One of Australia’s most successful quick bowlers Jason Gillespie sat down to pick his all time playing XI. In an international career that spanned 10 magical years between 1996 – 2006 in a golden era for Australia, and cricket in general, he had the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in the world. Tasked with the tough job of picking 11 of the best players he had played with or against, Jason Gillespie left no stone unturned in picking one of the most attacking sides we have seen so far.
Gillespie picked no less than 5 of his compatriorts, while there was no space for any English, Sri Lankan or New Zealand cricketers.
To open the batting, he had the swashbuckling Matthew Hayden. The reason being that Hayden had the ability to dominate bowlers and push them on the back foot immediately. Virender Sehwag lines up with Hayden as Gillespie looks to attack right from the front. He remarked that Sehwag had an ‘eye like a dead fish’, meaning he could see the ball really well, almost like a football, and added that he was a bit of nightmare to bowl to.
At one down, Gillespie said it would be hard to think of anyone other than his old teammate Ricky Ponting, who had the ability to take on even the short stuff from the fastest bowlers in the world. At #4, Brian Lara walks in. Gillespie adds that Lara is the best batsman he ever bowled to, irrespective of where you bowled to him or whether you bowled your best ball to him, he could hit you where he wanted.
Following Brian Lara, at #5 is Sachin Tendukar, forming the core of a middle order that would send shivers down the spine of any opponent. He was at a loss of words while describing Sachin, just adding that he’s an unbelieveable batsman, ‘the master blaster’. At #6, Gillespie takes the option of having a fourth seamer in Jacques Kallis, adding that you just have to look at his numbers to see what a wonderful crickterer he was. Adam Gilchrist walks in at #7 and doubles up as wicket-keeper. Apart from his aggressive style of batting, Gillespie believes that Gilchrist’s quality as a wicket-keeper was often understated.
At #8, Gillespie picks Shane Warne, the greatest leg spinner he has ever seen, before further adding that Warne was probably the greatest spinner the world has ever seen. Following Warne, he went for Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, whose short, sharp run up, the ability to swing the ball both ways made him an unbelievably skilful operator.
At 10, with his ability to bowl long spells and hit any spot he wanted to on the pitch, Gillespie went for West Indies’ Curtly Ambrose. To round the team up, at #11, he chose his bowling partner Glenn McGrath. He remarked that McGrath’s ability to bowl an unerring line and length for long periods of time aggresively was what made him special.
FULL TEAM: MATTHEW HAYDEN, VIRENDER SEHWAG, RICKY PONTING, BRIAN LARA, SACHIN TENDULKAR, JACQUES KALLIS, ADAM GILCHRIST, SHANE WARNE, WASIM AKRAM, CURTLY AMBROSE, GLENN McGRATH.