Pietersen makes all-time England XI
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.
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Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Mike Brearley, Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch, Mike Atherton, Michael Vaughan
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
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