Back in 2020, the global pandemic brought much of the sporting world to a halt, including English cricket. Thankfully, 2021 has allowed sporting events to return to near normal functionality, with fans allowed back into stadiums. However, with the pandemic still looming, the future is always uncertain right now. Therefore, there’s no better time to take a look back at some of the most iconic English cricketers. Continue reading to take a step back through history all the way to the 1800s, with WG Grace effectively putting cricket on the map.
2006-2018: Sir Alistair Cook
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Although he has since retired from professional football, the former English cricket captain stole a fair number of records during his international bouts. In particular, he has the most test matches, the highest number of runs, and the most centuries played. Throughout his international career, the man beat considerably more records than the likes of Herbert Sutcliffe and Ken Barrington. However, for some reason, he’s not as highly celebrated or loved. Despite this, Cook was knighted in 2019 for his outstanding services to English cricket.
Next up we’ve got Kevin Pietersen, who had one of the most eventful international stints ever. Throughout his nine-year run, he managed a short time as team captain and came across too many conflicts to count. Unfortunately, he was dropped from the team after texts emerged relating to Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss. However, his spins were flawless, and his style helped to push cricket over the edge of advancement. Eventually, Pietersen will only be remembered for the good he did.
James Anderson is an incredible English cricket player, who is still currently playing. He has a notable swing ball action and is known for stealing the wickets record title from Sir Ian Botham. Not only did he beat it, but he also pushed the wickets number up to a near-impossible 584. At the highest level, there isn’t anyone in the international cricket scene who has bowled more deliveries, played more matches, or dismissed more batsmen.
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Sir Ian Botham was an English cricket hero who helped to torpedo it into public prevalence throughout the 80s. This cricket rockstar had a colourful life off the field, but when it came to gameplay, he brought the thunder. The since-dubbed “Botham Ashes” is one of the most significant moments in cricket history and is still talked about 30 years later. Up until 2015, he held the wickets record, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an inspiration to new cricketers. The bar was set high during his time on the English team and all anyone can do is hope to match it.
If fierce bowlers are your weakness, look no further than Fred Trueman. He was a renowned Yorkshireman who had an unrepentantly fast bowl – you wouldn’t want to be stood 22 yards away from this man. Throughout his career, he became the first cricketer to reach 300 wickets. At the time, this didn’t feel like a record that could be beaten. “Fiery Fred” clearly set a high standard for those to follow in his footsteps.
Anyone who enters the world of professional cricket will know who Sir Len Hutton is. He is referred to as the most elegant batsman to ever play cricket, and when he died in 1990, Ray Illingworth described him as a “God to me”. Most significantly, this man became the first professional football captain of England. At the beginning of his title position, he managed to lead the team towards three consecutive wins against India.
Despite having his career run alongside Sir Donald Birdman, the Australian celebrated as the greatest batsman to grace the field, Wally Hammond built up an incredible reputation for himself. Hammond had 22 hundred alongside an unbeatable 1933 triple and had an average score of 58.45 across 20 years.
Sir Jack Hobbs has cemented himself in any list of all-time cricketers. To this, he had 199 centuries and ran a staggering 61,760 runs at first class. Unfortunately, World War 1 put a sizable dent in this career, which means we’ll never know what figures he could have reached. When he was on the field, his skill was clear, the figures match, and he is still the oldest test cricket centurion.
SF Barnes is the stuff of legend, with his skill in spin, swing, pace, and seam passed down vocally. Barnes’ bowl score was 16.43, which coincides well with his impressive wicket feats – with his score only trailing Anderson’s by 4.
Despite his death happening more than a century ago, William Gilbert Grace is still considered a cricketing legend. The man, who had an extremely recognisable beard, was responsible for shaping the way that cricket is viewed by the public eye – he was even used as the face of God in the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If it weren’t for his excellent character and showmanship, the sports world wouldn’t have become what it is today. When it came to international cricket, he played for an outstanding 44 seasons, which breaks even with the world record holder.
Cricket has been at the heart of English sporting culture for centuries, and there are already too many notable cricketers to count. However, the iconic figures within this list represent an incredible century of cricket. There are plenty of records won and broken, with a couple of people being responsible for reshaping the cricket world. Now, we look to future greats and the 2022 season – make sure you check out all the action.