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