As the West Indies prepare to take on England live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, we take a look at some great players of yesteryear who would walk into today’s sides.
You can marvel at these iconic players on BT Vision with the Legends Of Cricket series.
Sorry Andrew Strauss, if Hobbs sauntered along to Lord’s with his pads you’d just have to stand down. The man with 199 first-class hundreds and a Test average of 57 formed an opening partnership with Herbert Sutcliffe that gave less away than a concrete wall. Teaming him up with the icy Alistair Cook just seems unfair.
Bowling against Richards in his pomp was a bit like punching yourself repeatedly in the face – painful and self-defeating. He had the swagger of Chris Gayle, but scored a lot more runs, more often. He particularly liked playing in England, where he had a Test average of 64.
Cricket is all a bit professional these days, with everybody focused on “taking each game as it comes”, isotonic drinks and fitness regimes. Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Alistair Cook are all good batsmen, but the England team would be a lot more interesting if they cultivated bellies, grew long, grey beards and ignored umpires like WG Grace.
If there’s one thing the West Indies batting line-up needs in dewy English springtime conditions, it’s backbone (with the honourable exception of Shivnarine Chanderpaul). Frank Worrell had plenty of that: he was the first black captain of the Windies, once donated blood to save the life of an opponent injured by a devilish bouncer, and went on to become a Jamaican senator. When you’ve done all that, an over of swing from James Anderson doesn’t seem quite so scary.
If Beefy were available it would immediately solve about 4,578 selectorial headaches. The all-rounder would give England the five-man bowling attack they crave, and slot in at number six without weakening the batting line-up. He’d also dramatically increase the team’s chances of having a bust-up with a member of the opposition in a car park (as he allegedly did with Aussie Ian Chappell).
Anything Ian Botham could do, Sobers could do better. This great all-rounder averaged 57 in Tests and was a world-class exponent of both spin and seam bowling. He constitutes several players in one, and current captain Darren Sammy would probably be happy to swap two of his men for him.
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