Monday, 27 July 2009

Lango's Best Xi's

Lango’s Best Australia XI

  1. Mark Taylor (Capt)
  2. Arthur Morris
  3. Don Bradman
  4. Greg Chappell
  5. Steve Waugh
  6. Keith Miller
  7. Ian Healy
  8. Ray Lindwall
  9. Shane Warne
  10. Dennis Lillee
  11. Glen McGrath
  12. Clarrie Grimmett

To show how hard this exercise is, there are two changes to my original "Aust XI" which I published on my website 18 months ago. In are Miller and Healy, out are Ponting and Gilchrist. With Miller in my side, I have an invincible fast attack with Shane Warne to fill any gaps. Healy is a better keeper than Gilchrist but clearly an inferior bat. With that top six and a man with two Test hundreds at 8, who cares who bats at 7. Other notable omissions: Bill Ponsford, Charlie McCartney, Ian Chappell, Allan Border, Victor Trumper, Adam Gilchrist, Richie Benaud, Fred Spofforth & even Doug Walters. I didn't consider many other bowlers.

Some would argue with Taylor but as Benaud and Chappelli could not be chosen for their positions ahead of Warne and Bradman and Taylor is by far the best skipper I have seen in tactics and inspiration, he has to play, almost Brearley-like. Steve Waugh over Border or Ponting is another close call but without Chappelli there, I'd want one man to bat for my life. In a near run thing, I'd rather have Morris than Ponsford but would lose nothing if it was reversed. Greg Chappell had more "time to play" than any batsman I have watched. Lillee is the best quick we have produced as Lindwall was before him, so they'd get the new ball, although I wouldn't like to decide who would come into the wind! Miller would thunder in at first change down breeze and McGrath into it to move that late inswinging yorker. On bunsen burners, McGrath would carry the drinks and Warne and Grimmett would fight over the scalps.

I'd back this side to beat any other team of cricketers in the history of the game in a five Test series.


  1. Its lazy of me I know but I have cut and pasted from earlier...anyway here is my team...Apologies to Haydos.

    Don't start on the Bradman thing.

    1. B. Ponsford: He picks himself really, Bill O'Rielly reckoned he had more chance of getting Bradman out than him. He once had four consecutive scores of 437, 202, 38 and 336.
    2. D. Boon: Tough, Stoic, Tasmanian with an ability to down drinks on planes that is unsurpassed.
    3. Neil Harvey: Averaged just under 50 during 80 tests (ave:83 against South Africa).
    4. D. Jones: Mercurial, magical batsman cut down by the stiffs in the ACB for having a personality, would have attained Demi-God status had he been allowed to play his whole career.
    5. Doug Walters: The Quintessential Aussie cricketer, ocker, cheeky, loved a drink and a smoke, could bat a bit too (ave 48).
    6. Keith Miller: The best all rounder Australia has produced, averaged 36 with the bat and 22 with the ball. Was a pilot with the RAAF during ww2.
    7. Ian Healy: With a batting line up like the one above you don't need a batting keeper, just the best keeper. Having said that he scored 4 test centuries and 22 50's.
    8. S.K.Warne (Capt.): Enough has been said about his bowling. He should have captained his country but wasn't from NSW.
    9. G.McGrath: Picks himself in any team, there has never been a better Line & Length bowler in history in my opinion.
    10. D.K : Didn't even need to add his surname, that's why he is in the side.
    11. Thommo: Fastest bowler ever. Once stated on live TV before a test against old Blighty: "I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch".
    12. D.Bradman: As a teetotaller would be in no danger of drinking the refreshments of his team mates.

  2. You missunderstand OS, I picked the best Australian team on the basis of ability, not affability. Bradman was a prick who only played in two countries and fifty Tests but anyone who averages 100 must be picked. Besides, if he is out on his PITA rating (Pain In The Arse), how could you pick Harvey? Our bowling line-ups are near identical.
    You must be a Vic based on the batting.

  3. I must have misunderstood Lango because I didnt see any prerequisites for responses to your Post, if there were some in earlier posts then I apologise most sincerely, I have been busy of late and though I try to get on "the wicket" as much as I can, when I do it is unfortunately only for a few minutes.

    However, to answer your critisisms:
    I can think of a few times where being the best player for the job has not automatically meant that that player got picked for Australia, if its good enough for the ACB/CA then its good enough for me.
    So if I am selecting then Bradman is 12th man.
    With over half the team from states other than Victoria I could hardly be called stateist could I? For the record I reckon my top six rock.

    I think you overstated Bradman's average too.

  4. Right.

    Please don't take my lack of further argument as anything other than good manners.

  5. Good manners always appreciated.

  6. But they are a bit boring!!! Give me Hell Lango! Nothing like a bit of a rev up.
    I truly am sorry if I stuffed up your Post, you can start it again if you like...

    Must be picked?...must be??? must??? pfff.

  7. Yeah, give him hell, Lango. Remember he left out Waugh and Border but included Jones and Boonie!

  8. I know I left Mark out but there just wasn't room.

  9. I've given hell before ... it's over-rated. Besides, anyone with that batting line-up needs kindness and understanding.

  10. oooohhh! HUGS!!!
    why not do an Australia A side guys? your 2nd team that didn't make the first 11/12.

  11. Couldn't bear to see what OS would make of that! I only have so much love and mung beans to go around.

  12. mmmmmm, mung!
    i love a bit of debate, but if life was perfect, we'd all do it MY way

  13. I do it MY way ... isn't that enough?

  14. it's enough, if you want it done half/arsed... i suppose! :-P

  15. i better go back and check out MY team... buggered if i remember now! might be horrible!
    good selection mate, and rationale as to why.

  16. I do it Sideways.

  17. For me my team is just players that have played in my lifetime as a cricket fan. The Bradman debate will never be settled. There is no way to dispute averages and absolutely no way to know if he could keep it up with all the international cricket the guys play now, in all countries and conditions. My opinion is he could not have maintained 99.96 but probably 80 or so.

    My team.

    1. Mark Taylor - great opener, fluent, solid.
    2. Matthew Hayden - The Punisher, could ruin new balls
    3. Greg Chappell - Mr Smooth, so much time
    4. Mark Waugh - Class personified
    5. Dean Jones - Clipped too early, bit mouthy
    6. Allan Border(c)- Bat for my life, captain too
    7. Adam Gilchrist - At 7 could break hearts, solid to Warne
    8. Shane Warne - Genius, say no more
    9. Glen McGrath - The Human Metronome
    10. Jeff Thomsson - Raw pace
    11. Dennis Lillee - Fury in a mohair singlet

    I know Gillie is not the best keeper I have seen but he was solid. Better than Haddin who is only keeper because Gillie came before him. Remember when we used to think keeping was enough? Gillie just had the ability to destroy morale at number 7 when the tail was just around the corner.
    Ponting missed out because his record, while great was crafted during the golden years when pressure was not so great. He is still suspect when needed. Goes too hard too early and against another best of team would struggle.
    Steve Waugh, unlucky but didn't bowl enough to be genuine allrounder material.

  18. good point NL; stats are one thing, but they don't tell the whole picture. how many times have we seen a bowler with x for 70odd that has made the batsman french cut heaps of shots, or got lucky runs miss hitting?
    Stats are great, but just as a guide, not a yard stick.
    In other words, i like rating a team on what you have seen.

    i also think you would be right about the Don. No doubt he would still have an incredible record, ut given the limited variety of conditions/opposition he played it(his record) is not the best indicator of where he would stand in the long term.

    still, his batting average is better than my bowling average so i can't crit!

    when i look at that list of yours, i think how lucky i have been to see such talent in my lifetime; add to that Sachin, Lara, Botham, Sobers,Richards, Hadlee (spit), Wasim, jayasuria, Sangakkara and Kumble and it makes me feel privileged to have been so keen on this game in this era!

  19. Must be bloody hard to come up with your team Stoph,considering all the greats you have seen in your lifetime...Chappelli, Tangles, Miller, W.C Grace, Edgar Willsher...

    POTD for Lango, for over well over a dozen comments!

  20. my comments don't count- nor does the writers; but yep POTD

  21. POTD - Writer ... big ego ... not so hard.

    I can see the argument that you have to see to believe but I can't really agree with it. I never saw Bradman play but I've read both sides of the argument about him, including everything Fingleton wrote. I think you can suffice with balanced accounts from reliable writers, stats and your own ability to marry these factors.

    I also have no doubt that the rigours of the touring would have shot the frail-healthed Bradman down. Playing world-wide on a variety of pitches, a variety of bowlers and conditions and over a longer span of Tests and his average would have become more human. Gilchrist is a good example of this. I'm writing from memory but after a similar number of matches he had an average of 80 and it came back to the fore. It almost always does. In fact, Javed Mumneye is the only Test batsman of 100 Tests or more who averaged over 50 for his entire career.

    Mind you, not many of our Test batsmen were still scoring centuries at age 40!

    Maybe we should be addressing the question of what makes a team? Its an old adage but a true one ... a champion team will always beat a team of champions and often, in picking best off combinations, we select the latter. The difference is leadership. What is clear, is that Bradman was no leader of men and as such, always had faction and too much friction in his sides.

    Very few have had that innate ability to paper over cracks caused by state divisions and make it stick. Maybe "The Big Ship" did - not sure - but Benaud, Chappelli, Taylor and to a lesser extent, SR Waugh did. All four managed their bowlers well and Benaud and Taylor had an instinct for field placement. Border was just a cranky little bastard when it came to captaincy but God love him for bringing back the Ashes.

    Happy teams are invaiably winning teams.

    More pressing, will our selection panel of opening batsmen and a boof head get it right tonight? I suspect not. At Edgbaston, this time round, playing three players who either don't fit the conditions (Hauritz) or are out of form (Hughes & Johnson) is a liability at 0-1 and three to play. Of the three, Horrie is the only likely exclusion, hopefully for McDonald.

  22. I think that given that the selectors have a proven history of giving players in the team more chances than anyone outside the team (media/fans) to turn form around that there will be minimal changes, this can and has been the right track to go down with players with confidence issues but given the situation: 1 down with 3 to play and the fact that this test looks very likely to be drawn, it would be the ideal chance to bring someone else into the team.....
    Maybe their thinking is that given the weather outlook this game can be used to give these guys time to turn it all around (I shudder to think).
    Hauritz: not needed in Edgbaston.
    Hughes: nervous and has no idea how to play the short ball when he is not swinging the bat (thanks 20/20)
    Johnson: Spraying it like all over the place like he is rocco.
    But you can't drop all 3 of them.

    Hauritz and Siddle to be dropped for Clark and Ronny.