Top England ODI XI Of All-Time
As England kick off their ODI series against South Africa with a convincing win it got us thinking about the greatest 50 over XI the country has ever produced. There are plenty of great players to choose from and many superstars have missed out, not least from the current side. In five years’ time this team could be very different, but right now, this is England’s best ever ODI XI.
Mat: 123 Runs: 4335 Ave: 37.37
The Somerset stalwart had an unfairly short England career, although he was a mainstay in both test and ODI sides from mid-2000 to mid-2006 at the top of the order. He was an aggressive force opening the batting before going out at 100mph really came into vogue and his strike rate of 85.21 was very impressive at that point in time. If there was any debate on his place in this side, you only have to see Trescothick’s name at the top of the list of ODI centuries for England with 12. That’s two more than anyone else has ever managed.
Alec Stewart (wk)
Mat: 170 Runs: 4677 Ave: 31.60 Ct: 159 St: 15
Across both formats at the time, Alec Stewart played 303 games for England and was an incredibly consistent performer for the national side 14 years from his debut against Pakistan in 1989. Neither his batting average nor strike rate stand out as outstanding but he would have been more than capable of stepping up the pace had he been playing in the current order. Those statistics might not have been enough to get him into this team along, but his ability to keep wicket and his leadership qualities make him a must. It must also be remembered that only three men have more ODI runs than Stewart for England.
Mat: 136 Runs: 4440 Ave: 40.73
KP’s ODI career with England lasted nine years from 2004-2013 but it should really still be ongoing and his stats would be even more impressive than they already are. Pietersen was the ultra-aggressive batsman in the side before it was full of players going at huge strike rates and he made the plodding players around him look pretty silly. The South African-born superstar had nine centuries to his name in 50 over contests for England and he would almost certainly have broken the record had the unpleasantness not set in between him and the ECB.
Mat: 86 Runs: 3503 Ave: 48.65 Wkts: 18 Ave: 54.05
The Yorkshire batsman is on course to break a lot of records for England and, whilst he already deserves his place in this side, he will likely be the first name on it come the end of his career. The current test captain has the second highest batting average of anyone in ODIs for England (Jonathan Trott bests him with 51.25). He is also 12th on the list of most runs, and at just 26-years-old he is almost certain to reach the top of that list at some stage. He has an incredible range of shots, an ability to play at varying urgency and even bowls a handy bit of off-spin when it is required. He is set to go down as one of England’s greatest ever players.
Mat: 197 Runs: 5092 Ave: 35.36 Wkts 111 Ave 38.68
Not the most naturally talented cricketer around, but Paul Collingwood has more ODI caps for England than anyone else. He also captained his country to their only limited over tournament success – the 2010 T20 World Cup. More of a batsman, but in the shorter form of the game he was a genuine all-rounder, as his 111 wickets demonstrates. Maybe his batting or his bowling are not good enough alone to get in the XI, but both combined with his stunning ability in the field are a superb package.
Mat: 54 Runs: 1269 Ave: 29.51 Wkts: 46 Ave: 38.21
Arguably a little early for Ben Stokes to make it into this side but he has just about done enough so far and certainly will have done enough by the time his career comes to a close. He is almost the perfect modern all-rounder – capable of scoring fast runs, taking big wickets and claiming difficult catches wherever he is placed in the field. Neither his batting nor his bowling averages are out of this world, but he is a game-changer and can win a game for England with either bat or ball. His batting strike rate of just under 100 shows just how dangerous he is and he will have won plenty of matches for his side when his time playing for England comes to a close.
Mat: 141 Runs: 3394 Ave: 32.01 Wkts: 169 Ave: 24.38
Capable of inspiration with the bat, but especially with the ball, Flintoff was the forerunner for Stokes and the successor of the man who will bat below him in this team – filling the position of eye-catching all-rounder. His extremely impressive bowling average showed how difficult he was to face in this form of the game with pace, bounce and accuracy. His batting was sometimes rather agricultural but he was extremely powerful and his three centuries showed he could do more than just contribute a big heave-ho at the end of the innings.
Mat: 116 Runs: 2113 Ave 23.21 Wkts: 145 Ave: 28.54
It would be sacrilege not to include Beefy in an all-time England XI and he no doubt deserves a spot in the ODI side. Botham would have loved the modern game of T20 and rapid-fire batting in the 50 over game and his batting stats would have been much more impressive in this era, you feel. His bowling was fantastic nevertheless and taking 145 wickets at an average of under 30 is a stunning effort for an all-rounder; leaving him fifth on the ODI wicket-taking list for England.
Mat: 79 Runs: 500 Ave: 13.88 Wkts: 104 Ave: 27.76
For a short while Swann was the premier off-spin bowler on the planet and a crucial component of England’s very successful test, ODI and T20 sides. Not a massive turner of the ball, although dangerous enough in terms of tweak, he was extremely canny with his flight and pace, and of course supremely accurate. He never really delivered with the bat on the international stage despite having talent with the willow, but that hardly mattered given his ability with the ball. He is a the obvious choice to bowl spin in this side.
Mat: 159 Runs 609 Ave: 12.42 Wkts: 235 Ave: 26.42
England’s second highest wicket-taker in ODIs, the Yorkshireman has to be in this side opening the bowling. Gough was not exactly playing in the greatest era for England’s limited over side, and he was bowling to some of the all-time greats – Lara, Tendulkar, Waugh, Kallis – but his figures are exceptional nonetheless. Quick, skiddy and with a cracking Yorker in his arsenal, Gough was a nightmare to face and would have bowled for his country in any era.
Mat: 194 Runs 273 Ave: 7.58 Wkts: 269 Ave: 29.22
When James Anderson made his England debut in 2002 there was general excitement around him, but when he was out of the side by 2005, few were tipping him to go on to greatness. However, back he came and the Burnley Express is now his country’s leading wicket-taker in tests and ODIs. His test figures are marginally more impressive, but with 35 more ODI wickets than any other Englishman he is spearheading this attack without question. Anderson had previously been accused of only being effective in English conditions (where he is absolutely lethal) but he has developed his game over the years to be a threat on any surface.