Picking a Team Made Entirely of Maverick Cricketers

Freddie Wilde@@fwildecricketContributor IOctober 22, 2013

Picking a Team Made Entirely of Maverick Cricketers

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    Cricket has thrown up many colourful characters over the years. 

    The word "maverick" is defined as being "an unorthodox or independent minded person" by the Oxford Dictionary.

    Bleacher Report has scoured Test XIs of the last decade or so to compile a team of entirely maverick cricketers. If you feel we've made any glaring omissions, let us know in the comment section below. 

    Click "begin slideshow" to find out who has made the XI.  

Chris Gayle

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    Gayle is the first archetypical T20 cricketer. He abandoned his flailing country to play in T20 leagues and then took them by storm with his awesome power and subtle method.

    He is the king of contemporary T20 cricket. 

Jesse Ryder

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    Ryder is an enormously talented cricketer, but unfortunately for world cricket he is too inclined to a drink and a party to have thus far made much of a career from his talents.

    He’s appeared in the national team in fits and starts, but is yet to gain an extended run in the side. If and when he does, it will be worth watching. 

Kevin Pietersen

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    The modern-day maverick, Pietersen took the cricket world by storm in 2004 with his skunk hairdo, South African accent and brash personality.

    He bats as he talks and is box office in every sense. A tremendously entertaining cricketer both on and off the field. Enjoy him while he lasts, because it could end at any moment. 

Neil McKenzie

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    One of the stranger modern-day cricketers, McKenzie suffers from extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At its worst, it seems him wrap his bats in blankets, tape them to the dressing room ceiling and maintain that every toilet seat lid must be up when he walks out to bat.

    He claims most of these nuances have been put behind him, but all the same they make for interesting reading. 

Marlon Samuels

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    A talented player with both bat and ball, Samuels has more than a bit to say for himself. Regularly chirping at the batsmen from close range, his sledges are often audible on the stump mic.

    Last year his, vibrant personality and talents came to the fore in an excellent tour of England before he helped win the World T20 for the West Indies in Sri Lanka.

Shahid Afridi

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    A whirlwind batsman, super-aggressive bowler and highly controversial figure, Afridi has retired and unretired on multiple occasions, picked up bans for dancing on the pitch and eating the ball, and has become somewhat of a cult hero in Pakistan, where he is still regarded as one of the country’s most talented cricketers.

    He is perhaps the ultimate maverick.

Graeme Swann

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    Along with Pietersen, Swann is England’s other current maverick cricketer. Outspoken, loud, and occasionally quite funny, Swann is the joker in the England team. 

Lasith Malinga

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    Malinga has a tattoo on his arm that says "I got speed99."

    He is certainly one of the fastest and most ferocious bowlers in the world.

    Couple this with his wild bleached curly hair, piercings and bizarre bowling action, and it is not a stretch to label Malinga as a "maverick." 

Tino Best

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    “Hi, this is Tino, the world’s fastest bowler. I’m out training to get even faster. Leave a message.”

    That’s what his voicemail says, and indeed Best has always been one of the most outspoken cricketers. In a jovial and fun way, he talks up his own ability while making light of others.

    He’s certainly a fast bowler—perhaps not the world’s fastest, though—and is rarely that accurate, but in a way that only adds to the hilarity of his ego. 

Andre Nel

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    One of the more colourful cricketers of the noughties, Nel was a good bowler, but offered much more value with his bizarre spouts of aggression and vein-popping fury.

    He has an alter-ego that he names Gunther that comes out when he gets particularly angry. He would shout, scream and vent his anger right in the face of the batsmen, often in hilarious ways. 

Shoaib Akhtar

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    Much like Afridi, Akhtar was an enormously talented and worshipped cricketer. In 2003, he bowled a ball to Nick Knight that was recorded as being above 100mph. He was fast, furious and frightening.

    Some claimed they could see Sachin Tendulkar’s legs shaking when he was waiting to face him. However, he was also continually embroiled in controversy. He was banned for drugs and accused of ball tampering, as well as being left out of the side due to a spout of genital warts.