Welcome to our expanded, illustrated presentation with statistical summaries of the selected players
Surrey batsman Rory Burns picks his all-time XI
1. Graeme Smith
I try to put a little bit of Graeme in the way I go about my batting. He simply has to be in my team for the way he captained South Africa for so long and what he did with the bat as well.
2. Hashim Amla
He’s a fine player, and has probably been in the top three batsmen in the world for quite a few years now. He’s superb, especially in the long format of the game and would combine well with Graeme.
3. Kumar Sangakkara
It’s an absolute pleasure to play with him – he’s a fine bloke off the field and a brilliant player on it. How he goes about it, practising and his mental game, too, is fascinating to watch. He’s also a great role model for left-handers who play at the top of the order – I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’ll keep wicket, too.
4. Ricky Ponting
It’s a bit obvious why he’s in here. He captained Australia for ten years and was an absolute jet. And that pull shot... I remember the first time he played it for Surrey against Derbyshire, and everyone just thought it was so good. Ponting and Smith can fight it out for who gets to be captain!
5. Jason Roy
Hopefully the top four can do their job, and when the bowlers and fielders are getting a bit tired and off their game, Jason can come in and whack a few around. He scores so freely in all formats of the game. He’s a very good player and a good mate – I’ve grown up with him, so he gets the nod. If anyone’s watched him play and see how he’s matured in the three years he’s played international cricket, it won’t be long before he gets a shout for the Test team.
6. Aaron Finch
If you can imagine him and Jason Roy at the crease, the run-rate will be going quite nicely! That’s how he plays, he’s got absolutely no fear. When you hear him talk, he’s incredibly Australian in his approach and if it’s in his arc, it goes for six. In his first game for Surrey, I had just got out and was in the pavilion and the boys told me he had hit his first ball for six. It was a four-day game as well.
7. Moises Henriques
He’s my mate, and he’s a fine player who offers balance with bat and ball. He’s just got a career best 265 for New South Wales against Queensland. Him at seven after all the others and you’re doing all right!
8. Azhar Mahmood
He’s good with both bat and ball – he likes to score runs and he’s a bit of a wizard when it comes to bowling, with the skills and tricks he’s got. The skill and control he has is truly incredible. Back in the day, when he had a bit more gas in the tank, I can imagine he was even more of a handful than he is now.
9. Gareth Batty
You need a twister in there. He’s probably the best spinner I’ve had the privilege of playing with – it’s great to see how he goes about his game weekin week-out, the way he always wants to improve even though he’s an old git now! He may have been captain, too, but not with Smith and Ponting in there.
10. Wahab Riaz
He’s got a bit of gas, the ability to reverse swing the ball and he’s a tricky customer, too. He’s a left-armer as well, so that adds a bit of balance to the attack. It’s key to have variation in there if you can.
11. Jade Dernbach
He’s got great skills, and he’s my mate so he’s getting in. His slower ball is brilliant and he can swing a white ball superbly, and if you swing a white ball, you’re definitely swinging a red ball.
Heroes all: Jason Roy, Gareth Batty, Hashim Amla and Ricky Ponting