Following on from last month’s July-born World Cricket XI we move on to August. While arguably not as strong asJuly, it does boast one of the greatest sportsmen of all time, a much-respected leadership duo, and an imposing multi-generational pace trio.
35 Tests, 1926-1934, 2300 runs at 46.00, seven centuries
Woodfull was a defensively sound opening batsman. He captained Australia in 25 matches and under his leadership it twice regained the Ashes in England. At the Adelaide Oval in 1932/33 during the Bodyline series, he famously said to England team manager Plum Warner “There’s two teams out there, and only one of them’s playing cricket.”
In his debut series in England in 1926, he scored 306 runs at 51.00 with two centuries. In his next one in 1928/29 against the same opponent he scored 491 runs at 54.55 with a further three centuries. His highest innings were 161 against South Africa at the MCG in 1931/32 and 155 at Lord’s in 1930. His first-class career batting average was 64.99.
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30 Tests, 1961-1970, 2516 runs at 45.74, six centuries, 40 wickets at 34.05
Barlow was a pugnacious all-rounder who opened the batting, bowled useful medium-pace and fielded superbly in slips. While South Africa’s isolation from cricket ended his international career at the age of 29, he subsequently enjoyed success for Derbyshire and in World Series Cricket.
His highest innings was one of 201 in Adelaide in 1963/64, when he shared a 341-run third-wicket partnership with Graeme Pollock. Five of his six centuries came against Australia, including three in that 1963/64 series during which he amassed 603 runs at 75.37.
52 Tests, 1928-1948, 6996 runs at 99.94, 29 centuries
Bradman is the greatest batsman ever seen, and one of the greatest sportsmen ever. Cricinfo and Wisden named him in their all-time World XIs, in 2010 and 2013 respectively. In 1948 he led the side that became known as “The Invincibles” on an unbeaten 34-match tour to England.
Cricinfo recently included four performances by him among the 100 best innings of all time. At Headingley in 1930, he scored 334. Against South Africa in Adelaide in 1931/32, he scored an undefeated 299. At Headingley again in 1934, he scored 304. And against England at the MCG in 1936/37, he scored a match-winning 270.
Other career highlights included amassing a record 974 runs at an average of 139.14 in England in 1930 in his first full series, scoring 309 runs in a single day’s play at Headingley during that series, amassing more double centuries than any other player, and scoring centuries in six consecutive Test matches.
87 Tests, 1970-1984, 7110 runs at 53.86, 24 centuries, 47 wickets at 40.70
Chappell was a graceful and technically-correct batsman, brilliant slip fieldsman and useful medium-pace bowler. He scored centuries in his debut and final Tests, and two centuries in his first Test as captain. In 2010 he was named in Cricinfo’s all-time Australian XI.
Other career highlights included scoring 247 not out and 133 in Wellington in 1973/74, 702 runs at 117.00 against the West Indies in 1975/76, and taking seven catches against England at the WACA in 1974/75. His career was interrupted by World Series Cricket, in which his performances included 621 runs at 69.00 in the West Indies in 1978/79.
51 Tests, 1948-1963, 3860 runs at 49.48, nine centuries, 69 wickets at 38.72
Worrell was an elegant batsman and useful left-arm medium-pacer. As the West Indies’ first coloured captain, he arguably did more to unify the Caribbean than any other individual. Sadly he died aged 42, just six years after the memorable tied-Test series in Australia in 1960/61 that ended with a ticker-tape parade in Melbourne before 500,000 people.
In England in 1950, he scored 539 runs at 89.83, including 239 runs in a single day at Trent Bridge. At the same ground in 1957, he carried his bat with 191. He also scored 237 against India in Kingston in 1952/53, and 197 not out against England in Bridgetown in 1959/60.
110 Tests, 1966-1985, 7515 runs at 46.67, 19 centuries
Lloyd was a 6-foot 5-inch left hander who batted aggressively, fielded superbly in his younger days, and led the West Indies to world domination. His career lasted 19 years, until the age of 41. Cricinfo recently rated his innings of 161 not out at Eden Gardens in 1983/84 as one of the 100 best ever played.
On debut in Mumbai in 1966/67 he contributed to a famous victory with scores of 82 and 78 not out. He subsequently scored centuries in his first home Test, and in his first Test in Australia. In the final of the inaugural World Cup in 1975, he scored a match-winning 102.
In India for his first series as captain in 1974/75, he scored 636 runs at 79.50 including an innings of 242 not out in Mumbai. When the West Indies lost 5-1 in Australia in 1975/76, his personal performance was 469 runs at 46.90 including two centuries. He was prolific until the end of his career, averaging more than 50.00 in six of his last seven series.
24 Tests, 1920-1928, 1146 runs at 36.96, two centuries, 85 wickets at 31.15
Gregory was a spectacular all-rounder who bowled extremely quickly in combination with Ted McDonald, caught superbly in slips, and batted left-handed. His bowling style has been likened to that of Wes Hall.
Against England in 1920/21, he scored 442 runs at 73.66 and took 23 wickets at 24.17, including 100 and 7/69 at the MCG. In England in 1921, he took 6/58 and 2/45 at Trent Bridge. In Johannesburg in 1921/22, he scored a century in the record time of 70 minutes, and took 4/71 and 3/68.
His career was delayed by WWI, which commenced when he was aged 19. In his final series in 1926 and 1928/29 he often played when injured and far from his best.
91 Tests, 1946-1959, 2439 runs at 20.49, two centuries, 173 catches, 46 stumpings
Evans was an extroverted and agile wicketkeeper, who stood up to the stumps for all but the fastest bowlers. He is considered one of the finest glovemen ever, and was England’s first choice in that position for 14 years. His career was delayed by WWII, which commenced when he was aged 19.
Centuries against the West Indies and India aside, his most notable batting performance was at Adelaide Oval in 1946/47 when he took 97 minutes to get off the mark.
51 Tests, 1973-1985, 200 wickets at 28.00
Thomson is one of the fastest bowlers in the history of the game, and enjoyed his greatest successes in partnership with Dennis Lillee. Apart from a capacity to beat batsmen with sheer pace and generate lift from a full length, he later developed cut, seam and swing.
He took 33 wickets at 17.93 against England in 1974/75, and 29 wickets at 28.65 against the West Indies in 1975/76, before a serious shoulder injury in 1976/77 reduced his effectiveness. Against England, he took 100 wickets in 21 games at an average of 24.18.
14 Tests, 1893-1898, 88 wickets at 25.22
Richardson was one of the finest of all fast bowlers, and his stamina enabled him to sustain his pace during regular long spells. He was named one of the “Six Giants of the Wisden Century” in 1963. Whenever playing for Surrey, he walked the 14 miles between his home and The Oval each day with kit-bag in hand.
His Ashes series figures were 32 wickets at 26.53 in 1894/95, 24 wickets at 18.29 from three matches in 1896, and 22 wickets at 35.27 in 1897/98. Some of his greatest performances took place at Old Trafford where he returned 5/49 and 5/107 on debut, and 7/168 and 6/76 from an astounding 110.3 overs in 1896. His other ten-wicket performances were 6/39 and 5/134 at Lord’s in 1896, and 8/94 and 2/110 at the SCG in his final match.
50 Tests, 1976-1988, 171 wickets at 28.11
Qasim was a miserly but effective left arm finger-spinner. He had a career economy rate of just 2.21 runs per over and provided useful support to Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir.
He twice won matches against Australia in Karachi, with figures of 11/118 from 72 overs in 1979/80, and then 9/84 from 64 overs in 1988/89. Against India in Bengaluru in 1986/87, he spearheaded a 16-run win and 1-0 series victory with a match tally of 9/121, having previously taken 10/175 against the same opponent in Mumbai in 1979/80.
Reg Duff, Lindsay Hassett, Simon Katich, Chris Rogers, Jack Ryder (Aus), Mark Butcher, John Emburey, Angus Fraser, Jack Russell, Alfred Shaw, Graham Thorpe, Bill Voce (Eng), Mohammad Nissar, Jagaval Srinath (Ind), Kane Williamson (NZ), Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yousuf (Pak), Trevor Goddard (SA), Lasith Malinga (SL), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI).
This team will be led by Worrell and Woodfull, the ‘Two Ws.’ Few captains have inspired more loyalty from team-mates. Worrell’s ability to unite players from six different Caribbean countries will stand him in good stead, and fittingly he was born on the very first day of this month.
Bradman can instead be left to concentrate solely on batting. Lloyd and Greg Chappell are available should modern tactics need to be discussed.
At the top of the order, Woodfull and Barlow will display determination rather than flair, after gaining selection ahead of Simon Katich. Once their partnership is broken, whoever remains at the crease will make an ideal foil for Bradman. He and Woodfull batted together 22 times for seven century stands, seven half-century ones, and an average partnership of 84 runs.
In the middle-order Chappell and Worrell will provide grace and class, and Lloyd and Gregory raw power. Kane Williamson and Mohammad Yousuf have missed out despite outstanding careers. While a relatively long tail follows, Bradman’s presence will help offset that failing.
Evans, the fourteenth most prolific ‘keeper of all time, will support his bowlers and fieldsmen well. Jack Russell was the only other genuine contender for the role. The slips cordon of Barlow, Chappell and Gregory would take most chances offered, while Bradman and Lloyd would patrol the infield.
Gregory and Thomson will take the new ball, and few real-life pairings would be as intimidating. Richardson will be a more than capable first change, with the added bonus of being able to bowl all day if necessary. The medium-pace of Barlow, Worrell and Chappell will prove useful in the right conditions.
Qasim’s role is to bowl long spells into the wind and keep things tight when opposing batsmen are well set. This team was so short of eligible spin bowlers that John Emburey was his closest rival for selection.
When conditions don’t appear likely to suit Qasim, then playing a fourth express bowler is the obvious strategy. In such circumstances the inclusion of Shoaib Akhtar or Bill Voce would create a pace quartet the equal of any the West Indies at their peak ever took the field with.
Next month, I’ll name a September-born team drawn from seven different nations, boasting a superbly-balanced five-man bowling attack, and led by the greatest Australian captain of the past fifty years.