Top row, from left: Mark Taylor (c), Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe, Sachin Tendulkar, Victor Trumper Bottom row, from left: Hugh Trumble, Bob Taylor (wk), Hugh Tayfield, Fred Trueman, Frank Tyson, Charlie Turner © Getty Images
Top row, from left: Mark Taylor (c), Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe, Sachin Tendulkar, Victor Trumper
Bottom row, from left: Hugh Trumble, Bob Taylor (wk), Hugh Tayfield, Fred Trueman, Frank Tyson, Charlie Turner © Getty Images

Alphabetical All Time XIs are great fun. Composing one from the cricketers with their last names starting with T, Arunabha Sengupta comes across magical names.

Imagine Victor Trumper and Sachin Tendulkar batting together. And then Fred Trueman and Frank Tyson hurling in thunderbolts in tandem, with perhaps Jeff Thomson waiting to have a go.

Things don’t end there. Take away Jim Laker and there is hardly a parallel for the South African Hugh Tayfield as an off-spinner in the entire history of cricket. An average of 25.91 for 170 wickets, and an economy rate of 1.92, he was always excruciatingly difficult to play, near impossible to score off.

The only other man in history who can be put in the same category as Laker and Tayfield in the off-break department is Hugh Trumble, 141 wickets at 21.78. As his name indicates, he is in the reckoning.

And only one bowler in the history, among the many, many spectacular ones, has monopolised the moniker ‘Terror’. Charlie Turner captured 101 wickets at 16.53 each, and combined with JJ Ferris to form a lethal partnership.

Finally, what do we do with the devastating-on-wet-track Ernie Toshack? And Maurice Tate?

Let us look at the batting.

Who would partner Trumper, you ask? I have a surprise for you. Very few have raised this fact, but here it is all the same.

It is the norm to write Trumper’s name as the first one in the batting order, in every All-Time XIs he gets into. However, he was actually far more successful in the middle order, specifically in Nos. 3 and 5. Only 3 of his 52 innings as opener ended in hundreds. Whereas 5 of his 37 innings down the order did.

No, for me Trumper comes in at No. 5. For the openers’ roles there are Mark Taylor and Marcus Trescothick. I would leave Glenn Turner out and go ahead with these two opening batsmen.

There are some contenders for the remaining slot in the middle-order, alongside Tendulkar and Trumper. Graham Thorpe, Herbie Taylor, Jonathan Trott, Hashan Tillakaratne, Ross Taylor are all worthy names. But I will go with the man who has the best all-weather record among these, with runs in most of the countries and against the toughest opponents. Thorpe, the man with exactly 100 Tests, comes out on top in this regard.

The choice of the wicketkeeper is tricky. Don Bradman had sung high praises of Don Tallon. And many claimed Bob Taylor was the best that England had even though Alan Knott was chosen because of his superior batting and because he kept to Derek Underwood for Kent. There is also the not insignificant claim of Tatenda Taibu.

However, I would like to go for the best keeper in the lot to keep to the phenomenal bowlers. Thus, it is going to be Taylor.

Now comes the most difficult part. Taylor is in no way a No. 6 batsman. Even No. 7 is slightly high for him. But unfortunately, Trueman, Tyson, Turner, none of them rabbits, are not really capable batsmen either. Tayfield was not exactly a tail-ender, but neither was he good enough to be categorised as an all-rounder.

Hence, I do need a better batsman to come in at No. 6. Besides, with Trueman and Tyson around and Turner to come in first change, it could have been superfluous to include Thomson as well. And, if we come down to the facts, Thomson was rather erratic through his career, and after his initial spurts of success his bowling did deteriorate.

Therefore, I will go for that one man who has some experience of batting up the order. Trumble’s average is just a shade lower than 20, but he got those runs between 1887 and 1904, and they are more than decent for an off-spinning all-rounder. He opened the batting as well on occasions, and batted in all positions in Test cricket other than No. 5.

Yes, Trumble and Tayfield are both offies, but very different from each other. They had different methods, used different speeds and different fields. Since there are not really too many other spinners in this category, we should go with two of the greatest off-spinners the world has seen.

It is a team with openers who complement each other thoroughly, a sublime middle-order, and then a bowling attack with hardly an equal in any side.

A really, really tough team to beat.

Hence the team:

Name Runs Ave Wkts Ave
Mark Taylor (c) 7,535 43.49 1 26
Marcus Trescothick 5,825 43.79 1 155
Graham Thorpe 6,744 44.66
Sachin Tendulkar 15,921 53.78 46 54.17
Victor Trumper 3,163 39.04 8 39.62
Hugh Trumble 851 19.79 141 21.78
Bob Taylor (wk) 1,156 16.28 167 (Ct) 7(St)
Hugh Tayfield 862 16.9 170 25.91
Fred Trueman 981 13.81 307 21.57
Frank Tyson 230 10.95 76 18.56
Charlie Turner 323 11.53 101 16.53

12th man: Bruce Taylor

Manager: Glenn Turner