Cricket: All-Time England Test XI

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Cricket: All-Time England Test XI

England, the home of test cricket. Probably has the most number of test matches played. So, I am trying to pick up my all time England Test XI. It was a very tough job, but I somehow managed it. So,here is my team; also post your XIs.

 

1. Herbert Sutcliffe

You just can't argue with the numbers. In 27 matches against Australia, Sutcliffe averaged 67 and made half of his 16 hundreds. And his aggregate of 734 runs at 81.55 in the 1924-5 Ashes tour is the sixth best for an Ashes series.

Above all, the necessary presence of his dear friend Jack Hobbs demands his selection. The pair averaged 88 together, scored more than 3,000 runs, and put on 11 century stands against Australia alone.

England have never had another opening partnership come close to doing the same.

 

2. Jack Hobbs

Probably the most prolific batsman of all time, with 199 first-class centuries and an almost absurd 61,237 first-class runs by the time he retired. Astonishingly, this was despite the small matter of an interruption for the First World War.

Hobbs scored 3,636 runs against Australia at an average of 54.26, with 12 hundreds and 15 fifties.

As his obituary in Wisden said, the war mellowed him, converting the brash, quick-scoring firebrand of his youth into a patient, relentless accumulator. He played the ball impossibly late, and was seen as a pioneer of the late cut, one of his favourite strokes.

 

3. Len Hutton (c)

England's first ever professional captain averaged 56.46 against the Australians, and scored his magnificent 364 at The Oval in August 1938 against them.

Renowned for his good manners and generosity, he averaged 70 on the MCC's 1946-7 tour Down Under, and 88.83 in the 1950-1 series there, 50 more than the next best Englishman.

He retained the Ashes in 1954-5, brilliantly getting the most out of Frank Tyson, and was made an honorary member of the MCC before he'd even retired from the game.

 

4. Michael Vaughan

Some might say this selection is a sop to the modern game. Perhaps it partly is. Vaughan's chief qualification remains the scintillating 2005 series, where his calm, innovative captaincy brought the Ashes to England for the first time since 1986-7.

But he also scored 1,627 runs against Australia at a average of 47.95, including four big hundreds, and in 2001 he was the first English batsman for a decade labeled genuinely world-class by the Australian cricket establishment.

Any Ashes series would be blessed by that exquisite cover drive, and his understanding with Pietersen, whom he nurtured, would create a powerful engine in the middle-order.

 

5. Kevin Pietersen

Just edges it from Wally Hammond.  KP has, to date, only had one explosive Ashes series (that of 2005), and there are influential voices who already feel that he is defined by his failure to live up to extraordinary potential.

The manner of his departure from the captaincy gives succour to that view.

And yet, for all that, this is the man who is described by Christopher Martin-Jenkins as the most imposing batsman since Viv Richards, and his assorted innovations, from the switch-hit to his huge stride down the wicket, make him a modern great already.

 

6. Ian Botham

The 1981 series alone ensures Botham's place in the pantheon of Ashes legends. In three Test matches following his controversial "resignation" as captain, he almost single-handedly wrote one of the most celebrated chapters in the history of English sport with three match-winning performances? Two with the bat, and one with the ball.

Indisputably England's greatest all-rounder, in all Beefy scored 2,686 runs at 29.35 against Australia, and took 148 wickets at an average of 27.65.

 

7. Alan Knott

Still correctly regarded as England's greatest wicket keeper, the sight of Knott in gloves instilled confidence in every England bowler who played with him.

He scored 1,682 runs against Australia at 32.98, and his 97 catches and 8 stumpings against them remain a record for an Englishman.

One of the most popular players of his generation, Knott was hugely respected for his keeping to spinners, especially the fizzing Derek Underwood.

 

8. Harold Larwood

Larwood sneaks in ahead of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham on the grounds that his contribution to Ashes history is insuperable by any other quick bowler (including his new-ball partner in this team, Frank Tyson).

The Bodyline series of 1932-3, when as England captain Douglas Jardine asked him to nullify the threat of Bradman, et al, by bowling at their ribs and faces, is an unpleasant but exciting staple of cricket history.

He took 33 wickets at an average under 20 in that series, with terrifying pace and a ruthless disregard for his opponent's mental stability.

 

9. Frank Tyson

I've plumped for Tyson in part because I think his action was the smoothest, best looking I've seen. In an age before speedometers, Tyson glided through the crease almost effortlessly, his every limb in harmony as he generated ferocious pace with a pulsating union of rhythm and musculature.

Richie Benaud said he was the quickest he'd seen. In the celebrated 1954-5 series, he started with 1-160 in the defeat at Brisbane, but by shortening his run-up he took 10 wickets in Sydney and nine more in Melbourne.

His second-innings 7-27, bowling downwind, is one of the greatest spells in Test history.

 

10. Sydney Barnes

Just remember that Barnes is top of the ICC all-time rankings. A cantankerous old goat at the best of times, in wickets he more than made up on the field for what he lacked in charm off it.

Curiously, his record against Australia is much poorer than against other opponents, and yet still awesome. On the 1907-8 Ashes tour he took 24 wickets, including 7-60 in Sydney.

In the 1909 series he took 18 wickets, and in 1911-12 he took 34, including an opening spell of 5-6 in Melbourne. Swinging the ball late both ways, his secret weapon was a big leg-cutter bowled with a late flick of the wrist.

 

11. Jim Laker

Laker would probably have liked a left-armer in the side to provide some footmarks for him to work with. He tended to bowl at off-stump and just outside, whereas modern off-spinners are advised to bowl wide of off-stump, forcing batsmen either to play against the spin or drag the ball a long way to leg.

And he certainly didn't bother with anything approaching a doosra or carrom ball. But at Old Trafford in 1956 he showed he didn't need it, with the greatest bowling performance in cricket history.

His 19-90 ? 9-37 followed by 10-53 ? is the only time any bowler has taken more than 17 wickets in a first-class game, never mind a Test match.

 

So,this team looks like this:

1. Herbert Sutcliffe

2. Jack Hobbs

3. Len Hutton (c)

4. Michael Vaughan

5. Kevin Pietersen

6. Ian Botham

7. Alan Knott

8. Harold Larwood

9. Frank Tyson

10. Sydney Barnes

11. Jim Laker

Give your opinions about it.

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