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

The Alphabet XIs : G

Posted on January 6, 2012 by in Opinion

The G’s have such depth they are able to leave out the likes of Chris Gayle, Herschelle Gibbs, Ed Giddins and Clarrie Grimmett, who would walk into most other alphabet sides. The batting combines explosiveness with classy strokeplay and sheer volume of runs, while the bowling attack would barely need to actually turn up to run through teams. This XI are laying down the gauntlet. Have any other letters got what it takes?

Gordon Greenidge (West Indies 1974-1991) 108 Tests, 7558 runs @ 44.72. The first great aggressive opener in Test cricket, and a man who revolutionised the position itself. His attitude perhaps defined the nature of the entire West Indian side at the time.

Sunil Gavaskar (India 1971-1987) 125 Tests, 10122 runs @ 51.12. The first man to 10,000 runs as well as the first to 30 centuries. Oft-forgotten in ‘greatest XI’s’, he is perhaps India’s first genuinely great player. Unfortunately, he failed to carry that form into his commentary career.

Graham Gooch (England 1975-1995) 118 Tests, 8900 runs @ 42.58. Comfortably England’s highest ever run-scorer, Gooch averaged 58 as captain and lead from the front in a team not blessed with talent. Also responsible for rebuilding Alastair Cook’s technique, thus helping create the man who will destroy his records.

David Gower (England 1978-1992) 117 Tests, 8231 runs @ 44.25. When he wasn’t falling out with the man above him in this order or flying aeroplanes over grounds at which he was meant to be playing, he was one of the most fluent players of his generation. Much like Gooch, would average 50+ were he playing today.

*Sourav Ganguly (India 1996-2008) 113 Tests, 7212 runs @ 42.17. One of the most divisive figures of modern times, he was India’s most successful captain with a record far superior to anyone who went before him. Would certainly add yet another dimension to the amusing personality clashes in this team.

Tony Greig (England 1972-1977) 58 Tests, 3599 runs @ 40.43, 141 wickets @ 32.20. Another uncompromising character, his bowling would help with the balance of the side. One hopes the strong personalities in the rest of the side would be able to keep him from firing up the opposition before important series as much as possible.

+Adam Gilchrist (Australia 1999-2008) 96 Tests, 5570 runs @ 47.60, 379 catches, 37 stumpings. The greatest wicket-keeper batsman there has ever been, without question. Another man who revolutionised the game, and his career killed off the specialist ‘keeper in international cricket. As an added bonus, he alone is responsible for many a ridiculous English ODI opening pair.

Jason Gillespie (Australia 1996-2006) 71 Tests, 259 wickets @ 26.13. His shambolic tour to England in 2005 seems to have damaged his reputation, in this country especially. The McGrath/Gillespie new ball pairing is statistically the most successful in Australian history.

Darren Gough (England 1994-2003) 58 Tests, 229 wickets @ 28.39. Much like Freddie Flintoff, Gough has spent retirement proving himself to be a bit of a plonker, to such an extent it’s easy to forget how dangerous a bowler he was in his pomp. A main component of England’s resurgence at the turn of the Millennium, he was their one quality strike bowler throughout the late 90’s.

Joel Garner (West Indies 1977-1987) 58 Tests, 259 wickets @ 20.97. Given how he had to compete for wickets with the rest of *that* pace attack, his figures are nothing short of astounding. Of bowlers since 1970, his average is second only to Malcolm Marshall. An absolute shoo-in.

Lance Gibbs (West Indies 1958-1976) 79 Tests, 309 wickets @ 29.09. The first spinner to 300 Test wickets, he just edges out Suliemann Benn as the one top class tweaker to emerge from the Caribbean islands. His career economy rate of less than 2 an over would complement the aggression of the rest of the attack.


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Matt H

10 Jan 2012 13:35

It’s tough when there’s so many very good players. I think Gibbs is justified as the spinner over Grimmett (this is from reading about them, I’m too young to have seen either!)- who was at least acknowleged as an omission in the opening paragraph. As for Graveney, it’s a fair suggestion. I know cricket lovers who can talk for hours about how good he was.



09 Jan 2012 12:20

To omit Tom Graveney – A higher test average than Gooch, Gower Ganguly & Grieg (not to mention style & first class hundred’s scored) and Clarrie Grimmett who took 216 wickets at around 24 in just 37 matches begs the question is this really the best team possible or just the most recognisable names starting with this letter?

I know it is subjective who should be included (and just a matter of debate & preference in most cases) however it is beginning to feel like the person (people?) putting these teams together are just picking the first names they can think of beginning with the letter needed!


James Knight

07 Jan 2012 01:31

I felt he’d disrupt the harmony of the dressing room.


Matt H

06 Jan 2012 17:47

WG Grace doesn’t like this. :thumbdown: