“Is there any player you do not like?” asked a friend.
The question stumped me.
I have always remembered loving the game and enjoyed watching cricket on TV, no matter what team or player was playing. One of my fondest childhood cricketing memories was even playing a Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe Test Series with a friend although we were not from either country. We would memorize every players’ names, imitate each bowling action, and change our batting styles accordingly.
This got me thinking. Why not create A World XI with favorite players from every major cricketing nation?
Today’s Twist – Unity in Diversity:
Create a World XI squad consisting of exactly 1 player from each country. Here are the rules:
- Pick a player from each of the 12 Test playing nations
- Pick one more player from an Associate Nation for a total of 13 players.
- The team should be able to field in an actual match – at least one wicketkeeper and 5 bowling options are necessary
The team should be diverse enough to represent any format – Test, ODI, and T20. Alastair Cook and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are two of my favorite players. Although they would be ideal candidates for an All-Time Test XI, they may struggle in the T20 era.
Who are your favorite players from each country? Comment below with your XI!
The choice for the Associate player would be interesting to see. Maybe it is from a Netherlands team that surprised England in the 2009 T20 World Cup or from the classic Kenya team from 2003? Steve Tikolo, the Obuyas, and Odoyo, remember?
Without further ado, here is my All-Time Favorite XI.Embed from Getty Images
Unity in Diversity XI
Note, my team only consists of players from the last 20 years.
- Rahul Dravid (IND) The Wall—architect of India’s greatest Test victories. My Role-Model.
- Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) Inventor of the Dilscoop. Energetic cricketer, opener, and fielder
- Younis Khan (PAK) Tenacious. Beautiful Batting style, conversion rate, and studious?
- Ross Taylor (NZ) Does anyone have a better leg side slog? Underrated ODI player.
- Nicholas Pooran (WI) – WK I think he is the next big talent in West Indies Cricket.
- Paul Collingwood (ENG) – C Calm captain, good all-rounder, and best fielder of all time.
- Shakib Al Hasan (BAN) Bangladesh superstar and one-of the best all rounder of all-time.
- Ryan Ten Doeschate (NETH) Averages 67 in ODI cricket after 33 ODIs. A delight to watch.
- Rashid Khan (AFG) How much has he achieved already at this age? And the googlies…
- Brett Lee (AUS) Pace, smooth action, best chainsaw celebration, and great musician
- Dale Steyn (SA) Best Test fast bowler? Intensity in the eyes and overseas record
- Brendon Taylor (ZIM) Zimbabwe’s best in the current era. Easy on the eye.
- Niall O’Brien (IRE) Starred in the upset vs Pakistan in 2007 WC. Love his commentary!
This was a really tough exercise. Maybe even harder than All-Time Test or ODI XIs. Here are just some of the others I considered.
- IND – Dinesh Karthik, Mohammad Kaif, Robin Uthappa, and the Golden Generation – Sachin/Sehwag/VVS/Ganguly/Zaheer/Harbhajan/Yuvraj/Raina/MSD
- SL – Sangakkara-Jayawardene and the M Factor – Mendis, Malinga, Murali
- Pak – Mohammad Yousuf, Babar Azam, and numerous bowlers including the recently retired Umar Gul
- NZ: How does one not like every player from New Zealand? Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Dan Vettori, and all the rest. Lockie Ferguson – KKR fans?
- WI – Chanderpaul, Brian Lara, the Universe Boss, and captain Darren Sammy
- ENG – Marcus Trescothick, Cook, Ian Bell, Jimmy Anderson, Jos Buttler, KP
- BAN – The Fab Five
- Associate Nations – Coetzer/Sharif (Scotland)
- AFG – Mohammad Nabi
- AUS – Adam Gilchrist
- SA – Faf Du Plessis, AB De Villiers, Amla, Graeme Smith, Kallis, Morne Morkel, Quinton de Kock
- ZIM – Tatenda Taibu, Andy Blignaut
- IRE – Kevin O’Brien, Tim Murtagh, Porterfield, and Eoin Morgan (oops different country now)
I love underdog stories and love discussing cricket at every opportunity.
Whether it is the IPL or a hard fought day of test cricket, The Ashes or the India-Pakistan rivalry, a World Cup Final or the group stage of a qualifying tournament, women’s or men’s cricket, be assured, I will be following.
Diversity is such a beautiful thing. It is completely okay to be a fan of various different players from different countries. As long as the on-field battle is competitive, the game is fair, sportsmanship moments are abundant, and cricket continues to grow, that is all we need.
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON CRICKET, COMMENT Below on your All-Time Favorites, and SUBSCRIBE!Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Sources: Vandit (Friend), cricket.com.au, IPLT20.com