Although there's still quite a way to go in this English summer of cricket you cant help but let your mind drift away to thinking "Who Would I Select To Play In Antigua?" and its a question that is probably already running through the minds of the England selectors as that all important date of November 1st approaches seemingly quicker by the day! So i thought I'd share with you who I'd have in my final XI to play Stanford All Stars. Ill list the players in batting order with my reasons for there selection next to there name:
1.Ian Bell: He's slowly being moulded by England into a brilliant opening batsman in the shorter form of the game, can give good support to Mustard in the 1st few overs and steadily picks up the pace of his innings as it goes on.
2.Phil Mustard: Showed in his brief spell in the team in New Zealand what he can do with the bat unlucky to have been left out in the summer, he can hit some huge shots and when on his game could give England the perfect start to a 20/20 innings. Also probably England's safest glove man.
3.Kevin Pietersen: Captain.Its simple he's Englands best batsman in all forms of the game and is 1 of 3 or 4 men in this line up that could hold the key to England's success on the top of his game no bowler in the world will get him out.
4.Owais Shah: Hes proved over the last couple of years what a valuable asset he is to this England set up, he can adjust brilliantly to what is required from him, hes prepared to dog it out to help the team get out of a hole and he can hit out fantastically, he has an amazing array of wristy shots which make him very hard to bowl too.
5.Andrew Flintoff: Well he's back and he holds the key to success with both the ball and bat, 5 overs of Freddie at anywhere close to his best with the bat could take the game away from Stanford's All Stars and with the ball 4 overs of rapid pace and accuracy makes him the toughest prospect of all England's bowlers.
6.Paul Collingwood: If Colly gets back some form then hes a fantastic one day all rounder, with the bat, like Owais Shah, he can adapt to any situation and over the last few years has produced many match winning innings for his country. With the ball he's brilliantly economical and is a very intelligent bowler, he fines ways of getting batsmen out where other bowlers couldn't also his lack of pace leads tom batsmen miss timing a lot. He's also one of the best, if not the best, fielders in the world and has taken some brilliant catches in an England shirt.
7.Ravi Bopara: He's the future of this England set up and has become a well set part of the one day squad, he has a domestic one day double century to his name showing he has the ability to hit out and score at a fair rate of knots when needed but also has been known to get England out of a few holes over the last year or 2. He can bowl a bit too.
8.Luke Wright: Another player who looks to have a fantastic future ahead of him in International cricket, hes a fantastic hitter of the ball and if he gets in for a few overs he's another who could hit the game away from the All Stars, also he's shown a couple of times that hes a brilliant death bowler and has a fantastic calmness when under pressure for such a young player.
9.Graeme Swann: England's best one day spin option, He's economical, takes wickets and he can bat a bit as well, he' also a good athletic fielder.
10.Stuart Broad: Proffered for me to Ryan Sidebottom, Broad is rapidly enhancing his reputation as an all rounder for England his batting improves by the minute and with the ball he has so much intelligence and a fantastically cool head, he's a player that will be in this England squad for a long time to come and a match like this could really help to make him as a player and let him show off his true credentials especially with the ball.
11.James Anderson: Arguably England's best one day bowler, can be slightly erratic sometimes but when he gets it right he has the ability to get out any batsman in the world, he's also a phenomenal fielder for a fast bowler he is very willing to put his body on the line for the sake of the team and he is also very good at frustrating bowlers when hes batting as well but we hope the batting wont get that far!
So that's my XI for the team in Antigua but here's some of the unlucky ones who just missed out on the final cut:
12.Ryan Sidebottom: No doubt one of Englands best bowlers but he misses out for me because of the need in 20/20 for more batting credentials and because i feel Stuart Broad will get more from this match the Sid would.
13.Alistair Cook: I wanted to fit Cook in but there just isn't enough room him and Ian Bell and Belly is just a nudge above him when it comes to one day cricket but I'm in no doubt that Alistair is a future England captain and over time he'll force his way into the England one day set up and cement himself in there.
14:Micheal Vaughan: He's not been around the one day squad since he stepped down as captain last year but as test captain he'll be feeling he should be in the squad for Antigua and you'd be quite mift if as test captain you missed out on this wouldn't you?
15.Graeme Napier: He's had an amazing season in the domestic 20/20 this season he can strike a massive ball and can bowl a bit too but for me the likes of Wright and Bopara stand just ahead of him getting in this team.
There you go then there's my team for Antigua and reasons why i have or haven't picked them. Let me know what you think or show what your prefered XI would be