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Help us pick the greatest Ashes XI of all time

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1st April, 2020
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A few evenings ago, Shane Warne named his greatest Ashes XI. So we’re going to do the same.

If you missed it, Warney’s XI was composed only of players who he played with or against, as long as their first name didn’t begin with S (a disclaimer which evidently only applied to this combined XI – Steve Waugh did make his greatest Australian Ashes XI). It looked a little something like this:

Rather than limit ourselves to a particular era, we’re going to open it up to the entirety of Ashes history and see what XI we end up with. Because we’ve got so many names to work with as a result, from Barnes to Boycott, Spofforth to Smith and everyone in between, we’re going to run this in a slightly different way than how we usually do our team selection polls.

We’ll run this first vote as per normal: everyone picks their preferred XI in the form below. But rather than calling it a day after that, we’re then going to take the top two players for each spot and put them up against one another, with the winner of each of those individual polls making it into the final team.

In the case of ‘positions’ with more than one vacancy – all of them except for the all-rounder and wicketkeeper – we’ll take twice as many players as required and pit the player with the most votes against the one with the least, and the one with the second-most against the second-least so on and so forth.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve split the voting into two opening batsmen, three middle order batsmen, an all-rounder, a wicketkeeper, and four bowlers. We will let you choose whether you’d prefer to go with three quicks and one spinner or two quicks and two spinners from the four specialist bowlers.

Got it? Fantastic.

Now all that’s left to do – for the time being at least – is to pick your side. If someone you’d like to select isn’t listed in the poll (given we’re dealing with more than a century of cricketers here, there are going to be some missing names. We’ve roughly provided five options for every position in the XI), you can manually add them in yourselves.

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Once you’ve chosen your XI, be sure to let everyone know who you picked and why in the comments below.

Because this is an Ashes XI, you should only consider a player’s performances in Tests between Australia and England. And to make that a little easier, here are the Ashes records of all the players we’ve offered up for selection:

Opening batsmen

Geoffrey Boycott
Tests: 38 | Runs: 2945 | Average: 47.50 | 50s/100s: 14/7

Alastair Cook
Tests: 35 | Runs: 2493 | Average: 40.20 | 50s/100s: 11/5

Matthew Hayden
Tests: 20 | Runs: 1461 | Average: 45.65 | 50s/100s: 2/5

Jack Hobbs
Tests: 41 | Runs: 3636 | Average: 54.26 | 50s/100s: 15/12

Len Hutton
Tests: 27 | Runs: 2428 | Average: 56.46 | 50s/100s: 14/5

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Justin Langer
Tests: 21 | Runs: 1658 | Average: 50.24 | 50s/100s: 5/5

Arthur Morris
Tests: 24 | Runs: 2080 | Average: 50.73 | 50s/100s: 8/8

Bill Ponsford
Tests: 29 | Runs: 2122 | Average: 48.22 | 50s/100s: 6/7

Herbert Sutcliffe
Tests: 27 | Runs: 2741 | Average: 66.85 | 50s/100s: 16/8

Mark Taylor
Tests: 33 | Runs: 2496 | Average: 42.30 | 50s/100s: 15/6

Justin Langer and Matt Hayden

Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Middle-order batsmen

Ken Barrington
Tests: 23 | Runs: 2111 | Average: 63.96 | 50s/100s: 13/5

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Allan Border
Tests: 47 | Runs: 3548 | Average: 56.31 | 50s/100s: 21/8

Donald Bradman
Tests: 37 | Runs: 5028 | Average: 89.78 | 50s/100s: 12/19

Greg Chappell
Tests: 35 | Runs: 2619 | Average: 45.94 | 50s/100s: 12/9

Denis Compton
Tests: 28 | Runs: 1842 | Average: 42.83 | 50s/100s: 9/5

David Gower
Tests: 42 | Runs: 3269 | Average: 44.78 | 50s/100s: 12/9

Wally Hammond
Tests: 33 | Runs: 2852 | Average: 51.85 | 50s/100s: 7/9

Mike Hussey
Tests: 15 | Runs: 1304 | Average: 59.27 | 50s/100s: 9/4

Stan McCabe
Tests: 24 | Runs: 1931 | Average: 48.27 | 50s/100s: 10/4

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Kevin Pietersen
Tests: 27 | Runs: 2158 | Average: 44.95 | 50s/100s: 13/4

Ricky Ponting
Tests: 35 | Runs: 2476 | Average: 44.21 | 50s/100s: 9/8

Steve Smith
Tests: 27 | Runs: 2800 | Average: 65.11 | 50s/100s: 9/11

Michael Vaughan
Tests: 10 | Runs: 959 | Average: 47.95 | 50s/100s: 1/4

Mark Waugh
Tests: 29 | Runs: 2204 | Average: 50.09 | 50s/100s: 11/6

Steve Waugh
Tests: 46 | Runs: 3200 | Average: 58.18 | 50s/100s: 14/10

Mark and Steve Waugh

Both Waugh brothers had outstanding Ashes records. (Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT)

All-rounders

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Ian Botham
Tests: 36 | Runs: 1673 | Batting average: 29.35 | 50s/100s: 6/4 | Wickets: 148 | Bowling average: 27.65 | Bowling strike-rate: 57.2

Andrew Flintoff
Tests: 14 | Runs: 856 | Batting average: 34.24 | 50s/100s: 6/1 | Wickets: 43 | Bowling average: 36.11 | Bowling strike-rate: 64.1

Tony Greig
Tests: 21 | Runs: 1303 | Batting average: 36.19 | 50s/100s: 10/1 | Wickets: 44 | Bowling average: 37.79 | Bowling strike-rate: 78.9

Keith Miller
Tests: 29 | Runs: 1511 | Batting average: 33.57 | 50s/100s: 6/3 | Wickets: 87 | Bowling average: 22.40 | Bowling strike-rate: 65.7

Ben Stokes
Tests: 14 | Runs: 921 | Batting average: 38.37 | 50s/100s: 4/3 | Wickets: 34 | Bowling average: 35.94 | Bowling strike-rate: 55.9

Wicketkeepers

Adam Gilchrist
Tests: 20 | Runs: 1083 | Average: 45.12 | 50s/100s: 6/3 | Dismissals: 96

Brad Haddin
Tests: 20 | Runs: 1366 | Average: 41.39 | 50s/100s: 11/3 | Dismissals: 80

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Ian Healy
Tests: 33 | Runs: 1269 | Average: 30.95 | 50s/100s: 6/2 | Dismissals: 135

Alan Knott
Tests: 34 | Runs: 1682 | Average: 32.98 | 50s/100s: 1/2 | Dismissals: 105

Rod Marsh
Tests: 42 | Runs: 1633 | Average: 27.21 | 50s/100s: 9/1 | Dismissals: 148

Adam Gilchrist hits Monty Panesar for six

Adam Gilchrist on the way to his final Ashes hundred. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Bowlers

Terry Aldermann
Tests: 17 | Wickets: 100 | Average: 21.17 | Strike-rate: 47.1

James Anderson
Tests: 32 | Wickets: 104 | Average: 34.56 | Strike-rate: 67.7

Richie Benaud
Tests: 27 | Wickets: 83 | Average: 31.81 | Strike-rate: 87.7

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Sydney Barnes
Tests: 20 | Wickets: 106 | Average: 21.58 | Strike-rate: 54.2

Stuart Broad
Tests: 32 | Wickets: 118 | Average: 29.35 | Strike-rate: 55.1

Pat Cummins
Tests: 10 | Wickets: 52 | Average: 21.84 | Strike-rate: 47.0

Clarrie Grimmett
Tests: 22 | Wickets: 106 | Average: 32.44 | Strike-rate: 86.4

Mitchell Johnson
Tests: 19 | Wickets: 87 | Average: 25.81 | Strike-rate: 43.1

Jim Laker
Tests: 15 | Wickets: 79 | Average: 18.27 | Strike-rate: 50.7

Harold Larwood
Tests: 15 | Wickets: 64 | Average: 29.87 | Strike-rate: 63.3

Dennis Lillee
Tests: 29 | Wickets: 167 | Average: 21.00 | Strike-rate: 50.9

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Ray Lindwall
Tests: 29 | Wickets: 114 | Average: 22.44 | Strike-rate: 59.0

Glenn McGrath
Tests: 30 | Wickets: 157 | Average: 20.92 | Strike-rate: 46.3

Bill O’Reilly
Tests: 19 | Wickets: 102 | Average: 25.36 | Strike-rate: 77.0

Fred Spofforth
Tests: 18 | Wickets: 94 | Average: 18.41 | Strike-rate: 44.5

Jeff Thomson
Tests: 21 | Wickets: 100 | Average: 28 | Strike-rate: 49.5

Fred Trueman
Tests: 19 | Wickets: 79 | Average: 25.30 | Strike-rate: 55.2

Frank Tyson
Tests: 8 | Wickets: 32 | Average: 25.31 | Strike-rate: 53.8

Derek Underwood
Tests: 29 | Wickets: 105 | Average: 26.38 | Strike-rate: 76.1

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Shane Warne
Tests: 36 | Wickets: 195 | Average: 23.25 | Strike-rate: 55.1

Bob Willis
Tests: 35 | Wickets: 128 | Average: 26.14 | Strike-rate: 56.9