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All time Test XI.... but....

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six and out:
This question was posed on the social accounts of The Cricketer, and is an interesting one.

Who would make your all time Test XI.... but you can't pick 2 players from the same country.

My team is below -

Cook - ENG
Fleming (c) - NZ
Bradman - AUS
Tendulkar - IND
Richards - WI
A. Flower (wk) - ZIM
Shakib - BAN
Akram - PAK
R. Khan - AFG
Steyn - SA
Murali - SL

Slightly fudging my batting order for this. This would be some middle order.

Lara - WI
Fleming (C) - NZ
Kallis - SA
Tendulkar - India
Sangakarra (WK) - SL
Botham - Eng
Shakib - Ban
Heath Streak - Zim
Wasim Akram - Pak
Rashid Khan - Afg
McGrath - Aus

Tricky. I looked at it as follows:

Need a player from each of ZIM/BAN/AFG to make up 11 - I think that has to be Flower/Shakib/Rashid as they're the only truly world class players from those nations. That means two spinner slots and a middle order keeper batsman are locked in.

Then you've got to have Bradman - can't ignore a guy averaging 100. So that's number 3 locked.

That leaves you IND/WI/ENG/NZ/PAK/SL/SA to make up (ideally) two openers, three fast bowlers, a seam bowling all rounder and a middle order batsman. Seam bowling all rounder and openers are the hardest positions to fill there IMO, so I'm going to pick the best players in those categories first and go from there. Best openers from those countries statistically are Gavaskar and Cook so they're in - also like the combination of skill in all conditions. Seam bowling all rounder (given ENG are out) then has to be Kallis. That leaves three fast bowlers to pick from PAK/WI/NZ/SL - SL not famous for their fast bowlers, so I'll pick the best from each of PAK/WI and NZ - in my eyes Akram, Marshall and Hadlee. This leaves a middle order batsman from SL, which has to be Sangakkara.

My team is therefore:

1. Gavaskar (IND)
2. Cook (ENG)
3. Bradman (AUS)
4. Sangakkara (SL)
5. Kallis (SA)
6. Flower (WK) (ZIM)
7. Shakib (BAN)
8. Hadlee (NZ)
9. Rashid Khan (AFG)
10. Akram (PAK)
11. Marshall (WI)

Pretty happy with that - specialist openers, bats to 11, two good spinners, a frightening opening combo in Akram and Marshall (left and right arm), very handy seam support from Hadlee (and Kallis).

For a series on the subcontinent with proper turning pitches I'd swap Sangakkara for Murali and Hadlee for Williamson - so the side would be:

1. Gavaskar
2. Cook
3. Bradman
4. Kallis
5. Williamson
6. Flower (WK)
7. Shakib
8. Rashid
9. Akram
10. Marshall
11. Muralitharan

Cook - ENG
Gavaskar - IND
Bradman- AUS
Sangakkara - SL
Kallis - SA
Sobers - WI
A Flower (wk) - ZIM
Shakib - BAN
Hadlee - NZ
Akram - PAK
R Khan - AFG

Went along the same thought pattern is jp but with so many world class all-rounders available, I had to go with both Sobers and Kallis to provide incredible balance to the team. Two blokes who average over 50 with the bat and between them took over 500 test match wickets at an average of just over 33, excellent rotation bowlers for Hadlee and Akram until the two spinners come into the game.

Cook - ENG
Tendulkar - IND
Ponting - AUS
Kallis -  SA
Lara - WI
Sangakarra (wk) - SL
Shakib - BAN
Akram - PAK
R. Khan - AFG
Streak - Zim
Hadlee - NZ


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