I was looking earlier at the number of times in history that England have surpassed Australia’s ODI total against South Africa today of 329 – the answer is 7 times. Or 4 times if you ignore 55/60 over matches. Or 2 if you ignore the games against perennial minnows and whipping boys Bangladesh. Although it obviously isn’t fair to scrub Bangladesh from history – after all, we scored our highest total against them! And looking through that scorecard, I even wondered if England have ever fielded a more complete XI on paper in an ODI international…
Trescothick – England’s greatest ODI opener.
Strauss – at the time a chippy newcomer looking born to play international cricket, at this point Strauss was certainly not the stodgy player he became later in his career.
Michael Vaughan’s sheer smoothness and range of shots should have translated to a top ODI batsman. I’m still angry and upset it didn’t.
Kevin Pietersen – An all time great England ODI batsman. Destructive, skilled, creative, powerful, technically immense.
Paul Collingwood – An all time great England ODI batsman. Suitable for 5 overs if a front line bowler is struggling on the day as well. Absolutely phenomenal fielder.
Andrew Flintoff – All time great England ODI all-rounder. Excellent death bowler, good middle overs bowler, big six hitter, reasonable run accumulator, excellent slip fielder. I think the best ODI side England have fielded will HAVE to include either he or Botham; the balance of an ODI would depend on a great all-rounder.
Geraint Jones – Not the greatest wicket-keeper, and not a stunning batsman, but a reliable team player who would perform according to the match situation and follow instructions to the letter.
Ashley Giles – ODI economy rate of 4.34 runs per over. That leg stump line held him back in Test cricket, but he suited ODIs quite excellently. Also capable of scoring the odd 20-30 runs in a tight run chase.
Chris Tremlett – a 6″7 behemoth of a man. Had injury not had it’s merry way he’d have NO DOUBT developed into The Greatest Bowler Ever Apart From Malcolm Marshall (TGBEAFMM).
Steve Harmison – it sounds stupid, but GBH was a genuinely feared bowler at the time. He’d destroyed the West Indies the year before and was still very capable of bowling a violent length to even the best – a month later he was battering Australia’s top order. Harmison on good form was one of the best in the world, and in this moment in 2005, he was very in the moment.
Jon Lewis – The slower paced, more accurate foil to someone like Harmison. Tended to stay true to his tricky length and an economy rate of 4.18 in ODI cricket is something that I don’t expect a new ball bowler to match any time soon. I don’t begrudge an ODI side featuring the occasional specialist – especially when that specialist never really got found out.
Any greater ODI XI that England have fielded suggestions?