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Lets Look At The ICC All Time Cricket Team

Tim Holt
970   //    19 Jul 2011, 10:25 IST

Every time there is a fan generated ‘All Time Best Team’ chosen its creates great debate about whose in it, whose not in it and the merits of both. In truth you can’t be critical of the players that are chosen for all have great merit. Though what you can do is provide an alternative Team and a comparison with it

I am in full agreeance of the place of Sunil Gavaskar, Don Bradman, Shane Warne and Wasim Akram being near certainties in any Team. So as such have included them in mine

Though with 7 different names in the line up, here is a comparison between the recent ICC All Time team and My All Time Team

ICC Team:                                                                  My Team                         

Virender Sehwag (IND)                                             Jack Hobbs (Eng)
Sunil Gavaskar (IND)                                                Sunil Gavaskar (Ind)
Donald Bradman (AUS)                                             Donald Bradman (AUS)  
Sachin Tendulkar (IND)                                            Wally Hammond (Eng)
Brian Lara (WIS)                                                       Viv Richards (WI)
Kapil Dev (IND)                                                        Garfield Sobers (WI)
Adam Gilchrist (AUS)                                                Alan Knott (Eng)
Shane Warne (AUS)                                                  Shane Warne (Aus)
Wasim Akram (PAK)                                                Wasim Akram (Pak)
Curtly Ambrose (WIS)                                              Malcolm Marshall (WI)
Glenn McGrath (AUS)                                              Syd Barnes (ENG)

Then lets look into the merits of the players in both sides and my reasoning for differing to the ICC side.

1. Virender Sehwag versus Jack Hobbs

This is a comparison between a master mauler in Virender Sehwag and a master in all conditions against all types of bowling in Jack Hobbs.
In truth it has no comparison on any level for we are talking all time. So that encompasses a master in all situations for which Hobbs was known in this regard:

“the most brilliant exponent of all time, and quite the best batsman of my generation on all types of wickets’- Herbert Sutcliffe

In regards to Sehwag, we are in awe of his dazzling and devastating batting in this era. Though ask yourself how much of that has been facilitated by this the batsmen age. Then think how would have he gone in an era with uncovered pitches, no restrictions on short pitched bowling and crucially no helmets.

I think the fact that he is a player that has very little technique or footwork would mean that his star would be diminished greatly. This has been seen in his struggles in places where the ball swings. Most notably South Africa and England.

Whereas if you took Hobbs and put him in this era with his mastery in all regards of batsmenship. It would be almost impossible to get him out and even with how he was revered for his dazzling stroke play before having his career interrupted by WW1. He’d have been a fine exponent of carnage like Viru

Sunil Gavaskar (Ind)

There are a few challengers for this opening spot. Most notably the great English players Herbert Sutcliffe, Leonard Hutton and then the genius South African Barry Richards.
Though for me there have been few better batsmen ive seen that the great India Gavaskar. Plus he gets higher respect in my eyes by the fact that for most of his career he had little support in the batting and was part of a weak Team.

Don Bradman

I haven’t provided a comparison to Bradman, for I see it as pointless and disrespectful. From the point of view that Bradman is far and away better than any other play ever.
By a good long way………..

Sachin Tendulkar versus Wally Hammond

This comparison is like splitting hairs for both were genius’s who were complete in every regard. The only way I can split them is by the era they played in and the comparisons of their records. Thus with Hammond playing in much more difficult conditions than Tendulkar and having a better record in terms of average it makes me lean towards the great English man.
Also though you would never doubt Tendulkar’s all round class. You would think that his record in some way has been facilitated by the ease of batting in this age.
So if you compared both in a like for like situation in terms of Sachin in the conditions Hammond played in. Then Hammond in these conditions. You would think that Hammond who already has a better record would have the support of figures widened in his favour

Brian Lara versus Viv Richards

Very much like for like in terms of both possessing that Calypso flair and being oblivious to anything. In terms of no matter what the conditions, bowling or anything. If they were in the mood they would truly maul like no other.
You can diminish Lara by the era he played in, but he is one of those players who would be transcendent. Plus in his favour was that he was always burdened by for the most part being in a terrible Team. So he was often under pressure and the focus of all the oppositions attention. Richards never had that by always being the star amongst a constellation of stars.
Though this comparison is closer than I thought as I look at it. You can’t go past the Master Blaster Richards because of not only what he did, but what he would have done in this age.
Space age bats…minnow Teams….ropes in and Richards in the mood=’s OUCH!

Kapil Dev versus Garfield Sobers

In truth with all respect to the iconic Indian all rounder Kapil Dev this comparison is almost laughable.
For id say on all levels the great West Indian Sobers was a better cricketer. I’d grant that Dev might have an edge in bowling, but it’s closer than you think with the value to a Team that the versatility of Sobers bowling brings. Whether it be left arm quick or left arm variations of spin.
Then on a batting level though Dev was a very dangerous lethal hitter. There are few in the history of the game that are comparable to Sobers genius with the bat.

Adam Gilchrist versus Alan Knott

This is more a reflection of my view of cricket than a choice between who was a better player. For if you took it on the modern trend of a keeper must be a batsmen first and then a gloveman second. Gilchrist would be in every all time Team and that’s not to take away from the keeper Gilly was. For he was very adequate and a truly devastating batsmen.
Though Knott was a freak of a gloveman and a very decent batsmen as seen in him being fine enough to make a ton against a rampaging Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee at their nastiest in helpful conditions. Then his performances with the bat in crisis-he never let England down
His skill with the gloves was a mixture or artistry and genius though………….

Shane Warne
In my mind there is no compare to Warne as a spinner in the games history.

Wasim Akram

I grew up idolising Alan Davidson and this great Aussie has better figures than Akram, but Wasim gets in any side by what he left the game. In terms of Sarfraz invented reverse swing, but Akram was the true master of it.
Then in this age, what is crickets most lethal skill- arguably reverse swing……….

Curtly Ambrose versus Malcolm Marshall

Either one of these bowlers are truly exceptional and are almost impossible to split
Though i’d favour Marshall by the fact that he was the super star amongst the West Indies pace super stars of the 1970′s and 80′s. Plus for pure skill in bowling ive never seen one as gifted as Marshall.
As for Ambrose, well he was a genius bowler that was a nightmare with how he made the ball talk off the pitch and the rearing natural bounce he often got.
Though to me Marshall was better……………just

Glenn McGrath versus Sydney Barnes.

This is a comparison of a bowler widely regarded as the best of the Modern era in McGrath and then one who had the reputation as being the most skilled ever in Syd Barnes.
A man with the reputation of having such laser like accuracy, but this was only part of his lethalness. For he made the ball do things in the air and off the pitch like few others in the game. As any historian about his skill and watch their jaws drop in awe
His career figures of 27 Tests, 189 wickets and an average of 16.43 supports his greatness
Tim Holt
Cricket through the eyes of an Irishman. Do check out more on my blog <a href="">atouchofirishintheglobalvillage</a>
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