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Team of the Month: a January-born World Cricket XI

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Roar Guru
11th January, 2024

While this month’s side includes a few proven match-winners, my feeling is that it will struggle against most of the seven previously published teams.

Unusually, it does not contain a single Englishman, unlike the side for December Team of the Month: A December-born World Cricket XI which featured six of them.

1. Arthur Morris (Australia, born 19 January 1922)
46 Tests, 1946-55, 3533 runs at 46.48, 12 centuries

Morris was a left-handed opening batsman who also captained Australia twice. While he made his first-class debut in 1940/41 aged 18, scoring a century in each innings, WWII then delayed his Test debut for six years.

Cricinfo named him in its all-time Australian XI in 2010. It also recently rated his innings of 182 at Headingley in 1948, to anchor a successful 404-run chase, among the best 100 ever played. Against England, he scored 2080 runs at 50.73, including eight centuries. His Ashes highlights included 503 runs at 71.85 with three centuries in 1946/47, and 696 runs at 87.00 in 1948.

2. Bruce Mitchell (South Africa, born 8 January 1909)
42 Tests, 1929-1949, 3471 runs at 48.88, eight centuries, 56 catches

Mitchell was a reliable opening batsman whose average innings duration of 158 deliveries has been exceeded by only Don Bradman and Herbert Sutcliffe. Cricinfo recently rated his score of 164 not out at Lord’s in 1935 among the best 100 ever played. Unfortunately, the outbreak of WWII when he was aged 30 stalled his career.


On debut at Edgbaston in 1929, he scored 88 and 61 not out. Back in England in 1935, he contributed to a rare series victory by scoring 488 runs at 69.71 with two centuries. At home to England in 1938/39 he amassed 466 runs at 58.25. On his final tour to England, in 1947, he totalled 597 runs at 66.33 including a pair of centuries at The Oval.

3. Rahul Dravid (India, born 11 January 1973)
164 Tests, 1996-2012, 13,288 runs at 52.31, 36 centuries, 210 catches

Dravid was an outstanding batsman with orthodox technique and great powers of concentration. Only six players have played more Tests, and only four have scored more runs. Cricinfo named him in its all-time India XI in 2010. It also recently rated his 12-hour innings of 270 in Rawalpindi in 2004 among the best 100 ever played.

When India defeated Australia in Kolkata in 2000/01 after following on, he scored 180 and shared a 376-run partnership with VVS Laxman.

In 2002 against England and the West Indies, he scored four consecutive hundreds. In another famous victory, in Adelaide in 2003/04, he batted for almost 14 hours scoring 233 and 72 not out.

He twice scored three centuries in a series in England, in 2002 and again in 2011. No other batsman has exceeded his tally of ten scores in the nineties.


4. Clyde Walcott (West Indies, born 17 January 1926)
44 Tests, 1948-1960, 3798 runs at 56.68, 15 centuries, 53 catches and 11 stumpings

Walcott was a powerful-striking wicketkeeper-batsman and one of the famous Three Ws. His peak ICC batting ranking in 1955 is the seventh highest of all time.

His home record was particularly good, with 25 games yielding 11 centuries and an overall average of 69.83.

At home to England and Australia across 1953/54 and 1954/55, he scored a century in four consecutive matches. In the first of those series, he scored 698 runs at 87.25 with three tons.

In the second he twice scored a pair of centuries in the same match, with 126 and 110 in Port of Spain, and 155 and 110 in Kingston, while amassing 827 runs at 82.70.

5. Kim Hughes (Australia, born 26 January 1954)
70 Tests, 1977-84, 4415 runs at 37.41, nine centuries, 50 catches

Hughes was an extravagant stroke-maker who also captained Australia in difficult circumstances post-World Series Cricket.


He subsequently led a ‘rebel’ team to South Africa. Cricinfo recently rated his innings of 100 not out against the West Indies at the MCG in 1981/82 among the best 100 ever played.

Other memorable innings by him included 117 and 84 in the Centenary Test at Lord’s in 1980, 213 against India at Adelaide Oval in 1980/81, and 137 against England at the SCG in 1982/83.

6. Monty Noble (Australia, born 28 January 1873, captain)
42 Tests, 1898-1909, 1997 runs at 30.25, one century, 121 wickets at 25.00

Noble was a fine captain, batsman, medium-pace and off-spin bowler, and fielder. He was arguably Australia’s greatest all-rounder prior to Keith Miller.

His ICC all-rounder ranking peaked in 1904 as the twentieth highest of all time.

In his debut series in 1897/98, he took 19 wickets at 20.26 against England, including a match-winning 6/49 on debut at the MCG.


At Old Trafford in 1899 he scored 60 not out and 89. Against England at the MCG in 1901/02 he took 7/17 and 6/60. In Sheffield in 1902 he took 5/51 and 6/52. Against England at the SCG in 1903/04 he scored 133.

7. John Waite (South Africa, born 19 January 1930)
50 Tests, 1951-1965, 2405 runs at 30.44, four centuries, 124 catches and 17 stumpings

Waite was a fine wicketkeeper and very useful batsman, and the only pre-isolation South African to play fifty Test matches. Cricinfo named him in its all-time South Africa XI in 2010.

At home to New Zealand in 1961/62, he claimed 26 dismissals including three stumpings and during a previous tour by the same opponent in 1953/54, he effected seven stumpings.

Against Australia at home in 1957/58, he scored 362 runs at 40.22. That tally included centuries at Johannesburg and Durban, batting at number four on each occasion.

8. Kapil Dev (India, born 6 January 1959 vice-captain)
131 Tests, 1978-1994, 5,248 runs at 31.05, eight centuries, 434 wickets at 29.64

Kapil Dev was an outstanding swing bowler and hard-hitting batsman and is his nation’s greatest all-rounder. Cricinfo named him in its all-time India XI in 2010.


1983 was a particularly outstanding year for him. Cricinfo recently ranked his haul of 8/85 in Lahore among the best 50 bowling performances of all time.

Against the West Indies in Ahmedabad, he claimed 9/83. Most famously of all, he led India to a World Cup victory.

His batting achievements included 119 in the Tied Test in Chennai in 1986/87, and a highest score of 163 against Sri Lanka in Kanpur later in the same season.

9. Andy Roberts (West Indies, born 29 January 1951)
47 Tests, 1974-1983, 202 wickets at 25.61

Roberts is one of his nation’s greatest-ever pacemen and played a key role in its dominance during the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

His bouncer was a particularly lethal delivery. Cricinfo recently ranked his haul of 7/54 at the WACA in 1975/76 among the best 100 bowling performances of all time.

In India in 1974/75, he claimed 32 wickets at 18.28 including 7/64 and 5/57 in Chennai. In England in 1976, he took 28 wickets at 19.17 including 5/60 and 5/63 at Lord’s. And at home to India in 1982/83, his tally was 24 wickets at 22.70.


10. Arthur Mailey (Australia, born 3 January 1886)
21 Tests, 1920-26, 99 wickets at 33.91

Mailey was a leg-spinner who spun the ball prodigiously but could be expensive. He had made his first-class debut in 1912/13 but WWI then delayed his Test debut until he was aged 34.

Against England in 1920/21 in his first series, he took 36 wickets at 26.27 despite not bowling in one game.

His figures included 5/160 and 5/142 in Adelaide and 4/115 and 9/121 at the MCG. At The Oval in 1926 in his final match, he took 6/138 and 3/128.

11. Hugh Tayfield (South Africa, born 30 January 1929)
37 Tests, 1949-1960, 170 wickets at 25.91

Tayfield was an economical off-spinner and is his nation’s finest-ever slow bowler. Only four bowlers have reached 150 wickets in fewer games. He was extremely difficult to score off, with a career economy rate of 1.94 runs per over. He married and then divorced five times.


Cricinfo named him in its all-time South Africa XI in 2010. Recently it also ranked his hauls of 7/23 against Australia in Durban in 1949/50, and 9/113 against England in Johannesburg in 1956/57, among the best 100 bowling performances of all time.

In Australia in 1952/53, he claimed 30 wickets at 28.10, including a match-winning 6/84 and 7/81 at the MCG. At home to England in 1956/57, he took 37 wickets at 17.18, and in the Test in Durban bowled 137 consecutive dot-balls.

Honourable mentions – Herbie Collins, Josh Hazlewood, Ted McDonald, Tim May and Mitchell Starc (Aus); Frank Foster, Dean Headley, Alfred Mynn, Olly Pope, Herbert Strudwick and Johnny Wardle (Eng); Cheteshwar Pujara (Ind); Dick Motz, Adam Parore and Daniel Vettori (NZ); Kamran Akmal (Pak); Rumesh Ratnayeke and Chaminda Vaas (SL); Richie Richardson, Lawrence Rowe (WI).

Captain Noble and vice-captain Kapil Dev will lead by example, with both bat and ball. Other national skippers Dravid, Hughes and Morris can be consulted if necessary.

India coach Rahul Dravid.

Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Morris and Mitchell will form a reliable opening batting pair. Dravid and Walcott will follow, and each of the four has the capacity to regularly amass large scores.

Hughes has claimed the fifth and last batsman’s position over Cheteshwar Pujara, Richie Richardson and Lawrence Rowe. While inconsistent, his ability to play match-winning innings will be crucial to this side’s success. Noble, Waite and Kapil Dev will also have to contribute with the bat, to enable this team to amass defendable totals.


Waite won the ‘keeping position ahead of Kamran Akmal and Adam Parore. While a useful batsman, another key to his selection was his successful partnership with Hugh Tayfield. The team also includes a handy back-up gloveman in Walcott.

While Roberts is the side’s only express bowler, team leaders Kapil Dev and Noble will provide high-quality medium-paced swing and cut. Tayfield’s economy has enabled Mailey’s inclusion in the side, as a MacGill-like strike-bowler in any conditions.

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Should conditions instead favour pacemen, there are numerous alternatives to Mailey. Josh Hazlewood, Ted McDonald or Mitchell Starc would then be especially useful.

Alternatively, the left-armed Frank Foster would both strengthen the batting and like Starc provide variety.