Who would be in your 2018 county side?

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As the heat of summer mellows into the fruitfulness of early Autumn and the chill of mid-September reminds us that winter preparations or tours cannot be too far ahead, somehow or other cricket is still being played!

As I write this only Surrey have been assured of one of the season’s prizes – and it’s the top prize too! Championship winners for the first time in 16 years and it means that each of the county sides who have my membership to support them have won the top prize in each of the last three seasons – Middlesex in 2016, Essex last year and Surrey this! Any offers for my support for next season?

This time of the season is one for reflection – of what might have been, what should have been – and also one of starting to look forward to next year and who will be released or who’s retiring? Cook from tests (but back to Essex – he’ll have to earn his way into the side but at who’s expense?), Foster from Essex, Collingwood at Durham, Trott at Warwickshire and so forth.

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Today also means that I’ve seen 16 of the 18 first class counties in some format of the game this summer, four international sides (including WI ‘A’), three tests, one one-day international and close to 40 days of the finest 1st class cricket contest in the world and the one with the most regular followers (ok, there are lots more fans in India and elsewhere who follow the game but I’m talking first class cricket).

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So, having seen so many sides and so much cricket, who makes it into my ‘county’ side for the summer? I’ve deliberately left out current and recent past-England test and ODI players and also current overseas Test players and also restricted it to who I’ve seen live!

To start with a few names/ideas and then to whittle them down:

Opening batsmen – not a wide choice here:

  • Burns (Surrey)
  • Livingstone (Lancashire)
  • Davies A (Lancashire)
  • Gubbins (Middlesex)

Batsmen – more of a choice to cover numbers 3 onwards:

  • Denly (Kent)
  • Lawrence (Essex)
  • Brook H (Yorkshire)
  • Kuhn (Kent)
  • Bell (Warwickshire)
  • Trott (Warwickshire)
  • Hildreth (Somerset)
  • Vilas (Lancashire)
  • Borthwick (Surrey)
  • Pope (Surrey)
  • Clark J (Worcestershire)

Keepers:

  • Moores (Nottinghamshire)
  • Foakes (Surrey)
  • Simpson (Middlesex)

All rounders:

  • Patel (Warwickshire)
  • Stevens (Kent)
  • Harris (Middlesex)

Bowlers (fast)

  • Brooks J (Yorkshire)
  • Siddle (Essex)
  • Morkel (Surrey)
  • Porter (Essex)
  • Clarke R (Surrey)
  • Abbott (Hampshire)

Bowlers (slow)

  • Bess (Somerset)
  • Harmer (Essex)
  • Twohig (Worcestershire)
  • Virdi (Surrey)

And before I get to my eleven – a few names to look out for in the future:

  • Bamber (Middlesex)
  • Pennington (Worcestershire)
  • Pepper (Essex)
  • Jacks (Surrey)

But my best county XI of the season is (and assuming all playing at their peak and fitness):

  1. Burns (Surrey)
  2. Livingstone (Lancashire)
  3. Lawrence (Essex)
  4. Bell (Warwickshire)
  5. Pope (Surrey)
  6. Foakes (Surrey)
  7. Stevens (Kent)
  8. Clarke R (Surrey)
  9. Morkel (Surrey)
  10. Siddle (Essex)
  11. Virdi (Surrey)

Sorry – there seems to be a Southern and Surrey ‘bias’ but Surrey have taken all before them in the Championship and Kent all before them in all competitions!

More reflections and forecasts to follow!

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