Daniel’s Alphabet Teams
Ah, the joys of the English alphabet. From my very early years spent watching Sesame Street through to the present day (also, incidentally, spent watching Sesame Street), the alphabet has been a grand old friend of mine. Fans of Bodgy Green and Funky Pharmacy will also know that selecting cricket teams that not only will never, but, logistically, can never play a match is another preferred way for me to while away the hours.
Not until now have I brought together these two great loves of mine and, following the lead of the Graham Dawson and Charlie Wat publication, Test Cricket Lists (Five Mile Press, 1996), I have attempted to select the best possible cricket teams from Test players throughout history according to the players' family names. This refers to the player's surname except in the case of Islamic names, in which the first name has been used.
To give the teams a local flavour, I have named them after various Brisbane suburbs and localities and assigned each of them a home ground from the many grounds around Brisbane on which I have played or travelled past in buses.
Without further ado (or maybe just a little bit of ado), here are the teams.
* denotes captain + denotes wicket-keeper
ACACIA RIDGE (A) – Acacia Ridge State School – Dennis Amiss (Eng), Marvan Atapattu (SL), Mohinder Amarnath (Ind), Nathan Astle (NZ), Asif Iqbal (Pak), *Warwick Armstrong (Aus), +Les Ames (Eng), Abdul Qadir (Pak), Curtley Ambrose (WI), Terry Alderman (Aus), Neil Adcock (RSA).
BROADWATER ROAD (B) – Mansfield State High School – Sid Barnes (Aus), Eddie Barlow (RSA), Don Bradman (Aus), Ken Barrington (Eng), Allan Border (Aus), Ian Botham (Eng), *Richie Benaud (Aus), Johnny Briggs (Eng), +Jack Blackham (Aus), Alec Bedser (Eng), Sydney Barnes (Eng).
CAMP HILL (C) – Camp Hill State High School – Colin Cowdrey (Eng), *Herbie Collins (Aus), Greg Chappell (Aus), Denis Compton (Eng), Martin Crowe (NZ), Bob Cowper (Aus), Chris Cairns (NZ), +Sammy Carter (Aus), ‘Tibby’ Cotter (Aus), Colin Croft (WI), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (Ind).
DECEPTION BAY (D) – Grace Lutheran College, Rothwell - *Joe Darling (Aus), Stewie Dempster (NZ), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Ted Dexter (Eng), Kumar Duleepsinhji (Eng), Aravinda de Silva (SL), +Jeffrey Dujon (WI), Alan Davidson (Aus), Fanie de Villiers (RSA), Allan Donald (RSA), Dilip Doshi (Ind).
EIGHT MILE PLAINS (E) – Redeemer Lutheran College, Rochedale – Bruce Edgar (NZ), Farokh Engineer (Ind), *John Edrich (Eng), Bill Edrich (Eng), Russell Endean (RSA), Ross Edwards (Aus), +Godfrey Evans (Eng), John Emburey (Eng), Phil Edmonds (Eng), Richard Ellison (Eng), Ehtesham-ud-din (Pak).
FERNY GROVE (F) – Ferny Grove State High School – Roy Fredericks (WI), Jack Fingleton (Aus), Charles Fry (Eng), ‘Tip’ Foster (Eng), *Stephen Fleming (NZ), +Andy Flower (Zim), Aubrey Faulkner (RSA), Frank Foster (Eng), Fazal Mahmood (Pak), John Ferris (Aus/Eng), ‘Tich’ Freeman (Eng).
GAILES (G) – Wolston Park – Sunil Gavaskar (Ind), Gordon Greenidge (WI), W.G. Grace (Eng), *David Gower (Eng), Adam Gilchrist (Aus), Trevor Goddard (RSA), Jack Gregory (Aus), +Wally Grout (Aus), Joel Garner (WI), Lance Gibbs (WI), Clarrie Grimmett (Aus).
HOLLAND PARK (H) – Cavendish Road State High School – Jack Hobbs (Eng), Matthew Hayden (Aus), Neil Harvey (Aus), *Walter Hammond (Eng), George Headley (WI), Vijay Hazare (Ind), +Ian Healy (Aus), Richard Hadlee (NZ), Herbert Hordern (Aus), Michael Holding (WI), Wes Hall (WI).
IPSWICH (I) – Alan Cummings Oval – Frank Iredale (Aus), Imran Farhat (Pak), Lee Irvine (RSA), Inzamam-ul-haq (Pak), Ijaz Ahmed (Pak), *Imran Khan (Pak), +Imtiaz Ahmed (Pak), Ray Illingworth (Eng), David Ironside (RSA), Herbie Ironmonger (Aus), Jack Iverson (Aus).
JUNCTION PARK (J) – A.J. Jones Recreational Reserve – Archie Jackson (Aus), *Sanath Jayasuriya (SL), Dean Jones (Aus), Javed Miandad (Pak), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Hon. Stanley Jackson (Eng), +Ridley Jacobs (WI), Ian Johnson (Aus), Sunil Joshi (Ind), Bill Johnston (Aus), Ernie Jones (Aus).
KANGAROO POINT (K) – Raymond Park – Gary Kirsten (RSA), B.K. Kunderan (Ind), Rohan Kanhai (WI), Jacques Kallis (RSA), Alvin Kallicharran (WI), Charles Kelleway (Aus), +Alan Knott (Eng), *Kapil Dev (Ind), Anil Kumble (Ind), Khan Mohammad (Pak), Lindsay Kline (Aus).
LEICHHARDT (L) – Ivor Marsden Memorial Park – Justin Langer (Aus), Bill Lawry (Aus), Brian Lara (WI), V.V.S. Laxman (Ind), *Clive Lloyd (WI), +Denis Lindsay (RSA), Ray Lindwall (Aus), Harold Larwood (Eng), Dennis Lillee (Aus), George Lohmann (Eng), Jim Laker (Eng).
MACGREGOR (Mc, Mac) – Macgregor State High School – Charlie Macartney (Aus), Jackie McGlew (RSA), *Archie MacLaren (Eng), Stan McCabe (Aus), Craig McMillan (NZ), Brian McMillan (RSA), +John Maclean (Aus), Graham McKenzie (Aus), Craig McDermott (Aus), Staurt MacGill (Aus), Glenn McGrath (Aus).
MOUNT GRAVATT (M) – Mt Gravatt Showground – Arthur Morris (Aus), Vijay Merchant (Ind), Billy Murdoch (Aus), *Peter May (Eng), Phil Mead (Eng), Mushtaq Mohammad (Pak), Keith Miller (Aus), +Rodney Marsh (Aus), Malcolm Marshall (WI), Muttiah Muralitharan (SL), Arthur Mailey (Aus).
NORMAN PARK (N) – Bottomley Park – Nazar Mohammad (Pak), Dave Nourse (RSA), Dudley Nourse (RSA), Seymour Nurse (WI), *Monty Noble (Aus), Bapu Nadkarni (Ind), Dion Nash (NZ), Nasim-ul-Ghani (Pak), Morris Nichols (Eng), +Karl Nunes (WI), Jack Noriega (WI).
OXFORD PARK (O) – Mitchelton State High School – *Harold Owen-Smith (RSA), Leo O’Brien (Aus), Norm O’Neill (Aus), Norman Oldfield (Eng), Sid O’Linn (RSA), Jacob Oram (NZ), Kerry O’Keeffe (Aus), Chris Old (Eng), +Bert Oldfield (Aus), Bill O’Reilly (Aus), Shayne O’Connor (NZ).
PACIFIC MOTORWAY (P/Q) – Holland Park State High School – Bill Ponsford (Aus), Geoff Pullar (Eng), Ricky Ponting (Aus), Graeme Pollock (RSA), Eddie Paynter (Eng), *Nawab of Pataudi Jr (Ind), Shaun Pollock (RSA), +Jim Parks (Eng), Mike Procter (RSA), Peter Pollock (RSA), Bobby Peel (Eng).
RUNCORN (R) – St Laurence’s, Runcorn – Barry Richards (RSA), Ian Redpath (Aus), *Richie Richardson (WI), Viv Richards (WI), Kumar Ranjitsinhji (Eng), Wilfred Rhodes (Eng), +Jack Russell (Eng), Andy Roberts (WI), Tom Richardson (Eng), Sonny Ramadhin (WI), Bruce Reid (Aus).
SUNNYBANK (S) – Henderson Park – Herbert Sutcliffe (Eng), Bob Simpson (Aus), Bert Sutcliffe (NZ), Gary Sobers (WI), *Arthur Shrewsbury (Eng), Robin Smith (Eng), +Percy Sherwell (RSA), John Snow (Eng), Saqlain Mushtaq (Pak), Fred Spofforth (Aus), Shoaib Akhtar (Pak).
TARRAGINDI (T) – Thompson Estate Reserve – Victor Trumper (Aus), *Mark Taylor (Aus), Glenn Turner (NZ), Sachin Tendulkar (Ind), Hashan Tillekeratne (SL), Maurice Tate (Eng), +Don Tallon (Aus), Hugh Trumble (Aus), Hugh Tayfield (RSA), Fred Trueman (Eng), Charles Turner (Aus).
UPPER MT GRAVATT (U/V) – Dittmer Park – Michael Vaughan (Eng), Pieter van der Bijl (RSA), Dilip Vengsarkar (Ind), Gundappa Viswanath (Ind), *Polly Umrigar (Ind), George Ulyett (Eng), +Lou Vincent (NZ), Hedley Verity (Eng), Bill Voce (Eng), Derek Underwood (Eng), Alf Valentine (WI).
WHITES HILL (W) – Leo Petinakis Oval – Bill Woodfull (Aus), *Frank Worrell (WI), Everton Weekes (WI), Frank Woolley (Eng), Steve Waugh (Aus), Doug Walters (Aus), +Clyde Walcott (WI), Wasim Akram (Pak), Shane Warne (Aus), Waqar Younis (Pak), Courtney Walsh (WI).
YERONGA (X/Y/Z) – Yeronga State High School – Billy Zulch (RSA), Bryan Young (NZ), Zaheer Abbas (Pak), Yousuf Youhana (Pak), Graham Yallop (Aus), *Norman Yardley (Eng), +Tim Zoehrer (Aus), Bruce Yardley (Aus), Shivlal Yadav (Ind), Zulfiqar Ahmed (Pak), Zaheer Khan (Ind).
MANSFIELD (A team of left-overs) – Stan Fraser Field – Len Hutton (Eng), Saeed Anwar (Pak), Asanka Gurusinha (SL), *Lindsay Hassett (Aus), Habibul Bashar (Bng), Gerry Gomez (WI), Billy Barnes (Eng), +Mark Boucher (RSA), Heath Streak (Zim), Harbhajan Singh (Ind), Jack Cowie (NZ).
Now, choosing teams of great players is all very well and good, but what about the players that I really want to see? I mean, this is my website after all! If I’m going to be completely self-indulgent, I may as well do it properly! So, here are some alphabet teams made up of my favourite Test players from throughout history. Just for a change, the teams are given home grounds and are named after suburbs and localities in my birth town of Newcastle.
* denotes captain + denotes wicket-keeper
ADAMSTOWN (A) – Adamstown Oval – Aamir Sohail (Pak), Bill Athey (Eng), Mohinder Amarnath (Ind), Nathan Astle (NZ), Asif Mujtaba (Pak), Abdul Razzaq (Pak), +Gerry Alexander (WI), Abdul Qadir (Pak), Paul Adams (RSA), Azeem Hafeez (Pak), *Jonathan Agnew (Eng).
I like the all-round flavour of this side with all except Athey and Alexander being recognised bowlers. Qadir and Adams bowling in tandem will be a delight for connoisseurs of flamboyant bowling actions and Agnew’s captaincy will be highly articulate if nothing else.
BROADMEADOW (B) – Newcastle Showground – Charles Bannerman (Aus), Sid Barnes (Aus), Ali Bacher (RSA), Brian Booth (Aus), Colin Bland (RSA), *Richie Benaud (Aus), Johnny Briggs (Eng), +Jack Blackham (Aus), Alec Bedser (Eng), Charlie Blythe (Eng), Bob Blair (NZ).
Bannerman and Barnes will get the innings off to a rollicking start before the highly responsible middle order come into play. There is no searing pace in this team but watching the spin trio of Benaud, Briggs and Blythe bamboozle the batsmen will more than make up for that. If only I could have found a place for Bosanquet!
CARDIFF (C) – Cardiff Park – Colin Cowdrey (Eng), Sherwin Campbell (WI), John Crawley (Eng), Bob Cowper (Aus), *Percy Chapman (Eng), Jack Cheetham (RSA), Chris Cairns (NZ), +Jock Cameron (RSA), Learie Constantine (WI), Ewen Chatfield (NZ), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (Ind).
Not one of the stronger sides but Chapman and Cheetham will make sure that the side is well drilled. I’d like to see Chatfield and Chandrasekhar bowl in tandem with the skinny Kiwi drying up the runs at one end and the withered-wristed Indian competely depressing the batsmen at the other.
DIXON PARK BEACH (D) – Empire Park – John Dyson (Aus), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Kumar Duleepsinhji (Eng), *Ted Dexter (Eng), Aravinda de Silva (SL), +Jeffrey Dujon (WI), Alan Davidson (Aus), Tony Dodemaide (Aus), Fanie de Villiers (RSA), Graham Dilley (Eng), Dilip Doshi (Ind).
At first glance, the strength of this side would appear to be the batting with classy strokeplayers throughout, but have a closer look at the bowling line-up. Davidson is one of the greatest ever swing bowlers and Dodemaide and Dilley were very classy when in form. De Villiers would keep trying until he dropped and Doshi would provide no relief either. This side would surprise.
FORT SCRATCHLEY (E/F) – Dangar Park, Mayfield – Jack Fingleton (Aus), Farokh Engineer (Ind), *Stephen Fleming (NZ), Russell Endean (RSA), Andy Flower (Zim), Aubrey Faulkner (RSA), Andrew Flintoff (Eng), +Godfrey Evans (Eng), Damien Fleming (Aus), Phil Edmonds (Eng), ‘Chuck’ Fleetwood-Smith (Aus).
One of the best fielding sides with three wicket keepers (Engineer, Flower and Evans) and some outstanding catchers in Stephen Fleming, Endean and Edmonds. Fleetwood-Smith, Edmonds and Faulkner provide another lethal spin trio and would be well managed by Fleming’s captaincy.
GEORGETOWN (G) – Waratah Park – Andy Ganteaume (WI), Trevor Goddard (RSA), Asanka Gurusinha (SL), Larry Gomes (WI), *David Gower (Eng), Harry Graham (Aus), +Adam Gilchrist (Aus), Joel Garner (WI), Darren Gough (Eng), John Gleeson (Aus), Subhash Gupte (Ind).
A well balanced side with a good combination of attacking and defensive batsmen. Gilchrist at seven makes any batting line-up look great. Garner and Gough would complement each other well as would the two very different leg-spinners, Gleeson and Gupte. Goddard may take over the captaincy if Gower gets bored at any stage.
HAMILTON (H) – National Park, Cooks Hill – Andrew Hudson (RSA), Conrad Hunte (WI), *Lindsay Hassett (Aus), ‘Patsy’ Hendren (Eng), Kim Hughes (Aus), Geoff Howarth (NZ), Richard Hadlee (NZ), +Jackie Hendriks (WI), Wes Hall (WI), Matthew Hoggard (Eng), Bob Holland (Aus).
This side bats a fair way down and possesses an outstanding new ball pairing of Hadlee and Hall, but there is no recognised fifth bowler and, therefore, may struggle if the bowlers can’t get the wickets. Having said that, this team will not be short of tactical ideas with Hassett and Howarth in the brains trust.
ISLINGTON (I/J) – Islington Park – Archie Jackson (Aus), Sanath Jayasuriya (SL), Ijaz Ahmed (Pak), Andrew Jones (NZ), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Hon. Stanley Jackson (Eng), *Imran Khan (Pak), +Ridley Jacobs (WI), Terry Jenner (Aus), Bill Johnston (Aus), Jack Iverson (Aus).
Quite a feisty line-up (it could have been even more so with Javed, Jardine and Dean Jones eligible). This team would be quite competitive if a little weak in the bowling department. Johnston would be given plenty of room to experiment with his fast mediums and his chinamen.
KOTARA (K) – Hudson Park – *Gary Kirsten (RSA), Nick Knight (Eng), Rohan Kanhai (WI), Alvin Kallicharran (WI), Peter Kirsten (RSA), Simon Katich (Aus), Charles Kelleway (Aus), +Alan Knott (Eng), Barry Knight (Eng), Michael Kasprowicz (Aus), Lindsay Kline (Aus).
Again, not the strongest side although they do bat a long way down. The pacemen all move the ball around and would be well backed up by the three left arm spinners (Kline, Katich and Gary Kirsten). Never take lightly any bowling attack backed up by Alan Knott.
LAMBTON (L) – Lambton Park – Justin Langer (Aus), Martin Love (Aus), *V.V.S. Laxman (Ind), Maurice Leyland (Eng), Allan Lamb (Eng), +Denis Lindsay (RSA), Ray Lindwall (Aus), Harold Larwood (Eng), Dennis Lillee (Aus), George Lohmann (Eng), Jim Laker (Eng).
Possibly the strongest of the sides with a frightening pace quartet and arguably the best off-spinner in history. In addition, all of the batsmen score their runs quickly and can bat for very long periods. Laxman as captain may surprise but he is a great thinker and always has plenty of ideas on the field.
MEREWETHER (M) – Townson Oval – Arthur Morris (Aus), Colin McDonald (Aus), Roshan Mahanama (SL), *Peter May (Eng), Stan McCabe (Aus), Keith Miller (Aus), Greg Matthews (Aus), +Junior Murray (WI), Arthur Mailey (Aus), Bob Massie (Aus), Colin Miller (Aus).
How full of characters is this side? Morris, Matthews, Mailey and both Millers would have the dressing room in stitches most of the time, McDonald, Mahanama and McCabe would give the side plenty of steel and Peter May would make sure that the ship was kept afloat. I think most people would look forward to watching this side.
NEW LAMBTON (N/O) – Harker Oval – Nazar Mohammad (Pak), Harold Owen-Smith (RSA), Norm O’Neill (Aus), Seymour Nurse (WI), *Monty Noble (Aus), Jacob Oram (NZ), Kerry O’Keeffe (Aus), +Bert Oldfield (Aus), Bill O’Reilly (Aus), Makhaya Ntini (RSA), Henry Olonga (Zim).
Not a huge number of eligible players here but there are some good names nonetheless. O’Neill and Nurse in partnership would be thrilling to watch and the bowling quartet is nothing if not eccentric. Oram and Noble would provide more than useful backup.
PERKINS STREET (P/Q) – Newcastle No. 2 Sports Ground – Bill Ponsford (Aus), Qasim Omar (Pak), Graeme Pollock (RSA), *Nawab of Pataudi Sr (Eng/Ind), Eddie Paynter (Eng), Ashwell Prince (RSA), +Wayne Phillips (Aus), Dipak Patel (NZ), Mike Procter (RSA), Erapally Prasanna (Ind), Dewald Pretorius (RSA).
A strange side this. The batting is powerful with big hitters sprinkled throughout the order all the way down to Procter at 9. Procter is the only great bowler but Patel and Prasanna are bound to have a few tricks up their sleeves. The Nawab should inspire plenty of confidence, too.
RAILWAY (R) – District Park, Broadmeadow – Mark Richardson (NZ), Richie Robinson (Aus), *Ken Rutherford (NZ), Derek Randall (Eng), Jonty Rhodes (RSA), Ravi Ratnayeke (SL), +Jack Russell (Eng), Paul Reiffel (Aus), Rumesh Ratnayake (SL), Sonny Ramadhin (WI), Bruce Reid (Aus).
This side would be terrific to watch, particularly in the field where Randall and Rhodes would keep the crowds entertained for days. The bowling is well balanced with strike, swing and stock bowlers and the unpredictable spin of Ramadhin. Ken Rutherford is a most thoughtful captain and would lead this side well.
STOCKTON (S) – Lynn Oval – *Keith Stackpole (Aus), Krishnamachari Srikkanth (Ind), Phil Simmons (WI), Garfield Sobers (WI), Joe Solomon (WI), Ravi Shastri (Ind), +Ian Smith (NZ), Pat Symcox (RSA), John Snow (Eng), Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (Ind), Shoaib Akhtar (Pak).
What a batting line-up! Stackpole, Srikkanth, Simmons and Smith are four lightning quick scorers but even they pale when compared with the only two men to hit six sixes in one over – Sobers and Shastri. The bowling is skilful and has plenty of heart – I can’t see the likes of Snow and Symcox ever throwing in the towel.
TIGHES HILL (T) – Newcastle Technical College – Victor Trumper (Aus), *Mark Taylor (Aus), Glenn Turner (NZ), Sachin Tendulkar (Ind), Peter Toohey (Aus), Harry Trott (Aus), Albert Trott (Aus/Eng), +Tatenda Taibu (Zim), Peter Taylor (Aus), Frank Tyson (Eng), Phil Tufnell (Eng).
The batting oozes class here; people would travel for miles to see Trumper and Tendulkar bat in the same day. Tyson leads a useful bowling attack (don’t underestimate the Trott brothers) which contains two finger spinners at opposite ends of the personality spectrum.
UNION STREET (U/V/X/Y/Z) – Newcastle No.1 Sports Ground – Michael Vaughan (Eng), Michael Veletta (Aus), Graham Yallop (Aus), Yousuf Youhana (Pak), Gundappa Viswanath (Ind), Bert Vogler (RSA), +Tim Zoehrer (Aus), *Daniel Vettori (NZ), Chaminda Vaas (SL), Bill Voce (Eng), Alf Valentine (WI).
I could give myself a game here but who would I drop? Probably Vogler as it’s the only chance I’d ever get to bat as high as 6! I’m not sure what it is about this surname category and left-arm bowlers but, being one myself, I’m not complaining. Vettori and Valentine in tandem would be a treat.
WICKHAM (W) – Passmore Oval – Bill Woodfull (Aus), Graeme Wood (Aus), Kepler Wessels (Aus/RSA), *Dirk Wellham (Aus), Frank Worrell (WI), Frank Woolley (Eng), Peter Willey (Eng), Wasim Akram (Pak), +David Williams (WI), Johnny Watkins (Aus), Kapila Wijegunawardene (SL).
There were seven genuine options for the captaincy of this side (Woodfull, Wessels, Wellham, Worrell, Woolley, Willey and Wasim) but ultimately I went for Wellham as he possessed just a little more tactical nous than the others. Besides, with Johnny Watkins in the side, he may well need as much leadership support as he can get.
Now, the only thing left for me to do now is to grab my trusty time machine, grab all these players from their peak period and play the tournament.
All comment on these teams, as well as other attempts at the same or similar exercises, are always welcome and can be made by emailing Daniel at email@example.com.
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