Many say test match cricket is languishing in the doldrums at this moment in time. Daar is allerhande planne word gegooi om te probeer en dit afgee deur sy baadjie sterte. Such one sided demolitions as the England Sri Lanka series only add weight to the naysayers cause and the half empty (of moet dit wees vol?!) stands at Chester Le Street don’t exactly help matters.
As always the answer to turn things around isn’t straight forward. We’re all searching for that silver bullet or miracle cure to guarantee packed stadia but the only thing that is clear is that there is no simple answer.
One thing is for certain – cricket is in the entertainment business and so needs to, goed, entertain. Two tests in and England Sri Lanka has not entertained. There’s supposed to be sport in sport – shooting fish in a barrel doesn’t draw the punters in. I can’t see people rushing to snap up tickets for the third and final test at Lords.
Natuurlik is dit nie net spanne wat kry die boude op sitplekke. Individual players have the ability to light up an entire stadium and even, met tye, 'n hele nasie. I once turned up at Headingly to see England against the West Indies but was there five minutes late (thanks to the Great British trains) only to hear as we ambled past security that a wicket had fallen already. Sure enough it was the man I really wanted to see – none other than Kevin Pietersen – and although England still scored a hatful of runs, ultimately I was left disappointed.
Alistair Cook’s recent achievement of being the youngest ever player to hit 10,000 test runs and the first Englishman to achieve the feat is right up there (en goed gedoen) but personally speaking I wouldn’t shell out money just to see him soldier on and anchor an innings together. He’s the bread to allow the tasty preserves to be spread on top. Without the bread the preserves just taste weird but without the preserves the bread just tastes a little dry and boring.
So I was thinking recently what would be the most exciting XI ever? A side of eleven stout yeoman who would grace any slice of Hovis (enough bread metaphors already!!) and have them dancing in the aisles. Dit is nie dieselfde as 'n beste ooit lys. Best ever lists are almost impossible to put together anyway – different eras and different pitches make comparisons sketchy at best. In putting together this list I’ve tried to reach out across the cricketing divide and include different nationalities where possible. Personality also comes into the calculations and it must be remembered I’ve only been watching cricket since the mid to late 80s. Jammer W.G. Grace but you’re back in the pavilion. This will be a band of renegades to tour the world and showcase the best cricket has to offer – even if many of them are rather long in the tooth.
So sien wat jy dink om die onderstaande. I’ve gone with the modern day formula of five front line batsmen, an all-rounder, stumper and then four front line bowlers – one of whom is a spinner. I must admit to cheating just a little – I’ve selected a group of five batsmen rather than two openers, a number three and so on so forth.
My five hitters:
Mnr IVA Richards (Sir Viv) moet wees op enige lys. The man mountain was simply immense and could rip a bowling attack to shreds with his aggression and style. Wanneer jy in die groef (meeste van die tyd) Hy was onmoontlik om te boul op of stel 'n stuk grond te. When faced with difficult pitches his response was simply: "Jy het 'n kolf man, defend yourself.” If he was playing today he would average well into the 60s
Sachin Tendulkar. OK, so this isn’t really about records but the Little Master is the best part of 2,500 runs ahead of the next best in terms of runs accumulated over a test career (Ricky Ponting). He is also feted as almost God like by 1.2billion Indians – that should shift a few seats in the stadium. On top of it all though he was simply immense even if he did suffer from being part of an Indian side who hated touring – English eyes rarely saw the best of him.
Kevin Pietersen. Ok, so the guy carries with him a suitcase full of baggage but boy, die man kon (en nog kan) kolf. Daar is baie min wat kan skuif deur die ratte so vinnig as wat hy kan. Great entertainment value. I did consider Chris Gayle and he came close to nicking the spot. Maar KP sluip net in voor hom.
Steve Waugh. If there is one cricketer I would want on my side to help out when the chips are down then that man is Steve Waugh. The man is as solid as they come and would be my captain. His brother Mark was the more flashy of the twins but flashy doesn’t always mean entertaining. He would be the glue that binds this unit of renegades together. Useful back up bowler too (he was only a few short of the magical 100 wickets to complement the many thousands of runs).
Brian Lara. What a brilliant player. Wanneer hy rondom, rekords tuimel. Hy het die wêreldrekord vir die meeste lopies in 'n toetsbeurt nie een keer, maar twee keer. He even hit 500 in one innings. Every time he walked to the wicket you felt something momentous might happen. Quite incredible.
Eerder 'n ruim keuse hier, maar dit was Adam Gilchrist who invented the modern day knack of wicket keepers being able to flay the willow. His keeping could have been better but as part of a great Aussie side of which he was the beating heart, Dit is selde blootgestel. His batting on the other hand was simply awesome, selfs al Freddy Flintoff het sy merk teen die einde van sy loopbaan. He was a big game player too and would be a dependable option should my other stars fail.
weer, genoeg van jou keuse hier. The all rounder is so often the beating heart of a great team so it’s vital to get this one right. The winning man needs to be able to bat and bowl (obviously) but also carry the team forward. Dis hoekom ek gegaan het vir Ian Botham. Brilliant bowler and very good batsman, ‘Both’ would also be in charge of choosing the wine list. Both’s drinking exploits are as legendary as his on-field achievements and he will make sure the team has some ‘rosy cheeks’ before and after a match.
There are only two possible options from the modern day era – or arguably any era. Shane Warne en Muttiah Muralitheran slak hierdie een uit. Dis 'n baie close call - Sri Lanka se afgetree met 800 wickets to his name and Warne wasn’t far behind him – but I want an umbrella of nations to be represented in this side to attract viewers from across the globe and Murali is the only Sri Lankan to get close. Warne, who has the bigger the personality of the two, kan voer die drankies soos 12ste man and be a second spinner should the pitch suit.
Dennis Lillee – brilliant bowler and fearsome / fearless Aussie patter. Dit alleen tache sal my skrik.
Allan Donald – If Lillee doesn’t get the heart rate skipping a beat then this man will. Brilliant bowler who scared many of his victims to surrender their wicket. Die wit oorlog verf op die gesig slegs by lok. My one South African representative.
Malcolm Marshall – As 'n tempo tri van mnre Botham, Donald and Lillee doesn’t get you then surely the late, great Marshall will finish you off. Out of a terrifying pace attack in the 70s and 80s Marshall is widely regarded as the best of the lot although old ‘Whispering Death’ Michael Holding comes close.
So daar het jy dit. A completely un-scientific stab at a test side worth the admission price. The top seven have over 66,000 runs between them and the bowlers a combined 2,200 wickets. Die moeite werd om 'n horlosie?
Dink ons het iets gemis? Laat ons weet deur onder kommentaar. As jy wil graag inteken gebruik asseblief die skryf skakel op die spyskaart by die top reg. Jy kan dit met jou vriende ook deel deur gebruik te maak van die sosiale skakels hier onder. Cheers.