Yesterday we named our County Championship Division 1 Half-Term XI. Today we turn our attention to Division 2 and an XI that seems to be comprised of a number of unsung heroes:
Will Jefferson (Leicestershire): 609 runs at 46.84 – Division 2’s leading runs scorer thus far was once talked about as a possible England player when he was at Essex. Those times have long since gone, but the 31 year old has scored freely in a struggling side.
Chris Rogers (Middlesex): 479 runs at 47.90 – It remains a mystery why the Victorian has played just the one Test, but Australia’s loss has proved to be Derbyshire’s and now Middlesex’s gain. Pips Glamorgan pair Gareth Rees and Alviro Petersen, as well as former team mate Wayne Madsen for his spot.
James Taylor (Leicestershire): 461 runs at 46.10 – Others have scored more runs, but has anyone showed their mettle and had their technigue and bottle tested as much as Taylor did when facing down a fearsome Surrey attack on a rare Oval greentop? Taylor’s innings that day proved once and for all that a long Test career awaits.
Rory Hamilton-Brown (Surrey, Captain): 587 runs at 48.91 - One of our ten to watch in 2011. Despite the distraction of the captaincy and having volunteered to open, Hamilton-Brown has shone with the bat, is Division 2’s second highest run scorer and has a Sehwagesque strike rate of 78. That Surrey appear to have woken from their slumber and are challenging for promotion makes it a doubly good first half of the season for the young skipper.
Tom Maynard (Surrey): 560 runs at 56.00 – After his explosive departure from Glamorgan, Maynard has really sparkled in his first season at The Oval and had the pleasure of serving his revenge cold by scoring his maiden first-class hundred against his former county at of all places Cardiff.
Niall O’Brien (Northamptonshire): 417 runs at 83.40 – Ireland’s wicketkeeper has ably demonstrated that there is more than one cricketer in the O’Brien family and pips the likes of John Simpson, James Foster and Mark Wallace to wear the gloves in this XI.
James Harris (Glamorgan): 26 wickets at 21.96, 224 runs at 37.33 – Another of our ten to watch in 2011, Harris is developing into a useful bowling all-rounder. Would have more wickets but for injury restricting him to just five Championship matches and pips Will Gidman and Andrew Hall given he is by far the best bowler of the three.
Claude Henderson (Leicestershire): 26 wickets at 28.26, 321 runs at 40.12 – A slightly contentious pick as Glamorgan’s Dean Cosker has taken more wickets to put his side in the promotion shake-up, but Henderson has done well in a struggling side and offers the added bonus of runs in an XI with an otherwise long tail.
Stuart Meaker (Surrey): 23 wickets at 18.78 - Another contentious pick as many would probably go with the old warhorse Chaminda Vaas. But Meaker’s wickets have come in only four games and his phenomenal strike rate of a wicket every 32.4 balls is just too good to ignore.
Jack Brooks (Northamptonshire): 30 wickets at 22.03 – The benefit of opening the bowling with Vaas has been all too clear for Brooks who is having a glorious season thus far to help inspire his side to the top of the table.
David Masters (Essex): 40 wickets at 20.77 – The leading wicket taker in either division, the experienced opening bowler has once again been the model of consistency despite a faltering return to Division 2 for Essex.
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