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Opinion

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

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Roar Guru
27th March, 2020
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So following on from last time’s W team, we come to the Y team.

They nearly didn’t field a side but managed to cobble something together, using a bunch of all-rounders.

Graham Yallop (VIC) (captain)

39 Tests, 2756 runs at 41.13, eight centuries, 268 high score
Highest ICC batting ranking: 8 (October 1979)

The standout batsman and captain of this team is Graham Yallop. A quality batsman for Victoria during the 1970s and 1980s, Yallop was thrust into national leadership for the 1977-78 home Ashes after virtually all first-choice Australian players defected to World Series Cricket.

His record of eight centuries in 39 Tests through a period of turmoil in Australian cricket shows his quality. Yallop was especially competent against spinners and averaged over 44 in Asia.

Yallop had debuted for Australia in 1975-76 in the fourth Test against the West Indies after rattling off four scores in a row over 70 in domestic cricket. He was thrown straight in at number three and performed creditably, averaging nearly 45 over three Tests. But Yallop did not get to play another Test after that series until the World Series Cricket split.

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Even at that time Yallop was not picked until the fifth Test against India, at which point he scored a century and secured his place. He was made vice-captain for the West Indies tour and performed well, averaging over 45 for the series. He then was handed the captaincy after Bob Simpson was overlooked for the home Ashes.

Yallop struggled along with virtually all of his inexperienced team against a full strength England. He did, however, score two centuries. His 121 out of 198 in the final Test was a brilliant knock, with the next highest score only 16. But the series was emphatically lost. He led the team for one more Test, losing against Pakistan.

He missed the second Test through injury and the side were victorious with Kim Hughes leading. Yallop was dropped as captain thereafter but remained in the squad and scored 423 runs at 39 on the away tour of India that followed.

Yallop did not immediately keep his place in the side after reunification, but he remained there or thereabouts, scoring centuries away against Pakistan in 1980 and England in 1981 and 98 away to Sri Lanka in 1983. A pattern was developing where he played reasonably well overseas but was overlooked for home series. In that respect he could be considered similar to Glenn Maxwell.

This all changed in 1983-84 when Yallop was selected for the home series against Pakistan. He responded with 554 runs at 98 for the series including his highest score, a massive 268 in the Boxing Day Test on his home ground.
Yallop only played two more Tests after that epic performance. A series of injuries and poor form saw him fall out of Test consideration and he effectively finished his Test career by joining the rebel tour of South Africa in 1985. Yallop had scored a century at every Test ground on mainland Australia, plus scores over 150 in each of India and Pakistan to boot.

At domestic level Yallop scored 11,600 first-class runs at 45. In 1982-83 he broke the record for the most runs in a Sheffield Shield season with 1254, still the fifth highest of all time.

Graham Yallop

(S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Peter Young (VIC)

22 first-class matches, 1067 runs at 38.10, two centuries, 164* high score

Opening the batting with Graham Yallop is another Victorian, Peter Young. Young played for Victoria in the second half of the 1980s. He put together some solid numbers, averaging just under 40 with two centuries. He also played 13 one-day games for the state, averaging over 30 with a high score of 97 not out.

Young debuted in the 1984-85 season, playing three games, scoring one half century and averaging 26. He got five more games the following season but performed poorly, scoring 124 runs at only 17.7.

An otherwise struggle of a season was saved by his form on debut in the 50-over competition. Young batted four times for 240 runs, including two half centuries and his highest score of 97 not out. This score was made in Victoria’s semi-final victory over NSW at the SCG. Chasing 191 (how times have changed!) on a spinning wicket, Young came in at 2-14, put on a 97-run partnership with Dean Jones (who scored 48) and then anchored the chase home with 11 balls to spare. Victoria went on to lose the final to WA. Young’s other half century was 83 from 81 balls against Tasmania.

That run ensured Young received another chance in the Shield and in 1986-87 he averaged 37.7 from four games and hit his maiden first class century, 111 against NSW in the last match of the season against a bowling attack consisting of Dave Gilbert, Geoff Lawson, Bob Holland, Steve Waugh, Peter Taylor and Greg Matthews.

Young played in the final against Western Australia that year but did not make a score as WA drew the match to win the title. Young’s limited-overs season was not as successful as the year before, only playing three games with a high score of 51.

1987-88 was Young’s best season. He was in the first-choice squad and scored 543 first-class runs from nine matches at 60.33. This included his highest first class score of 164 not out against Tasmania, plus three other half centuries.

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And that was it. Young played only one further first-class match two seasons later and scored seven, and two further 50-over games, scoring four and one.

George Young (WA)

Two first-class matches, 154 runs at 51.33, one century, 125 high score

Coming in at first drop we have a WA hall of fame member. Unfortunately that was for Australian rules, but George Young was also a fair cricketer.

Young played two Sheffield Shield games in 1972-73, a season that saw WA take the title. Young’s two matches included 125 against South Australia in the final game, won by WA by an innings to clinch the title. He had played the previous match against Queensland, also won by the Western Australians. So in an undefeated career Young won a Sheffield Shield, averaged 51.33 with the bat and took four catches.

It was in Aussie rules that Young made his name. He represented WA between 1970 and 1972 and was selected in the All Australian team in 1972. He played 77 games for Subiaco in the WAFL, kicking 72 goals and another 108 games for St Kilda in the VFL, kicking 284 goals and being the club’s highest goal-scorer each year from 1975 to 1978. He once kicked ten goals in a match against Fitzroy. Young was named in Subiaco’s team of the century. Moving to St Kilda for the 1973 season effectively ended Young’s representative cricket career.

Walter Yeates (NSW)

Leg spin – six first-class matches, 299 runs at 29.9, six wickets at 38.83

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Coming in at number four is Walter Yeates, a left-handed batsman from NSW. In six Sheffield Shield matches in the 1949-50 season (won by NSW), Yeates scored three half centuries in the first four matches. He had a top score of 93, in the side’s second match at home to WA.

Yeates also bowled leg breaks and his best bowling performance of 2-52 was recorded in the same match against WA.

In the next match away to South Australia Yeates scored 63 and took one wicket. Following on from that Yeates hit 67 not out against Victoria at the MCG. Returns diminished thereafter and by season’s end Yeates was out of the side, with the leg-spinning all-rounder duties taken up by some young fellow called Richie Benaud.

(Wiki Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Shaun Young (TAS)

Right-arm fast medium – one Test, four runs, no wickets, 138 first-class matches, 7212 runs at 37.95, 14 centuries, 237 high score, 274 wickets at 35.82, best bowling 7-64

Shaun Young memorably played one Test on the 1997 tour of England, plucked from Gloucestershire where he was having a successful stint in county cricket (recording a 237 the month before) to play at the Oval in the dead-rubber sixth Test. It was not a great match for Young, scoring a duck and four not out in a low-scoring match and receiving limited bowling opportunities (no wickets for eight from seven overs in the first innings and only a single over in the second) as England won the match.

Australia were chasing only 124 for victory, but when Young arrived at the crease it was 6-88. The rest of batting folded so quickly, Young faced 24 balls for his four runs while Ian Healy, Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz and finally Glenn McGrath were dismissed leaving Australia 18 runs short.

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Young never received another chance at the top level, however he was a strong performer for Tasmania over a career spanning ten years, with more than 7000 first-class runs and over 270 wickets to his name. Young was a genuine all-rounder, batting left-handed and bowling right-arm medium, with a first-class batting average of nearly 38 and a bowling mark under 36.

In 1993-94 in Tasmania’s first ever Sheffield Shield final, Young top scored in the first innings with 62 and took three first-innings wickets in their eventual loss to NSW.

Brad Young (SA)

Left-arm orthodox – six ODIs, 31 runs at 15.5, one wicket at 251, 54 first-class matches, 2119 runs at 28.63, three centuries, 122 high score, 141 wickets at 44.71, best bowling 6-85

Brad Young was an aggressive batsman who also bowled serviceable left-arm orthodox for South Australia in 1990s and 2000s. He played six ODIs in the late 1990s but with a top score of only 18 and only a single wicket to his name, he did not get a long run. Young also had an injury setback at the time, damaging his knee while sliding into a boundary fence in a one day international at the SCG.

Young was a good enough lower-order bat to hit three first-class centuries. After a number of years out of state level cricket, Young was picked up by the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL in 2012 at 38 years old.

Allan Young (QLD)

Leg spin – 23 first-class matches, 553 runs at 20.48, 26 wickets at 54.92

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Allan Young played for Queensland in the late 1940s as a batsman and leg-spin bowler. Debuting after the war, Young made a good impression in three matches in the 1945-46 season, scoring a half century and averaging over 38 with the bat and under 39 with the ball.

The following season saw his batting fall away. He scored a half century but averaged only 15. Young’s bowling remained serviceable but not particularly threatening, averaging around 39 and taking half of his eight wickets in one innings.

Young played another six games in 1947-48 but a batting average of 15 with no half centuries and a bowling average over 60 meant he only played a couple of times the following season. He had a final series of selections in 1949-50 but achieved similar modest results.

Bruce Yardley (WA)

Off spin – 33 Tests, 978 runs at 19.56, 126 wickets at 31.63, best bowling 7-98
Highest ICC bowling ranking: 10 (July 1982), highest all-round ranking: 5 (January 1982)

The late ‘Roo’ Yardley was an energetic off-spinner for WA, who played more than 30 Tests between 1978 and 1983. Bowling at near medium pace from a bounding run-up, Yardley had a peak in the early 1980s, being named Australia’s player of the season in 1981-82.

Bruce Yardley of Australia bowls during the Third Test match against England in 1982

(Adrian Murrell/Allsport)

Yardley had been playing first-class cricket on and off since 1966, firstly as a medium pacer and then a specialist batsman, before finding his niche as an off-spinner. He had not really set the world on fire but World Series Cricket took a number of players out of contention, and he then he took a seven-wicket haul just as selectors were considering dropping Tony Mann. So Yardley came from the clouds to play the fifth Test against India.

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He scored a couple of handy 20s and took four second-innings wickets, booking himself a tour to the West Indies. On that tour he averaged nearly 30 with the bat and took 15 wickets at 25 with the ball.

Yardley had a difficult home season against the English in 1978-79, like virtually all of the depleted home team. He was selected for three out of six Tests and did score a 50. This pattern continued for the next 18 months or so – solid batting, inconsistent bowling but making a contribution, however not doing quite enough to maintain selection.

Then in the 1981-82 home series against Pakistan and the West Indies, Yardley came of age, taking 38 wickets for the summer in six Tests at an average just over 22. This contributed to victory over Pakistan and a drawn series against the West Indies.

Yardley finished his career with solid series against NZ, Pakistan and the home Ashes against England, before retiring at 36 years old.

Yardley is also remembered for his gully fielding, which was spectacular at times and he took 31 catches in his 33 Tests. He was also a reasonable lower-order batsman, scoring four Test half centuries.

Dennis Yagmich (WA, SA)

Wicketkeeper – 24 first-class matches, 319 runs at 13.29, 86 dismissals

Dennis Yagmich played first-class cricket for WA in the early 1970s, getting four games when Rod Marsh was unavailable. He took 25 dismissals in those four matches, which is very good going and included nine in his only match of the 1973-74 season, against Queensland at the WACA.

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Yagmich moved to SA looking for more opportunities and played 20 matches for them over the next three seasons, making 61 dismissals.

He was a solid keeper, but his batting was not quite at modern keeping levels, never scoring a first-class 50 and averaging just 13. Yagmich was picked up by World Series Cricket in 1977 and played in the second-tier Country Cup competition.

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Fergus Yeates (QLD)

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Leg spin – three first-class matches, 46 runs at 11.5, six wickets at 60.16

Fergus Yeates played three matches for Queensland in the 1933-34 season without doing a heck of a lot.

In his first match against NSW, Yeates scored 13 not out batting at number ten as Bill O’Reilly ran through the Queensland side, taking six wickets. He then dismissed both NSW openers: Jack Fingleton and Bill Brown, which sounds promising except that Fingleton scored 53 and Brown 154. Bradman hit a neat 200 and Yeates finished with 2-155 on debut. But his batting had been good so he was promoted to number three, where he was dismissed for a duck by to one of O’Reilly seven second-innings victims.

Yeates was back down the order in his second match against Victoria, scoring 16 and 15. His bowling figures were none for 90.

Yeates was left out after that performance but returned for the final match of the season, against South Australia. In the first innings he recorded his best figures of 3-47 and took 1-69 in the second innings.

Claye Young (TAS)

Right-arm fast medium – three first-class matches, one run, 11 wickets at 33.0, best bowling 6-120

Claye Young’s main claim to cricketing fame might be that he is Shaun Young’s brother (refer above). He played three games for Tasmania in 1987-88, taking 11 wickets. But they were an interesting three games.

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Firstly, with the bat, Young appears to have been a solid number 11, but on debut against Victoria, he did hold out for one from 17 balls to help Tasmania hang on for a draw, nine wickets down.

Then in his second game against Queensland, he managed to get himself stumped by the great Ian Healy for a duck, from the bowling of the current chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns. With the ball he took two quality first-innings wickets, Allan Border and Greg Ritchie. And then finally, with Queensland chasing 409 to win, Young was the star, taking six second-innings wickets to bowl Tasmania to victory. His scalps included Border for a second time (obviously AB was his bunny) and also Ian Botham, who was doing a stint for Queensland at the time.

Young’s final first-class game was in a match against the touring Sri Lankans. Young managed two first-innings wickets, including the great Aravinda de Silva LBW for a duck.

Border, Botham and de Silva. Not a bad little career. Another highlight would have been playing alongside the great Dennis Lillee, who was making a comeback for Tasmania that season.

Next time we tackle the final side in this competition: the super-group team of QUXZ. Then we will wrap it up by ranking the teams and announcing the winner of the Australian Cricket Alphabet Cup.