May 27, 2017

The best home v visiting XIs - part two

A country-wise selection of the best all-time home and visiting Test XIs based on empirical methods
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Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne make it to four overseas XIs - the only other one to do so is their longtime team-mate Adam Gilchrist © Getty Images

Spurred on by a casual suggestion from a reader, I embarked on an exhilarating journey which culminated in a pair of articles on the best XIs to visit each country. These two articles elicited tremendous response from the readers and they wanted me to make some important tweaks. They also wanted me to select an all-time best Home XI. I did this composite work for Australia, England, India and West Indies in part one. These tweaks are also explained there.

The changes, in summary, are:

- Less weight for Runs scored/Wickets captured.
- Add "The Pitch Quality" as a weighting measure.
- Add "Support available" as a weighting measure.
- A totally revised method to adjust the RpAI/Bowling Average values.
- And finally, treat the UAE Tests as "Home" Tests for Pakistan.

In this concluding article, I will cover the remaining four countries: South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

South Africa home XI

South Africa: Home - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
82.1Jacques Kallis 887035 50.46 45.04||71.4Dale Steyn 46 241 20.95 18.55
74.4Herbie Taylor 222001 47.64 53.03||68.9Shaun Pollock 59 235 21.09 19.80
74.2Graeme Pollock 141513 59.12 54.25||68.5Makhaya Ntini 53 249 24.04 21.00
70.3Dudley Nourse 201881 51.85 50.17||60.4Allan Donald 38 177 21.64 21.58
67.3Hashim Amla 544174 46.99 41.38||59.8Vernon Philander 21 96 18.96 16.56
64.4AB de Villiers 584097 44.02 39.32||49.7Jacques Kallis 88 165 30.61 27.89
58.9Daryll Cullinan 362363 41.63 39.83||49.4Morne Morkel 33 118 28.84 24.94
58.3Graeme Smith 613987 40.11 34.81||49.0Fanie de Villiers 9 51 20.94 20.76
57.6Jackie McGlew 161152 41.32 42.20||46.9Neil Adcock 17 68 19.94 23.28
57.6Bruce Mitchell 201647 43.97 40.80||44.1Andre Nel 20 70 31.03 25.27
56.3Brian McMillan 211246 39.48 40.93||42.7Peter Pollock 17 56 26.29 25.30
55.7Eric Rowan 161204 40.13 40.54||41.9Hugh Tayfield 20 92 25.85 28.91

The selection of the home team for South Africa is reasonably straightforward. The top four are giants and automatic selections. Who could argue against a quartet of Jacques Kallis, Herbie Taylor, Graeme Pollock and Dudley Nourse? Those who are not familiar with the South African teams during the war years, Nourse was the backbone of the team. There were no easy tours or teams since all Tests were against the strong English and Australian sides. Taylor was an excellent opening batsman who faced up to Sydney Barnes and Co very effectively. Kallis and Pollock select themselves.

Now I have to find a partner for Taylor and another middle-order batsman. Graeme Smith is well within the shortlist and will also make an excellent captain. Hashim Amla's record is marginally better than AB de Villiers and I select Amla to complete the batting group.

There is no need to go beyond Mark Boucher, who has a record gather of 309 dismissals and 3001 runs in 75 Tests. These are colossal figures and represent the best performance by a wicketkeeper at home.

The pace bowlers almost select themselves. Of the top four, it is an easy task to leave out Makhaya Ntini and select Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald. It is indeed nice that Hugh Tayfield makes the cut, making his selection a formality. Even if he had not made the shortlist, I would have taken Tayfield, one of the best offspinners of all time.

The 12th man is AB de Villiers, a very deserving choice indeed.

South Africa visiting XI

South Africa: Visiting team - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
84.4David Warner 3 543 90.50100.00||85.7Sydney Barnes 4 49 10.94 15.00
80.6Jack Hobbs 10 982 60.62 76.82||83.7Clarrie Grimmett 5 44 14.59 15.00
73.5Ken Barrington 5 508 81.15 78.07||82.8Shane Warne 12 61 24.31 19.18
70.6Wally Hammond 151447 57.86 55.01||80.0George Lohmann 3 35 5.80 15.00
68.1Marlon Samuels 6 582 52.91 70.00||75.4Johnny Wardle 4 26 13.81 15.47
67.6Neil Harvey 9 791 58.55 65.06||72.0Bill O'Reilly 5 27 17.04 17.48
65.7Ernest Tyldesley 5 520 57.78 68.38||70.7Alan Davidson 5 25 17.00 17.74
65.1Phillip Hughes 5 532 53.20 67.44||69.5Glenn McGrath 8 29 23.62 19.29
64.2Stephen Fleming 11 927 46.35 58.16||69.4Mitchell Johnson 8 41 25.29 21.92
64.0Sachin Tendulkar 151161 43.43 53.05||68.6Javagal Srinath 8 43 25.28 22.83
63.7Andrew Strauss 9 826 48.59 59.63||65.2Matthew Hoggard 5 26 25.50 20.89
62.6Ricky Ponting 11 937 44.62 55.95||64.1Stuart Broad 8 31 26.00 22.61

The top three batsmen to tour South Africa are obvious choices. Jack Hobbs is the undisputed opener. David Warner, with his terrific single tour, makes it very difficult to be left out. It is not just the runs and RpAI, but the quality of bowling he faced that matters. Wally Hammond, as the seam-bowling allrounder, is at No. 3.

Neil Harvey has performed very well in Tests in South Africa. He provides left-handed elegance of the highest quality. There are two more batting places and three players competing for the positions. I selected Stephen Fleming and Ricky Ponting, reluctantly leaving out Sachin Tendulkar. Ponting's marginally better numbers edged out Tendulkar.

There is real competition between Adam Gilchrist and Jack Russell for the wicketkeeper position. Gilchrist is far ahead as a batsman (52.3 vs 20.0). However Russell has better keeping credentials (27 in 5 vs 26 in 6). With Alan Davidson to come, do I need Gilchrist's batting skills? Maybe not. I have bitten the bullet and selected Gilchrist.

The bowling selection is quite tough. Sydney Barnes selects himself. Then there are two legendary legspinners: Clarrie Grimmett (five matches, 44 wickets at 14.59 and Shane Warne (12 matches, 61 wickets at 19.18). I thought for quite some time whether to take both legspinners. Finally I went with Grimmett. Now, another choice between Davidson and Mitchell Johnson. Davidson's better numbers prevailed so he is my second pace bowler. Now comes the final pace-bowling spot. In eight Tests, Glenn McGrath has captured 29 wickets at 19.29 and Javagal Srinath, 43 wickets at 22.83. McGrath's lower strike rate works against him, so I go with Srinath. This has been one tough selection. There would have been no lack of quality if I had gone with Barnes, Warne, Johnson and McGrath.

I have a real surprise in my 12th man selection. Look at the figures of Phillip Hughes: five matches, 532 runs at 67.44, against top-class bowling. As someone who cried when Hughes died and felt that his demise was a terrible loss to world cricket, I have no hesitation to honour his memory by naming him the 12th man of this side.

© Anantha Narayanan

The TSIs are about 20% apart. Taking this and the home advantage into account the result of a five-Tests series is likely to be 3-2, with the edge to the visiting team.

Pakistan home XI

Pakistan: Home - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
82.0Javed Miandad 604481 53.68 45.89||75.7Imran Khan 38 163 19.21 15.13
78.7Younis Khan 464382 54.06 43.67||70.5Waqar Younis 37 174 20.48 19.66
77.5Mohammad Yousuf 343337 60.33 47.40||65.9Wasim Akram 41 154 22.23 20.82
73.9Inzamam-ul-Haq 513809 46.30 42.35||63.2Abdul Qadir 40 168 26.82 23.94
69.0Saeed Ahmed 161161 40.95 50.27||57.4Iqbal Qasim 29 111 25.15 22.34
66.6Hanif Mohammad 241613 42.81 46.37||52.9Shoaib Akhtar 24 94 25.71 23.77
65.2Misbah-ul-Haq 312351 48.32 41.92||51.8Yasir Shah 10 63 25.35 21.52
65.2Azhar Ali 201968 52.63 43.59||50.9Saeed Ajmal 12 67 26.46 22.49
64.8Saleem Malik 502908 43.20 39.06||50.8Fazal Mahmood 13 65 18.14 22.37
64.1Saeed Anwar 271860 44.29 43.25||50.1Umar Gul 19 81 28.86 24.38
63.8Zaheer Abbas 362444 50.39 40.35||47.1Danish Kaneria 29 116 34.52 29.68
62.0Mudassar Nazar 352467 48.64 38.83||47.0Saqlain Mushtaq 23 90 30.10 28.59

The Pakistan home team selection could have been done by a three-year old. Just look at the top six batsmen in the shortlist, confirm that there are two renowned opening batsmen there and select the six: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Ahmed, Javed Miandad, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Now the bowlers. Check out the top four, be overjoyed that this is among the most balanced and incisive attack any team has fielded, and select these four: Imran Khan (also captain), Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir.

Look at the top two keepers. Remember that this is almost like the South Africa visiting keeper selection. Kamran Akmal is the better batsman while Saleem Yousuf is the more capable keeper, so we select Yousuf.

The 12th man is the stylish Zaheer Abbas.

Pakistan visiting XI

Pakistan: Visiting team - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
82.8Virender Sehwag 6 732 91.50 84.78||92.0Shane Warne 5 34 19.35 17.16
81.8Kumar Sangakkara 111377 70.91 69.31||89.9Malcolm Marshall 10 35 21.46 20.40
78.2Sanjay Manjrekar 4 569 81.29 82.84||89.5Glenn McGrath 7 29 22.86 19.21
77.5AB de Villiers 6 712 77.64 78.79||87.0M Muralitharan 9 50 24.96 24.64
72.2Gary Kirsten 5 529 66.12 76.32||84.9Courtney Walsh 9 33 21.91 22.05
70.9Sanath Jayasuriya 9 894 56.09 66.69||71.6Chaminda Vaas 10 39 29.28 28.71
65.3Jacques Kallis 9 917 57.31 59.33||71.0Kapil Dev 15 44 40.02 30.00
64.8Sunil Gavaskar 111001 55.12 56.84||65.9Rangana Herath 8 35 33.97 30.24
63.1Thilan Samaraweera 5 633 83.51 62.99||56.3GP Wickramasinghe 10 30 32.23 33.12
61.4Mark Taylor 6 619 67.87 61.15||
61.2Graeme Smith 8 783 55.93 57.34||
60.7Alastair Cook 6 609 55.36 60.60||

The selection of the batsmen to visit Pakistan is almost equally easy. Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanjay Manjrekar and AB de Villiers are the to-four in the shortlist and are straightforward selections. I need an opener to walk in with Sehwag. Gary Kirsten and Sunil Gavaskar present themselves. Gavaskar's number of runs and good RpAI value gives him the edge. So Gavaskar walks in with Sehwag. The sixth batting place is a straight contest between Sanath Jayasuriya and Kallis. Jayasuriya's all-time classic of 253 ranks amongst the top ten innings ever played. If ever an innings selects a player, this is the one. So Jayasuriya gets the nod ahead of Kallis.

Prasanna Jayawardene and Ian Healy are very closely locked together in numbers. Virtually nothing separates them. But the fact that Healy has more experience makes me select Healy as the keeper to tour Pakistan

The bowling selection is easy. The top four bowlers present a formidable quartet and I see no reason to separate them. Malcolm Marshall, McGrath, Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan could very well be the four greatest Test bowlers ever.

Gary Kirsten, who missed the opening spot by a whisker, is the 12th man.

© Anantha Narayanan

The TSIs are about 20% apart. Taking this and the home advantage into account the result of a five-Tests series is likely to be 3-2, with the edge to the visiting team.

New Zealand home XI

New Zealand: Home - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
84.0Ross Taylor 362846 48.12 43.23||65.3Richard Hadlee 43 201 22.96 23.16
83.3Brendon McCullum 493591 45.54 39.25||51.0Trent Boult 20 89 25.85 23.38
81.8Kane Williamson 262256 50.52 44.53||49.9Danny Morrison 27 115 27.12 26.25
81.0Glenn Turner 201455 42.56 47.71||48.7Chris Martin 38 146 30.99 29.65
76.4John Wright 463140 39.59 36.71||48.6Tim Southee 29 114 29.70 27.06
74.1Martin Crowe 322401 48.72 38.65||46.4Neil Wagner 19 81 29.58 25.79
69.3Craig McMillan 271760 43.77 38.43||45.7Chris Cairns 31 109 28.36 28.56
68.8Jeremy Coney 281544 37.89 39.09||45.6Richard Collinge 20 80 23.86 26.20
67.1Stephen Fleming 542947 33.18 31.37||43.6Daryl Tuffey 15 57 25.09 25.64
65.9Nathan Astle 382175 37.08 34.17||41.2Daniel Vettori 57 159 37.11 35.69
65.2Chris Cairns 311860 36.67 35.17||39.9Lance Cairns 24 75 28.91 29.60
63.2Bruce Edgar 201001 31.52 37.86||38.2Simon Doull 19 61 29.07 29.62

The selection of the home team for New Zealand is like the Pakistan selection. Among the top six players are two excellent opening batsmen. Fleming misses out, but cannot be helped. He was terrific away, but not that great at home. So Glenn Turner, John Wright, Martin Crowe, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Craig McMillan form the top six in the team.

I can already see a few "Oh no, are you out of your mind? McMillan in seventh place?" reactions. Yes, I am aware of it. Brendon McCullum is my chosen wicketkeeper. He spent a fair bit of his career behind the stumps and was a top-class keeper.

The bowling selection is not that straightforward. It is easy to pencil in Richard Hadlee and Trent Boult. It is also possible to identify Daniel Vettori as the lead spinner, with a Test batting average of 32-plus to boot. What about the fourth pacer? There are many candidates: Chris Martin, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Chris Cairns, Richard Collinge. Collinge has the best figures and he is the not-so-obvious last bowler selected.

The 12th man is Chris Cairns, the most consistent bowler in history of Test cricket and no mean batsman.

New Zealand visiting XI

New Zealand: Visiting team - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
67.3Wally Hammond 3 642214.00100.00||94.9Shane Warne 9 49 21.31 17.22
65.0Seymour Nurse 3 558111.60100.00||92.6Wasim Akram 7 50 17.18 18.50
64.4Daryll Cullinan 4 535133.75100.00||90.0Glenn McGrath 6 30 18.40 15.00
63.1Javed Miandad 9 928 71.38 76.15||86.4Sonny Ramadhin 6 32 15.06 17.19
54.3Greg Chappell 8 786 65.17 66.20||84.2Shaun Pollock 6 26 23.00 16.85
52.5Chris Gayle 5 540 67.50 75.93||83.5Joel Garner 5 26 16.92 17.16
50.8Herschelle Gibbs 6 686 68.60 64.70||82.4Courtney Walsh 7 32 20.75 19.09
50.7Rahul Dravid 7 766 58.16 60.05||79.1Max Walker 5 26 20.31 19.20
48.9Sachin Tendulkar 11 842 48.90 52.35||79.1Andy Caddick 5 27 20.41 19.44
48.5Shakib Al Hasan 4 517 64.62 69.14||76.3Erapalli Prasanna 7 35 19.26 22.61
47.9Gordon Greenidge 6 618 54.98 62.45||75.9M Muralitharan 6 30 19.97 21.64
46.7Doug Walters 5 506 59.81 66.10||73.7Chaminda Vaas 8 36 22.56 24.05

The sequence in the shortlist is only a guidance for me. However I have treated the shortlist itself as sacred and not once gone out of it. So when I have two world-class openers placed comfortably in the shortlist, I have no hesitation in selecting them. Therefore, Herschelle Gibbs and Chris Gayle (the refreshing Test opener that he was, not the six-hitting robot he has become) will walk in as the unlikely, but effective, opening pair.

Hammond scored at the rate of 214 per innings against awful bowlers. This fact has been taken into account and his RpAI has been capped at 100. But he is still at No.1 and that fact cannot be ignored. Miandad was all class when he toured New Zealand. Greg Chappell was nearly as good and he gets in, and is also the captain. The last batting position is between Nurse and Rahul Dravid. I have plumped for Dravid because of the number of Tests and runs.

Adam Gilchrist towers above everyone for the keeper position, that too with an RpAI of nearly 70.

The top three bowlers are Warne, Akram and McGrath. The fourth bowler choice is between Shaun Pollock and Joel Garner. Garner's average is the best amongst all bowlers to tour New Zealand, so he gets the nod.

Shakib Al Hasan is the 12th man.

© Anantha Narayanan

The TSIs are about 25% apart. Taking this and the home advantage into account, the result of a five-Tests series is likely to be 3-1, with a clear edge to the visiting team. Could even go 4-1.

Sri Lanka home XI

Sri Lanka: Home - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
91.6Mahela Jayawardene 817167 56.56 50.24||74.3M Muralitharan 73 493 19.57 17.15
86.9Kumar Sangakkara 756830 56.10 47.56||56.6Rangana Herath 43 247 22.81 20.63
67.2Aravinda de Silva 443290 48.07 42.05||50.1Chaminda Vaas 56 180 26.33 22.71
65.0Thilan Samaraweera 453123 47.45 40.80||42.0Ajantha Mendis 13 53 32.83 23.77
64.8Angelo Mathews 362431 44.05 42.49||39.4MDK Perera 11 56 27.71 25.66
63.8Sanath Jayasuriya 624114 42.60 37.30||37.7Dilhara Fernando 19 50 30.28 26.54
59.5Arjuna Ranatunga 482851 38.70 37.37||37.3Sanath Jayasuriya 62 66 31.83 27.40
59.0Hashan Tillakaratne 412522 44.63 37.90||35.8Dhammika Prasad 15 51 30.65 27.89
56.5Tillakaratne Dilshan462925 40.09 34.92||35.6Lasith Malinga 17 51 32.98 28.00
54.6Marvan Atapattu 482671 36.32 34.15||
53.5Dinesh Chandimal 181433 44.78 36.61||
40.7Roshan Mahanama 241403 34.72 26.97||

The Sri Lankan home selection process continues in the same vein. The top six batsmen, Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva, Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews are in. I am not going to break up this group, just to get an opener in, so Mahela Jayawardene will open with Jayasuriya.

Prasanna Jayawardene is far ahead of the rest in the keeper stakes. So he is in.

The top three bowlers have served Sri Lanka for hundreds of Tests and are in by right. Do I go then with Ajantha Mendis, Dilruwan Perera or Dilhara Fernando. With two top-class spinners and Jayasuriya, why would I need another spinner? It is also true that there have been times when Sri Lankan pitches have been pace-friendly. So I have selected Dilhara Fernando, to complement Murali, Rangana Herath and Chaminda Vaas.

Dilruwan Perera is the 12th man.

Sri Lanka visiting XI

Sri Lanka: Visiting team - Shortlist
BatPtsBatsmanTestsRunsRpAIWtedRpAI||BowPtsBowlerTestsWktsAvgeWtedAvge
89.4Brian Lara 4 706100.86100.00||92.9Shane Warne 9 48 20.46 15.85
75.2Stephen Fleming 5 733 73.30 80.10||83.3Richard Hadlee 4 27 12.30 15.21
66.9Virender Sehwag 6 692 62.91 70.11||72.0Wasim Akram 8 30 20.43 21.64
64.0Sachin Tendulkar 121155 60.79 52.87||71.0Waqar Younis 6 27 21.63 21.37
59.5Younis Khan 171172 40.88 46.45||63.5Saeed Ajmal 8 38 32.39 28.01
55.5Mushfiqur Rahim 6 541 54.10 59.13||63.5Daniel Vettori 7 30 26.37 25.91
55.0Ricky Ponting 9 723 45.19 53.24||53.1Ishant Sharma 9 26 36.42 30.12
49.7Mohammad Ashraful 9 751 41.84 45.28||47.1Anil Kumble 9 30 44.63 34.19
49.7Asad Shafiq 8 589 45.31 49.88||42.4Harbhajan Singh 10 26 48.58 35.47
49.6Inzamam-ul-Haq 9 528 47.35 51.54||42.4Ashley Giles 6 25 33.92 35.23
46.5Azhar Ali 8 621 44.36 44.68||39.4Nicky Boje 7 25 43.80 36.72
42.1VVS Laxman 7 530 40.77 41.42||

Brian Lara's selection to tour Sri Lanka must be one of the most certain picks among all XIs. His three-Test performance is, arguably, the greatest series performance by any player in the history of the game. The next four batsmen select themselves: Fleming, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Younis complete the top five. I will opt for Younis to open with Sehwag. That leaves me with one batting/allrounder spot. I will take in Vettori, who provides me with spin bowling support. Ponting just misses out.

In a left-field selection, Mushfiqur Rahim is picked to lead the overseas XI in Sri Lanka © Getty Images

It will be a pleasure to select Mushfiqur Rahim for the keeper position. He, along with Shakib, has transformed Bangladesh cricket and deserves this recognition. I will go left-field and also make him my captain.

I saw the top four bowlers in the list and took five seconds to decide that this will do. Warne, Hadlee, Akram and Waqar: what a great combination, arguably the best ever to tour a country.

Incidentally this selection, along with that of the Pakistan home team, is the only one in which the top six batsmen and top four bowlers have been selected.

Ponting, who just missed selection, is the 12th man.

© Anantha Narayanan

The TSIs are about 25% apart. Taking this and the home advantage into account, the result of a five-Tests series is likely to be 3-1, with a clear edge to the visiting team. Could even go 4-1.

A final summary:

Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne have been selected in four visiting teams each. Hammond and Dravid in three. No fewer than 14 players have been selected in two teams each and 42 others in one team. This makes a total of 61 players.

Many thanks to all the readers who have participated in this quartet of wonderful articles. My sincere thanks and gratitude to all the readers who have been with me during what has been a memorable and unforgettable journey across the years.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Murray on June 13, 2017, 14:16 GMT

    HAHA my friend. Perhaps Henriques is on a multi year deal and about to be our test captain ? Who could tell and how would anyone know in a world where we all have to have brotherhood for average players who get paid a lot, cost a fortune, and need a revenue share ? Note revenue, not profit lol
    [[
    Henriques: 68 & 81* at an average of 149 at the end of the first Test he ever played. Other than that, a total of 96 runs in 16 innings. What happened to the wonderful 6-team strong Sheffied Shied (or its follow-up event). 6 (or whatever) years of BBL: has it not produced one top quality no.4 player for ODIs.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • Murray on June 11, 2017, 23:26 GMT

    @DBMK. "Brilliant Jerks" are exactly what every business scours the planet to find and pays top dollar to have. In cricket, my goodness, Australia even made Warner a Vice Captain, and India made Kohli a Captain. England had long before made Flintoff a Captain. ...... I often indeed wonder how Warne wasn't a Captain lol. Nice guys ( .... you suggest.. Gary Sobers ROFL- well let's face it he IS actually less weird than Boycott) don't usually do exceptionally well in terms of the self belief necessary to be a world beater. Incredibly focused guys, like Bradman and the English Barnes often come across as a bit up themselves. The Australian Barnes is of course proof that someone can be so obnoxious that no amount of talent is enough to get picked. Such is life, such is Cricket. I wish we were allowed to have character back in the game, the monotone media training the players have is frankly boring. Bring back Kieth Miller, Bill O'Rielly .... or anyone say what they actually think.
    [[
    Let me put in my tuppenny-worth since I may have no other opportunity.
    I have never seen an Australian selection policy as short-sighted as the continuation of Henriques at the pivotal no.4 position. Not just the selection itself but the insistence on batting him so high up. I hope that this madness does not continue beyond Saturday.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • Murray on June 11, 2017, 21:23 GMT

    A couple of very interesting articles and a large number of very good teams. Ananth your weighting and resultant lists "feel" right to me. The only useful question I have, is can we find a value for all rounders ? It seems the wicket keeping measurements are in front in the all round type of way. When I look at these teams, obviously Sobers and Faulkner etc make it as batsmen, Imran as a bowler etc, but I think an Australia without Miller, a NZ without Reid or an England without Botham doesn't "feel" so right as the batting and bowling charts do. Great work Ananth, thanks.
    [[
    The problem, Murray, is that unless I change my basis to 5/6 batsmen + 3/4 bowlers + one all-rounder + one keeper, which means insisting on an all-rounder for every team, I have to do the all-rounder selection in an informal manner as I have done. Maybe the only regret I have now is the non-selection of Botham for England.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • Rohan on June 11, 2017, 10:36 GMT

    CRICFAN0228136732 - It's about "positive criticism"- And at least trying to cut out personal biases from analysis (Impossible though that is). If a batsman could keep up a series average of 100- everyone would be Bradman. There is surely a reversion to mean coming. Barry Richards played just 4 Tests- and so is always excluded from any World XI ; Rightfully so in my opinion.

  • Rohan on June 11, 2017, 10:10 GMT

    That's part of the problem. Statistical analysis ideally shouldn't be skewed by personal biases. For eg. my personal feeling is that players should not be part of any "World XI" on the basis of 3-5 Tests.

  •   cricfan0228136732 on June 11, 2017, 5:01 GMT

    Seriously people give the man some respect for what he has done. This did not take days or even weeks for a matter of fact. Just because Mushfiq is made captain that one thing he did by personal choice. Reason he along with Tamim and Sakib will go down in history as the Imran khan of pakistan. Gavasker of India. Jaysuria of sri Lanka and last but not least Hadlee of newzeland. You guys have to realise these guys have transformed the Bangladesh cricket team from losing every test and odi to drawing tests too winning both odis and tests against the toughest of opponents. Like newzeland just know. Mushfiq deserves credit second to none for this transformation. Hence the Ananth Is acknowledging that and paying him respect it's that simple. For all those who have issues please make one article like this one. Then come back and complain because if you have read this article like I have I can tell you their is a lot of research behind it. So please pay your respect 2 Mr Ananth
    [[
    Thank you.
    Anyhow, the forces have combined together to open the door for Bangladesh. And let me say this. Whether it is South Africa or India which faces Bangladesh in the SF, they better be aware that with the type of cricket they are playing, Bangladesh would not be afraid of either team. They would play on the knowledge that it needs only one specific ball to dismiss de Villiers or Kohli.
    Ananth
    ]]

  •   cricfan0228136732 on June 11, 2017, 0:06 GMT

    Why is younis opening against sri Lanka instead of gleaming or tendulker he has opened so many times campared to younis. Maybe I don't understand it. Please explain. Besides that great effort. Applause.
    [[
    Tendulkar, never in Tests. If some middle order batsman has to open, it could as well be Younis. Could as well have been Fleming. For that matter, Lara, with a right-left combination.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • Rohan on June 7, 2017, 4:28 GMT

    OK. Then perhaps there could be a cut off for number of Tests as well. Say 5 Tests for pre 1970s and 10 Tests for thereafter - This will eliminate the One series wonders.
    [[
    There are many tweaks possible. The problem is that pre-1970, certain teams played a lot of Tests. And we cannot really have drastic cut-off changes such as 5 and 10.
    Finally, let me say this. I think Lara's 688 in Sri Lanka, albeit in a 3-Test series, is the greatest ever series performance by any player anywhere during the 140 years of Test cricket. I am not going to do anything which will keep this and/or a few other similar performances out.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • bilal on June 6, 2017, 14:13 GMT

    Make a world 11 against each team by looking at the total performance against that team and not just the performance in that team's home ground.

  • p on June 3, 2017, 17:17 GMT

    (cont'd -1k characters used).3.Pairing-up not good. A few times Djojovick and Nadal team-up to play doubles and lost;ordinary players like Leander Paes/Stepanek have won many titles. 4.The 'best' do not always win.Seen a Miss World contest?(forget the Steve Harvey blooper,saying the wrong name). 5.USA supposed to be an advanced country.They did not win in Korea,Vietnam,Iraq,Afghan……. 6.Same advanced USA with their 'top' schools is about no.10 in list of countries in Maths,Science,Reading. 7.Everyone knows a cuckold.When you see the other man(dingy,scruffy,without charm) who has the affair with the wife....and it's not Wodehouse's fiction. So:Beyond the Resume, 'nice guys Sachin,Sobers may not make team.S.Waugh,Ponting...may get in.

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