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County Championship 2021

Wisden’s County Championship team of the group stage

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

With the group stage of the 2021 County Championship wrapped up, we’ve taken a close look at some of the players who have really made a mark this season.

Jake Libby – Worcestershire

10 matches, 798 runs @ 61.38

Libby has been phenomenal in red-ball cricket since joining Worcestershire ahead of the 2020 season – in 15 matches for the club, he’s hit 1,296 runs at an average of 58.90. No batsman has faced as many deliveries (1,710) as him this season.

Marcus Harris – Leicestershire

8 matches, 655 runs @ 54.58

The Australia Test opener has excelled in his first County Championship stint, hitting hundreds against Surrey, Middlesex and Gloucestershire. He truly came to the fore in his 185 against Middlesex, putting on 243 for the third wicket with Colin Ackermann to help Leicestershire chase down a mammoth target of 378.

Tom Abell (c) – Somerset

8 matches, 635 runs @ 63.50

The Somerset skipper led his side to the top of Group 2 and was their best batsman too, leading the county’s run-scoring charts. The fact that he’s done all his work at first drop adds to the achievement.

David Bedingham – Durham

10 matches, 945 runs @ 72.69

The leading run-scorer in the country and by some distance too. The standout knock was his 257 against Derbyshire, the second-highest first-class score ever by a Durham batsman.

Kiran Carlson – Glamorgan

10 matches, 790 runs @ 65.83

It’s been a breakthrough campaign for the 23-year-old who averaged less than 14 in the Bob Willis Trophy last year. Seven fifty-plus scores in 16 innings point to impressive consistency, and he’s made his runs at a decent lick with a strike rate of 69.97.

Chris Cooke (wk) – Glamorgan

10 matches, 544 runs @ 60.44 | 32 dismissals

After hitting his first red-ball century since 2017 in Glamorgan’s season opener against Yorkshire, the 35-year-old wicketkeeper has gone on to add two more tons to his collection this year. Only two keepers have claimed more dismissals.

Darren Stevens – Kent

9 matches, 459 runs @ 41.72 | 28 wickets @ 20

The evergreen all-rounder has excelled in a miserable campaign for Kent. Beyond his stellar work with the ball, there have been two tons, one of which – a 149-ball 190 against Glamorgan – will live long in the memory.

Craig Overton – Somerset

7 matches, 37 wickets @ 13.40

England duty limited him to seven appearances, yet there are just four bowlers with more wickets than Overton in the Championship this season. The wait for his Test comeback continues but he remains a phenom on the county red-ball scene.

Simon Harmer – Essex

10 matches, 39 wickets @ 25.46

It’s not been his finest season, but Harmer can still claim to b the standout spinner in the County Championship – innings figures of 9-80 against Derbyshire will back that up.

Chris Rushworth – Durham

10 matches, 46 wickets @ 17.97

Another bowler who continues to deliver year after year, the Durham stalwart became his county’s leading first-class wicket-taker in May.

Luke Fletcher – Nottinghamshire

9 matches, 47 wickets @ 13.06

Fletcher has been a fine performer for a long time, but the Notts cult hero has gone to another level this year and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the competition. Now he faces the task of bowling Notts to a first County Championship title since 2010.

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