What England's Test Team Should Be

Mike WhiteContributor IMarch 16, 2009

England should line up:

1. Andrew Strauss

An obvious choice, the captain has been in the England set up since 2004 when he made his debut hitting 112 and 83 against New Zealand.

Strauss, of South African origin, averages 44 in Test cricket in his 60 matches—hitting 17 hundreds and 14 half centuries, which is an conversion rate of around 60%. Amazingly Strauss has hit less centuries in county cricket than international cricket—17 centuries in 60 England games and 16 centuries in 110 games for Middlesex and Northern Districts.

2. Alastair Cook

Cook was called up to the England team in 2006 when he was 21. The Essex star has hit eight centuries and 19 half centuries in his 41 games for England.

The two time young player of the year averages 43 in Test cricket, and it looks like he could be here to stay for a while after his recent improvement in form.

3. Ravi Bopara

Bopara has never really got a chance at international level, but in his most recent Test match against West Indies he scored a very good 104 but this could not keep him in the team for the following match. Ravi Bopara averages 41 and has 11 centuries and 19 half's in his 80 matches. He is also a decent bowler with 90 wickets at county level—and he is only 23.

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4. Kevin Pietersen

Another South African-born player, Pietersen is said to be the best batsmen in the England team.

He made his debut against Australia in the Ashes, so it was always going to be tough to score runs but he top scored in both innings with 57 and 64 not out. Pietersen averages a huge 51 and has 16 centuries and 14 half centuries in just 50 games. He also has the four wickets of Dale Steyn, Kamren Akmel, Ross Taylor and his biggest wicket of MS Dhoni.

5. Paul Collingwood

The all rounder from Durham has nine centuries and 12 half centuries in Test cricket, and he has an average of 43 runs.

He did not have the greatest starts to an international career, it took 11 innings to get a half century and to get his form going. Top score of 206 off 392 balls. When his career was in danger he pulled out one of the most important knocks of his life hitting 135 since then he has hit three centuries and two halfs.

6. Andrew Flintoff

"Freddie" has played 75 tests and has hit five centuries, 25 half centuries and has an average of 31. Bowling wise he has 218 wickets at a average of 32. Andrew Flintoff is known for his big hitting sixes and stump demolishing yorkers. He is also one of the best slip fielders in the current England team.

7. James Foster (wicket keeper)

The 28-year-old has not really had an international career but I would still choose him ahead of the three main contenders at the moment—which are Matt Prior, Tim Ambrose, and Steve Davies.

Foster has an average of 35 and has hit 12 centuries and 31 half centuries at county level. He also has 374 catches and 34 stumpings. Foster is one of the quickest keepers behind the stumps.

8. Stuart Broad

Broad has made a huge impact since entering the team in December 2007. The son of former opening batsmen Chris, Broad Jr has hit three half centuries in his 15 matches and has taken 38 wickets at a average of 40, batting average of 29. The 22-year-old is getting better each game and could be a player with a bright future ahead of him.

9. Graeme Swann

Swann has finally got his break for England and is making his chance count because he already has 27 wickets in his first five matches, at an average of 26.

The spin bowler can be a prolific batsmen as well, with three centuries and 31 half centuries for Nottinghamshire. His top score is 183 his batting average is also 26, so for the next few years Swann could be a vital part of this England team.

10. James Anderson

Anderson has played 35 tests and has 117 wickets at a average of 35, amazingly in his 46 innings he has never got a duck (0). James Anderson is the first choice pace bowler in the current team. Anderson can at times be very inconsistent, but can get a huge amount of swing and seam movement on the ball.

11. Matthew Hoggard

Hoggard is in my opinion currently England's best bowler and I can not see why he was dropped, he has played 67 matches and has taken 248 wickets at a average of 30—in my view he is the best since Botham. Matt Hoggard can create chances out of nothing and is one of the best partnership breakers in the game.

That is what I think the England team should be.

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