The next time the ICC decides to ask people to take an all-time XI test team, the people who submit their votes should be subjected to an IQ test before becoming selectors.
No wait. That sounds wrong. I'm sure that most selectors are a brainless bunch of idiots. So I take back what I said. I'm sure that experts cringed when they saw the all-time XI. Geoff Boycott said it's a 'joke' and I agree with him. I'm no expert, but this is an insult to cricket and cricketers and their achievements in general.
So I look at this 'All-Time XI' squad and put it up against Clive Lloyd's West Indies, Ian Chappell's Australia or Steve Waugh's Australia and I know that they will lose. No disrespect to some of the players in the squad, but the names raise eyebrows, resulting in the players themselves questioning the authenticity of the way this team was selected.
I am sure that people reading this blog will either agree with me or flame me. The true cricket lover will agree, but the guy who thinks that T20 cricket is exciting will probably flame.
So here's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to do a swat analysis of players I believe should not be in this squad
Sehwag is the best opener in world cricket today. He's exciting, carefree and can destroy a bowling attack from the first ball. His technique (or the lack of it), enables him to play on every wicket across the world. He has centuries on bouncy wickets, green tops and subcontinent turners. He has two triple centuries to his name, which is incredible. He could be in so many all-time test squads, but then there are Len Hutton, Jack Hobbes, who are the purists. And then there are Gordon Greenidge and Barry Richards, who are Sehwag's with technique. So yeah, along with Gavaskar, whose game is similar to Hutton and Hobbes, I'd go for Barry Richards. Another option I've always had is Len Hutton and Barry Richards, which was also chosen by Tom Graveny in his book The Ten Greatest Test Teams
Lara is a great batsman, but I'm not a fan. On his day, he's the greatest. Unfortunately, that day comes rarely. The 153 I saw him make against Australia is the greatest test innings that I have seen. He was the only guy to reach triple figures in a three-test match series against Sri Lanka, while the others struggled to reach double figures. However, Lara for all his greatness, is flashy and inconsistent. In my opinion, he could have averaged 60 in test matches, but his early susceptibility outside the off-stump and his initial shuffling across the crease always got him out
When you have an all-rounder like Sir Gary Sobers at your disposal, the other all-rounders, despite their brilliant records, don't stand a chance. Kapil has the wickets and has made the runs. But sadly for him, he isn't Sir Gary and he will be gracious enough to admit that himself.
Shane Warne is great. The greatest legspinner that I have ever seen bowl. However, he could never taste success against India. He had only one five wicket haul against them in a test series. Each time he thought that he could make an impact, but ended up failing. It's a tragedy, but it's the fact of life as well.
I love McGrath. He was accurate and consistent. He could take wickets regularly, but he could also be belted. Sachin Tendulkar has done that to him. So has Brian Lara. So has Michael Vaughan and so has Herschelle Gibbs. Also, he's not express, which we need in an all-time great side.
I have reservations about Gavaskar and Ambrose as well. However, they could be in another cricket lover's world XI, which is why I'm not putting them down in the SWAT list.
So here's my final XI
Sir Len Hutton
Don Bradman (c)
Sir Gary Sobers
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
* I debated between Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, but since I needed a bit of variety in my attack, I chose Wasim
But as for the original All-Time-XI, I'll say this again: Are you kidding me?
PS: I'm sure that there are names that have been ignored. Ambrose, Holding, Steve Waugh, the Chappell brothers, Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar, Sydney Barnes and other great names that I can't remember now will probably fit into the side that faces my all time-XI