Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz and Shane Warne celebrate as Australia demolishes New Zealand

Wizards of Aus: McGrath, Ponting, Gillespie, Kasprowicz and Warne

© Getty Images

Best XI

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

Michael Kasprowicz picks a team from among the best red-ball cricketers he played with

As told to Crispin Andrews  |  

Michael Kasprowicz played 38 Tests for Australia, and was part of the team that broke India's 35-year domination at home with a series win there in 2004. A member of Australia's 2004-05 "pace cartel" along with Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee, Kasprowicz retired in 2008. Here he picks the best red-ball cricketers he played alongside, for Queensland, Australia, and from a county stint with Essex.

Graham Gooch
I got the chance to play for Essex in 1994, when I was a young fast bowler, 22. Gooch was coming to the end of his career then, but still a fantastic player, with so much knowledge about the game. He played through the late '70s and '80s, scored runs against all those fast bowlers. I asked him if there had ever been a fast bowler he was worried about. And he replied: no one. Then he thought about it and added that there was one spell that Patrick Patterson had bowled that concerned him a bit. But that was it. He was totally fearless. Some player.

Matthew Hayden
I played with him in Queensland junior sides and throughout the whole of his Queensland career, and then for Australia. I don't think I've ever seen a harder-working cricketer. Whatever challenge he faced, he'd take it on. In his early days he wasn't selected to go to the Australian Cricket Academy under Rod Marsh, and not thought to be good enough to play professional cricket. So he went away, scored a lot of runs in grade cricket, got himself in the Queensland side, scored almost 1000 runs in his first season, and then again the following year. He did nothing by halves. But though I've known him 30 years, and been to every one of his cookbook launches, he's never yet cooked me a meal.

Martin Love
Queensland's top run scorer ever. He played only five Tests, averaged 46, but Australia was so strong through the 1990s and early 2000s that he didn't get much of a chance. In any other era he'd have been a regular Test player. So calm at the wicket, balanced. Nothing ever got under his skin. An unflappable player.

Ricky Ponting
The hardest guy to bowl to. He picked the ball up off a length better than anyone. And I don't mean that in a clear-the-front-leg-and-slog type T20 style. If it was a fraction short, he'd be all over it, and if you overpitched, he'd put in that big stride and drive.

All's fair with Love and Waugh at the crease

All's fair with Love and Waugh at the crease © Getty Images

Allan Border (captain)
He was at Queensland when I first played. Inspirational. All that time through the 1980s when Australia was getting belted by the West Indies, AB was a rock, the way he batted and led the team by example. Exactly what Australia needed at the time. Very adaptable player too - he would adjust his style to suit the situation, which is what Test cricket is all about.

Steve Waugh
Adaptable, led by example, backed his team-mates. Having him around gave other people confidence. Steve was a shot player when he was younger, but with more experience, he worked out which shots he could depend on and which were risky. He cut out the hook shot and relied on the cut, back-foot drive, and the clip off his legs - his best shots. From then on, he stuck to his strengths and made the bowler bowl to him.

The best I played against

1. Virender Sehwag

2. Alastair Cook

3. Rahul Dravid

4. Brian Lara

5. Sachin Tendulkar

6. Andrew Flintoff

7. Brendon McCullum

8. Wasim Akram

9. Anil Kumble

10. Curtly Ambrose

11. Courtney Walsh

Adam Gilchrist
So good that he changed the job description of wicketkeepers in Test cricket. Even with the batting line-up Australia had in the early 2000s, sometimes we'd be 5 for 200. Then Gilly would come out and score a hundred quickly, the tailenders would stick around, and Australia would end up with 400. I saw this happen so many times. He'd change the tempo of the game. Top quality keeper too; put in a lot of hard work. As a bowler I didn't care if he was the best gloveman in the world, as long as he caught it when they nicked one!

Shane Warne
Just the best at what he did. Had the ability to attack and play a defensive role at the same time. And a knack for recognising the key moments in a game and then stepping up to have an impact. He was good to talk to about bowling - angles, position on the crease. He helped the other bowlers out a lot. You'd never get to bowl at the tailenders with him and McGrath in the team, though.

Carl Rackemann: fast and furious

Carl Rackemann: fast and furious © Getty Images

Jason Gillespie
Quick, bowled with great energy, beautiful seam position. And a thoughtful bowler - he would analyse what he was doing. You could see back then why he went on to make such a good coach. Great communicator and a really good bloke, which is an important part of being in my team.

Glenn McGrath
Incredible bowler. So consistent over a period of time. Great human being too. Came into the New South Wales team the old-fashioned way, after performances in grade cricket, not part of development squads and pathways. And then all the challenges he went through later in life [McGrath's first wife, Jane, died of cancer]. The most positive guy to have around the team.

Carl Rackemann
The godfather of Queensland fast bowlers. He was the experienced bowler in the Queensland team when I first played as a 17-year-old. Tall, lots of bounce, good use of the crease, would angle it in and then take the ball away. A real handful. Really quick when he first played for Australia in the early '80s.

Michael Kasprowicz is chairman of Sportcor the company that designed the technology for the Kookaburra smart ball

 

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