Tales from the Boundary
My Best XIs
We've all done it but might not admit it. Written ‘Best Ever XI’ lists. It's an impossible and fruitless task. Too many candidates to choose from. How do you compare different eras?
It's easy to start with. Bradman, Sobers and Warne is a solid beginning. Just a question of filling in the gaps. Incidentally, how can any All-Time football eleven not include George Best? I even saw an All-Time Manchester United XI without him!
Anyway, I'll say Hobbs and Hutton to open, stay with the H's for Hammond and Headley. So that's five knights in the first six and four aitches (not haitches!). Knott to keep wicket but I'm tempted to say James Foster.
So, need a bit of pace and another spinner. I'll say Fred Trueman and (here's two surprises, maybe) Alec Bedser and Sidney Barnes, which gives a final total of six knights (almost a ‘kweek’). Controversial, eh? I'm not bothered! How do I justify my selections? I don't have to!
It gets slightly easier going to national Best XI's as there are fewer players to choose from. For England I have to start Hobbs, Hutton, Hammond and Knott, Trueman, Bedser and Barnes so just four more. Botham cannot be denied a place (although, possibly surprising, Tony Greig rates high). On figures, May and Barrington warrant selection. Just need a spinner. Probably left hander. Underwood? No.... I'll go for Hedley Verity. Never saw him play or even seen him on YouTube but the stats don't always lie.
Best Ever Essex XI? That would be too controversial!
Editors Note: The author subsequently sent this link to a short video of the 2nd Test v Australia at Lord’s 1934 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0k_WwAhCXw (opens in a new browser window).