The only criteria for selection is you have had to have seen the player live in any format or level of cricket!
Michael Atherton – Wouldn’t want anyone else opening up for me in times of trouble as proven by his 1995 efforts in SA. No’s are better than at 1st look when you factor in before many a test match, he’d had to try and work with a certain R Illingworth. Born and bred Lancastrian raised just a couple of miles from me.
Alastair Cook – Most tests, Most test runs, Most centuries, multiple Ashes winning captain. Nothing more to say.
Michael Vaughan (Captain) – Conquered Australia in 02/03 with over 600 runs despite an abject 4-1 series loss. Captain of the first side to win an Ashes series in 18-years, on his day a joy to watch and despite representing Yorkshire another “lanky” lad born in Eccles, Manchester.
Kevin Pietersen – Much like Cook his no’s speak for themselves, not everyone’s cup of tea however undoubtedly he is a genuine match winner and every (great) team needs one. Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser attitude carried England far.
Ben Stokes – Batting all-rounder who can do just about everything. Long before his England exploits (and debut) he scored a then career best 185 for Durham sharing a partnership of 331 against the County Champions in waiting. Like most greats liked a drink and a punch up.
Alec Stewart (Wkt) – Averaged close to 40 whilst both keeping and batting in the top order; close to 47 when not keeping wicket. A permanent fixture for years despite the 90s being a decade of failure.
Andrew Flintoff – Showman, Entertainer, Talisman, Icon. Rightfully lauded for his efforts in 05 however many other highlights down the years, sledging Tino Best, Hat-trick versus the WIndies to name but two. “Not bad for a fat lad”
Graeme Swann – Wasted early part of this career with lifestyle issues however made up for it later in his career, not much of any real competition in my era for the spin spot however as well as being a wily offie he was a multi dimensional cricketer capable with the bat and a decent slip fielder.
Dominic Cork – Purely for the fact he is the only bowler I have seen take a hat-trick twice, For England in 1995 at OT and 9 years later for Lancs in a rain affected T20 game at the same venue. Also engaged in over an hour of good natured banter with a more than inebriated writer re: his desertion from OT during a 50-over game following his move to Hants.
Darren Gough – I tried my best to leave out those born on the wrong side of the Pennines however the loveable rogue Gough’s never say die attitude and commitment to the cause could never be faulted and for spirit alone makes the cut.
James Anderson – His emergence at Lancs in the earlier 2000s meant the end of the road for a personal friend in the first team and represents one of the few things Mike Watkinson ever got right. Like Cook with the bat his performance over many a year are to be marvelled at and unlikely anyone will get near his wickets tally in my lifetime. A genuine great and a character that more than mirrors my own – grumpy!