Talk of world’s greatest cricketers and one does not mention the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting, you must be startled. You also think that the person who says so must have no knowledge of the sport. However, if you think so, you are in for a rude awakening, because this bizarre analysis is not by an inexpert but its author is England’s renowned and celebrated umpire Dickie Bird.

[caption id="attachment_619" align="alignright" width="177"]Dickie Birds justifies the inclusion of South Africa’s Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock in his greatest all-time Test XI (Photo: Getty Images) Dickie Birds justifies the inclusion of South Africa’s Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock in his greatest all-time Test XI (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

Bird has formed an all-time Test XI picking out best players of the format but his team lacks several legendary cricketers, including Bradman and Tendulkar. Surprisingly, he chose Sunil Gavaskar from India who is the best Test opener according to him. Bird paired up Gavaskar with Barry Richards.

In the batsmen’s list, Bird put South Africa’s Graeme Pollock on fifth position and Bird’s countryman Allan Knott is the best wicketkeeper-batsman to him.

The umpiring legend included three Australian players – Greg Chappell, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee – and three West Indian cricketers – Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards and Lance Gibbs – in his all-time greatest Test XI.

Apart from Gavaskar, Bird also singled out Imran Khan from Asia. And as if it were not enough, he also made Imran Khan the captain of the historic Test XI.

The absence of the most successful captain of the 1980s Clive Lloyd who helped his team West Indies win the initial two World Cups and Bird’s compatriot Mike Brearley as captain of the Test XI is no doubt astonishing, but it is a fact when it comes to Bird’s eccentric selection.

As for the spin bowling department, Warne and Gibbs are fit for the job. However, Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Indian outstanding spinner of ‘70s Bishan Singh Bedi must be unhappy about the Bird’s choice.

However, Bird confidently defends his selection. He believes that respect cannot be bought, but earned. He says he has chosen his Test XI honestly and he is not biased towards any cricketer. And he also explains the logic of his unique and shocking selection. For instance, justifying the inclusion of South Africa’s Barry and Pollock in his great XI, Bird says that both players could have emerged as legends internationally had they not become victims of racial discrimination under apartheid. That’s why Bird places both cricketers at second and fourth positions, respectively.

The umpire’s all-time Test XI is also the centre of attention for those who have been failing to reach a decision as to who is better between Bradman and Tendulkar. Because Bird’s odd selection has simply killed the debate. Besides, his criterion of selecting players has broken the conventional yardstick of judging players according to their greatness.
Dickie Bird’s greatest all-time Test XI:

Sunil Gavaskar (India)

Barry Richards (South Africa)

Viv Richards (West Indies)

Greg Chappell (Australia)

Graeme Pollock (Australia)

Garfield Sobers (West Indies)

Imran Khan (Pakistan)

Shane Warne (Australia)

Dennis Lillee (Australia)

Lance Gibbs (Australia)

Alan Knott (England)
Share To:

CricNama

Post A Comment: