A truly ‘professional’ World XI

Popes, Bishops, Millers and Butchers – even an Engineer and a Contractor: the professions in world cricket

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It was England’s current wicket-keeper Ollie Pope that got me thinking.

Or rather, it was his illustrious surname.

How well are the ‘professions’ represented amongst world cricketers?

I’ve taken a look, and have come up with a veritable ‘Professional’ World XI – where surnames of Test cricketers represent different professions, namely Engineer, Contractor, Bishop, Butler, Turner, Miller, Archer, Smith and Merchant as you holler for a Marshall.

So here is my ‘Professional’ team of Test cricketers in batting order:

Vijay Merchant (Ind), Alastair Cook (Eng), Graeme Smith (SA, capt.), Steve Smith (Aus, vice-capt), Keith Miller (Aus), Basil Butcher (WI), Farokh Engineer (Ind, WK), Colin ‘Funky’ Miller (Aus), Malcolm Marshall (WI), Ian Bishop (WI) and CTB ‘Terror’ Turner (Aus).

12th man: Mark Butcher (Eng).

Reserves: Nari Contractor (Ind), Stuart Clark (Aus), Mike Smith (Eng), Ian Butler (NZ), Ron and Ken Archer (Aus), Bob Barber (Eng), Seymour Nurse (WI), Terry Alderman (Aus), Harold Butler (Eng), Mark Butcher (Eng), Ronald Pope (Aus), Harry Dean (Eng), John Shepherd (WI), Barry Shepherd (Aus), Ollie Pope (Eng) and Ghulam Guard (Ind).

(And believe me, Ghulam Guard was by profession a policeman in India!)

professional World XI
Farokh Engineer and Mark Butcher (Source: Twitter)

I was tempted to take poetic license and include Australia’s Mark and Peter Taylor, Craig Serjeant and Michael Clarke as also England’s wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler. Given their inaccurate (or inauthentic) spellings, I made the umpire’s call and decided against.

As many of the players I’ve listed come from different eras, I’m aware that an introduction is needed for Gen Z readers. Merchant, who played Test cricket from 1933 to 1951, was known as the Bradman of India: his first-class batting average of 71.22 from 229 innings is second only to Don Bradman’s first-class average of 95.14. Leading India in the West Indies in 1962, Contractor became the first Test cricketer to almost die on the field when a chucker from Charlie Griffith hit him on his head. Charles Turner captured 101 wickets at 16.53 in only 17 Tests from 1886 to 1894 and was nicknamed Terror.

In my ‘Professional’ World XI, Malcolm Marshall and Keith Miller will open the attack, ‘Terror’ Turner coming in at first change, then Bishop. ‘Funky’ Miller will be the lone spinner, colouring the occasion by dyeing his hair rainbow. Engineer will be the wicket-keeper.

A ‘Professional’ XI needs professional umpires – I pick England’s David Shepherd and India’s Piloo Reporter.

This list of “professional” cricketers is not complete by any means, and I invite readers of Indian Link to add to it.

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Kersi Meher-Homji
Kersi Meher-Homji
Kersi is a virologist by profession and a cricket writer and cricket statistician by hobby. He is an author of 17 cricket books and over 17,000 cricket and scientific articles.

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