October 2004

Hutton leads England's greatest post-war XI

England's Greatest Post-War XI is named with the publication of the October issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine

Len Hutton: most votes as a player and captain © Getty Images
England's Greatest Post-War XI is named with the publication of the October issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine.

The team of post-war champions has been selected by a panel of 25 outstanding cricketing names, including those who have played with and against members of the team, or men who have umpired or written about them as eminent cricketing journalists.

And, despite England's current record-equalling run of Test success, no present-day player makes it into the starting line-up. Graham Gooch is the player of most recent vintage, selected to open the batting with Sir Leonard Hutton, captain, who was the only unanimous choice of the selection panel.

The brief handed to selectors was to pick a balanced side to compete in a five day Test, containing players capable of excelling in all conditions, home and away, with a premium placed on attractive, attacking cricket. Based on those criteria, England's Greatest Post-War XI, in batting order, is:

Len Hutton (capt) Yorkshire
Graham Gooch Essex
Peter May Surrey
Denis Compton Middlesex
Ken Barrington Surrey
Ian Botham Somerset, Worcs and Durham
Alan Knott (wkt) Kent
Jim Laker Surrey
Fred Trueman Yorkshire
Alec Bedser Surrey
Derek Underwood Kent

The breakdown of the 25 selectors' votes were as follows: Hutton 25, Botham 24, Compton 23, Trueman 22, May 21, Knott 20, Laker 20, Barrington 17, Gooch 13, Bedser 11, Underwood 9, Boycott 9, Dexter 8, Statham 8, Wardle 8, Snow 6, Tyson 5, Cowdrey 4, Evans 4, Willis 4 Gower 3, J Edrich 2, Greig 2, Harmison 2, Lock 2, Flintoff 1, Stewart 1, Thorpe 1.

Hutton had 14 votes as captain, May 9, Botham and Greig 1 each.

The selection panel assembled by The Wisden Cricketer to perform the daunting task included six England Test captains in Ray Illingworth, Tony Lewis, Mike Denness, Tony Greig, Geoff Boycott and Bob Willisas well as Bob Simpson from Australia and Walter Hadlee of New Zealand. Between them, the selectors have the experiences and credentials gained from playing 638 Test matches, representing England, Australia, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand.

"It would be nice to think that, if we were picking England's Greatest Post-War XI a year from now, some current players would be in the TWC dream team. As it is, the cumulative decision of our 25 eminent selectors reflects that England have truly dominated world cricket on only one post-war decade: the 1950s," said magazine editor John Stern.

The full selection panel was Rajan Bala, Alex Bannister, Jack Bannister, Sir Alec Bedser, Dickie Bird, Geoff Boycott, Scyld Berry, Mike Denness, Matthew Engel, David Frith, Tom Graveney, Tony Greig, Walter Hadlee, Ray Illingworth, Doug Insole, Tony Lewis, Steven Lynch, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Graeme Pollock, Bob Simpson, Micky Stewart, Sir Clyde Walcott, Simon Wilde, Bob Willis, John Woodcock.

The October issue of The Wisden Cricketer, the world's largest-selling cricket magazine, is on sale from Friday 10 September priced at £3.40 for 100 pages of county previews, news, features, interviews, match reports and competitions.