from the 1926 Ashes tour was especially controversial) and was probably just past his peak at over 30 by the time he played his 22 Tests. He still toured England twice, but was undone by the pace of Harold Larwood in the first Test in 1932 (after being hit in the head twice the previous season) and his career wound down thereafter.

Jason Krejza (TAS) (leg spin) — two Tests, 13 wickets at 43.23, best bowling 8-215
Jason Krejza was a big-turning leg-spinner who had a remarkable if short Test career. Krejza was plucked out of nowhere during Australia’s post-Shane Warne search for a spinner, boasting a first class average of nearly 50.

Debuting against India in Nagpur in 2008, Krezja opened with the remarkable figures of 43.5 overs, one maiden, eight wickets for 215 runs, at an economy rate of nearly five per over. He followed it up with another four wickets at a cost of 143 runs in the second innings. It was a stunning performance, the most wickets on debut since Bob Massie, but also the most expensive debut performance by any Test cricketer in history. It remained his only career five-wicket innings and ten-wicket match hauls in first-class cricket.

Despite concerns over his economy rate, Krezja was given a home Test against South Africa the following season, in Perth. Krezja gave up another 102 runs in the first innings, but this time with only one wicket. In the second innings, South Africa pulled off a remarkable chase of 414 to win the match, losing only four wickets. Krezja gave up another 102 runs and went wicketless and his Test career was over. He never went for less than 100 in an innings and his economy rate never dropped below four.

Krezja was a handy batsman, good enough to be classed as a bowling all-rounder. He averaged over 25 in first-class cricket and scored two centuries.

James Kelly (NSW) (wicketkeeper) — 36 Tests, 664 runs at 17.02, 43 catches and 20 stumpings
James Kelly was Australia’s long-time wicketkeeper in the 1890s and 1900s, touring England four times. In a different era for keeping, he never took more than four dismissals in a Test. While never scoring a Test half century, Kelly was a capable batsman, scoring three first-class centuries. He was a durable player and played 33 consecutive Tests against England.


Kelly was named one of Wisden’s cricketers of the year in 1903.

(Wiki Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Michael Kasprowicz (QLD) (right-arm fast) — 38 Tests, 113 wickets at 32.88, best bowling 7-36
Michael Kasprowicz is one of the greatest pace bowlers ever produced by Queensland. He is another with a remarkable first-class record (a whopping 959 wickets at 26.59 from 242 games) but his Test career was limited by competition from Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee. He still took over 100 wickets and played for Australia for nearly a decade.

Kasprowicz started slowly, taking no wickets in his first three Test innings (against the West Indies in 1996). He had a better time of it on the 1997 Ashes tour of England. Selected for three Tests, he took 14 wickets at an average of only 22.14. This included a career-best 7-36 in the second innings at the Oval. He made sporadic appearances over the next few years without making a first-choice spot his own.

After not playing any Tests between 2001 and 2004, Kasprowicz was recalled for the 2004 tour of Sri Lanka and impressed with 12 wickets at 25. As a result he became a key part of the Australia’s successful tour of India in 2004, where the strategy of bowling dry won an historic series for the tourists.

2004 was the standout year for Kasprowicz, taking 47 wickets at 23.74 from 14 Tests. His returns diminished thereafter and possibly his most famous moment was with the bat, where in the famous Birmingham Test of 2005, Kasper was caught behind only two runs short of a remarkable victory as Australia scrapped from 7-137 to 279 all out. The 2005 Ashes possibly turned on that moment. And of course it was not out, but that is an argument for another time.

Lindsay Kline (VIC) (left-arm wrist spin) — 13 Tests, 34 wickets at 22.82, best bowling 7-75
Lindsay Kline was one of the few left-arm wrist-spinners to play at the highest level for Australia. He only played 13 Tests in the late 1950s and early ’60s, but his record was very good and he was involved in a number of historic Test moments.

In 1958 in only his second Test, Kline took a hat trick against South Africa, one of only nine Australians to do so. His three wickets were the final three of the Test, all for ducks.


In 1959, Kline took a career best 7-75 in Lahore against Pakistan as Australia became the first visiting side to win a series in that country.

In the 1960-61 home series against the West Indies (made famous due to the Tied Test), Kline came in at number 11 in the Adelaide Test with 100 minutes remaining and duly batted out a draw in the company of Ken ‘Slasher’ MacKay to help Australia eventually win the series. It was to be his last Test. Earlier in the series, he had also faced the last ball in the tied Test as Ian Meckiff was run out by Joe Solomon going for the match-winning single. Not a bad scrapbook from just 13 Tests.

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Tom Kendall (TAS/VIC) (left-arm medium) – two Tests, 14 wickets at 15.35, best bowling 7-55
Tom Kendall was one of the pioneers of Australian cricket, playing two Tests in 1877. This included the first ever Test match. Kendall was Australia’s second-innings hero, taking 7-55 as England succumbed for 108 to lose by 45 runs. His 17 not out from number ten as part of a 29-run last-wicket stand was also, in hindsight, a most valuable contribution.


Kendall only played only eight first-class games, taking 40 wickets at an average of 16.65. This was due to him moving to Tasmania for business, where little first-class cricket was played.

Next time we tackle the L team, one of the contenders, with a very solid batting line-up and a fearsome bowling unit.