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#31 alexhills

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:04 AM

I'd certainly agree about Pietersen seeming unconvincing, he's the kind of player you never feel is in, and relies entirely on his eye, but it can be fun to watch... Vaughan just seems to be too keen to score quickly early in the innings these days, I've seen too many beautiful 20s to count over the past 2 years... He has been getting caught on the crease and sort of dangling his bat across the line recently though, it is true. When he's in form though, the best classical English attacking batsman since Gower at the very least.

Strauss and Bell (who has been great if you ignore everything that happened in the Ashes) seem the solidest orthodox players in the line up at the moment, Tresco is excellent but you can never quite believe that he can get away with that technique...

Some friends and I have an ongoing argument about the current World XI, which was being reneewed early today. Here's mine (Dravid as opener is not ideal but there are simply too many batsmen and not enough bowlers who deserve to be in the side so some unorthodxy was required....)

Dravid
Hayden
Ponting
Lara
Inzamam
Tendulkar
Flintoff
Gilchrist
Warne
Harmison
Muralitheran

Only 2 quicks is a problem of course, but how can you leave any of those batsmen out?? Not to mention that I did leave out Kallis, who is supposedly (according to those dodgy ratings) the best batsman in the world at the moment.... Harmison in place of McGrath is also of course personal bias...

Any other lists??
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

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#32 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:48 AM

Ah world elevens. Do you base them on quality or recent form? Can't really have Sachin in on current form, couldn't really leave him out on class. Here's a rough go.

I want five bowlers in my team, which makes it even tougher. I don't count Kallis as a front-line bowler any more.

Trescothick
Dravid
Ponting
Inzamam
Kallis
Flintoff
Gilchrist
Warne ©
Kumble or Harbhajan, probably depending on the pitch
McGrath (but with reservations)
Shoaib


Tough decisions:
- Tres over Hayden: I agree with Alex about T's rotten technique but you can't argue about his runs. Hayden is past it I against decent bowling I feel.
- Gilchrist. I don't rate his keeping and his runs have dried up. But who else to pick? I could be quickly convered to Kamran Akmal if he continues to develop, and he could open too, which would allow me to get Lara or Tendulkar in and drop Trescothick who doesn't really belong here.
- Tendulkar. An all-time great no doubt but injuries and poor recent form (plus lots of great bats in form) keep him out
- Lara. The second best batsman I have ever seen (Viv is the best), but approaching the end of his great career.
- Muralitharan. I believe he throws a fair proportion of his deliveries, so out for me.
- Quick bowlers. There really aren't many great ones around atm. McGrath obviously, but again recent form not so hot. Harmison, well, I am a fan but he hasn't done much recently, has he? Always felt during the Ashes that, like Vaughan, I would turn to Flintoff in a crisis. Woolmer seems to have harnessed Shoaib's undoubted talent. I thought long and hard about Ntini but in the end I think he's really only a trier with a great work ethic.
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#33 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 03:50 PM

...dangling his bat across the line ...

Yes, that was my hangup with Vaughan, but of course in the first two tests I was watching a very out-of-touch version of the guy.
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#34 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 03:54 PM

I used to love picking World XIs, but I am so out of touch. One comment is that, if you want the team to actually win, first pick the four best fast bowlers in the world. Then the best spinner. If the rest can bat and field, so much the better (paraphrasing Grace there, of course :rolleyes: ).

Anyone interested in my England XI from my active cricket watching days - 1970 to 1997, roughly?

Gooch
Boycott
Woolmer
Gower
Randall
Botham
Greig
Knott
Underwood
Snow
Willis

Note; I can't abide Gatting for aesthetic reasons. Tempted by Edrich at number three.
Elect-a-lujah

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#35 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:23 PM

I'm a Randall fan too, but I think he's out of place in that company, Centenary Test notwithstanding.
I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.

#36 alexhills

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:24 PM

We tend to choose our teams on a mix of current form and class - who you would want to play for your life (or supper if being less melodramatic) rather than playing the very best at that instant. To add to the lists, my (aussie) mate's was (rather indecisvely - not much use as a selector this one):

Sehwag
1 of Hayden/Trescothick/Smith
Ponting
Lara
Dravid
1 of Tendulkar/Kallis/ul Haq
Gilchrist
2 of Flintoff/Pollock/Mcgrath
Warne
Murali

I have no idea why he has Pollock there, he seems totally spent now.... In principle I agree about having the fast bowlers, but I really think the way cricket is at the moment there isn't the depth there to justify that. Shoaib has certainly come back into the reckoning, and Pathan for India seems promising. But with the spinners available, and ones who can take wickets on any surface and against any batting, that seems as potent an attack as any in its own way. Can you believe though, no West Indian bowlers even remotely in the running. So so sad. I like Adam's bold move with Warne as captain, I hadn't thought about that but its a good if risky one, Ponting seems very bland to me, but clearly bats for the team like a god. Kallis I don't choose because despite the incredible weight of runs I don't think he plays for the match situation at all and doesn't halp his team to actually win.

Wilf's England XI seems fairly unnassailable to me - Randall is a quirky choice in more ways than one - but worth it for the fielding alone. I detested Gatting's batting too, he's actually remarkably mediocre when you look at the numbers too. The bowling is totally self evident, there must be some slightly more recent batsmen who have some claim to be there, but can't think of them off hand so perhaps not... It was really remarkable how poor the team was throughout the later 80s and 90s - Atherton at his best perhaps, but not really in the face of Gooch and Boycs.
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

Lukacs on Adorno, but....

#37 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:29 PM

I think I'd probably have Robin Smith or Lamb over Rags. Alex, if your mate wants Sehwag to play for his supper he must have a feast or famine approach to dining. :rolleyes:
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#38 alexhills

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:53 PM

Smith occured to me to, but then I thought about what happened to him once Warne came on the scene. Lamb did at least sort of stand up to the best of the West Indian attack. Actually, a pre-wicketkeeping Alec Stewart would be up there for a middle order slot for me, a superb player who was asked to do too much. Also early days Nasser, before he got too tentative and bogged down.

I've never quite known what to make of Sehwag, he can clearly bat but someone who seems towant to hit the first ball of every match for 6 is not my ideal opener either...
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

Lukacs on Adorno, but....

#39 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:01 PM

Stewart was a splendid opener before he got enmeshed with keeper duties. Lamb - yes, good suggestion, maybe ahead of Woolmer. Robin Smith could be wonderful, but not a player of spin.

I am committed to Randall - a big occasion player. I remember seeing him cane Holding and Roberts at Lord's for the MCC when no-one else could lay a bat on the ball. Very high class. He also qualifies on Alex's play-for-your-life criterion.
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#40 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:04 PM

Wilf's England XI seems fairly unnassailable to me - Randall is a quirky choice in more ways than one - but worth it for the fielding alone. I detested Gatting's batting too, he's actually remarkably mediocre when you look at the numbers too. The bowling is totally self evident, there must be some slightly more recent batsmen who have some claim to be there, but can't think of them off hand so perhaps not... It was really remarkable how poor the team was throughout the later 80s and 90s - Atherton at his best perhaps, but not really in the face of Gooch and Boycs.

Actually, I didn't pick a captain. Can Brearley skipper the team from the pavilion?
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#41 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:04 PM

This might be northern bias but I always preferred Atherton to Stewart in their early days. Both sets of stats suffered later - Stewart from the keeping, Athers from his chronic bad back. It's only when you read his book (which is very good, by the way) that you realise how severe his back problems were.
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#42 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:06 PM

Does he offer an excuse in the book for mistreating the ball on that occasion? A blemish on an otherwise honorable career.
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#43 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:06 PM

Wilf's England XI seems fairly unnassailable to me - Randall is a quirky choice in more ways than one - but worth it for the fielding alone. I detested Gatting's batting too, he's actually remarkably mediocre when you look at the numbers too. The bowling is totally self evident, there must be some slightly more recent batsmen who have some claim to be there, but can't think of them off hand so perhaps not... It was really remarkable how poor the team was throughout the  later 80s and 90s - Atherton at his best perhaps, but not really in the face of Gooch and Boycs.

Actually, I didn't pick a captain. Can Brearley skipper the team from the pavilion?

I think with your selection you have no choice but Greig for captain. You have some of England's worst-ever captains - Gooch, Botham, Willis and god help me Boycott - in there and Gower for all his tactical acumen was never a leader of men.
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#44 Wilfrid1

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:12 PM

I agree. I excluded Greig from the team for years on the basis that he was not to be trusted. But the idea of intimidating batsmen with Greig and Botham in close-catching positions is irresistible. :rolleyes:
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#45 alexhills

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:24 PM

With Greig though, you got a man who thought it was a good idea to say they would make the West Indians grovel.... To a side captained by Clive Lloyd containing Holding and Roberts. As if they needed much encouragement. I'd say Gooch would be your best bet of that lot, not that that's saying much.

Brearley and Lloyd the two thinking man's captains of recent times for me, too early to tell with Vaughan. Waugh and Taylor were fine, but look at the raw material in the side... True, Lloyd didn't have a lot of difficult decisions to make - shall we have 4 slips or 5 today, and do we want the really quick bowler or the even quicker one - but I have the feeling he could have got results from a less gifted collection of players too. Also comes across as a charming and very gentlemanly person.

I've always been very pro-Athers, I think he was a little too smart, intellectual and introvert for the weird bunch of middle Englanders and converted southern Africans he was handed... Brearley was obviously even smarter, but knew how to communicate with his players and get the best out of them - apparently telling Botham he was rubbish and his mother could do better was guaranteed to get him going, whereas Willis had to be sweet talked :rolleyes:
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

Lukacs on Adorno, but....