This post was always inevitable. Anyone who loves Cricket would have thought of this some time or the other.
In fact I would like to tell you a funny thing about this.(Kind of a Prelude). In my MBA college in Mumbai, we used to have long classes and I was one of the students who used to sit in a place not at the back neither too much in the front. I follow the 'middle strategy' everywhere. And although lot of students had no problem or shame falling asleep in the middle of the class, I could never do that. In fact it is difficult for me to fall asleep at all places other than my bed in my room..like buses and trains or new places etc. And generally I did not have much trouble getting through the class but there was this one class in the afternoon where I was feeling really sleepy. No strategy was working. Everything failed and that was the time I had to bring out my 'Brahmastra'. Something related to Cricket and in the class, something related to Cricket that I could do and which would also stimulate my mind was making my ODI XI and TEST XI. And it is funny because I took out my pad and started doing this seriously and the person sitting behind me became interested in what I had suddenly started writing. And he started laughing. He told me........
that he wanted to see what I was doing so seriously and here I was making my ODI XI and TEST XI in the middle of a class of Business Research Methods!
Anyway, getting back to this- I have made my World team for ODIs and Tests but I had to have certain criteria of minimum number of matches, runs ( min 5000 for both Tests and ODIs) or wickets ( min 400 for Tests and 300 for ODIs) . Also I thought it would be unfair to have cricketers from different eras. It wouldn't be fair to compare them this way. So I have selected the players who did not retire before 1999.
Also I have not just picked individuals but keeping the team, its composition, the batting positions of players in mind. So it is not just a collection of individuals but the best team I could think of.
So here it is
My TEST XI
* Criteria- Players who haven't retired in or before 1999
1. Virender Sehwag M- 74, I- 127, R- 6401, Avg- 52.46, W- 31, Avg- 42.90
2. Matthew Hayden M- 103, I- 184, R- 8625, Avg- 50.73, Ct- 128
3. Ricky Ponting* M- 142, I- 240, R- 11859, Avg- 55.67, Ct- 164
4. Sachin Tendulkar M- 164, I- 268, R- 13234, Avg- 55.37, W- 44, Avg- 52.22
5. Brian Lara M- 131, I- 232, R- 11953, Avg- 52.88, Ct- 164
6. Jacques Kallis M- 135, I- 228, R- 10640, Avg- 54.56, W- 260, Avg- 31.40
7. Adam Gilchrist+ M- 96, I- 137, R- 5570, Avg- 47.60, Ct-379, St- 37
8. Shane Warne M- 145, W- 708, SR- 57.4, Avg- 25.41, R- 3154, Avg- 17.32
9. Curtley Ambrose M- 98, W- 405, SR- 54.5, Avg- 20.99
10.Muttiah Muralithiran M- 132, W- 792, SR- 55.1, Avg- 22.71
11.Glenn McGrath M- 124, W- 563, SR- 51.9, Avg- 21.64
This is for stats upto 27 Jan 2010.
M-Matches, I- Innings, R- Runs, Avg-Average, W- Wickets, Ct- Catches, St- Stumpings
1. Sehwag is an obvious choice for an opener with an average above 50 but the important thing is his amazing strike rate even in Test Cricket which gives the team enough time to bowl out the opposition and a handy part-time bowling option.
2. Hayden. There was a consideration for Gambhir too because he makes a good pair with Sehwag and has an amazing average of 57.50 and is performing consistently-equalling Sir Viv Richard's record of 11 consecutive 50+ scores in as many matches and was just 1 short of Don Bradman's record of 6 consecutive centuries in 6 matches. But he hasn't played that many matches yet. And also with Hayden you get the fear factor. Plus he too averages a healthy 50.73
3. Ponting. Another very strong candidate was Rahul Dravid. But overall the figures of Ponting in terms of runs and average is better than Dravid and plus you get a good captain and a good fielder with him although Dravid too is the best slip fielder with most number of catches
4. Sachin Tendulkar is an obvious choice in any team. There is no need to say anything about this.
5. Lara. How can anyone leave this man out of Test Cricket. When he gets going, he does not stop. Had the highest score in test cricket and regained it again with a 400*
- Other considerations for batsmen were Steve Waugh and Mahela Jayawardene
6. Kallis. One of the best all rounders in the world. In most teams he can take a place just on the basis of his batting with over 10,000 runs and average of almost 55 and add 260 wickets to that. And with just 2 other fast bowlers, needed a third seaming option
7. Gilchrist. Again in the modern era, Sangakkara is a strong contender with over 7500 runs at an average of over 55 and is good enough even just as a batsman. But since the batting order is so strong, there isn't a place for him in the top order. And at this position, Gilchrist is dangerous, scoring quick runs or repair an early damage as he has so often done for Australia. And he has a good average of 47.60 for someone at number 7 and 416 dismissals
8. Warne- Perhaps the best leg spinner of all time. Was the leading wicket taker at one point of time and a handy batsman as well.
9. Ambrose. This was a tough and debatable choice. Played till 2000. Other options were the likes of Walsh, Pollock and Akram and even Waqar Younis, Donald etc But Ambrose stands out for his excellent average- 20.99 and being one of the most fearsome bowler of all time and according to many batsmen- one of the toughest to face. And he can handle the stick too.
10. Murlitharan- The highest wicket taker of all time. Can turn the ball on any pitch.
11. McGrath- Most number of wickets for any fast bowler, excellent in line and length to tie the batsmen down and an outstanding average of 21.64 and one of the best Strike rates
My ODI XI
* Criteria- Players who haven't retired in or before 1999
1. Matthew Hayden M- 161, I- 155, R- 6133, Avg- 43.80, SR- 78.96
2. Sachin Tendulkar M- 440, I- 429, R- 17394, Avg- 44.71, SR- 85.90, W- 154, Avg- 44.26
3. Ricky Ponting* M- 334, I- 325, R- 12381, Avg- 42.84, SR- 80.33
4. Jacques Kallis M- 295, I- 281, R- 10409, Avg- 45.25, SR-72.01, W- 248, Avg- 32.10
5. Andrew Symonds M- 198, I- 161, R- 5088, Avg- 39.75, SR- 92.44, W- 133, Avg- 37.25
6. Michael Bevan M-232, I- 196, R- 6912, Avg- 53.58, SR- 74.16
7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni+ M- 159, I- 140, R- 5317, Avg- 51.12, SR- 89.21 Ct-153, St- 52
8. Shaun Pollock M- 303, I- 205, R- 3519, Avg- 26.45, SR- 86.69, W- 393, Avg- 24.50, Eco-3.67
9. Wasim Akram M- 356, I- 351, W- 502, Avg- 23.52, Eco- 3.89
10.Muttiah Muralithiran M- 334, I- 326, W- 512, Avg- 22.93, Eco- 3.91
11.Glenn McGrath M- 250, I- 248, W- 381, Avg- 22.02, Eco- 3.88
This is for stats upto 29 Jan 2010.
M-Matches, I- Innings, R- Runs, Avg-Average, W- Wickets, Ct- Catches, St- Stumpings, Eco- Economy rate
1. Hayden. Here the other option was that of Ganguly who has over 11000 runs and an average of over 41, a handy bowling option plus a passionate captain and he makes the best opening pair with Tendulkar. But again I went with Hayden because of the fear factor for the opposition and his ability to destroy attacks at the top with an amazing average of 43.80.
2. Tendulkar. Again there is nothing to say about this. The king of ODI Cricket undoubtedly
3. Ponting. He is another one who chooses himself with over 12,000 runs at average of almost 43 and just like my test team, he is the captain of this team too.
4. Kallis. Excellent figures in ODI Cricket too. Over 10,000 runs at average of over 45! Here too he can get into any team just on the basis of his batting but he has almost 250 wickets too!
5. Symonds. This was the debatable choice in this team. Needed an allrounder. Other good options were Klusener, Flintoff, even Gayle but wasn't considered because of the batting order and Watson but he hasn't played that many matches yet. With Symonds you get an average of almost 40 with a strike rate of over 90 which is ideal for this position plus he has close to 150 wickets and is an excellent fielder specially for runouts. And many times he has brought the team out of a batting collapse.
6. Bevan. The clear alternative for him was Hussey but he hasn't yet played that much. Bevan was the ultimate finisher with the third best average of all time of over 53!
* Other batsmen that were considered were- Inzamam, Lara, Mohammed Yousuf, Chanderpaul, Kirsten, Smith, Clarke
7. Dhoni. Again many would have preferred Gilchrist but considering the batting position too, Dhoni was the ideal choice who has over 5000 runs with an amazing average of over 51 and strike rate almost 90
8. Pollock- Actually he would be considered an all rounder with over 3500 runs and average over 26. But his main role would be for bowling- with almost 400 wickets, good average and the best economy rate of all the modern players
9. Akram. The King or the Sultan of Swing. Magician with the ball. Perhaps the best ever swing bowler who can make the ball talk and deadly at the death overs too. Held the record for the most number of wickets before Murlitharan but still has the most wickets for a fast bowler. Economy rate under 4 too
10. Murlitharan- The highest wicket taker of all time. Excellent average less than 23 and economy rate under 4
11. McGrath- Again close to 400 wickets, excellent in line and length to tie the batsmen down and an outstanding average of 22, economy rate under 4 and excellent in death overs too.
* Waqar Younis and Donald missed out here too as did Vaas, Lee and Saqlain Mushtaq
So that was it. My Test XI and ODI XI of the modern era in general. 6 players were in both the Test and ODI teams- Hayden, Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis, Muralitharan and McGrath.
Again, this isn't a collection of best individuals but the best team. What do you think of it? How much would your team be different? Do write your opinion and let me know your team too.