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Opinion

The Australian cricket all-time great alphabet teams: Letters Q, U, X and Z

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Roar Guru
31st March, 2020
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Following last time’s Y Team, we come to the QUXZ supergroup.

Letter X is a token invitation as there have been no first-class players with a surname beginning with X. There are two with surnames beginning with U, but neither of those players made the final cut. So really this is the QZ team. It’s probably not a contender, but their bowling is reasonable.

Rob Quiney (Victoria)

Two Tests, nine runs; 96 first-class matches, 5674 runs at 36.84, 11 centuries, high score of 153

Opening the batting is the long-time servant for Victoria, Rob Quiney. Quiney is one of only two players in this team with Test experience, and what an experience it was.

In 2012, 30-year-old Quiney was thrown into the deep end at No. 3 against the Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel-led South African bowling attack. His Test experience consisted of two Tests, 22 balls, two ducks, nine runs in first-class cricket.

His nine on debut, caught at fine leg by Dale Steyn, was notoriously and comically called the “best nine he had ever seen” by then coach Micky Arthur during a rather confused period for Australian cricket. This was despite it being only 250 runs short of what Michael Clarke managed to scratch out in that innings.

Quiney improved, though. In his second Test his first innings duck was only 230 short of Clarke’s effort – yes, Michael Clarke was in pretty good nick that year – and when he recorded his second duck to bag a pair his place in history was assured.

Somehow the very part-time bowler sent down 25 very economical overs for his country – 0-29 – surprisingly bowling for Australia before getting his first bat.

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But Quiney is unfairly remembered for his international career despite being a very important player for Victoria during a period of great success at domestic level, winning five Sheffield Shield titles with the Bushrangers, including a hat-trick of wins in Quiney’s final three years in the side. He also won three T20 titles and one 50-over title with the state.

Quiney was named the domestic player of the year in 2012 for consistently high-quality efforts at first-class, 50-over and 20-over levels, scoring over 1600 season runs in all formats between February 2011 and February 2012.

Quiney’s Victorian debut was interesting. It wasn’t an official first-class fixture, but his first game for Victoria was in 2005 in a warm-up game for the ICC World XI, who had been brought together to play the Australians in a one-off Test match.

Michael Quinn (Victoria)

31 first-class matches, 1490 runs at 31.04, one century, high score of 103

The other opener for the QUXZ team is Michael Quinn from Victoria, who played during the 1980s. He had a promising start to his first-class career in 1983-84, scoring 311 runs from four matches at an average of 51.8, including four half-centuries. However, the following season was a struggle, with only one half-century from three matches.

In 1985-86 Quinn played a full 11 matches and scored his only first-class century. This was a second innings 103 against South Australia, where Victoria successfully chased down a 265 target to win the match. However, his 535 runs for the season came at an average below 30, with another three half-centuries showing his struggle to convert starts to big scores.

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A further seven games in 1986-87 produced only one further half-century and an average hovering around the 30 mark. The pattern continued in 1987-88, Quinn’s final season. He scored another half-century without converting and averaged under 27 from his five matches. With ten half-centuries from 30 games but only one century, Quinn never quite put his stamp on the first-class game.

Patrick Quinlan (Western Australia)

13 first-class matches, 530 runs at 26.5; right-arm medium, ten wickets at 53.0

Coming in at No. 3 is Patrick Quinlan. Quinlan played for Western Australia,, but before that he represented Ireland, where he had been sent to be educated, four times immediately before the First World War. He scored 80 for his Irish club in a first-class fixture against South Africa in 1912 and a pair of half-centuries against Scotland in 1913.

In 1920 Quinlan returned to Western Australia to practice law. He played a number of times for Western Australia in tours east – this was before Western Australia was part of the Sheffield Shield – and captained his state in 1927. In that match he became the first player from Western Australia to carry his bat in a first-class innings, scoring 40 out of 131.

Keith Zeibell (Queensland)

Nine first-class matches, 506 runs at 36.14, one century, high score of 212*; right-arm medium, two wickets at 59.5

Next in is Toowoomba boy Keith Zeibell. He played only nine first-class matches for Queensland during the 1960s, but if he can match his single century of 212 not out, then this side will be off to a good start.

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Zeibell hit his double century in the second innings against Victoria at the MCG in December 1966. Victoria had slammed 573 in their first innings before Queensland crumbled for just 146 – Zeibell made 26 – and were forced to follow on. But the northerners dug in for their second innings, finishing 7-525.

Zeibell’s undefeated innings was the difference, with the next highest score being only 71. Zeibell fell back to earth in a hurry, though, shot out by great English spinner Tony Lock for one, and he was out for none in his next match against Western Australia.

Unfortunately Zeibell never again matched his MCG performance, scoring only two other half-centuries: 53 in 1966 at the Gabba against South Australia and 57 in December that year away to the same opposition.

Zeibell’s debut match against Victoria at the MCG in 1966 was a famous one, as Queensland pace bowler Peter Allen took all ten wickets in the first innings for 61 runs. Funnily enough he did not take a wicket in the second innings.

Robert Zadow (South Australia)

32 first-class matches, 1472 runs at 26.28, two centuries, high score of 144

At number five we have Bob Zadow. He played as a batsman for South Australia from 1979. He started slowly but ended up scoring two centuries in 1985-86, including 120 against the touring Indian side. He captained the stated side for one game in 1986.

Zadow played four matches in 1979-80, scoring a half-century and averaging 39. In 1980-81 he played six matches but could average only 20 with one more half-century. He was not selected the following year but returned in 1982-83 for three matches, but again he averaged around 20 with one half-century. Another year off followed before returning again in 1984-85, when again he managed one half-century and an average below 30.

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Then in 1985-86 Zadow played a full season and scored his two first-class centuries. He was still inconsistent, however, averaging only 28.4. The first was in the opening Shield match of the season against Western Australia, when he scored 144 in the second innings at No. 3 in the drawn match.

After only two games the following season with no significant scores, Zadow’s first-class career was over. Zadow continued playing grade cricket for many years and at one time held the record for the most career runs in South Australian grade cricket.

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Stanley Quin (Victoria)

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Wicketkeeper – 24 first-class matches, 1182 runs at 32.83, three centuries, high score of 210, 59 dismissals

At No. 6 and one of two wicketkeepers in the team is Stanley Quinn from Victoria. Quinn played for Victoria at various times through the 1930s. From his first season through his entire career, Quin was understudy to Ben Barnett, who played four Tests and 173 first-class games.

Quin’s first 12 first-class matches were all in non-Sheffield Shield matches against Tasmania, when Victoria did not always field their first-choice players. Quin hit a century in each of the 1931-32 and 1932-33 tours. It was on the 1933-34 return match at the MCG that Quin hit his highest score of 210 as part of partnership with Ian Lee of 424. This remains the highest fourth-wicket partnership for Victoria and the tenth-highest for the fourth wicket in all first-class cricket.

Quin hit two other half-centuries in that year’s Tasmanian matches. He also played two additional first-class matches that year as Western Australia toured the east coast – again, prior to joining the Sheffield Shield. Quin finished the season with 396 runs at an average of 49.50.

Opportunities were limited thereafter apart from the 1935-36 season. With Barnett unavailable, Quin finally got his chance in the Shield proper, playing six games and making 12 dismissals. He was not as successful with the bat, making one half-century and averaging 21.7.

As a wicketkeeper Quin made 25 stumpings out of his 59 career dismissals, showing the spin heavy conditions at the time.

Quin was also a top-class baseball catcher. He played for the Melbourne Baseball Club for nearly 20 years, winning seven premierships and playing for Victoria for nine years. In 1935 Quin was recognised for catching 36 innings in a row without an error in Caxton Shield.

Tim Zoehrer (captain, Western Australia)

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Wicketkeeper – ten Tests, 246 runs at 20.50, 18 catches and one stumping; 147 first-class matches, 5348 runs at 29.54, seven centuries, high score of 168, 461 dismissals, 38 wickets at 46.52

The second keeper in the squad is Western Australian Tim Zoehrer. He was a popular cricketer in the west who was unlucky not to add to his ten Tests. Wicketkeeping spots are often hard to come by, and being around in the era of Rod Marsh, Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist did not help.

Zoehrer took over from Rod Marsh at state level and then was elevated to the Test team in 1986. Despite performing steadily, he was unable to produce a standout performance and was replaced first by Greg Dyer and then jumped over by Ian Healy, who had just started in first-class cricket. Zoehrer was perhaps hard done by, but one score over 30 in 14 innings certainly left the door open.

Zoehrer toured England as Healy’s understudy in 1989 and again in 1993, but the durable Queenslander did not give up too many chances to his back up keeper. He also played 22 one-day internationals, scoring one half-century but generally not producing enough to keep the eye of the selectors.

At state level Zoehrer took 360 dismissals, a Western Australia record – and the fourth most in Sheffield Shield history – and scored seven centuries. In 1992 Zoehrer scored a half-century in each innings of Western Australia’s Shield final win against New South Wales.

Given the presence of another keeper in the team, Zoehrer will also have the chance to showcase his leg spin, which netted him 38 first-class wickets. This included the rather odd achievement of topping the first-class bowling averages on both of his Ashes tours.

Adam Zampa (South Australia)

Leg spin, 55 ODI, 75 wickets at 36.01; 30 T20Is, 33 wickets at 19.03; 38 first-class matches, 1177 runs at 21.79, 105 wickets at 48.26, best bowling of 6-62
ICC highest ODI bowling ranking: 42 (May 2019); highest T20 bowling ranking: 2 (October 2019), behind Rashid Khan (Afhanistan)

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Adam Zampa makes this side on the strength of his limited-overs performances, where he has become the regular first-choice spinner in the national side. His T20 bowling in particular has been very good in recent times, and he was ranked No. 2 in the world as recently as October 2019.

At first-class level Zampa has struggled with the ball, although he has at time shown his potential, including a best innings performance of 6-62. But his 100-plus wickets have come at an average approaching 50, which is not really sufficient to justify his 38 first-class games. Zampa has also scored over 1000 first-class runs with the bat.

So Zampa had better get his act together for this side or Tim Zoehrer will have his pads off in a flash.

Australia's Adam Zampa bowls

(AAP Image/SNPA, John Cowpland)

Andrew Zesers (South Australia)

Right-arm medium fast, two ODIs, one wicket at 74.0; 45 first-class matches, 142 wickets at 30.44, best bowling 7-67

Andrew Zesers was a story of a highly promising young career prematurely cut short due to injury. Maybe if he had played in the current era, he could have enjoyed a Pat Cummins-like recovery, but in the 1990s it was not to be.

Zesers debuted for South Australia at only 17 years old. After three seasons he became the youngest Australian player in history to take 100 first-class wickets, before he had turned 21.

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Zesers showed great promise early, scoring 85 and taking 5-51 in a single match against Victoria in his debut season. After 14 wickets from five games in 1984-85 he took over 40 wickets in each of the next two seasons, with a best bowling performance of 7-67 in 1987, again against Victoria.

As a result Zesers was selected in the national squad for the 1987 World Cup. He played two matches during the tournament, performing solidly without being a standout, and was overlooked for the knockout stages.

Thereafter Zesers’s effectiveness tailed off as he struggled with chronic shoulder problems, and unfortunately he was forced into retirement at only 23 years old, well before most players reach their prime.

Zesers also had potential as a batsman, scoring two 50s with a high score of 85.

Ian Quick (Victoria)

Left-arm orthodox; 63 first-class matches, 195 wickets at 30.46, best bowling 7-20

Great name for a bowler. Pity he bowled slow left arm.

Ian Quick played for Victoria between 1957 and 1962. He has a very solid first-class record, especially for a left-arm spinner in Australian conditions, with nearly 200 first-class wickets, seven five-wicket single-innings hauls and one ten-wicket haul in a match.

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Quick debuted in 1957, taking five wickets in his only first-class game. In 1957-58 he became a regular for Victoria, taking three five-wicket hauls, including 6-65 in the first match against Queensland and 7-47 against Western Australia in the final match. After a quiet season in 1958-59, Quick had a good 1959-60, taking 27 wickets at 24.2, leading to representative selection. Another 32 wicket season followed in 1960-61.

Quick was selected for the 1961 Ashes tour under the captaincy of Richie Benaud. He took 48 wickets at 35.4 in the tour matches but was unable to force his way into the Test side, as the team was only playing Benaud as specialist spinner with support from Bob Simpson. Quick had also toured New Zealand in 1960 with an Australian XI, taking 14 wickets.

After the Ashes tour Quick played only one more first-class match at the start of the 1961-62 season.

Brian Quigley (South Australia)

Right-arm fast medium; 11 first-class matches, 32 wickets at 35.68, best bowling 7-39

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Brian Quigley played 11 matches for South Australia between 1959 and 1960. He is remembered chiefly for being one of the few bowlers to be called for throwing in an Australian first-class match.

Quigley was on an upward curve in the late 1950s. He won the Bradman Medal for South Australian first-grade cricketer of the year in 1958-9, the first time the award was presented. The following season he took 14 for 67 in a match for his university club in a grade game against West Torrens, still a record for first-grade cricket in South Australia.

Quigley was picked for South Australia on the back of that form and took 27 wickets for the 1959-60 season, including a best of 7-39 for against Queensland.

Then in the first match of the 1960 season Quigley became one of only four players to be called for throwing in a first-class match in Australia since 1930 – the others are Eddie Gilbert in 1931, Ian Meckiff in 1963 and Muttiah Muralidaran in 1995. He was called twice by Col Egar during the match and never played first-class cricket again. This was an era where ‘chucking’ had become controversial, with England raising concerns that culminated in Ian Meckiff being famously called during a Test match in 1963.

Next time I will examine the contenders and announce the winners of Australian cricket’s Alphabet Cup.