The Alphabet XI: U
This feature now hits the long hard home stretch as we encounter another runt of the letters. A drought of candidates means that the players in this team effectively qualified automatically; as a result, there were no dilemmas, just a significant shortage of quality players.
- George Ulyett (England 1877-1890) 25 Tests, 949 runs @ 24.33 , 50 wickets @ 20.40 Yorkshireman who debuted in the very first Test match. His top score was 149 at Melbourne in 1882; as a fast round-arm bowler he was good enough to take 7/36 in an innings at Lord’s.
- Taufeeq Umar (Pakistan 2001-2012) 40 Tests, 2784 runs @ 39.21 After scoring a century on his debut against Bangladesh, Umar was in and out of the Pakistan side for a number of years. However since 2010 he has become a regular at the top of the order, making his highest score of 236 against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi in 2011.
- Qasim Umar (Pakistan 1983-1986) 26 Tests, 1502 runs @ 36.63 Kenyan-born batsman who could open the batting or play in the middle order. In a short Test career, he scored two double-hundreds, both at Faisalabad. His career ended in controversy as he was banned for accusing players of corruption and his post-cricket career seems to be a log of similar allegations.
- Robin Uthappa (India 2006-2012) 38 ODIs, 786 runs @ 27.10 Although now seen as a limited over specialist, Uthappa topped the Indian first-class averages in 2006/07. He started as a wicket-keeper / batsman, before hanging up his gloves. He hasn’t played a ODI since 2008, but recently featured in the prestigious one-off T20 against South Africa; he opened the batting and was 18* before the rain spoilt what was surely about to be an innings of opulent quality.
- *Polly Umrigar (India 1948-1962) 59 Tests, 3631 runs @ 42.22, 35 wickets @ 42.08 Arguably the best Indian batsman prior to Sunil Gavaskar, Umrigar at one time had most caps, runs and hundreds in Test cricket for his country. He captained them six times; he was the first Indian to score a Test double hundred and in 1962 he hit a century and took five wickets in an innings in the same match at Port-of-Spain. His bowling was Sobers-esque, insofar as he could bowl either off-spin or outswing.
- +Derek Ufton (Kent 1949-1962) 149 First-Class matches, 3919 runs @ 19.99 Wicket-keeper for Kent for several seasons, Ufton was also a footballer, winning one England cap as centre-half. He was captain of Charlton as they came back from 5-1 down to defeat Huddersfield 7-6, but sadly his cricket career is less distinguished.
- Prosper Utseya (Zimbabwe 2004-2012) 1 Test, 45 runs @ 22.50, 0 wickets for 55, 169 ODIs, 1192 runs @ 16.78, 111 wickets @ 45.97 An off-spinner who made his first-class debut at the age of 15, Utseya is a parsimonious bowler who has captained his country in 68 ODIs. In 2006 he was ranked an impressive 16th in the world in ODIs.
- Shaun Udal (England 2005-2006) 4 Tests, 109 runs @ 18.16, 8 wickets @ 43.00 Hampshire off-spinner who played 10 ODIs for England in the mid-1990s, before a surprising call-up for Tests and a solitary ODI in the winter of 2005/06. It was all fairly innocuous, until a match against India in Mumbai where he contributed 4/14 (including the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar) as England bowled the home side out for 100 to win by 212 runs.
- Derek Underwood (England 1966-1982) 86 Tests 937 runs @ 11.56, 297 wickets@ 25.83 “Deadly” bowler who would be England’s leading spinner if the term ‘spinner’ didn’t do him a disservice. Underwood bowled at a range of speeds, from slow to above medium, depending on circumstance. He was at his best on ‘sticky dog’ uncovered pitches, most famously when bowling the Australians out at the Oval in 1968. His total of 297 would have been higher had he not played in World Series Cricket or opted to tour South Africa in 1981-82.
- Jaydev Unadkat (India 2010) 1 Test, 2 runs @ 2.00, 0 wickets for 101 runs Left-arm fast bowler who once took 13/103 against for India A against West Indies A. His solitary Test match was a thrashing by South Africa, but he is still only 20 years of age and his time may come again, especially now he’s been selected for our U XI.
- Eric Upashantha (Sri Lanka 1999-2002) 2 Tests, 10 runs @ 3.33, 4 wickets @ 50.00 Right arm fast medium bowler who also played 12 ODIs across six years, including three during the 1999 World Cup. Sadly, that’s about all there is to say about him, such was his mediocrity.