What's In A Name?
Updated: May 17
There have been many great cricketing families throughout the years.
The Pollocks of South Africa, Chappells of Australia and the Hadlees of New Zealand have all scripted periods of cricket. However, it is a team sport and whilst these greats would improve many a side, they aren't able to do it all themselves.
What would be the optimal team if they all had to have the same surname? Sadly we won't be seeing the likes of Hadlee or Chappell but we will get to witness the battles between the plentiful Taylors, Singhs and Khans.
In the spirit of the World Test Championship, it is fitting to finally determine what is officially the best name in test cricket.
The most common name in cricket history, Smith has served up many a great batsman.
Leading from the front is Graeme, the South African who has captained the most tests in history is a fine name at the top of the order. Another recent bane of bowlers round the globe, Steve, highlights the rest of the top order with classy middle order runs being provided by Robin Smith, England's prolific left hander of the 80s and 90s.
New Zealand former wicket-keeper turned commentator Ian Smith would provide a handy addition behind the stumps too.
Sadly the talent doesn't extend to the bowlers with New Zealand's Collie Smith from the 50s the most prolific with 48 @ 34. An honourable mention goes to the famous English actor Aubrey Smith who played one test against a very ropey 19th century South African side and took 7-61 in the match.
Closely following Smith, there have been many quality Khans to play the game and they are able to offer a much more balanced side.
Rashid could bolster the lower order batting as well as offering spin
(Photo Credit: Abu Dhabi Cricket)
Talismanic captain Imran Khan will lead from the front and provide value with bat and ball. Younis Khan is needed for the bulk of the runs but he will be ably supported by fellow Pakistanis Mohsin and Majid who made 15 Test tons between them.
Backing up Imran in the seam department is India's spearhead from the 2000s Zaheer Khan whilst the greatest player in Afghanistan's short history Rashid Khan will provide some deadly leg spin. Definitely a team to look out for.
Next on the list come the Alis, another team dominated by Asian players.
Not as strong as the Khans, they will be led by another former Pakistani captain in Azhar Ali who will have to combine with incumbent opener Abid Ali for the majority of the runs for the inexperienced side.
Recently recalled England spinner Moeen will have to do the lion's share of the bowling alongside cousin, one Test wonder and mid-noughties England bowler, Kabir, without much support from elsewhere.
The Taylors are one of the most diverse teams fielded in this competition with stars coming from six countries.
Mark Taylor could be counted on to lead from the top of the order and they have arguably the strongest middle order in the competition, comprised of New Zealand great Ross Taylor, owner of 40 international hundreds and counting, joined by Zimbabwe's best batsman of the 21st century Brendan Taylor.
One of South Africa's first great players Herbie Taylor, who averaged 41 in the tricky batting period around the First World War rounds out a strong batting line up.
Bruce Taylor, the only man to score a century and take 5 wickets on debut would partner Jerome Taylor from the West Indies to hopefully provide the wickets.
If all of the players had to come from the same country, Pakistan would likely be dominant; they boast 18 Ahmeds alone.
Again, a former Pakistani captain leads the line as Sarfaraz will be behind the sticks and providing some aggressive batting. Runs at the top of the order will come from Imtiaz (50s), Saeed (60s) and Ijaz (90s) who have 18 test centuries between them.
As with other names, bowling is their shortfall although prolific mystery bowler turned coach Mushtaq Ahmed will surely be able to cause a few problems.
Another nation who could produce a team on their own is Sri Lanka with the Silvas or De Slivas.
Providing the captain's nous would be SL great Aravinda, the short batsman who could bowl a bit too is famously known for winning man of the match in the final of their historic 1996 world cup triumph.
The team has a number of capable if not incredible batsmen in Kaushal, Roshen and Dhananjaya, three Sri Lankans who have occasionally enjoyed success in the 2010s with recent West Indian find Joshua De Silva adding runs and chat from behind the stumps.
Sadly they are another team who would lack wickets. Somachandra De Silva played in Sri Lanka's first ever test and failed to win any of his 12 but did take 37 wickets @ 36.
Next up are the Singhs. Whilst they have good top end skill, Yuvraj being able to provide the batting fireworks, they will be overly reliant on Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh. The Turbanator leads the runs and wickets charts for his team highlighting their lack of depth.
After the top two, nobody else is close to 1,000 test runs although RP Singh, the Indian left armer, could offer wickets with the new ball.
Rounding out the line-up are the Jones. They have the smallest squad in the competition but pack plenty of firepower.
Andrew of New Zealand and the late Australian hero Dean would surely score a few with Welshman/Australian/Papuan Geraint Jones hoping to find his 2005 form one last time behind the sticks.
The bowling would be a weaker suit although fellow Ashes hero Simon Jones can tear through any batting order on his day.
In the quarter finals, the Smiths win the toss against the Singhs and rack up an incredible amount of runs. The whole tournament is in England so Graeme and Steve Smith both inevitably score daddy hundreds. Despite the lack of bowling, runs on the board and an aggressive field is enough to see them through.
Pre-tournament favourites the Khans make light work of the Jones with Rashid Khan bamboozling their 20th century batting line up.
The tie of the first round is between the Taylors and the Ahmeds with the batting firepower of the former being enough to sneak them over the line in a tight run chase.
The last quarter sees the Silvas play the Alis with the Sri Lankan dominated team edging through on virtue of first innings total in a high scoring draw. Neither team has a strong enough bowling line up as runs are scored freely.
The Semis sees the Khans waltz through the Silvas. The Sri Lankan batting line up are unable to deal with the quick bowling attack on English wickets as Zaheer takes 6 to rip through them.
After scraping through by virtue of weight of runs in the quarters, the Smiths are not as fortunate second time around. Their lack of balance comes back to haunt them as Steve Smith falls early to Jerome Taylor's pace and the middle order machine of Brendan and Ross Taylor make hay against a tired and inexperienced attack.
The Final - Khan v Taylor
Winning the toss on a greenish surface at Lord's, Imran Khan has no hesitation in deciding to bowl and opens up with himself and Zaheer. However the determined batting line up holds firm with Herbie and Mark providing a good platform for the fluent stroke play of the middle order.
James Taylor realises his potential with a career defining century, flourishing against the spin of Shadab and Rashid as they make 367 despite Imran's 4 wickets.
The Pakistani openers fall early in their reply to the fired up Jerome Taylor but at 81-4, Younis Khan is joined by his captain. Imran flays his way to a run a ball 80 as Younis anchors the innings with a century of his own. Late fireworks from Sohail Khan helps close their innings 34 behind.
Mark Taylor is unable to repeat his first innings runs and becomes one of a couple of early Junaid Khan new ball wickets. Ross Taylor falls just short of a second fifty sparking a middle order collapse as Imran Khan gets some reverse swing to leave them 144-6. South African stalwart Herbie Taylor digs in before being 8th out for a valiant 86 as they set the Khans 255 for the title.
Keen to atone for first innings failures, Majid and Mohsin combine to see off the new ball and nearly put on a century for the first wicket. The Taylors turn to their spinner Peter to break the partnership on the turning wicket and he obliges by taking two quickly.
Jerome Taylor returns with a hostile spell to dismiss first innings centurion Younis but Moin joins Majid at the crease to steady the ship. Majid falls just short of his century to Peter Taylor but Imran provides a useful thirty to get them within reach of the winning score.
Both fall playing aggressively but golden boy Rashid Khan steps up and takes them over the line with three wickets to spare. Inevitably, it was a cracking test match between the two best sides and names in the competition with the Khans just prevailing, their captain picking up the MOTM award for his runs and first innings wickets.
So there you have it, Khan is officially the best name in cricket. Whilst the Taylors and the Smiths could claim to have the best batting line up, over the course of 5 days, no team would be able to match up to the variety of the Khan's XI.
In conclusion, if you want your child to become a famous cricketer, change your name to Khan and call them Taylor.
1 Majid Khan Pak
2 Mohsin Khan Pak
3 Rashid Khan Pak
4 Younis Khan Pak
5 Moin Khan (wk) Pak
6 Imran Khan (c) Pak
7 Shadab Khan Pak
8 Rashid Khan Afg
9 Sohail Khan Pak
10 Zaheer Khan Ind
11 Junaid Khan Pak
1 Herbie Taylor SA
2 Mark Taylor Aus
3 Brendan Taylor (c) Zim
4 Ross Taylor NZ
5 Johnny Taylor Aus
6 James Taylor Eng
7 Bruce Taylor NZ
8 Peter Taylor Aus
9 Bob Taylor (wk) Eng
10 Jerome Taylor WI
11 Jaswick Taylor WI
James and Brendan for Notts
(Photo Credit: "Cricket at Lord's"by It's No Game is licensed under CC BY 2.0)