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County Championship: 2019 team of the season as chosen by BBC Sport users


Championship leaders Essex contributed two players to BBC users’ county team of the season

We are into the final stretch of the County Championship season and your selection for the team of 2019 has been made.

Almost 23,000 votes were received in the week before the final round of fixtures began on Monday, 23 September.

Nine different counties are represented, with Essex and Hampshire the only sides to provide two players to the team.

Here is the team of the season, as chosen by BBC Sport users.

  • Player statistics correct as of Sunday, 22 September, before the start of the final round of County Championship matches. BBC users’ squad was selected based on data correct as of Sunday, 15 September.

Dominic Sibley (Warwickshire) – selected by 88% of users who voted

1,324 runs, average 69.68, five centuries

Dominic Sibley has faced more than 3,000 balls in the County Championship this summer

Who else could open the batting but Dominic Sibley? The Warwickshire man has been in sparkling form for the Bears this summer, earning him a first England call-up for the winter tour of New Zealand.

Two of his five Championship centuries came in a victorious effort against Nottinghamshire in Warwickshire’s penultimate fixture, including a second double-hundred of the summer, to cement his position as the leading run-scorer in Division One.

In fact, the 24-year-old began the final round of fixtures as the only Division One player to have scored more than 1,000 runs in this season’s County Championship.

Alastair Cook (Essex) – 50%

830 runs, average 43.68, one century

When not playing for Essex, ex-England captain Alastair Cook has made several appearances in the Test Match Special commentary box

Alastair Cook has been a model of consistency at the top of the Essex order in his first season since retiring from international duty.

The 34-year-old has scored six fifties to add to his solitary hundred, and is on the brink of helping Essex to their second Championship title in three seasons.

Marnus Labuschagne (Glamorgan) – 84%

1,114 runs, average 65.52, five centuries

Marnus Labuschagne was still the leading Division Two run-scorer before the final round of fixtures, despite not playing for Glamorgan since mid-July

It has been quite a summer for Marnus Labuschagne, who started it plundering runs for Glamorgan in Division Two and ended it helping Australia retain the Ashes.

Labuschagne passed 50 in 10 of his 18 innings for Glamorgan and translated that form to Test cricket, starting the final three Tests of the Ashes series against England after replacing Steve Smith as a concussion substitute at Lord’s.

He scored 353 runs in his seven Test innings, including four fifties.

Sam Northeast (Hampshire) – 65%

958 runs, average 50.42, three centuries

Sam Northeast last appeared in this list while with Kent in 2016 and you will struggle to find many more dependable County Championship batsmen than the 29-year-old right-hander.

He began the final round of fixtures as the third-highest run-scorer in Division One behind Sibley and Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance, while Northeast also stood in as captain while James Vince was in England’s World Cup squad.

His contributions put Hampshire in a position to start their final match against Kent knowing victory would secure third place in the table.

Dawid Malan (Middlesex) – 41%

933 runs, average 46.65, four centuries

It is less than two years since Dawid Malan was scoring an Ashes hundred in Perth and, although his first foray into the Test arena was a relatively brief one, the Middlesex captain has showed his qualities once more with an excellent summer in county cricket.

His highlight was a career-best 199 against Derbyshire in July, but there is sure to be disappointment that he has been unable to lead the 2016 champions back to the top tier and they will begin a third successive season in Division Two in 2020.

Dane Vilas (Lancashire) – 70%

1,018 runs, average 84.83, three centuries; 46 catches, one stumping

Lancashire were relegated in 2018 but won the Division Two title in Dane Vilas’ first full season as captain

Lancashire have had no such trouble in returning to Division One of the County Championship and captain Dane Vilas has played a pivotal role in their title success.

The South African is responsible for the highest individual score of the Championship season – 266 off just 240 balls against Glamorgan in August – and began the final round of games with a batting average nudging 85.

Behind the stumps, only Ben Brown of Sussex has been involved in more Division Two dismissals than the Lancashire wicketkeeper.

Ryan Higgins (Gloucestershire) – 46%

957 runs, average 63.80, four centuries; 50 wickets, average 23.64

Zimbabwe-born Ryan Higgins has been one of the standout all-rounders in county cricket this summer.

A career-best 199 against Leicestershire was among his tally of centuries, while the 24-year-old seamer passed the 50-wicket mark for the season with an eight-wicket match haul against Worcestershire in Gloucestershire’s penultimate fixture.

Lewis Gregory (Somerset) – 49%

448 runs, average 29.86, one century; 51 wickets, average 15.49

Lewis Gregory earned his first call-up into an England Test squad in July and, while he was not involved in the one-off game against Ireland, it was just reward for one of the heartbeats of the Somerset dressing room.

The 27-year-old has impressed with bat and ball during their title chase, which climaxes against fellow contenders Essex this week.

Simon Harmer (Essex) – 68%

78 wickets, average 18.11

Simon Harmer took 72 Division One wickets in 2017 when Essex ended their 25-year wait to win the County Championship title

South African spinner Simon Harmer has appeared in BBC users’ team of the season at the end of all three of his years in English county cricket.

The 30-year-old began the final week of the season as the leading wicket-taker in either division of the County Championship.

He has returned nine five-wicket hauls and has twice taken 10 wickets in a match, including figures of 12-61 in a two-day win over Hampshire in June.

Throw in the fact that he captained Essex to their first ever domestic T20 trophy, hitting the winning boundary off the last ball of the T20 Blast final against Worcestershire, and it has been another season to remember for Harmer.

Kyle Abbott (Hampshire) – 64%

68 wickets, average 15.70

Kyle Abbott ended his international career with South Africa to sign for Hampshire on a Kolpak deal in 2017

Somerset batsmen are still having nightmares about facing South African pace bowler Kyle Abbott.

He dominated Hampshire’s penultimate game of the summer, ending with match figures of 17-86 – the best ever by a Hampshire bowler and the fourth-best in the history of the County Championship.

That performance alone could have been enough to earn him selection, but it has otherwise been another solid summer for Abbott, who was also named in BBC users’ team of the 2017 season.

Chris Rushworth (Durham) – 49%

69 wickets, average 18.42

Few things are certain in life; death, taxes, Steve Smith centuries and Chris Rushworth being the scourge of opening batsmen in the County Championship.

The 33-year-old seamer began the final round of games leading the way in the “Division Two wickets” column with 69, including four five-wicket hauls.

Defeat at Northamptonshire ended Durham’s promotion hopes with one match remaining, but Rushworth’s experience is sure to be key if they are to end their exile from the top flight at the fourth time of asking in 2020.



Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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