There is hardly anything as enjoyable for a cricket addict as making up all-time XIs. Arunabha Senguptacreates a Dream Team from players whose last names start withB.
Don Bradman and Syd Barnes: the former undoubtedly the greatest ever batsman, the latter arguably supreme among bowlers. The names that follow are not so bad either. In fact, the B’s perhaps boast the best bunch among the Alphabetical XIs.
Geoff Boycott: It is perhaps the dream of every dream team to have a Yorkshireman start the innings. The men who have opened the innings for the northern county have been some of the best of all time. And in spite of not reaching the rarefied levels of Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton, Boycott was not far behind. He could bat forever, and in his case that was not really a hyperbole.
Eddie Barlow: There were strong claims of Sid Barnes and Bill Brown for the role of Boycott’s partner. However, Barlow’s additional skills with ball and as a slip fielder tilted the scales in his favour. Plus, there is something to be said about his Billy Bunter-like appearance.
Don Bradman: One need not justify the choice of this man. Bradman in the side is the mathematical equivalent of playing two great batsmen. He would obviously be the captain of the team as well.
Ken Barrington: He scored 6,806 runs at an average of 58.67 and somehow seldom figures in the discussions of the best batsmen. Apart from being almost impossible to dislodge, he was a wonderful bloke as well.
Allan Border: What a man to come in at No. 5. A limpet at the crease, amazing in crisis situations, and, like Boycott, the holder of the record for the highest aggregate of Test runs at the time of retirement. His left-arm spinners can come in handy as well, as will his slip catching and bulls-eye accuracy on the field.
Ian Botham: At his peak he was the greatest all-rounder in the world. Botham could swing the game with ease as he swung the bat or the ball. Additionally, he will form a formidable slip cordon with Border and Barlow.
Mark Boucher: They don’t make them better than that. Boucher was one of the greatest of all time with the big gloves. With the smaller ones, he can be counted upon to scrap if the opponents somehow manage to get through Boycott, Bradman, Barrington and Border.
Johnny Briggs: It was a close tussle for the spot of the spinner with Colin Blythe. Both of them took over hundred wickets giving close to nothing away, and both bowled left-arm. However, Briggs could also bat, and boasted a Test century.
Alec Bedser: He singlehandedly shouldered the England attack during the bleak post-War period. Bradman considered him the most difficult bowler to face. As captain The Don would be delighted to have him in the team.
Ian Bishop: Adding the dimension of serious pace in the line-up, the pre-injury Bishop was as lethal as any churned out by the feared factory of fast bowlers of the West Indies in the 1970s and 1980s.
Syd Barnes: Perhaps the greatest bowler in the history of the game, Barnes often preferred league to Test cricket. Nevertheless, he played 27 Tests and captured 189 wickets at 16.43 apiece. The only drawback is that he may be prone to get pissed if not given the new ball, and hence Bedser may have to run in first-change.
Sid Barnes: As long as he does not turn up with a salver as the twelfth man and tried to brush the hair of the players, Barnes can be an asset in the team as the reserve opener.
Colin Bland: It helps if your substitute is the best fieldsman the world has ever witnessed. Besides, Bland averaged 49 with the bat.
Shane Bond: In case the management decided to go for a full blown pace attack, Bishop and Bond can combine into one of the most destructive of pairs.
Richie Benaud: In case it was a spinning wicket, Benaud could bowl in tandem with Briggs and Bradman could always pick his excellent cricketing brain. And he could bat too and was an excellent close field.
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