Fantasy Head-to-Head: Over 30s XI vs. Under 30s XI
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Just who would win if a fantasy Over-30s XI took on an Under-30s XI in a Test match played on neutral territory?
Well, we will let you the reader decide on that.
These are the two sides we have selected for this fascinating match-up and if you thought that youth would give the U30s a slight advantage in this particular head to head—well, you may want to see the composition of the final XIs first before making your call!
DO not be afraid either to tell us if you think there have been any glaring omissions from the two chosen lineups, starting with the U30s XI...
No. 1: Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
The powerful 24-year-old opener has been selected to give the innings some momentum at the start.
Boy, does the clean-hitting left-hander provide that with his ability to score all round the wicket with consummate ease.
No. 2: Shikhar Dhawan (India)
After the explosive start the 27-year-old has made to his Test career, it was impossible to leave the moustachioed left-handed opener out.
In conjunction with Tamim, this will be an opening partnership the like of which has never been seen before in the international arena.
No. 3: Alastair Cook (England, Captain)
Cook will skipper this XI—although from an unfamiliar No. 3 position on this occasion—but with 25 Test-match tons to his name already at the age of just 28, the Essex left-hander was one of the first names down on the team-sheet for his ability to bat for long periods without losing concentration.
No. 4: Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
The current eighth-best batsman in the world, according to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings—and with an eye-catching average of 65—the diminutive and ice-cool 25-year-old completes an intriguing-looking top four in this lineup.
No. 5: Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
The 29-year-old just sneaks in on both age and ability qualifications, although—on his day—the Kiwi right-hander can match it with the very best on the world stage and with a cover drive to purr about, too.
No. 6: Virat Kohli (India)
Graceful and elegant, the 24-year-old middle-order batsman is currently in the form of his life—and quite a terrifying prospect coming in at No. 6 as well.
No. 7: AB De Villiers (South Africa, Wicketkeeper)
Now ranked by the ICC as the world’s second-best Test batsman, the 29-year-old Proteas stumper has been squeezed down to an unfamiliar No. 7 position in this lineup due to his extra duties behind the wicket, making this a formidable top seven to bowl at.
No. 8: Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
The tall off-spinner is our sole tweaker in this XI. However, the 27-year-old deserves his selection on the basis of being the highest-placed spinner aged under 30 in the world at No. 8 in the recent Test rankings.
No. 9: Vernon Philander (South Africa)
The fastest bowler in the history of the game to snare 50 Test wickets, the 28-year-old Proteas paceman will take the new ball for this team, with accuracy and movement off the seam his two greatest qualities.
No. 10: Tim Southee (New Zealand)
The under-rated Black Caps paceman will act as first-change bowler in this XI, a job he often fulfils for his country. The 24-year-old will also provide some lower-order ballast with the bat if needed.
No. 11: Morne Morkel (South Africa)
Unlike for his country, the beanpole fast bowler, 29, will share the new ball with his compatriot Philander, especially targeting any left-handed batsmen in the opposition top order.
Now click on the next slide to reveal the start of the Over-30s XI...
No. 1: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
The 35-year-old is still one of the most elegant off-side players in the world, and without the burden of having to keep wicket any more, the Sri Lankan is an even more dangerous batsman to contain now, as a Test average of 56 clearly demonstrates.
No. 2: Chris Gayle (West Indies)
You didn’t think we were going to leave out the Master Blaster, did you?
Aged 34 and with a strike-rate in Tests of 59, the languid but explosive left-handed opener is one of the most terrifying sights for an opposition bowler to try and contain when in full flow, while always a joy to watch.
No. 3: Hashim Amla (South Africa)
As befits the world’s best Test batsman, the 30-year-old’s name was one of the first down in this lineup after a run of recent form in the international arena the like of which has rarely been seen before.
No. 4: Jacques Kallis (South Africa)
Again, not a tough one to choose, with the Proteas star—despite now being aged 38—still regarded as the best all-rounder in the game with a batting average of 55 and 288 Test wickets to his name at an average of 32 to boot.
No. 5: Michael Clarke (Australia)
The Aussie skipper gets selected in his more favoured No. 5 role; however, with a Test average of 52 and two years of consistent run scoring behind him, the 32-year-old has earned that right.
No. 6: Ian Bell (England)
The Warwickshire batsman’s recent summer against Australia has propelled the 31-year-old into this star-studded lineup, but with good reason too. If you now wanted someone to bat for your life, then the ginger-haired Englishman would be your man.
No. 7: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand, Captain and Wicketkeeper)
Possessing one of the shrewdest tactical brains in the game at present, the all-action Kiwi has been asked to keep wicket—despite his dodgy back—lead the side and provide crucial runs down at No. 7, while all at the grand old age of 32.
No. 8: Graeme Swann (England)
The 34-year-old Nottinghamshire off-spinner, the world’s sixth-best Test bowler, just gets the nod here ahead of New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori and Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath, so watch out left-handers Tamim and Cook at the top of the U30s' order.
No. 9: Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Similar to his compatriot Amla, as the world’s No. 1-ranked Test-match bowler the Proteas paceman, 30, was an easy choice to be given the new cherry in which to examine fully the opposition batting lineup with his searching 90mph away and inswingers.
No. 10: James Anderson (England)
Partnering Steyn with the new ball is Lancashire’s swing bowler, a combination that is sure to test the U30 openers’ judgement outside off stump to the maximum. The 31-year-old narrowly edges out Australia’s injury-hit paceman Ryan Harris in the process.
No. 11: Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)
If you thought the Steyn-Anderson pace attack was a frightening prospect, then how about a spin-bowling partnership comprising Swann and fellow off-break bowler Ajmal, who even at 36 is still the most dangerous tweaker on show in the international arena?