Wierd guy that I am, in light of the performance against the Aussies the other day, I have been thinking about the best team of players from the start of NZ one day cricket experience. I have not considered players who played before one day cricket like John Reid who would no doubt have been a great one day player. However, I have gone for the best 11 as I see it.
Openers: Astle is a certainty with 16 one day centuries (next best 7, Fleming!). He also adds to the bowling with 99 wickets as well. Not a bad fielder too; the complete package. The second opener is Turner who provides the foil for Astle, able to hit over the top or to attack. In a curtailed career he averaged 47 and scored 3 centuries. We know from his county cricket performances that he is beyond peer as an opener in both forms of the game.
Top Order: Crowe has to come in at 3. He is NZ's best batsman without question averaging 38 and with a solid strike rate. Fleming is the next legitimate batsman with 7 centuries. He will also captain the side.
Middle Order: The middle order I think will involve two awesome alrounders, both quickish bowlers and fantastic attacking batsman; Chris Cairns and Jacob Oram. These two are no-brainers.
Wicket Keeper: there are three candidates here; Smith, Parore and McCullum (Wadsworth did not play much one day cricket (13 games); he would have been brilliant). Smith was a quick scorer (strike rae 99) and a great keeper; a lowish average of 17. McCullum is not as good a gloveman perhaps, but a good finisher with a strike rate of 80 and average of 23. Parore scored more runs at 26 but with a slower rate. All in all I will go for McCullum anticipating that by the end of his career his figures will be unparalleled in NZ one day wicket keeping/batting history.
Bowlers: Hadlee is a no brainer as is Bond in the shorter form of the game. Worthy of mention are the parsemonious Chatfield, Lance Cairns (who can forget his 6 6's as well), Chris Pringle, Geoff Allott, Gavin Larsen; all of whom were fine medium pacers. Danny Morrison too did well. However, Bond and Hadlee will blow the top of many innings at their very best! Without question Vettori joins them to complete a solid bowling line up with Cairns and Oram.
This leaves one more player. I could go for another genuine batsman like John Wright or Andrew Jones. Jones scored well with 2784 runs at 35.69 but he scored too slowly for this team (sr: 57.86). Wright scored nearly 4000 runs (3891) at 26.46 but too scored too slowly(sr. 57.18).
Other possibilities are Roger Twose, Ken Rutherford. Both did well; Twose scored 2717 at a very impressive 38.81 at an efficient 75.40 with 1 100 and 20 50's. A few more 50's converted would see him in the team for sure. Rutherford scored a few more but at a much lower average of 29.65 at a slower 64.30 with 2 100's and 18 50's. Twose also can bowl a little.
On a turner we could bring in a spinner. If so, it would be Dipak Patel or John Bracewell. In this regard Patel wins with a superior average (50 vs 57), a superior strike rate (72.2 vs 74.1) and a superior economy rate (4.17 vs. 4.61). Who can forget Patel's performance in the 1992 World Cup? He then, makes the squad but only plays when it is a slowie.
Another possibility for the llth man is a middle order batsman and part-time bowler to fill the spot in the middle order and give a few overs when required.
The candidates are Chris Harris, Jeremy Coney and Craig McMillan. As batsmen the averages are close (Harris: 29; Coney 30.72; McMillan 28). McMillan wins the strike rate battle at 75.44 (cf. Harris: 66.51; Coney 64.92). McMillan has 2 centuries, the others one. So McMillan is probably slightly more useful.
As bowlers Coney has the best economy rate (4.17) as against a similarly miserly Harris (4.28) and McMillan (5.52). Harris has 203 wickets, about 4 times Coney (54) and McMillan (46). In terms of average there is littel between them with McMillan at about 35; Coney and Harris about 38.
Harris is also an inspirational one day fielder.
All in all, it seems to come down to a decision between another batsman Twose and a batsman-bowler and Harris is the best option. I will go for the latter because of the whole package he brings, cover fielder, miserly bowler and good middle order batsman.
So the team is:
Turner (Otago, ND)
Crowe (Auckland, CD, Wellington)
Fleming (Canterbury, Wellington) (Captain)
McCullum (Otago; Canterbury) (Wicketkeeper)
Perhaps this will look different after the World Cup!