With the match I am following between Surrey and Hampshire heading for a great finish I pick a combined Surrey/ Hampshire XI for the ages. Because I want to showcase both counties I have shown a little bias towards players associated with both. My XIs for each county individually can be seen here and here.
THE XI IN BATTING ORDER
- Jack Hobbs (Surrey, right handed opening batter, occasional medium pacer). The Master has an irrefutable case for selection.
- John Edrich (Surrey, left handed opening batter). Those who remember my original Hampshire XI (or who have followed the link in the introductory paragraph to check it out) will have noted that the opening slots were the toughest to fill for that county, whereas I was spoiled for choice in this area when it came to Surrey. Only Yorkshire, with Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton, and possibly Gloucestershire with WG Grace in their historic ranks would be able to claim this slot in a combined XI with Surrey.
- CB Fry (Hampshire, right handed top order batter). When I originally selected my county all time XIs I assigned him to Sussex, but after Sussex he spent a few years with Hampshire, and since his FC career began at Surrey and he was born in southwest London I felt it appropriate to include him here.
- Phil Mead (Hampshire, left handed batter). He failed to impress Surrey, and moved south to Hampshire in consequence. He ended his career as the fourth leading scorer of both FC runs and hundreds, and the leading scorer of both for any one team.
- Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire and Surrey, right handed batter, occasional off spinner). Had an outstanding record, though his departure from Hampshire was as acrimonious as his earlier departure from Nottinghamshire had been. The fact that he had associations with both counties got him the nod over Peter May who also had a formidable record.
- +Ben Foakes (Surrey, wicket keeper, right handed batter). A shoo-in for this slot – a superb keeper and a genuine front line batter.
- *Percy Fender (Surrey, leg spinner, right handed batter). His approach to batting would make him an ideal choice for number seven in an XI of this nature and he was a fine bowler and a very astute captain.
- Malcolm Marshall (Hampshire, right arm fast bowler, right handed batter). Even at test level as he was almost good enough with the bat to be considered an all rounder, and Hampshire treated him as such. Probably the greatest fast bowler of the great age of West Indies fast bowling, and an obvious choice for the overseas slot.
- Jim Laker (Surrey, off spinner, right handed batter). Possibly the greatest of all off spinners. His peak came in 1956 with 46 Ashes wickets at 9.60 in the five test series and an all-ten for Surrey v The Australians in a tour match.
- Derek Shackleton (Hampshire, right arm medium fast, right handed batter). Only one bowler ever took at least 100 first class wickets in each of 20 successive seasons, and that bowler was Derek Shackleton. Only Wilfred Rhodes who achieved the feat 23 times in his extraordinary career has managed 100 wickets for the season more often than Shackleton. He played the inaugural season of the John Player League, and with in the year of his 45th birthday managed to bowl 80 overs for just 168 runs in this 40 overs per side tournament.
- Tom Richardson (right arm fast bowler, right handed batter). Between the start of the 1894 season and the end of the 1897 season the fast bowler claimed 1,005 wickets, including a then season’s record tally of 290. The 88 wickets he claimed in 14 test appearances provide the proof that he could do it against the best opposition around.
This side has a formidably powerful batting line up, a great keeper and a very strong and well balanced bowling attack – there wouldn’t be many runs available against Marshall, Richardson, Shackleton, Laker and Fender on any surface.
I refer folks to my honourable mentions sections for each individual county for full detail, and add the following:
Ken Barrington, Robin Smith and Peter May were the unluckiest of the batters who I picked for their individual county XIs but not this one, with Graham Thorpe also worth a mention here.
No keeper for either county could challenge Foakes.
Among the seamers two giants of the game with the forename Alec were the biggest misses: Bedser of Surrey and Kennedy of Hampshire. Bill Lockwood and George Lohmann, both Surrey, were also huge names to leave out.
For the spinners two left armers, Tony Lock (Surrey) and Stuart Boyes (Hampshire) were the big misses. Laker was a lock for the off spinners place, and in view of my desire to have Fender captain and the fact that the best leg spinner to have played for either county, Shane Warne, was an overseas player and could not displace Marshall no leg spinner could be accommodated.
I have a fine photo gallery for you…