The XI

Old gold

England's all-time team has just two players from the last 30 years

Andrew Miller

August 28, 2009

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen drives through the covers, England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Chester-le-Street, May 16, 2009
Pietersen: in by a whisker © Getty Images
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Kevin Pietersen has been accepted as one of England's greatest players. And nobody else from his generation cuts the mustard. That is the remarkable verdict the country's pundits and public have delivered, as we reveal the results of Cricinfo's search for the all-time England XI.

This process began six months ago, with the initial deliberations of a select band of 10 jurors, representing the cream of the English cricket-writing fraternity. It was then broken down into six sub-sections - the search for two opening batsmen, three middle-order stalwarts, an allrounder, a wicketkeeper, a spinner and three quicks.

The results are quite astonishing, for they reveal a lasting deference to the greats of a bygone era. From the top-order trio of Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton and Wally Hammond, through the mighty stonewaller Ken Barrington, to the all-round axis of Ian Botham and Alan Knott, modernity scarcely gets a look-in.

The bowling is equally dominated by the champions of yesteryear. The brutish aggression of Harold Larwood and Fred Trueman, the deadly left arm of Kent's Derek Underwood, and last, but so far from being least, the oldest and most incomparable man on the list, Sydney Barnes, whose tally of 189 wickets in 27 Tests gives a surface-level idea of the threat he posed with his boundless array of seaming, swinging, spinning deliveries.

But then there is Pietersen, standing out from the crowd once again, the youngest on the list by more than 30 years, having made his Test debut almost two decades after Ian Botham's career reached its pomp. Admittedly, KP made it to the final reckoning by the skin of his teeth - he tied for jurors' votes with none other than the Brylcreem Boy, Denis Compton, but thanks to the public's vote of confidence he claims his place nonetheless.

This accolade is unlikely to come as much consolation to Pietersen as he recovers from his Achilles operation, while facing up to the fact that he was a peripheral figure in England's 2009 Ashes triumph. But then again, perhaps it will prove to be the perfect consolation. Because if there is one thing that Pietersen seeks beyond fame, fortune and glory, it is acceptance. He seems set to divide opinion for the remainder of his career, but right now, KP couldn't be in more illustrious company.

1. Jack Hobbs
"They didn't call him The Master for nothing: over 60,000 runs and nearly 200 first-class centuries, all of them accompanied by a half-smile and - judging by the fact that you never hear a bad word about him - a word of encouragement for the bowler. Hobbs kept it simple, playing straight and making sure he got his pads in the way too [the lbw law was less strict in his day]." Steven Lynch

2. Len Hutton
"In 1939, as the world descended into war, Len Hutton was about to overtake Bradman, Hammond and Headley as the finest batsman in the world. Already he had established that long-lasting Ashes record score of 364, an awesome performance by a 22-year-old. Then came the broken arm. Yet despite the handicap, he stood as the world's finest for another 10 years, weathering the bouncers, displaying the finest touches of batsmanship. He also pioneered - not without difficulties within the game - the challenge of captaincy by a professional. Slightly built, reticent, but truly a master." David Frith

3. Wally Hammond
"Wally Hammond was an all-round cricketer of imperishable class and command. A majestic batsman who dominated attacks wherever he played, he was the supreme England player after Jack Hobbs, one of the greatest slip catchers ever, and a powerful fast-medium bowler when the situation required." Christopher Martin-Jenkins

4. Ken Barrington
"Ken Barrington actually never played in an England side that won the Ashes, but nevertheless, throughout the 1960s he was the rock on which England was built, and for that reason alone you'd need him to play in any Ashes side. He'll be in my England all-time XI for as long as the game is played." Stephen Brenkley

5. Kevin Pietersen
"Few players could produce an Ashes-winning innings in their debut series. Even fewer could do it with Pietersen's panache. His career has a long way to go yet, but it says a lot for his standing that you have to go back to Ian Botham for the next most recent inclusion on this list." Lawrence Booth

6. Ian Botham
"A proven century-maker, unlike Andrew Flintoff, and capable of bowling either fast like Harold Larwood, or outswing like Fred Trueman. Hammond at first slip and Botham at second would make a formidable cordon beside Alan Knott." Scyld Berry

7. Alan Knott
"Alan Knott was peerless behind the stumps (contemporaries scratch their heads when asked to remember a dropped catch), and pretty damn good in front of them, cracking five Test hundreds despite an unorthodox technique." Steven Lynch

8. Derek Underwood
"World-class English spinners have been thin on the ground in recent decades, but Derek Underwood would qualify as a great in any era. 'Deadly' was his nickname and it could not have been more apt. In the right conditions he was lethal, especially when partnered with his Kent colleague Alan Knott." John Stern

9. Harold Larwood
"He was the arguably the fastest bowler that England have ever had, and arguably the nastiest as well. But above all, he's somebody who still gets up the wick of the Australians more than 75 years after the event. And for that reason alone, he has to be in there, doesn't he?" Mike Selvey

10. Fred Trueman
"Fast bowlers need four things above all: pace, movement, control and heart. Trueman had them all. He became the first Test cricketer to break the 300-wicket barrier. He had his limitations: despite taking wickets everywhere he went, he wouldn't brave the subcontinent, and his grit later turned to curmudgeonliness. But he remains a magnificent sight on grainy old film clips: I would love to have witnessed more of his bowling and less of his commentary." Tim de Lisle

11. Sydney Barnes
"Even in his 10th decade, Sydney Barnes was an intimidating figure. He was born to dominate. Tall and gaunt of features, he seemed to lack humour. His mission in life was to make batsmen miserable, and his figures are extraordinary, even allowing for matting wickets that brought him 49 wickets in four Tests in South Africa in 1913-14. He spun the ball at a brisk pace. Nightmare stuff. Probably still the greatest bowler who ever measured out a run-up." David Frith

12th man Denis Compton

Cricinfo readers' XI
We invited readers to vote on the nominees in each segment. Here's who they picked.
Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Wally Hammond, David Gower, Kevin Pietersen, Alan Knott, Ian Botham, Harold Larwood, Jim Laker, Fred Trueman, Sydney Barnes

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by historyman40 on (August 31, 2009, 11:29 GMT)

mk49_van. I quite agree with you. Foreigners should not even be considered for the best of England. Even if they were great which KP is not.

Posted by Engle on (August 30, 2009, 17:48 GMT)

2nd XI : Sutcliffe, Boycott, Grace, May(vc), Compton, Jardine (c),Stewart (w), Tyson, Bedser, Laker, Verity.

There, now I feel satiated

Posted by Aussieicon91 on (August 30, 2009, 12:05 GMT)

I think that people are going to have to come to grips with the fact that the Alltime XI, that these so called "experts" are deciding on, aren't going to be accurate. The Australian side was incorrectly chosen (Not picking Hayden and Ponting) and the whole structure of how they are picking the sides is rather poor to say the least. Jim Laker should be picked over Derek Underwood and in a few years time, these selectors could be made to look foolish if Pietersen goes through a terrible run of form, his averaging drops to the early 40's and he never plays again.

Posted by vimalan on (August 29, 2009, 16:56 GMT)

KP in all time XI ? are you guys serious..he is a good batsman and thats about it. Don't just go with popular vote alone since people may not seen the old stalwarts. KP does not deserve his place in all time XI

Posted by mandi on (August 29, 2009, 13:00 GMT)

In my point of view wicketkeeper stewart is best and trescothick is no. one opener.

Posted by waspsting on (August 29, 2009, 9:14 GMT)

pretty amusing commentary. Botham was NOT fast like Larwood - when he bowled short, batsmen looked for runs, not to save their head. He may have swung the ball like Trueman, but Trueman was genuinely fast, while Botham wasn't. He did bowl a beautiful outswinger, at least at the start of his career, but the short stuff he'd have been better without. He wasn't quick enough for it. Larwood "still gets the wick up the Australians", because he was bowling to a tactic which ANY major fast bowler could have succeeded with (and which was even then considered unethical and today is ruled illegal on top of that). When he wasn't bowling bodyline, he had the odd good performance (as any decent bowler will) but was overall quite mediocre. Bradman himself made this point and claimed he found Ken Farnes a harder bowler to face. Larwood's average against Australia - sans bodyline - is 43!

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 3:10 GMT)

GRR3,

Yeah he is not technically sound against the spinners as unlike other players from England he has hammered Murali,Warne and co.

Ah so as per you scoring runs against Warne must not be a great thing isn't it???

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 3:05 GMT)

Prashanth,

Yeah KP would have failed against the likes of McGrath as he only scored about 500 runs at an average of over 50 against McGrath and co in Aus.

Scoring about 500 runs against McGrath and co in Australia is no joke for sure!!!

Posted by hokora on (August 28, 2009, 23:02 GMT)

There are a few bizarre choices in this team. Botham?! Sorry, his performances against the dominant team of his era (WI) were pitiful. The team has to be able to play the best, so you need to have players who have proved themselves against the best. I fail to see how Underwood can be picked over Verity, who proved himself against that tremendous Aussie batting of the 1930s. As for Larwood, his test performances were not great outside the infamous Bodyline series. It makes more sense to pick a squad than a team, actually (since pitches vary). I'd go for a squad of 12: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton, Hammond, May, WG Grace, Knott, Rhodes, Verity, Trueman, Bedser, Barnes. Hardest is to pick the fast/fast-medium bowlers. If allowed a squad of 16, I'd add Tyson, Maurice Tate (same era as Larwood but a better bowler), KP and Les Ames (assuming you need a reserve keeper).

Posted by SridharSampath on (August 28, 2009, 21:02 GMT)

I can't understand how Godfrey Evans wasn't there in the short-list of wicketkeepers. He played 90+ Tests purely as a keeper. His batting avg was about 15 which means he should have been one heck of a keeper to have played that many Tests. Larwood didn't even get 100 Test wickets, though one may argue that wasn't his fault entirely. Bob Willis has a better record and has toured all countries. KP over Compton or Cowdrey at this point in time seems surprising even though he might make it to this XI more convincingly after 5 more years.

Posted by mk49_van on (August 28, 2009, 18:48 GMT)

England's all-time middle order contains a South African born and raised batsman - who with all due respect is good but not great. KPs inclusion in the XI merely reflects English cricket's desperate need for a hero. How pathetic.

Posted by Mahesh.R on (August 28, 2009, 17:50 GMT)

Compton deserves to be there instead of KP. Similarly, if Hutton can be moved to No.3 or 4, Sutcliffe can be included as well. Barrington can be omitted. If it is a pitch that assists the faster bowlers, I feel Bedser will be a better choice than Underwood. Since, Barnes was a "spinning medium pacer", Underwood won't be missed. Anyway, it is preferable to have him in the XI. KP can be the 12th man.

Posted by anant_gupta on (August 28, 2009, 16:12 GMT)

I dont know why people are deriding KP selection. He is the best of current crop, and can go on to become a great of go downwards. ALso the article clearly mentions "Admittedly, KP made it to the final reckoning by the skin of his teeth - he tied for jurors' votes with none other than the Brylcreem Boy, Denis Compton, but thanks to the public's vote of confidence he claims his place nonetheless." That just shows how many expectations and hopes people have from Pieterson.

Posted by Satyam_max on (August 28, 2009, 16:05 GMT)

My personal line up is as follows - Hobbs and Sutcliffe for opening spots ( could not really seperate the duo , So Hutton had to miss out ). Then Wally Hammond,Kevin Pietersen and David Gower in no. 3,4 and 5 respectively. Great Hammond will make it to any all time England XI.Never seen Compton batting , so had to go for KP. David Gower will bring the left hand elegance and aesthetics to the line up.Then Ian Botham and Knott for the all rounder and wicket keeper positions.These two guys will make it to the any EnglandXI in any time.As for the spinner I had to go for Laker ( his strike rate being better than Underwood and also an orthodox).Now coming to the fast bowlers, I was heavily tempted to put Larwood and Trueman together. But could not really undermine the greatness of Syd Barnes.So, the opening bowling duo will be Trueman and Syd Barnes.First change will be Sir Alec Bedser.econd change is the genius Botham of course....

Posted by alfredmynn on (August 28, 2009, 15:09 GMT)

Overall decent selection, but there are inconsistencies. 1. As others have mentioned, there's the KP question. Sutcliffe (could surely bat in the middle order), Compton, May, Gower have comparable or better averages and greater skill. Or for pure natural ability, pick Woolley. Perhaps the panel was trying to fill a quota of at least one player from the last 20 years. 2. I don't agree with leaving out Laker, the second greatest off-spinner of all time. I'd pick him ahead of Underwood, but surely he could have been made 12th man at least? 3. Larwood was brilliant in his day, but so were Snow and Willis; both had good pace and much better Test records. If it's raw pace you are looking for, Tyson would be your pick every time.

Posted by Engle on (August 28, 2009, 15:05 GMT)

Hedley Verity over Underwood for his outstanding performance against the Don, dismissing him 8 times. As CI write-up attests < If a touchstone of Verity's greatness be needed, there is D.G. Bradman, the most inexorable scorer of runs that cricket has yet seen, whose Test match average against England stands at 91.42 in 46 innings. I think it was Verity who kept that average under 150. He was one of only three or four bowlers who came to the battle with Bradman on not unequal terms (haud impar congressus!); and Bradman was reported as saying: "I think I know all about Clarrie (Grimmett), but with Hedley I am never sure. You see, there's no breaking point with him." >

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (August 28, 2009, 15:04 GMT)

KP is deservedly in an all time England XI. For those of you, who seem to have this perpetual hatred of him, I suspect has nothing to do with his batting, but more to do with the fact that he is a South African. Add to the fact, that he has turned out to be the face of modern English cricket, with all his flair and pomp, is bound to anger and botehr those stiff, traditional, gray thinking and mannered pommies. KP has demonstarted, not only that he is EASILY one of the best English batsmen of all time, but that he potentially will be regarded as one of the all-time world greats at the end of his career. Talk about the flair, style, and sheer panache he brings to old, boring, and stale English cricket. Fairy englishmen should be grateful to KP just for that. He has single handedly brought English cricket, which was dying a slow death from boredom, back to life in recent years. His overall contribution to recent English cricket is undeniable and long lasting.

Posted by prasanth.kongati on (August 28, 2009, 14:41 GMT)

considering KP for the AT england's selection is a biggest joke because he is just a good batsmen as many other british batsmen. He is yet to be proved in different conditions and yet to be exposed to different varieties of attacks. bowlers of ambrose,grath,wasim and waqar caliber wouldn't definitely put him in the position where he is. A very suppressed selection makes odd man out of entlire team. Also jim lakers exclusion is big surprise but nt much as kp's inclusion. Of late, flintoff would have been considered as one of finest fast bowlers keeping his fitness problems aside.

Posted by kcab on (August 28, 2009, 14:18 GMT)

I saw Dexter and Barrington play Test cricket in India when I was a kid and I would have travelled far to watch Dexter play again at his best, though the opportunity didn't arise. Barrington was valuable in a team where very few others scored runs consistently but I wouldn't select him in preference to Compton or May or Dexter. Incidentally, didn't Bradman choose Bedser in his all-time world XI?

Posted by delta20 on (August 28, 2009, 11:50 GMT)

Why there is so much fuss regarding KP's selection? Some of the reasons could be justifiable such as he is in the middle of his career and has a long way to go. But performance wise he is a superb batsman, at par with anybody playing test cricket currently. At ease with both pace and spin. Has scored runs everywhere and in every situation. I think this is enough for anyone to be called a batsman on a way to achieving greatness soon. But, I would have also preferred Denis compton ahead of him. Regarding Harold larwood's selection, it is quite short thinking. He troubled the batsmen of his era, ok, but all out pace attack would not be nice. Sir Alec Bedser would have been a perfect choice aside Trueman and Barnes. Also Jim laker over Underwood would have made a perfect bowling even better than Aussie's. The last thing is playing Alec stewart at 6 instead of Knott and moving Botham one down at 7. Still a good team. I would love to have a look at West Indies' all time XI.

Posted by hungaro on (August 28, 2009, 11:42 GMT)

Lots of questions are begged - which, of course, is the fun of the exercise. It would be nice to state some assumptions: the most important is "how are we regarding the players, over their careers or at their best?" This one factor I think is the key to the Compton / Pietersen debate: we can all remember 2005, but was KP really more dazzling then than Compton in 1947? Another question of scope - are we picking a team to play (and win) against the other countries' best, or to charm our imaginations? Barrington's numbers were excellent, but he was SO boring, not least when contrasted with May, Cowdrey or Graveney. I would back him to face down even that all time Aussie attack, but I wouldn't want to watch (though I have to be glad that Trevor Bailey wasn't in the frame). A last thought - what the English are good at is all rounders, but only one was allowed (though Wilfred Rhodes was smuggled in) by the format.

Posted by saurabh.somani on (August 28, 2009, 11:37 GMT)

i tend to agree with most commenters here - kp might eventually be better than compton, but as of today there is no way you can pick him above compton. also, im astounded that herbert sutcliffe isn't in the list. the man had a test match average of 60.73 for cryin out loud. that's better than hobbs or hutton. and between hobbs and hutton, of course you have to pick hobbs. if it seems harsh that len hutton has to be left out, then he could bat in the middle order instead of compton (or kp in your list). another factor is the hobbs-sutcliffe opening partnership that simply CANNOT be separated.

Posted by Imz25 on (August 28, 2009, 10:51 GMT)

Pietersen over Compton is laughable really. IMO, he hasn't achieved "greatness" yet, and the fact that he made the "Eng All-time XI" is hard to digest for me. Denis Compton wasn't just a brilliant batsman; he played a massive role for "Cricket" during the days when the world was extremely volatile with all the wars. Don't forget that he played on uncovered pitches with lighter bats, no helmets etc. So, how on Earth does KP get to have that place in the middle order over Compton?

Posted by RajjoGemini on (August 28, 2009, 9:57 GMT)

I never had and never will understand why people even consider Kevin Pietersen to be a great player even if the context is all time England Greats ! He is just good, speaks more than what he is entitled to and above all he is just too arrogant which to me makes no one great especially in a sport like cricket. Talking about his contribution for English wins, I cant remember anything that the 100 at oval in Ashes 05, thats it ? he should be their on that list.

Also why is cricinfo so mad after English Cricket ? All time greats can be from Aus, India also but no, why they have to do everything with English Cricket only ?

Posted by sacricketlegend on (August 28, 2009, 9:32 GMT)

How can you not have WG Grace in the all-time XI? He is the fisrt pick! And seeing Pietersen selected is just disheartening. He is not a great. Maybe he will be one day. But then maybe Panesar will be a great. You don't know. So you can't choose him. And picking him over arguably the greatest English player ever is ridiculous. I would also have preferred Laker or Rhodes over Underwood. Either would have been better.

Posted by TheBluesTraveller on (August 28, 2009, 9:09 GMT)

Excellent. 10 of these names demand selection for the All Time England XI without any debate. The only name that should not be on this list is Kevin Pietersen. I am sure no one doubts KP's ability, but he hasn't done enough to qualify for an All Time XI yet. Instead, David Gower would have been a more appropriate selection.

Posted by 69denise on (August 28, 2009, 8:43 GMT)

Gotta agree with landl47 here, where is WG Grace? He was the greatest cricketer of his time, took plenty of wickets as well as scoring tons of runs, and surely would be the most intimidating captain for opposition and umpires alike. Would replace KP or Barrington with 'The Champion'.

Posted by Reg_Dyer on (August 28, 2009, 8:30 GMT)

The interesting thing for me, given the faster, bouncier pitches in Australia, is how much more pace this England team has over the Australian all-time XI. Larwood, Trueman and Botham versus Lillee, McGrath and Miller. Granted Lillee started out with lightening pace but that wasn't maintained however skillful he was as a bowler. Australia's openers also look weak compared to England's. Can't really compare the middle order as Bradman's presence skews rational assessment, but without him I reckon England shade that too. Australia shade the spin bowling and the batting skills of the keeper. Another interesting point is that both sides have long tails compared to the modern game. Warne could bat and so could Larwood but the rest of the bowlers offer little threat with the bat even if they aren't complete bunnies.

Posted by Hammad.Fayyaz on (August 28, 2009, 7:57 GMT)

Please also proceed for Pakistan All-times XI

Posted by RomanNoseJob on (August 28, 2009, 7:38 GMT)

I like all that "it says a lot for his standing..." stuff regarding Pietersen. It was your panel that picked him, you can't then comment how incredible his selection is! If you'd picked Stuart Broad you could have said the same things.

I do think his selection though would make a casual modern fan think "really? he's the 3rd best middle order batsman we've ever had? in over 100 years?" and in response I'd mutter something about Compton and how the panel probably just didn't want to load the team with players from the 50s when England were far and away their best.

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 28, 2009, 6:53 GMT)

So why is there so much debate on KP being included? Compton may have been better but KP has scored runs against the likes of McGrath and Warne of Aus. He has succeeded against other top team like SA and India. Has scored 12 of his 16 hundreds under pressure and has been consistent too.

The only thing that can go against him is he has to score maybe another 3000 odd runs.

Posted by howizzat on (August 28, 2009, 6:34 GMT)

1.Len Hutton 2.Geoferry Boycot 3.Jhon Edrich 4.Wally Hammond 5.Dennis Crompton 6.Alan Knot 7.Ian Botham(C) 8.Harold Larwood 9.Jim Laker 10.Fred Trueman 11.Syd Barnes STANDBYE: Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pieterson ,Ken Barrington and Derick Underwood.

Posted by h.ravi on (August 28, 2009, 6:31 GMT)

I agree with most that its too early to include KP in the list. I think he has not done enough to merit a place in the XI. David Gower or Geff Boycott should have been there. How come everyone forgot Graham Gooch? I know it is a very tough call but all the three are better than KP. Ravi Hari

Posted by grr3 on (August 28, 2009, 5:47 GMT)

Its very difficult for me to accept KP in the list. As far as I am concerned he is not technically sound. The he is shuffling for inswingers and the way he bat against quality spinners prove the same. When someone like DAVID GOWER who can play all kind of strokes and especially batted against some of the great fast bowlers like holding,roberts,garner,lillee,marshall should be there not KP.

Posted by Chinmuzic on (August 28, 2009, 4:51 GMT)

omg ... cant believe KP has made it here. He's a insanely talented batsman but has lot to prove for greatness.Middle order should have had Barrington & Compton or Hammond. And how can you miss David Gower, the most stylish English batsman in last 40 years!! Only other disappointment was to see Larwood, Alec Bedser should have been there or maybe Jon Snow. Rest i got all correct! Its a great initiative by Cricinfo. Grouse: there should be a readers' choice award.

Posted by dutchy on (August 28, 2009, 4:48 GMT)

Does anyone think the tail is a bit long with Botham at six? Knott was a great number seven but after that there is a falling off. Botham was most effective in the first half of his career when teamed with another allrounder eg Geoff Miller, Pringle. With that top five it probably wouldn't be an issue, but you do have a number six who only averaged 33. NB Also think Pietersen might be better at four, with Barrington in between him and Botham.

Posted by venugopalm on (August 28, 2009, 4:27 GMT)

Hello All

I think Kelvin doesnt seem to desire his place in All Time Eng Xl . Can be replaced with the players like Tony Greig or Andrew Flintoff. I think Flintoff will The Best Option.

Posted by landl47 on (August 28, 2009, 4:27 GMT)

I wouldn't have picked Pieterson, simply because he is only halfway through his career. If he never returns to his pre-achilles form, he won't be remembered as one of the greats. But the main problem for me is leaving out W.G. Grace. For more than 30 years in the 19th century he WAS cricket, far more so than any other player on the list. His statistics, compared with other players of the same era, are so much better that he was in another class- like Don Bradman for the Australians. It's hard to measure players from different eras against each other, but they can be measured against the best players of their own time, and by that criterion Grace deserves to be included more than anyone else. I'm pleased, though, to see Sydney Barnes there; I just wish I could have seen him bowl.

Posted by saravanan_m87 on (August 28, 2009, 4:24 GMT)

Cricinfo has got the best 9 pick. it would have been the best XI if Compton is considered over KP.Also I believe, in picking the opening pair , we should consider the pair's chemistry and how they coordinate/complement each other apart from statistics Hobbs/Sutcliffe are best pair that england has ever produced.statistically Hutton might look better, still i would love to pick sutcliffe for hutton ,as this pair would complement each other better than any other pair.

Posted by saravanan_m87 on (August 28, 2009, 3:55 GMT)

KP in XI? u must be joking

Posted by CricketisMyPassion on (August 28, 2009, 2:28 GMT)

This is a selection I cd live with! Though i wd have loved to see Gower, Willis and Vaughan (purely for turning the Ashes tide) in the list.

Posted by Subra on (August 28, 2009, 2:09 GMT)

Members of the panel, you got 9 out of 11 right - but how could you chose Pietersen over Compton? The magic of Compton was that whenever he batted, the bars were empty. Maybe in a few years time we will know how good Pietersen is.

Again the choice of Underwood - who was excellent on the unconvered rain affected wickets - over Wilfred Rhodes who strode like a Colossus - and besides his mesmering bowling, could also open the batting, in case of an emergency.

Siva from Singapore

Posted by RomanNoseJob on (August 28, 2009, 0:59 GMT)

I'm sure most posts are going to be on the inclusion of Pietersen however, but I'm still reeling from disbelief you didn't consider Godfrey Evans worth even thinking about for WK. Standing for 1,000 runs before conceding a bye? 46 stumpings in a career? He was a bit good.

Posted by Lazys0d1990 on (August 28, 2009, 0:29 GMT)

My all time England eleven would be Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Gower, Barrington, Botham, Knott, Laker, Trueman, Statham and Barnes. Pietersen can be brilliant but someone who is capable of brain fades like some of his would be a risk.

Posted by Jim1207 on (August 28, 2009, 0:19 GMT)

I don't know what Kevin has done that much great for England or Cricket. In a country of over 130 years of cricket, if you say you cannot find more than 10 people who are better than Pietersen, I'm surely laugh my heart out. Please don't joke when you pick all-time best squad. Where is Compton or Greig or Boycott or WG Grace. You could have included Ranjitsinji instead. If you are selecting based on reader's choices, go and find readers of every generation and cumulate together which would give you more cleaner results. I would consider this one selection as a joker in the pack.

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (August 27, 2009, 23:52 GMT)

An avergage all time team at best. The so called experts at cricinfo have chosen a romanticized English team. An english all time team without David Gower? And Alec Stewart, any day, any pitch more than makes up with the bat whatever he may lack behind the stumps. He is galaxies more superior to that of Knott. And no Flintoff. Flintoff would have been a better choice, even without considering his batting, than Barnes or Larwood. Having said that, I think anyone who sits down to select a England all time XI really is working with inferior material. England has not produced much by way of quality world class cricketers in the past 40 years or so. Although I do feel that some modern England players should be automatic no matter who selects the team, namely, players like Gower, Pietersen, Stewart, Flintoff, Botham, and maybe even an Atherton. But the three guarnteed modern players that should be in anyones English XI are Gower, KP, and Botham.

Posted by lyoung on (August 27, 2009, 23:06 GMT)

When all countries' All-Time XI's are picked, I propose tht they be pitted against each other in imaginary test series to determine the best team of all time, using the power of a super-computer. Older readers may remember this was done on the occasion of the Centenary Test in 1977 between England and Australia, when the best all-time XI's of both countries were selected and the stats of the players were fed into a computer and an imaginary Ashes test was produced. A day-by-day summary of the 'Test' was reported in my local newspaper. The result was a win to Australia; Victor Trumper scored the only century of the test, Dennis Lillee took 6 wkts in England's second innings, and Bradman failed to reach 50 in both innings!

Posted by bzzd on (August 27, 2009, 22:24 GMT)

I did not have too much problem with the England team except for Pietersen. He has moments of brilliance but is prone to self destruct at critical times. Sometimes he really looses the plot. May or Compton were both superior. Sorry Sutcliffe did not make it but no denying Hutton's class. Really enjoying this series. Thank you

Posted by Imz25 on (August 27, 2009, 22:13 GMT)

KP in? Thats a joke. Compton over him any day. Also Laker > Underwood.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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