Favourite England XI
The only criteria for selection is you have had to have seen the player live in a Test match
Note: Smithy as a typical Yorkshireman has changed the rules and has listed some players he has 'met' but not seen play!
Geoffrey Boycott - Has got to be in for pure determination and crease occupation & run scoring that Test cricket seems to have lost in openers
Len Hutton - Is renowned for class and style. I was lucky enough to meet Sir Len in his later years whilst working at Headingley and he was so humble for what he had achieved. I was so young I couldn’t really appreciate how good he must have been.
Sachin Tendulkar - Again, whilst working for YCCC I had the pleasure of tidying the garden of the house where a young Sachin became YCCC first overseas. He stayed in a house in Dewsbury with his mate Kambli who he held a record partnership with. Having watched him for Yorkshire, it is unbelievable what he has achieved and his status in India has to be seen to be believed.
Joe Root – Although Root may have slipped a little bit from his dominance of a few years ago he is still the wicket opposing teams want when they play England. 3 vastly different forms of cricket, I think, have impacted on his ability to bat for long periods but he is still world class.
Darren Lehmann – Unfortunate not to play more for Australia but he was a bully in county cricket. He hit the ball between players like Lara and could turn up the tempo in a flash. He definitely put bums on seats & bowled decent left arm spin as well.
Brian Close - Although I didn’t see Brian play County or Test cricket live, he came back to captain the Yorkshire Academy in the Yorkshire League when he must have been 60. Still don’t think the academy lads know what hit them. Great character and guts with pretty damn good record to boot. Unfortunately most of the time spent with him was listening to talk about horses not cricket.
Johnny Bairstow – Would love to have had his Dad in but Johnny has proved he is now World Class and in all forms of the game. Came back from a slow international start to be one of the 1st names on the sheet.
Darren Gough – A little more character in the team and the rest of team needs someone to take micky out of.
Johnny Wardle – Again, I never saw Johnny Wardle but listening to him talk about cricket at Headingley to my old Boss, Keith Boyce, was mesmerising how he read the game. His statistics are unbelievable and in his day he must have been unplayable.
FS Trueman – Another legend that I only ever had the pleasure of listening to. If he was a fraction of how good he said he should be in this team and everyone elses ! but seriously, the old footage of his action and delivery was majestic.
Bob Appleyard – I got to know Bob very well when the Yorkshire Academy set up. He would try and bowl in the nets at the lads at 70 ! When I looked up his career it was obvious that illness and national duty curtailed what would have been a great career. He was similar to Sobers in that he could go from opening the bowling to spin with everything in between, he just didn’t bat like Sobers hence he props up by batting line up.
"As you can see, this classy XI is a world class Yorkshire XI and we would probably need Dickie Bird and Richard Kettleborough to officiate it, the best known umpire and the current best umpire in the game.
We’re not biased, we’re Yorkshire :-)"