All-time XI: England

Pietersen makes all-time England XI

Cricinfo staff

August 27, 2009

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen drives, England v Australia, 1st Test, Cardiff, 1st day, July 8, 2009
Kevin Pietersen wants to be a great player, and already sits alongside some of the game's best © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen is the only player from almost the past two decades to make it into the all-time England XI chosen by Cricinfo, with Ian Botham the next most-recent star to make the cut.

Pietersen's selection, by a panel of renowned cricket writers, journalists and commentators, confirms the impact he has had on the game since he made his Test debut in 2005, but there are no places for anyone else who contributed to England's Ashes victories in 2005 and 2009.

The opening positions are taken by Jack Hobbs and Len Hutton, two of the true legends of the game, and they are followed by Walter Hammond at No. 3 and Ken Barrington at No. 4. Pietersen, who is still in the early part of his career but is already recognised as a match-changing batsman, only just made it to final XI, beating off strong competition from Denis Compton, who captured the hearts and the minds of English fans in the post-war years.

Andrew Flintoff and Tony Greig both made it to the shortlist for allrounders, but Botham won that contest hands down. "A proven century-maker, unlike Andrew Flintoff, and capable of bowling either fast like Harold Larwood, or outswing like Fred Trueman," Scyld Berry, the editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, wrote about Botham. "Hammond at first slip and Botham at second would make a formidable cordon beside Alan Knott."

Knott was the unanimous choice as the wicketkeeper. Sydney Barnes and Harold Larwood won the premier fast bowler's positions by an overwhelming majority, but it was a closer contest for Fred Trueman who had stiff competition from Frank Tyson. Bob Willis was the only modern fast bowler who came close to selection.

The sole spinner's position went to Derek Underwood, who beat Jim Laker by a single vote.

Last month Cricinfo produced a definitive all-time great Australia team, which didn't include any members of the current Australian line-up. Over the coming year, the website will turn its eye to all of the top Test-playing nations and round off the deliberations with an all-time World XI.

Cricinfo also asked readers to select their all-time XIs and the only two differences were that David Gower was voted into the middle order ahead of Barrington and Laker took the spin position from Underwood.

For more details click here.

The nominees

Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Mike Brearley, Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch, Mike Atherton, Michael Vaughan

Middle order
Wally Hammond, Ken Barrington, Kevin Pietersen, Colin Cowdrey, Peter May, David Gower, Stanley Jackson, Frank Woolley, Ted Dexter, Denis Compton

Ian Botham, Tony Greig, Andrew Flintoff

Alan Knott, Bob Taylor, Les Ames, Jack Russell, Alec Stewart

Fast bowlers
Sydney Barnes, Harold Larwood, Fred Trueman, Bob Willis, Alec Bedser, Frank Tyson, John Snow, Darren Gough, Brian Statham

Hedley Verity, Wilfred Rhodes, Jim Laker, Derek Underwood

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 30, 2009, 16:40 GMT)

A couple of times, maybe more, in reading the comments on England's finest XI selection there has been reference to uncovered wickets and the greater skills of batsmen before the covered the wickets, which incidentally came about because everybody wanted to watch more, not through some spiteful octogenarian's desire to make the youngsters of the modern era look like weaklings,lesser men than their predecessors. But if you reverse the arguments then you will have to select only modern bowlers as they have had to slave away on relative shirtfronts. On that count Messrs Barnes, Larwood.Trueman and early Underwood were not quite the real deal they have been made out to be. Other factors which might be taken into account are the modern lbw rule and the front foot noball rule. Another factor which is not really taken into account much is the vastly improved fielding.How much would Bradman's 99 av be worth now? Of course it may be that great in one era would translate to another.

Posted by Hayden16 on (August 30, 2009, 1:55 GMT)

I'm surprised Godfrey Evans didn't make at least the short list for keepers- he played 91 tests in the 1940s and 1950s, got 219 dismissals and was known as being very dependable.

Posted by alfredmynn on (August 29, 2009, 16:20 GMT)

It's hard to do better than follow Sir Don Bradman's formula for the ideal composition of a playing XI which is presented in his book "The Art of Cricket". The particular choices of players are not important as long as they are reasonable. The formula is: Two openers of whom one is preferably a left-hander (Hobbs, Sutcliffe - no good left-handed openers), three other batsmen with at least one left-hander (Hutton, Hammond, Woolley), one all-rounder (Botham), one wicket-keeper who's also a good bat (Ames), one fast bowler to bowl with the wind (Typhoon), one fast/medium pace bowler into the wind (Trueman), one classical right-arm spinner (Laker), one left-hand orthodox finger-spinner (Rhodes). Unfortunately, there's the mystery bowler Barnes, whom I cannot leave out. If the pitch is taking spin I'd leave out Rhodes, as Laker is capable of running through a side on his own. Else I'd leave out Laker and pick Rhodes to add depth to the batting.

Posted by shwetacomments on (August 29, 2009, 16:09 GMT)

well kevin pietersen is a terrafic batter n he deserves where he will find himself........n dats all time English XI..........where theres no freedie nor vaughan...i am not an English girl so i am givin an unbiased opinion..................KP is loved n admired in India n m a journo n i hav gone all oveer world n ahv had convo with many retired greats n they hav all liked n admired Kpz game n his insiticts..............he is deserving candidate of this honour...........his record speaks for himelf.......

n well record is not everything..........he brings confidence n attitude to this english side which was missing in it for many many years........hez an Impact player n it is very rare to find an impact player ..........player who can set an impact on the game and on the team

Posted by Sydney66 on (August 29, 2009, 14:39 GMT)

I've just watched John Snow knock Terry Jenner's head off in the 1970/71 Sydney Test on YouTube. Yep, Snow should have been picked. Larwoods bouncer might have been faster, but Snow's has to be more vicious.

Posted by Sydney66 on (August 29, 2009, 14:29 GMT)

Bedser was the most successful English seamer to play against Bradman and picked up his wicket 6 times. Bradman also chose Bedser in his all time greatest XI list. So, I think we can say maximum6 that Bedser was considerably better than Hoggard and other modern swing bowlers.

Incidently, Hedley Verity was rated by Bradman to be the best English spinner he faced. Verity got Bradman out a record 8 times when Bradman was at his peak prior to WWII. Verity would also be less predictable than Underwood who tended to bowl at medium pace on flat wickets. The West Indies took a terrible toll on Underwoods bowling figures (ave over 100) as they played him to the onside rather the Aussies who chose the offside. I think that either Bedser or Verity should have been picked in the all time England XI as the number one priority would be to dismiss Bradman cheaply. So, Verity or Bedser in for Underwood depending on the state of the pitch, remembering that Barnes can bowl leg and off spin anyway.

Posted by Ramkr on (August 29, 2009, 14:11 GMT)

Gower would not make to a 80s World XI or a 90s XI. He was not even one of the best batman in the world during his times.. same thing is true for Gooch, Stewart, Fraser or Hoggard or any of the 80s to present players..

ofcourse, the exceptions would be Botham, Pietersen, Boycott, Snow and Willis. They are quite good. How many of these are good enough is entirely a different question...

If the idea conveyed in some of the comments is that England never had great players.. If the players selected to the XI is no better than a Hoggard or a flintoff or a Robin smith... then I am ok with that.. We can select blindly any 80s to present players to the All time XI as there is nothing much to choose from among these "modern" players...It would also imply England was never had a great side becoz England was always an average team from 80s to the present..

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 13:48 GMT)

KP does play across the line but his hand eye co-ordination is excellent and it is his strength.

He can get out by playing across if he gets over confident or is too eager to play a shot. It would give a chance for the bowler to just shape it away and as he plays inside the line he can get bowled or caught behind but more often than not he succeeds by playing across the line.

He can become better if he plays a bit more late and looks to play a bit more in the V as however good he maybe across the line he still can't hit everything through the leg side but his technique is good enough and the proof is he went to Australia and against the likes of McGrath and co averaged over 50. He has also succeeded against other top teams like Saffers and India

In the recent Ashes though he wasn't in good form yet he averaged nearly 40!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 29, 2009, 12:50 GMT)

Interesting comment about Snow- he could do a few things with the ball, and was underrated in his career let alone after. For a period of two or three years Willis was faiirly supreme too, and not just in 1981. The trouble with England quicks is that they are too injury prone and get to just above 200 wickets and then fall apart or get the sack. How much better were Bedser or Barnes than say Fraser or Hoggard? Re Pietersen I immediately thought he was like Viv, and really who was better than Viv? Lara? Inzy? And who has played with that easy mellifluity better than Gower? Was Knott better than Taylor or was it for the batting he got the place? Was Stewart, the self made keeper best of all three,tidy always and a a better opener than Gooch?

Posted by Sydney66 on (August 29, 2009, 11:56 GMT)

Jokistan, Robyn Smith could not play leg spin. He wouldn't last more than 10 minutes against Warne or O'Reilly on a 5th day pitch. Alan Lamb has a test average of only 36. This is simply not good enough.

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 11:17 GMT)

If Allan Lamb with an average of 36.09 can be included then Tresco, Strauss, Vaughan etc all can be included.

Smith was superb against pace but weak against spin and he averaged 43.67 which shows he was good but can't be included in an all time team.

Posted by jokistan on (August 29, 2009, 10:46 GMT)

You got to include Allan lamb and Robin Smith too, they were equally as good as KP!

Posted by Sydney66 on (August 29, 2009, 9:49 GMT)

I don't have a problem with Pietersen being selected, but Larwoods inclusion is a mystery. If you disregard the Body Line series then Larwood's piddly 31 wickets cost him an average of 41.29 runs a piece. During their tour of England in 1930 the Aussie batsman smashed him all over the park. A hopeless 4 wickets at 73.00 runs a piece.

On the other hand, I don't think Bradman would relish facing John Snow with the new ball. His ability to make a ball jump violently at the batsmans ribcage from a mere short of length is unsurpassed for an English bowler. I'm sure Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell would agree!

Posted by Ramkr on (August 29, 2009, 7:40 GMT)

I have seen comments on the quality of the Oldies with respect to the "filmed" generations. We have very little information of the playing conditions or the quality of the bowling and batting during those times.. We have go by the statistics and probably information passed on by the generations...

One thing I am quite quite sure about is the quality of the English player from 80s to the present. None of them would make it to a contemporary decennary world XI(say 80s XI or a 90sXI or 2000s XI) probably except Kevin Pietersen(bit doubtful about that too). This include Ian Botham as well..

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 7:13 GMT)

Actually Kp may have to get few more runs to get into an all time team but it is rubbish to say that he has no technique, can't handle quality bowlers or can't score runs against top teams.

He has succeeded against Australia, SA and India.

He has done well against quality spinners like Warne, Kumble, Harbie and to a lesser extent against Murali.

Has done very well under pressure.

Has done well against the MOVING BALL which is said to his weakness and the proof being he succeeded at Napier when it was moving around, he succeeded at Lords in 07 when it again was doing a bit and Zaheer was getting it to swing and came good at Trent Bridge.

He has handled quality quick bowlers like McGrath, Steyn etc well.

Posted by raj416 on (August 29, 2009, 6:53 GMT)

@ kpisthebest, well said... Kp is the best when it comes to handle the pressure and create innovation in the game....

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 3:17 GMT)

Yeah KP is a flat track bully for the following reasons.

It looks like people when they think of Kp they only think of the 2005 Ashes. Just have a look at his scores and one can clearly see the fact that he has done well when England have been in all sorts of trouble like that century at Mohali with England at 1 for 2, his century at Napier with England at 4 for 3, he scored 142 out of 293 runs against Murali and co, scored a fantastic hundred at Oval against Australia, made a terrific hundred at Lords on a pitch that was moving around against India with England again in trouble, Played for most of the fifth day to take England to safety against India at Oval, he came in and scored a brilliant hundred on a pitch that helped medium pacers at Trent Bridge against the NZ team, scored a fine hundred again with England in trouble against the Saffers at Oval in 2008, scored quickly at Trinidad to help England declare and many more.

So you are right sir!

Posted by kpisthebest on (August 29, 2009, 3:15 GMT)

Mr ump,

KP can't play quality bowling as he has only succeeded against top teams like Aus, India and SA.

Posted by chatto on (August 28, 2009, 23:19 GMT)

The list is quite interesting - probably gives a fair idea why England hasn't been a force in cricket world for nearly two decades now. Is it because of overload of cricket in the country? Now the county players play more games in a year than what it used to be 25-30 years ago. Fast bowlers are on the bench more because of injury - that probably is a clear sign of too much cricket. No wonder England hasn't produced a consistent fast bowler in last 20 years.

I sincerely wish England team becomes a great one in near future.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 28, 2009, 21:24 GMT)

No surprises really. The problem is that we have the figures for the oldies but no film. We are told how great they were. Somehow I feel that this traditional and historical team is there because nop-one dares look at todays players in the same light. This is not scorn the likes of Larwood or Hobbs. Was Hutton really a fat lot better than Vaughan? and for all the figures suggest would not the pure creaminess of a semi uptodate player like Gower make as much sense as Barrington or Hammond, who never played on the subcontinent? Personally I did not view Compton, I did not gasp at the feats of S.F. Barnes, whose figures were half gained at the expense of South Africa, who at the time were very much third best. so really when people say they are unsure about Pietersen or want the good doctor-who was incidentally not the most honest man to play the game- have they really the tools for comparison? Stewart v Knott, another controversy..I cannot think this is not all disputable,thankfully.

Posted by legend74 on (August 28, 2009, 17:51 GMT)

It is clearly wrong that KP who has yet to fully prove himself should be mentioned in the same breath as Compton, and to be fair I'd like to see Gower mentioned too, because as far as someone goes who could come out and get runs at their own pace without being too worried about the bowling, he rates alongside KP, who also never had to duke it out with the Windies quicks.

Also, on a related matter, reading the comment against Greg Chappell for the Aussies saying who else could have got 2 tons in the Windies against Holding Roberts Garner Croft, what about Goochie in 81?

If those guys had had some dreck like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh etc to bump their averages up against, they'd be sat on 50+ too.

Posted by WoundedSplinter on (August 28, 2009, 15:52 GMT)

I'm with NBZ1 here, although I'm biased because I was named after the man. Somebody has to captain this lot, and Peter May is an obvious choice.

The whole team is just too functional for me -- I'd prefer more glamour. That would involve dropping the (excellent) Underwood for one of a number of spinners, and trying to make room for Gower or Compton. On balance, I'd go for Compton; Gower was wonderful to watch, but you wouldn't bet your life on him.

I'm also of the opinion that Knotty is slightly overrated; I'd have picked Les Ames.

Or maybe Gower, if only he could keep wicket...

Posted by tomemy on (August 28, 2009, 15:46 GMT)

It would be absolutely impossible for Virendar Shewag to miss out on the opening spot with Gavaskar in the all time Indian 11. If anything he probably deserves his spot ahead of Gavaskar.

Posted by tomemy on (August 28, 2009, 15:42 GMT)

I am very curious as to how a bloke like Mike Brearley could be on any shortlist for a "best 11", he may have been a good captain but as an opening bat the bloke never even made a test century. As for Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart these were top order batsman that didnt even average 40 in test cricket, which surely has to be the benchmark, i would much rather have seen Marcus Trescothick, Strauss or Graham Thorpe on the shortlist, as least these blokes average over 40 in test cricket. Strauss already has more test hundreds against Australia then Atherton and Stewart put together.

Posted by jackthelad on (August 28, 2009, 15:17 GMT)

Barrington and Pietersen among the half-dozen all-time English great batsmen? Merely from the post-war era, where are Peter May and Denis Compton? Knott a finer wicketkeeper/batsman than Les Ames? No place for England's greatest all-rounder, Wilfred Rhodes? What is this nonsense?

Posted by MrUmp on (August 28, 2009, 14:44 GMT)

Who were these so called "writers" and "commentators" - surely they're joking with Pietersen's inclusion. Pietersen has proved that when it comes to playing quality pace and swing he lacks the technique. The lack of quality bowlers on the current scene makes Pietersen a better player than he really is - but I doubt if he would have been able to face the likes of Holding, Marshall, Garner, Lilee, Akram, Khan and more. The others would - I feel this fascination all KP with English commentators is complete nonsense. The last Ashes victory meant more to me as it did highlight that England can win without KP no matter how much the KP bandwagon wants us to believe we can't.

Posted by OkyaBokya on (August 28, 2009, 12:32 GMT)

Let's figure out like this. This selection looks like a consolation for modern era of English cricket. Because no other cricketer is included after Ian Botham. I think they wanted at least 1 player from current era this time(As no Aussie was selected!) and they found nothing except Pietersen in middle order. Selectors have less options in modern era England batsmen. :)

Posted by kal07 on (August 28, 2009, 12:02 GMT)

I agree with the majority here, KP shouldn't be considered Great yet. He's only 5 yrs old. A great team overall. Now I'm desperately waiting for the Indian XI. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Sehwag to partner Gavaskar at the top! Go Viru! Sachin is certainty as is Kapil and a few others are probably going to make it as well, I think its not as difficult to pick an Indian XI as it was in the case of England or Australia. West-Indies maybe the next team to be picked? Can ANYONE tell me the date for first nominations of Indian XI??? Please...

Love Cricinfo.

Posted by bzzd on (August 28, 2009, 11:58 GMT)

Not too much criticism except for Pietersen. Give me a break! He has vlashes of brilliance and then totally looses the plot (Harris in 2008, Benn in the West Indies). May or Compton, nuch better. Sorry that Sutcliffe did not make it (higher average than any English cricketer) but Hutton was a fine cricketer so that's OK. Rhodes was more of a true spinner than Underwood and he could bat. Still shaking my head about Pietersen! Enjoying this series. Thank you

Posted by Imz25 on (August 28, 2009, 10:47 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 ynotlleb on (August 28, 2009, 9:27 GMT)

ObserverUS, just because Michael Atherton has scored more runs for England than Jack Hobbs doesn't mean that Atherton was a greater player. There is a difference betweeen aggregate runs and average!

I'd leave out Trueman or Larwood and bring in Laker. Also bring in Rhodes for Underwood, another allrounder would be useful. Pietersen is a tricky one, it always is including contemporary players in all-time teams. Will KP still make the team in 5 years time at the end of his career?

Posted by tomemy on (August 28, 2009, 9:15 GMT)

How could Pietersen be rated higher then May, Compton or Sutcliffe. Surely there best side would contain Hobbs and Sutcliffe opening with Hutton at 3, Hammond at 4, Barrington at 5, Compton at 6, Les Ames at 7, Botham at 8, Laker at 9, Trueman at 10, and Sid Barnes at 11.

Posted by NBZ1 on (August 28, 2009, 8:30 GMT)

I tend to agree with Brendanvio and go with May or Compton (my slight preference being for May with his classy captaincy skills to add to the mix) over Pietersen, who while an outrageously talented player still has a bit to do to be considered an all-time great. I am also not too sure about Harold Larwood- Statham, Bedser, Tyson and Snow all present compelling cases.

It was not surprising to see Barrington miss out in the fan's XI- he was by no means the most attractive player to watch. But the fact is he brings a steel and grit to the middle-order unmatched by any of the other batsmen. For me he is almost an automatic choice into the team.

Posted by Deepak_Mehta on (August 28, 2009, 7:44 GMT)

huh.. huh... I think Andrew Strauss should be also in List......

Posted by BEDEKAR on (August 28, 2009, 6:58 GMT)

Peter May was perhaps the finest post-war English batsman.To omit him in favour of Barrington and Pietersen is surprising

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

1. Pietersen vs Gower : KP has faced one world-class seam bowler in his entire career (McGrath); Gower faced one, two, three or four pretty much every series he played....

2. Is this England side playing every match at Headingly circa 1990? Four fast bowlers plus Hammond... plus a spinner who bowls as fast as a medium pacer... Surely with Hammond and Botham in the top 6 we can have two spinners, Laker plus a left-armer - one of Rhodes, Verity, or Underwood.

3. Who decided that you could only have two openers? Surely if the best three batsmen are openers, pick them all. Worked for England in 2005... The top 5 batsmen statistically are Sutcliffe, Hobbs, Hutton, Hammond and Barrington - by some margin. So that's the top 5 I'd pick... Likewise, if any Indian wishes to pick all of Gavaskar, Sehwag and Merchant, they should be allowed to. Not to mention more than one allrounder - Kapil and Mankad. (As a kiwi, I'll want THREE allrounders Reid, Cairns, Hadlee at 6, 7 and 8...)

Posted by glovescarf on (August 28, 2009, 6:20 GMT)

The inclusion of Pietersen is perhaps a surprise given that he is probably less than half way through his test career. Compton would also have added his left arm wrist spin so could have acted as the second spinner which I thought would have swayed his selection. The choice of Hutton as opener alongside Hobbs ahead of Sutcliffe also means that there is not one left handed batsman in the team. Of course Hutton more than merits his place and would probably captain the side but if no Sutcliffe then why not Gower instead of Pietersen for variety?

Posted by ObserverUS on (August 28, 2009, 6:04 GMT)

*all time* XI? What are they drinking? Here's the top 20 from Statsguru, totals all forms:

Overall figuresPlayer Span Runs GA Gooch 1975-1995 13190 AJ Stewart 1989-2003 13140 DI Gower 1978-1992 11401 ME Trescothick 2000-2006 10326 MA Atherton 1989-2001 9519 G Boycott 1964-1982 9196 GP Thorpe 1993-2005 9124 AJ Lamb 1982-1992 8666 KP Pietersen 2004-2009 8285 N Hussain 1989-2004 8096 PD Collingwood 2001-2009 7935 AJ Strauss 2003-2009 7838 MP Vaughan 1999-2008 7728 MC Cowdrey 1954-1975 7625 IT Botham 1976-1992 7313 WR Hammond 1927-1947 7249 GA Hick 1991-2001 7229 A Flintoff 1998-2009 7164 L Hutton 1937-1955 6971 KF Barrington 1955-1968 6806

Posted by bhardwaj.dss on (August 28, 2009, 5:31 GMT)

Even I am desperately waiting for the Indian XI now. I am sure it will explode the veins in my forehead.

Posted by visn on (August 28, 2009, 5:09 GMT)

Kevin Pietersen made his debut here in South Africa in an ODI series. 3 centuries in 5 innings to a hostile crowd. He made his debut in the Ashes against Austrailia, and was instrumental in Englands 1st Ashes win in 18 years. He has not always had the best of partners, and like Tendulkar he has played with huge expectations on his shoulders. He has not got the magic though, and is brash personality is not appreciated by critics.

15 Half Centuries, 16 Centuries in 97 innings. I will take that.

As a (non-white) South African I feel the loss.

Posted by savarkar on (August 28, 2009, 5:05 GMT)

my problem with this list is that it doesn't have Dr W G Grace- 54,000 first class runs at a time when cricketers died of injuroes due to bad uncovered pitches. he strode like a colossus and according to many- is the father of the modern game as we know it today. plus by all accounts he was a remarkable character who has contributed to cricketing lore like never before or since. He scored the first ever triple hundred; the sheer longevity of his career was another plus. The final tribute- When he died in 1915, the German Press claimed him as a war prize- rather like sinking a battleship or something similar!

Posted by OkyaBokya on (August 28, 2009, 5:00 GMT)

I think Kevin has achieved a descent figures but still it's too early to include him in dream team. He's yet to prove a lot. he is just 4-5 years old in Test cricket.

Seeing this selection, Now I am desperately looking for Indian XI.

Posted by Yasassri on (August 28, 2009, 4:43 GMT)

it is unfair to groupe "opener" and "middle order" if it happens leaving out players like 'Graham Thrope" and selecting of some players just as opners it self.'Marcus Theskothic' may have chance to nominated.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 28, 2009, 4:25 GMT)

I am absolutely surprised to see Kevin Pietersen's name in this list of true greats from England. I cannot believe that anyone could have upstaged Denis Compton who had, apart from his acknowledged batting skills, the charisma and good looks of a once in a lifetime sportsman. Possibly because of Compton's less than dour image, he lost out. The other reason could be that the present seems to matter more in such selections and rankings. Or else how could someone like Bedser miss out.Also, in choosing the spinners lot, I understand from what I have read that Headley Verity was great enough for the inimitable Cardus to rate him higher than Sobers in the art of spin bowling. Even if it is understandable though that only eleven players could have made it I think the above observations would go to show that not all such selections are merit oriented.

Posted by bhardwaj.dss on (August 28, 2009, 4:18 GMT)

Its a pity that no current English cricketers were even considered for a spot in the final XI, except for Flintoff and Pietersen. Even Flintoff's inclusion in the list of nominees is an unfair one. He has had a couple of good Ashes series, nothing exceptional apart from that. This shows that English cricket is not going upwards in their progress graph currently, despite beating the Aussies. There are very attractive players left in the English squad who people will pay to watch. Shame, a real shame.

Posted by jcalamur on (August 28, 2009, 4:16 GMT)

It's an interesting pick that the panel of experts have chosen. I was with Len Hutton and Jack Hobbes as the openers too. My middle order, however, had Walter Hammond, Ken Barrington and David Gower - in whichever order they are okay with coming. Botham was the all-rounder and Knott was the keeper. My fast bowlers were Truman, Tyson with Barnes coming first change. However, I chose Rhodes as my slow bowler. Reason was while he was effective as a bowler, there was an extra batsman for the team as well. But, nonetheless, I like this team and it would be a nice virtual cricket contest between the all time England XI and the all time Australian XI

Posted by Sorcerer on (August 28, 2009, 1:36 GMT)

I'm not an avid follower of English cricket but somehow I still managed to get 10 out of 11 in the final team correct. The only one I missed out on was Trueman as I chose Bedser rather. Reason is simple - the aura and mystique of legends like Hobbs, Hammond etc. is unmistakable as compared to the players of the last two decades.

Posted by santhoshkudva on (August 28, 2009, 1:04 GMT)

while the final XI cannot be disputed, i was surprised to see Michael Vaughan's name ahead of Andrew strauss's among the nominees. And really sorry to correct you, but you need to create a separate category for captaincy or not have mike brearly's name at all in the list of openers. what has he achieved?

Posted by Brendanvio on (August 28, 2009, 0:37 GMT)

Nonsense. How the hell does KP beat Denis Compton or Peter May into the team? The only other person I'd replace would be Larwood. I'd rather have had John Snow in the team.

Fine squad though, with a hell of a batting lineup.

Posted by azaro on (August 27, 2009, 22:35 GMT)

Kevin Pietersen is completely ridiculous in this line up! You think he could have scored runs on uncovered wickets or faced the Windies in their prime? I don't think so - just another flat track bully who struggles to play straight and the moving ball...

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