A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

The Alphabet XIs: B

Posted on December 15, 2011 by in Opinion

This team includes some giants of the game; the top six of the batting order would surely accumulate runs by the bucketful. The presence of Sir Ian Botham and Richie Benaud help strengthen the lower order and allow a five-man attack.

  1. Geoffrey Boycott (England 1964-1982) 108 Tests, 8114 runs @ 47.72 Divides opinion like no other, but his statistics demonstrate he was one of the best accumulators of runs of his era.
  2. David Boon (Australia 1984-1996) 107 Tests, 7422 runs @ 43.65 Arguably better-suited to No.3, but the stout, moustachioed Tasmanian still scored eight hundreds and more than 2600 runs as opener.
  3. Don Bradman (Australia 1928-1948) 52 Tests, 6996 runs @ 99.94 Head, shoulders and chest above any other batsmen; has a very valid claim to be the greatest sportsman of all-time.
  4. Ken Barrington (England 1955-1968) 82 Tests 6806 runs @ 58.67, 29 wickets @ 44.82 Surrey batsman who changed his game to become a rock-solid member of the middle order with a very impressive average. Died too young at the age of 50 when England assistant manager.
  5. Allan Border (Australia 1979-1994) 156 Tests, 11174 runs @ 50.56, 39 wickets @ 39.10 Left-hander who helped create the Australian team that conquered all in the late 1990s. Retired as the highest run-scorer in Tests, but his average shows this was not solely down to longevity.
  6. Ian Botham (England 1977-1992) 102 Tests, 5200 runs @ 33.54, 383 wickets @ 28.40 A colossus of English cricket; his bowling was world-class – at least before injuries took their toll – and his batting was destructive. One of the few cricketers to become a household name (albeit not solely due to his on-field performances).
  7. +Mark Boucher (South Africa 1997-2011) 141 Tests, 5332 runs @ 30.29, 504 catches, 22 stumpings Boucher already holds the record for most dismissals in Tests (partly due to his huge number of appearances) and doesn’t look like retiring anytime soon. More than handy with the bat, including five centuries and 34 fifties.
  8. *Richie Benaud (Australia 1952-1964) 63 Tests, 2201 runs @ 24.45, 248 wickets @ 27.03 Rightly lauded as a commentator par excellence but also a very fine cricketer: capable batsman, charismatic captain and the best leg-spinner of his generation. Is reputed to have witnessed more Test cricket than anyone else, ever.
  9. Alec Bedser (England 1946-1955) 51 Tests, 714 runs @ 12.75, 236 wickets @ 24.89 The third knight of this team (four if you include ‘Sir’ Geoffrey), Bedser was a very accurate, very reliable medium-fast bowler who died earlier this year.
  10. Bishan Bedi (India 1967-1979) 67 Tests, 656 runs @ 8.98, 266 wickets @ 28.71 A slow left-arm spinner who was one of India’s finest. A very commendable Test record stands alongside more than 1500 first-class wickets in a twenty-year career.
  11. Sydney Barnes (England 1901-1914) 27 Tests, 242 runs @ 8.06, 189 wickets @ 16.43 A wildcard selection, insofar as he comes from a very different era (Don Bradman was only seven years old when Barnes played his final Test), but his record is staggering. His medium-paced spin/swing/seam would augment the other bowlers.

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Matthew L

16 Dec 2011 00:03

One slight quibble, Ian Bell is better than this ‘Bradman’ chap (not really sure who he is tbh)