Cricket Italia Team of the Century

An excellent recent piece by Yoshi made mention of the fact that Phil Hughes was Italian-Australian.  In the thread following the post, it was also stated that soon to be debutant Joe Burns is Italian-Australian.  This got me thinking: what is the Italian Cricket Team of the Century? Is it possible to even come up with an XI? Here is my best effort.  Did I miss anyone?

  1. Phillip Hughes (Australia, NSW, SA)
  2. Michael De Venuto (Australia, TAS), prolific run scorer at Shield level, who interestingly debuted for the Australian ODI team about the same time as Adam Gilchrist in SAF 1997.
  3. Don Bradman (Australia, NSW, SA), the Don’s Italian heritage has been well documented. One of his grandparents was from Genoa.
  4. Joe Burns (Australia, QLD)
  5. Mike Veletta (Australia, WA), Australia would not have won the 1987 World Cup without his timely 45 not out of just 31 balls at the conclusion of the innings.
  6. Ted Dexter (England). Dexter has the distinction of being the only Test cricketer born in Italy (Milan). As the all-rounder, will be third pace bowler alongside Scuderi and Palladino.
  7. Michael Dimattina (VIC) as wicketkeeper, with Luke Ronchi (Australia, New Zealand, WA) on standbye.
  8. Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)
  9. Joe Scuderi (SA)
  10. Tony Palladino (Essex, Derbyshire), has taken over 200 first class wickets in Country cricket, including a hat-trick.
  11. Adam Zampa (NSW, SA), the fact that Dexter is an all-rounder means we can sneak in leg-spinner Zampa in as the second spinner to partner Vettori.
  12. Brendan Ricci (VIC) as 12th man.

* The criteria I have used is that the player was either born in Italy, or has a parent or grandparent, who was born in Italy.



About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. Bit light on pacemen.

    Perhaps Joe Angel was once an Angelo?

  2. I’ve always said Watto is a poor man’s Joe Scuderi.

  3. What about a side of Greek origin players. A test class spinner A J Traicos, and former WA spinner Steve Milosz for starters.

    Similarily what about players from Yugoslavia, such as Len Durtanovich, AKA, Len Pascoe.

    Who else can we add to a side (s) of players either from Greece or Yugoslavia?


  4. G’day Damian,

    Even I don’t have knowledge of cricket players, it’s interesting to see your selection. Good work!

    Merry Christmas!


  5. Tom, funnily enough I did wonder about Big Joe Angel, but alas could not find any evidence.
    JTH, the great things about Watto’s continual selection are the jokes and the angst amongst the fans. I almost hope he plays another 50 tests just for the jokes.
    Glen, I’d love to see a Balkans side. Perhaps Marcus Stoinis could be a Greek candidate.
    Yoshi, thanks for the kind words and for the inspiration to have a crack at the side in the first place. Merry Christmas.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Damian I can assure you , Joe Scuderi is delighted to be chosen in a side containing
    Bradman , he is a tad unlucky to be batting 9

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Damian. I’m a fan of Ronchi and would have him as No.1 keeper. Michael Di Venuto actually went back and played for Italy after his First Class career ended.
    Theo Doropoulos (WA & SA) for the Greek team?

  8. Fair point Luke, Ronchi was a much better bat and the prototype T20 slogger. Dimattina might have been a bit tighter behind the stumps. Btw, Scuderi also played for Italy, alongside DiVenuto.
    Malcolm, glad to hear Joe was happy to be in the side. Do you know him? You’re right he probably should be higher in the batting order than Dimma at the very least. Correct me if I’m wrong but did he play for Australia A in those spirited 94/95 games? In the current merry-go-round selection regimes, he definitely would have played Test cricket.

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Damian no Joe a bit thru his shield days , he didn’t play, aust a games played 2
    Prime ministers eleven games in 90 and 92 and would definitely be a huge chance to play test cricket now

  10. This is great Rulebook. Each year my daughter Yunshi Harcourt plays her Rome born cousins Caterina & Emma Claire in the annual China vs Italy Harcourt Sardoni beach cricket test series. We will add your team Italia list to the pep talk for Catty and Emmy before the next match.

  11. Peter Gonella played for WA in the 1980s and scored a Shield century.

    He was a stylish left-hand batsman with nice hair.

    This exercise proves what I’ve always said – Italians can’t bowl.

  12. Good get Les. I vaguely remember the name. Must have been a fair player to get a game in those WA sides – very successful era for WA.
    Strange the lack of Italian fast bowlers – I would have thought the fire & brimstone fast bowler would fit right in with the Italian psyche.

  13. Steve Milosz says

    Hi Glen … close, but no cigar !! I’m actually from Polish Origin … I wonder, how many Poles played First class cricket ?? and for two states ??

  14. hi sir iam so good cricketer iam from afghanistan order betsman
    left hand betsman and left arm spiner offbreak bowler how can jion our team

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