The only criteria for selection is you have had to have seen the player live in any format or level of cricket!
Alistair Cook – Not the most exciting or at times aesthetically pleasing player I have ever seen but how can you leave him out?! You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone as the saying goes and I think we have certainly come to realise that in recent years!
Joe Root – I appreciate this is a slight cheat but I had to squeeze him in! I’m still not a huge fan of his captaincy but he makes batting look so easy at times, you blink and he’s on 30 without having done anything! Take the armband off him and get him back to being Rooty!
Ian Bell – Class, style, grit, versatility (we forget his ODI runs) and that cover drive alone makes this a no brainer. Also comes across as a bloody nice bloke from what I see and hear.
Robin Smith – I went to Edgbaston on a school trip in 1993 and this is when I think it really hit me that I loved cricket! Smith made England competitive that day with a swashbuckling 167*, a record at the time and for a long while after! I think I am right in saying you didn’t get many run-a-ball hundreds at the time and I was utterly captivated, we lost but all I could talk about on the way back was ‘The Judge’ driving and cutting his way to a ton!
Kevin Pietersen – I am blocked by KP on Twitter, it’s a bit of a badge of honour for me! There are huge parts of his public persona that I can’t abide, I will always struggle to forgive he ‘textgate’ scandal and I maintain he manufactured his own departure from the England team! However you can’t leave him out can you? On his day possibly the most exciting batsmen I have ever seen. I saw him score a hundred at Headingley against Pakistan in 2006, made more memorable by my mate missing the milestone as he was stuck in a massive queue at the bar!!!
Ben Stokes – Sadly I have had to settle for watching most of his amazing moments on the TV but he walks in to the side. There’s a case for him being in for ‘that catch’ at Trent Bridge in 2015 alone!
Andrew Flintoff – In a similar way to KP ‘Freddie’ is one of the few players who you wouldn’t want to miss a minute of (unless in a queue for the bar!) Dragged us into the Ashes test at Trent Bridge in 2005, an often downplayed innings in my opinion.
Chris Read – As a Notts fan I would be vilified if I didn’t get ‘Ready’ in my team! Often talked about as being very unlucky not to play far more for England and from a cricketing point of view I agree, but I also understand the ‘he was just too nice’ viewpoint. Made keeping wicket look easy and possibly one of the last old school glove men. Great servant for Notts.
Graeme Swann – Another who perhaps divides opinion off the field of play but quite frankly I love him! Changed the perception of modern finger spin in world cricket and was an unbelievable performer in most of England’s greatest recent achievements.
Stuart Broad – Alright you can perhaps suggest this has become a bit ‘Notts heavy’ but again he has to be in for me?! It seems that ‘Broady’ has been questioned throughout his whole England career by commentators and social media ‘experts’ alike! His record is phenomenal and the 8-15 at Trent Bridge in 2015 is arguably my favourite live cricketing experience to date!
Jimmy Anderson – We are bowling first and it’s overcast, Jimmy is going past the batsmen’s edge for fun. He is getting grumpier and grumpier as the session progresses … that right there is perfect test cricket for me! England’s greatest ever bowler? I would say so!