A panel of experts thought better of booting Glenn McGrath from the early reckonings for a place among the SportsMax Ultimate XI team with the Aussie eventually forcing his way into the final picks.

In the final analysis, India seems the place for producing One-Day International (ODI) players of real quality with the country holding onto four of the 11 spots up for grabs in the team.

At the top of the order in the SportsMax Ultimate XI are Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, while current India skipper Virat Kohli holds one of the three middle-order spots and Mahendra Singh Dhoni holds onto the wicketkeeper-batsman place in the side.

The West Indies, having won two World Cups in its history and making a final and a couple of semi-finals, are not far behind the Indians, holding down three places with Viv Richards hanging onto a middle-order place and Joel Garner making being part of the bowling attack.

Pakistan, who won the World Cup in 1992, led by Imran Khan also get two spots with the winning captain holding onto the allrounder position and Wasim Akram, the man who was seen as his heir apparent, asked to run in and swing the ball at pace.

Sri Lanka has for its only representative, Muttiah Muralitharan, while the Australian interest in the side has been decimated with just McGrath still standing from the plethora of greats they have produced.

 

Ultimate XI:

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan

 

Last week fans were left aghast after a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone picked a middle-order from three-five, without Brian Lara, a man generally agreed to be the region’s best-ever batsman.

 

Fanalyst Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Brian Lara, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, MS Dhoni, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath

 

That decision stood with the panel and the experts and the SportsMax Zone’s combining to create an unbeatable 60% of the total votes.

The same was true for Curtly Ambrose, who the fans decided was the ultimate One-Day International bowler but had to watch as the Zone and the panel left him out in favour of Joel Garner.

Fans also did not get their way with the allrounder pick for the Ultimate XI, as, once again, the Zone and the panel joined forces to pick Imran ahead of their favourite, Jacques Kallis.

Still, there was some joy for the Fanalysts, who benefit from voting for McGrath.

McGrath was not in the final XI picked by the SportsMax Zone, who had to watch as one of their picks, Michael Holding was left out.

 

Zone Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni,

Imran Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Michael Holding

 

Panel’s Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni,

Imran Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath

Imran Khan is the allrounder of choice for the SportsMax Ultimate XI One-Day International team, so says a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone.

The two have combined to pick the current Prime Minister of Pakistan despite significant opposition from Fanalysts.

According to Fanalysts, Jacques Kallis, who finished behind Garfield Sobers in the run-up to the Ultimate XI Test team, is the best ODI allrounder by a long way.

Kallis’ statistics as shown in the Ultimate XI Profiles are impressive. With a 44.36 average with the bat, 17 centuries and 86 half-centuries, as well as 273 wickets at an average of 31.79 with the ball, it is not difficult to understand the fan’s choice.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, averages 33.41 with the bat and 182 wickets at an average of 26.61 with the ball.

The suggestion from the Zone and the panel is clearly they are going for a bowling allrounder with Khan versus the batting bent present in Kallis’ performances.

In fact, Fanalysts do not even have Khan as a serious contender for a place in the Ultimate XI, with Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Australia’s Shane Watson, and England’s Andrew Flintoff, garnering more picks than the famed former Pakistan skipper.

The zone and the panel have continued to play a three-legged race with their voting, so far agreeing on every segment of the XI.

So far, the team of the panel reads Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar as openers; Virat Kohli, Viv Richards, and AB de Villiers as batsmen 3-5, Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the wicketkeeper, and Imran Khan as the allrounder.

Fanalysts have, to date, come up with a slightly different team. They too, have gone with Sharma and Tendulkar at the top, but have decided on Lara to join Kohli and de Villiers in the middle order. The Fanalysts are in agreement with Dhoni as the overwhelming favourite for the wicketkeeping position but have chosen Kallis as their all-rounder.

This evening, the panel and Zone will be picking their bowlers so tune into SportsMax at 4:30pm Eastern Standard Time or 5:30pm in the Eastern Caribbean. You can watch SportsMax on the SportsMax app, download it from the App Store or from Google Play.

Remember, Fanalyst votes count for 40% of the overall vote for places in the Ultimate XI. Just go to the SportsMax.tv home page and click on the banner or click on this link.

Imran Khan played 175 matches and scored 3709 runs at an average of 33.41. His highest score was 102 not out. His best ODI bowling figures were 6 wickets for 14 runs, a record by any bowler in an ODI innings in a losing cause.

In their own way, these figures present a picture of just how good Imran Khan was in his playing days for Pakistan. He also made himself into an allrounder worth a place for his batting alone, and captained Pakistan as well as anyone, rounding off his career with the 1992 World Cup, the only time Pakistan ever won the title.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Imran Khan Niazi

Born: October 5, 1952, Lahore, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Dawood Club, Lahore, New South Wales, Oxford University, Pakistan International Airlines, Sussex, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

ODI Career (Batting): Pakistan (1971-1992)

Mat        Inns     NO     Runs      HS        Ave        BF         SR       100s      50s     

175        151       40      3709      102*      33.41     5105      72.65        1        19      

 

ODI Career (Bowling): Pakistan (1971-1992)

Mat     Inns      Balls      Runs     Wkts      BBI        BBM      Ave       Econ      SR         4w      5w     10w

175      153       7461      4844      182        6/14       6/14      26.61     3.89       40.9       3         1          0

 

Career Highlights

  • Current Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Captained Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title
  • Tallied 3709 runs at an average of 33.41

Arguably, the finest cricketer Pakistan has produced, Imran Khan, known for his searing pace and prodigious swing, made himself into an all-rounder worth a place for his batting alone.

There have been some wonderful pace bowlers over the years in all forms of cricket. With the bent toward the batsman in the shorter forms of the game, some of the figures of even the best pacers have looked a little worse for wear. With that said, just as we did with batsmen, SportsMax.tv chose to look at the best bowlers to play the five-day game, as running in over after over throughout a day of cricket only to come back to do it again tomorrow might be a smidge more difficult than 10-over or four-over spells at maximum.

Finding an XI from the rich history of fast bowling Test cricket has to offer was no easy feat and I’m sure we missed names that you would have undoubtedly picked, but here goes ...

 

BestXI

 

Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)

Standing at 5 feet, 11 inches, you wouldn’t think Malcolm Marshall the type of bowler who could scare world-class attacks, but he did. Marshall was regarded as the finest pace bowler to come from the West Indies, a region known for producing some of the best quicks ever to play the game. Marshall had an open run-up that should have made him less accurate but it, instead, gave him the ability to swing the ball either way with very little difference in his action. His technique also generated remarkable pace and had a very deceptive, very cruel bouncer. England’s Mike Gatting remembers that bouncer better than most after Marshall flattened his nose bridge in a match at Sabina Park. Marshall would rachet up 376 Test wickets in just 81 Tests at the remarkable average of 20.94, which represents one of the best of all time. Marshall’s 376 wickets also came at a time when all four West Indies fast bowlers were wicket-takers, making his haul even more of a prize.

 

Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)

When Curtly Ambrose walked away from International cricket there was not a soul who thought he didn’t have much more in the tank. A quiet giant, Ambrose bowled at a menacing length, too full to go back to and too short to play forward to. The master at putting the ball in that corridor of uncertainty, he would get wickets regularly by constantly getting the ball to jag bag at batsmen before making one hold its line. His yorker, from his great height, was nothing to sniff at either. Ambrose’s best of 8-45 is something that is still talked about today, though his 405 wickets in 98 Tests at an average of 20.99 will not soon be forgotten either. Ambrose would take five wickets in an innings 22 times, and 10 in a match on three occasions.

 

Michael Holding (West Indies)

The nickname “Whispering Death” speaks volumes about the man known as the Rolls Royce of fast bowling. An over to Geoff Boycott, the belligerent England opener, best describes what Holding was like at his absolute best. Boycott was bowled in the over and did not feel hard done because, as he has admitted, he had no answer to the lanky Jamaican. Holding is the textbook of fast bowling, from the first step to his leap and then to delivery, there has not been a smoother bowler in the history of the game. He was an artist and made fast bowling a beautiful thing to watch unless you were at the end of one of his 249 wickets. Holding only played 60 Tests and also fell victim to a four-pronged West Indies pace attack which would quickly ensure he had nobody to bowl at. But for those who did have to face him, they will not soon forget how the silky smoothness of his run-up and delivery would be shattered by genuine pace, accuracy and guile. In his book, ‘No Holding Back’, Mikey talks about how he gave up pace for accuracy but found, funnily enough, that once he had mastered being accurate, his pace had ratcheted up again, at least in the minds of the batsmen he faced.

 

Glen McGrath (Australia)

Anybody who calls Glen McGrath the best fast bowler of all time, cannot be argued with. The right-arm fast-medium by the time he ended his career had the ability to pitch the ball wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted and made all the great batsmen of his era have to admit, he was the most difficult customer they would encounter throughout their respective careers. McGrath is famous for being the man to have gotten the prize wicket of Brian Lara, arguably the best batsman of all time, the most in his career. To be fair, Lara average 51 against Australia, so that battle was fairly even. Still, McGrath’s mammoth 563 wickets from 124 Tests at an average of 21.64 speaks for itself. There were 29 occasions when McGrath would hold the ball aloft for earning five wickets and he, like Ambrose got 10 wickets in a match on three occasions. McGrath’s best bowling figures, 8-24, featured a spell of fast bowling that might never be matched.

Dennis Lillee (Australia)

Dennis Lillee, in partnership with tear-away fast bowler, Jeff Thomson, can be blamed for the rise of the fearsome four-pronged attack of the West Indies in the 1980s. It was afterall, after a crushing 5-1 defeat in Australia that regularly featured Lillee and Thomson decimations, that the Caribbean side turned to all-pace attacks. Lillee, though not as fast as Thomson, was the class of the pair, grabbing 355 wickets in just 73 Tests. Lillee was a complete bowler. When he debuted in 1971 he was frighteningly quick, but a spinal stress fracture threatened to end his career. Years later, a slowed Lillee was still outwitting batsmen with almost monotonous regularity. So much so, that there are many who consider him and not Marshall, the greatest of all time.

 

Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)

There are no superlative too good for the man who perfected swing bowling at high pace. Hadlee troubled every opponent on every kind of pitch. Hadlee almost singlehandedly lifted New Zealand cricket to unprecedented heights and along the way becoming the first bowler to notch 400 wickets in Test cricket. He, like Lillee, started as a tearaway quick, preferring to bludgeon his opponents into submission with searing bouncers. But Hadlee was a quick study and shortened his run-up while developing the attributes of the model fast bowler. His whippy action was a concern for most batsmen and when that was combined with pace, bounce and movement. When Hadlee retired in 1990, so effective was he, that he took a wicket with the last ball of his career. He would end with 431 wickets in just 86 Tests at an average of 22.29.

 

Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

Wasim Akram is likely the best left-arm pace bowler of all time. Blessed with an economical action, Akram was deceptively quick and would make batsmen used to playing against the most express of fast bowlers, still look hurried. Called the Sultan of Swing, Akram was also brilliant at producing seam movement. The two combined, produced a bowler who was always dangerous. Akram was also never the same bowler to the same batsmen when they met again in another series. Something would change, he would develop something until it came to a point where the Pakistani, who kept a strict fitness regime, could pitch four balls in the same spot and get something different to happen to it. A nightmare for anticipating, and so he had to be played off the pitch. But he was quick, and sometimes, 414 times to be exact, it was too late to adjust. Akram’s 414 wickets came in 104 Tests at an average of 23.62.

 

Imran Khan (Pakistan)

If ever Akram could claim a father figure, it was Imran Khan. The Pakistani captain is undoubtedly the finest cricketer the country has ever produced, averaging 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball over the last 10 years of his career. Khan led his country into the modern era of cricket, teaching the value of professionalism, as well as the importance of getting the public’s support. Under Imran, Pakistan became a real force, but as just a pure bowler, his figures of 362 wickets in 88 Tests was remarkable. His average of 22.81 was as brilliant as his reverse swinging yorker.

 

Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Steyn is the best quick in modern-day cricket. The South African has the best strike rate of all time. In 93 Tests, Steyn has 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 and was the world’s number-one fast bowler for a record of 263 weeks, a little more than five years. While those figures are scary, they aren’t as frightening as his extreme pace, combined with the ability to swing the ball both ways and accuracy to boot. Persistent injuries have curtailed the bowler's appearances for the Proteas over the last few years but he is always a welcome addition, especially with the likes of the talented Kagiso Rabada waiting in the wings to learn from his experience.

 

Mitchell Johnson (Australia)

Australia have, like the West Indies, consistently produced great fast bowlers and the two countries could, together, fill a list of the bestXI on their own without too many arguments. One of the best of those is Mitchell Johnson. In just 73 Tests, Johnson has taken 313 wickets and while he needs to bring down his average of 28.4 a little, he is still quite brilliant. Johnson has had his issues, having horrendous lows to go along with incredible highs. It is only now that he is beginning to be the fast bowler Dennis Lillee said he could. Late swing at pace is his major weapon, but he has now also included interesting angles that put batsmen in trouble.

Waqar Younis (Pakistan)

The longtime saying, last but not least, certainly applies to Waqar Younis. Half of the pairing with Wasim Akram, Waqar would bulldoze his way through opposition batsmen, while his partner in crime was the scalpel creating neat, tidy incisions.

The two Ws were undoubtedly one of the most effective fast bowling duos in cricket history. Waqar would take 373 wickets in 87 Tests from that partnership, relying on late swing and real pace for the most part. His execution of late reverse swing meant batsmen even muffed chances to score off bad deliveries, making him, with his slingy action, more economical than one would expect. Waqar was a problem for all the greats who bat against him from his debut in 1989 until his retirement in 2003. His strike rate was the best of all time until Dale Steyn’s arrival in Test cricket.

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, courtesy of Anderson Phillip and Jyd Goolie, demolished the Windward Volcanoes, winning their West Indies Championship game at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy by an innings and 84 runs.

First up, Goolie led the charge in helping the Red Force to a massive 409 all out, before Phillip was the main destroyer in restricting the Volcanoes to 173 and 152.

When the Red Force bat for the only time in the match, Goolie scored 128, to lead all scorers but was more than well supported by Imran Khan, 84, Kyle Hope, 54, and Jason Mohammed, 45, in putting together 409.

That 409 was made despite 5-60 from Preston McSween. Kenneth Dember toiled hard for his three wickets at a cost of 125 runs, while Ryan John took 1-85, and Obed McCoy took 1-77.

In reply, the Volcanoes could only manage 173 largely thanks to the veteran Devon Smith, who top scored with 67.

Phillip was the chief destroyer, bagging 4-53. Akeal Hosein, 2-27, and Khan, 2-6, provided wonderful support.

The Volcanoes follow on didn’t go any better, with Kerron Cottoy’s 35 accounting for the most runs against Phillip’s 6-19 in just 9.2 overs.

Phillip would end with a remarkable 10-72 in the match.

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