Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Inaugural Worst Test XI

Still on the subject of the venerable old book, Wisden introduces a Test XI of the year, an excellent innovation. Here it is: V Sehwag, GC Smith, RT Ponting, SR Tendulkar, KP Pietersen, S Chanderpaul, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, MG Johnson, DW Steyn, Zaheer Khan.

It's hard to take issue with that little lot, although Ronnie Sarwan and Gautam Gambhir might count themselves unlucky. But who could possibly give these titans a game? Out there somewhere, are there men keen enough of eye and stout enough of heart?

Er yeah, probably. But that would be dull. What about the team who have utterly failed to distinguish themselves, except in the arena of the mediocre? What about the over-promoted and the under achievers? Who speaks for the demotivated and the unfit, the shirkers and the talent-fritterers, the nearly-men and the never should have been theres? Who makes that team, and who could possibly be irresponsible enough to captain them? 

Presenting the Inaugural Old Batsman Worst Test XI 2009

JM How (NZ)
DS Smith (WI)
IR Bell (Eng)
RO Hinds (WI)
Yuvraj Singh (Ind)
A Symonds (captain, Aus)
MJ Prior (wk, Eng)
RJ Sidebottom (Eng)
DBL Powell (WI)
BE McGain (Aus)
SJ Harmison (Eng)

Notes on selection: There's a nicely balanced opening partnership between two men who rarely make more than twenty, followed by the great fritterer Bell, who can outdo anyone at getting in before getting out again. Hinds edges out Michael Vaughan at four on the grounds that Vaughan was slightly better in the nets, if not the middle. It's been another year of soft runs and glorious underachievement for everyone's favourite princeling Yuvraj, while Symonds has all the people and media skills required of the modern captain. Prior might actually score tough runs, but the poor fella has iron gloves. The bowling unit is particularly choice. Sidebottom can bowl stroppily at 80mph having unilaterally declared himself fit. Daren Powell has a majestic Test average of 47.85 [it's a bowling average, of course] while SJ Harmison was a natural to complete a side in which, potentially, no-one could take the new ball. The spinner's slot was dominated by Australia, with Hauritz particularly innocuous. But if this team has a hero, it is Bryce McGain. There was something noble about his Test debut. Over-promoted he may be, but he's the one man here who can hold his head high. Good on yer, Bryce.

14 comments:

Brit said...

Sidebottom's fall has been as meteoric and surprising as his rise.

The Old Batsman said...

It has, and contrasts to the way Hoggy was instantly put out to grass when his zip went...

Amy said...

England's representation in this XI is hilariously appropriate.

The Old Batsman said...

Hi Amy, yes, plenty of our other brave boys were pushing for selection too...

Rob said...

An impressive XI one that it would be difficult to worsen. I was hoping that Mohammed Sami would find a place (81 wickets in 33 matches at 51.4 each) but he last played in 2007. Amjad Khan could provide backup for Sidebottom.

Tim said...

Naturally India's openers and fast bowlers are shoo-ins. Oh wait, we're actually decent now. Still not accustomed to it. I'll wager that Yuvraj's talent to application ratio beats anyone else's (though Harmison comes close).

Leg Break said...

Kyle Mills must be wondering what more he needs to do to make this side.

12th Man said...

I would have had McIntosh in place of How. Though there is very little to choose between them.

The Old Batsman said...

Yeah, perhaps Sami will make a well-deserved return next year... LB, great shout on Mills, I should have considered him. Still he'd have his work cut out to shift any of the three in there. Gives him something to aim for. NZ will continue to challenge for both opening bat slots, I fear. Mind you McKenzie's catastrophic drop off took him close, too. As for Yuvraj...

Rob said...

Idly wondering if Michael Hussey will make next years team...

The Old Batsman said...

Rob you're right... Hussey maybe deserved more consideration for this year, too. It must be an almost unparalleled collapse in form, to the point where it's hard to tell actually how good he is. But it would break his heart, too, wouldn't it?

Prafs said...

wonder how cook, afridi, mahela and mckenzie dont make it.... i'd accuse you of bias towards the british!

The Old Batsman said...

Yup!

Naked Cricket said...

And MJ will sing for them: 'you know i'm bad, i'm bad'