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My County XI of the season

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Kevin Howells | 11:55 UK time, Tuesday, 20 September 2011

This job I hate. Whoever I pick in a County XI will upset somebody and I'm sure they will let me know.

It is a difficult job when you factor in how many games each player played, on what surfaces and what sort of form their respective sides were in.

I have little opportunity to watch Division Two cricket, so that had to be taken into account. This was the XI I first drew up. Can I stick with it?

1) Marcus Trescothick (Somerset): He's about the only one I think I can get away with without anyone coming back at me. More than 1,600 runs with six hundreds. Moving along now...

2) Michael Carberry (Hampshire): Played in only nine games because of his well-doumented health scare, but look at his three hundreds and the team's turn-around in form after his return, which roughly coincides with that amazing late run they embarked on. I acknowledge it was more the Hampshire middle order and bowling, rather than the top order which didn't fire early in the season. Carberry also has a presence in the field and I don't think there is a better opener, aside from Trescothick, turning out in the county game.

Yorkshire batsman Jonathan Bairstow

Jonathan Bairstow topped Yorkshire's County Championship averages, scoring 1,015 runs at 46.13 (Getty Images)

3) Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire): Averaged 51 with three hundreds, and has been elevated to open with Nottinghamshire. Exciting talent and he's in at three for me.

4) Dale Benkenstein (Durham): Gets the No.4 position based on averages and reliability. Four centuries and an average of 61 will do me. A terrific performer and bloke. I love watching him go about his cricket. James Taylor ran him close. The Leicestershire batsman struck only one hundred and averaged 38 in Division Two, but he's a good character with a bit of spirit to him. I think he is the best No.4 playing in county cricket and I would have selected him for his performances for the England Lions more than Leicestershire, so he just misses out. Samit Patel, of Notts, also has a case. His stats are good - a couple of hundreds and an average of 42. His bowling can be useful too.

5) Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire): Won the Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year award for 2011 with an average of 46 and 1,000 runs. He's not blameless for Yorkshire's relegation this year but he is a powerful and entertaining player. His only possible danger is getting ahead of himself but futher good guidance will stop that. With that, there will be years of fun cricket to come from him.

6) Ben Stokes (Durham): He's in because those who know him best say we won't see too much more of him in county cricket. So much of his season was lost to injury but the way he started the campaign was exceptional, including the episode of five sixes in one over at Southampton. His inclusion in the England one-day team was poor timing. His confidence was still returning after a serious finger injury and he should have stayed where he was, with Durham. Jos Buttler, of Somerset, didn't fire throughout the whole season so he misses out and he's in need of a full year of consistent performances.

7) Phil Mustard (Durham, wkt): Scored good runs and a very good keeper. He and Chris Read are the best in the country but Mustard gets the nod because of his runs - the Durham man averaged 51 this season, compared to 37 for the Notts captain. Maybe Read's record would be the same at Chester-le-Street but I don't know. Lancashire's Gareth Cross and Ben Scott at Worcestershire are good players but I stick with the Colonel.

8) Chris Woakes (Warwickshire): Reported to have an extra yard of pace this season and capable of match-winning bowling and both match-saving and match-winning batting. He has some impressive figures to show off, taking 56 wickets and averaging 48 with the bat. He couldn't help finish it all off for Warwickshire this season but I know they're concerned about how much work he has had to get through over the last 12 months. Let's hope he gets a break. Watch pigs fly at a cinema near you. Can I find a place for Gloucestershire's Will Gidman for his 1,000 runs and 50 wickets? He had an outstanding season but I can't be certain he is better than those chosen. However, he is a name that is generating a great deal of interest.

9) Glen Chapple (Lancashire, capt): Led Lancashire to their first outright County Championship title since 1934, taking 55 wickets and scoring vital runs late on with the bat. One of the game's most naturally gifted match-changers. Nobody works harder on a cricket field. The other candidate was Nottinghamshire's Andre Adams after another year of wicket taking - 67 for the season and seven five-wicket hauls. Another very close call.

10) Ryan Sidebottom (Yorkshire): Finished with 62 wickets for a relegated side. He is still one of the country's most skillful bowlers and would enhance any of the teams that were succesful this year. My attack is short of a big bruiser but, on the sort of pitches we've seen this year, does that matter? Warwickshire all-rounder Rikki Clarke is a story of vast improvement, while Nottinghamshire's Luke Fletcher has a big winter ahead of him. Whatever shape we find him in next April will tell us if he has what it takes to be a top performer. James Anyon of Sussex couldn't sufficiently build on a fantastic performance in front the TV cameras early in the season against Notts. Kyle Hogg had an excellent season for Lancashire and I would love to have found a place for Durham's Graham Onions. Worcestershire's Alan Richardson and David Masters of Essex deserve mentions. With so many wickets between them, how can I leave them out? It's very difficult because both of them are match-winners but I can't pick either ahead of the ones I've chosen. I stick with Sidebottom.    

11) Gary Keedy (Lancashire): How difficult is this one? Sussex's Monty Panesar took eight more wickets but having bowled many more overs. As batsmen and fielders they each have their moments of worth to a team, even if it's a supporting role. There are plenty of exciting spinners around, of which Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan is right up there. He took 24 wickets in just four matches, including two match-winning performances and one at Liverpool in the penultimate round which kept alive their title hopes. There is Durham's Scott Borthwick and Hampshire's Danny Briggs but I stick with Keedy for services already given and for being part of the Championship-winning side. He just, and I mean just, edges it for me.

So, that XI includes three players from teams relegated and only two from the county champions. Durham finished third, so picking three of their lads is fine, as is selecting Woakes from second-placed Warwickshire. I know Lancashire won the prized title but do any of their top six stand out above the men named above? I couldn't be certain that one does right now. 
Please post your own teams and I look forward to reading the arguments for and against. I'm especially keen on hearing your Division Two reviews.


  • Comment number 1.

    I don't like cricket........I love it

  • Comment number 2.

    Div 2 team of the year:
    de Bruyn
    C Taylor

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Kevin good list and blog as always. Can't really a list together myself as it will just be Somerset players plus a few I know from other teams to have good seasons (not many on the face of it). I wonder though Nick Compton could of been within a shout of a place not everyone favourite played by any stretch but scored over a 1000 runs (admittedly a quarter of which were one innings worth) but also stabilised the middle part of an innings on more than occasion.

    P.S. You do know someone will disagree with you about Trescothick right? Mad as they might be.

  • Comment number 4.

    You shouldn't have picked any of the Lancashire lads because they won the title as a TEAM. Many teams had better batsmen but to win a match you normally need to take 20 wickets and there wasn't a team in the country who did better than the county champions (sounds good doesn't it Lancashire fans?).

  • Comment number 5.

    Richardson at Worcs gets the most wickets in the season and doesn't get in. Not a fashionable enough side for you clearly!

  • Comment number 6.

    God could you imagine how well Lancashire would have done if we'd had good players? Win 10 games, our first title in 77 years and you pick as many players from the top side as you do the relegated Yorkshire.

    For the record, the PCA recognised Gareth Cross as best keeper of the season, and Kyle Hogg took 50 wickets at 18.8 for the champions, so I'm not sure how you justify picking Sidebottom who took 62 wickets at 22 ahead of him.

    The two best seamers according to the averages who took more than 15 wickets in the season are Hogg and Chapple, who both took more than 50. Given that they won the championship, not sure how much more justification you need to pick them frankly.

    Can't work out how you pick Bairstow as a batsman only either. Pick Mustard or Bairstow, not both. I'd take Bairstow as keeper as he scored 400 runs more than Mustard, and then pick Compton as a batsman.

    But then you're probably just trying to be controversial rather than sensible.

  • Comment number 7.

    As a Lancashire fan i completely agree with not putting any of our top 6 in the team of the year as none of them had outstanding seasons. It was much more of a team effort with each of them pitching in with a match winning score than one player dominating all the time.

    Keedy and Chapple are shoe-ins for spots and i think Cross could well make a bigger impact next year. Decent choices all round though, can't ever argue with Tresco in the team - i'd still have him opening for England!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Judging by Kevin Howell's pic I'm certainly not going to disagree with anything he says!

  • Comment number 9.

    There's one name that should have been included and that's Will Gidman - the first player since 1996 (Phil Simmons at Leicestershire) to score over 1,000 runs and take over 50 wickets in a season.

  • Comment number 10.

    of the 11 - 9 have played for england in one capacity or another - 2 haven't - the 2 lancastrians. Both great county servants delivering year in year out. Too late for both of them now both in terms of age, and england's own depth of quality. Imagine how good a side lancashire would be with any batsmen of note...... - only 1 player averaged over 40 this season and that was maharoof on a low number of matches.

  • Comment number 11.

    I know we're talking about the Championship here but I was wondering what peoples opinions of the Champions League T20 tournament are.

    Personally I think it's good for Cricket but I have reservations. One is the qualifying

    Windies, Sri Lanka only get one team and they have qualify via a pre tournament qualifier. England get two team but against must get through the qualifier.

    India gets 3 auto-qualified teams plus one enters the qualifier (4 in total)
    South Africa gets 2 auto-qualified teams (2 in total).
    Australia gets 2 auto-qualified teams plus one enters the qualifier (3 in total)

    Now I have no problem with "bigger" nations getting more teams in the tournament but surely all domestic winners should get an auto-qualifying berth? Now Leicestershire have just done their best to try and disprove that but they lost badly to the Windies champions and who is to say they are better than the Indian 3rd or 4th best teams when they never play them? In fact their entire group is made up of Champions. Where as Somerset our second place team has to play the 4th best in India and the other qualifying tournament for Australia.

    That just doesn't add up in my book Leicestershire should of had an 'easier' group and shouldn't of had to enter the qualifier in the first place!

    The other thing it the tournament being held in India again can't we move it round? Yes I know the answer is money but still.

  • Comment number 12.

    Re Alan Richardson as a Shropshire lad I bristle at suggestion that I left him out as Worcestershire are unfashionable. Anyone of half a dozen bowlers could have been chosen. Maybe I got it wrong but it is a very close call.

  • Comment number 13.

    If you'd said Mustard and Read were the best 'keepers in the first division I could have let that pass but calling them the best in the country is, I'm afraid, tosh. They're both good players but James Foster remains the best English 'keeper by a distance.

  • Comment number 14.

    Division 2
    Wes Durston

  • Comment number 15.

    You missed out Myfavourite Player. He had a much better season than Aplayer Youpicked. This blog is terrible, I'm withholding my license fee etc and so on.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well done Kevin for at least MENTIONING Will Gidman, unlike several national newspaper blogs which ignored his 1000 run - 50 wicket feat (in his first full season of playing regularly in f/c cricket) completely.
    #2 - Gidman would get into that D2 team of the season you picked.

  • Comment number 17.

    I will add to the Richardson bandwagon. At 36 he's had two incredibly consistent seasons at Worcester and deserves to be in the team for his economy rate alone at less than 2.5 I believe... throw into the mix his 73 wickets and he almost single-handedly kept the nalied-on favourites for relegation up.
    You could argue that Worcester with their lack of resources and obvious class player / overseas player, staying up is as big an achievement as anything done in the county game this year. So Richardson as their stand-out player should definitely be in.

    As far as Gidman is concerned, didn't see him play but surely on stats alone should be in ahead of Stokes. Stokes could be good, but didn't play enough to warrant a place. Other than that very good team and hard to argue with.

    Obviously these articles are written to cause debate, so well done on achievement complete Kevin!

  • Comment number 18.

    #2 How do you figure C Taylor over Gidman?

  • Comment number 19.

    ncurd, it will make more money with more indian teams. It's not about finding the best 1st class side

  • Comment number 20.

    Not bad Kevin.

    Tres, Benkenstein, Woakes, Chapple and Keedy are easy picks.

    Carberry doesn't open the batting any more and after Dawson's big end of season ton I doubt he will again.

    Kyle Hogg has to be in there. He's had a great season with the ball, better than Sidebottom (and probably anyone else in the country!), and he's superior with the bat.

    The all-rounder spot is Will Gidman's. How can anyone argue against his inclusion? He'd be on the fringes of this team as solely either batsman or bowler.

    I'd have Bairstow as keeper to make room for Chris Rogers to open with Tres. I'd take Compton over Hales at 3 and then Zander de Bruyn at 5. The side bats deep so David Masters is 12th man - more wickets (albeit in the 2nd division) than anyone else this season.

    1. Trescothick
    2. Chris Rogers
    3. Compton
    4. Benkenstein
    5. De Bruyn
    6. Bairstow
    7. Will Gidman
    8. Woakes
    9. Kyle Hogg
    10. Glen Chapple
    11. Gary Keedy

    12. David Masters

  • Comment number 21.

    When I saw this blog, all I cared about was that Chapple was captain. (Thanks Kevin!) A Lancashire stalwart, he deserved his shot for England, he was so close a few years back.

    He has consistently been in the top ten bowlers every year since the days he opened with Peter Martin. Every year since, he has run in committed, found a good length, and been a real economical, match changing strike bowler.

    Whilst so many recent greats (Flintoff, Akram, Atherton, Murali etc) never got to lift the trophy for Lancs, Chapple rates high on that list and I am proud that he led us to the title. I also am finding it hard that on every news report they lead Chapple with 'Yorkshire born'. They never used to mention Vaughan was born in Lancashire!

    Well done Chapple... Well Done Lancs... Agree with comments above -imagine if Stuart Law and Freddie were still in the team!!

    Proud of the Red Rose!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Kapnag which is why I have no problem with them being allowed more teams in tournament overall. It would also deal with the joke crowds at the qualifying games!

    It's also clearly not about finding the best first-class team otherwise it wouldn't be a T20 tournament ;)

    I know what it's all about, it's just another T20 cash cow in the end however there is no reason why it can't be developed into a proper tournament. Then maybe domestic and international calenders can be built around it as governing bodies won't see it as joke like they currently do. If England took it seriously would they really have arranged two T20 internationals against the West Indies during it?

    I think the question is should we taking this seriously or should we just see it as a way of making money?

  • Comment number 23.

    Durham finished third in the table, but topped the rest for 1st innings bonus points. Perhaps a sign that we couldn't finish teams off, but more likely a sign that Chester-le-Street is too far north for too much sunny weather. We also suffered from injuries and national call ups. Spare a thought for Graeme Onions who performed consistently well all season, and we were lucky to have him, because he was only one injury away from the Test team.

  • Comment number 24.

    My team for Division 1 (saw all these players play at Durham or against them this season with the exception of Hales and Patel who were on Lions duty, very impressed with Richardson in the last match)

    1. Marcus Trescothick
    2. Alex Hales
    3. Murray Goodwin
    4. Dale Benkenstein
    5. Johnny Bairstow
    6. Samit Patel
    7. Phil Mustard
    8. Chris Woakes
    9. Glenn Chapple
    10.Kyle Hogg
    11.Alan Richardson

  • Comment number 25.

    ncurd it would be good to see a proper world wide 1st class competition, that would require everyone to sit down and sort the calender out cos at the moment they're just piling it on top of international cricket. I say get behind the 1st class systems and cut down on the amount of internationals. Would improve standards in everything, as you'd get loads of experience at 1st class level playing in different conditions. Not gonna happen though

  • Comment number 26.

    Kevin: How about a "rookie" team...

  • Comment number 27.

    An excellent pick from my observations - largely based on what I saw in Taunton. Intriguing that Durham - most talented but most problematic team - get three players - probably explains why they didn't win. Wouldn't get too keen on Bairstow as a keeper - excellent batter that he is - he is the proverbial Tin Man with the gloves. Agree with Mustard but would think Ambrose fringes into the discussion. Interesting and well reasoned debate on bowlers - Onions loses out for me on sulky indifference at Taunton - Richardson was impressive on the two occasions I saw him. Would agree with Sidebottom but he and Bairstow were the only triers in a miserable Yorkshire side and do they like the big fish in a small pool syndrome?
    Well done for keeping the County Championship in the news - there is a lot of talent and effort out there.

  • Comment number 28.

    Excellent Choices and great Blogs all Summer Kevin, what about David Masters 93 wickets (I know its the second division) 10 years ago he'd be in the England team!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    will gidman?! 1000 runs and 50 wickets

  • Comment number 30.

    i listened on radio rather than watched a great deal of cricket myself, and followed almost every single essex game as a result.

    personally, i don't care about limited over stuff at all so there.
    Masters was excellent, amazing etc. etc. for us. yes, it's second division but that's outstanding. bowling over after miserly over.
    Richardson, on stats alone very good.

    i personally get the feeling that a few too many of the players in Howell's team are big-name glamour players rather than those who really deserve it. Stokes for example started superbly but did not do more than Gidman over the season for me.
    Foster was outstanding for us, keeping, captaining and constantly coming to the wicket in a crisis and being our best batsman, but i've followed him closely so i would not include him over Cross.
    Hogg must be a pretty good pick, as is Chappell.

    I don't know enough to put together a team, just wanted to add my thoughts

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't help wondering how much county cricket Kevin Howells follows. There's not much wrong with your team but the batting order is odd. Carberry batted at three for Hampshire this season and although Hales started the season batting at three for Notts he was soon restored to his rightful position as an opener. Yet you have Carberry opening and Hales at three. I would swap them round. Then you have Benkenstein at four. I think you'll find he spent the whole season at five for Durham, initially behind Stokes and then behind Collingwood. He seems a reluctant number four to me. I'd move Stokes up to four and Benkenstein and Bairstow down one to five and six.

  • Comment number 32.

    @Alan121212, I wouldn't take it for granted that Carberry won't open for Hampshire again. Dawson isn't a specialist opener and wouldn't have opened at all had Carberry been fit all season. By the time Carberry regained fitness it didn't make sense to break up the Adams/Dawson opening partnership but next season might be different. Personally I would like to see Carberry and Adams open again with Dawson at three but I wouldn't be surprised to see Carberry and Dawson opening with Adams at three. Adams is captain now and a lot of captains are reluctant openers.

  • Comment number 33.


    For next season how about a profile of a player of the month or moment. Be it an established pro or a new boy. Considering at the begining of the season the clamour to identify talent why not keep us updated on yours or other cricket reporters choices?


  • Comment number 34.

    Hello Mrnoneofyourbusiness. Full marks for your username. I did try and make the point but clearly failed. To swap Carberry and Hales batting order was just where I think they best operate but there is nothing much in that. As for bearded-shrimper you're right if there was more time for me to watch more of Division Two I'm sure I would have a different perspective. There is a view that the quality of the First Division is superior to that of the Second and on that theory I went with the players I did but every moment I give it thought I think maybe I could change that one player for another. All part of the fun of it I suppose. Anyway many thanks for your posts.

  • Comment number 35.

    On the subject of the T20 champions League, I do believe Leicestershire should have gone straight into the main competition- the fact that India's top 3 make it straight in and the English/W.Indies/Sri Lankan champions have to qualify needs rectifying if the tournament is ever going to take off. Sure, Leics were completely out of their depth yesterday, but T&T reached the final recently and they still have to qualify. The tournament is all about the money, which lies in India at the moment, but for it to be a successful tournament globally, they must improve the importance and stature of it in the way that the Champions League/Heineken Cup are the most important competitions for clubs in football and rugby.

    On another note, word is circulating around Grace Road that James Taylor has been told by England that he needs to play in Division 1 to break into the side, so he'll sign for Notts this week. Inevitable really.

  • Comment number 36.

    As a fanatical Lancashire supporter I am still living in "Dream World". I cannot disagree with your chosen X1. However, as an overall Team Award it must go to Lancashire as they never played a "home" game this season....Remarkable!

    Glen Chapple is my Cricketer of the Year. The fact that he has never represented his country at Test Level (only 1 ODI to his name) is a crime. Without his leadership and never say die attitude Lancashire would not be champions.

  • Comment number 37.

    Kevin - Coach of the year Peter Moores by a country mile !!

    As a side issue, the only way the Aussies have any chance of retaining the Ashes is by persuading Peter Moores to take the Australian Coach's position. He was shafted by the England set up and taking the Aussie job would have Giles Clarke et al quaking in their shoes !!

  • Comment number 38.

    I'd have to pick Ojha for my spinner, I know he only played 4 matches, but his return of 24 for 311 from those games is pretty awsome. Had he played the whole season his average would of been 12.9 going from those figures.

  • Comment number 39.

    Not a bad team and I wouldnt neccessarily change it although I have issue with the keepers or a lack of a mention for Foster. Master is another who is very much a match winner. There are so many cricketers who have had a good season showing the strength of English cricket. Gone are the days of as the great AB said pie throwers

    so to add to the debate my team would be

    de Venuto
    de Bruyn

  • Comment number 40.

    You should have picked all 11 from Lancashire..... and then added that collectively they are far better as a team than the sum of their parts.

  • Comment number 41.

    From a leicestershire point of view Will Jefferson and Jigar naik jefferson a good open and naik as took 49 wickets . The best from leicester

  • Comment number 42.

    Alan Richardson is sadly missing. IMHO the County Championship Player of the Season

  • Comment number 43.

    Interesting. A player with 1006 runs at a respectable 45.72 and 51 wickets at 21.33 doesn't even rate a mention.

  • Comment number 44.

    As a Lancastrian I'd have loved to see all eleven in the team of the year. In fact, in some ways we did. Lancashire's great virtue was that a group made up mostly of promising individuals gelled as a team.
    No quibbles with individual choices but they have to function as a unit.

  • Comment number 45.

    Decisions, decisions. It's difficult coming to an XI and it is also testing to compare performances in Division 1 and Division 2 - weaker sides, a different ball etc etc.

    No real quibbles with your choice, although I'm surprised Hogg is not in the side.

    Here are our Division 1 and 2 selections:

    County Championship Division 1 XI of the season

    County Championship Division 2 XI of the season

  • Comment number 46.

    #6 He did pick Chapple though?

  • Comment number 47.

    No-one has picked Darren Stevens of Kent. their best player by far in a mediocre season. His batting alone ensured some games actually lasted four days.

  • Comment number 48.

    Div 2 team of the year:

    Although quite a long tail starting at Masters I would back any bowling line-up as strong as this the best three seamers this year joined by a future Indian international Will Gidman who has proved a sensation and if you needed a bit of medium pace De Bruyn to come in. A lot of Surrey players there but Davies is the best keeper batsmen, De Bruyn & Maynard have been the backbone of their whole season rescuing them from many a dodgy situation (just remember Ramps hardly got many this year and they have changed from their over-reliance on him). I have refrained from putting Strauss in because of his other commitments but I would love to have him in there.

    1. Sam Robson
    2. Steve Davies
    3. Chris Rogers
    4. Zander De Bruyn
    5. Tom Maynard
    6. Will Gidman
    7. Andrew Hall
    8. David Masters
    9. Tim Murtagh
    10. Tim Linley
    11. Pragyan Ojha

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks Tommcc1990 for recognising what some of the Northants players have done this season. As ever a Northants player can't get any recognition. Jack Brooks deserves a shout for being the stand-out bowler in DIV2 before being injured for the last part of the season and deserved his call up to the Lions. Vaas was great but Brooks was out bowling him many times early in the season. The only player I would accept as being better in our division was Masters who has rampaged through batting line-ups at times.

  • Comment number 50.

    Congrats to Lancashire on the Title but I feel that Durham lost it because of the need to engineer the result against Hampshire which ultimately backfired. Had it been earlier in the season they would have settled for 10 points and moved on, so picking three durham players, in my view is not as out there as it may seem.

  • Comment number 51.

    Only real argument I have is Woakes at no 8. He is a better bat thann Mustard, Stokes and Bairstow. He only bats 7 or 8 for Warwicks to lighten the load you talk about. Ignoring that problem he should be a no 6 (and no 7 in the test side with Prior up to 6.).

  • Comment number 52.

    I wouldn't disagree with hardly any of those choices, but i'll join the Richardson bandwagon too, I used to watch him at Middlesex and he's probably the most underrated bowler in the country, classical action, brilliant economy rate and always threatens wickets.

  • Comment number 53.

    Delighted to see Carberry in here - as a Hampshire fan I believe we would still be in Division one had he played a full season.

  • Comment number 54.

    Good list, Woakes is a future England star for me.

  • Comment number 55.

    Have to agree with a number of others........Will Gidman should be recognised for his phenomenal season. Surely a shoe-in for the all-rounder's slot! Brilliant debut season for Glos.

  • Comment number 56.

    Simon Kerrigan for Gary Keedy anybody (looking forwards).

    Great to see Michael Carberry in your XI Kevin (can I call you "Kevin"? - bit sensitive after being 'modded' on the rugby pages for I know not what). Carberry has shown courage and détermination to come back from such a serious médical condition, and then to score big runs again.

    Also big respect due to Tresco for what must have been a colossal workload: runs and captaincy.

    To regular Somerset fans, will/should James Hildreth play for England?

    Lastly, respect due to Kevin for keeping those off us in distant lands apace with LVCC.

  • Comment number 57.

    Re: 56.

    Sorry for typos and French characters. No 'clever' nuances intended. Scrolling back/editing on my French i-phone near impossible.

  • Comment number 58.

    Yes Hildreth should someday but not after this season. he however should been selected after last season and the Lions tour...I'm still not sure how Morgan got selected over Bopara and Hildreth. I don't think it will happen though, in regards to James Taylor being told he need to be in Division One to put himself into contention. Look at Hildreth's record last season and ask what need to be done in division one to get in! I think you need a season better than Trecothick's this season to get in!

    Rumor on the street is Hildreth is going to Durham though. I need to talk to my 'inside sources' though to see what is said.

  • Comment number 59.

    Thank you again for the posts. It has to come to light that one person I talked to who tackled the blog fully. I'm sure that doesn't apply to many. But please don't write as if I didnt even mention Alan Richardson. We will gave to agree to disagree over whether he is better than the three I went for but these decisions are marginal when you factor in overs bowled. Also it's a bit ironic I am getting the grief over a bowler on whose must play for Englabd bandwagon I jumped three years ago.

  • Comment number 60.

    As a worcestershire fan enjoy a season without the disappointed of relegation for the first time in years I'm must confess I will be highly biased in any selection, but it is a shame Richardson didn't get a mention.Whilst our batting was at times indifferent the fact that we survived, getting the most bowling points outside of the top three, is in no small part down to Richardson - ably supported by Ajmal and Shakib. Honourable mention to Gareth Andrews as well, glad he has signed a new contract with Worcs!

  • Comment number 61.

    ncurd - Hildreth to Durham? Really? The only rumours down here are that Arul might go to Surrey, who desperately need a championship opener, and that Murali Karthik may not return for family reasons (which have been documented and are not secret).

    Two names I haven't seen mentioned much just happen to be ex-Somerset players - Gareth Andrew and Wes Durston. Every time I looked at scorecards for Worcs and Derbys they seemed to be doing the business, and in all forms of the game. It shows that talented cricketers are not necessarily on the scrap heap if one county decides they're surplus to requirements - or does it show that some players are strong enough to suffer that disappointment and use it to their advantage?

    Well done to Lancashire - came close a couple of seasons ago and just missed out. They won more matches than anyone so to me deserve the title. It was also fitting that point deductions didn't affect the final table one iota. The pennant WILL come to Taunton one day...

  • Comment number 62.

    Granted Jimmy Anyon isn't in the best XI from this season is more than fair enough. however to say he failed to sufficiently build on a good start is somewhat unfair. Considering he started the season as easily the 3rd or 4th choice seamer in Sussex behind Navad ul Hasan, Amjad Khan, Navad Arif (and also had Wayne Parnell come into the side to replace ul Hasan) he ended up opening the bowling and taking 55 wickets. He spent much of the season having to make up for the terrible starts that Khan and Arif had (both only fired in the last couple of matches).

  • Comment number 63.

    It will be interesting to see who wins PCA Cricketer of the Year this evening. I would give it to Alan Richardson - he has, almost single handedly, kept Worcs in Division 1, and this in a season when the Pears were 20-1 ON with the bookies for the drop. Not only has he taken the most wickets in Division 1, but he has often bowled in excess of 20 overs a day at an economy rate of 2 an over, when the bowlers at the other end have been shipping runs at more than 5 an over! A phenomenal season, and with such an inconsistent batting line up at New Road, he's had no time to put his feet up either! Definitely, one of my five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

  • Comment number 64.

    Yeah I was pretty shocked by that but Arul is a new one for my book. Kartik is pretty much a given from what I've heard been a good investment for two years now but our other spinners can make up for him now.

    I doubt Hildreth will go and I'm putting that one on the rumor pile at the moment as he's too important to Somerset if they are to succeed in the Championship, him not firing as he did last season has something towards us not doing as well this season).

    Other's I've heard is Kieswetter leaving and another which is a fringe player I can't remember right now.

  • Comment number 65.

    Interesting that you mention the boost Carberry's return gave to Hampshire. Warwickshire played Hampshire twice in the last four games and failed to beat them either time, which ultimately cost them the championship.

  • Comment number 66.

    Ludicrous that Richardson is overlooked. Worcestershire are a tiny club in comparison with test arena clubs & their survival is a greater achievement than Lancs winning the title.
    Its easy & lazy to pick Lancs, Warwicks & Durham players.
    Perhaps more journalists should have watched Worcs this season? Then we may have had reasoned arguments not heresay speculation.

  • Comment number 67.

    Re Jimmy Anyon I regret using the term 'didn't build on'. You are right. I was thinking more about getting ahead of other bowlers elsewhere. But thank you for the post you are right to pick me up on that.

  • Comment number 68.

    As a Lancastrian, I would have to agree with one of the comments; to the effect that the best keeper in England (& Wales) is James Foster. In terms of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and doing something from nothing... how about Wes Durston ? Well over a thousand runs and some useful wickets... not bad for a Unicorn !!

  • Comment number 69.

    ncurd - speaking to my man-in-the-know, they tell me that he's signed a two year extension and so has Arul. Unfortunately, who "he" is wasn't clear...My interpretation is he meant Kieswetter. Compton was another name mentioned as surplus to requirements, but he actually had a decent season this year so I'm not so sure about him. I see him as our equivalent of Trott (Jonathan, not Ben!).


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