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Opinion

My Associates ODI XI of the 21st century

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Roar Guru
29th July, 2020
7

To round up this ODI XI of the 21st-century series, I have come up with an associates XI.

The associate nations have given cricket fans great moments, with the big boys being shocked in ICC tournaments. Considering Afghanistan and Ireland played the majority of the 2000s as a non-Test playing nation, I have included players from the two countries in this XI.

Opening the batting, I’ve gone with the Irish veteran Paul Stirling. Making his ODI debut two months before his 18th birthday, Stirling is an experienced campaigner with a wealth of experience.

An aggressive batsman, Stirling prefers to club bowlers all over the park rather than play the waiting game. Before his 23rd birthday, the Irish opener had scored two ODI centuries against Pakistan. When on song, Stirling is a treat to watch for spectators.

His partner in this XI is the man from Aberdeen, Kyle Coetzer. Arguably the best cricketer of all time hailing from Scotland, Coetzer made a name for himself when he smashed 156 against Bangladesh at Nelson in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

A man who is equally adept to pace and spin, Coetzer is another player who wasn’t afraid to take on bowlers regardless of conditions.

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At number three is Ed Joyce. The best Irish batsman, Joyce racked up 2622 ODI runs in 78 matches at an average of 38. With a solid technique and a cool temperament, Joyce would often anchor the innings to allow the Irish middle-order to accelerate in the latter overs.

The elder of five Joyce siblings and approximately over 30,000 runs in professional cricket (all three formats combined), it’s fair to say Joyce had quite a successful career in the English county system and for Ireland.

To anchor the innings alongside Joyce and take the gloves in this XI is Niall O’Brien. A tidy player, O’Brien was another player in the Ireland team throughout his career where he’d hold the innings together.

His mental toughness would be key as he scored 72 against Pakistan in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup and 79 not out against West Indies in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup en route to Ireland upsetting both sides. Behind the stumps, O’Brien was often regarded as chirpy. Matthew Wade vibes anyone?

My middle-order begins with Ryan Ten Doeschate. Born in South Africa, I don’t think associates cricket will find a cricketer as good as Ten Doeschate ever again. With the bat, Ten Doeschate would deliver most times as he averaged 67 after 32 innings in ODI cricket.

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His medium-pacers with the ball would see Ten Doeschate take 55 wickets at an average of 24.12. With accomplished records in all forms of cricket, one can wonder if Ryan Ten Doeschate would’ve been a successful Test cricketer.

At number six is Kevin O’Brien. While his elder brother Niall played key roles in Ireland’s shock wins in 2007 and 2011, Kevin wrote himself into the history books as he smashed the fastest World Cup century (50 balls) en route to Ireland defeating England in the 2011 World Cup.

A big lad who’s got plenty of muscle, O’Brien is one of the most successful associate all-rounders in ODI cricket.

To finish the innings alongside Kevin O’Brien is Mohammad Nabi. The first Afghan cricketer to make a name for himself on the big stage. Whether it was with his lower-order hitting with the bat or his round-arm off-spinners with the ball, Nabi delivered almost every time for Afghanistan.

My frontline spinner is Rashid Khan. Match-winner on his day, Khan’s fast leg-spinners have led to him taking over 130 ODI scalps till date and is a very handy number eight down the order.

A bowling all-rounder, my number nine is Josh Davey. With 49 ODI scalps till date, Davey’s swing bowling has reaped the rewards with a bowling average of 22.08 in 50-over cricket. His trade in county cricket has benefited him massively, and if Scotland play more ODI’s, Davey will get on the 100 wickets ODI club.

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To round up my bowling attack, I’ve chosen Mudassar Bukhari and Boyd Rankin. Dismissing accomplished international batsmen such as Andrew Strauss and Gautam Gambhir in his ODI career, Bukhari was deceptively quick, nipping the ball both ways. With 57 ODI wickets at 28.09, he is Netherlands’ best quick till date.

Boyd Rankin has taken 96 wickets for Ireland and before the rise of Rashid Khan, can be argued that he is the best bowler from an associates nation. A tall quick who got a decent amount of bounce, Rankin has been one man Irish captains have been able to call upon for to take wickets.

How the Associates XI stacks up

1. Paul Stirling (Ireland)
2. Kyle Coetzer (Scotland)
3. Ed Joyce (Ireland)
4. Niall O’Brien (Ireland/wicketkeeper)
5. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands/captain)
6. Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)
7. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)
8. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
9. Josh Davey (Scotland)
10. Mudassar Bukhari (Netherlands)
11. Boyd Rankin (Ireland)