Dream Team – James Taylor

Alastair Cook
I think he is one of, if not the most, talented cricketers in the world right now. He’s a great leader on the pitch too, and he is someone that always looks to improve – and it’s clear to see that he has done that throughout his career, especially over the last few years.

Andrew Strauss
It’s a tough decision but rather than picking some of my county mates I’ll go with Andrew Strauss, who was a brilliant batsman and captain. Throughout his career he was a really intelligent cricketer, a good guy again to have in the changing room, and another leader which is always important to have in the side.

Joe Root
Jonathan Trott was a brilliant No.3 for England, but Root just pips him because he is probably the fastest learner I have ever played with on a cricket pitch. And obviously he has grown into one of the best in the world now – he will be one of England’s main men for a very long time.

H. D. Ackerman
He was somebody that I really respected, and another highly intelligent cricketer and good guy. He helped me a lot with my game when I was younger, particularly at the time that I was progressing through the ranks at Leicestershire into first-class cricket.

Jonny Bairstow
Can I have myself in there? Jokes aside, Jonny is in fantastic form currently, and he’s improved hugely over the past two or three years, and has showed how quickly you have to learn at the very top level. He’s developed his game massively, improving his defence in particular.

Ben Stokes
I’m picking Ben for where he is now in the game. He’s probably the best all-rounder in the world – batting, bowling, and fielding – at the moment, and you can say the same about him as you can about Jonny Bairstow in that he’s really developed the defensive side of his game and always wants to improve.

Jos Buttler
He wouldn’t necessarily be in my dream Test match XI, but across all      formats he is one of the most innovative batsmen in the world with brilliant hands. He’s the best striker of a cricket ball I’ve seen, and I was always in awe of how he could hit it from ball one.

Chris Woakes
He is another one who we have seen improve at the highest level, and he can perform with both bat and ball as well. I think people have now seen the potential he has that everyone at county level was talking about, and he’s getting the recognition he deserves.

Graeme Swann
Absolutely hilarious guy, and it’s always important to have your funny men in the changing room. But more than that with the ball he was so consistent and so threatening at the same time. England haven’t had anyone else like him since unfortunately.

Stuart Broad
You have to pick Broad and Anderson together, really, as they have been the best partnership England have ever had with the new ball in my opinion. They’ve both got great skills, great pace, and know their own weaknesses so they complement each other really well.

James Anderson
You can see how much Jimmy has developed in his career, and he is now doing an amazing job in the role of the experienced leader of the side. He is always willing to help others, young guys in the set-up, while improving himself the whole time – even though he is already at the very top of the game.

This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, October 28 2016

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