My top 50

cricketnut14

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1st XI
- ML Hayden (13)
- JL Langer (16)
- RT Ponting (7)
- GS Chappell (5)
- SPD Smith (9)
- SR Waugh* (8)
- AC Gilchrist+ (2)
- SK Warne (1)
- PJ Cummins (24)
- DK Lillee (4)
- GD McGrath (3)

I selected Langer ahead of Taylor because of team dynamics (Hayden got along with Langer much better than with Taylor), plus Langer was definitely more effective as an opener. Steve Waugh is captain because his strength was turning a talented side into an incredibly ruthless outfit. In such a talented side, Taylor's tactical nous and Border's grit probably aren't so important, especially since Steve Waugh has the same sort of mentality.

2nd XI
- DA Warner (23)
- MA Taylor* (15)
- DC Boon (17)
- AR Border (6)
- MJ Clarke (10)
- MEK Hussey (14)
- IA Healy+ (11)
- MG Johnson (20)
- JN Gillespie (19)
- CJ McDermott (26)
- NM Lyon (21)

The 2nd XI is weaker and so would need Taylor's nous more in order to be competitive. I considered selecting Slater instead of Warner because of his success with Taylor, but IMO Warner is the better of the two and can still complement Taylor's more nuggety style through his more attacking methods. Boon and Border would make for a very gritty #3 and #4 should the openers fail, plus Clarke and Hussey are a formidable #5/#6. The tailend batting is marginally stronger thanks to Johnson. Johnson and Starc are too similar so I didn't select Starc.
Love the effort you went too and I agree with your descriptions basically of all the players you rated.

I put your rankings of the players you selected of the 22 players. Interestingly enough 4 players with higher rankings didn't make your cut, but I understand for team balance. R.Marsh (12) , M.Waugh (18), D.Martyn (22), M.Starc (25).

We had similar rankings and I'll post them shortly, this was evident as your 2 sides contained 21 of my 22 top ranked players.
Having 3 wicketkeepers in our best 22 was always going to see 1 of them miss out on a spot in the 2nd XI.

I must admit though I've always struggled to seperate:
-Healy/Marsh
-Border/S.Waugh
-Lillee/McGrath (Cummins may also be in this discussion when he finishes)
-Ponting/G.Chappell & now Smith
 

cricketnut14

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DaRick here are your rankings compared to mine in brackets, with both of us having 49 players the same.
You had Hilfenhaus in at @49, I had P.Hughes in @ 47.

50. Tim Paine* (41)
49. Andrew Symonds (50)
48. Shane Watson (46)
47. Phil Hughes (-)
46. Michael Kasprowicz (48)
45. Greg Matthews (47)
44. Usman Khawaja* (44)
43. Chris Rogers (45)
42. Darren Lehmann (43)
41. Peter Siddle (39)

40. Geoff Lawson (40)
39. Paul Reiffel (35)
38. Stuart MacGill (42)
37. Michael Slater (29)
36. Simon Katich (32)
35. Bruce Reid (34)
34. Ryan Harris (30)
33. Brett Lee (38)
32. Brad Haddin (37)
31. Damien Martyn (22)

30. Merv Hughes (28)
29. Terry Alderman (31)
28. Mitchell Starc* (25)
27. Craig McDermott (26)
26. Josh Hazlewood* (27)
25. Dean Jones (33)
24. Mark Waugh (18)
23. Kim Hughes (36)
22. Nathan Lyon* (21)
21. Mitchell Johnson (20)

20. David Boon (17)
19. Justin Langer (16)
18. Mark Taylor (15)
17. David Warner* (23)
16. Rod Marsh (12)
15. Ian Healy (11)
14. Michael Clarke (10)
13. Jason Gillsepie (19)
12. Pat Cummins* (24)
11. Mike Hussey (14)

10. Matthew Hayden (13)
9. Steve Waugh (8)
8. Allan Border (6)
7. Steve Smith* (9)
6. Adam Gilchrist (2)
5. Glenn McGrath (3)
4. Dennis Lillee (4)
3. Greg Chappell (5)
2. Ricky Ponting (7)
1. Shane Warne (1)
 

DaRick

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Comparing our rankings, I assumed that you placed Phil Hughes in because of his first two centuries and his untimely passing?

I'm surprised you ranked Slater/Martyn so low given that they were fixtures in the side for so long, particularly Martyn.

By the same token, you ranked Kim Hughes very highly even though Martyn also crafted his share of iconic innings and ultimately finished up his career much better (though not well). Hughes was captain for a while, granted.

Your ranking of Dean Jones seems IMO to be a result of looking too much at his stats and not the context in which he scored his runs. For all of Mark Waugh's faults (lack of ruthlessness, complacency), there's no way he should be grouped with Jones IMO. He was simply a better cricketer and served for much longer.

Gillespie was great but he seems a little high in your rankings given his record. Pat Cummins seems to be ranked more on potential than actual output (the way he's going, I'd be disappointed if he wasn't in the Top 10 by the end of his career).

Why did you rank Ricky Ponting so high?

You've already explained Matthew Hayden's to a degree, but I'm interested in your thoughts.

EDIT: Warner's is IMO a bit too high, though I can sort of understand why if I look at the stats.
 
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cricketnut14

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Comparing our rankings, I assumed that you placed Phil Hughes in because of his first two centuries and his untimely passing?

I'm surprised you ranked Slater/Martyn so low given that they were fixtures in the side for so long, particularly Martyn.

By the same token, you ranked Kim Hughes very highly even though Martyn also crafted his share of iconic innings and ultimately finished up his career much better (though not well). Hughes was captain for a while, granted.

Your ranking of Dean Jones seems IMO to be a result of looking too much at his stats and not the context in which he scored his runs. For all of Mark Waugh's faults (lack of ruthlessness, complacency), there's no way he should be grouped with Jones IMO. He was simply a better cricketer and served for much longer.

Gillespie was great but he seems a little high in your rankings given his record. Pat Cummins seems to be ranked more on potential than actual output (the way he's going, I'd be disappointed if he wasn't in the Top 10 by the end of his career).

Why did you rank Ricky Ponting so high?

You've already explained Matthew Hayden's to a degree, but I'm interested in your thoughts.

EDIT: Warner's is IMO a bit too high, though I can sort of understand why if I look at the stats.
Comparing your rankings yes I had K.Hughes & Cummins significantly higher, whereas you had Marto & Paine significantly higher, but all in all both on the same track. I'm surprised you didn't consider the likes of S.Marsh/M.Marsh/Wade etc.
I'd be interested to hear you thoughts on Wade.

Special mentions to S.Clark & T.May who fell 1 test match short of where I drew the line for qualification.
Special mentions first of all to R.Harris & B.Reid who could have easily been ranked higher with more tests to their name.
Looking forward to further entries moving forward eg. Labuschagne and possibly Head, Burns and Patto.

In hindsight, I may have rated Phil Hughes on further potential and what he could have done. As you can appreciate it's hard to do a top 50.

A little bit of bias may have got in the way of the K.Hughes selection as he was a personal fave of mine growing up. Lots of talent and may have gained a few placings because of this.

Deano was another personal fave, however I'm happy where I ranked him. Was dumped from the test side unfairly at the time.
Happy with the assessment of M.Waugh as well and of the 100+ test club he was ranked last. Plenty of talent and brilliant fielder.

To me Gillespie was a very underated player. 2005 ashes wasn't great but everyone goes thru a slump in their career. The attack of McGrath/Gillespie/Lee/Warne is the best I have seen from an aussie point of view, mind you the Cummins/Hazlewood/Starc/Lyon quartet is not too far behind. Prior to the emergence of Cummins , Gillespie was in my first XI.
Speaking of Hazlewood he could be a quiet mover by the time he is finished as well and gain a handful of more ranking places.
In days gone by only Gillespie & Hussey's positions in my first XI were debated heavily. I think now it's only Hussey's spot in my XI that is debatable.

With Cummins, I think his ranking will only rise as he progresses and will be spoken with in the same breath as Lillee & McGrath.
I have him ranked as my 3rd quick, whereas you had him ranked as your 5th quick with Gillespie & Johnson ahead of him. However you did include Cummo in your first XI.

Smith was @ 7 with a bullet and could easily finish top 2 by the time he is done.

Punter is @ 2 not only for longevity but stats , captaincy record, fielding but for batting at #3 most of his career. We need to remember he was averaging 60 after 107 tests. He probably playeda little too long after his peak.

Haydos is a no brainer, who knows how many tests he could've played had he nudged out Slats for a test debut in England in '93. Haydos is the only opener to ave 50+ throughout his career. Yes he beat up on Zimbabwe in Perth, not everyone got 380 against them - yet he did. You can paint stats anyway you like, take out the high scores, the low scores, start of his career, end etc etc, but facts are 30 tons, 100 tests and an ave of 50 is phenomenal. His little mate Langer averaged 52 opening for a shorter period granted, and half of his career was carved out at #3. You could say Khawaja is a poor man's Langer in a sense, great opening stats and adequate at #3.

Warner, I think will remain around that ballpark ranking or could possibly ultimately replace M.Hussey as my second opener.
Warner's stats are similar to Haydos and if he continues his current output, there may well be a discussion Haydos or Warner - who's better?
He is 20 odd tests shy of Haydos and I think thaats as much as Warner may have left in him as he will need to make a decision as to which format he is going to retire from first.

Interesting to note you had bowlers at rankings 1,3 & 4 and then nothing until 19.
 

cricketnut14

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DaRick for you mate.

Comparisons, my rankings and yours in (brackets) broken down by skillset.
Note: I included opening batsmen as batsmen as a whole.
No category for allrounders.

Wicketkeepers:
1. Adam Gilchrist (1)
2. Ian Healy (2)
3. Rod Marsh (3)
4. Brad Haddin (4)
5. Tim Paine* (5)

Spinners:
1. Shane Warne (1)
2. Nathan Lyon* (2)
3. Stuart MacGill (3)

Quicks:
1. Dennis Lillee (2)
2. Glenn McGrath (1)
3. Pat Cummins* (5)
4. Jason Gillespie (3)
5. Mitchell Johnson (4)
6. Josh Hazlewood* (8)
7. Craig McDermott (7)
8. Mitchell Starc* (6)
9. Terry Alderman (11)
10. Merv Hughes (9)
11. Brett Lee (14)
12. Ryan Harris (10)
13. Bruce Reid (12)
14. Paul Reiffel (13)
15. Geoff Lawson (-)
-. Peter Siddle (15)

Bats:
1. Ricky Ponting (3)
2. Greg Chappell (1)
3. Steve Smith* (5)
4. Allan Border (2)
5. Steve Waugh (4)
6. Matthew Hayden (7)
7. Mike Hussey (8)
8. Michael Clarke (6)
9. David Warner* (14)
10. Mark Taylor (9)
11. Justin Langer (10)
12. David Boon (11)
13. Kim Hughes (18)
14. Mark Waugh (12)
15. Dean Jones (17)
16. Damien Martyn (13)
17. Simon Katich (16)
18. Michael Slater (15)
19. Darren Lehmann (19)
20. Chris Rogers (-)
-. Usman Khawaja* (20)
 
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DaRick

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Comparing your rankings yes I had K.Hughes & Cummins significantly higher, whereas you had Marto & Paine significantly higher, but all in all both on the same track. I'm surprised you didn't consider the likes of S.Marsh/M.Marsh/Wade etc.
I'd be interested to hear you thoughts on Wade.
Of the remaining eligible cricketers that didn't make the Top 50, I'd rank them as follows:

51) Greg Blewett - Australia's answer to Graeme Hick. Combination of technical and mental issues, especially against spin bowling, hindered him. Shunted around the order a bit and the victim of bad selection (in that he was selected to go to India when he shouldn't have been within 100 miles of its borders). Good fielder and useful part-time bowler.

52) Geoff Marsh - Really his era's answer to Ed Cowan. Didn't score that many but he invariably took the shine off the ball and complemented the left-handed Mark Taylor well.

53) Shaun Marsh - One of the most frustrating Test cricketers ever. Went from the sublime to the ridiculous, even within the same match. Injuries affected his fielding.

54) Graeme Wood - Really a beneficiary of playing in such a tumultuous era given his record. Terrible runner between the wickets. Played well against the West Indies, so he gets a little more credit.

55) Wayne Phillips - I've ranked him higher than I otherwise would have because he was forced to open and keep wicket. No surprise that he struggled with the gloves. Unlucky to play when he did, because he was a talented batsman. If he debuted 5 years later, I can easily see him crack the Top 50 at least.

56) Greg Ritchie - A Queenslander!

57) Matthew Wade* - In his first stint, he was a useful #7, but a substandard wicketkeeper. In his second stint, his keeping was much better, but his batting was much worse. In his third stint, he's done OK with the bat, but IMO not brilliantly. Should rise up the rankings, but I wouldn't expect him to crack the Top 50.

58) Phil Hughes - RIP. The biggest what-if in Australian cricket.

59) Mitch Marsh* - Yeah, I'm not going to go there.

Special mentions to S.Clark & T.May who fell 1 test match short of where I drew the line for qualification.
Special mentions first of all to R.Harris & B.Reid who could have easily been ranked higher with more tests to their name.
Looking forward to further entries moving forward eg. Labuschagne and possibly Head, Burns and Patto.
I'd be exceptionally disappointed if Labuschagne never featured in the Top 50 (and I'd be disappointed if he didn't rank quite highly). I expect Head to feature, but if he gets past 40 or so I'd be pleasantly surprised. Pattinson should be a lock (I'd be surprised if he couldn't string together 4 more Test matches), but I doubt he gets past 35 or so - he simply hasn't played enough, sadly. Burns I'm not sure about - he'll play enough Tests, but his prior weaknesses are still apparent.

With Cummins, I think his ranking will only rise as he progresses and will be spoken with in the same breath as Lillee & McGrath.
I have him ranked as my 3rd quick, whereas you had him ranked as your 5th quick with Gillespie & Johnson ahead of him. However you did include Cummo in your first XI.
Cummins is only so low because he hasn't come close to finishing his career.

EDIT: The best attack I've seen is probably the McGrath/Gillespie/Kasprowicz/Warne one in 2004-05. That was the season Kaspr was bowling like a top-class bowler and it showed. Even in India they were generally dominant.

Smith was @ 7 with a bullet and could easily finish top 2 by the time he is done.

Punter is @ 2 not only for longevity but stats , captaincy record, fielding but for batting at #3 most of his career. We need to remember he was averaging 60 after 107 tests. He probably playeda little too long after his peak.

Haydos is a no brainer, who knows how many tests he could've played had he nudged out Slats for a test debut in England in '93. Haydos is the only opener to ave 50+ throughout his career. Yes he beat up on Zimbabwe in Perth, not everyone got 380 against them - yet he did. You can paint stats anyway you like, take out the high scores, the low scores, start of his career, end etc etc, but facts are 30 tons, 100 tests and an ave of 50 is phenomenal. His little mate Langer averaged 52 opening for a shorter period granted, and half of his career was carved out at #3. You could say Khawaja is a poor man's Langer in a sense, great opening stats and adequate at #3.

Warner, I think will remain around that ballpark ranking or could possibly ultimately replace M.Hussey as my second opener.
Warner's stats are similar to Haydos and if he continues his current output, there may well be a discussion Haydos or Warner - who's better?
He is 20 odd tests shy of Haydos and I think thaats as much as Warner may have left in him as he will need to make a decision as to which format he is going to retire from first.

Interesting to note you had bowlers at rankings 1,3 & 4 and then nothing until 19.
Agreed, Smith could be #2 (or even #1) when his career ends.

Ponting's peak was phenomenal but so was Steve Waugh's. He is ahead of Waugh for mine, but not that far ahead given Waugh's bowling. It's also hard for me to place him over Border given what he had to put up with, and even Greg Chappell given his exploits in WSC (universally seen as a very high standard of cricket, albeit not consistently so in the beginning).

Hayden is a champion, but I thought I'd add some criticism (same with Lillee/Chappell despite their rankings).

I expect Warner to rise up the rankings and he should be ahead of M Waugh/Boon by the time his career is over, because I can't see him not cracking the 100 Test mark. I'm less convinced with regards to Langer and Taylor - Langer was really good as an opener and Taylor's captaincy was worth a few extra runs at least.

I see the Khawaja comparison, although he didn't really play enough as an opener.

If Gillespie had been able to string a few more Tests together while ending his career a little better, I'd probably rank him a little higher. As it is, I think he was a great bowler. I've seen the best of Gillespie so I'm pretty content with my ranking of him. I'd be awful disappointed if Cummins didn't easily surpass him though.

I expect Paine to rise a little in my rankings, but not beyond the late 30's.

Lyon will surpass Johnson/Gillespie in my estimation but probably not Mark Waugh. I expect Starc to surpass Johnson (the latter's fielding makes it closer though) and quite possibly Gillespie. As for Hazlewood, it depends on how long he plays for and whether he continues the good form he displayed in 2019.
 
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cricketnut14

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Of the remaining eligible cricketers that didn't make the Top 50, I'd rank them as follows:

51) Greg Blewett - Australia's answer to Graeme Hick. Combination of technical and mental issues, especially against spin bowling, hindered him. Shunted around the order a bit and the victim of bad selection (in that he was selected to go to India when he shouldn't have been within 100 miles of its borders). Good fielder and useful part-time bowler.

52) Geoff Marsh - Really his era's answer to Ed Cowan. Didn't score that many but he invariably took the shine off the ball and complemented the left-handed Mark Taylor well.

53) Shaun Marsh - One of the most frustrating Test cricketers ever. Went from the sublime to the ridiculous, even within the same match. Injuries affected his fielding.

54) Graeme Wood - Really a beneficiary of playing in such a tumultuous era given his record. Terrible runner between the wickets. Played well against the West Indies, so he gets a little more credit.

55) Wayne Phillips - I've ranked him higher than I otherwise would have because he was forced to open and keep wicket. No surprise that he struggled with the gloves. Unlucky to play when he did, because he was a talented batsman. If he debuted 5 years later, I can easily see him crack the Top 50 at least.

56) Greg Ritchie - A Queenslander!

57) Matthew Wade* - In his first stint, he was a useful #7, but a substandard wicketkeeper. In his second stint, his keeping was much better, but his batting was much worse. In his third stint, he's done OK with the bat, but IMO not brilliantly. Should rise up the rankings, but I wouldn't expect him to crack the Top 50.

58) Phil Hughes - RIP. The biggest what-if in Australian cricket.

59) Mitch Marsh* - Yeah, I'm not going to go there.



The best attack I've seen is probably the McGrath/Gillespie/Kasprowicz/Warne one in 2004-05. That was the season Kaspr was bowling like a top-class bowler and it showed. Even in India they were generally dominant.
Love ya work to go the extra mile and rank some players that just missed the top .


Yeah Kasper pretty much got a guernsey when Gillespie or Lee were injured.
Kasper did however earn a spot above Lee and also Gillespie at one point circa 2004/05 era.

McGrath/Gillespie/Lee/Warne of around 2001 for me.
 

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Test Top 50

*still playing

50) Andrew Symonds - Not a massive body of work, but his gun fielding and handy part-time bowling are enough to see him squeak into the Top 50 IMO.

49) Ben Hilfenhaus - At his best he could move it away late at 140 km/h, but too often he was monotonous and swung it out of the hand. His action needed to be right for him to be fully effective, which it too often wasn't due to niggling injury. But his record is good enough for him to feature here (helped greatly by a bumper series against India).

48) Michael Kasprowicz - One great year in a stop-start career (hey that rhymed!), played a significant part in two big subcontinent wins. Managed almost 40 Tests.

47) Greg Matthews - Weird cricketer. Was meant to be an off-spinner, but turned out to be a gritty and very effective lower-order batsman. But he ultimately didn't succeed at what he was brought into the side for.

46) Shane Watson - One of the most infuriating Test cricketers ever. Never fulfilled his promise as a batsman, but was a very clever bowler, a good slip fielder, and managed almost 60 Tests.

45) Chris Rogers - Very good opening batsman; in retrospect should have played more Tests. His more nuggety style complemented Warner very well.

44) Usman Khawaja - Never really achieved his potential, but averages over 40 and has played around 45 Tests.

43) Darren Lehmann - Should have played many more Tests. Brilliant player of spin bowling. Average inflated by bashing Bangladesh, though. Useful part-timer.

42) Stuart MacGill - Very unlucky not to have played more, but at the same time benefited from beating up Bangladesh and playing many of his games at the SCG.

41) Tim Paine* - I've ranked him this highly simply because of the circumstances he was thrust into. A crazy Test career; he looked very promising early doors, but he was derailed by injury. All and sundry assumed that he was finished, but he came in, performed well, and wound up being captain at Australia's lowest ebb for many years, when nobody else was available. He's held the job since, and IMO should until he retires given the paucity of other options (Head/Labu aren't ready; Smith IMO shouldn't be captain again). Useful lower-order batsman. He's mostly performed well with the gloves.

40) Geoff Lawson - Played many of his Tests during a difficult era for Australian cricket. Combative personality to go with. Useful lower-order batsman.

39) Peter Siddle - A solid servant during a tumultuous era of Australian cricket. Could hang around with the bat. Played 67 Tests.

38) Brett Lee - Never lived up to his early promise, but his longevity counts for something.

37) Brad Haddin - The Brett Lee of wicketkeepers. Inconsistent and often maligned, but managed to carve out a good Test career. His batting and glovework could be peerless, but too often wasn't. Still, we'll always have the 2013/14 Ashes. Great team player; vital to team cohesion.

36) Kim Hughes - Very difficult to place. Clearly an exceptionally gifted player; capable of crafting some of the best innings ever, but even excluding his last few Tests, his record indicates an unfulfilled talent. Having the captaincy foisted on him didn't help, nor did Chappell/Lillee/Marsh making his life difficult.

35) Paul Reiffel - McGrath-lite. Good against left-handers, but relatively limited body of work. Very useful lower-order batsman.

34) Bruce Reid - Absolutely unplayable on his day, but made of glass. Like a left-armed version of Ryan Harris in that regard. Could get steepling bounce with his frame.

33) Dean Jones - The issue with Dean Jones is that he too often saved his best for dead rubbers. Great fielder and runner between wickets.

32) Simon Katich - Was really impressive in his last couple of years in Test cricket, but before then averaged around 35. Was screwed around by selectors more than once. Was more 'clutch' than Jones; hence I rated him higher.

31) Terry Alderman - Absolutely lethal when the ball moved, but pretty anodyne (albeit economical) when it didn't. Body of work seems him squeak ahead of Reid. Integral to the 1989 Ashes victory.

30) Ryan Harris - One of Australia's most skilled quicks; dangerous in any conditions. Much better batsman than Reid/Alderman, so gets in here. Played a defining role in 2013/14. If only he played more...

29) Michael Slater - Destructive swashbuckling opener. Ranks this high due to longevity, but arguably he did not perform against the best attacks often enough.

28) Merv Hughes - Really a superior version of his fellow Victorian Siddle; he made the most of his talents through sheer courage. Handy lower-order batsman.

27) Josh Hazlewood* - IMO a superior bowler to Starc, but is still McGrath-lite, and is a recognised tailender. Expect him to finish much higher when his career is over.

26) Craig McDermott - A tale of two careers due to playing Test cricket too early. Loved playing at home and against England.

25) Mitchell Starc* - At his best can run through a lineup and is dangerous in all conditions, but has real down periods and up until last season often didn't perform at his best against the Top 2/3 ICC teams. Useful lower-order hitter. Should finish higher when his career is done.

24) Pat Cummins* - Ridiculously capable quick; like Harris dangerous in all conditions. Expect him to skyrocket up the rankings as he develops a larger body of work. Gritty lower-order batsman who tends to contribute when needed.

23) David Warner* - Absolutely unstoppable when he's on a roll, and at home his record is enviable. However, his overseas record is distinctly sub-par and he has a habit of bashing poor attacks in favourable conditions. Hayden-lite. Great fielder.

22) Damien Martyn - Lovely to watch; played some wonderful knocks in tough conditions. More of a 'clutch' player than Warner IMO. Very good fielder.

21) Nathan Lyon* - 96 Tests and almost 400 wickets says it all really. Australia is usually a graveyard for off-spinners, so the fact that he still manages to look dangerous in Australian conditions is commendable.

20) Mitchell Johnson - I feel like a man of his talent should have averaged below 25, but he had a good career, took over 300 wickets, and was absolutely ferocious was on song. Outstanding fielder and useful lower-order hitter whose batting again promised more than it delivered.

19) Jason Gillespie - An ignominious end to a wonderful career, but maybe doesn't quite have the record to place him well ahead of Johnson, or ahead of any of the 100 Test club. Very good defensive technique for a lower-order batsman and if his 200* was made today, it would inspire a multitude of memes. Bowling in India helped set up a historic series win.

18) Mark Waugh - The worst of the 100 Test club IMO. Luckily for him that's an overly narrow criticism. Played some iconic innings, was a legendary fielder and a useful part-timer. Maybe lacked the killer instinct to rank more highly.

17) David Boon - Gritty opener/#3. Acrofatic to boot.

16) Justin Langer - Underrated by many. Averaged 52 as an opener and personified mental toughness, but took years to establish himself. Could flay the wide stuff all day long.

15) Mark Taylor - Although he averaged 40 for much of his career, I've ranked him just ahead of Langer because he was an excellent, if at times complacent, captain. Great slip fielder.

14) Michael Hussey - Had a terrific career, despite the prolonged form slumps. I disagree with the notion that he made 'easy runs' but I do agree that he tended to like batting in partnerships and rarely performed when the rest of the batsmen failed. Great fielder.

13) Matthew Hayden - Champion batsman - took Slater's ability to maul poor bowling up to eleven, but perhaps struggled against seam and swing too much to rank more highly. Helped to make Australia a dominant force but only really carried the batting lineup in 2007/08. Average inflated by mauling a county-standard Zimbabwe.

12) Rod Marsh - Legendary wicketkeeper-batsman; was an influence on countless wicketkeepers. Very difficult to distinguish from Ian Healy in most respects...

11) Ian Healy - ...but Healy played more Tests so he just wins out.

10) Michael Clarke - Has many detractors, but was an excellent tactician and as a batsman was often forced to carry his side on his back. Could struggle against shorter stuff later on and against the new ball, but didn't benefit from playing against a county-standard Bangladesh/Zimbabwe. His best knocks will live long in the memory, as will his 3/5 to win a Test.

9) Steve Smith* - If I was ranking him solely on batting ability, he'd of course be higher. As it is, he has the distinction of being the only batsman to get into the Top 10 without playing 100 combined Test/WSC matches. His record is phenomenal and he doesn't have many weaknesses - earlier in his career he struggled against swing and the shorter ball slows him down - but it doesn't seem to get him out cheaply. So adaptable that it's ridiculous. Tarnished somewhat by his captaincy.

8) Steve Waugh - Mental toughness and longevity personified. Saved much of his best for when Australia needed it the most. Not a terrific tactician and didn't have the most classical technique ever, but commanded respect from his charges and helped create an incredibly ruthless side. Was a good fielder and a useful quick when he was younger.

7) Ricky Ponting - Hard to split with Steve Waugh. The latter could bowl, but Ponting IMO was a more gifted batsman. Played past his prime, but was a colossus to rival Steve Smith in his pomp. Peerless off the back foot, and with the possible exception of off-spin was not unduly troubled by spin bowling. A marginally inferior captain to Waugh, but a superior fielder. Both played 168 Tests. Final average doesn't really do him justice.

6) Allan Border - Like Steve Waugh, if he was thrown into a position of having to captain a failing side while being the best batsman in his side by a long way for much of his career. Helped set up Australia's future success.

5) Greg Chappell - Absurdly gifted batsman/fielder (his average actually improves if you add WSC), but his time as captain was controversial. Plus he was accused of picking and choosing the Tests he would play, particularly later on in his career. Richie Benaud likes him though, so he can be in the Top 5.

4) Dennis Lillee - Obviously a legend. If this was a collective charisma/flair/impact/influence list, he'd be in the Top 2. As it is, he falls slightly short because even when you consider WSC/ROW, he doesn't quite have the body of work to justify a higher position, nor was he revolutionary in the sense that Adam Gilchrist is. Plus while he could easily have adapted, he never had the opportunity to learn to bowl in the subcontinent. Plus, unlike McGrath, he did fade somewhat over his last two seasons. He is in Richie Benaud's Greatest XI and as such deserves his position on this list, but that list was compiled before Glenn McGrath had the chance to finish his career. Speaking of which...

3) Glenn McGrath - I've always thought that if there was a more effective quick than Glenn McGrath, he must have been a joy to watch. Not only did he rarely get injured, but people seem to forget that he could do anything when he wanted to. Seam, outswing, inswing, yorkers, cutters, bouncers, reverse swing, slower balls. It's not surprising that he was dangerous everywhere, nor is it surprising that he averaged under 22 over a career spanning 125 Tests. In his prime though, he normally bowled back-of-a-length and seamed it away, while from 2004 or so he would bowl it a bit fuller and use outswing more, with a touch more variety. Given an honourable mention by Richie Benaud.

2) Adam Gilchrist - It's hard to overstate Adam Gilchrist's impact and influence. Prior to his emergence, there was no known keeper who was talented enough to both bat in the Top 6 of just about any lineup imaginable while being a genuinely talented gloveman (i.e - not Andy Flower). Not only that, he changed the way that wicketkeepers batted for a very long time. Before his debut, wicketkeepers were only expected to carve out some runs while batting with the tail, like Ian Healy used to. They certainly weren't expected to blast attacks out of existence within half an hour. Gilchrist changed that, and spawned an army of imitators - but none could emulate the real thing. There have been more gifted batsmen, and more gifted glovemen, but IMO not more gifted wicket-keeper batsmen. He deserves his place here, and Richie Benaud seems to agree.

1) Shane Warne - He is in Wisden Cricketers of the Century. What more can be said?

1st XI
- ML Hayden
- JL Langer
- RT Ponting
- GS Chappell
- SPD Smith
- SR Waugh*
- AC Gilchrist+
- SK Warne
- PJ Cummins
- DK Lillee
- GD McGrath

I selected Langer ahead of Taylor because of team dynamics (Hayden got along with Langer much better than with Taylor), plus Langer was definitely more effective as an opener. Steve Waugh is captain because his strength was turning a talented side into an incredibly ruthless outfit. In such a talented side, Taylor's tactical nous and Border's grit probably aren't so important, especially since Steve Waugh has the same sort of mentality.

2nd XI
- DA Warner
- MA Taylor*
- DC Boon
- AR Border
- MJ Clarke
- MEK Hussey
- IA Healy+
- MG Johnson
- JN Gillespie
- CJ McDermott
- NM Lyon

The 2nd XI is weaker and so would need Taylor's nous more in order to be competitive. I considered selecting Slater instead of Warner because of his success with Taylor, but IMO Warner is the better of the two and can still complement Taylor's more nuggety style through his more attacking methods. Boon and Border would make for a very gritty #3 and #4 should the openers fail, plus Clarke and Hussey are a formidable #5/#6. The tailend batting is marginally stronger thanks to Johnson. Johnson and Starc are too similar so I didn't select Starc.
some great analysis. Well done.

cant argue with his positioning but had he not been very unfairly jettisoned for years I’m certain Martyn would be a lot higher.

he played some masterful innings in the subcontinent and was a very under appreciated man for a crisis
 

Wallaby

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2007
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I like these threads. I'll just throw in my controversial statements.

1. McGrath was a better bowler than Shane Warne, and possibly Dennis Lillee as well. Warne was probably more important, because the gap between his best and the next best spinner was greater than the gap between McGrath and the next best fast bowler. Good spinners are definitely rarer - for that reason, I rate both MacGill and Lyon higher than most.

2. Gilchrist was NOT a worse gloveman than Ian Healy. Ok, Healy occasionally did an amazing piece of work (the leg-side off a Bevan full-toss was pretty special), but he made more mistakes than Gilchrist. Gilchrist made more dismissals per innings AND more stumpings. Healy's 'amazing' dismisslas that Gilchrist couldn't have made probably happened about once per year at best - and he also probably dropped one more chance a year than Gilchrist.

3. Shane Watson is hugely under-rated. He tends to be ignored because he didn't reach his potential. He's got a better batting average than the 'Legendary' Freddy Flintoff, and his bowling average is just a shade worse. Both took 3 5-fors in their careers (even though Watson'r back prevented him from bowling much of his career). And Watson made 80% of his runs opening or at No 3. Very, very good player.

4. While I hope Pat Cummins continues his career trajectory, he's only played 30 tests - and his record in those is about the same as Bruce Reid or Ryan Harris. Looks very good, though.

5. Both the Waughs are very hard to rate. Mark's batting was good (not great), but his fielding was sooooo good it definitely gets him some extra points. Steve - I don't know. Obviously a champ, but - I don't know. I just have an uncomfortable feeling about him.
 

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