The Alphabet XIs: K
To start: a spoiler. We have not selected Amjad Khan. Although he is a mascot-of-sorts around these parts, he couldn’t quite make the grade. We’re sorry. Actually, the majority of this team selects itself, with the only dilemmas over the second opener and final bowler. Lance Klusener, Majid Khan and Mohsin Khan might consider themselves unlucky; Danesh Kaneria should be glad he was even thought of for a millisecond.
- Gary Kirsten (South Africa 1993-2004) 101 Tests 7289 runs @ 43.43 Another tough opening batsman, Kirsten was a fixture at the top of the order for a very strong South African side. He had a habit of making big scores against England; after retirement he became a very successful coach of India.
- Simon Katich (Australia 2001-2010) 56 Tests 4188 runs @ 45.03, 21 wickets @ 30.23 Tough and gritty left-handed opener who graduated from the lower-middle order to become a reliable opening bat in the post-Hayden & Langer era for Australia. Better than Phil Hughes.
- Rohan Kanhai (West Indies 1957-1974) 79 Tests 6227 runs @ 47.53 Batsman from British Guyana whose long career was distinguished by a huge volume of runs, scored in a manner at times unorthodox yet often classically powerful. His career was concurrent with many other West Indian greats, but he still flourished.
- Jacques Kallis (South Africa 1995-2012) 150 Tests 12260 runs @ 57.02, 274 wickets @ 32.51 Just look at those stats.
- Younis Khan (Pakistan 2000-2012) 75 Tests 6267 runs @ 52.22 His Test career has at times stuttered, as did Pakistan’s in the same era, but his average and amount of runs speaks for itself.
- Alvin Kallicharran (West Indies 1972-1981) 66 Tests 4399 runs @ 44.43 The second Guyanese batsman in this team, Kallicharran was a short, but very effective middle order batsman who scored 12 Test centuries. A formidable one-day player as well.
- *Imran Khan (Pakistan 1971-1992) 88 Tests 3807 runs @ 37.69, 362 wickets @ 22.81 The statistics alone are compelling, but Imran Khan is a colossus of the modern global game, and also is rather famous for his life outside cricket. His bowling was quick and he was a master of swing; he also improved with age: in his final 51 Tests he averaged 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball. Since captaining Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup victory, he has become a social activist and politician in his homeland..
- +Alan Knott (England 1967-1981) 96 Tests 4389 runs @ 32.75, 250 catches, 19 stumpings A more than competent batsman with five Test centuries to his name, but Knott is rightly regarded mostly as one of the great wicket-keepers. Purists of a certain age will fondly reminisce about his partnership with his county and country teammate Derek Underwood.
- Anil Kumble (India 1990-2008) 132 Tests 2506 runs @ 17.77, 619 wickets @ 29.65 This Indian leg-spinner is third in the list of all-time Test wicket takers. Using guile and bounce as much as spin, Kumble was an incredibly difficult bowler to face. He took all ten wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999 and was a consistent threat though out his career. Typically, his sole Test hundred came against England.
- Zaheer Khan (India 2000-2012) 83 Tests 1114 runs @ 12.37, 288 wickets @ 31.78 Few left arm quick bowlers have better records than Zaheer Khan. It took a while for his career to really take off, but after injury setbacks, he returned to the international fold in 2006 and soon became one of the leading swing bowlers in the world.
- Michael Kasprowicz (Australia 1996-2006) 38 Tests, 445 runs @ 10.59, 113 wickets @ 32.88 Luckily, with the other bowlers in this side, Kasprowicz won’t be leading the attack. In truth, he was an effective bowler: quick and with the ability to swing and cut the ball, but unfortunately his career coincided with that of other, more effective, Australian quicks.