The Alphabet XIs: L
This team would have few doubts about their ability to bowl sides out cheaply; the top order would also be expected to score plenty of runs in most conditions – although the tail is rather long. There weren’t many candidates who would feel unlucky to be omitted, although we have already reinforced our mailbox in expectation of emails from disgruntled Gloucestershire fans outraged at the lack of Jon Lewis.
- Bill Lawry (Australia 1961-1971) 67 Tests 5234 runs @ 47.15 A typical Australian opener, who was indefatigable in defence. A fine record and respected captain of country who still attempts to commentate on television at the age of 75. Fancies pigeons.
- Justin Langer (Australia 1993-2007) 105 Tests 7696 runs @ 45.27 After eight Tests in four years, Langer returned firstly at No.3 and then No.1 in the order and became one of the most successful compiler of runs of his era. Scored 23 Test centuries.
- Brian Lara (West Indies 1990-2006) 131 Tests 11953 runs @ 52.88 Anyone who watched cricket in the 1990s and early 2000s must surely be in awe of Brian Charles Lara. His 501*, 400* and 375 speak for themselves, though the way he scored his runs was as impressive as their magnitude. At times he batted just miraculously.
- *Clive Lloyd (West Indies 1966-1985) 110 Tests 7515 runs @ 46.67 Giant, bespectacled batsman who oversaw the transition of the West Indies from a good team to the best in the world. Also one of the first stars of limited-overs cricket. Would surely flourish captaining this team.
- VVS Laxman (India 1996-2012) 134 Tests 8781 runs @ 45.97 At last, a right-hander; on his day (usually against Australia), Laxman could be considered one of the finest stroke-makers of recent times. Although most of his career has been alongside Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, his feats are rarely overlooked.
- +Denis Lindsay (South Africa 1963-1970) 19 Tests 1130 runs @ 37.66, 57 catches, 2 stumpings Scorer of three Test centuries, all of which came in one home series against Australia in 1966/67. In the same series he held 24 catches. In one match he tried to hook, but top edged the ball onto his bare forehead, fell down unconscious and was caught and bowled; yet in the next innings, he hooked three sixes on his way to 81. Only three South Africans have more dismissals than him.
- Ray Lindwall (Australia 1946-1960) 61 Tests 1502 runs @ 21.15, 228 wickets @ 23.03 Leader of the attack during the 1948 Invincibles tour of England, Lindwall was described as the first modern quick bowler: after him came Fred Trueman, Wes Hall et al. He mastered the use of the bouncer, using it sparingly as a threat. More than 40% of his victims were bowled.
- Brett Lee (Australia 1999-2008) 76 Tests 1452 runs @ 20.15, 310 wickets @ 30.81 Widely-liked fast bowler who burst onto the international scene in 1999-00. Despite several injuries, he was a vital component of the dominant Australian team, before becoming leader of the attack once Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie retired.
- Jim Laker (England 1948-1959) 46 Tests 676 runs @ 14.08, 193 wickets @ 21.24 68 overs, 27 maidens, 19 wickets, 90 runs. Those are Laker’s figures from the fourth Test match against Australia in 1953. Even without that Old Trafford performance, he would be considered one of the most effective off-spinners that have played the game, certainly for England.
- Dennis Lillee (Australia 1971-1984) 70 Tests 905 runs @ 13.71, 355 wickets @ 23.92 At the time of his retirement, Lillee was the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket. He would have had the chance to taken even more if it weren’t for a serious spine injury in 1973 and World Series Cricket at the end of that decade. Simply awesome.
- George Lohmann (England 1886-1896) 18 Tests 213 runs @ 8.87, 112 wickets @ 10.75 Medium-paced bowler who could move the ball in either direction and at times was almost unplayable. His bowling average is the lowest of all Test match bowlers (at least those who bowled regularly). Died at the age of 36 from tuberculosis.