This is the first in what I envisage being a long series of posts, and will set the scene for the entire series.
A NOTE ON THE DESIGNATION ‘ELEVENS’
Although I have divided my cricketers into elevens, that being the number the usually comprises a team I am not implying that these elevens are in any particular order. There are many ways to pick an 11 person team out of the players I have chosen and you may well have ideas of your own by the end of the series of what your elevens would be. All of my elevens could definitely function as teams, and all are of mixed sex. Within each 11 I have further subidivided into categories based on the types of players in the team.
SOME BASIC CRITERIA
All the players I shall cover are players who have been active during my lifetime, and specifically players who I have witnessed either live, on TV or via radio commentaries (my favourite way of following cricket so long as the commentators are up to the job). All the players featured would be worth a place for one particular specialism, even if they are also excellent at other aspects of the game – a genuine all-rounder if you have such a thing is wonderful news, someone not quite up to the job with either bat or ball is a waste of space. Being English and having come to cricket during the 1980s I witnessed the dread decade of the 1990s when desperation to fill the void created by the decline and eventual retirement of Ian Botham led to a succession of medium pacers who were also respectable lower order batters being pushed as the magic bullet. At one time it seemed that a quick 50 and a three-for somewhere would be enough for the ‘all-rounder’ sign to be draped round the neck.
Some of my selections never got international call-ups – when I cover these players I will explain why I selected them, and there is one who I have named in anticipation of a moment that surely cannot be long delayed.
THE FIRST XI IN BATTING ORDER
My first eleven is as follows:
- Tammy Beaumont
- Alastair Cook
- *Ellyse Perry
- Kevin Pietersen
- David Gower
- Andrew Flintoff
- +Ben Foakes
- Kathryn Brunt
- Jack Leach
- James Anderson
- Olly Stone
I will be covering this selection in four posts:
- A stand alone post about Tammy Beaumont in which I shall expand on women in cricket and on the possibilities of women playing alongside the men.
- A piece featuring Cook, Gower and Pietersen, the other specialist batters
- A piece on the all-rounders (including Foakes in that category, as a wicketkeeping all-rounder) – Perry, Flintoff, Foakes and Brunt
- A piece on the bowlers – Leach, Anderson and Stone