Date added: October 11, 2011 Category: Andrew Carr
In the seventh of seventeen articles, one for each first class county (except Durham who have yet to produce 11 test cricketers), ANDREW CARR picks the best eleven who played for England.
This year’s county champions for the first time in a long time (1950 shared, 1934 outright) have made a significant contribution to England from their earliest days, ‘O my Hornby and Barlow...’ immediately comes to mind. The county has always been about characters (a Grandfather from Lancashire (Liverpool) gives me some credence to say that) and it was a real pity that there wasn’t room for all of these in the final XI...
Before moving to the selection, I want to briefly mention Bond, Jack Bond... He was captain during a golden era in the late Sixties and early Seventies when Lancashire became the premier one-day side. He led them for five years (1968-72) during which they won three successive Gillette Cups and the first two Sunday League competitions (1969 and 1970). His positive approach won over supporters and instilled belief in his team that they could succeed.
So now to the selection process.
Choosing the batting lineup was a challenge, given there were twelve genuine contenders for five places. I went on test runs and averages as an obvious way of reducing the choices. Using this method, I was able to omit Neil Fairbrother, Frank Hayes, David Lloyd (with particular regret) and Victorian great Allan Steel on runs.
Johnny Tyldesley had the lowest batting average of the remainder with over a thousand test runs, while Graeme Fowler was competing for an opening berth with Mike Atherton and Cyril Washbrook, so that omitted both of them. In the end, it came down to a choice between Archie MacLaren and Geoff Pullar, given the impressive statistics of Ernest Tyldesley and Eddie Paynter. Eventually, I chose the former on reputation and contribution and then made him captain ahead of Atherton.
It was always going to be George Duckworth.
I have to say that choosing the bowling attack was more straightforward than almost any other, and is, debatably, the strongest of any of the selections although Gloucester, Surrey and Yorkshire supporters, in particular, would strongly disagree. There would be quite an argument about who takes the new ball...
Having said that, it would be wrong of me not to mention others who were contenders; as well as those who never got the call... I’ll mention six who did play for England, and four who didn’t.
Those who did included Paul Allott, who had two great days for England: 52 not out on his debut for England against Australia at Old Trafford in 1981, and 6-61 against West Indies at Headingley in 1984. Walter Brearley, genuinely quick, but seemingly not in favour with the selectors at the start of last century...
Harry Dean, who took wickets cheaply whenever selected during the 1912 Triangular Tournament against Australia and South Africa, but never chosen again. Saj Mahmood who, like his contemporary Liam Plunkett at Durham, has had his moments at international level, and like LP has fallen out of favour... Roy Tattersall, a fine offspinner, would have partnered left-armer Briggs, but for the number and quality of Lancashire’s seamers – he is the unluckiest of this six to miss out. Finally, solid pro Mike Watkinson who had a brief test career, the highlight being a sturdy unbeaten 82 against West Indies at Trent Bridge in 1995, enabling England to save the match.
Four who didn’t include the burly Ian Austin, a cult figure at Old Trafford in his day, who played ODIs given his one-day effectiveness. The evergreen Glen Chapple, who made just one ODI appearance, may surprise future cricket historians that he didn’t make more international appearances (it does me). Spinner Gary Keedy will be considered unlucky not to have played tests at some point in his career (he should have done) while, ‘Flat Jack’ Simmons, a great character who with 9,000-plus career runs and 1,000-plus career wickets might too have got a mention at selectorial meetings...
For the future?
On the back of 2011 championship success Karl Brown, Simon Kerrigan, Luke Procter and Tom Smith all look to have bright futures for county and country alike and may indeed challenge for places in a future consideration of this eleven.
So Finally... the LANCASHIRE XI
M. A. Atherton
A. C. MacLaren *
G. E. Tyldesley
G. Duckworth +
J. B. Statham
J. M. Anderson
S. F. Barnes
So what do readers think, whether Lancashire supporters or not, of this best eleven? Look forward to receiving feedback!
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