The 2016 County Championship came to a gripping conclusion over the final round to bring an end to a season of twists and turns. We asked our regular county writers to name their Championship XI's for the summer and the votes were compiled into the team below. There was a degree of flexibility allowed over batting positions, one overseas player could be selected, and a minimum of six matches was the cut-off to be considered. Most of the choices were clear from the votes with only a couple of debatable slots
ESPNcricinfo's County Championship XI
Find out who ESPNcricinfo's county correspondents voted for to make the best XI of the year.
Keaton Jennings (Durham) 1548 runs at 64.50
The leading run scorer in the country, Jennings made a strong claim to be included in England's Test squad. His seven Championship centuries - including two unbeaten double-hundreds, one carrying his bat against Surrey - were a Durham record and he scored more runs in 2016 than his previous two seasons combined. Resisted the temptation to move counties and will have a huge role to play in the post-Stoneman-Borthwick era of Durham's batting
Haseeb Hameed (Lancashire) 1198 runs at 49.91
A new star of English cricket after becoming the youngest Lancashire batsman to make 1000 runs in a season and the first to score two centuries in a Roses match. "Born to play for England," was the assessment of many and the call came when he was included for the Bangladesh tour. "I'm a modern-day Boycott," Hameed has said, but even during this season his range of strokeplay has broadened out. Batting time, though, remains his strength and a skill not to be forgotten in the modern age.
Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) 1409 runs at 61.26
The season began with most of the attention on his opening partner, Sam Robson, who has already had a taste of Test cricket but by September it was Gubbins closer to a call-up. A left-hander who has often drawn comparisons with Andrew Strauss, Gubbins began the season without a first-class hundred but scored four Championship tons including one in the final match of the season against Yorkshire.
Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire) 1338 runs at 60.81
The most exciting uncapped batsman in English cricket. After a difficult period when Duckett struggled to adapt to the disciplines - on and off the field - needed for professional cricket, 2016 was a remarkable success story for the left hander. Churning out the runs from start to finish with breathtaking flamboyance, his returns included an unbeaten 282 against Sussex - the highest score of the season - which would surely have been a triple-century but for two days of rain. His first-class strike of 79.35 was also the fastest for the summer.
Tom Westley (Essex) 1217 runs at 52.91
Westley's most prolific season against the red ball saw him pass 1000 runs for the first time and was capped with a career-best 254 against Worcestershire as Essex's promotion campaign approached fulfilment. In imperious form at No. 3, he began with a century in the opening-round victory over Gloucestershire and followed that up with scores of 86, 16, 64 and 125, his leg-side whip and cover drive in full working order as Essex took an early grip on top spot in Division Two.
Ben Foakes (Surrey) 759 runs at 42.16, 43 catches and 3 stumpings
Regarded by Andy Flower and Alec Stewart as the best gloveman in English cricket, Foakes started to flourish having been given the chance as Surrey's first-choice wicketkeeper. Could not force his way past Jos Buttler as the reserve Test keeper - despite Buttler playing just one first-class matche in a year - but remains in the mix longer-term alongside Sam Billings.
Keith Barker (Warwickshire) 608 runs at 32.00; 59 wickets at 23.13
Another impressively consistent all-round season for Barker, ending with his best Championship haul for a campaign. He only played four games of white-ball cricket in the season which meant he was able to put his efforts into the four-day game and he was ever-present in the Championship. His hundred against Nottinghamshire was his sixth in first-class cricket with all of them coming at Nos. 8 or 9.
Graham Napier (Essex) 298 runs at 22.92; 63 wickets at 23.17
In his final season as a professional, Napier produced his best-ever Championship analysis before hobbling out of his last game, promotion secured. Essex's Division Two title was won by batting big and then letting their seamers get to work and while there were honourable mentions for Jamie Porter, David Masters and Ravi Bopara, Napier consistently led the way. Joe Leach edged ahead of him in the final week to top the Division Two tally, but the "King of Colchester" took a five-for and scored a hundred on his Castle Park farewell to boot.
Jeetan Patel (Warwickshire) 69 wickets at 24.02
Remained the standout spinner in domestic cricket - it was also his most prolific season - although was pushed closer for that tag than the previous summer when a few of his home truths about English spin had hit a nerve. A better bowler now than he was during his international career, Patel has firmly said his New Zealand days are behind him even though he has been asked back.
Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire) 49 wickets at 23.12
Started the season with a bang, under the gaze of the selectors, and was often remarked on as looking a Test match bowler. By the time the first England squad of the summer was announced he had 19 wickets at 21.15. He sustained his form to the end, following his Test debut against Pakistan, and took nine wickets in the match against Middlesex - including a hat-trick - but it was not enough to save Nottinghamshire from relegation.
Jack Leach (Somerset) 65 wickets at 21.87
This was the tightest call in selection with Leach tying on three votes with Jack Brooks. The chairman of selectors opted for a balanced, varied attack of three seamers and two spinners, plus it was a magnificent campaign for Leach who pushed himself close to England recognition. Enjoyed the change of tactics at Taunton, with a spin-friendly surface, but it was his performance at Headingley in the penultimate round which showed how rapid his rise had been.