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Opinion

The starting XI of intimidation

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Roar Rookie
8th July, 2021
66

Everyone knows that cricket statistics don’t tell the real story of some players’ worth.

While they provide for partnerships, skills or getting out the top players and leaving the tail for other bowlers, one statistic missing is fear level.

When you worry all night at the prospect of facing a certain player, where you mention to your batting partner how scared you are to face a bowler – then that fear spreads throughout the whole side until you are mentally defeated.

Let’s go through the intimidation 11.

1. Matthew Hayden
The biggest cricket batting bully of all time. He would dare you to get him out. Pitch it up and it’s over your head, and anything short is going to the fence on either side of the wicket. Physically strong and wielding a club of a bat that Thor would be proud of, he opens the batting and destroys you from ball one.

Matthew Hayden of Australia

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

2. Gordon Greenidge
To this day he’s the player who possessed the most pulverising cut and pull shots in cricket history. His right hand to Matthew Hayden’s left hand, this would be a partnership that would worry any bowling attack in cricket history.

3. Viv Richards
He’s the only player in my lifetime who I never saw wear a helmet. This batting colossus chewed gum while bowlers around the world worked out how to get him out. He had all the shots, and there was nothing more trademark than a ball on off stump going for four through midwicket.

4. Donald Bradman
He’s not physically imposing, it’s all in the pure batting numbers. He scared opposition. Bodyline was invented all due to him, and forever in the history of the game he will be remembered as the greatest batsman of all time.

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5. Clive Lloyd
He had a drive so hard that when Gary Gilmour was asked how to bowl to him his quip was, “With a helmet on”.

6. Adam Gilchrist
Time and time again, if a side were lucky enough to have the Aussies in trouble, out walked Mr Gilchrist. His bat blazing, he showed a savagery towards any type of bowling. He could swing a game in 30 balls and quite often did.

Adam Gilchrist plays a pull shot

(Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

7. Shane Warne
While he couldn’t physically hurt you, his mind games and pure bowling skill would make any international player sweat. Daryll Cullinan is famous for seeking out a psychologist in order to come to terms with the king of spin, and I’m sure he wasn’t the only one.

8. Jeff Thomson
This was cricket’s equivalent of a force unleashed. His speed and bounce are legendary, and it’s not too far-fetched reading batting accounts of the 1970s that Thommo could have been hitting speeds of 170 kilometres per hour.

9. Sylvester Clarke
Many of the batsmen around the world rued the day they saw his name on any opposition team sheet. He took the money to go to apartheid South Africa and ended up terrorising batsmen on the Currie Cup and county cricket scene. Stephen Waugh faced Mr Clarke when Sylvester was in his mid-30s and rated it the most intimidating spell that he ever faced. It’s rumoured that Viv Richards wore a helmet only once in his career. Playing county cricket, no-one got a photo of it, but who was he facing? Yes, Sylvester Clarke.

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10. Patrick Patterson
Sabina Park, 1986. The footage on YouTube is scary enough, and I wasn’t even facing it. As Jeff Dujon said, “He was bowling rapid”. Big, strong and fast, this Jamaican powerhouse was another great example of West Indian depth in the 1980s.

11. Joel Garner
He was six foot eight and was either hitting your feet or your throat. His great height and the increased pace in the 1980s combined in a true sporting force.

12. Roger Harper
I’ve never seen a fieldsmen evoke the panic that Roger created as he was attacking the ball. Sublime reflexes, he was a fielder who would make any player scream “No!”.

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