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Old 30th July 2018, 21:26   #1
Rebelstar
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Question ECB "best-ever men's Test XI

ECB best-ever men's Test XI: Alastair Cook, Sir Leonard Hutton, David Gower, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Sir Ian Botham, Alan Knott (w), Graeme Swann, Fred Trueman, James Anderson, Bob Willis.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/45009397

Don't think they should be putting the "sir" in front of the knighted as it's an XI for sport, but that aside is it a fair XI?

Just to give them some stats, and yes I know it isn't all about stats which is often doublespeak for wanting to include someone whose stats don't speak for themselves..... :

Test caps in brackets

Cook (156) : 12145 runs @ 45.66
Hutton (79) : 6791 runs @ 56.67
Gower (117) : 8231 runs @ 44.25
Pietersen (104) : 8181 runs @ 47.29
Root (69) : 5960 runs @ 52.28 & 19 wkts @ 45.63
Botham (102) : 5200 runs @ 33.55 & 383 wkts @ 28.40
Knott (95) WKT : 4389 runs @ 32.75 & 250/19 ct/st
Swann (60) : 1370 runs @ 22.10 & 255 wkts @ 29.97
Trueman (67) : 981 runs @ 13.82 & 307 wkts @ 21.58
Anderson (138) : 1135 runs @ 9.78 & 540 wkts @ 27.23
Willis (90) : 840 runs @ 11.51 & 325 wkts @ 25.20

Not too shabby, although I'm never keen when as many as three current players make an XI from across decades, nay even a century of Test cricket, and whilst some are almost givens to be picked I'd suggest some are less clear cut, especially in the batting
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Old 30th July 2018, 21:29   #2
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Not a bad team. John Snow could give Anderson a run for his money.

And could I suggest Sir Geoffrey instead of Cook as I shut the door behind me.
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Old 30th July 2018, 21:34   #3
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Jack Hobbs?
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Old 30th July 2018, 21:43   #4
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Would it beat a team of

Hobbs
Sutcliffe
Hammond
Barrington
Grace
Rhodes
Ames+
Bedser
Underwood
Barnes
Lohmann
?
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Old 30th July 2018, 21:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
Jack Hobbs?
Err...yes, exactly. First name on the sheet, in more ways than one.


Hobbs
Hutton
Hammond
May
Barrington
Botham
Knott
Trueman
Laker
Verity
Barnes


Barnes was a bit of a contentious selection, as he'd indicated he'd given up first class cricket. Staffordshire are well miffed that he's messed up their plans by agreeing to represent the All Time England XI.
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:00   #6
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Didn’t someone (?at the bbc) do some stats wizardry that came out with Hoggard as our best ever bowler, based on who he got out?

Anyway, the Aussie side of 13-14 must be chuffed considering half the side they blew away 5-0 are in our best ever XI. Hmmm
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyluke View Post
Didn’t someone (?at the bbc) do some stats wizardry that came out with Hoggard as our best ever bowler, based on who he got out?

Anyway, the Aussie side of 13-14 must be chuffed considering half the side they blew away 5-0 are in our best ever XI. Hmmm
But then, four of them were also in the team that achieved the rare distinction of handing Australia a fair old beating on their turf three years earlier.

Many of England's notables suffered thrashings in their time. The side that went down 0-4 to Australia in 1948 included Hutton, Compton, Evans, Bedser and Laker.

Hobbs was in the team that was whitewashed 5-0 Down Under in 1920/21 (although he did personally score 505 runs at 50.5)

Gower and Botham got whitewashed twice by WI within two years.

The England team that was walloped 4-0 in Australia in 1958/9 included May, Cowdrey, Graveney, Evans, Trueman, Statham, Tyson, Lock & Laker.
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:36   #8
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England are pretty crap really, huh?
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:42   #9
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England are pretty crap really, huh?
They have a large number of lows, but some exceptional highs too. It's what makes them interesting to watch.
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:50   #10
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Not a bad team. John Snow could give Anderson a run for his money.

And could I suggest Sir Geoffrey instead of Cook as I shut the door behind me.
Also Hobbs and Sutcliffe who were both much better than Cook. Can't believe Swann was better than Jim Laker.
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Old 30th July 2018, 23:35   #11
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Originally Posted by square leg umpire View Post
Also Hobbs and Sutcliffe who were both much better than Cook. Can't believe Swann was better than Jim Laker.
Hobbs, for me, is England's greatest Test batsman. His performances in adversity were exceptional. We've grown accustomed, in recent years, to see cricketers' reputations shattered in big series defeats. Hobbs just got better when the going got tougher. In the 1907/8 4-1 defeat Down Under, he made 302 runs at 43 (in an era when anything above 35 was considered top drawer). In the 1920/1 whitewash, 505 at 50. Four years later, another 4-1 defeat, he hit 573 at 63. In the two winning series he played in Aus, he averaged 82 and 50.

In the 1909/10 series defeat against the South African leg-spinning quartet on matting wickets, he made 539 at 67 (the next best was 267 at 33). When England exacted brutal revenge four years later, his contribution was 443 at 63.

Hobbs averaged 52 in home Tests. Throughout his career, he had only two ordinary series - his second, in 1909, and his last, at the age of 47 in 1930. He lost four potentially peak years to The Great War. He was a master at building innings on good wickets and there are few men you'd prefer to have batting for your life on a bad one.

And Herbert Sutcliffe wasn't too shabby either! But I'd go instead for Sir Len as I feel he had to make his runs against slightly superior attacks than his former Yorkshire opening partner.
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Old 31st July 2018, 00:33   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by square leg umpire View Post
Also Hobbs and Sutcliffe who were both much better than Cook. Can't believe Swann was better than Jim Laker.
This poll is like so many over different genres, e.g, “Best movie of the century” when most of the entries are for films made in the last decade.
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Old 31st July 2018, 00:43   #13
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This poll is like so many over different genres, e.g, “Best movie of the century” when most of the entries are for films made in the last decade.
Conversely, I struggle to include contemporary candidates as I like the dust to settle. Pietersen would probably be my most likely representative from this century, as an alternative to May (I always find the number four position most difficult).

I'd have little trouble picking Laker over Swann, though, given the statistical and anecdotal evidence. Jim would have had a higher ratio of conducive pitches in his favour, but not the use of DRS which benefitted Swann.

Incidentally, with all the talk of the hot dry Summer potentially creating spin-friendly pitches for this coming Test series.....the season of 1956 is rated by Wisden as the ninth coldest, and ninth gloomiest of the entire 20thC. That was the season in which JC Laker amassed 46 Australian wickets in 5 Tests at an average of 9.60.

Last edited by Summer of '77 : 31st July 2018 at 01:02.
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Old 31st July 2018, 01:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebelstar View Post
ECB best-ever men's Test XI:

Cook
Hutton
Gower
KP
Root
Botham
Knott (w)
Swann
Trueman
Anderson
Willis ...
In an all-time team you'd want a proper second spinner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer of '77 View Post
Err...yes, exactly. First name on the sheet, in more ways than one.

Hobbs
Hutton
Hammond
May
Barrington
Botham
Knott
Trueman
Laker
Verity
Barnes

Barnes was a bit of a contentious selection, as he'd indicated he'd given up first class cricket. Staffordshire are well miffed that he's messed up their plans by agreeing to represent the All Time England XI.
<snort tee hee>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer of '77 View Post
Hobbs, for me, is England's greatest Test batsman. His performances in adversity were exceptional. We've grown accustomed, in recent years, to see cricketers' reputations shattered in big series defeats. Hobbs just got better when the going got tougher. In the 1907/8 4-1 defeat Down Under, he made 302 runs at 43 (in an era when anything above 35 was considered top drawer). In the 1920/1 whitewash, 505 at 50. Four years later, another 4-1 defeat, he hit 573 at 63. In the two winning series he played in Aus, he averaged 82 and 50.

In the 1909/10 series defeat against the South African leg-spinning quartet on matting wickets, he made 539 at 67 (the next best was 267 at 33). When England exacted brutal revenge four years later, his contribution was 443 at 63.

Hobbs averaged 52 in home Tests. Throughout his career, he had only two ordinary series - his second, in 1909, and his last, at the age of 47 in 1930. He lost four potentially peak years to The Great War. He was a master at building innings on good wickets and there are few men you'd prefer to have batting for your life on a bad one. ...
What was Hobbs's test conversion ratio (fifty to a hundred) compared to other England greats?
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Old 31st July 2018, 08:30   #15
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What was Hobbs's test conversion ratio (fifty to a hundred) compared to other England greats?
28 fifties, 15 hundreds. So, in the higher bracket without being the best. Always worth remembering that Hobbs played his early Tests during the pre- WW1 era when wickets tended to be less bat-friendly than in the 20s & 30s....his stats after the war were 12 fifties, 10 hundreds.
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Old 31st July 2018, 09:00   #16
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28 fifties, 15 hundreds. So, in the higher bracket without being the best. Always worth remembering that Hobbs played his early Tests during the pre- WW1 era when wickets tended to be less bat-friendly than in the 20s & 30s....his stats after the war were 12 fifties, 10 hundreds.
Hobbs also got into Benaud's all time XI, which is good enough for me!
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Old 31st July 2018, 09:02   #17
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The Cook selection is rather odd. Yes he's our highest run scorer, but that's largely due to his ability to stay fit, a complete lack of competition for openers and fast bowling attacks around the world that are not remotely as strong as they were in the 90's.

I bet Atherton wished he was born 15 years later.
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Old 31st July 2018, 09:05   #18
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Wouldn't have Root in either and you can guess what my reason would be apart from the general standard of pace bowling attacks.
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Old 31st July 2018, 10:01   #19
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There must be several candidates better qualified for the #4 spot.
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Old 31st July 2018, 10:05   #20
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Wouldn't have Root in either and you can guess what my reason would be apart from the general standard of pace bowling attacks.
Agreed. I'd have Ranji, Compton, May and Barrington ahead of him and possibly also Leyland and Gower.
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