Here’s a fun Test cricket combination with a difference for you to contemplate while you plan the weekend.
This team is made up of Test players who all who bear the common surnames of either Smith or Jones. The only catch is that the listed positions in the team, in batting order, are alternatively a Smith followed by a Jones.
1. Smith, Graeme – (South Africa, 117 Tests)
He was a tough and uncompromising player who never gave the opposition an inch. He was a run-scoring machine in his own right and the ideal leader to captain this side.
2. Jones, Andrew – (New Zealand, 39 Tests)
He was a slightly unorthodox but courageous batsman who was very hard to contain once he got going. He was better known as a number three, but has opened at Test level.
3. Smith, Steve – (Australia, 82 Tests and counting)
He is a unique batting talent who averages over 67 when batting at three and is one of the hardest batsmen to bowl to in world cricket. He is a great fielder and can contribute some handy leggies when required.
4. Jones, Dean – (Australia, 52 Tests)
He played his best cricket when batting at number four, averaging nearly 72 with four centuries and two fifties. He was a wonderful attacking batsman who could take the game away from the opposition.
5. Smith, Robin – (England, 62 Tests)
He was a very talented middle-order batsman who could have done even better than scoring over 4000 Test runs at nearly 44. He loved playing against fast bowling but was often brought undone against the spinners.
6. Jones, Richard – (New Zealand, one Test)
Every side needs a one-Test wonder. Despite a very strong 17-year domestic career, Richard Jones only played one Test, scoring a total of 23 runs.
7. Smith, Ian – (New Zealand, 63 Tests)
He was an excellent wicketkeeper and determined batsman who often got his side out of trouble. He scored two Test hundreds and six fifties.
8. Jones, Simon – (England, 18 Tests)
He was a strong, right-arm fast bowler who could get the ball to reverse swing when at his best. He took 59 Test wickets at a shade over 28 in a career interrupted by injury.
9. Smith, Collie – (West Indies, 26 Tests)
He is the only all-rounder in the team. Collie Smith was a punishing attacking batsman with four Test centuries to his name, and was also a very good off spinner who took 48 Test wickets.
10. Jones, Ernie – (Australia, 19 Tests)
He was a famed fast bowler who made three tours to England at the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s. He took 64 Test wickets at 29.
11. Smith, Jim (England, five Tests)
He was a big, right-arm fast bowler who played just five Tests for his country in the 1930s, taking 15 wickets at 26. Based on his domestic career, he was unlucky not to get more Test opportunities, as he played 208 first-class games, taking 845 wickets at just over 19.
So there’s the team. Can you think of any players who qualify and should be in the XI?
The side is very strong on batting, but could benefit from either a specialist spinner or a front-line all-rounder to boost the bowling stocks.