Ten years of England's T20

Adam Hollioake leads team of the decade

Adam Hollioake captains ESPNcricinfo's team of the decade, selected to mark ten years of professional Twenty20 cricket in England

Tim Wigmore

June 26, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Adam Hollioake in action for the second time in two days, Kent v Essex, Twenty20 Cup, Canterbury, June 23, 2007
Adam Hollioake captains our fantasy XI, drawn up from ten years of England's T20 competition © Getty Images
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Today marks a decade since the ECB launched Twenty20 cricket. Advance ticket sales are said to be bouyant, but It is a decade reached uncertainly as the counties embark on the last season of the condensed midsummer format before switching to a season-long tournament.

But as England seeks to gain full benefit from its ground-breaking format, a format that has spawned several imitators - and one hugely powerful imitator above all - it is time to mark the occasion.

Below is a selection of the best county XI of the past ten years, based on players' impacts in the tournament over time. Overseas players who have just popped in briefly have been determinedly excluded. It is important to have stuck around for a while.

Inevitably, it will create debate. Plenty of players will feel unjustly left out. Tim states that "particular apologies go to Darren Maddy, Graeme Hick, Azhar Mahmood, Danny Briggs and Chris Liddle." Chris Liddle? Let us know what you think.

Marcus Trescothick
No sight in English T20 has been as consistently destructive as that of Trescothick at Taunton. Bludgeoning drives and disdainful pulls have driven bowlers to despair - as well as England fans lamenting that he only played three T20 internationals. His domestic T20 strike-rate, 161, is 16 better than anyone else among the top ten county run scorers.

Jonathan Trott
Yes, really. Until his England career, Trott had perfected the role of T20 anchor for Warwickshire - unobtrusively averaging 40 while scoring at seven-an-over. As he mixed deft touches, underrated power and a shrewd ability to judge a run chase, Warwickshire never had reason to complain.

Brad Hodge
Not even Chris Gayle has as many T20 runs as Hodge. Hodge, mostly using orthodox shots but hitting them with rare power and timing, hit a brilliant 77* to secure Leicestershire's T20 victory in 2004, and averaged 45 in English T20. His off-spin was also deceptively effective.

Owais Shah
No English batsman comes within 1000 runs of the total of 4500 runs Shah has scored. The format is made for Shah's clean striking, ability to hit the ball to unusual areas and skill savaging balls out the ground - like the three consecutive legside sixes off James Tredwell in the 2008 final.

Darren Stevens
England went through a spell of picking T20 specialists, but somehow Stevens was never one of them. His power and cool temperament make Stevens a superb chaser, as when he sealed the 2007 final. Add in his canny T20 bowling and Stevens has topped the PCA's list of most valuable T20 players in the past six seasons.

Adam Hollioake (capt)
The original T20 master. Hollioake's bowling varieties and relish for joining the attack at high-octane moments were perfectly suited to the format: flummoxed batsmen lost their wickets to him less than every ten balls. Add in his destructive batting and unrelentingly aggressive captaincy, and only age precluded him from being an IPL star.

James Foster
Able to stand up to the stumps even to a regular 80mph bowler, Graham Napier, Foster's measure is not just in his catches and stumpings - he has more T20 dismissals in English cricket than anyone else - but in how his presence disturbs the batsmen. In front of the wicket, his idiosyncratic foot movement - taking his stance as if the bowler is coming from square leg - helps make him a formidable finisher.

Dimi Mascarenhas
While he is more famous for his hitting ability, Mascarenhas is good enough to get into this side on bowling alone: his wickets come at 17 apiece, with an economy rate of only 6.7, for Hampshire. Bowling wicket-to-wicket and giving the batsmen nothing to hit in the Powerplay overs, Mascarenhas often bowls his overs straight through. On T20 finals day last year, his figures were 8-0-31-4.

Jeremy Snape
Snape was drifting out of cricket when Twenty20 started; and there seemed no place in this new game for an offspinner. Snape, though, had other ideas, like his 'moon ball', landing at an inviting 40mph and deceiving greedy batsmen. He also scored runs at crucial times, such as with his 18-ball 34 in the 2004 final. Also, in a tight situation, who better to have in your side than a sports psychologist?

Alfonso Thomas
Somerset's recent near misses are no reflection on Alfonso the Great's efforts. His skilful yorkers and well-honed slower balls have earned Thomas 94 wickets in English T20 cricket and a deserved reputation as one of the world's best death bowlers.

Ryan Sidebottom
The share price of left-arm seamers in T20 cricket is high, and Sidebottom has been the best around the domestic circuit. His ability to locate his yorker under pressure and seamless adjustment between bowling over and around the wicket has made Sidebottom a supreme operator at the start and end of innings.

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Posted by JG2704 on (June 30, 2013, 20:05 GMT)

@Pyketts on (June 30, 2013, 15:03 GMT) Not passionate about this one bud. But yes Surrey were a team of stars when they were doing well. The Leics team which beat Somerset in 2011 was not so great on paper. Not sure who captained them that day - maybe Nixon , who I'd possibly include ahead of Foster regardless of stats. I think Nixon was one of the great characters of the game and would have him in there for his entertainment value. Also - and not sure how his stats stack up - but against Somerset Cork has been pretty decent. Again I like the guy as a character and he'd have to be mic'd up as I used to love some of the banter between him and Colville

Posted by Pyketts on (June 30, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

@JG2704 I think this is the first time I'm going to out-stat you! I've just checked and he did win it once with Surrey but not sure that makes him a great captain. He also did very little in every final he played in.

Leicestershire won it twice in three years, a far less fashionable (and wealthy) club than Surry so maybe Snape or Hodge should be the captain of the team.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

@Pyketts on (June 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT) Re Holliaoake - not sure , but I think je may have twice captained Surrey to T20 glory. If so , that's pretty good going

Posted by Pyketts on (June 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

@JG2704 depending on Bell's Ashes performance yes, even I'm starting to lose patience with him! Will need a replacement though, Taylor?

If Holliake only played 20 games I'm not sure he can be described as an excellent captain in this form of the game.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 28, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

@class9ryan on (June 28, 2013, 2:53 GMT) Yardy was another unsung hero of that side

Posted by class9ryan on (June 28, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

Sidebottom was really the unsung hero in that WC T20 triumph in the Caribbean.

Shah and Hodge have been travelling to all parts of the world to play T20 cricket.

Nixon deserves a place in the team.Holliake was a excellent captain.

Interestingly no Graham Napier

But very sad 2 see lot of these players not been regulars in their national T20 sides including Hodge, Shah who been unfortunate to make it to their national team consistently.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 27, 2013, 19:55 GMT)

@Pyketts on (June 27, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

LOL - I'm not that bothered either way re Cook ( sceptical re his captaincy) so you've got yourself a deal there. Does Bell's dropping include tests or is that stretching it?

Posted by Pyketts on (June 27, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

@JG2704 - Trott and KP to open in ODI's with Cook out, two issues sorted for the price of one! If you let me do that I'll let you drop Bell!

@Saba Saeed Sheikh, I don't really think the captain in T20 is actually that important and having only played 20 matches (as per another comment) I'm not sure he could be seen as a worthy inclusion.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Hollioake was an excellent captain. That's why he's there.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 26, 2013, 21:35 GMT)

There are always players who folk say should be there etc. TBH the only out and out surprise on the list is Trott but I don't know his stats too well. I've said about Darren Stevens on many a thread. He so often does something with bat or ball or both. Re Napier - not sure what his stats are but he's always looked pretty consistent with the ball and capable more than consistent with the bat. Obviously there are players who have only played a season or so that had a big impact. The West Indian KP was one. It's also easy to forget players and then when someone mentions them you think "oh yeah". Thought Maddy was pretty useful and Nixon's another who deserves a mention - as do many others

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