A Truly Professional World XI – An Expert View from Kersi Meher-Homji

Posted by on Friday, February 10th, 2017 in Cricket


Kersi Meher-Homji, renowned author of 14 Books on Cricket (a 15th, “From Bradman to Kohli” is on the way soon) employs tools of the trade to select one, in the very first Guest Article on Cricket Writer!


Are today’s cricketers professional enough?

After employing tools of the trade, I’ve come up with a genuine Professional World XI where surnames of Test cricketers represent different professions namely Engineer, Contractor, Bishop, Butler, Miller, Archer, Smith and Merchant as you holler for a Marshall.

So here is my Professional team of Test cricketers in batting order:

Vijay Merchant (Ind), Alastair Cook (Eng), Graeme Smith (S. Af., capt.), Steve Smith (Aus, vice-capt), Keith Miller (Aus), Basil Butcher (WI), Farokh Engineer (Ind, WK), Colin ‘Funky’ Miller (Aus), Malcolm Marshall (WI), Ian Bishop (WI) and CTB ‘Terror’ Turner (Aus).

12th man: Mark Butcher (Eng).

Reserves: Stuart Clark (Aus), Nari Contractor (Ind), Mike Smith (Eng), Ian Butler (NZ), Ron and Ken Archer (Aus), Bob Barber (Eng), Seymour Nurse (WI), Terry Alderman (Aus), Harold Butler (Eng), Mark Butcher (Eng), Ronald Pope (Aus), Harry Dean (Eng), John Shepherd (WI), Barry Shepherd (Aus) and Ghulam Guard (Ind).

And believe me, Ghulam Guard was by profession a policeman in India!

I was tempted to take poetic license and include Australia’s Mark and Peter Taylor, Craig Serjeant and Michael Clarke but the spellings were not accurate and I decided against it.

As many of the players come from different eras, some require an introduction. Merchant (played Test cricket from 1933 to 1951) was known as the Bradman of India and his first-class batting average of 71.22 from 229 innings is second only to Don Bradman’s of 95.14.

Leading India in the West Indies in 1962, Contractor became the first Test cricketer to almost die on the field when a chucker from Charlie Griffith hit him on his head.

Charles Turner captured 101 wickets at 16.53 in only 17 Tests from 1886 to 1894 and was nicknamed Terror.

Marshall and Keith Miller will open the attack, ‘Terror’ coming at first change, then Bishop. ‘Funky’ Miller will be the lone spinner, colouring the occasion by dyeing his hair rainbow. Engineer will be the wicket-keeper.

A Professional XI needs professional umpires and they are England’s David Shepherd and India’s Piloo Reporter.

The list of “professional” cricketers is not complete and readers of CricketWriter are invited to add to it.

33 responses to “A Truly Professional World XI – An Expert View from Kersi Meher-Homji”

  1. Anindya Dutta says:

    Kersi – First a heartfelt thank you for your support for Cricket Writer. I am truly humbled! And then on the article. Its simply terrific! I love the quirky nature of the piece and there could not have been a better Guest Article to launch my site! I can just imagine at the end of the game, David Shepherding the troops off the field and Piloo going off to do his Reporting to the Match Referee! And Bishop blessing the food as the players sit down for lunch! Delightful prospect!

  2. Kersi Meher-Homji says:

    It is a pleasure to be associated with your newly launched and colourfully designed website.
    And if there is an injury there will be a Nurse. And what better, food served by a Butler at lunch time!

  3. Chinmoy Jena says:

    Remarkably interesting ‘collection’ of players,if I am allowed to term it thus.I would have liked to add John Wright and Seymour Nurse somewhere in the team or in the reserves.

  4. Kersi Meher-Homji says:

    Chapman? I’d say no. Then Stuart Law is not a Lawyer. So out.
    I hesitate to include Ashwell Prince (SAf) and Collis King (WI)as royalty is not a profession. Or is it not?
    Also Barry Knight (Eng). Then from Australia are Charles Bannerman, William Cooper, Bert Ironmonger.
    To end there are too many Cooks, at least two; Alastair (Eng) and Jimmy (SAf) to spoil the broth.

    • Chinmoy Jena says:

      It was a question as to whether a ‘chapman’ qualifies or not.There should not be any problems with Wright, I suppose?

  5. Presi says:

    Lovely quixotic article! Don’t you need a Shastri to conduct Puja for the Hindu players?

  6. riteshmisra says:

    what a wonderfully written piece. I will say “Mazaa aa gaya”. To translate, it was fun. Superbly written and very very apt. A COMPLETE ARTICLE I FEEL, and if by chnce i even come across any more “professional” players i will revisit to add. Superb. I repeat, “Mazaa aa Gaya”

  7. TwelfthMan says:

    This is one of those articles that ‘forces’ you to think of more names that could make the list. Here is a couple that sprung to mind. UAE’s Shaukat Dukawala, WI pace bowler Ian Bishop and South African Kyle Abbott

  8. Nilanjan Bhowmick says:

    An excellent article. A departure from the usual eleven. Very interesting.

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      Thanks for checking in Nilanjan. Aside from his serious writing, Kersi stands alone in the field of quirky cricket pieces. His book, “Cricket Quirky Cricket” is an excellent read if you can get hold of a copy.

  9. riteshmisra says:

    Adhikari means Officer. Can hemu adhikari make it .
    what about mantri which means minister. Madhav Mantri.
    Prakash Bhandari ( 3 tests for India) . Bhandari means Barber
    Ghulam Guard. 2 Tests for India
    Chandrakant Pandit. 5 Tests for India
    However they are not good enough to be in the 11. They can provide net practice to the regular 11

  10. Anindya Dutta says:

    Nice ones Ritesh! I didn’t know Bhandari is Barber. Interesting.

  11. davSA says:

    A fun read , thanks for the effort and good luck with your venture. I would add a few more Cooks though … Jimmy Cook , Stephen Cook and Quinten De Kock ( in Afrikaans direct translation means The Cook . Then again maybe too many Cooks to spoil …..

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      Thanks so much Dav. And thanks for checking out the site. Hope to see you here more often! Will try and put up interesting stuff that draws you here! Cheers.

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      And Quentin de Kock is a nice addition to the overflowing kitchen! Too many Cooks now for sure in kersi’s team!

  12. Kersi Meher-Homji says:

    Ritesh,thanks for Adhikari and Bhandari. I had mentioned Ghulam Guard who was also a policeman in my story. Also Pandit.

  13. Sobhan Kar says:

    Interesting discussions and funny too!! I had once composed a poem on Cook, Butler, Swan, Root and Bell when the English team was here in 2013. It was essentially about cooking of roots and swans and then ringing the bell to invite everyone for dinner!

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      Sobhan, as a young promising fast bowler who could have been an India great, but for life’s choices, I welcome you to the site and hope you will continue to visit it regularly. As for your poem, lets have it here! I am sure Kersi would love to read it as an excellent addendum to his fine piece!

    • Kersi Meher-Homji says:

      Sobhan, please send in your poem. Would love to read it.
      Also I did not know that you were a promising fast bowler.
      Did you know that the famous England fast bowler John Snow also wrote poems?

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