Ahead of the PCA Awards Dinner, All Out Cricket columnist David Green picks the 11 men he’d have in his 2011 fantasy Championship side.
So, another thrilling end to the season and the result most neutrals would have wanted with Lancashire winning the County Championship outright for the first time since 1934 – even David Lloyd wasn’t around then!
Like a number of others, I’ve been busy picking my County XIs of the season – indeed my selection for Division 1 and Division 2 appeared on the Reverse Sweep earlier this week. Here is our final XI covering both divisions:
Marcus Trescothick (Somerset) – 1,673 runs @ 79.66
Scored nearly 300 runs more than any other batsman despite missing his side’s last three games and has once and for all usurped Mark Ramprakash as the premier batsman in domestic cricket. Agonisingly fell just 22 runs short of achieving the Holy Grail of a 1,000 runs before the end of May.
Stephen Moore (Lancashire) –1,013 runs @ 40.52
Whilst it was tempting to go for Alex Hales (1,023 runs at 51.15 from only 12 matches) or even Surrey’s boy king Rory Hamilton-Brown, Moore’s knack of making vital contributions at absolutely critical times decided matters. An unbeaten 124 anchored a stiff run chase at Trent Bridge, his 169 not out against Hampshire set up a crucial last-gasp win in the penultimate game and the former Worcestershire batsman finished off with 71 from 55 to spur the charge to victory on a tumultuous final day at Taunton.
Michael Carberry (Hampshire) – 793 runs @ 56.64
His successful comeback from a life-threatening debilitating illness was one of the feel-good stories of the summer. Three hundreds in his nine games included a career best 300 not out against Yorkshire and a hundred on the final day of the season to help deny Warwickshire the title. Carberry’s return coincided with Hampshire’s revival but came too late to save them from relegation.
Zander de Bruyn (Surrey) – 1,383 runs @ 55.32; 15 wickets @ 39.26
Somerset’s loss proved a canny acquisition for Surrey with four hundreds and nine fifties enabling him to become the leading runscorer in Division 2. Having taken a risk in dropping a division when moving from Taunton, de Bruyn is now back where he belongs. If that wasn’t enough, he chipped in with some useful wickets too.
Dale Benkenstein (Durham) – 1,353 runs @ 61.50
Durham’s title charge may have spluttered, but Benkenstein was consistency personified with 13 scores of 50 (including four hundreds) or more from 26 innings to once again prove that he is as reliable as an expensive Swiss watch.
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire) – 1,015 runs @ 46.13
Having finally removed the monkey from his back in reaching his maiden ton in his 59th first-class innings (and promptly turning it into a double), the sublime Bairstow didn’t look back. An impressive season culminated in a stunning ODI debut at Cardiff and the flame-haired keeper-batsman should be exonerated from the ire heaped on his team-mates by Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves after their ignominious relegation. Scores his runs quickly too as a Championship strike rate of a touch under 70 demonstrates, and looks to have the talent and nerve to forge an international career as a specialist batsman.
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) – 56 wickets @ 21.78; 579 runs @ 48.25
Injury may have restricted him to 11 matches, but that did not lessen the impact he made with both bat and ball, as well as the huge influence he had on Warwickshire’s title challenge. His performance with the ball was particularly telling and a strike rate of 43.5 is indicative of the regularity with which he struck. Pips Will Gidman, who deserves a mention for being the only player this year in the Championship to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 50 wickets.
Glen Chapple (Lancashire, Captain) – 55 wickets @19.81; 365 runs @19.20
Despite battling leg problems all season, the lion-hearted Chapple battled on to inspire his troops and write his name in Lancashire folklore. Delivered time and time again with the ball – no more so than in the final game at Taunton where he took three second innings wickets despite a bad hamstring tear – and also added useful late-order runs. Clearly, a man you would want in the trenches with you, Chapple epitomised the spirit and togetherness that took Lancashire to the Promised Land after 77 long years in the Championship wilderness. And Yorkshire fans, he was born in Skipton too…
Kyle Hogg (Lancashire) – 50 wickets @ 18.80; 365 runs @ 21.47
Started the season late but immediately made up for lost time with an 11 wicket haul at The Rose Bowl and ended up with a half-century of wickets at a phenomenal strike rate of a wicket every 37 balls – the best by far of anyone with more than 10 wickets. Also contributed several useful cameos with the bat.
David Masters (Essex) – 93 wickets @ 18.13
The highest wicket-taker in the country despite playing in a struggling side and an absolute master of line and length, as well as miserliness. Leicestershire’s batsmen must still be having nightmares about his 8-10 against them in July – one of eight times he took five wickets or more in an innings.
Gary Keedy (Lancashire) – 61 wickets @ 23.60
With Chapple and Hogg plundering wickets at one end, the experienced Keedy waded in at the other with 61 priceless wickets. His success rubbed off on his likely successor Simon Kerrigan. Keedy is the spinner in our XI ahead of Monty Panesar who may have taken more wickets (69), but did so at a higher average and 10 balls more per wicket.