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Kevin Howells' team of the season

Kevin Howells | 06:26 UK time, Thursday, 25 September 2008

Here is my selection of the 11 best players from the County Championship this season.

Excuses for the weather aside, I don't think it has been a vintage season and whilst it's been great to witness another close title race I wonder if that is as much to do with a set of average teams as it is exciting competition.

But there is talent out there, players worth watching and admiring. I have tried to pick the XI on impressions from viewing the players and not solely on averages. I have looked at the averages but not included them in the blog. You can check them elsewhere on the site.

I have allowed myself only two overseas players. Kolpak signings are a scourge on the game and it is a shame some counties have felt no option but to sign so many.

But it's not just about my XI. Enjoy choosing your own side, and add your comments below..

Trescothick, Ramprakash, Rudolph, Kabir, Harmison


England's loss was most certainly Somerset's gain, and was always going to be. He was the first man to 1,000 runs in Division One, albeit in August. Established a commanding presence and, with Justin Langer, provided the platform on which the Somerset resurgence was based.


I'm going with youth over other other choice candidates with more experience. A 22-year-old exciting opening batsman and good fielder. Other contenders were the ever-improving Mark Wagh (Nottinghamshire), Michael Brown (Hampshire), Paul Horton (Lancashire) and Rob Key (Kent).


Thank goodness that tremendous milestone was passed. Now we can get on and watch the maestro at work. Other contenders at number three were Murray Goodwin (Sussex), - whose Pro40 title-winning innings at Trent Bridge will stay with me for a lifetime - Anthony McGrath (Yorkshire), Martin van Jaarsveld (Kent) and Owais Shah (Middlesex). There's another who picks up the award for most frustrating player. Michael Lumb (Hampshire) possesses such attractive shots and is strong with it but fails to get the consistent scores he and the team needs. But I'm convinced he can still make it.


A model professional, and a majestic batsman, he is intelligent, respectful of the game and those who play it and watch it. I'm convinced he would make a good captain. He's one of two overseas players I allow myself in the XI. My views on Kolpak signings are much the same as everyone else it seems.


Samit is a very good all-round player full of talent and has shown over the last weeks a big game mentality. I very much hope that Andrew Gale might fill this slot in the future, however Yorkshire are playing him as an opener right now so the jury is out. His innings of 150 at the Oval back in May was as a good as I've seen this season. Ed Joyce (Middlesex) always strikes me as player with a good cricket brain and his on-the-field composure is something I admire. A few more conversions of half-centuries into hundreds would be good.


Ravi is confident, strong and a natural match winner. He's so powerful too, and to score a double-hundred in a 50-over knockout match is very special. His strength is his simple and uncomplicated style of batting. I also pick him as much for what he does and says off the field as on it.


We shouldn't have seen him on the county circuit this year as he should not have been dropped by England after the Sri Lanka tour. But I suppose he has come back better and stronger on and off the field, so from that point of view it worked. A close also-ran is Chris Read (Nottinghamshire). He also has a very good case for being captain in the way he has led Nottinghamshire after the loss of Stephen Fleming and Ryan Sidebottom. From a distance I am guessing that he and director of cricket Mick Newell know how to run a dressing room and find the right players to fill it.


He's in this team because not one other bowler has lit the county game for me during the summer like this man with his bowling. His batting with Lancashire of course was a shocker at the time and that's why he's at eight. Flintoff versus Langer in a dead game on a Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford was tremendous.


Along with Kaneria and Bopara I have included three second division players in the team. There is a definite divide in talent between the divisions but I'm convinced Kabir will do a great job next year back in the top flight following Worces. His team-mate Stephen Moore is an exciting prospect as is wicket-keeper Steve Davies.


Don't get me wrong, Danish is a world-class player and is worthy of a place in the side but if I could think of an English-qualified spinner to match him I would have done. The weather and pitches have not helped. Adil Rashid is still a work in progress but thankfully improving this year having stalled a bit last term. For the future Durham have a teenage leg-spinner, Scott Borthwick from Sunderland. There's also Graeme Swann (Notts), who would bat higher. Ollie Rayner (Sussex) can make good use of his height and with Mushtaq Ahmed retired he may get himself some headlines in the next 12 months.


I have a great deal of time for his team-mates Mark Davies, Liam Plunkett and Will Smith but it was Harmison getting himself together again which made sure that Durham's gifted captain Dale Benkenstein could pick up and increase their challenge and make progress without the retired Ottis Gibson.

Honourable Coaches: Mushtaq Ahmed (Bowling), Graeme Hick (Batting). Retire in happiness and extreme satisfaction, with our grateful thanks.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Nice team, except I'd have Trescothick as skipper. He was good enough to captain England on more than a few occasions so he's good enough for this team. You also seem to be a bit middle heavy with the presence of all-rounders from 5 to 8, when two would suffice. Also, Chris Read is still head and shoulders the best wicketkeeper in England. Too bad his ICL stint might probably have cost him his England career!

    Oh, and it wouldn't have hurt to have found a place for Lance Klusener, if only as a specialist batsman!

  • Comment number 2.

    Only 1 Nottinghamshire player, what happened to our bowlers, Shreck, Pattinson and co. Patto was brought into the Test side for his county performances in both in 1 day and the longer form. But I guess the team looks good anyway, just want to add that no of them have scored big runs against us. Against our bowling this team would not have been here.

  • Comment number 3.

    For what it's worth, I like my colleague's team a lot but wonder if I can squeeze in another seam bowler at the expense of a batsman (say Patel). If so, it would probably be one out of Pattinson and Mark Davies (of Durham)

  • Comment number 4.

    one word bresnan...

  • Comment number 5.

    Like the team. A good blend of style and power, it is a team I would love to watch.

    Perhaps in place of the no-longer first class fixtures against the Universities there could be a PCA All-stars v's England game as a warm up for next season?

    Great to see a mixture of ex-internationals and potential top-flighters play against the current lot and see how both shape up.

  • Comment number 6.

    My Team would be

    S Jones

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd have Rashid over Kanaria, who flatters to decieve and didn't play many games for Essex in any place.

    Not looking at the stats, but I reckon Swann probably has more wickets, at a better average, than Kanaria.

    One player who's nowhere near is Monty. What the hell has happened to him?

  • Comment number 8.

    Silk, I think you're harsh on Kaneria (40 wickets at an excellent 21.3), compare Rashid (53 at 32.24) and Swann (29 at 24.13). When you consider his value to Essex and the fact he wins matches on his own he is streets ahead of Rashid and definitely Swann.

    I agree with you about Monty, though. It must be a bit of a headache for the England camp...

  • Comment number 9.

    Everybody will have their own opinions, but no place for Murray Goodwin ?!

  • Comment number 10.

    No Tim Bresnan?

    I'd have had Paul Chilton above Joe Denly as well. Denly may have done well in the limited over stuff, but he's not really performed in the County Championship.

    As for the Kolpak argument, surely you can't say that the standard has been poor then complain about players like Rudolph who have incresed the standard.

    If we don't allow more foreigners in, then either we reduce the number of counties or the standard will drop further. That can't be good for English cricket.

  • Comment number 11.

    There's only one Tim Murtagh...

    No, really... One of the best bowlers in the championship this season without a doubt. Deserves to be in just because it was so unexpected...

  • Comment number 12.

    How can van Jaarsveld not be in any team of the season? Do the MVP ratings lie? He is the leading run scorer in all cricket, has chipped in with vital wickets and has taken more catches than some wicket keepers this season! A blind spot on the selection process here I think

  • Comment number 13.

    Joe Denly gets in ahead of Rob Key????? To me Denly flatters to deceive everyone, he is nowhere near as good as Rob Key to which I am astonished hes not in this side. He may have scored the odd hundred but he is very susceptible getting out very early on playing rash strokes.

  • Comment number 14.

    Obviously in my previous comment (10) I meant Paul Horton, not some wierd hybrid Lancs opener.


  • Comment number 15.

    I cant believe you have not put murray goodwin in the side. I have seen him make so many knocks to either get sussex out of trouble or see them through to win them the game. He is honestly one of the most naturally talented batsmen I have watched. The team does not need 3 all-rounders. Get goodwin in for patel and move ramps and jaques down a place and goodwin in at 3!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Perhaps in place of the no-longer first class fixtures against the Universities there could be a PCA All-stars v's England game as a warm up for next season?

    A really good idea! This is the sort of thing that happened all the time in the early years of cricket. Let's start campaigning for it now.
  • Comment number 17.

    Oliver - Fair enough. My recollection of Kanaria's contribution was faulty.

    Rashid is really improving though. Over 50 wickets, even if slightly expensive. History hasn't treated spinners kindly at Yorkshire in recent years (remember Richard Dawson?)

    Will he go to India? I fear it's a bit soon for him, perhaps the Lions tour instead.

  • Comment number 18.

    Kevin has gone for some glamour picks in an average season. Amongst the unfashionable players who have overperformed is James Tomlinson with 64 first division wickets (Ave 24, SR 41).
    He might not make a final XI, but deserves consideration.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nothing's happened to Monty. His county stats might not be too pretty but there are mitigating factors:

    a) Playing for Northants early in the season. Hardly a great time for a spinner.

    b) Northants has turned a bit dead. Somewhere like Chelmsford and Trent Bridge has appeared to offer far more turn for spinners than Monty's patch. Most seamers would also be happier bowling at trent Bridge or Chelmsford.

    c) He has lost a bit of form. It happens. I imagine his confidence has also taken a bit of a kicking.

    He's still the number one spinner for England although Swann, who I am a big fan off, has bowled splendidly.

    So here's my side:

    Marcus Trescothick
    Stephen Moore
    Mark Ramprakash
    Murray Goodwin
    Ravi Bopara
    Matt Prior
    Peter Trego
    Graeme Swann
    Kabir Ali
    Steve Harmison
    James Tomlinson

    Most of them pick themselves but there's a few interesting choices. I didn't pick Mark Davies because he's not a first choice at one-day level and has the tendency to be a world beater when the conditions suit him, as Durham's pitch does, but not so good elsewhere. Peter Trego gets in because he comes up with useful wickets and has played some great rearguard batting knocks. James Tomlinson has slipped righ tunder the radar and deserves credit for doing well in a side that isn't particularly strong in the seam bowling department. The loss of Shane Bond wasn't too surprising and he filled the void admirably.

  • Comment number 20.

    Silk: does Richard Dawson get treated well at any venue? When he signed for Gloucestershire, I laughed. I laugh even more now his current CC bowling average is 262!

  • Comment number 21.

    How can you consider Antony McGrath when he's having a shocking season, with the exception of a lot of runs in the 20/20, he's been very poor. His innings against Essex in the friends profident semi final was the main reason we lost, he played far too definsively, and set the run rate required soaring. of course are eventual batting implosion didn't help.... story of Yorkshire's season!

    Tim Bresnan on the other hand...

  • Comment number 22.

    Certainly not the XI I would have chosen. My XI would have been:

    Strauss (C)
    Scott (W)

    We all have our own thoughts!

  • Comment number 23.

    Kaneria is fantastic and turned enough games no his head so correct inclusion. The only suprise I have is that you are not getting panned for not picking James Foster as well. Definately the best with the gloves by an absolute country mile, there is no-one that can even come close, and the fact is he can stand up effectively to fast bowling. His batting has come on leaps and bounds over the last THREE seasons, (I think last year his average was way over 40) - he needs to be in the England team now.

    And even though I am an essex fan, I actually dont rate Ravi that much and England level, yes doing ok for county, but he needs a couple more years and then he will be able to step up - I just think it is too much too soon. Rant over :-0

  • Comment number 24.

    Another nod to James Foster for the gloves, not only averaging over 50 in the CC - he has also taken a wicket this year.

    How many scalps have Prior and Read got eh?

  • Comment number 25.

    I'd have Paul Horton opening with Trescothick. He's held the Lancs batting line-up together this season, despite playing on some pretty awful wickets. Got over 1000 runs in his 1st season in 1st team last year as well.

  • Comment number 26.

    Key captain
    Foster wk

  • Comment number 27.

    Key hasn't had a great season, though, has he?

    Strauss would be under a lot more pressure if Shah or Key had had a great season, but I don't think either of them have got 1000 runs this season.

    Horton, Moore and Tresco have been the outstanding English openers this season.

  • Comment number 28.

    Surprised by lack of mentions for van Jaarsveld and Jon Trott in particular, they'd be shoo-ins for me. Also worth mentioning Murtagh, Mark Wagh, Charlie Shreck and Tony Frost. I'd drop Bopara, Prior and Denly from your lineup for van Jaarsveld, Read and Trott.

  • Comment number 29.

    No real risks in that team! Not saure about Flintoff a poor season by his standards surely- 13 wickets and under 150 runs in CC would not make a team of the season ahead of say James Tomlinson (64 wickets) or Imram Tahir who has lit up the season down at the Rose Bowl and if he comes back will propel Hampsihire up the table- would also have had Van Jaarsveld in there but perhaps best not to stuff too many Kolpaks in!

  • Comment number 30.

    Whilst I agree that it is a good team, I have to agree with Mondraker275. One Notts player? Notts lost the Pro40 on the last ball (thanks to some woeful bowling by Shreck) and are currently in the box seat for the county championship!

    Yet this was done in the total abscence of Sidebottom and Broad and the knee capping absence of Swann and Patel for the one dayers. These losses compounded by the media led villification of Pattinson after a satisfactory Test debut, all leave me wondering exactly what Notts could've achieved had they had access to their players for longer.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm sorry but Patel over Goodwin?

    Goodwin has been amazing this year, and you havnt included him in there. Sort it out.

  • Comment number 32.

    my team would be:

    Van Jaarsveld
    S, Harmison

  • Comment number 33.

    My Team:

    1. Marcus Trescothick (C)
    2. Michael Di Venuto
    3. Murray Goodwin
    4. Mark Ramrakash
    5. Samit Patel
    6. Owais Shah
    7. James Foster (WK)
    8. Tim Bresnan
    9. Graeme Swann
    10. Tim Murtagh
    11. Steve Harmison

  • Comment number 34.

    Not sure you can pick a Captain from a side that look to be heading for relegation. Also Flintoff was shocking early season. Chris Read for wk and cpt!

  • Comment number 35.

    Martin Van Jaarsveld has been THE player of the season no doubt. Not including him is madness. He leads the PCA most valuable player table by over 50 points and will surely win it.

    And Flintoff, whats that about - he has hardly played for Lancs.

  • Comment number 36.

    Only one Notts player?

    Crazy stuff.

    Di Venuto
    Van Jaarsveld
    Read (Wk) (Cpt)
    Kabir Ali

  • Comment number 37.

    Of the little county cricket I've actually watched, one player I've not seen mentioned at all who I'd never heard of but has really impressed me is Robbie Joseph at Kent.

    I've mainly seen him bowl mid-innings in limited overs cricket where he's bowled with hostility and control, taking wickets and pegging back the run rate - bags of potential.

    His stats in the CC are good too, 53 wickets at 25, almost identical to Harmison with 53 wickets at 22.5.

    Though I've not seen him bowl Davies at Durham is statistically the stand out bowler, the only bowler in Div 1 with 2 ten wicket matches and 4 five wicket hauls to boot.

  • Comment number 38.

    think the big omission is James Foster - best gloveman in County cricket, and over 900 runs at 50+ if thats not good enough, then I'm not sure what you're looking for in a wktkeeper

  • Comment number 39.

    It seems to me that a lot of the players chosen weren't picked on there performances in the County Championship alone, I'm not saying that's a bad thing but this seems to be a Domestic Cricket XI rather than a County Championship XI.
    How else do you explain the inclusion of Joe Denly pretty much on the basis of a single innings in the Friends Provident Trophy?!? On that basis Napier should be in the line up for his knock in the Twenty20 competition. Personally I don't think either should be in this team. Denly has potential but there are many other openers who have performed far better than him this season; Key, McGrath, and Di Venuto for example.
    Also I think you have to give the gloves to James Foster. His keeping has been electric this season and he averages over 50 with the bat.
    I also think Tim Bresnan has done extremely well, Luke Wright looks like a good prospect at Essex, Murray Goodwin has done well down at Sussex and what about Imran Tahir who everyone thought was a journeyman cricketer but who could turn out to the new Mushy. I'm not saying these players would make my team but they have performed well and deserve a mention at least!

  • Comment number 40.

    I didn't mean Luke Wright, I meant Chris Wright! Sorry.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think Ramps was a choice of the heart rather than the head. Van Jaarsveld has performed much better throughout the season, as had Trott of the Title Winning Bears.

    Here is my XI
    van Jaarsveld
    Yasir Arafat
    S Harmison

  • Comment number 42.

    Good team, only 2 I could add would be Shah, and Tahir, and it looks quality.

  • Comment number 43.

    I would certainly have Stephen Moore of Worcestershire opening. He was the first to a thousand runs in any division this summer and has been a consistent attacking opener for the past three seasons. Good fielder too.

  • Comment number 44.

    I personally think Keneria's over rated. There seems to be a real lack of decent spinners these days, which is a shame. I think Swann's England's No1 spinner and should be given a go against "one dimension" Monty.

    Van Jaarsveld
    The Mighty Tim Murtagh
    Kabir Ali

  • Comment number 45.

    Spot on skyblue1987 how on earth could anyone leave Jonathon Trott out this year what a season in both 4 and 1 day competitions the lad is pure class!

    Van Jaarsveld
    Rudolph (capt)
    Chris Woakes

    Young player of the year Chris Woakes of the Bears what a talent!

  • Comment number 46.

    Its a shame that their aren't any 'amazing' leg spinners. I think Shane Warne was a 1 off, as i definitely don't think rashid or any other leg spinners have the talent that shane warne had.

  • Comment number 47.

    People are starting to pick Foster behind the stumps, but the one that mystifies me is Chris Read - why does he even get an honourable mention behind the stumps - what has he actually dont this season as I dont seem to remeber him lighting up with the bat. Yes his keeping is fine - average county player at best, but certainly not the top keeper this year - I would probably put him at 4th/5th choice on the county circuit in my humble opinion anyway.

  • Comment number 48.

    This would be my Team of the Year:
    5 PRIOR (WK)
    7 SWANN
    9 RASHID
    10 GOUGH (CAPT)
    11 HOGGARD

  • Comment number 49.

    Denly ???????????

    He's had 8 ducks this season and has a average of just over 30 in the CC. Also he's a average fielder.

  • Comment number 50.

    id agree with the majority of the selection..and its good how you've chosen mostly english players...i dont think this is at the expense of kolpaks..but it shows that the english players are shining through and being counted...which can only be good for the national team.

    but i would drop hes not a good enough batsmen to bat at 5..and i cant really decide between the kent openers so ive put both go with

    Kabir Ali

    I havnt seen enough of pleys like van jaarsveld/rudolph/murtagh/goodwin to include them...but i think its weird how you can give up playing for your country just to be a kolpak and play county cricket?? is the case for alot of south africans..i mean if van jaarsveld was soo amazing surely S.Africa would be begging him to play for them???.

  • Comment number 51.

    For all those suggesting Kaneria, Chopra, Trott, Moore, etc, etc, these are SECOND DIVISION players scoring runs and taking wickets against Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and South Africa 4th XI.

    In the same way Surrey and Somerset batsmen get to bat on shirtfronts, so they must be treated with caution as well.

  • Comment number 52.

    For the most part I would agree with your team with just a couple of exceptions.

    I would replace Joe Denly (896 runs @ 30.89) with Stephen Moore (1451 @ 55.80). Whilst Denly is one for the future, the 1000 run barrier needs to be broken as an opener.

    The only other change would be Murray Goodwin for Jacques Ruldolph and Make Trescothick captain. You can't overlook what Goodwin has done for Sussex this year.

  • Comment number 53.

    Forgot about Trott

    I reckon he's got a good shout to be ahead of Bops.

    Still think Bops has a golden future ahead of him, though.

  • Comment number 54.

    Has Rashid just booked himself a flight to India with that 100?

  • Comment number 55.

    One name to throw in: Will Smith of Durham. Considering he plays on one of the best seaming wickets in the country, his performances this year have been very impressive. I'd have him in ahead of Denly at any rate.

  • Comment number 56.

    I cant believe someone is questioning Kaneria and suggesting he flatters to decieve. I haven't seen an Essex match in recent times when he hasn't been the best bowler on the pitch by a mile.

  • Comment number 57.

    I take it all back. Sorry.

  • Comment number 58.

    Two good posts AndyPlowright, but your first one (no 19) although exhaustive was very wide of the mark in one detail.
    Mark Davies figures:
    for away games 22wkts for 253 runs
    for home games 15 wkts for 292 runs

    As you can see this under-rated bowler has been good wherever he has played and has been consistently top of the bowling averages when he plays. There must be a clue there.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think that is a good team but what's Mark Ramprakash doing at No.3.

    It took him ages to get 100 100's and I'm afraid this season was uncompareable with his last two.

    Murray Goodwin is the obvious pick after a great season at Hove.

  • Comment number 60.

    Good team - and you are spot on re the Kolpaks. But how would it be if we had (say) eight really good domestic teams each with no more than one non England qualified player, playing in competitions that really matter with young players (not aging pros hanging on for their benefits) - true class. Might we not then have an (even) better England team. Am I a dreamer?

  • Comment number 61.

    my team would be
    1. Tresco
    2. Moore
    3. Jaarsveld
    4. Bopara
    5. Goodwin
    6. Patel
    7. Read (cpt)
    8. Swann
    9. Murtagh
    10. Harmison
    11. Shreck

  • Comment number 62.

    I can't belive James Foster doesn't even get a mention as wicket keeper!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I can't believe there is no mention for Murray Goodwin!!!!!!

  • Comment number 64.



    I said Mark Davies wasn’t so good in conditions that really didn’t suit him. Looking through some of the performances he’s put in this year, I’m seeing 7 for 33 at Old Trafford (pretty decent for bowlers this year, judging by the Lancashire batting averages), his 8-for at Basingstoke (not a great wicket), good performances at home… I’m not seeing him taking wickets on wickets that don’t offer him assistance. I know he only bowled 15 overs at Taunton but those were 15 wicketless overs, and I’d suggest Taunton is a better batting wicket than the like of Basingstoke and the Riverside. I don’t doubt that he has real ability with the ball. I would cast doubt on his ability in, say, Australia or Sri Lanka. I wonder if he’d be a bit like Ed Giddins. Fletcher summed him up beautifully when he said that Giddins would be a threat in the right conditions but utterly innocuous when the ball stopped swinging.

    The biggest reason why more people haven’t pushed for Davies being called up for England is his injury record. From memory, I’d bet on this being the longest season he’s ever played and his best season in terms of avoiding injury. Those injury problems also help his average somewhat. A seamer like him will generally get more help in the damp early months of the season compared to the August period that (legend has it!) should be dry and hot and harder work for seamers on straw-coloured wickets. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got talent but I’m not sure if he’s quite as impressive as his record suggests.

  • Comment number 65.


    Davies was badly injured it is true and he has lost some pace. But he has bowled in the same conditions as other bowlers this year - does not rely on swing but is accurate and moves the ball of the pitch. In 2005 he was the top English bowler, played a whole season and has finally come back this year to that position.
    Your guesses as to his type of bowling, his past record is typical of the cricket community in not knowing too much about players from the far north!!

  • Comment number 66.

    needs more Tomlinson

  • Comment number 67.

    James Foster and van Jaarsveld would appear to be the obvious omissions for me. However, some of their best performances have been in the limited overs matches rather than the County Championship.

    The statistics speak for themselves for van Jaarsveld, but Foster's contribution behind the stumps is not fully accounted for. It is Foster's pressure on the batsmen by regularly standing up to the bowlers, including Masters and Napier at 90 mph, that has created so many wicket taking opportunities.

  • Comment number 68.

    What about Charl Willoughby? Im a big fan!

    My team would be

    van Jaarsveld

  • Comment number 69.

    Er, three of those players are from the second division!!!!!

    They may be good players but the whole concept of picking an XI of the season's best players surely implies that you pick first division players.

    Yet again the BBC displays its abject ignorance of cricket.

  • Comment number 70.

    Sounds to me like you haven't watched that much county cricket this season. You seem to be basing your selections on one or two performances, which doesn't reflect their performances over the whole season. denly and flintoff definitely shouldn't be in the team, whereas tomlinson (top wicket taker) should be a cert and imran tahir should also be considered

  • Comment number 71.

    Will Smith???

    Just got 81 in the 1st innings against Kent??Avergare - 49.64

  • Comment number 72.

    If only Simon Jones had been fit for the whole season. Would have been a fantastic spectacle. And two Worcs players in the list.

  • Comment number 73.

    championship team (based on form not on career);

    Van Jaarsveld
    Will Smith
    Kabir Ali

    One day team


  • Comment number 74.


    Having actually faced Mark Davies many years ago, I think I do know a little about his bowling. I didn't say he was a swing bowler. Alluding to the tale of Ed Giddins wasn't stating that Davies was a swing bowler. It was a cautionary tale. Duncan Fletcher saw Giddins look good, thought he'd fail if the conditions didn't suit him.

    As you say, Davies hasn't got great pace and relies on the ball moving off the pitch. Would he therefore be as effective playing at the Oval or Taunton? I don't think he would, and his lack of wickets at Taunton compared to Harmison looking good suggests that too. Statistically, and this season shows it, he's taken wickets on green wickets. Show me a country outside of England that regularly has Test venues with green top wickets. Antigua? Sydney? Mumbai? Ding!

    Now you can easily say Matt Hoggard is a tradiitonal English seamer like Davies and that Hoggie made it for England. He made it through hard work and through some long spells. Would Davies be able to do that for England? His fitness record suggests not, and that is an important factor in selection, as we've all seen with Simon Jones not being picked this year despite some good spells. Prior to the current CC matches, Davies bowled 227 overs. Hoggard bowled 141 overs in four Tests during the last Ashes series.

    You look at the Durham averages and compare the bowling and batting ones. All the bowlers have reaped rewards whilst the batsmen have found it very tough. I've actually decided to revise my XI of the year and drop Ramps and put Will Smith in.

    No need for some North-South daftness.

  • Comment number 75.

    1. Trescothick
    2. Moore
    3. Goodwin
    4. Ramps
    5. Samit Patel
    6. Bresnan
    7. Read (wkt, cpt)
    8. Kabir Ali
    9. Rashid
    10. Simon Jones
    11. Steve Harmison

    Squad members: Rudolph, Bopara, Pattinson, G. Swann, Foster.

    One overseas in 1st XI, bats down to number 11, with 4 seamers and 2 spinners.

    The majority of them are in by sheer weight of runs/wickets, Read hopefully will be a championship winning captain (at his first attempt) by the end of the week.

    Rashid is slowly blossoming as a spinner who bats, and Simon Jones was looking in fine form before another injury.

  • Comment number 76.

    Not sure why Denly is anywhere near the side. He's a long way from the finished article - Horton of Lancs is the outstanding young English qualified batsman (despite his frustratingly Australian background).

    For what it's worth my side is :

    1) Tresgothick
    2) Rogers
    3) Ramprakash
    4) Rudolph
    5) Van Jaarsveld
    6) Bopara
    7) Prioir
    8) Rashid
    9) Kabir Ali
    10) Harmison
    11) Davies

  • Comment number 77.

    Jon Batty??
    I know he couldn't buy a run in the first half of the season, but his batting form in the second half was as good as any keeper's, and his keeping is up with the best.

    Has anyone else noticed how players who leave Surrey because they're useless suddenly turn good? Look at Azhar Mahmood, Ian Salisbury, Tim Murtagh, Carl Greenidge in the last few years: all much better post-Surrey.

  • Comment number 78.

    maybe adam shantry, good end of season for. one for the future, maybe?

  • Comment number 79.

    i know he only played half a season, but he does look pretty good

  • Comment number 80.

    put adam in england lions

  • Comment number 81.

    My Team would be

    Key (C)
    Van Jaarsveld
    Prior (wk)
    Kabir Ali

    Close Shouts: Tony Frost, Glen Chapple, Adil Rashid, Robbie Joseph, Grant Flower

  • Comment number 82.

    Surely Langer would be worthy of a place in any team and maybe Trego for an allrounder?

  • Comment number 83.

    Silk, Adil Rashid went on the Lions tour last winter and generally outbowled Monty. He has also started to get some runs again (a good hundred today with Yorkshire in some trouble initially). Definitely Monty will not have enjoyed hearing about his innings.

    Whatever happened to Mark Lawson? Looked even better than Rashid as a bowler a couple of seasons ago and now released. Riochard Dawson is now at Bristol and I hope that we persist with him.

  • Comment number 84.

    Btw, if we take the PCA ratings seriously, the wicket-keeper of the season, by a distance, is Geraint Jones! As wicket-keeper batsmen, there are seven in a tiny range of points and Matt Prior ranks only 15th.

  • Comment number 85.

    Good blog to read as I have not followed all the CC this year. Obviously not my followed my team, Essex, as closely as I should have done given that I did not realise Graham Napier could throw pies at 90mph!

    As for the comment about Kaneria made by somebody, the guy is pure class for Essex. The one genuine match winner in the Essex bowling ranks (nearly up there with Peter Such and John Childs), he has consistently taken lots of wickets over the years. A higher average at Test level, but still a very threatening bowler.

    On a side note, disappointing to see Yorks release Lawson but quite pleased to see Dawson back playing for Gloucestershire.

  • Comment number 86.

    Big Bears fan, but what a great story with Tony Frost.

    He retired 2 years ago and joined the ground staff at Edgebaston last year.

    With Ambroses inclusion in the England squad this year Ashley Giles asked him to come out of retirement and he averaged over 90 with the bat. He often got runs at vital times and he's got to be the best groundsman/batsman around. Ambrose came back and it was imposible to leave him out, so they played him as a specialist batsman.

    Also keep an eye out for young Chris Woakes. Played 12 championship matches along with his England Under19 commitments and still managed three 5 wicket hauls, handy with the bat as well and reminds me very much of Stewie Broad.

  • Comment number 87.

    "Look at Azhar Mahmood, Ian Salisbury, Tim Murtagh, Carl Greenidge in the last few years: all much better post-Surrey."

    Can't really comment on the others, but is that the Carl Greenidge who has been released by bottom team Gloucs after a couple of fairly undistinguished seaons (having previously left Northants in similar circumstances)?

  • Comment number 88.

    I don't think Ramps should get a place in the side. This season summed him up really; he's had no pressure for the past few years smashing runs everywhere and as soon as he felt some pressure (i.e. when he got to 99 hundreds) he choked.

    Simon Jones has had a top season alongside Kabir for Worcs, shame injury cut short his season.

  • Comment number 89.

    Left arm and 64 cc wkts James Tomlinson has to be included. Hes played in every cc match this seasosn and out bowled Tremlett by the proverbial country mile!!
    Also Michael Brown offer a lot at the top of the innings hope he stays with Hampshire and doesnt dissapear to the Oval.

  • Comment number 90.

    Agree pretty much completely with DannyMagix (Post No.23). James Foster should definitely be in: the older he gets, the better he plays in every form of the game. He would be in most countries' national sides. Ravi is a bit hit and miss to be honest - one's never totally sure what you're going to get. He better get consistency soon otherwise he'll be sitting on the boundary watching Jaik Mickleburgh rack up the runs instead. Lastly, a non-Essex comment, Denly's season seems to have completely run out of steam in the last few weeks: surely there's a better opening bat partner for Tresco?

  • Comment number 91.

    Please would someone explain this love for Richard Dawson. When he played for Yorkshire, he looked pretty good but then couldn't make it at Northants on a wicket that offered some help to the spinners. Now he's down at Gloucestershire, currently he is averaging (including the current match) 336 with the ball in the CC. A career average of 43 doesn't suggest he's that great.

    I do find Cricinfo's profile of him amusing:

    "Handy in the outfield as well, he is multi-dimensional enough to make more of a mark than England's last two wet-nursed offspinners, Jason Brown and Graeme Swann"

    Riiiiiiight. Swann, England ODI bowler, and someone I'd like to see make his Test debut in India.

    Dawson: bloke who isn't an assured and regular county player. Perhaps not as multi-dimensional as Cricinfo wrote!

  • Comment number 92.

    Nice team but flintoff has not played alot of county championship games to be in my team. Napier is in my team not just because of his batting but because of his tallent with the ball.

    My Team

    S Harmison

  • Comment number 93.

    If the season didn't end less then 3 months before Christmas then could there have been the possibility of an all star game

    Division 1 team of the year v Division 2 team of the year.

    People could then have been playing for Winter tour places.

  • Comment number 94.

    Just one question how on earth can James Tomlinson be left out of the Team of the Year, he's the leading wicket taker in the country and he's taken his wickets in Div 1. Incredibly he's still relatively unknown amongst cricket fans in thsi country but he deserves to go on the Lions/A tour this winter at the very least.

    Also a bit surprised Mascarenhas has been overlooked, he's had his best season yet for Hampshire and has done this with the weight of captaincy on his shoulders. Hard enough at any time but when doing so taking over from the great Shane Warne his achievements this year have been all the more outstanding.

  • Comment number 95.

    (english players only)

    Divison One all-stars (based on CC performances)

    Smith (Durham)

    12th man - Bresnan

    Div 2


    12th man - Wagg

    Who would win?

  • Comment number 96.

    This would be my Team of the Year:
    5 PRIOR (WK)
    8 RASHID
    9 GOUGH (CAPT)
    11 HOGGARD

  • Comment number 97.

    Perhaps not altogether deserving as being in the 'team of the season', but Adam Shantry has been superb for Glamorgan this season, regularly taking wickets.

    If only the likes of Mark Wallace could have translated one-day form into the four-day format, it may have been a bit more successful for Glamorgan.

  • Comment number 98.

    eh hang on a second!!! what about the REAL DEAl that is Ben Harmison- younger brother of Englands finest pace bowler in recent times. His brother is a genuine, i mean genuine all-rounder... can't bat, can't bowl and can field a bit!!!
    Durham deserve nothing for picking this clown week in week out.. they've tried him in every batting position but haven't realised that he is a genuine no. 10 in 4 day cricket. Hope Notts win title at least they dont pick a team based on keeping the opening bowler happy!!!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Durham are going to win the CC, and Ben Harmison's going to have taken vital wickets at vital times.

    16 @ 26. I'd say that's not bad for an all rounder

    So I suspect the Captain and coach will disagree with you.

  • Comment number 100.

    re 98

    You have got that the wrong way round - Ben is IMO a less than average fielder but a reasonable bat and a good bowler.
    He has opened twice with Di Venuto recently and did a steady if unspectacular job of getting a good start for Durham.

    Hants, Durham's nemesis of late seem to be redressing the balance - come on you Hogs!


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