@Yas_Wisden 2 minute read
Darren Stevens’ longstanding resistance to the ageing process has been one of the stories of the County Championship in recent times, but he is just one of a number of golden oldies still strutting their stuff on the domestic scene. Yas Rana picks out an XI of stalwarts aged 35 or older, and still as good as ever.
Alastair Cook – Essex
24,613 first-class runs @ 47.24, 68 hundreds
Three years on from the end of his England career, Cook is still a titan within the county game. 2021 hasn’t quite seen the former England skipper reach the heights we’ve become accustomed to, but it’s not long since he lit up the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy final with a stunning hundred at Lord’s against Somerset.
Wayne Madsen – Derbyshire
12,691 first-class runs @ 38.69, 31 hundreds
Just about nudges Daryl Mitchell out of the XI on account of his superior form in 2021 – Madsen is a batsman whose range of strokes stands out above his peers in the county game.
Hashim Amla – Surrey
18,452 first-class runs @ 48.81, 54 hundreds
He’s still got it. 37 years young, Amla is the sixth highest run-scorer in the County Championship in 2021 and is fresh off the back of another classic – a vintage all-day blockathon against Hampshire.
James Hildreth – Somerset
17,547 first-class runs @ 41.67, 46 hundreds
In truth, if you were picking this XI on form Hildreth probably wouldn’t make the cut. But this team was always going to have Hildreth in it – as Somerset fans like to remind you, he’s one of the best uncapped English cricketers of his generation.
Ryan ten Doeschate – Essex
11,298 first-class runs @ 44.30, 29 hundreds
Still going strong at 41. The Dutch international remains a regular in the Essex middle-order that’s brought the county so much success in recent years.
Steven Davies (wk) – Somerset
13,871 first-class runs @ 48.74, 25 hundreds
It’s been a decade since Davies last played for England and while there was never really an obvious point in his career where higher red-ball honours ought to have come his way, he is very much in the Hildreth camp of those who, in hindsight, were unlucky to have never played Test cricket. Davies has been excellent in 2021, averaging over 40 for a Somerset side pushing for Division One cricket.
Darren Stevens (c) – Kent
16,169 first-class runs @ 34.92, 36 hundreds
574 first-class wickets @ 24.44, 31 five-fors
The main man. Stevens, somehow, is still one of the County Championship’s most valuable cricketers, averaging more than 40 with the bat and exactly 20 with the ball for Kent in his 46th year.
Roelof van der Merwe – Somerset
3,406 first-class runs @ 34.96, 6 hundreds
134 first-class wickets @ 34.48, no five-fors
Not a permanent fixture in the Somerset XI, but is a fine deputy for Jack Leach whenever the Englishman is on international duty. While the wickets haven’t come yet in 2021, van der Merwe has scored 164 runs from two innings so far this year.
Steven Patterson – Yorkshire
446 first-class wickets @ 27.45, eight five-fors
Patterson still leads his impressive Yorkshire side well into his 38th year, topping the county’s wicket-taking charts in 2021 for a side who, on recent form, could be a good bet for claiming a first County Championship crown since 2015.
Tim Murtagh – Middlesex
871 first-class wickets @ 24.64, 37 five-fors
Middlesex’s metronomic medium-pacer continues todo the job for his county even if the team’s overall returns have been somewhat uninspiring of late. Murtagh recently expressed his desire to join Jimmy Anderson in the 1000 club, and it’s hard to bet against him.
Chris Rushworth – Durham
552 first-class wickets @ 22.34, 29 five-fors
Prolific for the best part of the last decade, Rushworth became his county’s all-time leading wicket-taker earlier this season. Rushworth’s overall career numbers are extraordinary, and given he’s just turned 35, he’s a shoo-in to this side.