The panel eventually decided on a bowling attack that consisted of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Shaun Pollock and Muttiah Muralitharan, with Andrew Flintoff fulfilling the role of the team’s primary all-rounder. Five greats of the game, sure, but it was not an easy selection process. The following bowlers narrowly missed out on selection:
138 wickets @ 20.87, ER: 4.28, BBI: 6-19
TH: I was very tempted to fit in Shane Bond somewhere. A pretty staggering record and also just a lovely bowler to watch in full flight. His strike-rate is phenomenal. If I’m skipper, I’m letting Bond and Lee loose with the new ball, and then McGrath comes in. But that’s just me.
YR: I can’t live with a tail of Pollock, Lee, Bond, McGrath, Murali. For me, it’s Lee against Bond.
TH: In that case, I’d go Lee.
BG: Yeah, two World Cups, and an only slightly inferior record to Bond in lots more games.
YR: Very happy for Bond to be our official 12th man. I really wanted him in too.
BG: Me too, we’re all pretty cut up about it.
153 wickets @ 25.94, ER: 4.52, BBI: 5-32
BG: It’s interesting how there are no other spinners [Muralitharan aside] in the frame, really.
TH: Credit to Brad Hogg in the spinner’s category. He was Australia’s spinner for their two World Cup wins.
BG: Yep, if we were looking for a left-arm wrist-spinner, we’d have little other option.
215 wickets @ 32.24, ER: 4.74, BBI: 6-35
206 matches, 4,122 runs @ 30.53, SR: 83.72, Two 100s, HS: 112
YR: He’s in the conversation with Flintoff for the No.7 spot.
BG: Razzaq’s great hundred came just outside of this decade
247 wickets @ 26.97, ER: 4.13, BBI: 8-19
YR: I had Vaas – I’d be hesitant going in with four right-arm seamers – but would put Pollock over him now.
BG: I also had Vaas, and probably would also put Pollock over him now, with the caveat that we do then have four right-arm seamers.
While the following weren’t mentioned in the discussion, perhaps they ought to have been.
264 wickets @ 24.72, ER: 4.54, BBI: 6-22
A key player for South Africa over the course of the decade, Ntini’s record in the 2000s isn’t too dissimilar to Lee’s and Pollock’s.
174 wickets @ 24.36, ER: 4.41, BBI: 5-47
A World Cup winner in 2007, Bracken was another option if the panel opted to include a left-arm seamer to change the balance of the attack. Of the bowlers to take more ODI wickets than him over the decade, only McGrath, Muralitharan and Lee had lower bowling averages.