Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Younis Khan makes up the group under which you could put the headline, modern greats.

Younis started his Test career brightly, scoring a century on debut, but that didn’t make him an instant hit. Unlike many Asian batsmen, Younis was not fluent, a strong bottom hand making for muscular efforts rather than the silky timing that comes with the top-hand dominant players from Asia, but he has still managed innings to remember.

In Bangalore, for instance, Younis scored 267 and 80 not out in one match, a match that needed the knocks if Pakistan were to beat India. Younis can also count himself as one of the few cricketers to boast a triple century. While that triple came on a flat track, it was not without pressure, as Younis had to come out against Sri Lanka late on day two, all while staring into the barrel of a massive total.

There has been much turmoil surrounding Younis with a captaincy steeped in conflict, a sacking, and a refusal of the post when offered to him a second time. Still, as much fell apart around him, he continued to score, turning inward to a resolve that led to a brilliant career with the bat.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mohammad Younis Khan

Born: November 29, 1977, Mardan, North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)

Major teams: Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, Nottinghamshire, Peshawar Cricket Association, Rajasthan Royals, South Australia, Surrey, Warwickshire, Yorkshire

Playing role: Middle-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium, Legbreak

 

Test Career: Pakistan (2000-2017)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave        BF       SR       100s    50s

118      213     19     10099    313    52.05    19375   52.12      34      33  

  

Career Highlights

  • 1st Pakistani to score 10-thousand runs in Tests
  • Most centuries by a Pakistani in Tests (34)
  • First batsman in history to score five centuries in fourth innings
  • Scored six double centuries in Tests
  • Scored 10, 099 runs at 52.05

Rahul Dravid, despite not sharing the explosiveness of a very explosive group of batting stars coming out of India from the mid-1990s until the end of his career in 2012, could be seen as the most important batsman the country produced at the time.

At the time of Dravid’s arrival in Test cricket, India were a team, dominant at home on slow, turning pitches but found playing away on faster, bouncier ones a bridge too far.

Dravid was not considered a natural athlete and worked hard to forge a technique that was almost impervious to all the different types of bowling. So solid was his defence, that his well-known nickname was ‘The Wall’. His strike rate of 42.51 may have been a little low for those who liked the flash of Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag, but the results were undeniable. Dravid’s almost 14 hours of batting won India their first Test in Australia for a generation, and then his 12-hour-long stint for 270 gave India their first series win in Pakistan. Performances like that would become a regular feature of Dravid’s batting, the most famous of them coming when he partnered VVS Laxman to overhaul a 270-run lead against Australia and turn it into a 171-run victory. India, batting a second time against Australia at Eden Gardens after faltering to 175 all-out, chasing 445, racked up 657-7 declared on the back of Dravid’s 180 and Laxman’s 281, the two partnering in a record 376-run fifth-wicket partnership.   

Career Statistics

Full name: Rahul Sharad Dravid

Born: January 11, 1973, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Major teams: India, Scotland, Asia XI, Canterbury, ICC World XI, Karnataka, Kent, Marylebone Cricket Club, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Occasional wicketkeeper

 

Test Career:   India (1996-2012)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs       HS     Ave      BF          SR      100s    50s

164      286     32     13288      270    52.31    31258    42.51      36     63

        

Career Highlights

  • 4th all-time for most runs scored in Tests (13, 288)
  • 2nd most runs scored by a number three in Tests (10, 524)
  • Most number of balls faced in Test history (31, 258)
  • Longest time spent at the crease in Tests (44, 152 minutes)
  • First player to score centuries in all Test-playing nations

From a country filled with great cricketers, it means quite a lot that former captain Greg Chappell was considered the finest batsman from that country in his generation.

His average of 53.86 says that, for the most part, he was a consistent runscorer and his 24 hundreds and 31 half-centuries from just 87 Tests tell a tale of a man who stuck to his guns.

Greg Chappell would score a century on debut in 1970 and at the end of his career in 1984. In between those centuries his steady improvement in technique made him a fine player by the end.

He started as a strong onside player but was suspect outside off stump, bringing the wicketkeeper and the slips into play for a good enough bowler. However, that wouldn’t last and in the space of a year, Chappell turned himself into a brilliant player on any side of the wicket.

That, added to a real fighter’s attitude to winning games, though he was the consummate gentleman, made for greatness.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Gregory Stephen Chappell

Born: August 7, 1948, Unley, Adelaide, South Australia

Major teams: Australia, Queensland, Somerset, South Australia

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Height: 1.87 m

 

Test Career: Australia (1970-1984)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave     100s  50s   

87        151    19     7110     247*    53.86    24   31    

 

Career Highlights

  • Considered the best Australian batsman of his generation
  • Scored 7110 runs in Tests at an average of 53.86
  • Scored 24 centuries and 31 half-centuries
  • 16 of his 24 centuries came at home

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, Viv, was the epitome of confidence. No bowler during the 1980s or early ‘90s, an era marked by quality tear-away quicks, can lay claim to intimidating the man dubbed ‘The Master Blaster’. Conversely, there are not many bowlers and/or captains, who can say they weren’t intimidated.

His Test career average and the number of runs he has scored, centuries and half-centuries he has racked up, matter very little to anybody who has seen Viv play. For them, he is greater than even those whose records far outstrip his. Why, because Viv changed the game. He was the precursor to the dominant batsmen of the ‘90s and even now, more than 20 years later, the greatest of them are, in part judged, by whether or not they have a little bit of Viv in them.

The Matthew Haydens and Chris Gayle’s of this world may never have existed if not for the trend Viv set.

Everything about him exuded confidence and when he sauntered to the crease, for that is the only way to describe it, the fielding team knew they were in trouble, and the crowd, whether at home or abroad, knew it too.

But Viv wasn’t all bluster. He could bat too. His average of 50.23, as well as his 24 hundreds and 45 fifties, say as much.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards

Born: March 7, 1952, St John's, Antigua

Major teams: West Indies, Combined Islands, Glamorgan, Leeward Islands, Queensland, Somerset

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm slow, Right-arm offbreak

 

Test Career: West Indies (1974-1991)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs          HS     Ave    100s          50s   

121    182    12     8540          291    50.23  24          45    

 

Career Highlights

  • Bestowed Antigua & Barbuda’s highest honour, Knight of the Order of the National Hero (1994)
  • First batsman to score a Test century at a strike rate of over 150 (1986)
  • Joint 2nd fastest century in Tests (56 balls)
  • Scored 8540 runs at an average of 50.23
  • Produced 24 centuries and 45 half-centuries in 182 Test innings

While Sir Garfield Sobers is undoubtedly the greatest all-rounder of all time, meaning he was good with bat and ball, and in his case, in the field as well, his ability with the willow puts him in the argument as one of the greatest batsmen the world has ever seen as well.

Sir Garry being the greatest batsman of all time used to be an argument between himself and Australia’s Sir Don Bradman. But in recent times there has been a proliferation of greats who have put their names up in serious ways, however, his quality is undoubtable and the length of time his records lasted were part proof of this fact.

An elegant but powerful batsman, Sir Garry would make his mark on Test cricket with not just the number of runs he scored, but because of the manner in which he scored them.

Elegant through the covers, he was also savage square of the wicket on both sides. Such was his talent that his 365 not out, a record which would last 36 years, came when he was just 21 years old. If there is ever any wonder at how good Sobers was, Don Bradman, a man with the highest Test average the world has seen, and nobody has come close, said this of an innings he saw Sobers play.

“the greatest exhibition of batting ever seen in Australia,” said Bradman after Sobers, playing for the World XI, destroyed an Australian bowling attack, inclusive of Dennis Lillee, on his way to 254.

Interestingly, Sobers career with the bat started slowly. For his first 14 Tests, he averaged a mere 30.54 and had scored just three 50s. Then from 1958 until his career ended, he played 79 Tests and actually averaged 62.90, scoring all of his 26 centuries during this period.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Garfield St Aubrun Sobers

Born: July 28, 1936, Chelsea Road, Bay Land, St Michael, Barbados

Major teams: West Indies, Barbados, Nottinghamshire, South Australia

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast-medium, Slow left-arm orthodox, Slow left-arm chinaman

Height: 5 ft 11 in

 

Test Career: West Indies (1954-1974)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s             

93       160     21      8032    365*    57.78       26      30                      

 

Career highlights

  • Named as one of five Cricketers of the century by Wisden (2000)
  • Knighted for his services to cricket (1975)
  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score, 365* (1958-1994)
  • 2nd highest average as a number four and 3rd highest as a number five in Tests (63.75 & 59.21)
  • First player to hit 6 sixes in an over at the First Class level

So far, the fans and the SportsMax panel of experts have not been in agreement over the nature of the Ultimate XI Test cricket team.

A few weeks ago, SportsMax embarked on an ultimately ambitious challenge of finding out what the greatest cricket team of all time would look like.

We didn’t want you, the fans to just take our word for it, so we combined our in-studio experts on the SportsMax Zone, the only show of its kind in the Caribbean, you, our fans, and a panel of experts who have been close to the game at the highest level.

The panel of experts has decided that India’s Sunil Gavaskar and Australia’s Matthew Hayden would provide an all-time best opening pairing ahead of the likes of West Indies’ Gordon Greenidge or England’s Alastair Cook.

The panellists were made up Former players Tino Best and Wavell Hinds, Kevin O’Brien Chang, noted writer and statistician, Barry Wilkinson, long-time journalist and commentator, as well as well-known regional umpire and sports commentator, Chris Taylor.

The SportsMax Zone team of Wayne Lewis, Mariah Kelly, and Lance Whittaker, has agreed with the picks of the panellists but the Ultimate fans don’t think much of one of those choices.

According to the voting to date, Hayden, with 12.77 per cent of the vote is the fourth-best an Ultimate XI could do, while Cook with 14.38 per cent of the vote is a fair bit behind the choice pairing so far with 14.38 per cent of the vote.

At this point, the Ultimate fan believes, like the panellists and the Zone team, that Sunil Gavaskar should make up half of the best opening pairing the world has ever seen, however, for them, at 17.88 per cent he is not as sure as is Greenidge, who has 18.95 per cent of the votes tallied so far.

Next up for voting will be the Ultimate middle order and so far, the men batting at numbers three, four and five, according to the fans, should be the West Indies’ Brian Lara, India’s Sachin Tendulkar, and Lara’s teammate, Viv Richards.

Lara holds a massive lead, with 26.34 per cent of voters picking him in their middle order.

Up next is Tendulkar who has polled 17.83 per cent of the votes. Richards is two percentage points back with 15.41 per cent of the votes, while Australia’s Don Bradman, who many pundits perceive as the greatest batsman to ever live, is just out of the runnings for a place in the fans’ team with 13.35 per cent of the votes.

Fans have a little under nine days to get their votes in for who they would want to see in an all-time best Test cricket XI. Click the link here, or go to SportsMax.tv and click on Ultimate XI at the top of the page for more details.

“I like that about him,” Sir Curtly Ambrose had said about young West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph. Sir Curtly was speaking about the fact that Joseph never seemed to smile and was most displeased when one of his deliveries got treated poorly. Sir Curtly saw in young Alzarri, some of what was very present when he bowled for the West Indies. An unyielding tenacity was present. He never liked to get hit and he certainly never liked to be bowling to one person for too long. He had to get you out and on 405 occasions, he did.

Sir Curtly’s tools were his height and his accuracy. From around 10 feet up, he would spare deliveries onto a length just outside offstump, aptly called the ‘corridor of uncertainty.’ Ambrose’s height meant he extracted steep bounce which could undo a batsman if he attempted to play forward to a delivery maybe nine times out of 10, he should have. But you wouldn’t have time to go back either because the ball was too full, leaving batsmen with no option but to abandon their footwork and use just their hands and eyes. Now movement became important because playing from your crease meant you had no time to react if the ball moved. Entering the fray are now caught behind, in the slip, at bat pad or short, extra cover, forward short leg, or even the deathly sound of a drag on. Sometimes a batsman may just end up going bowled.

That nagging line and length also meant Ambrose was ridiculously difficult to score off and has the best economy of any bowler with more than 400 wickets.

Sir Curtly’s best came against Australia in 1992-93 at the WACA where he decimated the opposition with 7-1, and again against England when he had 6-24 the following year at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago. Those spells are, to this day, considered among the most legendary, not just in the West Indies, but anywhere.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose

Born: September 21, 1963, Swetes Village, Antigua

Major teams: West Indies, Leeward Islands, Northamptonshire, UWI Vice Chancellor's Celebrity XI, West Indies Masters

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career:   West Indies (1988-2000)

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs     Wkts   BBI       BBM     Ave      Econ     SR        4w    5w   10w

98       179     22103   8501      405     8/45      11/84   20.99     2.30      54.5      21     22      3

 

Career Highlights

  • Took 405 wickets at an average of 20.99
  • Best average for bowlers over 400 wickets
  • Best economy rate for bowlers over 400 wickets
  • Best figures in an innings 8 for 45

Wasim Akram is the best left-arm fast bowler of all time. He has mastered all types of deliveries, slower balls, inswingers, outswingers, seaming in, seaming out, he could do it all at will it seemed. On some occasions he would swing it one way, then seam it another, leaving batsmen in a quandary about what to do. To top it off, Akram had a vicious bouncer that came from imperceptible extra effort.

Jimmy Adams, a stodgy defensive player from the West Indies, who at one time was the world’s best Test batsman, said Akram was the most difficult bowler he has ever had to navigate, rating an unbeaten 48 he scored against him in a match where the Pakistani pacer took 11 wickets on his way to 398, as the best he’s ever played.

Akram also formed one of the most dangerous Test duos in the history of the game with a certain Waqar Younis and it is no surprise that the latter would make a list like this as well.

The two would open with terrifying spells, then as the ball got older would return to unleash reverse swing on their opponents. Together, the two would take 559 wickets in just 61 Tests, just as dangerous, if not more so than the great West Indies pairing of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose which yielded 421 in 49. Akram, Imran Khan, and Younis are the only three Pakistani bowlers to take more than 350 wickets in Test cricket.

Akram’s only failing may have come with the bat. He was the natural successor to Khan but though he proved to be just a good a fast bowler, his average of 22.64 is well below what his talent would suggest.

Akram has three Test centuries and seven 50s in his 104 matches, with a best of 257 not out against Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura.

  

Career Statistics

Full name: Wasim Akram

Born: June 3, 1966, Lahore, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Hampshire, Lahore, Lancashire, Pakistan Automobiles Corporation, Pakistan International Airlines

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast

 

 

Test Career: Pakistan (1985-2002)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs    Wkts    BBI        BBM        Ave      Econ   SR      4w     5w      10w

104     181     22627    9779      414      7/119    11/110     23.62    2.59    54.6     20      25        5

 

Career Highlights

  • Most wickets by a left arm fast bowler in Tests (414)
  • Joint 3rd most Man of the Match Awards (17)
  • Averaged 23.62
  • Highest score as a number 8 in Tests (257)

Sir Richard Hadlee makes our shortlist on two occasions, as is the case with Sir Garfield Sobers. Both are undoubtedly among the best allrounders of all time but while Sir Garry also makes the list as a middle-order batsman, Sir Richard can be considered one of the finest fast bowlers of all time.

He was, first, the finest cricketer New Zealand ever produced. His first claim to fame as a bowler, was becoming the first man to ever claim 400 scalps. He would end his career with 431 wickets at the remarkable average of 22.29. His strike rate of 50.8 is also impressive.

He began his career as what is called a tear-away fastbowler, bludgeoning his opponents with raw pace rather than skill. Maintaining that throughout his career would have meant a much shorter lifespan, and of course, at the Test level, batsmen would eventually adjust to his great pace.

But when a great is faced with a deficiency, he or she fixes it, and Hadlee did that. Exchanging some of his pace for guile and increased control. Mind you, he was still quick and generated bounce and movement from even the most unresponsive of surfaces.

He saved his absolute best for the Australians, taking 15-123 in a Brisbane Test back in the 1985-86 season, a feat which is still talked about today.

Hadlee retired at the top, taking 5-53 in his very last Test in 1990. The last opponents to lose out to his skill were England at Trent Bridge and his very last delivery was a wicket.

Speaking about his career with Richie Benaud, Hadlee pointed out that he had learned a lot along the way, saying his first ball in Test cricket had rocketed to the fence, while his last was a wicket, proving how far he had come.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Richard John Hadlee

Born: July 3, 1951, St Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury

Major teams: New Zealand, Canterbury, Marylebone Cricket Club, New Zealand Invitation XI, Nottinghamshire, Tasmania

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

Height: 6 ft 1 in

 

Test Career: New Zealand (1973-1990)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM       Ave      Econ     SR       4w     5w     10w

86       150     21918     9611      431    9/52     15/123    22.29    2.63     50.8      25      36        9

 

Career Highlights

  • Held record for most wickets in Tests (1990-94)
  • Most 5-wicket hauls by a fast bowler in Tests (36)
  • Best innings figures by a fast bowler in 20th century (9/52)
  • 3rd most 10-wicket hauls in Tests (9)

Michael Holding was fast. But you never knew it from the way he ambled to the crease and quietly allowed the ball to kiss the pitch before the batsman was faced with the violence of it all.

The name given to Michael Holding because of his quiet and elegant run up was, interestingly, not delivered by the batsmen who were invariably sent packing after or amid one of his spells, it came from the umpires, who never heard him approaching the wicket and could only watch as batsmen hurriedly tried to move into positions to counteract a delivery aimed solely at causing destruction.

There are many who say Holding was the quickest of all time but his Rolls Royce-esque technique made others more recognizable as genuinely scary quicks.

Bowling to England opener Geoffrey Boycott in 1981, Holding delivered six deliveries the last of which cannoned into the usually defensively sound batsman's off stump, sending it careening toward the wicketkeeper. It is widely accepted that this was the best over of all time. The five deliveries prior came at no cost, with Boycott failing to get a bat on four and edging the first just short of Vivian Richards at second slip.

It was Boycott, who at the time was the best batsman in the world, said there had never been quicker than Holding.

Holding’s career only lasted 60 Tests but in the 12 years it took to get through those games, 249 wickets fell. On one particular occasion, the West Indies toured England, who had a big-talking skipper known as Tony Greig. In an interview, Greig had said his England side were going to “make the West Indies grovel.”

In the fifth Test of the series at The Oval, with the West Indies already leading 2-0, Holding had his revenge.  

The paceman would start with 8-92 after the West Indies had racked up 687 on what was thought to be a docile pitch. Holding was 22 years old and in his first year of cricket.

Six of those eight wickets were batsmen who were bowled, while the other two were sent back, out leg before.

In his second innings with the ball, Holding would end with figures of 6-57 and was declared man of the match, despite Viv Richards 291.

It was after that game that umpire Dickie Bird coined the phrase Whispering Death.

“I couldn’t hear him when he was running in. It was the most fantastic piece of fast bowling I had ever seen,” said the experienced umpire.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Michael Anthony Holding

Born: February 16, 1954, Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Canterbury, Derbyshire, Jamaica, Lancashire, Tasmania

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1975-1987)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs       Wkts    BBI      BBM       Ave    Econ   SR    4w     5w     10w

60     113       12680    5898        249      8/92     14/149   23.68   2.79   50.9    11     13        2

 

Career Highlights

  • Nicknamed “Whispering Death”
  • Best match figures by a West Indian (14/149)
  • Captured 249 wickets at 23.68
  • Had a strike rate of 50.9

Glenn McGrath, throughout his career, has been compared to West Indies great, Curtly Ambrose. The comparison makes sense. Both quicks were pencil thin and mean as snakes. They gave nothing away. Like Ambrose was for the West Indies, so too McGrath was the greatest Australian of his time.

McGrath would retire from Test Cricket after 14 years at the top of the game in wonderful fashion, leading Australia to a 5-0 whitewashing of England at the 2007 Ashes where he was named Man of the Tournament.

But before that he would grab 10-wicket hauls on three occasions, five-wicket hauls on 29 occasions and have four-wicket days 28 times.

Those remarkable figures came from the insistence on bowling in a metronome fashion, hitting just back of a length on off stump, just the way Ambrose did. To add to that, the bowling ace would learn to bowl the delivery that came back into the right-hander after it pitched. Eventually, he became the man Australia would turn to when it needed a big scalp, like that of Brian Lara.

McGrath is the man to have gotten Lara out the most of any bowler he faced. Though the batting genius also scored most of his runs against Australia, chances are, if he got out, it was to a Glenn McGrath delivery.

McGrath’s importance to Australia can be underlined by the fact that he became the first fast bowler in the country’s rich history of producing them, to play more than 100 Tests.

  

Career Statistics

Full name: Glenn Donald McGrath

Born: February 9, 1970, Dubbo, New South Wales

Major teams: Australia, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Middlesex, New South Wales, Worcestershire

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 1.95 m

 

Test Career: Australia (1993-2007)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs       Wkts     BBI      BBM      Ave     Econ    SR      4w     5w     10w

124     243     29248     12186      563       8/24    10/27     21.64   2.49     51.9    28       29       3

 

Career Highlights

  • 5th all-time for most wickets in Tests (563)
  • 2nd most wickets by a fast bowler in Tests
  • Dismissed the most batsmen for a duck in Tests (104)
  • Averaged 21.64 while strike rate was 51.9

The longtime ethos of hard work bringing forth success is perfectly exemplified in Courtney Andrew Walsh, West Indies’ all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and at one time world record holder.

Walsh was the first bowler over 500 wickets in the history of the game, but that honour came from being the man who the West Indies used to use to plug overs. Initially, Walsh was a back-up bowler, who would do the hard work of running into the wind while preferred specialists like Malcolm Marshall or Michael Holding and even Sir Curtly Ambrose ran in with the wind at their backs.

Doing that kind of work made the wiry Walsh strong and when it was finally his time to be the strike bowler, he had the added benefit of being able to run in for almost inhumanly long spells at high pace to boot.

Walsh formed one of the games great opening partnership with Ambrose, the two accounting for 421 Test wickets between them in just 49 outings.

Walsh was also a man of very strong character, something that belied his almost jovial nature. It would seem that nothing mattered to him but the truth was anything but.

He loved bowling at the highest level and that may be why he did it for 17 years.

But never was that strength more called on than when the West Indies decided to drop him for the only time in his career.

Walsh had never been dropped at any level but his reaction was impressive. The pace bowler returned to first-class cricket in the West Indies and dominated proceedings, taking 30+ wickets and forcing his way back into the Test side. Until his retirement in 2001, nobody has ever dared to think of dropping him again.

If it is hard to bowl well on a stacked team, it is even more difficult to do so on one that is in the habit of losing, yet in 2000, a year before his retirement and at 37 years old, Walsh took 93 wickets, the most in the world that year. Two pacers have since surpassed Walsh’s 519 wickets, in England’s James Anderson and Australia’s Glen McGrath, but they too are fine fast bowlers worthy of all-time great platitudes.

What is interesting is that the West Indies, despite its rich history of creating fast-bowling juggernauts, did not produce anybody, save Walsh’s partner in crime, Ambrose, to get close to Walsh’s massive haul. Ambrose ended his career with 405 wickets.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Courtney Andrew Walsh

Born: October 30, 1962, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Gloucestershire, Jamaica

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1984-2001)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w     10w

132    242      30019    12688     519      7/37   13/55    24.44   2.53     57.8   32     22        3

 

Career Highlights

  • Held record for most wickets in Tests (2000-04)
  • First bowler to reach 500 wickets
  • 3rd most wickets by a fast bowler
  • Best match figures as captain (13/55)

It is hard to believe Ben Stokes is only 28 years old. Already, he is shaping up to be the greatest allrounder England has ever produced. Stokes has had to show real character to get where he has, after two setbacks in his career that could have broken a lesser young man. Against the West Indies in the T20 World Cup in 2014, Stokes was the unfortunate bowler who Carlos Brathwaite took for four sixes on the trot to give the eventual champions an unlikely victory.

Then Stokes missed the 2017-18 Ashes because he was charged with ‘affray’ after a brawl at a Bristol nightclub. Stokes turned those two misfortunes around. In the first instance, winning the World Cup with England in remarkable fashion after scoring an unbeaten 84 before winning a super over in dramatic fashion.

He recovered from the setback of missing the Ashes England lost 4-0 by helping England thrash Sri Lanka 3-0 in a Test series months later. Stokes is involved in every aspect of what England does well. His combative personality along with undeniable skill make for comparisons with Ian Botham that are not unfounded. He averages 36.54 in Tests and has already scored more than 4,000 runs. Stokes has also racked up 147 wickets at an average of 32.68.

He registers as a fast-medium, but when he’s up he can be outright quick. When he’s batting he can go from stodgy defence when situations are tight to unleashing the most furious assaults on bowling attacks. Stokes for all intents is a man for all seasons.

Career Statistics

Full name: Benjamin Andrew Stokes

Born: June 4, 1991, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Major teams: England, Canterbury, Durham, Durham 2nd XI, England Development Programme Under-19s, England Lions, England Performance Programme, England Performance Programme XI, England Under-19s, Melbourne Renegades, Rajasthan Royals, Rising Pune Supergiant

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

 

Test Career (Batting): England (2013-present)

Mat    Inns    NO      Runs    HS     Ave        BF      SR      100s    50s  

63       115       4       4056    258    36.54    6905    58.74       9       21  

Test Career (Bowling): England (2013-present)

Mat    Inns    Balls    Runs    Wkts   BBI     BBM     Ave    Econ   SR     4w     5w    10w

63       106     8683    4804     147     6/22    8/161   32.68   3.31   59.0     5       4       0

 

Career Highlights

  • Fastest 250 in Tests (196 balls)
  • Most runs in a Test innings at number six (258)
  • Most runs in 1st session of a Test (130)
  • 1 of 7 players to score over 4000 runs and take 100 wickets in Tests

As one of only eight players to score 3000 runs and take 300 wickets, Daniel Vettori’s long graft in Test cricket has left him in the realm of the all-time greats. The left-arm orthodox spinner, at 18 years old, became the youngest player to player to play Test cricket for New Zealand. Most decidedly a bowling allrounder, although it would be remiss of his opponents to ignore his ability with the bat, Vettori held mastership over the subtle art of drift and variations in flight. Vettori was also a thinking bowler and would invariably keep changing his plans to a batsman until he found one that worked.

With the bat, Vettori would come in at number eight, and became the best at it, rescuing New Zealand time and again. Just as he was a bowler who depended on logic and sound reasoning to work out what to do next, so he was with the bat, assessing a situation and deciding what tac to take to bring his team positive results.

Career Statistics

Full name: Daniel Luca Vettori

Born: January 27, 1979, Auckland

Major teams: New Zealand, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Northern Districts, Nottinghamshire, Queensland, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warwickshire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

Test Career (Batting): New Zealand (1997-2014)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS    Ave       BF       SR      100s    50s 

113     174     23       4531    140   30.00    7787    58.18      6       23  

 

Test Career (Bowling): New Zealand (1997-2014)

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM       Ave      Econ    SR      4w     5w     10w

113     187     28814   12441     362      7/87    12/149   34.36    2.59     79.5     19       20       3

 

Career Highlights

  • 1 of 3 players with 4000 runs and 300 wickets in Tests
  • Amassed 4531 runs at 30.00
  • Secured 362 wickets at 34.26

Ian Botham made England a team to reckon with. Without him, England were terrible. The quickest player to 1000 runs and 100 wickets, what was impressive about Botham was his self-belief. Botham had high highs and low lows. It took him just four years to become England captain, with everyone understanding he was the finest cricket the country had seen in aeons. But such was the nature of the man that he soon quit as captain as he was about to be sacked. He soon turned some poor form around and almost singlehandedly brought England the Ashes. Support for English cricket had never been as high as when Botham was part of the mix but soon he started to have weight problems and the nuggets of brilliant performances began to be few and far between. Still, Botham would command a place in the England setup until 1992 before he eventually retired with a batting average of 33. 54, 5,200 runs under his belt along with 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries. As a bowler he is part of the 300-wicket Test club, ending his career with 383 from just 102 Tests. He once took 8-34 in a Test match and has career-best match figures of 13-106 which are up there with the greats.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Ian Terence Botham

Born: November 24, 1955, Oldfield, Heswall, Cheshire

Major teams: England, Durham, Queensland, Somerset, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 6 ft 2 in

 

Test Career (Batting): England (1977-1992)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave      BF       SR      100s    50s             

102     161      6       5200     208    33.54    8565    60.71     14     22             

 

Test Career (Bowling): England (1977-1992)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts    BBI      BBM      Ave     Econ   SR     4w    5w   10w

102     168     21815    10878     383      8/34    13/106   28.40   2.99    56.9    17     27     4

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd fastest player to 3000 runs and 200 wickets (55 Tests)
  • 1st player to score a century and take 10 wickets in a Test
  • Record for most centuries and 5-wicket hauls in the same Test (4)
  • Scored 5200 runs at 33.54
  • Secured 383 wickets at 28.40
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