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

The Alphabet XIs: O

Posted on March 6, 2012 by in Opinion

Oh. Hot on the heels of a rather poor N team comes an equally shabby side. Perhaps the combination of two greats from Down Under would win them a few matches. Otherwise, there really are few positives that can be attributed to these misfits.


  1. Kennedy Otieno (Kenya 1996-2009) 0 Tests, 90 ODIs Yes, we’re cheating here, but the dearth of batsmen, let alone openers, who played Test cricket has forced us into a corner. He was a stalwart of a comparatively fine Kenyan team, including their stunning run to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals. Scored two ODI hundreds, both against Bangladesh.
  2. David Ogilvie (Australia 1977-1978) 5 Tests 178 runs @ 17.80 Queensland opener who scored a stack of runs in the Sheffield Shield before failing to reach 50 in his ten Test innings.
  3. Leo O’Brien (Australia 1933-1936) 5 Tests 211 runs @ 26.37 At least this Australian made a Test match half-century – in fact he made two. In an era with several fine batsmen among his compatriots, his international career was brief. Apparently O’Brien was also a good baseball player and an amateur boxer who lost only his last fight.
  4. Norm O’Neill (Australia 1958-1965) 42 Tests 2779 runs @ 45.55 Dubbed “the new Bradman”, but of course failed to match those hyperbolic expectations. Nonetheless, he did make six centuries, including 181 in the Tied Test of 1960-61. Gideon Haigh’s description of him as ” broad-shouldered Adonis who gave off a golden aura of good health” makes him sound rather sexy.
  5. Jacob Oram (New Zealand 2002-2009) 33 Tests 1780 runs @ 36.32, 60 wickets @ 33.05 A burly big-hitting player who often performed better than initial appearances would suggest. Having a batting average higher than bowling probably qualifies him as an all-rounder who would have played far more Tests were it not for a string of injuries.
  6. Tuppy Owen-Smith (South Africa 1929) 5 Tests 252 runs @ 42.00 He played five Tests for South Africa in England at the age of 20 and performed well enough with the bat and in the field (he was exceptional in the covers and in the deep) to become a Wisden Cricketer of the Year. The following year he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and stayed in England to progress his medical career and play for Middlesex. Oh, and also play ten times for England at rugby union.
  7. +*Bert Oldfield (Australia 1920-1937) 54 Tests 1427 runs @ 22.65, 78 catches, 52 stumpings No other pre-war wicket-keeper had as many dismissals as this New South Welshman; to this day he still holds the record for most Test stumpings. Two years before his Test debut, he very nearly died during the Great War in Flanders.
  8. Pragyan Ojha (India 2009-2011) 14 Tests 70 runs @ 17.50, 62 wickets @ 34.62 Still in the infancy of his Test career, this left-arm spinner took 20 wickets in just three matches against the West Indies at the end of 2011.
  9. Chris Old (England 1973-1981) 46 Tests 845 runs @ 14.82, 143 wickets @ 28.11 “Chilly” was a tall English seamer with a dangerous outswinger and a respectable Test record. However he is possibly best known for scoring 29 runs in England’s second innings at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.
  10. Bill O’Reilly (Australia 1932-1946) 27 Tests 410 runs @ 12.81, 144 wickets @ 22.59 A master of the leg-break and the googly, “Tiger” was a tough, gritty spinner who bowled at an unusually brisk pace. Sir Don thought O’Reilly was the greatest he’d ever faced or watched; his record, and his reputation, certainly suggests he was up there with the finest.
  11. Iain O’Brien (New Zealand 2005-2009) 22 Tests 219 runs @ 7.55, 73 wickets @ 33.27 This fast-medium bowler from Wellington had only a sporadic international career but was a reliable trier. If we’re honest, his selection is only justified because Graham Onions has played so few games.

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