On the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, host Yas Rana was joined by Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine editor and editor-in-chief Jo Harman, and Phil Walker to pick Wisden’s England Test and ODI teams of the 2000s, as part of the 2000s in Review series.
In the England Test team of the 2000s, Jo and Phil agreed on Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, Graham Thorpe, and Andrew Flintoff, which Jo termed “what the top six should have been for the ’05 Ashes”. But there were others with strong claims to be considered for inclusion.
Closest to the XI, in Jo and Phil’s eyes, were Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who each had their best moments in an England shirt in the 2010s.
Stats for Jan 1, 2000 to Dec 31, 2009
50 matches, 3,654 runs @ 42.98, 10 100s, HS: 160
JH: The toughest choice was the openers. Alastair Cook, of course, decent opening batsman, he made 10 Test hundreds in the Noughties, but when you compare that with Trescothick and Strauss, he’s still a little way off, and his record in the Ashes up to that point wasn’t especially good, I think he was averaging 26. Obviously, if you added another year, taking in the 10/11 Ashes, he’d have to have been there.
51 matches, 3,291 runs @ 40.13, 9 100s, HS: 199
JH: I Vaguely considered picking Bell as well, instead of a seamer. But then I’d have left my bowling a little bit light.
PW: Same here, I looked at the Bell record, I remember it quite well. I remember his debut, I saw it live when he made a classy 70. And he finished the decade as well with a hundred in South Africa. But in between, Bell’s record was patchy in that decade. He made that stunning 199 against South Africa at Lord’s in 2008, but either side of that, there were a few easy runs at home against West Indies, and a good summer against Pakistan, but then there were some pretty fallow periods as well. And obviously the ’05 series probably came a bit too early for him.
Yas also felt it worth mentioning two other names, Mark Butcher and Paul Collingwood, who perhaps didn’t reach the same heights as Bell and Cook overall, but had impressive records in the 2000s. Collingwood averaged more than Vaughan in the period, 43.39 to 42.02, while Butcher averaged over 40 and made one of the great Ashes hundreds at Headingley in 2001.