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2005 vs 2011: Composite England XI

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Tom Fordyce | 15:10 UK time, Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Put those stubborn ICC rankings to one side. After England's stunning 319-run victory in the second Test followed the 196-run demolition at Lord's, only the most intransigent of Indian fans would rate their current XI as superior to England's.

But just how good is Andrew Strauss's team? While we wait for the rankings to reflect reality, let's allow a little fantasy to fill the air.

The current side is both more statistically successful and held in greater affection than any England XI since Michael Vaughan's glorious Ashes winners of 2005. So, if given the chance to choose a composite team formed from the best of those two line-ups, who would you select?

The rules are straightforward: you are picking your players on their form at that time, not across their entire international careers. Your team will be playing at home. And, if the player starred in both 2005 and 2011, you must specify which version you'd prefer.

I'll get us under way. Phil Tufnell is next. Then it's your turn.


Trescothick failed to score a single Test century against the Aussies in 2005. It's a statistical wrong 'un. Someone who scored 431 runs at an average of 43, at the rollicking pace and with the bowler-sapping style of Banger, simply has to open the account for this England side. Remember that first morning at Edgbaston? Of course you do. Factor in his rock-solid catching at first slip and the case is surely made.

The first tester. Andrew Strauss was the only player on either side to score more than one century in 2005. He is a better fielder than Cook, whether going Superman at second slip in 2005 or in at first today. Cook has also struggled in the current series, averaging just five, while in Strauss you have a skipper who has just masterminded a thrashing of Australia on their own patch.

All of that is true. But then there is 766. There is 5,000 Test runs at a younger age than anyone except Sachin Tendulkar. There is the near-certainty of finishing a career with more Test centuries - and runs - than any other Englishman in history. Chef, you're on the top table.

Based on cold, hard stats, Trott has to get the nod ahead of Michael Vaughan at three. Over the past year he has averaged over 60 at Test level, hit four centuries (including the match-winner in Melbourne) and shown that he can bat - and bat, and bat - all day long, whatever the pressure or pitch.

In the summer of 2005, Vaughan hit that beautiful 166 at Old Trafford. He was always more aesthetically pleasing than Trott. But he also only made 160 runs in his nine other innings that series. Which of the two is more likely to score runs? Who would you back to stick around longer?

All that is very well. But with no Strauss in the side, Cook's leadership skills unproven and other candidates either tried and failed or without any previous experience, who else is there to captain the side? Vaughan was his country's best skip since Mike Brearley. He squeezed the best from his charges, was innovative in the field and, in the main, made the right bowling changes at the right time.

KP will surely be in everyone's composite team - but which vintage will produce the best results? After rolling it round the mouth, I'm going for the Beaujolais freshness of 2005. There were the numbers - 473 runs at 52 - but there was also the style, the freedom, the obvious enjoyment. His technical weaknesses were yet to be worked out or his flaws exploited. The hair? Terrible, but we all make mistakes.

We're starting to get controversial. I was certain I wanted Ian Bell at six - not the weak-kneed innocent of 2005, the rosy-cheeked tyro who averaged a paltry 17, but the peachy timer of today, the most attractive England batsman of the moment and the scorer - at last! - of big runs when it really matters. I'm almost convincing myself again.

But with Vaughan needing to play as skipper, and with the all-round abilities of the chap I have at seven, I had to lose a batsman. As for Prior, well, I'll love Geraint Jones for ever more for getting his gloves round Kasper's nick at Edgbaston, but beyond that it's the easiest decision of all.

402 runs at 40. 24 wickets at 27. The class and character to scare future generations of Australian cricketers for years to come. It would never be as good as 2005 again, but who cares?

Steve Harmison, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad all bowling for England.

Lean, mean bowling machines, but which beanpole paceman would you have in an attack? Photos: Getty

Swann has been out of sorts in this current series against India. Ashley Giles should drink for free for the rest of his life for that 59 at the Oval and the winning runs at Trent Bridge, while the ball that bowled Damien Martyn still shocks me in the very best way.

But nine other wickets in the series is simply not enough to see off Swann, England's most successful offie in decades and a sparky, fizzing essential in the current side's happy blend.

Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing, even if it's not as good as it used to be. So let's pop off the rose-tinted shades and marvel again at Jones's 18 wickets in three and a half matches, against the best batting line-up in the world at that time, at a strike rate of 34 - a full 10 balls a wicket better than any of his team-mates that summer. To recall the sight of Michael Clarke shouldering arms to Jones's reverser and seeing his off-stump go somersaulting backwards is to truly experience contentment. I'm assuming he's fit, of course.

Now the arguments really kick off. What, no Steve Harmison, the teetering, terrifying weapon that drew blood from Ricky Ponting and snatched 17 key wickets, including Clarke with the perfect slower ball and Kasper at the death in Birmingham? No Stuart Broad, the man who has just taken five wickets for no runs in 16 balls - including a hat-trick - after smashing more than 100 runs in the same match?

Harmison first. By 2005 he was already on the decline. For all the menace, there was too much loose stuff - including the ball that Kasper gloved. Tremlett has 36 Test wickets at 24 from just seven matches since his Test recall. He is fitter, far more accurate and almost as fast, and as frightening on the charge as Harmison ever was. Broad? Hardest man to leave out. If he maintains his form from the last two Tests he's in, but the revival needs to be maintained.

Matthew Hoggard, close to his peak in 2005, took 16 wickets at 29 in 2005 and at times appeared to have the ball on the end of a long invisible wire. Those late in-swingers to the lefties... yet Anderson is quicker, fitter, has more weapons and is possibly the best bowling fielder England have had. Master manipulator of the swinging ball; can also now take wickets when the cherry is staying straight. And he's the superior nightwatchman.

Calm under pressure, brilliant on technique, careful compiler of the best backroom in world cricket. Duncan Fletcher: you saved the day and built a brighter one, but your young disciple gets the nod.

FINAL SCORE: Five players from 2005, six from 2011

BONUS SECTION PT I: Phil Tufnell's Composite XI
I did ask Michael Vaughan for his XI. Understandably, considering his close friendships with many of the players involved, he politely declined. Tuffers did not, although he got stuck at several points, went red in the face and had to go for a walk before coming back to complete his line-up:
Trescothick, Strauss, Vaughan, Trott, Pietersen, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Swann, S Jones, Anderson. Coach: Flower

BONUS SECTION PT II: Composite Opposition XI
Our England side will need a team to play against. Since we're comparing the class of 2005 with that of 2011, it seems to make sense to do the same with the opposition. Combining the best of Australia '05 with India '11 gives me this rather special line-up:
Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Gilchrist, Warne, B Lee, Zaheer, McGrath

Which side would win such a clash? Very hard to say. Would I pay through the nose to watch? Much easier to say. Yes.

Over to you.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Mine would be: Trescothick Cook Vaughan Peitersen Bell Flintoff (in today's form) Prior Broad Anderson Swann s.Jones

  • Comment number 2.

    The only three I would take from the '05 vintage are Trescothick, Flintoff and Jones. They would replace Cook, Morgan (who you have totally failed to even mention, Tom) and Tremlett/Bresnan, giving the line-up - Trescothick, Strauss (11), Trott, Pietersen (05), Bell, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Swann, Jones, Anderson.

    The biggest problem is there are 3 openers who all demand selection, and it would be a very close call between Cook (for his excellent temperament and batting) and Strauss (for his slightly less excellent batting - at least on current form - and his captaincy). What swings it for me is Strauss's superb ability, together with Flower, to mould the team into a fierce, hungry, determined unit which has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, and I just couldn't leave him out. With a long, strong batting line-up, even without Cooky, I think the balance is right.

  • Comment number 3.

    Surely the big debate is over who would be twelfth man?? Tight call between Gary Pratt and Scott Elstone... Gut feeling is that 'run out Ricky' will just pip '2 from 3' to the slot...

  • Comment number 4.

    Based on this series so far and the Ashes series

    Strauss, Trescothick, Vaughan, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Hoggard, Anderson.

    Gary Pratt as 12th Man

  • Comment number 5.

    I would go:
    Trescothick, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Vaughan, Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Swann, Jones, Anderson

  • Comment number 6.

    Strauss (11) Cook Trott Pietersen (05) Bell (11) Prior Flintoff Broad Swann Anderson and Simon Jones

  • Comment number 7.

    Trescothick Cook Vaughan (C) Trott KP (2005) Flintoff Prior Swann Simon Jones Tremlett and Hoggard

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry Tom ,but you have quite clearly gone mad. HOW can you leave out somebody who captained us to back to back Ashes victories including the first victory Down Under since 1986 ??

    Tres, Strauss (c), Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, S Jones, Anderson. That is all.

    Team for team, 2011 would beat 2005.

  • Comment number 9.

    Tres - Cook - Trott - Vaughan - KP - Bell - Prior - Broad - Swann - Tremlett - Anderson -

  • Comment number 10.

    Trescothick, cook, trott, pietersen (11) bell (11) prior, flintoff, broad, swann, jones, anderson (11)

    Pietersen now is better than the 05 version although,alot would disagree on that, the way he constructed the 202 not out was arguably one of his best ever and certainly something he would never of done in 05.

    Other than that only other consideration was strauss in place of one of the openers. But 8 from 11, e from 05

  • Comment number 11.

    Fyi anderson was around in 05 but was a bit of a fringe player at that time so had to put 11 next to his name

  • Comment number 12.

    How long before England have the confidence to bat Prior at six, and play five bowlers? This would be a massive advantage, particularly under the hot sun.

  • Comment number 13.


  • Comment number 14.

    Unbelievably difficult choices but you have to be cut throat I suppose. It fills me with fuzzy warm feelings when I think about the ashes series of 05 and 10/11. England's cricket is getting better and better, bring on the next ashes series.

  • Comment number 15.

    1) Trescothick '05 - I'd select '11 vintage in a heartbeat and make him Captain but sadly he won't make himself availible I could do with First-Class season average of 80.75 after 21 innings with only 1 not out to his name though....
    2) Strauss '11 (Captain) - Solid rock for the team I'd prefer Vaughn on current form but I belive him opening up with '05 vintage Banger will take the pressure off himself quite a bit more than Cook would.
    3) Cook '11 - The man isn't doing too well in English conditions again but he gets in on form alone.
    4) Pietersen '05 - Nice freeflowing runs from this man, he's be penciled in as number 4 but number 5 would come in case of a collapse.
    5) Bell '11 - The man is just in supreme form and has been for well over a year and has recovered from injury in even better form since then. Can be moved up the order and can work down it as well the best player for those sticky situations.
    6) Prior '11 - Better keeper and batsman he's taken his time to cement his place but all pretenders need to do something special to shift him from behind the wicket. Jones was never 100% of his place even back in '05.
    7) Flintoff '05 - No question about this one I like run put heavily and he can scare with ball quite nastilly as well.
    8) Broad '11 - Originally I was going to have another out and out bowler but decided at three men against and all-star India/Autralia team my tail was a little too long. His current form is still in question a little but when he can turn it on he'll get the wickets I need and the runs. Also while it isn't a case of being carried other bowlers can deal with issues should Broad decide bowling back of the length tripe.
    9) Swann '11 - No question on the spinner even if I did have to drop his HRH The King of Spain he isn't in Swann league as a tweaker.
    10) Jones '05 - No question about it Jones is the best pace bowler we've had in years it's a real shame he broke down.
    11) Anderson '11 - Just for that extra bit of swing as were playing in England having two players who make the ball move as if by the force alone will make short work of any batting lineup.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'd replace Flintoff with Gary Pratt, but that's just my opinion ;0)

  • Comment number 17.

    2011 and we're two games in to a series in which the opposition have not turned up. In 2005 it was against a very fine team and a tight series that could have gone either way. Additional considerations, the spinners are not taking wickets (2005 or 2011) and so my eleven would be Tresco, Vaughan, Trott, KP, Bell, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Jones, Harmy, Hoggard

  • Comment number 18.

    Trescothick (such a shame he still isnt playing for all the merits of cook would be awesome to see him back playing, they should sort out a farewell iODI for him) Strauss (previous series for run scoring) (c), Trott , Pietersen (either period of time), Bell (Current form) Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson , Jones.

    Bearing in mind you cant compare form from the two series as this one isnt complete so Broad would be in for his performances over the past 18 months

    Such a shame Simon Jones has never played a test match since he was on a par with Freddy for destructive bowling in that series

  • Comment number 19.

    Easy one for me -

    Trescothick (05), Cook (11), Trott (11), Pietersen (05+11), Bell (11), Flintoff (05), Prior (11), Swann (11), Broad (11), Anderson(11), Jones (05)

    05= 3.5
    11= 7.5

  • Comment number 20.

    Strauss ('11, C)
    Cook ('11)
    Pietersen ('05)
    Bell ('11)

  • Comment number 21.

    Tough decision whichever way you go but... Strauss (c), Trescothick, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Swann, Broad, Jones and Anderson. I pick Jones based purely on his 05 ashes exploits but I would still like to be controversial and squeeze Steve Harmison into that line-up somewhere. Still got lots of time for Cooky, Breso and Tremlett - but there names still for the future.

    Great blog though, and totally agree with an awesome looking Aussie/India side that would strike fear into any opposition - especially with arguably the 6 greatest (7 if you include Gilchrist) batsmen of the modern era. A bowling attack of Warne, Lee, Zaheer and McGrath pretty much covers it all - although I can't see any of the batsmen having a go if a bowler gets injured. Maybe time for some dobbly medium pace from Ponting!

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't see how you can consider Simon Jones considering he's barely played any his entire life! Without doubt he had potential, but Harmison got to world number 1, whereas Jones only managed to play 18 tests. The other question would be, is this based on their entire career, or just performances against Australia? If it's the latter, Vaughan would surely merit a place, and Bell perhaps not. Anyway, this is my team:

    Trescothick, Cook, Vaughan (c), Pietersen, Bell, Flintoff, Prior (wk), Swann, Harmison, Anderson, Hoggard

    Too many of the current team have just broken into the side, and are currently playing very well, but we don't know how history will judge them once their whole career has panned out. For example, who would have predicted three years ago that Panesar would be so out in the cold?

  • Comment number 23.

    Tres - Strauss (11) - Trott - KP (11) - Bell (11) - Prior - Flintoff - Broad - Swann - Anderson - Jones

  • Comment number 24.

    I think the 2005 team had potential that was cruelly cut short by injuries and no cover.

    The current team playing the Aussies at their peak no that would've been one helluava game! But England might've needed Flintoff (at his peak) as the missing piece a genuine all-rounder.

  • Comment number 25.

    All I have to say is one thing people. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. This series ain't over yet. A 2-2 draw or even a 2-1 loss means India have done well enough. I still think the Australia of 2005 is far ahead of England of then, despite them losing and India of 2011 is far ahead of England of 2011 despite going down 2-0. This happens everytime, whenever England make some good progress, all critics and fans claim them to be the best, which certainly is very misleading. No matter who says what, injuries have done its damage for India. Lack of form is another crisis. Not to forget England play at home. If a team loses at home, then thats very disappointing, but if it wins there, then its not a big deal. Lets not claim England as number one till they beat India in India and SA in south africa. So I think whatever combination of Aus of 2005 and India of 2011 are chosen, they will take England down in a big way. So why the rise of hope and then the crushing for the English fans? Only thing that can be accepted is that ECB has taken better care of English players than BCCI has done for Indian players. But man to man, India wins. I still think that such high level matches must be played in a neutral venue, which will tell who is better, than one team playing at home and one away. Ok come on bring on the arguments

  • Comment number 26.

    I always felt robbed by the injuries that ravaged the '05 side after that famous ashes series, I hope these players today will be around for the next 5 years, some of them another 10 years even. Having grown up watching cricket in the 90's, I'm not too bothered who is better out of the '05 side (that also completed an incredibly underrated series win in south africa) and today's side, but i know today's side will have many more glorious days ahead of them

  • Comment number 27.

    Tres, Strauss (05), Trott, KP (11), Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Jones, Anderson

  • Comment number 28.

    Prashant your comments have nothing to do with this thread, but as you commented....

    "India of 2011 is better than England of 2011"...what have you been watching for the last 2 weeks?? Do the numbers 196 and 319 mean anything to you? Man to man India wins?!

    Harbhajan for Swann? No thanks.
    Dhoni for Prior? Nope.
    Mukund for Cook? No.
    Gambhir for Strauss? No.
    Praveen for Broad? No way.
    Sreesanth for Bresnan? Do me a favour.
    Laxman for Bell? Maybe but no thanks.
    Zaheer for Jimmy A? Depsite what you think, Anderson is better I'm afraid. and fitter.
    Tendulkar might get in based on his reputation. We'll have Dravid. I don't want Raina or Yuvraj either thanks. That is all.

  • Comment number 29.

    @25 - england have just as many injuries as india - trott, tremlett, onions, etc... but greater strength in depth shows us to be the better squad. Given the way india accumulated ranking points against bangladesh and series wins against sri lanka, west indies and new zealand, i shouldn't fret too much about england overtaking them in the rankings.

  • Comment number 30.

    @24 Flintoff was never a genuine all-rounder - his batting was never that good despite it being his supposed strength when he 'were a lad'. Bowling however was awesome at it's best, never a big wicket taker, but a Big Wicket taker if you get my meaning.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 28 lozza- Again, its a home game for England, so they have to win it, its not a big deal, if they lose its a big deal. Again, man to man, u will find at least three forth of Indian players better. And nobody gave u any of those Indian players, you keep ur weaklings (just to annoy, they are good enough lol), we'll have the good ones. Wait till the tournament ends and u might again want to restart the trade. Bhajji at his best is far ahead of swann at his best. Cook fine, Nobody can even compare Ten, Dra, Lax with any English players of any century (this has already been discussed before). Zak is equally good as every player in England. U can't even bring Mukund here, he is not even part of the first set of players. Shewag is a wonder which no team in any part of the world has been blessed enough to possess. Gambhir is awesome as well. See the Indian players at the best and Indian players at the best. I can say Eng bowlers win big time, but batting and in spin department, India are far ahead. And as replacement we have super talented spinners, who most of u have not even seen. Wait till they get a chance. Bhajji has been occuying that crucial spot, but not for long seeing his drop in form over the past 2 yrs.

  • Comment number 32.

    A little typo at 31, Indian players at their best are far superior to English players at their best. There I corrected it, now stop being a smart ass and keep citing it lol

  • Comment number 33.

    People are being incredibly quick to write off the 2005 side compared to the modern side. For my money, the current England lineup haven't come up against a decent Test side.

    Let's compare opposition instead from the past compared to now. Compare international sides from around 2005 (the Vaughan era) to their modern counterpart:

    -2005 versus 2010 Australian side (surely nobody would pick that rabble we beat Down Under above the Warne/McGrath era Aussies?!?). Then wins.

    -2005 South Africans versus current day (hard one to call. Vaughan's side beat SA in a fine series, last time out we only drew. Call this one a draw in total)

    -India around 2005 compared to now (no competition. Old side wins out. Current side is awful).

    -Pakistan circa 2005 versus now (old side would win out and I'd put money on it (drum roll/I thank you/I'm here all week)

    -West Indies in 2005 versus now. Then. Batting was stronger than.

    -New Zealand then and now: then. Stronger batting and bowling and a better captain in Fleming than the current chap, Ross Taylor.

    -Sri Lanka then and now: then (seam bowling attack was better then than it is now and Murali was playing).

    -Zimbabwe then and now: Then by the proverbial country mile.

    -Bangladesh then versus now: Now. Seriously! No players of Shakib or Tamim's calibre around for Bangladesh back then.

    So with that incredibly scientific poll, we can see that Bangladesh are the only side who could really claim to have a better 2011 side than they did in 2005 and that the majority of sides were way better in 2005 than they were now.

    Why is this important? Well, a side is judged by the quality of the opponents they beat. The 2005 Ashes win was huge because some of the best in history were beaten. Warne was defeated. McGrath, the guy I considered to be a finer outright bowler than even Warne, was defeated. Ponting had his nose rubbed in the dirt for the first time. When it came to beating the Aussies in Australia, there was nobody with that aura around them that made defeat extra-special. Ponting was a hangdog figure, the batting was a joke, members of the seam attack defeated by a comedy song sung by spectators, and the Australian spin attack was as much use as a chocolate condom. Beating South Africa is a big thing as you have tough guys like Kallis and Smith who make gaining a victory that much harder. With the current tourists, only Dravid holds that aura for me, and he really has played out off his skin so far in the series.

    In the case of Tremlett he's been heralded as better than Harmison based on a few Tests against a dreadful Australian side, a Sri Lankan side playing in England on some rather damp wickets, and the worst Indian side to tour England since Gooch made his 333 (although that series did see Tendulkar and Kumble emerge so some positives came from it. I'm not seeing anything positive from this Indian side as the bowling is appalling and the younger batsmen look terrified of pace, swing, and bounce). Let's see how he bowls on a dead Australian wicket a la Hoggard in the 2006-7 series before we judge him as being superior. Watching this England side play in Sri Lanka will give us a far better verdict on their respective qualities than playing a tired jaded Indian side on English wickets.

  • Comment number 34.

    What a shame we haven't seen India at their best then Prashant. Do come back when they are ready to put up some fight...

    Tresco 05 (or now...)
    Pietersen 05
    Bell 11

    Try bowling that side out...

  • Comment number 35.

    @31 Prashant, Beaten by 196 runs. Beaten by 319 runs. THAT IS ALL.

  • Comment number 36.

    Prashant, India are getting an absolute hammering right now. No doubt, VVS Dravid and Tendulkar - great batsmen, but sadly, their time is almost up.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ lozza74 #28 -

    Are you for real? Come off it!

    Tendulkar on reputation? How about being considered as possible the greatest batsman ever to play the game? Dhoni captained India to World Cup victory! You dont want Yuvraj but you'll keep Pietersen? You compared Anderson and Zaheer, when they are on either side of their peaks and picked Anderson...Zaheer has carried his country for years.

    And seriously, you are a fool if you can even contemplate dropping Very Very Special Laxman - the fact you are doing it vs Bell is insulting the game of cricket.

    Quoted from wiki:

    Brett Lee repeats the words of wisdom of his former captain, Steve Waugh -
    “If you get Dravid, great. If you get Sachin, brilliant. If you get Laxman, it's a miracle.”

  • Comment number 38.

    It's tough really. The '05 team had that typical british spirit, that self belief. The '11 team now have that total efficiency and almost invincibility that scares the opposition - much like the Aussies of 10-20 years ago. With that in mind I will try and give it a go

    1. Tres - Possibly the best England opener we have had for years.
    2. Vaughan - Yes, opening, but without the captains armband. Micheal was a great captain, but like so many previous England captains, his performance dipped with the added weight of captain. But without it, a sublime batsman
    3. Strauss (c) - yes dropped to 3, but with the depth a combined team has, still a great position to scare the opposition. Still he is captain, and his combination with Flowers is the major reason why England are so stong at the moment.
    4. KP - the modern talisman of England, has the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck and win it.
    5. Bell - Our best No5 for years! started slowly but now can stay out there and get serious runs when it is needed.
    6. Prior - Tough one really as Collingwood was just as good, but Prior is an excellent Keeper too.
    7. Freddie - The '05 version. Some argue that he was not the best all-rounder, however very effective with bat and ball. Plus the fact that the mere presence of him in the team was enough to scare the opposition, is enough to have him in the team. The perfect talisman to change the course of a test match.
    8. Broad - Great bowler and hand with the bat too
    9. Swann - Like Broad one of our best bowlers.
    10. Harmison - I am going to stick my neck out here, but reliable with the ball and effective.
    11. Anderson - Fringe player in '05, but mighty in '11 Very handy with the bat too.
    Coach - Flowers

    Although this is fun, it just proves that England have built on the 05 ashes, and now we have an immense depth of talent, something we have not had in a long time.

  • Comment number 39.

    @37 Are you seriously telling me you want Dhoni in for Prior? Are YOU for real? No runs, iron gloves, poor captaincy.

    Point taken re Sachin. Are you saying you want Yuvraj in ahead of KP? You must be joking. Bell has got 159 at TB...what has Laxman done apart from look like he's about to cry every time he gets out? Your whole argument is founded on past glories nnot the present. In the present, India have been HAMMERED.

  • Comment number 40.

    #37, at least Pietersen can play a short ball! Poor yuvraj tried to walk off he was so scared until Sachin told him to use a review

  • Comment number 41.

    Every single poster has included Bell except the author and Tuffers.
    Can't believe he has been omitted as he is averaging over a 100 since the boxing day test against S.Africa over two years ago. Pure class.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry, but how the hell can Bell not be in the side? He's averaging 113.5 in 2011, 89.5 over the past 12 months, 84.58 since the start of the Durban test & 73.48 since the start of the 2009 Ashes decider.

  • Comment number 43.

    After watching cricket for many years I think the difference between 2011 vintage and 2005 is not so much the players as the team. As a unit the bowling attack doesnt contain necessarily individually better players but seem to always bowl with disciplin and accuracy and dont give anything away (on any wicket)...allied with andersons ability to swing it on a string, broads aggression with accuracy, tremlett is twice the bowler of harmison (you never knew where the ball was going to go with him) and swann (at last a decent english spinner!!) and i think this side would give any team of any generation a run for their money. I couldnt help thinking of the australian team of old when we won the game in nottingham...i dont think the vaughan team would have got out of that seems a distant memory now but there was a time when we played australia and there were times whe you thought we are going to win a test here...and then from nowhere they would do something amazing and they would turn it around, this england team more so than any i can remember finds a way to win matches like all the great teams do...the proof will be the longevity and the south africans might fancy their chances later in the summer.

  • Comment number 44.

    Strauss (2011, capt.), Trescothick, Vaughan, Pieterson (2005), Bell (2011), Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Swann, S Jones, Anderson (2011).

    My only dilemma was Vaughan vs. Trott. Vaughan just about edged it, and would win out by more if I could have the 2002 version of him as a batsman rather than the 2005 one!

  • Comment number 45.

    #42. Foz you have a point there. This England team, play as a team. Also, as you say, they don't give much away. It's almost forgotton that in the 2nd India innings, for nearly 48 overs, the extras given away by the England Bowlers, was one single run. That is almost unheard of, especially after 47 overs.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sorry I meant #43.....whoops!

  • Comment number 47.

    though i would probably find a place for tresco....

  • Comment number 48.

    @ Andy Plowright Agree you make very valid points. The standard of international test cricket is not as good now as it was in 05.

    The bowling line up of the Aussies in 2005 was better than the current Indian side. Admit Dizzy was on the slide for the Aussies in 05. McGrath,Warne, Lee is pretty tasty. If McGrath hadn't twisted his ankle the outcome of series may have been different. Even Kasper had tons of experience in English conditions and Aussie grit. I would also say the Aussies are more intense to play against than the softer attitude of the Indian team of 2011.

    Would Punter have recalled Bell? Not a chance, he would have been "sherminating" all the way back to the dressing room.

    I dont think you can use stats alone to make this judgement. There is the un written x factor a player either possesses or doesn't, example: Most people seem to have plumped for Bangers instead of Cook despite Cook's superior stats. Why? Because Tresco has increased bite and competitive spirit and pumping Brett Lee and Warney around the ground at 4 runs per over I would bet is harder than Kumar and co or filling your boots against a freezing cold and injured Dilhara Fernando and depleted Sri Lankan team.

    Strauss is unlucky - I think Vaughan inspired his troops and has to play. Trott has to play too, he is a machine. Tresco, Keynsham legend is in. One of the tragedies is Simon Jones inability to stay fit and play more games for England - he was lethal!


    2) Vaughan (c)
    3) Trott
    4) KP 05.
    5) Bell 11
    6) Prior
    7) Freddie
    8) Swann
    9) Simon Jones
    10) Anderson 11
    11) Harmy 05 (just gets in beacuse of the slower ball that bowled clarke and swung the match)

  • Comment number 49.

    Two major differences for me: - 05 team was never going to get better even without the injuries and the batting still had a suspect areas (Bell, Vaughan (not at his best). Team '11 are such a mentally strong unit both in batting and bowling, somebody fails there is someone else to pick up the leftovers! They are the real deal and will go on and get even better!
    My team 4 x 2005; 7 x 2011
    Got to be
    1. Tres' England have never really replaced him. Nearly always relied upon to get England off to a flier.
    2. Cook - class act, nuff said
    3. Trott (loves those runs!!)
    4. KP (05 with '11 haircut!)
    5. Bell ('11, best player to watch)
    6. Prior (no-one better than him in the world at the moment)
    7. Flintoff (nobody did it better)
    8. Broad
    9. Swann (best twirler
    10. Jones (fitness isues aside)
    11. Anderson

  • Comment number 50.

    At 19:30 2nd Aug 2011, the_wake_up_bomb wrote:
    I don't see how you can consider Simon Jones considering he's barely played any his entire life! Without doubt he had potential, but Harmison got to world number 1, whereas Jones only managed to play 18 tests.

    10) Jones '05 - No question about it Jones is the best pace bowler we've had in years it's a real shame he broke down.

    The debate is 2005 against 2011 - not what a player did or did not do outside this time.

    Jones took 18 wickets at 21 average in 3.5 tests - what other bowlers have since then got even close to this and how many wickets would have Jones taken if he'd played 5 tests?. That is true world class bowling. You ask the Aussies. The bowler they truly feared was Simon Jones - not Flintoff because Jones was unplayable.
    And this was the Aussies of Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Damiyn Martyn, Adam Gilchrist - not the peas shooters of today.

    Yeah Anderson and Broad are very good bowlers but not world class and that was Jones in 2005.

  • Comment number 51.

    Like danielsim (17) I'd go with a controversial all-seam attack. Just comparing the stats for the home Ashes team of 2005 with last winter's Ashes team, my XI would be:

    Strauss (11, c), Cook, Trott, Pietersen (11), Bell (11), Flintoff, Prior, Bresnan, Tremlett, Jones, Anderson.

    The innings of 166 aside, Vaughan had a relatively modest series with the bat in 2005, while Strauss just shaded Trescothick for Cook's partner.

    The stars of 2010-11 achieved some pretty stellar averages, but may have scored fewer runs than their counterparts from 2005 because in three matches the recent vintage were only required to bat once.

    Prashant: India have come back before (the celebrated home series against the Aussies in 2000-01 being a prime example), and a similar effort will be required this month. Few will believe that they can do it.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is good to see everyone rating Trescothick so highly. But how can anyone leave out Trott, currently rated the second best batsman of all time (only Bradman averages higher). Bell for his phenomenal record since 2009. Cook is a must (despite a poor start to this series, his performances in Australia and vs Sri Lanka were awesome. KP is averaging nearly 100 this series and averaged over 50 as a rookie in 2005. Prior is a no brainer (best wicketkeeper/batsman since Les Ames, probably better). Flintoff and Broad have to play (hard luck Brezza). Swann is best English off spinner since Laker. So, perm any two quicks from the very acceptable also rans of Harmison, Hoggard, Simon Jones, Anderson, Tremlett. I'm going for Harmy (really quick) and 'Oggy (who really could swing it round corners).

  • Comment number 53.

    Just to say that my opening pair would be Trescothick (05)-fabulous- and Trescothick (11)-leads the PCA rankings-!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    1 Strauss A Capt.
    2 Cook A.
    3 Vaughan M.
    4 Pieterson K.
    5.Bell I
    6 Prior M
    7 Flintoff A.
    8 Broad S.
    9 Swann G.
    10 Hoggard M.
    11 Anderson J.

  • Comment number 55.


    "The rules are straightforward: you are picking your players on their form at that time, not across their entire international careers. Your team will be playing at home. And, if the player starred in both 2005 and 2011, you must specify which version you'd prefer."


    "Cook has also struggled in the current series, averaging just five, while in Strauss you have a skipper who has just masterminded a thrashing of Australia on their own patch.

    All of that is true. But then there is 766. There is 5,000 Test runs at a younger age than anyone except Sachin Tendulkar. There is the near-certainty of finishing a career with more Test centuries - and runs - than any other Englishman in history."

    Try sticking to your own rules Tom. On form at the time, it's Strauss. I'd also have Harmison, purely for that first morning at Lord's when he set the tone for the entire series and rocked the Aussies back on their heels. They never recovered and I don't think anyone else, from either year, would have been capable of that, except Freddie

  • Comment number 56.



  • Comment number 57.

    Okay, let's have a look at the Indian team. First, it is fair to point they have had a lot of unlucky injuries (Gambhir, Zaheer and Sehwag), but the fact is I think England have the strength in depth (Bresnan, Finn, Bell coming in at 3) when they have the same problems whereas India haven't shown that. So that can't really be used as an excuse.

    So, lets see.

    Sehwag - brilliant batsman. Will be interesting to see how he does at Edgbaston. Only 32, so still got 5 years or so left in him.

    Mukund - average at best so far. Very suspect to short ball. Will lose his place if both Gambhir and Sehwag fit.

    Gambhir - can be a classy batsman, but no runs of note before he got injured. As good as an in form Cook? Not for me.

    Dravid - Superb series, despite last innings low score where he was undone by a good ball. 38 though, not got much longer left.

    Tendulkar - words aren't worthy to describe his batting - looked close to his best at Trent Bridge though. 37, so probably last tour in England.

    VVS - Excellent player, has looked in good touch before getting out after some starts. 36, also probably last England tour.

    Raina/Yuvraj - great drivers, rubbish against short ball, more suited to one-day format, bowl off-spin pies. Are they twins?

    Dhoni - Keeping - shocking. Batting - woeful. Captaincy -terrible.

    Harbajhan - Not convinced he is trying this series, poor with the ball, slogs with the bat. Is - or at least was - a top class bowler though.

    Kumar - Trier, workhorse, passionate, brilliant when it's swinging, decidedly average when it's not.

    Sreesanth - Hasn't really shown anything special in the one match he played.

    Sharma - Great spell at Lords 2nd innings, not much else to report.


    Batting - On paper, the best batting side in the world. This series, they've been carried by Dravid, VVS and Sachin who won't be around much longer. Have some good young batsman, but nothing to match those 3.

    Bowling - Without Zaheer, hasn't looked very consistent, tending to rely on one bowler to do something rather than working as a unit.

    Fielding - Abysmal. Village standard.

    No. 1 side in the world? Maybe, with players in form. But not in this series. And the future? Without the big three, it doesn't look much better.

  • Comment number 58.

    It was a team effort but the players ho really made England tick in 2005 were Trescothick, Vaughan, Pieterson, Flintoff and Simon Jones with strong support from Hoggard.

    MY Team therefore reads:

    1) Trescothick
    2) Strauss (c)
    3) Trott
    4) Pieterson (05)
    5) Bell (11)
    6) Prior
    7) Flintoff
    8) Swann
    9) Broad
    10) Jones
    11) Hoggard

  • Comment number 59.

    Firstly comparing Ian Bell and VVS Laxman - Laxman isn't as dominant as you may think "derby_k"

    Bell - 65 tests - 15 hundreds - 28 fifties - 47 average - 4,523 runs
    Laxman -124 tests - 16 hundreds - 54 fifties - 47 average - 8212 runs

    By the time bell gets to 124 tests you would think that he will have scored more runs, 100's and 50's and probably gain a higher average than Laxman so it isn't an insult to compare them...

    1. Trescothic
    2. Vaughan
    3. Trott
    4. KP
    5. Bell
    6. Prior
    7. Flintoff
    8. Broad
    9. Swann
    10. Jones
    11. Anderson

  • Comment number 60.

    Ah Gary Pratt - always brings a warm fuzzy feeling; the champagne moment of champagne moments. Or maybe it's just the sight of Ponting's face.

  • Comment number 61.

    appreciating that it is impossible to compare teams due to different opposition and considering the players solely on their form in the relevant series:
    Tres, Strauss (11), Trott, Pietersen (11), Bell (11), Prior (11), Flintoff, Harmy, Jones, Anderson (11)

    i think the england team at the moment are at the same stage as the 05 team, they still need to prove themselves on the subcontinent (and we don't have a 2nd quality spinner which i think we would need to accomplish that) and they need to beat the best team in the world in their own back yard - South africa

  • Comment number 62.

    Don't understand the continued fascination with Flintoff as an all rounder. His bowling average was 33, and batting 32. Occasional brilliant performances went with many poor days. Stuart Broad has also been over-rated - until these last 2 games! Most people would not have selected him based on form. Tim Bresnan has the best all-rounder averages. Are the selectors brilliant or lucky? Tremlett and Jones seem to have the bowling consistency based on figures. Only one of Strauss and Vaughan is needed as captain. Cook can not be considered because of poor results this year, whatever the potential. Bell can not be ignored at present.

    So, Trescothick, Strauss, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Jones, Tremlett. I need one more. Flintoff for the flashes of brilliance? Broad for his very recent form? Harmison (speed) or Anderson (swing) depending on conditions? Another batsman? Depending where and who we are playing, I'd go for Harmison or Broad.

  • Comment number 63.

    @62 - did you not see what flintoff did in 2005?

  • Comment number 64.

    "Jones '05 - No question about it Jones is the best pace bowler we've had in years it's a real shame he broke down"

    I wouldn't say "broke down", it was more of a novelty when he played four matches in a row.

    "The debate is 2005 against 2011 - not what a player did or did not do outside this time".

    Well, if this is the case Jones would be in the XI. I don't see how you can make a reasonable comparison between the two, though, because the 2005 Australian side was incredibly strong, albeit they had bowling problems on that tour, whereas the 2011 Australian side was pretty weak. Contrast Bell's performances in 2005 and 2011. Contrast Cook's in 2006 and 2011. This could have applied to any of the other players from 2011 as well, it is impossible to say how Trott would have fared against the highest class of bowling.

    "Jones took 18 wickets at 21 average in 3.5 tests - what other bowlers have since then got even close to this and how many wickets would have Jones taken if he'd played 5 tests?"

    Well, he never did, that's the point, in fact he's barely played first-class cricket since then. Based on that series alone, his performances were world-class, but no-one has any idea how his career would have panned out, because he was never fit. Perhaps that is unlucky, but durability is one of the qualities that bowlers are judged by.

    "Yeah Anderson and Broad are very good bowlers but not world class and that was Jones in 2005".

    I didn't include Broad in my team. Anderson is currently world number 2, and since coming into the side in New Zealand, has 169 wickets at 27.51, and 108 wickets in England at 24.48:;spanmin1=10+Mar+2008;spanval1=span;template=results;type=allround

    I think that qualifies him as being world-class, and I think it's the best sustained period of English fast bowling since Botham.

  • Comment number 65.

    Strauss was the leading run scorer on either side in 2005 - how anyone could have the current version, struggling for runs, ahead of our best (and under-rated) batsman from 2005 is frankly incredible

    Swann and Flintoff aside, the bowlers are very hard to select, but Hoggard has had a very tough ride so far considering he was a brilliant new ball bowler back in 2005

  • Comment number 66.

    @Christiank (48)

    "The bowling line up of the Aussies in 2005 was better than the current Indian side."


    "Most people seem to have plumped for Bangers instead of Cook despite Cook's superior stats. Why? Because Tresco has increased bite and competitive spirit and pumping Brett Lee and Warney around the ground at 4 runs per over I would bet is harder than Kumar and co or filling your boots against a freezing cold and injured Dilhara Fernando and depleted Sri Lankan team."

    Absolutely again! I'd love to have seen a fit Trescothick batting against that hideous Aussie attack in the winter and this is why we have to look at the opponents Vaughan's England faced versus the opponents Strauss leads his charges against. The simple truth is that Test cricket right now is exciting but not of the quality it was six years ago thanks to a combination of retirements, overwork, injuries and the impact of T20 cricket. Certainly the T20 aspect can be seen in how some of the Indians play the short ball. It was noted two T20 World Cups ago that they played it badly and thus that pattern has been continued.

    As for my team from the two England eras...

    Strauss (because he scored runs against better attacks than Cook and Cook, for all his runs, still has something to prove for me against the very best)
    Vaughan (captain)
    Flintoff (Broad might take over one day. Not yet though)
    Jones or Anderson (either one is a straight replacement for the other)
    Hoggard (people putting Bresnan ahead of him is absurd)
    Harmison (ahead of Tremlett who hasn't had sustained success for me to be able to pip Harmison. 10 Tests is not enough!)

  • Comment number 67.

    I like Anderson and I'm glad to see him fulfill the early potential he showed but until the last Ashes series he had struggled woefully against the Aussies. He has been lucky with injury whereas Jones wasn't. Nobody asks for injury and injury that constantly reoccurs. I'm taking it on the performances of the 2005 team against 2011 team. Don't forget didn't Jones play in the series before the Ashes series - wasn't it India and played very well in that series as well.

  • Comment number 68.

    Well done England. The current test side is easily comparable with 2005 side. Good fast bowlers and spinner. Excellent wicket keeper batsman. Very good middle and late batting order.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ladies and Gents - look at the opposition

    Aussies 2005 1st test

    JL Langer
    ML Hayden
    RT Ponting*
    DR Martyn
    MJ Clarke
    SM Katich
    AC Gilchrist†
    SK Warne
    B Lee
    JN Gillespie
    GD McGrath

    versus India team 1st test 2011

    A Mukund
    G Gambhir
    R Dravid
    SR Tendulkar
    VVS Laxman
    SK Raina
    MS Dhoni*†
    Harbhajan Singh
    P Kumar
    Z Khan

    That Australian 2005 team would smash the Indian 2011 team in English conditions. Therefore you have to give more credit to the 05 England team. I actually think the 2011 England team could go on to dominate world test cricket much like the Steve Waugh/Punter aussie teams in their pomp if they can stick together and stay injury free. South Africa are a decent team too - Steyn, Morkel Kallis all quality. Imagine if KP & Trott, had stayed in SA. What a team they would have!

    If only Tresco and Simon Jones had played more games for England....

  • Comment number 70.

    @ AndyPlowright #66

    Need some leg spinners in the team and a big Yorkshire skipper who opens the bowling!!

  • Comment number 71.

    The thing with this england side is that they do the little things very well, in addition to being a very talented team. Things such as fielding and runs down the order are often overlooked for selection but are incredibly useful. The fact that we batted down to number 10 saved us in this last game. Also our bowling attack is excellent and for this we must praise the selectors, firstly for bringing in Anderson and Broad in New Zealand and then for sticking with them.

    On another note Rahul Dravid is a great player and a great ambassador for the game and if people like him can have an influence on the ICC then its only for the better

  • Comment number 72.

    Whilst I believe it's crassly premature to be doing this at all (England haven't even won the India series yet), I'm still going to spew my rash opinions into the forum like everyone else.

    1. Trescothick
    2. Strauss (2005)
    (The success of the 2005 team was built on these two getting the innings off to a flyer.)
    3. Bell (2nd inns, 2nd Test, 2011)
    4. Vaughan (c)
    (Innovative field-positioning and attacking captaincy. Not for his batting.)
    5. Pietersen (2005)
    6. Andrew Flintoff.
    7. Prior (wk)
    8. BROAD!
    (If you had to choose one player in the current England side who's made the biggest individual contribution to the two wins so far, it would be Broad - without question. I don't see how it's possible not to pick him in this little exercise.)
    9. Swann
    10. Simon Jones
    11. Jimmy A.

    There you go: 4 top quickies, a great spinner, and batting down to number 9. Looks great until you see Tom's suggested opposition - how on Earth would anyone get 20 wickets against that?

  • Comment number 73.


    Big Yorkshire skipper... no I'm not bringing Illingworth into the side!

  • Comment number 74.

    My team, with justifications:

    1. Andrew Strauss
    In my opinion, a better combined batsman and captain than Michael Vaughan. Some of the statistics back me up. Vaughan's batting average when he was not captain was an impressive 50.98, but fell to only 36.02 when he was captain. Strauss, on the other hand, is a lot more consistent, averaging 41.04 when not captain and actually a little more, 42.69, when captain. Vaughan was at his peak in 2002, not 2005, and he only managed to win the Ashes at home, while Strauss has managed it both in England and Australia.

    2. Marcus Trescothick
    Averaged a decent 43.79 but always seemed more impressive than that. So powerful, able to hit it all around the ground and really punish a bowler.

    3. Alastair Cook
    Opens for England these days but batted at number 3 in twelve innings in 2006, at the start of his Test career, and averaged 52.54 against some tough opposition, including a Sri Lanka team featuring Muralitharan, Malinga and Vaas. He's such a mature player that I'm sure he would be able to go back to number 3 without too much difficulty.

    4. Jonathan Trott
    Averages 57.79, higher than Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis, both of whom I would quite happily put in an all-time World XI. He has played for a much shorter period, admittedly, but I wouldn't bet against him averaging over 50 by the time his Test career ends. Rock solid wherever he plays, with a handy 102.66 average at number 4.

    5. Kevin Pietersen
    Pietersen has had starring roles in both the 2005 and 2011 teams, so he's a definite inclusion. After Cook and Trott, it would be good to have a player who can accelerate the scoring rate, and KP can certainly do that. More recently he's also shown he's capable of digging in and scoring the difficult runs when required.

    6. Paul Collingwood
    These days, four bowlers seems to be the way to go, as England have shown during their rise to the top, even though plenty of people long for a return to five bowlers. With that in mind, I'm picking Paul Collingwood for his ability to get England out of a tight spot seemingly whenever needed, for his peerless fielding, and also for his ability to bowl decent medium pace when the ball is old, which is needed with only four bowlers in the team. He only had a small role in 2005 - I notice no-one else has picked him in their list - but I'm still picking him over Bell, who seems to have finally brought some conviction into his game but needs to keep it up for a little longer to convince me.

    7. Matt Prior
    Geraint Jones never really did it for me: not a great wicketkeeper and an average that pales in comparison to Prior's - 23.91 vs 45.10. Prior just seems to be the business with the bat and the gloves.

    8. Andrew Flintoff
    I had to think about this for a while, because Stuart Broad has shown, in glimpses, that he can be every bit as brilliant as Andrew Flintoff, if not better in some areas - he already has four Test five-fors, while Freddie only managed three in twice as many Tests. However, he can still be inconsistent, so I'm picking Freddie for having excelled with bat and ball over a long career, and not insignificantly for being a talisman in the England team.

    9. Graeme Swann
    Swann averages a wicket every 28.81 runs, Ashley Giles averaged one every 40.60 runs. That's a huge difference. Swann has a slightly superior average with the bat too. But this isn't just based on statistics; Giles never seemed to really scare batsmen, while Swann has been peerless as the world's best spin bowler since 2009, in my opinion.

    10. James Anderson
    He and Hoggard are probably the most consistent bowlers of the nine available to choose from, and although Hoggy was one of my favourite England players for a long time, I've gone for Jimmy just because he is a bit faster and more threatening with the ball. With only four bowlers, Hoggard would seem a little workhorse-like at times, particularly when the ball won't swing. But I feel bad for him - he should absolutely, definitely have been recalled to the Test side in 2008 when he was in the squad for his home Test in Headingley but was overlooked in favour of Darren Pattinson. Remember him?

    11. Simon Jones
    Steve Harmison was a brilliant bowler at times, but he suffers in comparison to Simon Jones by having had a much longer Test career. Too long, in my opinion. It was like the England selectors couldn't resist him, even when he continued to disappoint - after being dropped in New Zealand in 2008, he was recalled for single Tests against South Africa and India, and two Tests apiece against West Indies and Australia. Throughout those brief returns, he was too inconsistent to hold down his place. Simon Jones, on the other hand, could also be incredibly destructive with the ball, as we all remember from the 2005 Ashes which were cut short for him due to injury. He also grabbed fifteen wickets in four matches against South Africa in 2004/05, proving it wasn't just a flash in the pan. But it's not an entirely fair comparison, I admit.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ AndyPlowright

    I was thinking a right arm over medium pacer off a short run !! a "carroll" singer.

  • Comment number 76.

    Seems that Mr Fordache has failed to follow his own rules by selecting Alastair Cook over his career totals rather than his current form, to which under current form Strauss is far better than Cook, so therefore you won't need to include Michael Vaughan to have a captain. So therefore you could have Bell in at number 3 and Trott at number 4, apart from Flintoff the rest seem about right, I actually think it should be a toss-up of Flintoff v Stuart Broad, Flintoff was always inconsistant and yes he used to be the man the captain went to for a wicket when struggling, if as you say that Stuart Broad form has changed now he has changed his bowling stlye to be more effective and he can keep that up over the next 2 tests then I would put Broad ahead of Flintoff.

  • Comment number 77.

    Obviously meant Fordyce, fat finger syndrome. :)

  • Comment number 78.

    There's a distinct whiff of hypocrisy emerging from some teams here - why should Trott be an automatic selection? Of all England's current team, he's faced easily the lowest standard of bowling apart from Morgan.

  • Comment number 79.

    trescothic. cook. trott. pietersen (05). bell (11). Prior. Flintoff. Bresnan. Broad. Swan. Anderson
    Prior good enough to bat at six and should be considered for next test

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm going as follows - it's 6-5 to the 2011 team. I'd still back the 2005 team to win, though, and so (deep inside) would all the journalists who are describing the 2011 team as the "most well-drilled" or the "fittest" or the "best-organised" rather than simply the best. The raw pace and reverse swing would do for the 2011 batsmen, however good they look at the moment. It'd be a great series, though...

    1. Trescothick - not sure many would argue with that.

    2. Cook - scores v Australia and Sri Lanka of 67, 235*, 148, 32, 13, 82, 189, 133, 96, 106, 55 at an average of 115.6. That's enough for me - Strauss scored two great hundreds against McGrath and Warne in 2005 but only averaged 39 in the series.

    3. Vaughan (c) - fabulous captain, and a great 166 at Old Trafford (though he was bowled by a no-ball on 45 - "oooh, bad luck you Aussies!"). Would be nice to have the 2002-03 version though!

    4. Pietersen [2005] - the 202* was a magnificent innings but the swagger of 2005, slog-sweeping the best spin-bowler of all time into the stands, comes out just about on top.

    5. Bell [2011] - Difficult to leave out Trott, but I want Vaughan there as captain and Bell averages 90 in his last ten tests to Trott's 63. These days he's a class act.

    6. Prior (wk) - better than Geraint Jones so an easy pick.

    7. Flintoff - another easy one.

    8. Broad - I like the new "bat until ten" idea, it seems to be suiting us pretty well. Looks like a world-class all-rounder at the moment, though Sri Lanka wasn't that long ago.

    9. Swann - easy pick, despite Ashley Giles's Oval half-century and that ball to Damien Martyn.

    10. Simon Jones - full of unbridled pace and a whippy action that generated swing later than any England bowler I've ever seen. Made the difference in 2005.

    11. James Anderson [2011] - the best all-round bowler England have had since I started watching in the mid-nineties.

  • Comment number 81.

    its been really hard trying to compare these teams. 2005 was the culmination of a run which saw England defeat most of the other world players peaking at the 2005 ashes beating perhaps the greatest team of all time which was that Australian team with Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Ponting etc.
    Legendary bowling icons like Warne and Murali are retired and it appears that bowling attacks worldwide are not as strong as they once were. Australia are in transition and on current form, it looks like India are heading the same way.
    However, this does not and should not detract from the achievements of this current England side. The sheer manner of their victories has shown what a class act England have become and are in the mould of the great australian side from the 90s onwards.
    The key areas where the 2011 team are so strong is that the bowlers all seem capable of producing with the bat as well as the fact that England have never had as good a spinner as Swann, and lastly because Prior is a superior wk/batsmen to G Jones.

    My XI

    Strauss (2011)
    Pietersen (2005)
    Bell (2011)

  • Comment number 82.

    Sticking purely to the premise of the thread, and picking players only on their form/contributions in the relevant series:

    1) M E Trescothick. 2005 was the one really good series Banger had against the Aussies. To my mind we've never really replaced him either limited overs or test cricket. When Cook was going through his bad run and the talk was of Troott or Bell opening he batting in the Ashes, how many of us yearned for Banger to come out of international retirement. Exactly...
    2) A J Strauss- 2005 vintage. Present-day Strauss and Cook have both been poor in the INdia series, so this was a no-brainer. 2005 Strauss scored two centuries against the Aussies- both with McGrath in the attack, both the way!
    3) I J L Trott- Bell was shocking in 2005, so TRott gets this one no problem.
    4) M P Vaughan (c)- Picked to captain, certainly more inventive and attacking in the field than Strauss.
    5) K Pietersen- 2011 vintage. Surely the double hundred against india showed more cultured test match bating than any other innings KP has played?
    6) M J Prior (wk)- no arguements here, I see. Ever single person has chosen Prior as their keeper and I am no different.
    7) A Flintoff- Freddie's peak was actually remarkably short- just the 2005 Ashes, if we're being honest, with a brief cameo as a specailist bowler in 2009. But as it's 2005 Freddie that's avaialible for selection, he gets in.
    8) S C J Broad- Based in this series you have to pick him over Hoggard or Harmison. As has been mentioned, Harmison had a bad series post-Lords in 2005 and IMO Hoggy didn't really come to the party save for the Oval test. Broad had contributed with both bat and ball the series so gets the nod
    9) G P Swann- no brainer, surely?
    10) J M Anderson- chosen over Harmison/Hoggard for the same reason as Broad. Shouldn't need to justify his selection over Tremlett/Bresnan.
    11) S M Jones- Possiblt the only time inhis career where he was fit enough to play four consecutive Test/FC games- but what a four-game run it was!

  • Comment number 83.

    i have no interest in combining the 2 sides to make the best side. But who would win 2005 vs 2011? answer is 2005.

  • Comment number 84.

    Based purely on performances against Oz in '05 and so far against India in '11

    1) Tresco: Better in '05 than either opener this series so far
    2) Strauss ('05): Better in '05 than either opener this series so far
    3) Vaughan (c): Slightly better in '05 than Trott has been so far + side needs a captain
    4) KP: Either version
    5) Bell: '11 version, naturally
    6) Prior (wk): No contest
    7) Flintoff: Had to be included
    8) Broad: The new Flintoff? :-)
    9) Bresnan: Only played one test this series, but what a performance!!
    10) Swann: JUST
    11) Jones: Shades Anderson

  • Comment number 85.

    Statistically this is probably the best batting line up in 50 years. They have five players with a batting average over 45. Since the sixties only one player, Boycott, has retired with with an average over 45.

    The bowlers are also pretty good, most have an average below 30, which is world class. You have to go back to the days of Bob Willis and Derek Underwood to find bowlers as efficient as the current crop.

  • Comment number 86.

    Strauss (05), Cook, Vaughan (c), Trott, KP (05), Bell (11), Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Anderson, Jones

    Having read the other comments... I was laughing at the people leaving Swann out but then I remembered that Sir Michael (as I like to call him) has bowled Tendulkar and KP takes the odd wicket! :-) I'm going with a five match series and Swann is in the squad to come in later in the series if things aren't going to plan for either Cook (with Sir Michael moving up the order) or Broad.... strength in depth!

  • Comment number 87.

    I find it silly that people call England as better than India on just two-match performance held in swinging conditions. Invite this England to subcontinent and let them face Pak, Ind or SL and I'm pretty sure the results will be similar to what you have seen in the last two Tests but only with England on the losing side.
    I think some people are getting too carried away by the recent performance of England. They are definitely amongst the top nations of Test cricket (SA and Ind are the other two). India drew with SA last year which had very good seam attack. Now they are jaded, one-third of the playing XI with injuries (Sehwag, Zaheer and Gambhir) and their main strength of spin bowling completely negated with the seam attack (in which England overscores) boosted by helpful pitches.
    Considering averages, the trio of Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar will walk into any team any time (2 Test performance is not the count, but their career is what matters). They have a very healthy average both in home and away. Do English players have the same? NO! Their averages in subcontinent (Ind, Pak, SL) are poor. For example, here are the exact statistics:
    Bell (career: 47.58, subcontinent: 35.90), Strauss(41.60, 41.00), Pietersen (49.37, 34.60), Cook (47.75, 44.76). Trott did not play in subcontient yet and hence explains his high average!
    Indian batsmen's averages in away conditions (Aus, Eng, SA) are similar to those at home (except Sehwag).
    Dravid (52.84, 49.10), Laxman (46.98, 46.27), Tendulkar (56.52, 53.98), Sehwag (53.43, 41.48).
    You see that all Indian batsmen have good averages in alien conditions than those of the English players.
    What the recent performance states is that India is jaded and weary after 10 months of continuous cricket where as England is on the rise as it is fresh. Also injuries to key Indian players affected their performance. And negation of spin with boosting of seam helped England over India. But England deserve their #1 ranking just as India did earlier.

  • Comment number 88.

    Get the bowling line up sorted first. If we can assume every selection on top 2005 or 2011 form you can build around a "tailless" team of all rounders with Broad, Bresnan, and Flintoff as the new ball strike force and with seam support from Collingwood you could have the luxury of two spinners, Swann and Giles, - who also bat a bit! With Prior's current gloves and batting form you would only need four specialist batters. Can we cheat a bit and have Cooke on his Australia form rather than his current form? I suppose we have to have a Captain so Strauss gets in to open with Trescothick. It is impossible to leave out KP.
    In Summary, Strauss, Trescothick, Cooke, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Bresnan, Swann, Giles.

  • Comment number 89.

    Puzzled by some of the certainty expressed by contributors. Why praise bowlers for averages under 30 when the facts show they are over? Anderson is not a great bowler. Yet. Like many others, he can have amazing spells but also be predictable and unsuccessful. Jones had good figures but was not strong enough to keep going. I always felt that Flintoff (and more recently Broad) was over rated - too many people looking for the next Botham! But in terms of this article, comparing 2005 with 2011, then I accept he can not be left out. I'd still put him as a bowler who can bat though, and therefore No 7 with Prior No 6.

  • Comment number 90.

    That composite opposition XI looks terrifying! I'd run screaming from the stadium if I had to play against that lot, especially if they'd been in better form! How on Earth did we beat teams with those players in?

  • Comment number 91.

    Okay felt I needed to comment on somethings.

    1) Pat in ref to Tom's previous blog I agree Khan is possibly better than Tremlett but the lack of replacement is a huge worrying thing. However to compare anyone currently playing to Steyn is ludicrous he's in a league of his own in current crop of seamers.

    2) Flintoff wickets taking abilities may be exaggerated but how often were wickets taken at the other end during one of his spells? Bowlers tend to bowl in pairs and it require pressure at both end I wish these stats were better recorded.

    3) The general subcontinent argument in the past two years (The Strauss/Flower era) England have only played Bangladesh in a test series there and it remains their last 'test' as the baraometer to how good this side is. They've not lost a series to any challengers in that period (including South Africa(Away), Australia (home and away) and India(home although they've not won yet)). Now I'll admit they could come a cropper to the subcontinent pitches but to be a great side you must be good on all surfaces. On that front by this series alone India are being found wanting. England haven't lost to anyone recently so they take the number 1 ranking of them (assuming they win one more game or draw the next two).

    The sad thing is this India side isn't great it's either not good enough or frankly past it. They were great no doubt about it but sadly they existed in a era of one of the great sides of all time and probably didn't get the recognition they deserved then.

  • Comment number 92.

    For me it's gotta be:

    1. Trescothick (2005) (c)
    2. Cook (2011)
    3. Trott (2011)
    4. Bell (2011)
    5. Pietersen (2005)
    6. Collingwood (2005)
    7. Prior (2011) (w)
    8. Flintoff (2005)
    9. Swann (2011)
    10. Broad (2011)
    11. Anderson (2011)

  • Comment number 93.

    I think Strauss is a good captain and Vaughan only had one good innings out of 10 in '05, so he doesn't make the cut. Cook has been rubbish this series so despite being amazing over the winter in Australia he doesn't make it either. That left me struggling between Trott and Morgan for my final batting slot - both have only produced one good innings so far, but because I don't want to move everyone up one to slot in Morgan at 5 or 6 I've gone for Trott. I also expect him to out-perform Morgan in this series.

    But if I'm allowed to pick the same player twice from different series then I'd take out Trott, move Bell '11 and Pietersen '11 up to 3 and 4 and then slot in Pietersen '05 at no 5.

    My team:

    1. Trescothick '05
    2. Strauss '05 (c)
    3. Trott '11
    4. Bell '11
    5. Pietersen '11
    6. Flintoff '05
    7. Prior '11
    8. Bresnan '11
    9. Broad '11
    10. Swann '11
    11. Anderson '11 (just ahead of Jones '05)

  • Comment number 94.

    Although this fantasy England team is a good idea and no doudt a bit of fun, I believe there are some funamental errors in the structure of the question ....

    1. Every team ever selected always starts with the captain. The corner stone of every great team.

    I strongly believe this is a postion in its self like the wicket keeper, opening bowler or opening batsman is the MOST important position in any team. Mike Brearley is good example of this, with Sir Ian Botham comments post 1981 Ashes series turn around, that he was the best captain he had ever player under.
    As Michael Vaugan always says "you need to create a winning mentality!"

    2. Second on every team sheet should be a your keeper (often but not always your vice captain), every winning side has a good wicket keeper and this true with all great England sides throughout history. Matt Prior is becoming a great England keeper (full stop)

    3. The England side of 2005 were hero's each and every one of them, but that was one series ...... there were NOT consistant and this was in my opinion because on another point you failed to mention in your breif ....

    Cricket is not just a team game anymore it is a squad game ..... when Simon Jones was injured (as he often was) in 2005 who came in for him (Paul Collingwood) mainly to try and draw the final game at the oval. Would this current squad do that?

    Therefore, I conclude the current England squad is the stronger and that will be tested again in this current series.

    4. The is another element to both teams which is the key to the balance of any team:
    In 2005 England played 5 front line bowlers
    Currently England play 4, this is a totally different balance of team
    The only reason (in the modern game) Any team can do this is if you have a 'Special One' or world class all rounder in your team. England have had ONLY 2 in 30 odd years. I am not saying that Freddie was the only element that made the 2005 team great, but without him they would not have won, and the crowds would not have come!

    Another question as has been mentioned above is this current Indian team better than the Great Austrailan team of 2005. NO! (look at the records)

    5. Another key factor to a winning philosophy is fittness: Which squad is fitter and has less injury issues the 2005 or the current squad? Harrison, Jones and Freddie are well documented, is this an issue of diet, proffessionalism or just lack of a big enough squad to rest players when necessary?

    6. The X factor of cricket in the modern game seems to be fielding, which is the better fielding side? I remember some great catches in 2005 series but I also remember Pietersen not taking a catch and dropping 5.

    Finally, Pietersen and Strauss were in both teams and there are better plays now than they were then because of there experience. This is a key factory in any winning team Cook does not have the experience of others including Trescothick but he does have a mental toughness that Trescothick never had (for reasons now that are well published) and he is the future of English cricket and with time and experience will become one of the best English openers of all time.

  • Comment number 95.

    Prashant, Do you actually follow Cricket or just all things India through Rose coloured spectacles? Aus '05 v India '11 absolutely no contest Aus 5-0 they would have been smashed to all parts. Indias great players are on the decline. England'11 v Aus '05 would have been very similar to the '05 series and who knows the outcome.

    1. Trescothick
    2. Strauss
    3. Vaughan (c)
    4. KP
    5. Bell
    6. Prior
    7. Flintoff
    8. Swann
    9. Jones
    10. Hoggard
    11. Anderson

    Hoggard because his ability to get lefties. England have not lost in SA for the past 2 series.

  • Comment number 96.

    To be perfectly honest, some of these selections are absurd...
    Michael Vaughan does not deserve to be in any team. Don't get me wrong, he has a superb record as captain (in terms of wins) but his batting average was diabolical, and he was always under pressure. He didn't thrive as a captain, whereas Strauss has done. Secondly, the Simon Jones factor. Potentially a great bowler, a fast swing bowler with pace who has the potential to be a match winner BUT he has the injury problem. Anyone with injury problems just simply cannot be considered to be world class. Look at Owen Hargreaves, an infinitely better footballer then Gareth Barry but couldn't play due to injury, Jonathan Woodgate is another. Bell and Tremlett would be far wiser selections than MV and SJ any day of the week!

  • Comment number 97.

    Didn't Collingwood only play in the last Test in 2005? He only scored a few runs (although they were important ones) so I fail to see why he should merit a place in the combined eleven.

  • Comment number 98.

    Michael who ? Why is he receiving so much attention ?
    The present team's achievements have not been recognised,
    possibly as a result of the hysteria in 2005.
    England stands on the brink of being the TOP TEAM in the World !
    How can you leave Andrew Strauss out ?

  • Comment number 99.

    Vaughan is light years ahead of Strauss as a captain regardless of the make-up of the remaining ten players in the team. More adventurous, imaginative and charismatic a natural leader where as Strauss is a more manufactured version.

    Strauss illustrates this by remaining too cautious on decisions such as declarations (right back to last West Indies away tour) with Monday being a prime and frustrating example. More than enough runs on the board yet numbers 10/11 batting for three overs to achieve nothing whilst running the risk of injury on a slightly unpredictable pitch to two key bowlers, one of whom already nursing a bad hand. Risked the momentum also being lost. As it was, all turned out fine of course but why run the risk for no additional benefit?

    I will praise Strauss and Flower for their planning and preparation though which is streets ahead of that of Fletcher. The prep for last winter with a return to proper 4-day warm up games was spot-on compared to the two-day runarounds favoured by Fletcher in 05/06 and the resulting thrashing. Sounds somewhat familiar to that shown by the Indian team.

    Still the great shame about the 2005 team was that is dismantled so quickly afterwards, mostly with injury e.g. Jones and Vaughan. The 2011 side for me is better overall.

    The true number one team in the world will be decided when England take on S'Africa next summer.

  • Comment number 100.

    Don't bother with man for man analysis, with the best will in the world they cannot be objective. Simply take the fact that the 2005 team carried three/four players who were not of the requisite standard. Jones (G), Bell (at that time), Vaughan (who was already long past his batting best and relying on quirky captaincy for his place) and Colly (bless him, he only had one game and came good later).
    Today there are few who hold equivalent views about the current X1, or the replacements who wait in the wings, and the likelihood that there are glaring examples of players being ignored who are widely thought to be better than those selected is not a view held by any serious commentators.
    In 2005 players excluded included Read, Key and most notably, Thorpe, and many followers of the game were of the view they should have played some part at least. Remember the Cosy Club? I can't see any evidence of one today because the class of 2011 is elitist and it shows - the proof will come in the next few years when they do not subside in the way the Cosy Club of 2005 did, and then there will be no argument that today we are seeing the best team we have had in decades!


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