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Best of the east: A NSW XI that has played 16 Tests or less


Following my critically-criticized and universally-criticized first article, the insatiable and baffling thirst for fake team rosters has once again surfaced. But deep down, we all love a “best of” list, right? As tempted as we are, as soon as we see a link to a “best of” team, we are inextricably drawn.

As empirical proof of this, you are reading this right now. Suction cup.

After selecting the WA team (2022 champions in just about everything), the Best of <16 Tests needs opposition for the West to win. And due to an unpopular request, here is another list: the best NSW XI who has played for two or more states in the Sheffield Shield. Now known as the NSW Twin-State All Stars (NSWTSAS) XI.

Now, in truth, I misread Big Daddy’s criteria, so I started by trying to identify the best two-state players in Shield history. It seemed simple enough: Find a website with every two-state player listed Single? Pfftt. But as Mrs Cohen said in Brian’s life“There are a multitude of them there!”

Of course there are.

For starters, the Multi-State All-Star (MSAS) Overall XI, which is made up of players who represented at least two Pura States, is ridiculous. Ridiculous! I’m not even kidding! This team could and would beat most, if not all, international teams from any decade you want to mention. But I will save this team for another time.

So back to the NSWTSAS. Due to the ridiculous amount of talent in the NSWTSAS XI, this wouldn’t be a fair fight against a state team whose players are limited to 16 Tests. So like triple crowned WA I capped NSWTSAS players at 16 tests so Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes (who didn’t even do the MSAS) and Adam Gilchrist (who did) don’t qualify .

The other element is the difficulty of finding enough Bruce Waynes to fulfill Big Daddy’s requirement to play for Australia after moving from state to state. So it’s definitely weakened this lot, mainly because Ed Cowan, Andrew Hilditch, Michael Bevan and Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth all played 18 Tests. Boy, this is really boring. So, sorry about that, Big Daddy.

So after a lot of unnecessary fiddling like the flatulent violinist, here comes the <16 Tests NSW All Star squad to take on WA.

(Note: Any player selected to Matth’s All-Time Great Alphabet Team, link to this article is below)

1. Nic Maddinson

With Ed Cowan, Andrew Hilditch (both 18 Tests, although all of Ed’s Tests came after his defection) and Percy Stanislaus McDonnell (19 Tests) ineligible, Nic will open.

I like Nico. Not only is he plundering runs in a losing effort for the Shield final, he’s also an exciting cricketer to watch, which is crucial ahead of Dirk ‘Insomnia’ Wellham. Selected prematurely in 2016 along with fellow debutants Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb against South Africa, he has a better Test record bowling (27 from 36 balls) than batting (27 runs from 78 balls). Nic would surely return in the Test XI if he returned to New South Wales.

2. Peter ‘Who’ Taylor

Flying way too high on this team, but he was mistaken for Mark Taylor on his Test debut in ’87, so it’s easier to run with that error and get him to open the stick. He moved to Queensland in 1990-91 and played the last of his 13 Tests in 1992. No longer an ODI bowler, but if he played in the 1800s, thanks to his two Test 50s (highest score 87 ) at 27, he would be considered an all-rounder.

3. Dirk Wellham

The bespectacled, barnacle-like former New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland player was described by Wisden as “tough, pugnacious and well organized”. Others described it as “boring”. The last of his six Tests was played before moving to Tassie, and he marked a century of careful Testing at The Oval in 1981.

4. Hampden Stanley Bray Love

Wicketkeeper Hammy Love, who also tops the list for best name ever, played a Test in 1933 (5 runs) due to being stuck behind a fellow NSW called Bert Oldfield. He must have loved it so much that he left NSW to go to Victoria and then rightly returned to NSW so he could continue to enjoy being Oldfield’s deputy for another six seasons.

His fine first-class hitting record sees him change the order: 2,906 runs to 35 with seven hundred, 11 half-cents and a max score of 192.

5. Hunter Scott Thomas Laurie Hendry

Hunter ‘Hearst’ Hendry, or ‘Stork’ due to his height of 6′ 2 (this is not that tall) was a versatile 11 Test player between 1921 and 1929. Moving to Victoria in 1924, he scored a single Test century by putting 215 with fellow countryman Vic Bill Woodfull in 1929.

Triple H’s Test record (335 runs at 25 and 16 wickets at 40) was broken because the selectors liked to drop him to the first drop and have him open the bowling; like an Alec Stewart of old, I guess. Well, no, not really. ‘The Game’ shows its class through its excellent first class record: 140 matches, highest score 325 not out, average 38, 229 wickets to 29. It’s a bit of a pedigree.

(Steven Paston – EMPICS/Getty Images)

6. Samuel Percy Jones

Sammy played 12 Tests between 1882 and 1888. When exactly he moved to Queensland is a bit of a mystery, but he played for Brisbane and Queensland in 1885-86. He was described as a lively, medium-paced bowler and solid batsman who averaged 21 with the bat and his six wickets averaged 18.66. Runs a truly ordinary lower order, with apologies to Travis Head.

7.Frederick Burton

Because Gilly turned around and played loads of Tests, we’re filtering down to Victoria-born Fred Burton. Unlike Gilly, Fred’s stick wasn’t the best: in two Tests in 1887-88 he scored a total of four runs with a max score of 2 (but hey, he wasn’t knocked out). Amazingly, he was held up for his second test as a batsman when Jack Blackham returned despite averaging 15 in first class. We will have to review it before deciding to downgrade it in order.

8. Harry Boyle

A medium-to-medium-fast bowler who looked like a science teacher was an excellent foil for The Demon; especially in England, which suited its metronomic line and length.

His move from NSW to Victoria may have coincided with that of The Demon in 1885. His 12 Tests between 1879 and 1884 yielded 32 wickets at 20 (FC – 140 matches, 370 wickets at 15.38) and he was regarded as a brilliant and fearless defender close to the wicket. Was in fact chosen as skipper of the 1880 tour but was replaced by Billy Murdoch at a shipboard meeting; most likely because Murdoch wisely chose to stay in New South Wales.

9. JJ Ferris

I like those guys who played in that era because they played so few Tests. Historians wonder why this was the case until today, probably something to do with Wi-Fi at the time, but John James was a left-arm bowler who bowled nine Tests between 1887 and 1892.

Fifth on all-time bowling averages (minimum ten wickets), his 61 wickets came to a lousy 12.7 bowling with Charles ‘Terror’ Turner. Terror. The demon. Public relations in nicknames did not bother them at the time. Not only did JJ play for NSW and SA, he played a test for England, taking 13 for 91. He died later during the Boer War, probably while looking for a new team in join.

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All-Time Great Australian Cricket Alphabet Teams: Letter F

10. Bill Whitty

Or Will Bitty, as we’ll call him. A medium-fast left-arm bowler whose 65 Test wickets from 14 Tests to 21 all came after he moved to South Africa in 1908. Will was selected in Matth’s top Australian team names starting with W, and the profile over there does it more justice than my pointless ramblings.

11. Gerry Rignold Hazlitt

What a wonderful name! Although not Hammy Love, he had nine Tests to his name between 1907 and 1912; playing for Victoria in 1906-07 and 1910-11. It’s a weird timeline, but anyway.

At The Oval in 1912 (while with NSW, of course) he took 7-25 from 21.4 overs, but England still won. Took 23 wickets to 27, which was clearly not acceptable for the times, and his batting average was very average. Died in 1915 at the age of 27, which was also very average.

So who wins? It’s easy: WA because they win everything. NSW doesn’t have the best batting squad, thanks in large part to a group of players who selfishly played 18 Tests and the fact that they have Dirk Wellham.

WA, on the other hand, has a load of proven match winners with excellent milk records and they don’t have Dirk Wellham. Their batting tail is also extremely capable. If NSW were allowed to play Cowan, Hilditch, Bevan and Spofforth then that would be cheating and we are not cheating.

Somehow it turned into a series and oh look, this rabbit hole continues. Next is the best Pura Milk Cup players team of all time from/to NSW, and a team of ‘Strays’ (non-NSW).


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