22 December 2009

International Team of the Decade

It's that time of year again. Here's who I've gone for....controversial no doubt! I'm sure Aussies will be aghast that Sangakkara gets in ahead of Gilchrist, but they've both had very tricky bowlers to keep to, and Sangakkara averages far more than Gilchrist. Waugh only played until 2004 but I needed a captain (Warne was also in the mix) and someone who could offer the 6th bowling option if necessary.

I also had real problems trying to think of a bowler to open with Glenn McGrath - testament to the dearth of quality fast bowling in the "noughties". For a bit more spice, and because he bowled left-arm and could create rough for the spinners, I wanted to pick Wasim Akram, but given that he finished in 2003 and averaged 10 less with the bat than Shaun Pollock, I went for Pollock. Not the fastest, even in his prime, but worthy of a place in the team, at least for me.

Matthew Hayden
Virender Sehwag
Rahul Dravid
Jacques Kallis
Sachin Tendulkar
Steve Waugh (captain)
Kumar Sangakkara
Shaun Pollock
Shane Warne
Glenn McGrath
Mattiah Muralitharan

The unlucky ones? For me the unluckiest are Lara, Jayawardene and Gilchrist. Lara, and Dravid are different types of players but Dravid shaded it on the basis of longevity. And Dravid is a true number 3 which allows Kallis more time to recover from bowling as necessary.

Go on then. Who have I forgotten?


Muttley said...

Are you taking all forms of cricket or just Tests? I tend to agree with Pollock, although an outside bet would be Shoaib Akhtar. Despite his problems he did average 22 over the decade.

Sangakkara is definitely the best 'keeper over that time, so I agree with that. Not sure about Steve Waugh, though. I would give the captaincy to either Sangakkara or Jayawardene and pick the latter as the extra batsman. Failing that, how about Inzamam to fill that berth?

Muttley said...

Hold on, haven't we both missed the obvious choice for captain and the number 1 batsman - Ricky Ponting?

Ed said...

Proper cricket Muttley - Tests only!

Hmmm, Ponting averages 55+ which I have to admit, is more than I thought. He probably should edge out Dravid at 3 - good shout. The old English inbuilt anti-Australianism was obviously coming out there - he didn't even get a mention in the allsorans (although I did think about whether he should be in there)!!

But I'd have to disagree with you entirely about having him as captain - it's not prep school where the best player is captain as Australia seem to think....it's meant to be someone with some tactical acumen. Not sure Ponting qualifies there....Warne would be a better shout in my opinion, although much of his captaincy creds come from one dayers. Sangakkara hasn't had that much captaincy experience so a little early to judge him.

So that's why I plumped for Waugh as I needed a good captain - I notice that Vaughan mentioned Waugh and Warne as the two players that messed with his mind the most when he was playing. I also wanted a partnership breaking 6th bowler, although I have to admit that he'd lost his bowling really by 2000.

I also don't think I'd even consider Inzamam as player or captain.

Shoaib could be interesting though - that would give the team a top-pace spearhead....good shout. Just misses out in my book due to the fact that he's perhaps not the most level-headed of players and may disrupt team spirit!

Muttley said...

OK, agree that Ponting isn't a good captain. However, I still don't think you can pick Waugh as he hasn't played enough in the decade. Warne is definitely a good captain as he proved at Hampshire and Rajasthan, so I think giving him the job and having a better batsman at 6 has more balance to the side.

I also don't think you need a 6th batsman as a partnership breaker if you have Sehwag and Tendulkar in the side, who have over 300 international wickets between them.

Finally, I've thought of a better opening bowler - Shane Bond. So, the side I would pick becomes:


Ed said...

Interesting....Bond's certainly up there but with only 18 games I reckon it's tricky to pick him when you've discounted Waugh on the basis of not playing enough of the decade. By my estimation Waugh played 40+ Tests in the decade, in comparison.

A quality team though and fair shout to make Warne captain.

bettiwettiwoo said...

No, sorry, I think you got your XI ... well, perhaps not all wrong, but not all right either.

Warne should be captain. Waugh shouldn't be there at all.

Hayden shouldn't be there either: his record vis-à-vis good fast bowling was never really all that good + his average is well padded by Zimbabwe and that execrable ICC 'World XI' v Australia match. (Especially true if you look at his record from 2005 onward - and that's actually half the decade.)

So those two dropped and Lara and Gilchrist (better keeper than Sangakkara) selected instead.

I would also prefer Ponting to Dravid (so boring).

Ed said...

So who would you pick to open instead of Hayden (in Tests) Bettiwettiwoo?

bettiwettiwoo said...

Well, Ed, if you won't allow me to parachute Tendulkar into an opening position - which, I admit, might be a tad odd - then I would drop Lara again (poor Lara!) and select Graeme Smith as opener instead. (Think Smith rather underestimated as batsman.)

Meaning my First XI would then be:
Smith; Sehwag; Sangakkara; Tendulkar; Ponting; Kallis; Gilchrist † ; Pollock; Warne (captain); McGrath; Muralitharan. (12th Man, and unlucky to miss out: Daniel Vettori.)

For my Not Necessarily the Best But with Doubleplus Pure Entertainment Value XI, I would instead have:
Gayle & Gambir (for sheer pyrotechnics); VVS Laxman (to hear Richie Benaud wax lyrically about his wrists); Ross Taylor (batting AND prowess in the slips); Lara; Bravo (for fun in fielding); Gilchrist (for obvious reasons); Vettori & Warne (because watching these two outwitting batsmen is one of the true glories of cricket); McGrath (for mad skillz); Sreesanth (for mad … ness). (12th Man: Akhtar - for the liposuction alone.)

Obviously, I would have Benaud, Lawry, and Nicholas commentating on the whole shebang. (With Michael Slater tied up, with his mouth carefully duct taped, on the floor of the commentators' booth - for my listening pleasure.)