The Alphabet XI: V
Plenty of choice in the bowling department here, with Bill Voce and Srinivas Venkatraghavan perhaps unlucky not to be selected. The batting however was more limited, with the quality of the middle order detrimented by the dubious opening pair.
- Lou Vincent (New Zealand 2001-2007) 23 Tests, 1332 runs @ 34.15 This Kiwi had a sensational debut, scoring 104 and 54 in the same Test at the WACA. Aside from 224 against South Africa and 106 in India though, the remainder of this international career was unsatisfactory, as his average reveals.
- Michael Vandort (Sri Lanka 2001-2008) 20 Tests, 1144 runs @ 36.90 Scorer of four hundreds (two against Bangladesh, two against England), this tall left-hander’s career suffered due to the consistency of Jayasuriya and Atapattu at the top of the order. Oddly, he averaged 79.00 after his first two appearances but didn’t play for another 3 1/2 years.
- *Michael Vaughan (England 1999-2008) 82 Tests, 5719 runs @ 41.44 These days, the words we usually use in the context of Vaughan are “shut up” and “you blithering cretin” as he pollutes Test Match Special with an endless stream of observations about Britain’s Got Talent. Sadly his injury-affected decline blunted his career figures, but in 2002 and 2003, Vaughan was about as sublime with the bat as anyone else. We don’t need to say he was an exceptional captain as well, nor does Sachin Tendulkar need to confirm he was capable of deadly off-spin.
- Dilip Vengsarkar (India 1976-1992) 116 Tests, 6868 runs @ 42.13 Forceful strokemaker who was a mainstay of the Indian batting order for more than a decade. Between 1985 and 1988 he scored eight hundreds in 16 Tests, averaging 132.16 in 1986. His career tailed off (five 50s in his last 18 matches) but he has remained involved in the sport since retiring.
- Gundappa Viswanath (India 1969-1983) 91 Tests, 6080 runs @ 41.93 An honourable cricketer whose batting was based on fantastic timing and strong wrists. He scored a century on debut against Australia, but didn’t peak until the late 1970s: he scored five hundreds and six fifties in 1979.
- Daniel Vettori (New Zealand 1997-2012) 111 Tests, 4486 runs @ 30.31, 359 wickets @ 34.16 When Vettori made his debut a few weeks after his 18th birthday, he would probably have been asked for ID when watching a 15-rated film. Watching him mature into a bearded, bespectacled giant of the game has been a pleasure; although his averages aren’t spectacular, his importance to New Zealand for the last 15 years cannot be underestimated.
- Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka 1994-2009) 111 Tests, 3089 runs @ 24.32, 355 wickets @ 29.58 Unarguably Sri Lanka’s greatest fast bowler, Vaas mastered orthodox swing, off-cutters and also reverse swing. Although he would probably not have made a World XI at any time of his career, he remains the second highest wicket taker of all left-arm quicks.
- Hedley Verity (England 1931-1939) 40 Tests, 669 runs @ 20.90, 144 wickets @ 24.37 Slow left-armer whose list of feats is incredible: 14 wickets in a day in a Test against Australia at Lord’s; twice taking all ten wickets in an innings, including 10/10 against Nottinghamshire; an average haul of 185 wickets per season. Sadly, he was probably the highest-profile cricketer killed in the Second World War, dying of wounds sustained in Italy in 1943.
- Vintcent van der Bijl (South Africa) 156 First-class matches, 2269 runs @ 16.20, 767 wickets @ 16.54 Lanky South African fast-medium bowler whose bounce, pace and accuracy meant he led Natal’s attack for more than ten years from the late 60s to the early 80s. A successful season with Middlesex in 1980 saw him take 85 wickets at 14.72 and he became a Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In all likelihood, he would have been one of the best international bowlers of the 70s.
- +Sadanand Viswanath (India 1985) 3 Tests, 31 runs @ 6.20, 11 catches This ‘keeper starred in a successful ODI team, featuring in 22 matches. However he didn’t quite make the grade at Test level, despite taking six catches in his final Test. All his appearances came in one series in Sri Lanka. His batting average was very poor compared with a more impressive 30.66 in first-class cricket.
- Alf Valentine (West Indies 1950-1962) 36 Tests, 141 runs @ 4.70, 139 wickets @ 30.32 This tall left-arm spinner burst to fame on the 1950 tour of England, taking 11-204 on debut and 33 wickets in his four Tests. His total haul for the tour was 124 wickets at 17.94 and he and spin partner Sonny Ramadhin were honoured with a Lord Beginner’s famous Victory Test Match.