Indeed, as an extension of something we heard on Test Match Sofa, perhaps the identity of the 10th side in the next World Cup should be a ‘Best of the Rest’?
As the XI names below suggest, a team formed from the combined strengths of Zimbabwe (not strictly an Associate side we know but they're in scope for us), Ireland, Netherlands and Canada (sorry, Kenya but none of your lot make it) could be quite competitive:
1. Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)
Has ODI hundreds against South Africa and Sri Lanka to his name in the last 12 months and just pips the promising Netherlands opener Alexei Kerverzee to a spot in this side.
2. Ed Joyce (Ireland)
He may have been too quickly dispensed with by England, but a first-class average of 45 proves that Joyce is a genuinely good batsman.
3. Tom Cooper (Netherlands)
The Australian born batsman with the completely non-Dutch sounding name looked good against England and West Indies and has a startling good average of 69 in ODIs.
4. Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands)
Has an Associate batsman ever played a better innings at the World Cup than ten Doeschate’s wonderful hundred against England? Like Cooper, has an ODI average in the high sixties, although unlike his team mate does have a Dutch name.
5. Tatenda Taibu – Zimbabwe
Has a claim to be the best wicket keeper on show in the tournament and is decent enough with the bat to average 30 in over 130 ODI.
6. Rizwan Cheema - Canada
A career ODI strike rate of just under 120 means that Cheema would add impetuous to the efforts of those above him in the order. An IPL contract would surely follow.
7. Elton Chigumbura – Zimbabwe
13 fifties and 81 wickets in his ODI career makes the Zimbabwean captain an obvious pick for this XI.
8. Trent Johnston - Ireland
This team still needs a bit of animal about it and the scary looking Johnston provides that as well as naggingly accurate medium pace and useful late order runs.
9. Ray Price – Zimbabwe
The spinner with the attitude of a fearsome fast bowler is ranked the third best ODI bowler in the world and certainly tied Watson and Haddin up in knots in Zimbabwe’s opening match.
10. George Dockrell – Ireland
The 18 year old slow left armer looks a real prospect and could well follow Eoin Morgan in making the move across the Irish Sea to a place in the England side sometime in the future.
11. Boyd Rankin – Ireland
The 6 ft 8 in quick averages under 30 in all forms of the game and would be expected to be the leader of the attack in this XI.
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