The Light Roller: A present-day Test World XI would give past greats a run for their money

Diary of a cricket obsessive

If Test cricket is in demise, nobody told this global team

Running through all the recent high-profile Test retirements over breakfast last week, a friend raised the question of whether a World XI of today would be the worst of all time. It is the kind of hypothetical that leads naturally to rose-tinted thoughts of the past.

But who would be in a current 'world's best'? With plenty of experience, good recent form and proven quality, this wouldn't be a bad line-up:

David Warner - Batting ave. 46.54

Alastair Cook - 46.51

Hashim Amla - 51.35

Michael Clarke(c) - 51.50 (bowling ave. 37.16)

Mahela Jayawardene - 50.30

Cheteshwar Pujara - 58.93

AB de Villers(w) - 51.94

Mitchell Johnson - Bowling ave. 27.42 (batting ave. 22.12)

Stuart Broad - 30.31 (24.12)

Dale Steyn - 23.01

Saeed Ajmal - 27.46

This is a side that would at least give previous World XIs a run for their money. The batting looks especially strong and balanced. AB de Villiers may be unlikely to go down in history as a great wicketkeeper but as a keeper/batsman he'd happily follow the hard act of any predecessor.

The spin department – with Ajmal the only obvious contender – is notably weak, which is particularly interesting when you consider the success of spinners in the T20 format. This suggests not only that spin bowlers' approaches to the short and long forms are often so different that excelling in both is desperately hard, but also that batsmen are using T20 tricks in test cricket most effectively against the twirlers.

I realise the Broad pick might raise an eyebrow. Even so, there are undoubtedly a lot of top notch players about. We shouldn't mourn the demise of Test cricket just yet.


A new England regime has much to be impressed by

A prospective England squad are putting in some fine performances in the latest round of the county championship. Having a new establishment to impress is doing wonders.

Jimmy Anderson returned to wicket-taking ways at Northampton, while Jack Brooks, Tymal Mills, Steve Finn and Chris Jordan are all staking serious claims.

After a mortifying winter there cannot be a cricket fan (at least outside Surrey) who isn't glad to see Finn's successful start to the season. Neither can there be any who don't feel for poor Graham Onions. Last summer he did all that was asked of him and more yet remained unhonoured by England's call. This season, he has eight wickets at 34.

Many of the leading contenders for a top six spot are also putting in standout performances. Injury to Matt Prior puts a renewed question mark next to the wicketkeeping position. As for the spinner's role, whoever wins selection come June should bear in mind that there is a place going in a World XI too.


There is too little tension in the IPL

The latest edition of the Indian Premier League – its seventh, amazingly – has demonstrated that a certain brand of cricket can be successful and popular in the United Arab Emirates, with the vast majority of games reported to be sell-outs.

But to some extent, T20 matches are starting to fall into the same trap as traditional limited-over formats: they promise great excitement but often fail to deliver real tension.  Looking at just the last five matches to have taken place, it is fair to say that none really went down to the wire.   Chennai had a wobble in their chase against Hyderarbad on Monday but the result was rarely in much doubt: none of the others made it into the final over.  The dew factor is clearly having a major impact too, with chasing evidently the preferable option.

For occasional big moments of drama, the IPL remains hugely attractive.  But there are too many moderate performers and far too many one-sided matches to keep general cricket fans on tenterhooks for the full length of what is an over-bloated tournament.

Twitter: @willjgore

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?