Guess who has the best ODI Team

MMHS

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This is the second part of my post on the best team among 12 months my birth. This time, it’s the ODI team. Again, I ‘ll pick 12 players for a month for best combination, with the first 11 to start, unless something special in wicket/condition, a 12th man, just in case of last minutes’ change & 3 additional players for the squad. Again the idea is same – 12 teams each ‘ll play 6 match ODI series against each other in 3 different venues – AUS, IND & ENG. We ‘ll try to find the best team by order after 198 matches. The selection criteria is simple – a player must have to play at least 20 ODI to qualify & former greats, who haven’t played ODI ‘ll not be considered.

There ‘ll be a Captain, 2 Vice Captains selected as well & in the squad at least, I ‘ll try to pick 1 Batsman who can keep, just in case of emergency, but not essential. Players ‘ll be picked based only on their career ODI stats & “Impact” in the best 5 years slot of their career in ODI Cricket. For ODI, since there is a WC, I ‘ll put some weight-age for players’ performance in ICC events. Also, I haven’t considered associate players much, unless they are outstanding statistically, it’s just because often associates play majority of their matches against another associate – hence individual figures are a bit inflated.

The scope of ODI is much narrow because of the player’s pool – it started almost a century after Test cricket. It’s difficult for me to maintain “What could had been” section, also, future potential is too narrow in ODI, because I have kept the filter at as small as 20 ODI (apart from few logical exceptions) – I ‘ll add those players in honorable mentions to reduce the size of post. I have kept the qualification just 20 ODI, because many of 1970s’ greats took almost a decade to reach that figures, but they are true legends of ODI – for those, I have considered some List A stats as well, in some cases.

For ODI, biggest challenge is the constant change in rules, parameters & context. It’s impossible to judge players only based on average, strike rate or economy. I have used my knowledge, experience & contextual analysis as much as possible to create a level playing field. These teams ‘ll be playing under the best possible standard that I felt was perfect for ODI – 1 ball, 10+5 overs power play, 4 fielders in circle out-side power play, no free hit.
Let’s start – hope you enjoy



January

The Team
1. Kamran Akmal (WK)
2. Neil Johnson
3. Vinod Kambli
4. Rahul Dravid (Backup WK) (VC2)
5. Richie Richardson (VC1)
6. Marlon Samuels
7. Kapil Dev ©
8. Daniel Vettori
9. Chaminda Vaas
10. Mitchell Starc
11. Andy Roberts
12. Simon O’donnel

The Rest Squad: Kim Hughes, Paul Adams, Chris Pringle
Honorable Mentions: Adam Parore (WK), Ryan Sidebottom, Shoaib Mohammad, Asad Shafique, Wayine Daniel, Sajeewa de Silva, Jimmy Adams

Compared to Test side, JAN is a better ODI side, because of few players who are much better ODI players than their Test career & of course, JAN has one of the very best – Kapil Dev. Selecting the team, the biggest challenge was to find a back-up batsman as the options were too limited; surprisingly there are too few cricketers born in JAN & I don’t see much future either, when you have best prospect is Asad Shafiq. Had he not wasted himself, surely Kambli would have been one of the greats of ODI, still makes the team of JAN. For the bowling, I had equally limited options, but for my advantage, I got the 6 I wanted & they are good.

JAN starts with a good Captain, a decent attack, backed by good fielding unit, barring the WK; but biggest problem for JAN is their batting. I don’t see a single dominating match winner in their rank; may be Kapil at 7 is their biggest batting threat. I don’t think, there is much scope of changing the starting XI in different conditions, maybe O’donnel can get some matches in AUS in position of Vaas.

I think, JAN ‘ll be formidable in AUS for their bowling; should bowl well in ENG as well, but their batting could be a bit shaky for the top 3 & JAN ‘ll struggle bigtime in IND. It’s a decent ODI side – apparently well balanced, but I think the side is just not good enough over all.

Strength: Can’t find any, Kapil ‘ll have to carry the team
Weakness: Bowling, batting, WK, combination…………..


February

The Team
1. Graeme Smith (VC 1)
2. Desmond Haynes
3. Herschelle Gibbs
4. Mohammad Azharuddin ©
5. Abraham De Villiers (WK)
6. Darren Lehmann (VC 2)
7. Brad Hogg
8. Michael Kasprowicz
9. Michael Holding
10. Len Pascoe
11. Glenn McGrath
12. Azhar Mahmood

The Rest Squad: Ajay Jadeja, Brendan Taylor (WK), Sohaib Malik

The Honorable Mentions: Danny Morison, Derek Randall, Fidel Edwards, Gundappa Viswanath, Ian Smith (WK), Md. Sami, Michael Slater, Phil DeFreitas, Md. Mahmudullah, Yasir Hameed, Bev Congdon, Chris Lewis, Clint Mackey, Ryan McLaren, Shaun Tait, Craig Methews, Darren Bravo, Matt Prior (WK), Jems Tradewell, Upul Tharanga

A tremendous ODI batting side, with top quality options for every position from 1 to 6 (7, if they play Jadeja) – I don’t think there are many sides with such batting, we ‘ll see. There is not much debate in the 7 batsmen picked for the squad, may be one can debate Slater over Jadeja, but for a surprise, Slater had a poor ODI career. Among bowlers, could have picked Morrison over Kasprowicz, but Kasp has much better stats that Dan, even after starting few years later. FEB has one of the best new ball attacks, but their back-up bowling isn’t that great, besides, to accommodate Jadeja, due to lack of a genuine all-rounder, they ‘ll have to play 4 bowlers, which I don’t support. This keeps an option of a batting all-rounder – Mahmood in ENG & AUS while Malik in IND in position of Kasprowicz. However, with their batting strength, I ‘ll play 5 bowlers & back top 6 to deliver. Going forward, may be some day Tradewell might challenge Hogg, but ENG doesn’t play him much.

FEB is a tremendous ODI side, any team having AB & Lehman at 5 & 6 (after that top 4) is a scary batting lineup. Besides, their new ball attack might blow any side before making it a contest. Captain Azhar has every bit of options, may be the WK isn’t that great if AB is to keep. I think, FEB ‘ll be an outstanding side in AUS (that attack is made for AUS), in ENG also a top side, may be, just maybe, they might struggle at bit in IND where the batting ‘ll have to cover the lack of spinners. Still, there are not many sides to compete with FEB, or is it? Let’s see…..

Strength: Opening bowling, middle order batting
Weakness: No all-rounder, no good spinner



March

The Team
1. Andrew Strauss (VC1)
2. Hashim Amla
3. Viv Richards ©
4. Dean Jones
5. Inzamam-ul-Haq (VC2)
6. Shakib Al Hasan
7. Umar Akmal (WK)
8. Shahid Afridi
9. Heath Streak
10. Collin Croft
11. Rodney Hogg
12. Ajantha Mendis

The Rest Squad: Ross Taylor, Denesh Ramdin (WK), Mohammed Shami

The Honorable Mentions: Andrew Hudson, Ashley Giles, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mohsin Khan, Nasser Hussain, Nicky Boje, Phil Edmonds, Michael Atherton, Rangana Herath, Alvin Kallicharran, Daryll Cullinan, Vince van de Bijl, Graeme Swan, Wasim Bari (WK), Kyle Mills, Madan Lal, Bruce Reid, Imran Tahir, Bernard Julien, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Grant Elliot

For selecting the March team, my first concern was weather to keep with a specialist WK, who ‘ll definitely bat at 11 or select a decent WK on batting merit. I picked Umar as WK, but kept Ramdhin in squad – just in case, if Umar thinks that without keeping, he could be more sensible with bat. Rest of the batting actually selects themselves. Those who were thinking that FEB batting was strong, let’s check the MAR batting line-up, particularly from 2 to 5. I had one confusion for the last batting slot between Taylor, Kali & Cullinan – I went for Taylor for his hitting power. Elliot is a late bloomer, but I don’t think he can make it over Sakib, who himself has best part of 10 years left in future. Van der Bijl would have walked into this team, probably in most other teams, had he not suffered the isolation.

Compared to batting, MAR lags well behind the bowling, probably their best asset is the presence of 3 top quality all-rounders. May be, they can drop Strauss, open with Afridi & play one of Shami or Mendis. For the bowling, I had to pick from Shami & Mills – I picked Shami for his old ball usages, Mills is a typical new ball seamer, but he won’t even come close to the new ball before the 3 in playing XI.

MAR is a great ODI side, much, much better than their corresponding Test side. That batting lineup, led by the King at 3, Deano at 4 & Inzi at 5 can chase almost anything. MAR ‘ll be a great side in IND with their batting & spin attack; but might struggle in ENG & particularly in AUS. However, with that batting quality & depth, anywhere, no team ‘ll be comfortable to defend against MAR.

Strength: Tremendous middle order, probably the best combination of No. 3, 4 & 5.
Weakness: Bowling



April

The Team
1. Sachin Tendulker (VC 2)
2. Stephen Fleming ©
3. David Gower
4. Dilip Vengsarkar
5. Michael Clarke (VC 1)
6. Andy Flower (WK)
7. Malcolm Marshall
8. Mohammad Amir
9. Jason Gillespie
10. Craig McDermott
11. Muttiah Muralitharan
12. Alec James Stewart (WK)

The Rest Squad: Umar Gul, James Faulkner, Dennis Amiss

The Honorable Mentions: Damien Fleming, Ian Healy (WK), John Bracewell, Manoj Prabhakar, Monty Panesar, Mudassar Nazar, Pat Symcox, Paul Reiffel, Phil Simmons, Phil Tufnell, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, , Allen Knott (WK), Shabbir Ahmed, Steven Finn, Luke Ronchi, JP Duminy, Ian Bell, Roger Twose, Rohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Kumar Dharmasena, Thisara Perrera, Jonathan Trott

For April, my biggest disappointment was to drop both the great WKs – Healy & Knott; I simply can’t take any of them when I have options in Andy & Stuart, after all ODI is a batsman’s game. For the batsmen, I was in extreme confusion between Trott & Veng’kar – a WC winner. Statistically Trott is much better, but Dilip was a wonderful technician, a perfect batsman for No. 4, who could stabilize any collapses. Between Amiss & Fleming, Amiss is miles ahead in stats, but only for few matches in 70s when he had the luxury to ply for 60 overs & play some soft matches; besides, I want Stephen to lead the side. I picked Aamir on his future potential & being left-armer; Fleming misses out for the squad to Gul, for the later’s capability with old ball.

April is a tremendous batting unit, with a very balanced attack. However, the name Malcom Marshall isn’t that frightening in color clothes, maybe he kept his best for the real cricket. Apart for SRT & Clarke, there is no bowling options, therefore APR ‘ll have to play 5 bowlers, which makes them a little vulnerable after 5 down, but I won’t play Faulkner yet over Aamir or McDermott. I don’t think many ‘ll like to chase against that attack marshalled by one of the best ODI Captains ever (& allow SRT to set a target without any chasing pressure). APR ‘ll be a tremendous side anywhere, but probably in IND ‘ll be almost unbeatable, if you are to put then in for batting first – take a look at No. 1, 6 & off-course 11.

Strength: Excellent balanced attack
Weakness: Apparently none……… may be it ‘ll start when SRT reaches 80……….


May

The Team
1. Gordon Greenidge
2. Brian Lara ©
3. Mahela Jayawardene (VC 1)
4. Michael Hussey
5. Paul Collingwood
6. Michel Bevan
7. Jeffrey Doujon (WK)
8. Graham Dilley
9. Sunil Narnie
10. Bob Willis (VC 2)
11. Anthony Gray
12. Tauseef Ahmed

The Rest Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq, Glen Turner, Neil Foster

The Honorable Mentions: Andrew Jones, Ashwell Prince, Deryek Murry (WK), Greme Hick, Keith Fletcher, James Pattinson, Roshan Mahanama, Ravi Bopara, Kairen Pollard, Upul Chandana, Peter Kirsten, Sarfraz Ahmed (WK), Kaushal Lukuarachhi,

For May, I had very little struggle to pick batsmen, may be Hick could have replaced Turner. But, I am playing Brian as opener, wanted a specialist opener in the squad. Could have dropped Collinwood or Misbah, but though MAY is a batting heavy side, wanted Collinwood for his few overs & fielding while Misbah carried the poor PAK batting lineup for so many years. Among all qualities of Hick, playing under pressure isn’t probably one. Still, if I had problems in top 4 Hick would have come over Misbah – but only slot left is No. 5, where Misbah is better. In future, if he can carry like this, Sarfraz might compete with Doujon, BUT, he ‘ll have to do that from 6 or 7. His WK is too ordinary to dislodge Jeff Doujon for the runs made at top – Jeff was a master of salvaging accidental collapses batting at 6/7 for a side arguably having one of the best ODI top 6 ever.

MAY is a bit imbalanced side – their bowling talent doesn’t match the batting, otherwise would have been among the best sides. Still, I think MAY ‘ll be a tremendous chasing side anywhere; but they ‘ll struggle with that bowling everywhere, particularly in IND & AUS. May be in IND, it’s better to play Tauseef over one of the English pacers.

Strength: Great top order batting
Weakness: Bowling – probably weakest of the lot



June

The Team
1. Mark Waugh
2. Sanath Jayasuria
3. Kevin Pietersen
4. Javed Miandad
5. Allan Lamb
6. Steve Waugh (VC2)
7. Dinesh Karthik (WK)
8. Chris Cairns
9. Wasim Akram ©
10. Shane Bond
11. Mushtaq Ahmed
12. Shane Watson

The Rest Squad: Derek Underwood, Dale Styen, Andrew Symonds

The Honorable Mentions: Asif Iqbal, Mike Gatting, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Stuart Broad, Terry Alderman, Gary Gilmour, Kemar Roach, Vernon Phillander, Steve Smith, Boeta Dieppener, Jeremy Coney, David Miller, Ryan Ten Doeste, Ajinkya Rahane, Angelo Methews, Jerome Taylor, Carl Rackemann, Mitchell McClenaghan, Wahab Riaz, Dave Houghton.

A nightmare for any selector, there are so many great players that it’s impossible to pick or justify 15. Probably 5 or 6 open positions to debate, but I went for the best possible combination. I think, from batting perspective, I don’t need to justify M Waugh, KP, Javed & Steve; between many for the last batting position, I chose Lamb over Asif Iqbal or Steve Smith for his longer career & hitting ability from 5. Steve Smith still has to play few years like this 2014-15 before he dislodges Lamb from the squad. JUN has so many great all-rounders that I think 5 batsmen for the squad is fine, particularly when I have 5 of the best batting all-rounders ever in Cairns, Sanath, Watson, SWaugh & Symonds. Between Underwood & Mushi, I play Mushi because I love Leggis & Derek was entirely condition dependent bowler. Both Styen & Bond makes the team, but I ‘ll play Bond, for that Styen is similar to Marshall, surprisingly poor in ODI. There is apparently 1 weak point in JUN – DK is the WK, who played few matches for IND as specialist bat – so one can understand. I could have picked Houghton, but he was inferior WK & I don’t need runs from WK in this team. Rest of the team/squad actually picks themselves – in fact, I feel sorry for Steve Smith, Asif Iqbal, Sarwan, Broad, Alderman, Phillander, Dieppener, Miller, Ten Doeste, Methews, Wahab …. Born in wrong month. I think, there are 7 Captains in this team, I pick the one to lead the side who is undoubtedly the best ever in his trait & a great attacking Captain.

Looking at JUN, first feeling that comes is, where I can find a weakness in this team – OK, their WK isn’t that good with gloves, and rest is absolutely untouchable. You have a frightening opening pair BOTH with bat & ball (& both left-right combo), a top quality leggi, if required, one can get a pair of spinners from the openers, who can bowl a bit left-arm spin & right-arm off spin for a bit dry wicket & they have the best bowler ever with the old ball. May be, the batting is so good that, we might drop Lamb & play Styen/Underwood to make it a nightmare attack – still you have Cairns at 7 & Akram at 8.

JUN ‘ll be an ugly month to face, anywhere, batting first or second. But, I don’t see many teams winning against them in ENG or in AUS; in fact you won’t chase much against Was, Bond, Underwood & Mushi in IND either. May be best option to beat this side is to win toss in a slightly damp condition or a on a rank turner.

Strength: Full team is strength – top to bottom
Weakness: OK, Kartik played few matches as batsman only.


July

The Team
1. Sourav Ganguly (VC 2)
2. Graham Gooch
3. Zaheer Abbas
4. Allen Border ©
5. Jhonty Rhodes
6. MS Dhoni (WK) (VC1)
7. Shaun Pollock
8. Sir Richard Hadlee
9. Harbhajan Singh
10. Dennis Lille
11. Makhya Ntini
12. Wasim Raza

The Rest Squad: Sunil Gavasker, Jakob Oram, Faf du Plessis

The Honorable Mentions: Andre Nel, Ashley Mallett, Bob Taylor (WK), Andrew Hall, Ewen Chatfield, Hashan Tilakratne, John Wright, Venkatapathy Raju, Clive Rice, BJ Watling (WK), Shaun Marsh, David Hussy, Abdur Razzak, Nuwan Kulasekara, Roger Binny, Doug Bollinger, Trent Boult, James Anderson, Scott Styris

July was my best team for Test, as it looks, it’s not far behind in ODI either. I think, most of the team selects themselves, maybe I could have chosen S Marsh over Gavasker as back-up opener, but I think, Shawn has still few years to go; Sunny was a World Champion – may be in few years’ time Shaun ‘ll make his chance. Styris, D Hussey are near misses – I went for the all-rounder Wasim Raza for his leg-spin, while Oram was a better genuine ODI all-rounder. For the bowling, it’s hardly any easier job – Boult is still young while Anderson actually isn’t a great ODI bowler, so misses out – may be few years’ time Boult ‘ll challenge Makhya, but even that ‘ll take hell lot of efforts. In most matches, Makhaya ‘ll play, while in IND, I would like to drop him for Raza – 3 fast bowlers & along with AB, Bhajji & Raza – a full cycle of spin attack.

My biggest challenge was to select the Captain – 3 of the best ever born in July. However, I always rate Captains on their use of the bowling resources – my personal opinion is that MS is a better ODI Captain, but he was a master of suffocation with slow bowlers – JUL team composed of 4 of the all-time fast bowling greats. I preferred AB over MS for this only reason – a better exponent of this outstanding pace attack. MS ‘ll be his deputy & I am sure, for such a nice person that MS is – he ‘ll help AB to his best, sometimes, you need better deputies also.

JUL ‘ll be the best team in current ODI context, without the slightest of doubts – with 2 new balls & 5 fielders inside, because this team has 50 overs of attacking & wicket taking threat, while 4 of the best ever new ball bowlers born in July. Their batting depth is as good as any team, I am sure with someone like MSD at 6, Polly at 7 & Hadlee at 8 (even Bhajji can bat), while if Raza plays, Hadlee bats at 9 – that’s luxury. This side has one of the best ever No. 3 & the best ever fielder; but probably, just not the solid No. 4 & 5 I would have liked. I just can’t include Sobers & Barry Richards in July as they played all together 1 ODI (& Sir Gary got a Golden Duck), otherwise, I would have started teams ranking from 2 without any effort.

JUL ‘ll be near impossible to beat in AUS – someone take a look at the attack, ‘ll be very good in ENG as well, but I am not sure about IND. However, in IND, the batting covers lot – think about Zed, Ganguly, MS & Raza. Fingers crossed, I haven’t seen a better team yet.

Strength: That pace attack – sexy looking. Batting depth
Weakness: Johnty doesn’t make as a world class batsman (but adds 25 to his score before coming to bat)



August

The Team
1. Shivnarayan Chanderpaul
2. Kane Williamson
3. Greg Chappell (VC1)
4. Mohammad Yousuf
5. Clive Llyod ©
6. Simon Katich
7. Jack Russell (WK)
8. Peter Taylor
9. Shohaib Akhter
10. Lasith Malinga
11. Javagal Srinath
12. Vasbert Drakes

The Rest Squad: Aaqib Javed, Jeff Thomson, Ramiz Raza

The Honorable Mentions: Gharam Thorpe, Dominic Cork, , Jesse Ryder, Pedro Collins, Sandeep Patil, Simon Doull, Venkatesh Prasad, Angus Fraser, Mohammad Zahid, John Emburey,

Some of the great olden stalwarts (none more than Don) were born in AUG, yet their Test team wasn’t great, ODI team looks a bit better for the batting, but nothing special. I had to go for make-shift opening pair, one can understand why & for that, had to drop Thorpe from squad – I need to take at least 1 regular opener, so Ramiz comes. Among bowlers, Drakes comes over Prashad by a whisker, while Zahid played too little to be in contention. Few more matches at same level of 1996-97 WSC, he would have replaced Srinath from playing XI. Between Embury & Taylor, very close, but I think Taylor was more attacking, a bit better hitter & definitely better fielder.

AUG isn’t a balanced side – just like the Test team. Not much bowling variations, no spin threat, but these side has 2 things – a tremendous Captain & pace to burn. They ‘ll win some matches everywhere (probably), for that even in IND as well, it’s not easy to take the thunderbolts at toe - great No. 3, 4 & 5, with a potential great at 2, but overall not that good a side. Their WK actually doesn’t offer anything in ODI & tail starts from 7, which forcing me to play 4 regular bowlers only, because 5th bowling option, surprisingly was ineffective in ODI, despite being the fastest bowler of 70s when he could sling 6 bouncers in an over, in ODI as well.


Strength: Middle order, Pace attack
Weakness: Imbalanced side – had to adjust lot to accommodate best XI


September

The Team
1. Majid Khan
2. Chris Gayle
3. Saeed Anwar
4. Martin Crowe
5. Brendon McCullum (WK) (VC 1)
6. Hansie Cronje ©
7. Lance Kluesner
8. Shane Warne (VC2)
9. Abdul Quadir
10. Curtly Ambrose
11. Nathan Bracken
12. Darren Gough

The Rest Squad: Ravichandran Ashwin, Moin Khan (WK), Mohinder Amarnath

The Honorable Mentions: Amir Sohail, Asanka Gurusinha, Bruce Yardley, Chris Broad, Stuart Clark, Craig McMillan, Ishant Sharma, Kepler Wessels, Kiran More (WK), Gus Logie, Max Walker, Mohammad Rafique, Patrick Patterson, Thilan Samaraweera, Ijaz Ahmed, Alister Campbell, Eion Morgan, Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), David Richardson (WK), Wavell Hinds, Lahiru Trimahane, George Baily, Ed Joyce, Salim Elahi, Josh Butler (WK), Ian Chappel

It’s a sort of ODI specialist team – at least 6 of those players I picked are way better in ODI than Test. Not much to choose for batting – I can’t pick Ian Chappel, for the number of matches he played. Picked Amarnath over Sohail or Wessels, because I have too many openers already & Jimmy was a great player of fast bowling (& a WC Final’s MoM). Rest of the teams select themselves – may be in future Mushfiq or Butler can dislodge Moin, but Ashwin ‘ll have to bowl really, really well to get into that playing XI.

3 top quality Captains in that team – I kept Crowe out of Captaincy (& focus on batting only), while Cronje was the first modern Captain in ODI & quite capable player as well under Captaincy pressure – leads the side. My problem would have been so simple had I Chappel played just few more matches……….
SEP is a great bowling side – one ‘ll pay if takes them for granted in AUS for sure, but their batting isn’t solid actually. I put Saeed at 3 to make a left-right opening combo, but from 1 to 7, barring 4 & may be 6, this team is full of crackers – the day it blasts will burn something, but if any team gets bundled out for <150 totals, it’s probably SEP. Not a good side for ENG, or even AUS, IND I am not sure. Warne & Qadir ‘ll be great in IND, but that’s normalized with the decline of Zulu, Bracken there and it’s a poor fielding unit. While chasing, someday, they ‘ll blow someone, but I don’t see them winning too many chasing.

Strength: Bowling uniqueness, magicians can spell voodoo
Weakness: Fragile batting, probably worst fielding unit.


October

The Team
1. Matthew Hayden
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Kumar Sangakara (WK) ©
4. Jaques Kallis (VC 2)
5. Aravinda de Silva
6. Damien Martyn
7. Glen Maxwell
8. Ian Bishop
9. Anil Kumble (VC 1)
10. Saeed Ajmal
11. Allan Donald
12. Zaheer Khan

The Rest Squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan, David Warner, Mohammad Hafeez

The Honorable Mentions: Courtney Walsh, Dwayne Bravo, Gautam Gambhir, Gerry Gomez, Graham Yallop, Irfan Pathan, Maichel Vaughn, Mark Taylor, Mike Hendrik, , Morne Morkel, Narendra Hirwani, Nathan Hauritz, Prasanna Jayawardene (WK), Rashid Latif (WK), Ryan Harris, Steve Harmission, Stuart Law, Navjot Sidhu, Russel Arnold, Salman Butt, Roy Dias, Justin Kemp, Tom Moody, Adam Voges, Steve B Smith, Fawad Alam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Reon King, Brad Haddin (WK), Tony Greig

Oah, look at the top 3 & I had to keep Warner at bench! If I were ever a selector, I would have asked for just a similar mix for my ODI lineup – 2 cracker at opening & a left-right pair, another lefti genius at 3, a mad max at 5 & a rock-star at 7, in between a cool, composed maestro at 4 & a pure class at 6. Stats says Warner should replace Viru, but never in my team – the impact that Virendar Sehwag created at his prime among bowlers, I can recall only 2 others ever – 2nd one was Gilchrist (the first one used to bat for WI, fond of chewing gum…..). The bowlers actually picks themselves – I picked ZAK over Morne or Walsi because of being lefti & old ball skills, Morne is similar, but doesn't offer half of the 2 right-arm fast bowlers I picked, while Walsi wasn't that great an ODI bowler & a nightmare for Captain to hide in fielding. Kept ZAK as 12th man as a back-up of Maxwell – if they want to go with 4 pacers, because Viru & Harry also can bowl offie, but, he is hardly likely to play for having Kallis in the team. MoHa makes the team as the prime all-rounder of his time, ‘ll never play in that team. Could have picked a back-up WK, but Dilshan can stand in, just in case.

Not many Captains in that side, I had to give it to Sanga over Anil, only if had Anthony William (aka Tony) Greig not left International Cricket prematurely for few dollars more………

A great & balanced batting side, decent fielding unit & a very balanced attack as well. OCT has the look of a perfect versatile ODI team – every option in batting & even in bowling (just missing a left-arm spinner) is there. They ‘ll be good, in fact great in every condition – how much, we ‘ll see.

Strength: Perfect balanced side
Weakness: Captaincy(& I can only pick 15, 2nd set doesn't add value)


November

The Team
1. Adam Gilchrist (WK) (VC 2)
2. Marvan Atapattu
3. Gary Kristen
4. Virat Kohli (VC 1)
5. VVS Laxman
6. Suresh Raina
7. Imran Khan ©
8. Ian Botham
9. Brett Lee
10. Mitchell Johnson
11. Waquar Younas
12. Andy Caddick

The Rest Squad: Nick Knight, Younis Khan, Chris Harris

The Honorable Mentions: James Franklin, Merv Hughes, Mushtaq Mohammad, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Ridley Jackobs (WK), Rodney Marsh (WK), Dion Nash, Roy Fredricks, James Franklin, Ahmed Shehzad, Dinesh Chandimal, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Graeme Wood, Neil McKenzie, Philip Hughes, Brad Williams, Aaron Finch

NOV was a great Test month – unfortunately, they are missing 3 of the greatest ever from Test side – Trumper, Sutcliff & RK Miller. Still a great side, led by one of the best ever, but I am not sure about their batting (had to pick YK for the squad & VVS in playing XI). I could have gone for Nick Knight as Gilly’s partner over Marvan, but that makes 1, 2 & 3 lefti. Virat & Suresh has already made the team, may be in future Chandimal has a chance, but I don’t see any fast bowler penetrating that team. If he can make the AUS team, Lyon ‘ll definitely replace Caddick from this team where Raina is their best spinner.

NOV is one of the most imbalanced side – in bating, more so in bowling. This team ‘ll struggle big time to finish their 50 overs & I see Imran missing out matches regularly for slow over rate. I made Virat as Khan’s 1st deputy because keeping, opening & leading could be too much for Gilly.

This side ‘ll do well in AUS, but not much because of the batting, ‘ll be decent in ENG, again batting is the issue, but they ‘ll be routed in IND. In Test team, NOV’s game started from 6 for that the batting fun starts from there, but in ODI also, their game ‘ll start after 30 overs in IND, when the ball ‘ll start reversing ……….. but by that time, the game might be gone.


Strength: Pace attack, all-round capability, Captaincy
Weakness: Imbalanced attack, lack of spinners, in appropriate batting (4 batsmen selected, whose strongest game wasn't ODI)


December

The Team
1. Marcus Trescothick
2. David Boon
3. Rickey Ponting (VC 1)
4. Arjuna Ranatunga ©
5. Carl Hooper (VC 2)
6. Yuvraj Singh
7. Andrew Flintoff
8. Abdul Razzak
9. Mark Boucher (WK)
10. Saqlain Mushtaq
11. Joel Garner
12. Sylvester Clarke

The Rest Squad: Shekhar Dhawan, Junaid Khan, Corey Anderson

The Honorable Mentions: Brian McMillan, Chris Martin, Chris Old, Craig White, Darren Sammy, Dilip Doshi, Quinton de Kock, Greg Matthews, Methew Hoggard, Murray Goodwin, Syed Kirmani (WK), Mohammad Asif, Brad Hodge, Tim Southee, Alastair Cook, Doug Walters, Ravindu Jadeja, Grant Flower, Geoff Marsh, K Srikkanth, Mark Greatbatch, Nasir Jamshed, Ajit Agarkar, Basit Ali, Tim Paine, Courtney Brown, Sarfraz Newaz, Joe Root, Geoff Allot

Another month handicapped by the loss of oldies. I had not much to choose for batting – picked Dhawan for the squad & Trescothic in playing XI, could alter that easily, but Marcus was a tremendous ODI player, Dhawan has few more years to go. This team has some of the best ODI all-rounders ever – 4 of them in playing XI & the 5th one in making from bench. Yet, I couldn’t find a place for Methews, McMillan or Sammy. I kept Clarke as 12th man & he ‘ll displace Saqi (undoubtedly top class ODI spinner), but Dec has UV & Carl in the team – in AUS or ENG Sylvester Clarke ‘ll be the better option. Boucher makes the team – in future, may be De Kock might replace him, but he has to put runs form 7 or 8 – these team doesn’t need any one for top 5. I could have picked Agarker over JK, but wanted a left-arm pacer in the team, who is very good with old ball.

Panta was more successful as Captain, but I think, he did a very easy job – I ‘ll do as good leading THAT AUS team, provided that I could bat & field like Rickey Ponting……… Arjuna was unique. For the bowling options, I was handicapped by the abundance of all-rounders in DEC. JK comes for the potential, but ‘ll need 3 or 4 injuries to play for this team.

DEC ‘ll be a brilliant, brilliant team for ENG & AUS; while Saqi ‘ll make it tougher in IND. Their batting top 5 doesn’t look that solid despite having Panta at 3, but their next 5 makes up for that. We ‘ll see how many sides are there to compete with DEC, particularly when their only batting rabbit can fly - a Big bird.

Strength: All-round capacity
Weakness: Weak top order

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Rank of Months

1. July – Still I think the best team for every condition - actually ticks every box. Might struggle a bit in IND, but MSD is a maestro there. I think, the team has too much fire power & some of the best ODI players. Zaheer, Ganguly, MSD & Johnty were far better ODI batsmen than overall, which makes this team so good. Bhaji, backed by AB & Raza’s spin makes this team competitive in IND as well.
2. June – Very close to July, again as mentioned earlier, MSD at 6 shifting the balance to July. This team ‘ll compete July every bit, but July has some of the mentally toughest cricketers – AB, MS, DK, Hadlee, Saurav, Goochi, Raza ………. In crunch situation, July ‘ll beat June.
3. October – October gives me the impression of an ODI specialist side – there are probably 6/7 players in that squad who are actually better ODI player than Test. It’s a balanced side & has 2 of the best ODI spinners and they have some great impact players as well.

4. December – The all-rounders team. Their batting looks a bit weak, but that’s well covered by the bottom half. Besides, they have an excellent ODI specialist attack – bowlers like Garner, Saqi, Razzak, UV, Hooper are much better ODI bowler than they are reputed as a bowler.
5. April – A brilliant balanced team, one of the best bowling unit; just missing a truly great all-rounder. April & December are 2 unique months led by two outstanding Captains, who were more reputed for leadership than the player they were. I dropped April behind December due to the lack of all-rounders. ODI is an impact game – December has more impact players.
6. March – Great, great batting side, led by the greatest ever. I think, March is missing a couple of bowlers in their team, otherwise that batting line-up with the 2 all-rounders, could have gone into 1st quarter. Viv ‘ll cover lot of the bowling weakness, but they are competing with July, June, October & December………….

7. February – A tremendous batting unit, as good as it gets, but after the opening pair, FEB ‘ll struggle, unless their opening pair makes enough damage. It’s a better chasing side I feel, but that’s for different reason – give their new ball pair the chance to make early in-road, that’s not the sign of a great team. Between FEB & MAR, I thought FEB was better for the attack, with both sides extremely strong in batting, but MAR has Viv Richards……… & Afridi
8. September – That attack ‘ll surely win some matches, but their batting, as said is fragile. SEP needed a couple of batsmen to back their attack and they have lot to improve in fielding. SEP ‘ll give us lots of exciting matches – but they are like Arsenal football team – lot of sparks, but not ruthless enough to win trophies (read consistently).
9. November – ODI is a game of combinations – you play your best 11 in Test, but in ODI, the team combination is important – none more true than this November side. Besides, as I said, some of their batsmen are not ODI fit. Bowlers, all-rounders & captaincy ‘ll make up lot of grounds, but still it ‘ll be hunted for the lack of a spinner. Besides, Imran doesn’t like the ODI version as Test - so, we have about 5 mis-fit players in this team………..

10. May – May has tremendous batting ability, but that attack isn’t just good enough to pull it out of last quarter. Problem for May is, their back-up bowlers are also not good enough to drop a batsman & make it a 5 men attack. May ‘ll win some matches definitely, but every team has great batsmen – at least couple of them & in ODI a batsman can bat for 50 overs, bowlers can bowl only 10 – one needs bowlers to win matches consistently.
11. August – As I said, August is an imbalanced month. It has great batting potential, but I had to go for a makeshift opening pair & they have 25 soft overs to make up (Srinath’s last 5 overs included). AUG is probably the only month, going with 10 players & a WK – I had to pick Russell, because that pace attack needs a specialist WK.
12. January – The hooping boys. It’s ironic that the year starters finish as the bottom side & it ‘ll remain there probably for good – it’s just not a quick fix. This team needs improvement probably in about half of the squad at least (I used exactly the same words for Test side)

It’s remarkable that, despite losing players from almost the first 100 years of International Cricket, both in ODI & Test top remains same. In fact, 4 of the top 5 holds on to their position in both versions & last 2 are also same. This actually confirms me once more – a great cricketer is a great cricketer – be it Test or ODI.

Cheers – would appreciate discussion.
 
I think the October team is the best - perfect mix of batsmen and bowlers and plenty of explosive players in each department. It's also relative to the era, I would back the June team to beat the October one in ODI cricket of the 90's, but October has an edge in modern-day ODI cricket, because I think it is more about team balance today than individual brilliance.

As far a quality batsman succeeding in both Tests and ODIs, I completely agree. I understand why people give extra points for performing at the premium Test level, but if you can't perform in ODIs it clearly shows that you are a limited player with not a wide array of strokes. Similarly, if you are good in ODIs but fail in Tests, it shows that you lack technique. Most of the ODI specialists who fail to succeed in Tests tend to be dismissed getting caught in the slip cordon.

If you look at the best batsman present and past, they have done well in both formats and it will be the case in the future as well, with the very best performing in all three now.
 
I think the October team is the best - perfect mix of batsmen and bowlers and plenty of explosive players in each department. It's also relative to the era, I would back the June team to beat the October one in ODI cricket of the 90's, but October has an edge in modern-day ODI cricket, because I think it is more about team balance today than individual brilliance.

As far a quality batsman succeeding in both Tests and ODIs, I completely agree. I understand why people give extra points for performing at the premium Test level, but if you can't perform in ODIs it clearly shows that you are a limited player with not a wide array of strokes. Similarly, if you are good in ODIs but fail in Tests, it shows that you lack technique. Most of the ODI specialists who fail to succeed in Tests tend to be dismissed getting caught in the slip cordon.

If you look at the best batsman present and past, they have done well in both formats and it will be the case in the future as well, with the very best performing in all three now.


Actually, I segregated the teams in 4 quarters -

The last quarter is teams with both poor players & lack of combinations, 3rd Q is the team either missing combination or quality, 2nd Q is teams that has both, may be a little less in both aspect.

The first Q is the teams with everything - quality, balance, combination. In this regard actually only thing that 'll segregate the teams are the mental toughness, astute Captaincy, fielding & "Punch" players. For OCT, it looks a brilliant ODI side, but compared to Akram & AB/MS Sanga 'll come a bit short in crunch moment. Besides, in OCT team, you 'll see some players failing on "Big" occasions (don't want to name); but JUN, particularly JUL has players with steel tough mentally, besides JUL is arguably the best fielding unit (barring Gangully, everyone, even Zaheer are great fielders).

I don't think, there is much debate about the top 4, may be the ranking 'll differ a bit. In current context, JUL team 'll run through anyone, in last decade, very close between top 3, in 90s, yes, may be it's JUN; but surprisingly, in 80s - DEC 'll do very well - low scoring matches on a bit bowling friendly condition & D/N matches introduced in poor lighting - teams with lots of all-rounder actually 'll do well (look at the 2 WC, B&H mini WC & Neheru cup winners). But, in 70s context, again JUL 'll run through any side.
Also, please remember that teams 'll play in 3 conditions - ENG, AUS & IND.

What do you think about the team selection, any alteration?
 
[MENTION=79064]MMHS[/MENTION]

Yes, teams in the first Quarter have little to separate, but I think December XI will struggle to compete with October, June and July in Australia and England, but can be devastating in India. It's overloaded with impact all-rounders, but the lack of specialists in the batting department means they will struggle against the top 3 teams. Team selection is fine, you could make a case for a few players but I think it will make little difference either way, because they key players for key positions pick themselves in pretty much every team.

I'm sure, picking the July captain (Border v Dhoni) must have been the hardest decision.

However, one change I would make is play Alvin Kallicharran ahead of Strauss. I have read quite a bit about him, I find him one of the most interesting cricketer ever and perhaps I am biased because I prefer batsmen with finesse and elegance, rather than brute power. It saddens me to see how little people talk about him today, in fact a lot of people of my generation barely know him... People talk about Lara and Viv, but in my view AK is the most stylish batsman WI has ever produced.
 
Tldr :(

Someone summarize this for me. Why are there months for teams now
 
...

The Rank of Months

1. July – Still I think the best team for every condition - actually ticks every box. Might struggle a bit in IND, but MSD is a maestro there. I think, the team has too much fire power & some of the best ODI players. Zaheer, Ganguly, MSD & Johnty were far better ODI batsmen than overall, which makes this team so good. Bhaji, backed by AB & Raza’s spin makes this team competitive in IND as well.
2. June – Very close to July, again as mentioned earlier, MSD at 6 shifting the balance to July. This team ‘ll compete July every bit, but July has some of the mentally toughest cricketers – AB, MS, DK, Hadlee, Saurav, Goochi, Raza ………. In crunch situation, July ‘ll beat June.
3. October – October gives me the impression of an ODI specialist side – there are probably 6/7 players in that squad who are actually better ODI player than Test. It’s a balanced side & has 2 of the best ODI spinners and they have some great impact players as well.

4. December – The all-rounders team. Their batting looks a bit weak, but that’s well covered by the bottom half. Besides, they have an excellent ODI specialist attack – bowlers like Garner, Saqi, Razzak, UV, Hooper are much better ODI bowler than they are reputed as a bowler.
5. April – A brilliant balanced team, one of the best bowling unit; just missing a truly great all-rounder. April & December are 2 unique months led by two outstanding Captains, who were more reputed for leadership than the player they were. I dropped April behind December due to the lack of all-rounders. ODI is an impact game – December has more impact players.
....
I am going to lobby for the april team.

April: Is one of the strongest teams, I think. 1) You don't have to have a bat-ball alrounder. You have a WK/Bat alrounder which opens up a space for an extra bowler. For example, Dujon wasn't known as great batsmen but he is occupying a spot because of his wicketkeeping ability. So, balance is still there. I would move Jason at #7 though.
2) 1. Sachin Tendulker (VC 2)
2. Stephen Fleming ©
3. David Gower
4. Dilip Vengsarkar
5. Michael Clarke (VC 1)
6. Andy Flower (WK)
7. Malcolm Marshall
8. Mohammad Amir
9. Jason Gillespie
10. Craig McDermott
11. Muttiah Muralitharan

After Viv, Tendu is the best ODI batsman. You got him at the opening slot. What more you want?

Amir-McDormott is as good as Wasim-Waqar. :) 1st Change Marshal and Modern day batsmen would leave and book a hospital bed in advance. And if things don't work out the "eyes" of Murali is enough to scare them off. 50 overs of relentless bowling.
 
I am going to lobby for the april team.

April: Is one of the strongest teams, I think. 1) You don't have to have a bat-ball alrounder. You have a WK/Bat alrounder which opens up a space for an extra bowler. For example, Dujon wasn't known as great batsmen but he is occupying a spot because of his wicketkeeping ability. So, balance is still there. I would move Jason at #7 though.
2) 1. Sachin Tendulker (VC 2)
2. Stephen Fleming ©
3. David Gower
4. Dilip Vengsarkar
5. Michael Clarke (VC 1)
6. Andy Flower (WK)
7. Malcolm Marshall
8. Mohammad Amir
9. Jason Gillespie
10. Craig McDermott
11. Muttiah Muralitharan

After Viv, Tendu is the best ODI batsman. You got him at the opening slot. What more you want?

Amir-McDormott is as good as Wasim-Waqar. :) 1st Change Marshal and Modern day batsmen would leave and book a hospital bed in advance. And if things don't work out the "eyes" of Murali is enough to scare them off. 50 overs of relentless bowling.



Very close, I do agree; but barring SRT, the batting is a bit weak & the tail is longer. Besides, SRT was a run machine, I don't think he was the 2nd best impact player in ODI - this team 'll put lot of big scores batting first, but in chasing, I think APR 'll struggle.

Aamir can reach his own height & Mac was indeed a great fast bowler, but reaching WW's level, particularly in ODI...............
 
[MENTION=79064]MMHS[/MENTION]

Yes, teams in the first Quarter have little to separate, but I think December XI will struggle to compete with October, June and July in Australia and England, but can be devastating in India. It's overloaded with impact all-rounders, but the lack of specialists in the batting department means they will struggle against the top 3 teams. Team selection is fine, you could make a case for a few players but I think it will make little difference either way, because they key players for key positions pick themselves in pretty much every team.

I'm sure, picking the July captain (Border v Dhoni) must have been the hardest decision.

However, one change I would make is play Alvin Kallicharran ahead of Strauss. I have read quite a bit about him, I find him one of the most interesting cricketer ever and perhaps I am biased because I prefer batsmen with finesse and elegance, rather than brute power. It saddens me to see how little people talk about him today, in fact a lot of people of my generation barely know him... People talk about Lara and Viv, but in my view AK is the most stylish batsman WI has ever produced.


Kali was a treat to watch, actually he was extremely low profiled in "that" lineup. Also, he left for SAF at 31 (Mainly because he rejected Packer 4 years back, but WI Board didn't recognize that - made him Captain though, but that would have earned him, may be $500 more/month! we are talking about late 70s.........). I took Strauss as a regular opener (Kali was No. 5 mostly) & played lot many ODI - but yes, Kali can always replace Andrew.
 
April batting is light but I will rank them a bit higher over all. But then other 3-4 teams are more balanced.

I agree about July having the best chance in your three chosen venues.
 
April batting is light but I will rank them a bit higher over all. But then other 3-4 teams are more balanced.

I agree about July having the best chance in your three chosen venues.


Imagine, in that team you add Barry Richards & Garry Sobers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Again, due to change in Imran's birthday (from 25th November, to 5th October) we'll have a BIG change in the squads.

Imran moves to October team replacing Glen Maxwell (Hafeez misses out of squad) and now he leads the side as well, which makes OCT probably the best all-round team, at least at per with July (which is a bit old fashioned team).

November misses out Imran, and I am not sure whom to pick in the squad - Mushtaq Mo. may be, or Aron Finch. This was written 4 years back - now, I'll drop Raina, and play both Finch & Mustaq Mo. in playing XI, and Mustaq as Captain.
 
The second one of that series - come on guys. Have a closer look and think about the squads, combination and come up with your winners.
 
Joe Root can solidify the top order for December, and maybe Bumrah can be brought in for Clarke... Also Buttler and Morgan good shouts for September?
 
June by far. True magicians in Akram, Mushi, and Bond while the batting order is perhaps the most dynamic, consistent lot of all the months. Very well suited to the shorter format, with batting that goes very deep as well as fighters who can play the game like a fiddle. July is close.

My final verdict would be:
- June overall (if no conditions were to be specified)
- October (with Imran Khan instead of Maxwell) in India easily due to the number of GOAT subcontinental players
- July in England due to the sheer quality of new ball bowlers and sturdy batting lineup
- A tossup with slight edge to June in Australia. Wasim Akram at 9 speaks volumes about the batting depth, and it is filled with maestros from Miandad and Pieterson to the Waughs who will dominate any competition on Australian tracks.

Great post.
 
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