England test team of the last 40 years: discussion thread

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England test team of the last 40 years: discussion thread

Postby bigfluffylemon » Tue Jun 14, 2022 10:16 am

Recently there has been talk of Root and Anderson being England's greatest ever in their respective disciplines. That's a pretty big call, given some stiff competition, and comparison across eras is so difficult as to be in many ways meaningless, but to me there is no doubt that they are the best I have seen in my lifetime.

So having recently turned 40, I got to thinking what is the best England test XI from my lifetime. So if you'll indulge me, I'm going to post a few polls to ask for your help in picking said team, and I hope you'll all respond :)

I'll post polls for the openers, middle order, allrounder, keeper, quicks and spinner (assuming I can work out how); this is the general discussion thread for the team overall. A few notes:

1) I'm going to stick to the 'classic' team format of 2 openers, 3 middle order bats, 1 batting/bowling allrounder, 1 keeper, 3 quicks and 1 spinner. That's mainly to keep things simple, as there would be too many permutations otherwise.

2) That said, given the calibre of allrounders in the shortlist, I am sure there is an argument that the best overall XI would include more than one of them, or have a wicketkeeper/batsman batting higher up the order than 7 and allowing the team to bat down to 9, have six bowling options or both. That's what this thread is for - discuss the overall make-up and balance, comparisons of the game between the 80s and today, or whatever else takes your fancy.

3) I'll shortlist candidates for the purpose of the poll, but each category will have an 'other' option and a thread, for you to tell me I've missed someone obvious, and to discuss the options.

4) Players should be judged on their contribution in the last 40 years - since the start of January 1982. For a few candidates, that may make things a little tricky, as their careers will span before and after the cutoff. For example, I won't shortlist Derek Underwood in the spinner category - while technically he qualifies, he retired from internationals in February 1982, so his career was really before the last 40 years.

5) Some players could be picked in multiple categories, particularly batsmen who played in different positions. I'll only select each individual once and put them in the category for which they were best known for most of their career. Alec Stewart, for example, will be in the wicketkeeper category, even though he played about a third of his career as a specialist batsmen and batted more innings as an opener than any other single position in the batting order. Again, feel free to disagree in the comments :)

Thanks for participating :)
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby bigfluffylemon » Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:13 am

I do think there's a reasonable argument to, say, have Stewart or Prior in the top 6, then have two of Botham/Flintoff/Stokes at 7 and 8, Swann at 9, then two specialist quicks. You could even argue all three of Botham/Flintoff/Stokes (or even Moeen for variety) batting between 6-8, Stewart or Prior in top 5, then you bat deep and have six bowling options, although that weakens the middle batting quite a bit.

But the converse is that if you have your very best top 7, it shouldn't matter if the tail is a bit weaker on the batting front - just pick the best bowlers.
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:18 am

bigfluffylemon wrote:So having recently turned 40


Youngster.
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:24 am

I'd have a have a 12 man team. Bring in another spinner depending on conditions.

If you're having 15 options per poll, if say you did all rounders at six and chose Stokes, you could still later add Botham and Flintoff to your list of bowlers, if you're not posting all your polls at once. People can choose whether to strengthen the tail.
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby bigfluffylemon » Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:32 am

Arthur Crabtree wrote:I'd have a have a 12 man team. Bring in another spinner depending on conditions.

If you're having 15 options per poll, if say you did all rounders at six and chose Stokes, you could still later add Botham and Flintoff to your list of bowlers, if you're not posting all your polls at once. People can choose whether to strengthen the tail.


I have posted them all at once :)

But maybe that's an 'other' option for the quicks.

Maybe I'll do a '12th man' poll at the end for the second spinner, as I expect the first spinner to be little contest.
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby sussexpob » Tue Jun 14, 2022 12:08 pm

I think I landed on...

Stewart
Cook
Root
KP
Thorpe
Flintoff
Prior
Swann
Tremlett
Willis
Anderson

Take that team tbf
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Re: England test team of the last 40 years: discussion threa

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Jun 14, 2022 12:40 pm

Gooch
Cook
Root
Pietersen
Thorpe
Stewart
Flintoff
Swann
Gough
Anderson
Willis.

I'd bring in Monty for Bob on a spinners' track.
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