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01 Sep 13 18:28
Date Joined: 24 Aug 11
| Topic/replies: 755 | Blogger: mnbfrankel's blog
Being a cricket lover we would have liked many players even if they dont play for the team we support, we would have admired many players along the way, if you were asked to pick your best Xl whom would you choose? Who will be the allrounder and who will be the captain of your team dream? Lets see whose 11 is the best :)

My Xl will have Dhoni as the captain as Klusener as the allrounder. Roll on guys Grin
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Report andyl September 1, 2013 7:10 PM BST
you need an alltime best eleven for test, odi, 20-20

i'd have lara and tendulkar in my team, gayle in 2020's with pollard, and dhoni as the "finisher"
Report scliffor September 1, 2013 7:21 PM BST
Tough to judge across eras but I suggest this would be a reasonable team:

Hammond (if the last two would share a dressing room)

Fielding might not be up to modern standards but don't think that would matter
Report geordie1956 September 1, 2013 7:51 PM BST
good selections by scliffor - I think I would have these additions within my squad - Mike Procter (all rounder) - Michael Holding and Dennis Lillee + Hedley Verity - the stats do not lie - I remember reading about his county stats which were unbelievably good as he must have been
Report Eeternaloptimist September 1, 2013 7:57 PM BST
Of the recent era Jaques Kallis would be pushing hard to be included.
Report Deadly Earnest September 1, 2013 11:36 PM BST
Nice xi Scliffor.  I would alter a few in that team but that is what this sort of exercise is all about.

On records there are a few undeniables in my opinion.

Bradman, Sobers, Gilchrist, Muralitheran(or however you spell it.)  You could argue as well Barnes is in this category, but I have not found a place for him in my team. 

Hadlee is the best bowler I have seen so he goes into my team, and his batting is handy as well at number 9. 

So I need one more bowler.  I definitely want a tall fast bowler in the 6'6ish range.  And there are a couple that can be argued for even if balance of the attack was not an issue.  McGrath and Ambrose spring to mind immediately.  Based on their records and comparing all known statistical indicators you could argue either way.  Given MacGrath played in a superior team, I will go with Ambrose, whose achievements were probably relatively greater.

So I have to find 4 batsmen.  I will assume top class batsmen can adapt to any position in the order, though I ideally want specialist openers.  On certain figures you would put Sutcliffe, H in there, but I suspect he was a snail pace batsman and I don't want anyone like that near my team.  But I want someone a bit more adaptable than a Sehwag.  I am really struggling with this so will elevate Headley to open, and I think he would likely have thrived in this role.

Report CorridorofUncertainty September 2, 2013 1:25 AM BST
lara and ponting best ive seen. tendulkar one other.
Report Whisperingdeath September 2, 2013 2:06 AM BST

Bradman, Hammond, Richards and Sobers...are you taking the piss...must have creamed your pants with those 4 and in my view you would be quite within your rights!

Openers, difficult.  I was not around to compare.  Hobbs and Sutcliffe?  I like Deadly's idea to get Headley in so I'll go for that even though it is wrong ( not having an opener ) but Headley should be in the team.

Gilly ( although I think Knott was better and we won't need Gilly's batting )

SF Barnes of course

Marshall, Hadlee

Spinner...Murali or Warne, I'll go Murali.  Indian batsmen have been able to play Warne ( check the stats )( Sobers fills in as additional spinner if needed )


I think we have to go test team and not all forms as it is just too difficult! ( Gilchrist opens and Dhoni comes in for one days...too much )

Ommissions need to be justified rather than inclusions really as we can all see why people should be in.

Ponting and Lara because the others are Gods.  Tendulkar because when the chips are down would you bet your life on him?  The older batsmen also played on uncovered wickets.

Sutcliffe, Hutton and Ponsford...just didn't see enough of them to compare or rather I don't know enough. Sehwag would be an interesting addition.

Knott, actually I would have him in.  The others I just don't know enough.

Bowlers, fast Bowlers....... I just don't see how anyone could win this argument

Tyson, Larwood, Lillee, Imran Khan, Waquar, Wasim, Holding, Roberts, Ambrose, McGrath  I just don't know how you judge them.

I.T Botham? Sobers was better but......

Verity....didn't see him, what can I do.

So many others. The list of those who don't make the team would be more interesting if people could justify why they should be included.

Good call mnbfrankel
Report Captain Wurzel September 2, 2013 8:36 AM BST
Sunil Gavaskar
Graeme Smith
Viv Richards
Greg Chappell
Steve Waugh
Martin Crowe
Ian Botham
Dennis Taylor
Mushtaq Ahmed
Joel Garner
Andrew Caddick.
Report betlarge September 2, 2013 10:51 AM BST
Sunil Gavaskar
Graeme Smith
Viv Richards
Greg Chappell
Steve Waugh
Martin Crowe
Ian Botham
Dennis Taylor
Mushtaq Ahmed
Joel Garner
Andrew Caddick

Report Whisperingdeath September 2, 2013 11:11 AM BST

wake up and smell the applesLaugh
Report Captain Wurzel September 2, 2013 11:29 AM BST
SorryWhoops Derek.
Report Captain Wurzel September 2, 2013 11:30 AM BST
Couldn't resist putting up Somerset 11 - not a bad side thoughLove
Report jed.davison September 2, 2013 3:43 PM BST
I started watching cricket in about 1975 so only players from then on would be included.

IVA Richards
KS McEwan
Javed Miandad
Wasim Akram
David Acfield
Report scliffor September 2, 2013 9:14 PM BST
Interesting to see the names others have come up with. Have to admit I was slightly biased to earlier eras from the OP's mention of Dhoni and Klusener, who whilst are both fine players, wouldn't get in my all time 3rd XI.

I found the second opener quite hard much as others seem to have done. I considered Sutcliffe, Boycott, Greenidge but thought that Ponsford's record of the two 400s (out of 10) and a 350 in first class record deserved recognition. Could easily have been a number of players.

I did consider Imran and Hadlee that have honourable mentions below. However, given the strength of the batting, I ignored all rounders and went for the best bowlers. Both of these guys were close on that, but didn't quite make it (imho).

I'm ashamed to say I forgot Ambrose, I went through the WI bowlers of the 70s and early 80s, i.e. their golden age but no one more recent. I might swap him in for Larwood or Marshall, just to get the height factor in.

I didn't consider Murali, Lara, Ponting, Tendulkar, the latter three because the middle order I had were the four who came to mind straight away and I couldn't conceive of picking anyone else. Murali partly because of the controversial aspects of his career, and partly because his record is partly reflection on the fact that Vaas aside, SL didn't have anyone else. The off spinners I was considering were Laker and Gibbs, but definitely wanted a leggie, Sobers would be second spinner so no room for an off spinner.
Report Darlo Bantam September 3, 2013 3:28 PM BST
From players I've seen

Steve Waugh

I don't care there's a long tail, nor that I've had to shoehorn in Lara to open. I think picking this in 10 seconds or so was a better idea, then I have less guilt about leaving out McGrath, Border, Boon, Greenidge, Javed Miandad, Inzamam, Sir Richard, Ponting, Gough.
Report currant bun September 3, 2013 7:19 PM BST
Of the players I've seen

B Richards
IVA Richards
Report Whisperingdeath September 4, 2013 12:33 PM BST


Can't find any arguments for their non inclusion other than there's only 11 places!  These players aren't great's of the game they are Gods. 

Any modern batsman that enters the frame must be very very good Richards, Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting.  Personally I would take Ponting and Tendulkar out as their sheer volume of runs clouds the issue in my view. Lara playing in bad teams diminished his greatness. Of the modern players he would be in the pantheon.  I go for Richards though because of his arrogance and destructive quality.

Bowlers is disturbing me because we don't really get to see Tyson and Larwood. Wes Hall?  I don't even know who the Aussie greats are.
Report Only-the-Brave September 4, 2013 6:32 PM BST
Report Eeternaloptimist September 4, 2013 10:57 PM BST
Of the players of the recentish era I can only think of Richards and maybe a couple of others with as good a test batting record as Kallis. Throw in his average with the ball and brilliant fielding and I'm surprised he isn't more widely revered. Steve Waugh recently suggested he was the greatest of all time in his view.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 12:02 AM BST
Kallis is the best cricketer I've seen, without a shadow of a doubt, but I'd have Shane Warne very close behind for his influence on the history of cricket and of course for his extraordinary bowling. I think Test cricket may have died a slow and painful death had Warne not appeared.
Report Whisperingdeath September 5, 2013 6:04 AM BST
Kallis isn't a God of the game, a great certainly!

He just doesn't excite unless of course you are an accountant or solicitor and while you are not being invited to anyone's Christmas party you are looking at the stats on cricinfo! 

Stats are not everything.  They do not convey the fact that Vivian didn't wear a bone dome because he thought the idea of the game was to hit the ball with the bat.  They don't convey that Imran picked up the ball every time Gower came out to bat and often took his wicket.  Stats don't convey uncovered wickets, scarcity of Test Matches, two World Wars, no DRS, Pakistani and Australian umpires and David Constant.  Stats don't convey many things. Stats don't convey Bill O'Reilly may have been better than Shane Warne.

Gentlemen we are not looking for greats of the game here for there are plenty, we are looking for Gods amongst men!  12th and 13th men will be  Keith Miller and Ian Botham! I believe I have seen plenty of modern cricketers better than Jaques Kallis.
Report rob_dylan September 5, 2013 6:40 AM BST
Kallis doesnt have charisma and his Ashes record is appalling.  This is why he is not so famous amongst non cricket fans.  By figures alone he is better than sobers.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 10:41 AM BST
What does it matter if Kallis doesn't excite you? The guy averages over 56 with the bat, in 160-odd Tests, and has taken nearly 300 wickets. Whether you like it or not, that does make him a God - at least it makes him a God among modern cricketers. And charisma? Please.....did Don Bradman have charisma?
Report Whisperingdeath September 5, 2013 12:39 PM BST
I think statistics can be misleading that's all.  The volume of runs and wickets is testimony to his professionalism, fitness and longevity and perhaps the fact he didn't have to storm machine gun pillboxes with a rifle.

He scores his hundreds roughly 1 in 4 matches like most of the greats of the game but in my view pitches are better and bowlers are not as good. That's not his fault.

This is a snippet from Keith miller who rated Sobers as the best cricketer of all time........

In a 1960-61 tour match, one of Australia's fastest bowlers bounced Sobers and followed up with a stream of invective. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Sobers responded casually: "You're not fast enough to bowl bouncers."

With smoke coming out of his ears the quickie delivered his fastest bouncer and Sobers hit it like a rocket in front of square leg. Having completed the swivel that follows a well-executed hook shot, Sobers looked the bowler in the eye and said: "See, I told you you're not quick enough to bowl that stuff." ............

Gods and men Jed!  I am not knocking Kallis and his achievements I am just saying it is not all about the stats.  I wouldn't have Kallis in my side because he was not a better batsmen than than most of the old timers.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:18 PM BST
Furry muff mate.

I'm not saying it's all about the stats either. But they do tell you a lot about how hard a man is to get out, and about how highly prized his wicket is among the people who have played against him. And they also tell you, starkly, in this case, that very few players in Test cricket history have a better record with the bat, and none of those even dreamt of taking 300 wickets as well. I'm not even talking about his one-day record, and even his T20 record, which are both outstanding as well. Perhaps he does not bat with enough flair for your taste?

As I said when I put my team up, I haven't seen Bradman, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton et al, so I'm not in a position to judge them and thus can not include them in my team.

So you must be, how old? 90?
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:21 PM BST
In a similar vein, nobody has included Atherton among these teams, rightly I suppose, but there was a time when if you got him out, you beat England. Whatever, say, Tendulkar's record, you couldn't say the same about the India team he played in, because when you got him out, you then had to get Dravid and latterly Laxman out as well.

More than one way to skin a cat I suppose.
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 1:28 PM BST
By what figures is Kallis better than Sobers Rob?  I must be missing something.

I think South Africa are struggling to get players into these best ever teams mainly due to the missing years where the likes of Procter, Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock were at their peak.  Richards for instance would have been a huge chance to fill my second opening berth had he been able to prove himself over the longer haul at test level, and he almost certainly would have.  Pollock was possibly an even better batsman than Richards.  And if you look at their long first class records, Procter is probably the best of the lot, his record is frighteningly good.  I saw him play as well, he was in his early 30's then and probably slightly past his best, but he definitely knew what he was doing.

The most underrated South African cricketer imo is Shaun Pollock.  Before he lost his zip in his last 3-4 years at the top level, he was a bowler of he highest order.  He may have done even better had he played in a team with a decent spinner, in which case he could have bowled a higher proportion of his overs with the newer ball.  But his batting was not fully exploited by his own team in any format of the sport.  Why he ever batted below Boucher I am not quite sure, Pollock was simply a better batsman.  But South Africa's ultra conservative style where the likes of Kirsten and Kallis would drop anchor with no apparent reason on good pitches would have also cost Pollock many opportunities to post good scores.

I have always taken the view Pollock was a better all round player than Kallis in test cricket.  So it makes me laugh when people talk about Kallis being anywhere near anyone's all time team as an all-rounder, he was not even the best South African all rounder of his own era! 

You take out his feasting on the Zim and Bangladesh attacks and his batting average drops below 54, still very decent, to be sure, but when you also look at the strike rate of 46, you do have to start to question the real value of a lot of his longer innings.  Again, Zim and Bang out, his bowling average slides up to around 34, very good for a 5th bowler, but he is not getting selected as a bowler alone based on that. 

What I would have loved to have seen was Kallis play his test career over again with a rocket up his backside, as I feel he would have been good enough to be spoken of as one of the best ever.  But players need to be judged by their deeds, and his are undeniably very good, but short of great.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:34 PM BST
Surely it would be fair to say that all modern-day players have their records buttressed by playing against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, even the latterday West Indians? And the paceless England attacks post-Willis and Botham?

And let's not forget either that with the odd exception, India's early Test teams were hardly packed with class acts.

The facts are in the book. Pollock better than Kallis? That is ludicrous, frankly.
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 1:36 PM BST
For the love of god, will someone get that post of Jed's deleted to get Atherton's name of this thread.  That made me feel physically ill.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:43 PM BST
LOL - not the best player ever, by any means, but he had some balls at least.
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 1:47 PM BST
Why is it ludicrous to say Pollock is better than Kallis Jed?  Kallis costs you as many wins as he earns you in all formats, Pollock is worth something every single time he gets runs or wickets.
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 1:50 PM BST
If anyone suggests to me Kallis is anywhere near Sobers and proves their case, I will quit the forum for that reason, rather than my normal official reason:  takers.
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:53 PM BST
Pollock's rating as a batsman, and his figures as a batsman, are all the proof you need that your argument is ludicrous.

He was actually a very high-class bowler, probably underrated in fact. You do appear to have a bit an anti-Kallis prejudice if I'm honest. "He costs you more games than he wins you across all formats".
Report jed.davison September 5, 2013 1:57 PM BST
This is from wikipedia, deadly.

Given his impressive all-round record, Kallis has also been compared with Sir Garfield Sobers. In November 2012, noted journalist Gideon Haigh wrote in The Australian that statistically, they were almost inseparable; Sobers scored 8032 at an average of 58 and took 235 wickets at an average of 34, while Kallis at the time of writing averaged 57 with the bat and 33 with the ball.[42] Haigh also analysed how Kallis and Sobers were also polar opposites in certain ways:

    Sobers [was] all prowling grace and feline elasticity, with his 360-degree batswing and three-in-one bowling; [whereas] Kallis [is] all looming bulk and latent power, constructed like a work of neo-brutalist architecture. ... Yet what they are just as much opposites of are their respective eras. Sobers was the most explosive cricketer of a more staid age, the more mercurial because of the orthodoxy and rigidity around him; Kallis is the most stoic and remorseless cricketer of an era more ostentatious and histrionic. ... Sobers was a cavalier among roundheads; Kallis has steadily become a roundhead among cavaliers.[42]

So, he is "near" Sobers, by any objective measurement. I never saw Sobers play, and judging by the records of his deeds, I've no doubt that he would have entertained me more in one hour than Kallis did in his entire career, but that is not the point really imo.
Report Whisperingdeath September 5, 2013 2:01 PM BST
@deadly Laugh ( Atherton )

A cricket debate.  This is good at last.

I agree with Deadly in some of his comments particularly about Kallis not taking hold of games in the way someone like Sobers would have and Sobers was considered better than Pollock G.  I think Pollock S could have batted if he wanted too or was allowed. He was pretty quick when he started bowling.  A quality cricketer in the Kallis class no doubt for me.

I have been a bit unfair to modern bowlers there are some great ones about but at the moment the bat is overcoming the ball due to generally benign pitches.  In the 70's and 80's I think the ball was ahead of the bat hence the lower batting averages

In the old days they didn't have bowling machines and tv analysis.  I think it is easier to work out a batsman's weakness by eye than a bowlers pitch map and hence I give more weighting to the earlier batsmen but it is not solely about the stats for me it is about the way they played the game ( and I am not talking about sportsmanship, plenty of cheating down the ages! ).  I mean you appreciate Kallis for his craft but it doesn't stop you going to the beer tent to get your next one!
Report Whisperingdeath September 5, 2013 2:33 PM BST
@Deadly again Laugh  I've heard you have made more comebacks than Sinatra!

You have a point Jed, but again the records are similar but Sobers was a match winner in the way Kallis is not. Read what Keith Miller says about him, infact allow me......... sorry can't find it but will look.

In the mean time

This article is an interesting read...  Who is the next best batsman after Bradman
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 5:29 PM BST
If that is the best you can do Jed I am not going to be needing to quit the forum for any other reason than the regular official reason for me quitting forever: takers.

Slice it up however you want, but you cannot find any relevant statistic to put Kallis ahead of Sobers. 

You just have to take out Bangladesh and Zim from Kallis' record, they are not of test standard and never have been.  OK, in Sobers' day, NZ, Pak and India were mainly not highly competitive with England, Australia and West Indies.

So have a look at the comparison against England and Australia.

Sobers averages 54 with the bat, 35 with the ball against Aus and England.

Kallis averages about 43 with the bat and 36.5 with the ball.

Sobers is considered by anyone who I have heard speak about him as one of the finest fieldsmen the sport has ever seen.

So in short, Sobers has the way superior batting record, was a better fielder and was probably a slightly superior bowler, especially given he could bowl 3 varieties to a decent standard.

Beyond that, you have the big black mark on Kallis.  He has often batted too slowly against his team's interests, I don't think I have ever heard any suggestion of Sobers doing anything like that.

It is not my intention to run Kallis down, he is a very very good test cricketer, despite his great failing, but up against Sobers who is probably the best cricketer ever to play the game, and if not, then one of the best few, Kallis does not stand a chance.
Report rob_dylan September 5, 2013 9:37 PM BST
Kallis got more runs at a similar average to sobers.  He took more wickets at a better average than sobers.  Those were the stats i was talking about.
Report Deadly Earnest September 5, 2013 11:49 PM BST
So if Ireland and Holland start playing tests, and teams start playing 25 tests per year, and someone in 15 years has a load more runs and wickets than Kallis at an inferior average and strike rate when comparing their records without the achievements against 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th ranked teams in the sample, will you say by figures alone he is better than Kallis Rob?

Surely what you mean is something more like this: by irrelevant figures alone Kallis is better than Sobers

Sobers played test cricket against only five nations.  His batting and bowling averages against them are listed below:

Australia              43                39

England                60                32

India                     83                25

NZ                        23                 35

Pakistan               89                 113

For Kallis the figures are:

Australia              41                      37

England                44                      35

India                     72                      42

NZ                        61                      34

Pakistan               59                       38

Kallis is ahead on one batting average to Sobers four, Sobers being strangely ineffective v NZ for some unknowable reason.

Kallis is ahead on 3 bowling averages to Sobers 2. 

On bowling figures they are most definitely comparable.  On batting figures when you compare country by country, Sobers is a long way ahead.

Sobers over a 20 year career averaged better than Kallis has over an 18 year career.  We are talking about big sample sizes for both.  You cannot give Kallis any sort of credit for having better aggregates simply because he has played in an era where more test matches are played.

For the record, Kallis has played 253 1st class matches, 417 List A matches, 134 T20 matches. 

Sobers played 383 1st class matches, and 95 List A matches.

So they have both spent a remarkably similar amount of time on the park playing cricket over a similar length of career, so you couldn't argue Sobers benefitted from being more fresh more often.


I don't know, I just think if you make a statement like this:  "By figures alone he(Kallis) is better than sobers,"  then you need to say what figures and why those figures are better.  I simply do not think that Kallis' statistical achievements are superior to Sobers' statistical achievements in any meaningful way.  In fact, I say Sobers' stats are relatively better by a clear margin.
Report jed.davison September 6, 2013 1:14 AM BST
If anyone suggests to me Kallis is anywhere near Sobers and proves their case, I will quit the forum for that reason

Ok, that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. So do one, and save us all your hectoring.
Report Whisperingdeath September 6, 2013 3:55 AM BST
Sorry Jed but I honestly think Deadly can off the naughty step,

Sobers was the best batsman of his generation. Most Test runs and highest score at the time.

Kallis has Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar ahead of him from his time and plenty of others like Dravid around him.

Sobers was a new ball bowler and won a test match with his spin bowling.

We are reaching an " Eddie Booth " moment.  Instead of saying " black people are better then white" you may have to say Garfield Sobers was better than Jaques Kallis ( I figure most of you youngsters don't know who Eddie Booth was, don't worryLaugh! ).

I for the life of me can't see where anyone is coming from in saying Kallis was better than Sobers.  Great stats, great cricketer but nah.  I am not getting into a stats war either, they don't tell the whole story.

n.b.  I like Kallis, fantastic cricketer but he won't stop me getting a beer!
Report Deadly Earnest September 6, 2013 9:52 AM BST
I will quit the forum forever jed, probably several more times, but not due to anyone establishing Kallis is as good or better than Sobers. 

Takers will likely still be my favourite reason to quit.

Terrible things takers.
Report jed.davison September 6, 2013 11:35 AM BST
Ok deadly, you did not ask for anyone to prove that Kallis was better than Sobers, and personally I didn't claim that anyway, I was quite clear that having never seen Sobers play I was in no position to judge him.

You said that if Kallis could be proved to be anywhere near Sobers you would quite the forum. Whatever you may think of their approaches to the game, I'm afraid the proof you asked for has been provided given the similarities between their records, and thus you are honour-bound to find a new group of people to bore to death.

Obviously I don't expect this to happen, since an Australian and honour are hardly historical bedfellows.
Report donny osmond September 6, 2013 12:25 PM BST

some interesting batting figures

one of my favourite cricketers was zaheer abbas, perhaps not good enough
to make the final 11 of an all time world 11, but surely deserving mention
on the thread, maybe his test record would have been better had packer
not come along ?
Report jed.davison September 6, 2013 12:48 PM BST
Amazing that even by that stat, Sobers and Kallis can barely be separated, unless of course Deadly Earnest would make that 49 run gap a gulf in class.
Report Whisperingdeath September 6, 2013 12:56 PM BST
Feck me Donny!,

We are trying to put this one to bed!

Interesting article...Sobers 3 and Kallis 4  ffsLaugh!

You can see from those statistics the weight of runs of modern players.  You can't see uncovered / turning pitches, teams with two spinners in the side to take advantage of it and therby versatility of the earlier batsmen.  I think the table provided in the article very interesting reading.

I saw Zaheer make that 274 against England ( on TV ).  I am surprised his average is on the low side , 44, and he only made 12 hundreds in 78 tests.  It was against a backdrop of some of the most fearsome bowlers cricket has ever seen though!
Report Eeternaloptimist September 7, 2013 1:21 AM BST
Everybody has their own criteria when judging greatness. Who am I to tell a man that he is mad choosing to use a players ability to get him out of a beer tent but who mocks others who make use of stats?

Stats indeed don't tell us everything. Equally you can't say they tell us nothing especially when a player is streets ahead of others. For instance take players like Kallis and Botham. I don't think anybody would argue that Kallis was a better bowler than Botham and the stats back this up. There isn't a gulf between them but there is a gap. However, there is an absolute chasm between their respective batting averages and no amount of excuses because of who they may have played against can hide that fact.

Ergo, to me it would be illogical to suggest that Botham should be in an all time 11 but Kallis left out. You can make an argument for saying that Kallis' batting was so strong and his ability to be used as back up may warrant selection. You can't make the same case based on Botham's bowling.

The argument between Sobers and Kallis is less clear cut. For me I'd have Sobers as the best all rounder of all time but I'd have Kallis second and the rest not even close. So good was their batting and fielding ability that a definite case can be made to include both with either being a more than useful change bowler.
Report BJT September 7, 2013 6:25 AM BST
Without going through all the stats (yes they are very important) it appears that Sobers was above the rest while Kallis is just a brick.
Kallis for example, when everybody is scoring at a SR of 50+, has his big innings ( at least a few) batting at around 33.  So while he is scoring, and holding up an end, he is scoring so slowly that it is detrimental to the team.
On the other hand, Sobers, while everybody else is scoring at 50 SR, he is having huge innings scoring at 65+.  Not only scoring more runs, but scoring them much quicker.

In the case of long term stats that are comparable, match winners win the battle every time when comparing.  Disappointing we can't get a view on Sobers SR but it is a very important stat that people seem to overlook.

Something else for people to consider in regards to knocking the stats, is that there is more arguments than you are bringing up.
Uncovered pitches?  All well and good, but how was the technology and the sports science back in those days?  How was the ability to work out peoples weaknesses in batting?  How good was the fielding?
To play cricket now, you need to be outstanding in the field, or that far ahead of your competition that it makes up for it.  Fielding wasn't looked at so closely back then.  If you could bat, you were in the team.  If you could bowl you were in the team.

So what proportion of uncovered pitches is countered by fielding standards, sports science, fitness, professionalism?  You can't answer that, but certainly goes much deeper.

The other thing the stats don't tell us, is who the wickets were.  In the stats book, getting Cook out weighs up the same as getting Anderson out.  A wicket is a wicket, and it simply counts as one.  Who has Kallis got out?  Who did Sobers get out? 

Sure you can say stats aren't everything, but the reality is, any description of why a stat doesn't hold up, is a stat in itself....
Report Whisperingdeath September 7, 2013 3:49 PM BST
I think stats are the central tools we are all using to make comparisons on players who died before we were born!  On top of that we are using eye witness accounts and commentaries from contemporaries, which, are opinions, generally not factual.

Just for the record Eeternal, I am just stating my case using what factors I consider relavent.  It is up to others to state theirs.  I would assure you that I am not looking to mock others ( except BJ, I have been waiting for you! ) just engaging in healthy debate and also looking for people to throw up information or stories I have never heard, that for me is part of cricket, the stories and the fokelore are almost important ( Percy fender the best Captain England never had? ).

BJ, I have been waiting!  Good point about the technology and uncovered pitches.  Plenty of swings and roundabouts there hence stats remain the central go to argument.

With regard to techno I think it easier to point out a batsman's weakness with the eye.  Those old guys figured it out  themselves and passed the word around! I think it a lot harder to analyse a bowler particularly spinner if you are not facing, which, they can now do with TV.  To play spinners on helpful pitches must have been extremely difficult and my point over time is the older batsmen were probably more versatile.  Nowadays with heavy bats we see a lot of guys with heavy bats and planted feet swinging through the line and clearing fielders and fields in ways they could not before.

I still can't get over this Kallis thing.  A fine batsman no doubt and more than capable bowler but averaging one wicket an innings.  His bowling is not needed in an all time X1 and there are better batsmen to pick.  I don't even see where there is an argument save to say many people like me no doubt, are not giving Kallis the cudos he deserves? Guilty m'lud! ok now?.

As for Kallis and Botham.  I think I would take Botham over Kallis all day long.  Botham's real career was 1977-86 not 86-92.  He was a phenomenon as far as I am concerned.  A real match winner, all time great but perhaps not good enough to get in to my All Time list.  Botham won matches with bat, ball and in the field.  Both was a bowling all rounder, Kallis a batting all rounder. I would suggest that Botham's batting won and saved more games than Kallis bowling.  I would also suggest that Botham's bowling won more games than Kallis batting.
Report Whisperingdeath September 7, 2013 6:19 PM BST
re Sobers - Kallis

This might explain my feeling about it.  Arsenal is Sobers and Tottenham is Kallis!
Report mnbfrankel September 8, 2013 1:47 PM BST
So many formidable lineups. Tough to judge which one will win though Happy
Report Eeternaloptimist September 8, 2013 2:09 PM BST

Fair enough if you want to cherry pick Botham's career but it begs the question what was his batting average in your chosen period? I don't see how you can get his average up too much even if you pick his best years.
Report BJT September 8, 2013 2:15 PM BST
Yeah WD, the bats is something I didn't mention (didn't even cross my mind) that certainly adds to the variables of trying to compare through time.  Would suggest the outfield is most likely much better now too.
Report Whisperingdeath September 8, 2013 6:17 PM BST

BJ is the stats man not me!  however from memory I would just take you back to 1981.  2 quickfire hundreds and a 5 wickets for one run spell basically changed the course of 3 Test matches.  His bowling record speaks for itself 27 odd 5 fors and 4 I think 10w matches.  I saw him get a hundred or almost a hundred before lunch against India once.

Again Eternal, I am not trying to cherry pick it is just his pie eating and drinking took it's tollLaugh!  If he trained as hard and was as dedicated to Kallis he could have been a world class batsman for the second half of his career.  He could just make things happen.  I mean he got banned for admitting he took a couple of puffs on a spliff years previously then on his comeback took a wicket with his second and 12th ball to break Dennis Lillee's world record!  Go figure.

We are going back to the averages again to compare as everything else is arbitary.  While this may be the easiest way to compare  there are other factors to consider.  I don't hold Kallis slow scoring rate against him incidentally.  Whilst he was a blunter of the hard ball plenty of others scored quickly at the other end off a much softer non swinging ball to the credit of Kallis.

BJ, this heavy bat thing is getting my goat.  I think a lot of the younger players can make up for technical deficiency with a heavy bat but are being exposed at the highest level.  There are so many swings and roundabouts though but I think this is a good exercise as it gives us a chance to find out about so many players.  I also think the long term weather would be a factor and note there are periods like now when the bat is stronger than the ball but when I fist started watching games it was the other way round.  I remember many a 190-5 at the end of the first day!

Frankel, some great great players are being mentioned. There is no point in arguing which is actually the best line up but it is good to hear some people's passionate defence of their favourite players!
Report Armitage Shanks September 8, 2013 7:53 PM BST
Report Armitage Shanks September 8, 2013 8:50 PM BST
Nothing to do with my SERIOUS reply cloaked as joking about Mr. Sobers.

I actually met him in person once - not so remarkable you may say! But one evening in Manchester, this "ordinary" person, (I can't believe I've used the word ordinary), had just got off a bus following some pond-life directions. Looking very hot and bothered he asked me if I knew the way to Belle Vue. Apparently,(my guess) he was making an after dinner speech.

Some facts:-

He had a long walk.
I was so star struck that I got no autograph, didn't buy him a pint or bored him to death with his exploits.
The girlfriend who was with me gave me a hard time for not looking at her as lovingly as I looked a him!

Seriously, I do not believe we will see his like again. I think you may have guessed by now that I thought that he was quite good.
Report Whisperingdeath September 8, 2013 8:56 PM BST
Lest we forget Shanks!

Statistics sometimes just don't do justice! Not that his were bad or skewed.  Botham was my particular hero but I couldn't fit him into my side because of Sobers.
Report JOCI Club September 8, 2013 11:26 PM BST
Sunil Gavaskar
Barry Richards
Vic Richards
Brian Lara
Graeme Pollock
Jacques Kallis
Kumar Sangakkara
Waquar Younis
Shane Warne
Muttiah Muralitharan
Joel Garner
Report Armitage Shanks September 8, 2013 11:39 PM BST
sorry joci, leaving soebers aside, i don't see tendulkar in there.

Great innit these opinions, (for that's what they are,)

I bet geoff boycott has his batting gloves on and can't press the right keys.
Report JOCI Club September 8, 2013 11:49 PM BST
Ah yes, Tendulkar should have been in there, but a bit young to have seen Sobers.
Report Armitage Shanks September 8, 2013 11:50 PM BST

and who is your captain? it's more important than most people realise. After a load of motivation, i hit a four once!
Report Armitage Shanks September 9, 2013 12:09 AM BST
signing off now but sir gary was something else. as the ball made its way to him it screamed nooooo..........

I know it's difficult comparing generation to generation, ali v forman or frazier,bob beaman, usain bolt, maradonna v anybody really, i reckon he was the best, blah blah,blah etc.

But i'm confident of this 'un. age sometimes has an advantage.
Report Whisperingdeath September 9, 2013 12:35 AM BST
Interesting picks by Joci,

All modern day players.  He must be the first person to put down what he saw not what he thought he saw!

Did you see Mike Procter Joci? and who would you have taken out for Tendulkar?  ( don't say KallisLaugh! )
Report Whisperingdeath September 9, 2013 3:18 AM BST

Took a little Dallas -3.5 to see them stuff it up and shazam  good old Giants bail me out againLaugh!

This is shocking!  on over 38.5 too!

Comedy Gold!
Report Whisperingdeath September 9, 2013 3:19 AM BST
oops wrong thread!
Report Eeternaloptimist September 9, 2013 12:25 PM BST

I shared your wonder at Botham's Ashes. He could be astonishingly good on his day. Unfortunately I slightly hold that against him as I do his lack of application. I don't give marks for coulda's. I take them away. His occasional brilliance highlights his inconsistency particularly with the bat. I don't recall what his average with the bat was but I shouldn't imagine it was much above 30. As I say take out the odd brilliant innings and it doesn't really amount to a hill of beans.
Report TCat September 9, 2013 2:43 PM BST
Armitage Shanks : if he was asking for directions to Belle Vue it's a pound to a penny he was going to the dogs !
Report Whisperingdeath September 9, 2013 2:46 PM BST

I think his average was around 33, which, at the time was pretty decent.  Top batsmen were averaging in the 40's.  As for lack of the field...I am not going to argue that oneLaugh.

On the field though he was as fierce as a competitor as they come.  He scored 5200 Test Runs at a time when the record was 8000 odd for Sobers.  His batting record stands up to scrutiny as a genuine Test quality batsman.  I think his greatness is underestimated.  England were looking for him till Flintoff turned up 20 years later!
Report jed.davison September 9, 2013 3:11 PM BST
There's no doubt that Botham was a great player. Unfortunately he failed to get anywhere selection for my team because he was, and remains, an utterly charmless boorish oik.
Report Whisperingdeath September 9, 2013 3:51 PM BST

That is as good selection criteria as I have heard!  I won't knock you for that!  It is your team!

I was most fortunate that early in life I found out that many hero's have feet of clay and whilst I put many of these people on a pedestal I never worshipped them.  I am with the Mafia on that!  I only consider Ian Botham on the pitch, his charity walks and of course chasing Ian Chappell out of a bar.  I don't think much of his TV, politics or opinion of himself although I am prepared to put up with with boorish behaviour on occasion.
Report Eeternaloptimist September 9, 2013 4:13 PM BST
Not surprisingly I don't hold that against Botham professionally. Most of his team mates seemed able to cope with his off field antics and he was as you say very competitive on the field.

However, I have to take issue with your 33 is pretty decent. 33 is pretty decent for a bit part batter but it ain't going to get you within hailing distance of an all time team as an all rounder. Batting averages of the time stack up okay compared to today with people like Richards, Gavaskar, Chappell and several others averaging well over 50 and not too many all timers have been able to do that with any longevity to their careers. The obvious point is that it is a heck of a jump to go from there to then miss out the 40's where you find a lot of very good test batsmen and then end up in the low 30's with the also rans.

In short I don't think his record stands up as a batsman. He had some days in the sun but given his batting position he generally came in to an old ball not doing as much whereas someone like Kallis could be in second ball fending off a hard brand new ball. I don't for one minute question his ability but his temperament meant he tended to either come off spectacularly or often failed miserably and rarely had the application to temper his innings according to circumstance.
Report Eeternaloptimist September 9, 2013 4:19 PM BST
I don't know if this has been mentioned before but I'd argue that the best 11 may not make the best team. I'd say you need to have the balance right and as someone else said a captain who might not be amongst the very best of all time but who could get the best out of the various strong willed characters within the group.
Report builders September 9, 2013 11:03 PM BST
A true great has to have flair, entertainment value and sublime ability and be capable of extraordinary displays in my opinion.  Difficult to include people who score slowly when a declaration is imminent (Kallis) or give the strike to the tailenders (S.Waugh).  I think even Sachin has been a bit selfish.  Give me a Sobers, Botham, Viv, Barry Richards, G Pollock any day.  They're the real legends!
Report Eeternaloptimist September 10, 2013 5:13 PM BST
Greatness comes in many forms. For example, who would argue that Atherton's stoicism in the face of one of the great spells of pace bowling from Donald to save the test wasn't a great example of test batting?
Report Whisperingdeath September 10, 2013 5:49 PM BST

Not legends!  Achilles, Ajax and Hector are legends, like King Arthur and Robin Hood!

The cricketers you have mentioned are real and Gods of the arena!
Report earlycrow September 11, 2013 3:55 PM BST
S Waugh
12th man Botham
Report cricnut September 11, 2013 10:53 PM BST
Been a lover of cricket since 1960 and from what I have seen and heard I would have 4 spare spaces in my side.

3/ Bradman
4/ Richards
5/ Lara
6/ Sobers
7/ Gilchrest
8/ Warne
9/ Marshall

My reasoning for these 7 selections are

Don Bradman (never saw him play, didn't need to) an average of over 99 and on uncovered wickets tells you everything you need to know. No Contest

Vivian Richards - Just a fantastic batsman to watch and could just blitz the bowlers, whoever they were

Brian Lara - Broke all the modern records 501 for Warwickshire and 400 for the West Indies, a Wonderful player to watch batting.

Sir Garfield Sobers - Surely the greatest all rounder ever seen, held the record for the highest score in Test Matches for a long time 365. Bowled left arm seam and spin em wouldn't mind having him in my team. No Contest

Adam Gilchrest - Destructive batsman and an excellent wicketkeeper, yes Alan Knott was a better keeper, but he couldn't bat a team out of the game in 2 hours.

Shane Warne - Bowled the greatest ever ball in Test Cricket to take his 1st Ashes wicket and was a legend of the game with leg spin bowling.

Malcolm Marshall - The quickest bowler I have ever seen, maybe because he was short he skidded the ball, but saw many a county batsman still playing his shot when the ball hit the keepers gloves.

I never saw players such as Sutcliffe, Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Harold Larwood and many other great opening and mid order batsmen/opening bowlers. Oh my batting line up isn't that strong after 7. It wouldn't need to be, they wouldn't bat.
However from what I have heard Jack Hobbs and Len Hutton may well have filled the 1st two place and the last two would have been filled, with Dennis Lillee and Harold Larwood.
Report trader pj September 12, 2013 10:18 AM BST
Boycott MUST open
Report trader pj September 12, 2013 10:18 AM BST
And Holding must lead the pace attack
Report donny osmond September 12, 2013 10:45 AM BST
lillian thompson would lead my pace attack ....
Report lives with his mum September 12, 2013 2:31 PM BST

Good team, you seem a bit less clueless in other sports. I reckon your batting line up is pretty spot on for post-75-ish though Sobers was evidently better than Kallis and further back Sutcliffe and Hobbs would have challenged the openers. The only surprise for me was big Joel who I wouldn't put in the top ten - definitely pick Ambrose, Holding, Marshall Wasim and McGrath ahead of him.

Sunil Gavaskar
Barry Richards
Vic Richards
Brian Lara
Graeme Pollock
Jacques Kallis
Kumar Sangakkara
Waquar Younis
Shane Warne
Muttiah Muralitharan
Joel Garner
Report the nugget September 12, 2013 11:23 PM BST
Andy Flower
Imran Khan
Mohammed Asif
Report Whisperingdeath September 13, 2013 2:12 PM BST
Interesting when people put down a team consisting of only players they have seen.  That a pretty good side nugget.  Presumably Smith would be your Captain or you would have Gavaskar in?  You obviously don't think Imran's nose would be put out of joint!

Waquar, Wasim and Imran who was the best and why.  All three have arguments in their favour.  I really loved watching Imran bowl, shock and awe.  I particularly liked the way when cometh THE MAN, cometh Imran to bowl at him.

Did not really see much of Flower so would likely have had Tendles or Punter in his place.  Pretty good side nonetheless, good balance too.
Report the nugget September 13, 2013 4:30 PM BST
Flower to keep, Sanga to play as just a batsman where his record is phenomenal. Imran or Smith can captain
Report Whisperingdeath September 13, 2013 4:48 PM BST
I think nugget is the first to mention Sanga.

I had him in the back of my mind but wondered why he hasn't been in the frame.  I haven't followed his career closely so can't tell you if he is a match winner or game saver but I have had the good fortune to watch him bat on occasion and he is up there with Tendles, Punter and well maybe not quite Lara.  IVA still gets my vote as best modern batsmen ( defined by colour tv! sorry Gary! ).
Report Whisperingdeath September 13, 2013 4:53 PM BST
with regard to Flower I'd put Gilly above him and Knott above both.  Plenty of respect to him as a man though and standing up to Mugabe.
Report earlycrow September 13, 2013 4:55 PM BST
How can anyone leave Bradman out, please explain
Report earlycrow September 13, 2013 4:56 PM BST
Gilly was an average keeper at best
Report Whisperingdeath September 13, 2013 6:35 PM BST
well one can only assume nugget has picked an X1 of players he has seen.  I never saw Bradman, Sutcliffe, Hobbs, Hutton, Hammond, Headley, Tyson, Larwood, SF Barnes etc.

I did see Sobers though, just  and he was better than Kallis!
Report donny osmond September 13, 2013 11:32 PM BST
best team i ever saw .....

there were some fine composite teams that appeared in the north east leading up to durham
being awarded first class status

im still struggling to pick my XI but im thinking i might need a decent captain........richie  benaud ???
Report The Sawyer September 16, 2013 1:53 PM BST
I like the seven you have selected cri**** and would pick all of those for the reasons you state. Strangely, the only one I might leave out would be Sobers, simply because I have a favourite all rounder who would have been the "best" had he been allowed to play more Test cricket.

I did see Sobers play and the aura that surrounded him on a very cold day was unforgettable.

So I will move Warne and Marshall down to 10 and 11 and bring in Proctor at 8 and Imran Khan at 9. It is a difficult choice between him and Wasim Khan as I would have liked a left arm quick in the side and I could have left Sobers out then Devil.

At the top of the order I am going to discount the older openers who I have not seen. Those who played pre-Bradman and during his own career are all nearly 40+ behind on average. I may be being controversial but I don't think if Bradman had been playing from say 1975 onwards he would have averaged so highly. If I believe that then I must also believe that the others of that time would have a lower average too.

Sunil Gavaskar would be my pick for the top spot with Barry Richards alongside.

B Richards
V Richards

I would be more than happy to carry the kit and serve drinks for that lot Cool
Report The Sawyer September 16, 2013 1:54 PM BST
Sorry cri**** I must have spelt your name incorrectly Blush
Report The Sawyer September 16, 2013 1:55 PM BST
No I didn't, must be the mods - phew!!
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