My Dream XI: Former Yorkshire, Essex and Northamptonshire all-rounder James Middlebrook

1.Andy Flower

He was just a level-headed type of guy. He knew his job and what he had to do for the team – if he’d got 100 or zero, you’d never know because his temperament was the same. When he spoke about cricket, people just stopped and listened. He knew the game and played it hard on the pitch, and now and again, he played it hard off the pitch.

2. Ben Duckett

He’s just an exciting young cricketer. He plays his shots well and is very good on the short ball, being a small guy. He’s got all his shots down and if he gets in, he goes big.

3. Darren Lehmann

He read the game well and he could bat in any conditions; swinging, seaming, spinning, hot or cold.

If you needed someone to bat for your mortgage for a month, he’d be your man. He never really got ugly runs – he was quite graceful on the eye – and he was just a solid player.

4. Mark Waugh

For me, he was just a top cricketer. I used to watch him growing up and had the chance to play with him for six weeks at Essex. He was laid back but very graceful.

5. Ronnie Irani

He was a leader. Once he crossed the white line, he was just a guy that put every part of his body and his brain into that particular game. He’s a guy you would follow into the trenches. I wouldn’t say he was the most tactical of players but he’d fight hard for the team regardless of his own glories.

6.James Foster

Fozzie is a seriously good keeper. He’s probably been one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen over the last 15 years. He is a great gloveman and he scores good middle-order runs. He probably should have played a few more Tests for England.

7. Andy Bichel

Andy’s a great guy on and off the field. He’d do anything for you – he’d put shoelaces in your boots if you asked him. He gave 110 per cent every ball and was a full-hearted cricketer.

8. Andre Adams

He was a very, very good bowler and he always got something out of the wicket, regardless of it being flat or a seamer’s wicket. He was a bit underrated, I would say. He probably should have played more Tests for New Zealand.

9. Gary Keedy

He was probably one of the best English spinners of his generation not to play for England. He kept it tight and when there was something in the wicket, he’d always find a way to get people out.

10. Darren Gough

I don’t need to explain much about him. He’d get the crowd involved and he’d always make something happen with his clapping or his vocals if the game was drifting along. Then, obviously, if you chucked him the ball, a lot of things would happen. He was very skilful with the new ball and also made a reputation as an old-ball bowler. He liked the big stage and would set a tone for the rest of the game.

11. Ryan Sidebottom

I think he’s like a fine wine, Ryan – he just got better and better as he got older. He just makes it look easy, bowling left-arm seam and swing. He takes wickets, he keeps it tight, he’s aggressive in a good way, doesn’t let up. He’s a joy to play with on the field.

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