Having looked at who the money makers will be at the next Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, I’ve decided to make a team of greats who did not get the chance to play IPL.
To make the team, you may not have played IPL and you have to have played cricket post 2000. Some of the guys who came close to selection were the likes of Carl Hooper, Heath Streak, Aravinda de Silva, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Curtley Ambrose and even Hashim Amla.
Others like Andrew Flintoff, Darren Lehman, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock, Damien Martyn, Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul all snuck past having played a handful of games in the early stages of the IPL.
So without further ado here is my team….
Kill’s XI Punjab
1. Mark Waugh (Australia)
Commonly referred to as Steve’s brother, Mark Waugh was perhaps the most elegant of all strokemakers to have played the game. He was lethal atop the order in the ODI game with Adam Gilchrist and with some tidy offspin in his arsenal, Waugh would have had a much easier retirement from the game had he been around for IPL.
2. Nathan Astle (New Zealand)
He holds the record for the fastest double ton in Test cricket (off 153 balls v England) and also boasts some 16 ODI centuries to his name. Astle did play some T20 cricket in his time playing Country Cricket and in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL). Astle was a free scoring bastman and a handy medium-pacer who fits the mould of a classic limited overs allrounder.
3. Michael Bevan (Australia)
The King of Finishing, Michael Bevan will go down as one of the greats of ODI cricket. He would easily have picked up a $1 million price tag at the IPL. He would be perfect at number three and a foil for some of the big hitters in the middle order with his ability to work the ball into gaps and run hard between the sticks. Bevan was also a fine fielder and a useful left-arm chinaman bowler.
4. Brian Lara (West Indies)
Flamboyance and attacking flair, Lara would have lit up Eden Gardens like the 4th of July! The Indian fans would have had throats drier than a whiskyless Hugh Bladen after watching Brian Charles take apart some haphazard attack in one and a half hours of pure entertainment. Arguably one of the finest to play the game, it’s a shame he was not picked up at the 2011 IPL auction, albeit the great man was 41.
5. Hansie Cronje (South Africa) – Captain
Forget the match fixing for a moment, Cronje was a phenomenal player and an even better captain. He was a pioneer of the slog sweep, in fact I remember him milking one over the old grand stand at St George’s Park in PE (where the band sit) onto the ‘B’ fields where the practice nets are. Hansie was a fine medium pacer, but it is more his captaincy and hard hitting that gets him in this side.
6. Lance Klusener (South Africa)
Whoever it was that came up with T20 cricket was clearly thinking about Lance Klusener at the time. ‘Zulu’ would easily have been the best T20 cricketer on the earth. No one hit it harder and no one hit it further than Zulu. He was like the love child of Albie Morkel and Chris Gayle, only he bowled a little better. IPL would have made this man more popular than Shah Ruhk Khan!
7. Andy Flower (Zimbabwe) – Wicketkeeper
I initially picked my squad and realised it was without a gloveman. There are no real standouts for guys who missed the IPL boats other than Flower. A fine Test player and easily Zimbabwe’s greatest ever, Flower blossomed in the early 2000’s as a batsman and was a notoriously good player of spin bowling. Forget Glen Maxwell’s crude renditions of the reverse sweep, Flower was the king, graceful as a swan with a deft touch, something far too nice for the bludgeoning slaps of IPL.
8. Chris Cairns (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s version of Klusener, he was a genuine allrounder and match winner for the Kiwis. Injuries plagued him throughout his career, but few could clear the ropes like Cairns could. Like his compatriot, Astle, he too played in the rebel ICL which makes him eligible for my team.
9. Wasim Akram (Pakistan)
Was there any better bowler of the yorker than Wasim? Probably, but I doubt they ever played cricket on this planet. Mark Knopfler told the world a lie in 1978 when he claimed that Dire Straits were the Sultans of Swing, as he clearly hadn’t met Wasim. The world’s best left-arm seamer could swing the ball both ways (not the way Elton John did) at a mean speed whilst he also possessed a sneaky slower ball. Oh and he also has a Test double century to his name so it’s safe to say that the batting in this team is deeper the BCCI’s coffers.
10. Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)
This is a cheeky move as Ajmal is still around, but due to political tensions between his country and India, he has never played in the IPL. He is the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals and is virtually unplayable to the common man. His bowling repertoire has more surprises in it than Barney the Dinosaur’s ‘Barney Bag’ and Ajmal is oddly regarded as the best death bowler in the world.
11. Allan Donald (South Africa)
Allan Donald is to Dale Steyn what Mufasa was to Simba. White lightening was the alpha male of fast bowlers during the 90s and early 2000s. He had raw aggression, pace and an action that not even the MCC manual could prescribe better. On batsmen friendly IPL wickets, Donald would still have shown batsman that the colour of adrenalin is in fact brown.
12th man: Jonty Rhodes (South Africa)
Plain and simple, the best fielder ever. Rhodes could easily have slotted into the middle order, but I’d be sneaky and do what the Poms did to the Aussies in 2005. Rhodes would field for almost the entire 20 overs for me, with my bowlers (especially Ajmal) sitting on the sidelines to nurse ‘injuries’ when they not bowling.
Coach: Steve Waugh (Australia)
Had to find a way to get one of cricket’s greatest minds in the mix and sadly I chose with my heart and took Hansie over his like-for-like replacement Waugh. His steely reserve and love for winning would rub off well on this side and coaching would give him more time to roam the boundaries, sign autographs and get some good PR in.