For­mer Sur­rey bats­man Michael Brown picks his top XI

Wel­come to our ex­panded, il­lus­trated pre­sen­ta­tion with sta­tis­ti­cal summaries of the se­lected play­ers

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - michael brown For­mer Sur­rey, Hamp­shire and Mid­dle­sex open­ing bats­man

1. An­drew Strauss

I was at Mid­dle­sex with him in the first few years of my ca­reer and, like me, he was a for­mer Durham Uni­ver­sity boy. He had an abil­ity to see it for what it was, aside of his nat­u­ral abil­ity, he was just very ma­ture, good fun and could laugh at him­self and had the game to play at the high­est level.

2. Justin Langer

He was the over­seas player at Mid­dle­sex when I was 19; he was the kind of guy that you just thought if I want to get some­where I need to take a leaf out of his book. I re­mem­ber my first 12th man duty for Mid­dle­sex, I was in the dress­ing room when Langer got out, he walked in and picked up an ap­ple and threw it a foot above my head and I was sat there with ap­ple peel and core all over me.

3. Brian Lara

That was just a freak meet­ing re­ally when I was play­ing in the Rwan­dan Cricket Foun­da­tion af­ter I had re­tired. We had a cou­ple of fist bumps and glove taps but I was just think­ing:‘God, this is good.’ He would’ve been 42 at the time but he still had the aura, the swag­ger and back lift that ev­ery­one re­mem­bers.

4. Mark Ram­prakash

He was a player I be­came good friends with at Sur­rey and I played with him at Mid­dle­sex as well. I re­spected how tal­ented he was and how much cricket meant to him. His first class record was in­cred­i­ble and he al­ways gave you the time to help with bat­ting tips and ad­vice.

5. Kevin Pi­etersen

I played with him at Hamp­shire. A nat­u­ral tal­ent who I got on well with and there’s one sit­u­a­tion that stands out for me: we were 10-3 in a One Day game against Es­sex, KP went in at four and played like a god.

6. An­drew Flintoff

I played with him as a nine-year-old in the Lan­cashire U11s when he was my cap­tain. He was a match win­ner with both bat and ball, could change a game – played it hard, en­joyed a drink and the kind of char­ac­ter you want in the chang­ing room when the chips are down.

7. James Foster

I’m a bit bi­ased as he’s my best mate, but prob­a­bly wicket-keep­ing wise there hasn’t been any bet­ter in the world in the last ten years. I lived with him for five years, so when I played against him there was al­ways ban­ter go­ing around about what you got up to in the night­club the pre­vi­ous week.

8. Shane Warne

An ab­so­lute leg­end, I re­call his abil­ity to get the best out of you and make you ex­press your tal­ent with­out fear. He also had the abil­ity to tell you what he was go­ing to do in the hud­dle, the fol­low­ing bats­man would come in and low and be­hold he’d de­liver the strat­egy and get him out.

9. Shane Bond

Shane played at Hamp­shire as an over­seas for a num­ber of games. I re­mem­ber a seven-fer he took against Sus­sex, they were 300-3 and we took the sec­ond new ball and bowled them out for around 330. An ex-po­lice­man and off the field he was a top lad and he’d al­ways have a beer with you af­ter the game.

10. James An­der­son

I played a lot with Jimmy in my younger years at Burn­ley Cricket Club. He started off as a tear­away quick, who shaped it away and the skill is shown in re­fin­ing his skills – the wrist con­trol and the abil­ity to swing it in and out.

11. Chris Trem­lett

Had a nat­u­ral abil­ity to bowl a heavy ball and was a top lad as well. I lived with him for a few years and he wasn’t shy of hav­ing a loaf of bread and eight cans of Guin­ness when we were al­lowed to let our hair down on the odd oc­ca­sion.

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

Top billing: Kevin Pi­etersen, Mark Ram­prakash, An­drew Flintoff and Shane warne

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