Three lefties and an offie
English spinners have seemed a rare breed in recent times, cowed by the country's seam-friendly pitches, and by the proliferation of superior craftsmen from overseas, most notably Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Anil Kumble. But there once was a time when England's spinners ranked among the finest in the game, as the four names in the frame for the all-time XI amply demonstrate.
But whereas Australia's slow options have invariably been of the wrist variety, England's penchant has been for finger-based flight and guile. Three left-arm spinners make the final cut - the indomitable Wilfred Rhodes, who was still good enough for England at the age of 52, the professorially precise Hedley Verity, whose command of length was such that an inswinging yorker was a key weapon, and of course Kent's latter-day legend, Derek Underwood.
The sole right-arm representative is an unsurprising selection. Jim Laker's legend will live on, long after Test cricket has gone the same way as his demure wicket celebrations. Other fine exponents of the slow-bowler's art have failed to make it to this list - Laker's sidekick, Tony Lock, for instance, and Yorkshire's wrecker of the 19th century, Ted Peate. But there's limited space in the all-time XI, and it is hard to look beyond the quartet below.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo