Eleven good men and true
Robert Winder selects his fantasy World Cricket XI
Tuesday 26 December 1995
But for those who like their cricket acrimonious, the game might easily furnish 11 players guaranteed to run each other out. Lara and Richardson, who have given the world the spectacle of a West Indies captain and vice- captain barely on speaking terms, could open the batting. Salim Malik would have to drop down the order to support Shane Warne and Tim May, the Australians who have accused him of attempted bribery. Jonathan Agnew might have to be recalled to open the bowling with Philip DeFreitas, whose cricket bag he once, famously, chucked out of the pavilion window at Leicester; and it is hard to imagine a less chummy pair of back-up bowlers than Devon Malcolm and Ray Illingworth. Slagging it out in the middle order would be Ian Botham and Imran Khan, rivals for "best all-rounder" honours and opponents in an on-going libel action about racism. As it happens, this wouldn't be a bad side - but it might be the first time in history that a team has needed 11 dressing rooms.
It might be more fun to compile a team designed purely to twist the tongues of commentators. One of the more pleasant aspects of the summer was the way Colin Croft, the former West Indian fast bowler, insisted on referring to Atherton as Arthurton and vice versa. These two would, as it happens, make a fine opening partnership. They could be followed by Waugh and Waugh, Richardson and Richardson, Rhodes, Rhodes, Benjamin, Benjamin and Kumble (with Kambli twelfth man).
A serious selection is altogether trickier: the great players of the present day never seem so grand as the fabled performers of yesteryear. Still, not many people would argue with the front four batsmen: Atherton, Slater, Lara and Tendulkar, though there is a case, now that England's captain has proved himself the master of the rearguard action, for sticking him in at number 11, just in case. Nor are there many batsmen in the world who would fancy their chances against a bowling attack of Allan Donald, Waqar Younis, Curtly Ambrose, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.
The wicketkeeper would be Ian Healy (if only because he has, as it were, been Warned), which leaves a single batting place up for grabs. Azharuddin gets "the nod" on the basis that he'd probably be captain.
Naturally, with all these maestros competing for the limelight, Mickey Stewart would have to be team manager. There'd be lots of work-outs in the gym, early nights and fines for unpunctuality. As all sports administrators know, the key thing with great players is to show 'em who's boss. If nothing else, that would take these so-called world-beaters down a peg.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester City paid the price for not dealing with Barcelona's Sergio Busquets
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
Piers Morgan 'hurt' after Arsenal legend Bob Wilson questions his support for the Gunners and labels him a 'pompous individual'
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: Dynamics Expert...
£38000 - £48000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Senior ...