All Out Cricket columnist David Green picks out his County Championship XI of players who failed to cut the mustard this season.
In my column last week I selected my County Championship XI of the summer, so this week – in keeping with the 2011 County Cricket Review on The Reverse Sweep – I turn my attention to those were considerably less successful. Yorkshire fans may want to look away now…
Adam Lyth – Yorkshire
553 runs at 26.33
Big things were expected from Division One’s leading runscorer of 2010, but Lyth’s form was so poor that he struggled to maintain a regular place in the Yorkshire side. The England Lion will look to regain form and reputation in Division Two next season.
Sam Northeast – Kent
704 runs at 22.00
Started the season with an impressive hundred against Essex, but flattered to deceive thereafter and limped to just 704 runs despite getting a full quota of 32 innings. At 21, the former England under 19 batsman still has time to make the grade but 2012 will be a big season for the young Spitfire.
Mark Ramprakash – Surrey
700 runs at 33.33
A back injury delayed his start to the season restricting him to just 11 matches and 700 runs – a reasonable return for mere mortals but not what we’ve come to expect from a bona fide run-machine. Surrey’s promotion will have provided some consolation though, giving him the chance to return to his prolific best in the top-tier next season.
Anthony McGrath – Yorkshire
485 runs at 21.08
Scored over 1,200 runs in 2010, but like pretty much everyone else at Headingley, the former England batsman endured a poor season and a paltry return from his 12 matches. At nearly 36 and with a host of talented youngsters waiting in the wings, McGrath’s career may be nearing its end.
David Sales – Northamptonshire
246 runs at 17.57
Another long-serving county stalwart to endure a shocking season, Sales only passed fifty once in 11 games. His misery was compounded when Surrey pipped Northants to promotion on the final day of the season.
Steven Mullaney – Nottinghamshire
544 runs at 19.42; 5 wickets at 70.20
Having impressed as part of a Championship winning side last season, Mullaney flopped badly with both bat and ball despite being an ever-present as Nottinghamshire failed to scale the same heights in 2011.
Geraint Jones – Kent
699 runs at 23.30
The former England keeper didn’t find Division Two or perhaps more pertinently the Tiflex ball to his liking as he struggled all season, with his top score of 79 coming against Glamorgan in September. Kent needed much more from one of their senior figures.
Adil Rashid – Yorkshire
39 wickets at 43.38; 556 runs at 24.17
Started the season with an 11-wicket haul at Worcester but lost his way badly and not only ended the year in a relegated side, but also slipped behind Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs and Samit Patel in the queue for an England spin spot. The young leggie will need a big 2012 if he is to make up lost ground.
Ajmal Shahzad – Yorkshire
25 wickets at 41.00
The Tykes paceman had an absolute nightmare after injury during the World Cup delayed his entry into the fray. Like Rashid, he fell down the pecking order of England seamers and has been overlooked in favour of Stuart Meaker for the ODI series in India. His impression of Shahid Afridi pirouetting on the pitch and a subsequent fine won’t have helped his cause.
Gemaal Hussain – Somerset
22 wickets at 44.86
The bowler who took 67 wickets at 22 apiece for Gloucestershire in 2010 found the step-up to Division One too big and the pitches at Taunton far less helpful than Bristol. So much so that by the end of the season he had lost his place in the starting line-up.
Friedel de Wet – Hampshire
9 wickets at 52.22
With Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker added to the ranks of England’s South Africa-born contingent, the real McCoy flopped badly – de Wet played more games for Hampshire’s 2nd XI than he did in the County Championship. And the Royals let David Balcombe (33 wickets at 17.81 in just five matches) go on loan to Kent? Oh dear…