Favourite England XI

The only criteria for selection is you have had to have seen the player live in a Test match


Mike Atherton - Showed his guts and stickability in Jo'burg (I wasn't there) but I was at Nottingham in 1998 for the epic duel with Donald. He gets a place in my team for that alone. He'll be my captain too.

Marcus Trescothick - Somerset legend whom I saw in 17 Test matches - there could have been so many more. Great memories of his massive 219 at the Oval in 2003 to beat the Saffers and going off like a steam train at Edgbaston in 2005.

David Gower - The most beautiful sight in cricket apart from Michael Holding. Curly blond hair, carefree, languid, all the time in the world, exquisite cover drive but a frustrating waft outside off stump. Fantastic cover fielder swooping gracefully on the ball.

Joe Root - So balanced. Knows exactly where the fielders are and bisects them places perfectly.

Kenny Barrington - They don't make them like him anymore. Look at the stats: 82 tests, ave 58.67, 20 tons. He played in my first Test (1963, The Oval v West Indies). Kids could sit on the boundary rope. He was fielding near us in the deep: I remember looking up at that rough hewn visage with the hook nose. My hero!

Andrew Flintoff - There's no place in my team for right-wing bigots so the all-rounder's got to be Freddie. And what a legend! He was in that Oval game v the Saffers - an amazing 95 with Harmison who scored 6 in a partnership of 99. Then there was the six to his Dad at Edgbaston in 2004. And who can forget that great all round performance at Edgbaston in 2005 with the poignant arm round Brett Lee at the end? What a sportsman!

Matt Prior - Became very reliable keeper and his big middle order runs were often crucial.

Derek Underwood- Almost a medium pacer, he was called 'Deadly' because he was so accurate - an economy rate of 2.10.

Simon Jones - What a bowler he could have been. I witnessed that terrible accident to his cruciate in Brisbane which cruelly cut short such a promising career.

Darren Gough - Proud as hell to play for England. A wonderful sight with his chest puffed, out strutting to his mark.

Jimmy Anderson - A magician of swing. A masterclass every time he bowls.

And two Westcountry umpires: Bill Alley, Australian by birth, Somerset by adoption, and Devonshire born David Shepherd!