Sunday, 2 September 2007

Ben on...Warne's favourite Black Caps

Shane Warne has decided to tell us his pick for the top 50 cricket players that he has played with or against. The list ran in his cricket column in Times Online: introduction, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1.

He has only three New Zealanders on his list:

Chris Cairns (New Zealand)
Test matches 62
Runs 3,320 at 33.53
Wickets 218 at 29.40
He played the most incredible shot off my bowling during a game in Hamilton. Placing his left leg into the rough, he swivelled to face square leg and hit the turning ball over that area for a huge six. At one stage, he was probably the best all-rounder in the world, despite struggling with injuries.

Stephen Fleming (New Zealand)
Test matches 104
Runs 6,620 at 39.64
Catches 159
Definitely the best captain I have played against, which is why he is in the 20s rather than the 40s. His understanding of tactics and plans are second to none, and he has the temperament to stay calm when things are going against him. Also a classy left-handed batsman and excellent slip fielder.

Martin Crowe (New Zealand)
Test matches 77
Runs 5,444 at 45.36
“Flem” will bristle at ranking below Crowe –– but 23 is my favourite number so he can’t take it the wrong way. I played against Crowe early in my career and did not bowl to many more elegant batsmen in the years after he retired. He picked up length early and seemed to have all the shots, allowing him to score quickly.

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