> [...] Peter May (good captain and all that he
> was) stands out like a sore thumb in this otherwise admirable list.
"De mortuis nil nisi bonum" and all that, and I was a great
admirer of Peter May, but he could not in all honesty be described
as a good captain. In fact, that team is very short on the captaincy
front -- Hutton too enigmatic, May and Hammond too remote, Botham
too Bothamish. You might want to risk Compton or Hobbs.
> Ranji (as John Hall posted), Hendren, Barrington, Sutcliffe, Cowdrey,
> Gower, Paynter, Leyland and Gooch would all be ahead in my list.
Well, there's no accounting for taste, but in my list May
would be streets ahead of Hendren, Cowdrey, Gower, Paynter, Leyland
and possibly Gooch. For the others, Ranji, Barrington and Sutcliffe,
it really is a matter of taste. If we had to *watch* this team,
then May and Ranji just ooze class. On the other hand, if this is
the team to save England against Mars, you'd want Barrington or
However, we can easily resolve this. You have all forgotten
WG. How unforgivable! He comes in to open, captains the side, and
Hutton drops to 4 with Compton at 5. Grace also adds another option
to the bowling, and strengthens the fielding.
The cynics will, absurdly, point to WG's Test record. Forget
it. Bradman didn't have much of a Test record in his 40s and 50s
either, and would have struggled against the 1950s England teams.
The miracle is that WG in his 50s was *still* one of the top seven
or eight batsmen in the world. His record in f-c and representative
[though not of course Test] cricket up to 1876 almost beggars belief.
His batting record was absolutely Bradmanesque; and at the same
time he was taking 5 wickets per match at less than a third of his
batting average, and taking enormous numbers of catches.
Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK.