The only criteria for selection is you have had to have seen the player live in any format or level of cricket!
Alastair Cook – met him a few times, top bloke & fantastic batsman
Nick Compton – did as well as anyone in the search to replace Strauss & was harshly treated in my opinion. Had a good chat with him in Dunedin, nice bloke & was just happy to be playing for England. Brilliant song for him & I can remember the words!
Jonathan Trott – Solved the problem of batting at 3 & did a fantastic job for England. Met him in Mumbai in 2016, nice guy, happy to chat, have a pic & sign my copy of his book.
Ian Bell – Met him in Bangladesh in 2010. England’s most aesthetically pleasing right handed batsman & was dropped 3 years too early.
Graham Thorpe – Made a hundred in my 1st overseas test match & scored a lot of runs for England often when the team were struggling.
Andrew Flintoff – Pure box office
Matt Prior – an example of how hard work pays off, he was awful in Sri Lanka in 2007 but turned into a wicket keeper/batsman for England on a par with Alec Stewart which says it all. He was batting in Dubai vs Pakistan when we did our memorial service to George Summerside & took the time to acknowledge it & applaud from the middle which was a lovely touch.
Chris Woakes – Really nice guy who I’ve known since he used to open the bowling with my son for Barr Beacon school. I’ve seen him about on tour a few times & he always stops for a chat. He’s probably fed up of me telling the story when he played for our local pub team in a midweek league & after I’d given him the big build up to the other guys he was out 1st ball!! He’s also a very good all round cricketer.
Matthew Hoggard – Took a hat trick in my 1st overseas test match ( Sarwan ct Giles, Chanderpaul lbw, Hinds ct Flintoff). Also played an amazing cover drive under immense pressure vs the convicts at Trent Bridge!
Steven Finn – Made his debut in Chittagong in 2010 & remember chatting to him in the bar of a hotel after the game, he was like a little boy lost. He certainly didn’t know what to make of George Summerside who got him to have his picture taken with young Bilal the Bangladeshi lad who followed us everywhere in Chittagong.
Monty Panesar – The main reason that Monty is in is because I think Swann is a bit of a dick. Then I remembered that he mugged my mate, Dean Sayers, off in Dunedin in a bar when Dean asked him for a pic – “yeah I’ll be back in a minute mate” never to be seen again! That alone warrants his selection.