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PostMTed's Noughties XI

6248 runs @ 52.50 in 72 matches

Virender Sehwag's statistics at the top of the order speak for themselves. Averaging over 50 against the new ball against the opposition's most hostile bowlers is no easy task, but it is one that Sehwag has carried out with undeniable prowess. He has hit two 300s, and two more 250s, a record. For seeral years, India struggled to find him an opening partner, but now that he hs developed a sound understanding with Gautam Gambhir, I hope that his play flourishes into the next decade.

8364 runs @ 52.93 in 96 matches

Matthew Hayden's illustrious career of dominant and aggressive batsmanship led to bowlers being intimidated by his presence at the crease. When he thumped the Zimbabweans for 380 he scored quickly and looked in no trouble at all. His self-confidence was clear from his very first match when he asked if anyone had ever hit 200 on debut. He went out and hit 149.

7129 runs @ 52.30 in 89 matches

The Little Master has always played with strength and power that defies his 5'5" build. He is perhaps the only batsman in the decade not to have any weaknesses. Although he made his debut in 1989 as a teenager, he still has many more years of cricket left in him as his form shows no apparent decline. He has done evything in cricket that a batsman can do except hit a triple century, but at 36 I wouldn't rule it out.

BRIAN LARA - West Indies
6380 runs @ 54.06 in 55 matches

Brian Lara of Trinidad and Tobago is the only man ever to have hit 400 in a test match, and it was not out too. His knack for compiling huge innings, especially in 1994 where in the space of two months he hit 375 for the Windies and 501* for Durham. Although he was twice made captain of his nation, he was accused of being selfish, but that is hardly surprising as he once hit 42% of their runs in a series.

RICKY PONTING - Australia - Captain
9458 runs @ 58.38 in 107 matches

Tasmania's finest cricketer, Ricky Ponting overcame an alcohol problem in the 1990s to emerge a much better player. He averaged 48 in the 90s as opposed to 58 in the 00s, a massive jump from a good batsman to a great one. Ponting recently became the most successful captain ever in the last test match of the decade, a fitting end to a legendary decade.

8630 runs @ 58.70 and 205 wickets @ 32.00 in 101 matches

Jacques Kallis is the most successful allrounder in a long time. You may have noticed how as I progress down the eleven, the batting averages get higher? That is not deliberate, as I consider Kallis to have a slight weakness to full, swinging balls early in his innings. It is obviously a weakness he has overcome, as you have to be bloody good to average nearly 60 in over 100 matches. He also holds the record for most runs in a career without a 200, although that could quite easily be passed on to Alec Stewart next week.

ADAM GILCHRIST - Australia - Wicketkeeper
5130 runs @ 46.63 and 397 dismissals in 91 matches

Yet again I find myself having to write a profile of the architypal "keeping allrounder". Gilchrist can turn a game on its head with a single bit of brilliance with the bat or behind the stumps. His hitting power is unique - he uses orthodox shots to unorthodox effect. There isn't much more I can write about him other than he is a once in a generation player.

SHANE WARNE - Australia
357 wickets @ 25.17 in 65 matches

Overall, Shane Warne was the leading test wicket taker, and probably the best leg spinner in the history of the game. However, there was controversy with drugs and some very friendly Indian bookmakers. The "Gatting Ball" in his first Ashes test was very much a sign of things to come with Warne, as he retained his effectiveness after chronic shoulder injuries.

565 wickets @ 20.97 in 84 matches

The stand alone performer in the Sri Lankan bowling attack for many years, Muttiah Muralitharan's "bowling" ability is the stuff of legend. He broke Shane Warne's wiicket record, but whether he should even have played test cricket remains in doubt. His ability to bowl with a bend of less than 15 degrees in his arm cannot be questioned in a laboratory, but whether he does so in the middle is different entirely.

GLENN McGRATH - Australia
297 wickets @ 20.53 in 66 matches

Glenn McGrath's probing accuracy and targeting of the top of off stump meant that batsmen could hardly ever get him away. His match-winning 8/24 against Pakistan in 2004 stands out as a particularly destructive spell. He bowled for 16 overs straight, and his victims included Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Mohammad Yousuf (who were each considered for this side). All but one of his victims were caught behind the wicket either by Gilchrist or the rather prominant slip cordon - a masterclass of seam bowling.

The Final Fast Bowling Spot

There are three contenders for the final fast bowling spot, but as there are no stand-outs, I'll mention them all. Ideally, I'd want someone of express pace, a type of bowler not yet in the XI.

94 wickets @ 27.91 in 29 matches

Younis was an express paced bowler who really peaked in the 90s, but was still effective well into the 2000s. He was one of the first to master reverse swing.

93 wickets @ 19.73 in 20 matches

Courtney Walsh's bowling was similar to Glenn McGrath. He didn't have the express pace that you would associate with West Indian quick bowlers, but he was nippy.

SHANE BOND - New Zealand
87 wickets @ 22.09 in 18 matches

One of the most promising fast bowlers in a long time, Shane Bond's career has been blighted by injury - otherwise he would have been a legend of the game


Currently writing a series of blogs about completely false cricket events - simulated on ICC2002.

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