Inspired by Tony and his recent inspirational effort, this is my first run at a Roar article.
The inspiration is – as always – not just the inspirational Tony, but to come up with a pointless ‘best of’ team based on some obscure selection criteria.
So, in honour of Tony and Western Australia’s triple crown this year, their 16th, I’ve cobbled together a team of West Aussies who had played 16 Tests or fewer.
Well, why not?
And secondly, the screams from the West are how WA players always get overlooked and how their depth would now scare many an international team. With that much depth, let’s dig deep.
So now with that sorted out (like you read that intro anyway), here we go.
He played in a time when Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson opened, so he spent his nine Tests in the middle order. Well, that’s what I’m arguing cause here he’s opening.
Five 50s and a top score of 96 at an average just under 42 suggests that he should have definitely opened more. He also played in Tests against David Shepherd, and as we know, too many shepherds spoil the … paddock?
One Test. No runs. Against New Zealand? So what’s he doing here?
His first-class record was impressive to say the least: 32 of his 42 Shield matches he was captain. He scored 3035 runs at 53.24 and topped Shield season runs in 1956-57. And his son and grandson also scored first-class centuries, the first and possibly only three generations to do so.
‘Moonshine’ (no, I don’t know why) scored two hundreds and three 50s in his eight-Test career.
His brief Test career doesn’t reflect his amazing first-class efforts: nearly 9000 runs and over 200 wickets at an average of 28, and in 1988-89 he topped the Shield season runs, including centuries in both innings of WA’s Shield win that season.
In 2019, Roar guru Matth picked him in the best ever WA team, and no-one could argue with that.
Inconsistent scoring at international level didn’t help his cause or extend the former national vice-captain’s career past 12 Tests.
The highlight of his Test career was, down two-nil in the series against the West Indies, Serjeant scored 124 and West Aussie Graeme Wood scored 126 as they put on 231 to help Australia win by three wickets in Georgetown.
He wasn’t picked in Matth’s best ever WA team. Sorry Serj, but I’m with Matth.
He was the first man born and bred the West to play Test cricket, and it would be another 22 years before he would be joined in that group by Jack Rutherford. Because there’s already been enough Rutherford’s who have played Tests, we go for Ernest.
His two Tests only produced 38 runs with a highest score of 26, but ‘Slogger’ was better known for his flat, bullet-like throws from the deep. He also bowled left-arm orthodox, but found a way to fit in one of those in this team, but he could be a back-up.
Sure, he was playing for Victoria at the time he was selected, but we won’t hold that against him. Will we?
Hilton William Raymond Cartwright from Zimbabwe has played two Tests to date for 54 total runs and zero wickets.
His first-class record? He averages 35 with the bat and 33 with the ball. With ‘Long Tom’, we may not need a second medium pacer but there’s always the feeling ‘The Hotel’ (I just made that nickname up) has loads more runs and big scores in him.
And how about that catch?! You know the one. That catch. I’ll just wait while you jump onto YouTube.
Tim heads an extremely strong tail that would cause all sorts of grief. His career trajectory is well documented, and ten Tests with one 50 were achieved during a time when Aussie cricket was in the doldrums.
It doesn’t help when your career is bookended by Rodney Marsh and Adam Gilchrist. Zoehrer was first and foremost an energetic and very capable keeper. He is a mortal lock in any cricket XI starting with the surname Z along with Adam Zampa and Andrew Zesers.
John Inverarity (captain)
The skipper, a Shield legend, 223 first-class matches, 26 hundreds and 60 fifties at 36, 221 wickets at 30.7.
He led WA to four Shield victories in five years. He was considered as a possible captain of the Aussies in ’76-77 but they went with Bob Simpson, who was playing for WA when he made his debut.
Inverarity was a stoic batsman in his six Tests, and his ability to hang around will allow the tail in this team to swing heartily. And you’d better believe they would.
One of my all-time favourites. Who doesn’t love a tall, left-arm swing bowler who clobbers the ball?
Born in NZ (he’s forgiven), he moved to Australia when he was seven, which was the same number of Tests he played. In his debut he was there for Shane Warne’s ball of the century. Nice, eh?
The highlight for BJ was taking nine wickets in the West Indies at 26.22 to win the Frank Worrell Trophy for the first time in ever.
In Shield history, he scored 124 and took six wickets in ’98, before scoring 84 and taking two in back-to-back WA final wins. He suffers from a rare condition called Dorianis Grayitis.
He took the fourth most Shield wickets ever. When WA won titles in 1991-92 and 1998-99, this guy topped the season wicket takers.
Two inches taller than ‘Long Tom’ and three more than BJ (what is it with you guys? Do WA-ers subscribe to the Robert Wadlow school of growth?), the guy who looked like a young Antonio Banderas (from a few metres away, in bad light, squinting) took ten wickets in four Tests.
It doesn’t go close to doing him any justice. He is another who made Matth’s all-time WA team.
The equally big, burly twin of Mark Greatbatch, the legend from the West gets in on the back of his remarkable season in ’87-88 when he topped the wicket takers with 56 (Graeme Wood was the leading run scorer with over 1000) and 8-101 in the final victory over Queensland.
Curiously, he also played a Shield final against WA. In ’95 Tasmania was hammered by eight wickets with the big guy taking zero wickets for the match and scoring 18 and 11. West Aussies would say suck eggs to their former three-Test player for defecting.
There’s more than a few runs in the top and bottom orders, and if they bring their Shield level to Tests, it’s a bowling unit that could take 20 wickets in a Test.
What do you think, Roarers?