The James Anderson Rubbish Team-Mates XI

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Loads of people have been picked for England since James Anderson made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in May 2003. This XI comprises some of the least successful – plus Jimmy himself. Just imagine the exasperated head shaking!

1. Adam Lyth – 265 Test runs at 20.38

Surprisingly few of the very many opening batters England have gone through since Andrew Strauss retired have been out-and-out poor. We feel a bit bad for Lyth here. He did score 107 v New Zealand after all.

2. Jason Roy – 187 runs at 18.70

There was no Test hundred for Roy, however – just a 50. The high water mark for Jason Roy’s Test rubbishness was the Jason Roy shot he played in England’s 67 all out against Australia in 2019 – a dismissal so predictable that we felt we could describe it using only his name.

3. Ed Smith – 87 runs at 17.40

Before he was a very earnest and verbose England selector, before he was a very earnest and verbose commentator and before he was a very earnest and verbose writer, Ed Smith played a bit of cricket. He was moderately good and at one point stumbled into one of those trots of hundred-scoring that are mathematically possible if someone of sufficient skill plays enough games. This got him into England’s Test team, where he did not do very well.

4. James Vince – 548 runs at 24.90

James Vince averaged 24.50 when playing in the same Test XI as James Anderson. Ashley Giles averaged 24.89. You never know though – Ben Duckett was in this slot in the original version of this article until he came back into the team and made a few.

5. Tom Westley – 193 runs at 24.12

Tom Westley played for England once. Remember that? He played five Tests actually. He made a 50 on his debut and 44 not out in his final innings, which must be quite an annoying way to see your international career draw to a close.

6. James Bracey – 8 runs at 2.66

You know none of these are bad players really. They’re sportsmen so talented that at some point or another a bunch of folk who know about these things considered them among the best cricketers available and asked them to represent their country. You need a sizeable body of good work to get yourself into that position. But if you strip it all away, what you’re left with for Bracey is three innings and eight runs and not the best keeping in the world.

7. Ian Blackwell – 4 runs at 4.00 and 0 wickets

We always had a soft spot for Ian Blackwell. He, in turn, had a soft spot that kind of enveloped his entire torso. In first-class cricket, Blackwell averaged almost 40 with the bat and also took near enough 400 wickets. He played one Test.

8. Darren Pattinson – 21 runs at 10.50 and 2 wickets at 48.00

Pattinson’s journey from ‘not a professional cricketer’ to ‘professional Australian cricketer’ to ‘England Test cricketer’ doesn’t feel any less odd all these years after he played his one and only Test match. He was almost 29 and had only played 11 first-class matches when it happened. Even so, asking him to bat after Monty Panesar was a bit of a low blow.

9. Martin Saggers – 1 run at 0.33 and 7 wickets at 35.28

We will always think of Martin Saggers as the bowler Special Correspondent Dad nicknamed ‘Sagnew’. Our desire to rehash that joke is probably the only reason he gets in ahead of Jake Ball.

10. James Anderson (c)

This is the only way they’d ever allow Jimmy to be captain.

11. Simon Kerrigan – 1 not out and 0 wickets

Poor Simon Kerrigan, a talented spin bowler who will forever be remembered for a start so nervous he never got chance to move beyond it. Strike Kerrigan’s first two overs from the record and his Test career amounts to a fairly unremarkable 0-25 off six overs.

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  1. This article, and seeing Jason Holder bowling in the current match, have got me thinking about a team of great players who have had to carry a rubbish (or not that great) team.

    Jason Holder is in that team, then. Who else?
    Brian Lara?
    Mike Atherton?

    (When I said I had got thinking, TBF I’ve not done a *lot* of thinking.)

    1. We’d argue that while late era Lara was in a far worse side than early Lara, he still had a few really good players supporting him. Likewise Atherton had a bit of a revolving cast but several with ability that at least matched his own.

      Shiv maybe? Andy Flower?

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