Bill Lawry picks a team of the best test cricketers he played against.
Bill Lawry picks a team of the best test cricketers he played against.

Bill Lawry: My all-time Test XI

Bill Lawry's playing career began as a 16-year-old when Neil Harvey and Ray Lindwall were at their peak.

At 81 his memory remains sharp and today he selects a team of the finest cricketers he played against during his 67-Test career from 1961-71.

Some selections are easy for Lawry, players such as Graeme Pollock, Sir Garfield Sobers, Mike Procter and John Snow.

Others choices are obviously harder, such as leaving out Rohan Kanhai from the West Indies.

 

Bill Lawry's all-time Test opponent XI (L-R) Garfield Sobers, Erapalli Prasanna, Jon Snow and Geoff Boycott..
Bill Lawry's all-time Test opponent XI (L-R) Garfield Sobers, Erapalli Prasanna, Jon Snow and Geoff Boycott..

 

"Kanhai doesn't get mentioned enough; a superb player," Lawry said. " Maybe it's because he was overshadowed by Sobers.

"He made 252 in 1960-61 against Victoria at the MCG and you couldn't see a better innings."

Lawry chose Ted Dexter ahead of Kanhai at No.3 and views the England captain as a player whose match-winning abilities have been underrated over the years.

"Anyone who saw him play in that famous Test at Old Trafford in 1961, when Richie Benaud bowled us to victory, will never forget the power of Dexter's stroke play," Lawry said.

"Chasing 250-odd on a turner, Dexter scored 76 out of 110 for the first wicket when Richie was at his peak.

 

Bill Lawry hooks a John Snow bumper fine down the leg side on Boxing Day at the MCG in 1971.
Bill Lawry hooks a John Snow bumper fine down the leg side on Boxing Day at the MCG in 1971.

"Graeme Pollock was equally as destructive and picks himself at four, while Ken Barrington at five provides the solidarity required."

A surprise for some in Lawry's World team would be Charlie Griffith from Barbados, who in the 1960s formed a lethal opening attack with Wes Hall.

"When we toured the West Indies in 1965, he had a few blokes backing away," he said. "He was a handful."

WORLD XI (cricketers Lawry played against)

1: Barry Richards (South Africa, four tests, 508 runs at 72.57)

 

 

South African cricketer Barry Richards in the nets.
South African cricketer Barry Richards in the nets.

 

Only played four Tests through no fault of his own but I saw enough of him for South Africa, South Australia and through the World Series. A classical batsman, beautiful in his stroke play and more correct than Graeme Pollock but not as destructive.

 

2: Geoff Boycott (England, 108 Tests, 8114 at 47.72)

 

Geoff Boycott evades a bouncer from Rodney Hogg at the MCG. Picture: Getty Images
Geoff Boycott evades a bouncer from Rodney Hogg at the MCG. Picture: Getty Images

 

A beautiful batsman despite what some people may think. I played against him a lot (17 Tests) and don't worry, he could bat quickly if he wanted to. I saw him go stroke for stroke with a threshing machine named Bob Barber at the MCG in 1965 when they put on 98 runs in 76 minutes.

 

3: Ted Dexter (England, 62 Tests, 4502 at 47.89, 66 wickets at 34.93)

 

He was a superstar and I sometimes think he gets forgotten a bit. Nobody hit it cleaner than Ted when he was in the mood because he was just so gifted. What would he do in today's limited overs games?

 

4: Graeme Pollock (South Africa, 23 Tests, 2256 at 60.97)

 

 

Graeme Pollock hits the ball off the bowling of Benaud during the third match of the Australia v South Africa test match series at the SCG in 1964. Picture: Warwick Lawson.
Graeme Pollock hits the ball off the bowling of Benaud during the third match of the Australia v South Africa test match series at the SCG in 1964. Picture: Warwick Lawson.

 

I saw him as a 19-year-old twice hitting Richie Benaud for massive sixes at the Adelaide Oval and have never forgotten those shots. He was an incredible player, just so dangerous. Up there with Sobers as the best batsmen I have seen.

 

5: Ken Barrington (England, 82 Tests, 6806 at 58.67)

 

Along with Pollock, the hardest player to get out I played against. He was the ultimate competitor and went at his own pace. He was also one of those rare players whose Test batting average of 58 was a lot better than his first-class average of 45.

 

6: Garfield Sobers (West Indies, 93 Tests, 8032 runs at 57.78, 235 wickets at 34.03)

 

The great West Indian cricketer Sir Garfield (Gary) Sobers.
The great West Indian cricketer Sir Garfield (Gary) Sobers.

 

The best cricketer I have seen by a mile. Spin or pace, it made no difference. Ideally you would bat him higher than six but because he would be bowling quite a few overs, I'll give him a bit of a rest. And I like going right-hander (Dexter) left-hander (Pollock) right-hander (Barrington) and left-hander (Sobers)

 

7: Mike Procter (South Africa, Seven Tests, 226 runs at 25.11, 41 wickets at 15.02)

 

He has to be in this side. They jokingly changed the name of an English county side because of his dominance (Gloucestershire to Proctershire). He was an awkward bowler to face. What did he average in first-class cricket, 19 with the ball and 36 with the bat plus 48 centuries?

 

8: Alan Knott (England, 95 Tests, 4389 runs at 32.75, 250 catches/19 stumpings)

 

A real technician, totally professional.

Wicketkeeper Alan Knott had an effective if inelegant batting style.
Wicketkeeper Alan Knott had an effective if inelegant batting style.

in his preparation. As a gloveman he was the cleanest I played against and with the bat he put great value on his wicket even if he looked as if he was playing French cricket.

 

9: John Snow (England, 49 Tests, 202 wickets at 26.66)

 

English fast bowler John Snow.
English fast bowler John Snow.

 

Fred Trueman/Brian Statham from England and West Indians Wes Hall/Charlie Griffith were the best combinations I faced. But Snow, to right-handers in particular, could be close to unplayable if there was something in the pitch.

 

10: Charlie Griffith (West Indies, 28 Tests, 94 wickets at 28.54)

 

He was just so unpredictable and very nasty when he got it right. Sometimes the bowlers that give you the most trouble aren't those with the classical styles or purest actions. I can't imagine any of those blokes who came later being any more awkward for the batsmen than Griffith

 

11: Erapalli Prasanna (India, 49 Tests, 189 wickets at 30.30)

 

Erapalli Prasanna, in action.
Erapalli Prasanna, in action.

 

The best spinner I played against. Had wonderful flight and could really spin it in the right conditions. Derek Underwood in the right conditions could be a nightmare.

 

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News Corp Australia


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