Jez Denton is back! With an interesting piece on cricket legends!
With the current excitement around the World T20 cricket championships and the spectacular play of such greats of the shortest format as Chris Gayle and MS Dhoni I’ve got thinking about all the players who played too early to show their talents in the bish bash world of twenty over cricket. With my life time of enjoying cricket from the late 1970’s to the present day I have seen many players who I felt would have excelled in this format. Therefore I have decided to pick a team of legends. The only proviso being that they can have never played T20 and that they played the game in my lifetime, hence no place in my team for players such as Gary Sobers for instance. So who do I pick?
- Graham Gooch: Goochie was my first cricketing hero. A hugely destructive batsman who also showed no fear of the quickest of quick bowlers (I remember seeing Gooch hook Malcolm Marshall for consecutive sixes at the old Southampton ground.) His heavy bat with an all round ability to garner runs from all areas of the pitch make him an ideal first receiver.
- Viv Richards: Although not an opener Richards is a player you’d want facing the bowling as soon as possible. Trusting his own talents on smaller pitches would see the long handle hit six after six with guaranteed excitement.
- Clive Lloyd: The team needs a captain and whilst there are many candidates who could have fulfilled this role (Gower, Border, Waugh to name three) Lloyd’s experience in winning world cups with the Windies coupled with his exceptional fielding skills gets him the nod.
- Jonty Rhodes: Every team needs a jack in the box fielder who can save 20 or so runs every innings. There are again many candidates, Nasser Hussain for one, but Rhodes is the benchmark by which modern fielding standards are set.
- Alec Stewart: The wicket keeper role could easily have gone to Alan Knott but Stewarts batting ability just gets the selection.
- Ian Botham: The first all rounder in the team, Botham’s exploits are legendry, both with bat and ball. He was one of a small group of players who could just make something happen in every game he played.
- Imran Khan: For the second all round spot it was a straight choice for me between Khan and Kapil Dev. In this case it was Khan’s bowling that won out, being one of the cleverest bowlers I’ve ever seen.
- Richard Hadlee: Smooth, tight and economical with an ability to take wickets at regular intervals, Hadlee is the opening bowler I’d want to put pressure on early doors.
- Malcolm Marshall: And opening from the other end the most frightening and destructive bowler I have seen. Highly accurate Marshall would strike fear into any batsman.
- Derek Underwood: Deadly Derek was exactly that, not only miserly but a collector of wickets at crucial times.
- John Lever: Still the best death bowler I have ever watched. During the glory years of Essex cricket JKL was the man trusted with last overs in final after final only once failing to deliver.
I hope you agree that this could be a team and a half, not only exciting on the pitch, but probably quite good fun in the bar afterwards. I for one would of paid good money to watch this team strut their stuff in the short format of cricket. Or maybe there are players you’d include?