All Time XIs are possibly the most arbitrary of cricket’s many pointless pursuits. The players can always be debated; the team selected will never take the field, and the debate over which side is better will never be resolved.
Regardless, it’s great fun.
So here’s an All Time XI from Western Australia. Please note that this is a side made up of the best players for Western Australia, not necessarily the best players from Western Australia. This affects surprisingly few of WA’s players: generally, the best players from out west have been picked late for international honours, or existed during an era where the Sheffield Shield was relatively unaffected by Test cricket.
Where Shane Warne played just 46 First Class matches for Victoria, and Steve Smith significantly fewer than that for New South Wales, only Adam Gilchrist has been severely hindered by international commitments – and even he made 59 appearances in the Baggy Yellow.
It was a tough call to choose openers: there were those of the ilk of Simon Katich, Chris Rogers and Geoff Marsh who failed to make the cut. Mike Veletta was demoted to the seconds, and Michael Hussey was shafted to first drop.
All of these players had superb records, and all of them made significant contributions to Western Australian cricket.
In the end, it was Justin Langer and Graeme Wood who got the nod.
Langer played over 100 Tests for Australia, has a significant legacy in County Cricket, and is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest ever top-order bats. His record for WA is even better – in the mid-1990s he accrued runs like he was collecting stamps. He averaged over 70 in 1993-94 and 1996-97, despite having the likes of Hussey, Marsh, Veletta and Mark Lavender fighting for top order slots. He was a match-winner in the 1991-92 Shield final, and sits atop the list of WA First Class run-scorers.
Wood’s statistics might seem a little less impressive next to Langer’s, but his influence was unparalleled. Only two men played more games for WA, no one has captained them in more games, and WA’s hattrick of Shield victories in the late 1980s were all tackled under Wood’s captaincy. As an opening partnership, it’s going to be a hell of a challenge for any bowling line-up.
|Justin Lee LANGER (WA: 1991 – 2008)
9951 runs, average 51.03
39 fifties, 29 hundreds, 119 catches
|Graeme Malcolm WOOD (WA: 1977 – 1991)
7960 runs, average 46.28
35 fifties, 24 hundreds, 89 catches
The Middle Order
Just like with the openers, WA’s middle order was a close-fought battle. Among those who missed out are Geoff Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Marcus North, John Inverarity, Mike Veletta, Ryan Campbell, Barry Shepherd. The list of candidates is huge, but with only four slots to fill, some top-flight batsmen miss out.
At first drop is the legendary Michael Hussey, who spent many years in the WA top-order before his late-blooming Test career made him a national hero. Hussey sits third on the list of WA run-scorers, and while his average seems a little underwhelming compared to, say, Langer, Adam Voges or Ken Meuleman, there’s no question that he’s among WA’s finest sons.
Messrs Four and Five are Damien Martyn and Adam Voges. Both have international careers that fail to reflect their real abilities, but that gave both the opportunity to became senior WA figures. Martyn is one of the handful of players to represent WA over 100 times, and made over 7000 runs at an average of 43.9, adding a throng of wickets with his useful mediums. Voges is the ideal number five: an average of 46, nearly half his WA appearances as captain, and 40 wickets with his left-arm tweakers.
Finally comes Tom Moody, Western Australia’s most-capped cricketer. He scored nearly 10,000 runs for WA, made 21 hundreds, and took over 200 wickets. His legacy for Worcestershire might have overshadowed his Shield record, but Moody is definitely a no-brainer selection.
|Michael Edward Killeen HUSSEY (WA: 1994 – 2013)
8685 runs, average 41.36
44 fifties, 18 hundreds, 122 catches
|Damien Richard MARTYN (WA: 1991 – 2006)
7329 runs, average 43.89
37 fifties, 20 hundreds, 100 catches
|Adam Charles VOGES (WA: 2002 – 2016)
7452 runs, average 46.29
34 fifties, 20 hundreds, 156 catches
|Thomas Masson MOODY (WA: 1986 – 2001)
9520 runs, average 42.31
49 fifties, 21 hundreds, 125 catches
232 wickets, average 28.41
5 five-fors, 1 ten-wicket match
If the bounty of openers and middle-order bats was enough to give a selector nightmares, the battle for the wicket-keeper’s slot is even worse. Adam Gilchrist, arguably Australia’s greatest Test gloveman, spent most of his career in the west. Tim Zoehrer, at one point Test ‘keeper, has to go close. Ryan Campbell and Luke Ronchi both deserve a shout.
In the end, though, it’s the other half of “bowled Lillee”, with Rod Marsh impossible to omit. He averaged barely a shade under 36 with the bat (solid, if not Gilchrist-ian), and effected 390 dismissals in his 97 WA appearances.
|Rodney William MARSH (WA: 1968 – 1984)
5175 runs, average 35.94
356 catches, 34 stumpings
One name was inevitable: Dennis Lillee. He’ll be sharing the new cherry with the pace and bounce of Jo Angel and the nagging medium-quick swing of Terry Alderman. Despite WA’s track-record as a quick bowler’s paradise, selecting the bowling attack was probably the easiest part of the entire side.
The unluckiest quicks are definitely Garth McKenzie and Michael Hogan, although both get a spot in the 2nd XI. Bruce Reid fails to make either side, despite being regarded as having played far too little for the Test side.
The spinning slot was, surprisingly, hotly contested. Brad Hogg and Bruce Yardley could both lay claim to the role, especially with Hogg’s all-rounder status. Tom Hogan was not without his merits, and men like Beau Casson and Michael Beer were solid when they were around.
In the end it went to Tony Lock, who will bat at number eight and also captain the side. The man who probably made Dennis Lillee, and who is regarded as inspiring Western Australia into cricket, was not only a ballsy skipper, but a very good bowler. It takes someone fairly useful to take 316 wickets, and average of sub-25 proves his brilliance in his time with the state.
The 12th Man
For the 12th man role, the major factor was utility: someone who could fill in as a middle-order bat if needed, or someone who could replace a bowler, should that be what was needed. With three quicks and Tom Moody in the side, the obvious candidate seemed to be a spinner.
And thus the selection of Brad Hogg was born. Although definitely more adept within the limited overs formats, he was a very useful Shield cricketer for WA. Add 3000-odd runs at 32 to his well-known left-arm chinaman, as well as world-class fielding, and you have a perfect 12th man.
|George Bradley HOGG (WA: 1994 – 2007)
3050 runs, average 32.45
19 fifties, 3 hundreds, 46 catches
129 wickets, average 38.63
8 five-fors, 0 ten-wicket matches
The Final XI
So that’s the Mind The Windows selection for Western Australia All Time XI. As a full side, it reads:
- Justin LANGER
- Graeme WOOD
- Michael HUSSEY
- Damien MARTYN
- Adam VOGES
- Tom MOODY
- Rod MARSH (wk)
- Tony LOCK (capt)
- Dennis LILLEE
- Terry ALDERMAN
- Jo ANGEL
- Brad HOGG
But a 1st XI wasn’t enough, and we decided to run through a second XI too:
- Chris ROGERS, who put up a remarkable record before jetting off to Victoria
- Mike VELETTA, one of only four men to make 8000+ runs for WA
- Geoff MARSH, if 355 not-out isn’t enough to get him in, the 23 other centuries are
- Marcus NORTH, who gets into the side for his 7679 runs, and more-than-useful offies
- John INVERARITY, the undisputed skipper of the side, as an excellent tactician and batsman
- Adam GILCHRIST, because Tim Zoehrer can just never quite get ahead of him
- Ian BRAYHSAW, with an excellent all-round record
- Brendon JULIAN, who took over 300 wickets, and was a more than useful bat
- Bruce YARDLEY, WA’s best home-grown spinner
- Garth McKENZIE, who was a stalwart for about a decade and a half
- Michael HOGAN, a late bloomer never fully appreciated