Richie Benaud named his World XI of the century
yesterday. You can buy the DVD online
His side reads (in batting order): Sir Jack Hobbs, Sunil Gavaskar, Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Viv Richards, Imran Khan, Sir Garfield Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Sydney Barnes, Dennis Lillee.
With 4 knights and all 5 Wisden cricketers of the century
in his side, it sure seems like a great one. But I'm not convinced this is the best side of the century. Benaud certainly cant claim that this side comprises of the best players he ever saw. Even though we all know he is 1249 years old, Syd Barnes was even older!
I'm not convinced that current players should be included in any all-time XI. Obviously they could be included in current World XIs. But until their careers are done, I dont think they should be named by pundits in World XI of the century/millenium etc. I am not saying that Tendulkar or Warne or Gilchrist are not good enough. They certainly are top quality players. But it is just that I'd reserve judgement on including them in any all time side after their careers are done and dusted.
If I had to gripe about the selection, I'd certainly slot in someone like Healy, Marsh or Dujon ahead of Gilchrist. They were certainly better keepers and could bat too, although no keeper could bat the way Gilchrist does. Then again, does a side which has Sobers or Imran coming in at #7 need a wicket-keeper who can make centuries?
I'm also amazed none of the West Indian quicks of the 1980s finds a place in the side. Barnes is statistically among the best bowlers of all time
but I doubt if Lillee he would make a better partnership than Lillee and Marshall or Lillee and Holding.
If you think I'm wrong, feel free to leave your comments!