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County Championship: 2021 team of the season as chosen by BBC Sport users


Surrey batters Hashim Amla and Ollie Pope
Surrey pair Hashim Amla and Ollie Pope both made the side despite an under-par season for their county

The domestic cricket season is almost finished and while Warwickshire have been crowned county champions, the time has come to reveal who made your County Championship team of 2021.

Almost 15,300 teams were selected by users of the BBC Sport website and app during the final round of Championship fixtures – and we can reveal which 11 players were most selected.

Eight different counties are represented, but perhaps surprisingly, no players from either champions Warwickshire or Bob Willis Trophy finalists Lancashire have made the team.

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

  • Player statistics correct as of Monday, 27 September, before the Bob Willis Trophy final. BBC users’ squad was selected based on data correct as of Tuesday, 21 September.

Tom Haines (Sussex) – selected by 58% of users who voted

1,176 runs, average 47.04, three centuries

Tom Haines
Sussex opener Tom Haines was the first batter to reach 1,000 County Championship runs this season

Despite Sussex enduring one of their worst County Championship campaigns in living memory, the team of the season features two of their players, including one youngster who gave them reason to feel optimistic for the future.

Tom Haines, 22, became the first batter to reach 1,000 runs in the competition in 2021 as he consistently made runs opening the batting.

He began the season with an impressive 155 against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford and then passed the much-vaunted 1,000-run landmark after making 156 and 87 in a run-filled match against Middlesex at Hove in September.

Nearly 9,000 users selected the left-hander at the top of the order for the team of the season off the back of those performances.

Jake Libby (Worcestershire) – 57%

1,075 runs, average 56.58, four centuries

Jake Libby
Jake Libby began his 2021 season with an unbeaten 180 against Essex

Close behind Tom Haines came another opening batter who went neck-and-neck with him for the honour of being first to pass 1,000 runs.

While Worcestershire were another side to struggle this season, Jake Libby had a campaign to remember with the bat.

The right-hander started off with a marathon 180 not out off 496 balls against Essex at Chelmsford in April and would go on to score three more centuries.

Libby, 28, also produced an impressive 125 not out against Sussex at Worcester at the start of September as the Pears chased a last-day target of 315.

David Bedingham (Durham) – 82%

1,029 runs, average 60.53, three centuries

David Bedingham
David Bedingham joined Durham in 2020

Coming in at number three in the batting order and with comfortably more votes than any other player with 12,638 selections is Durham’s David Bedingham.

South Africa-born Bedingham’s second season with the county saw him race out of the traps with two centuries and two half-centuries in April, including 257 off 410 balls against Derbyshire at Emirates Riverside.

That consistency saw him at the top of the run-scoring charts for most of the season and push his average above 60, before the likes of Haines and Libby overhauled him.

But, the 27-year-old’s topsy-turvy season in all formats also featured him being dismissed for ducks in the One-Day Cup final against Glamorgan and in the final of the men’s Hundred for Birmingham Phoenix against Southern Brave.

Hashim Amla (Surrey) – 39%

994 runs, average 58.47, three centuries

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla rounded off his 2021 season with 163 against Glamorgan at The Kia Oval

Class is permanent with your selection at number four as Hashim Amla once again demonstrated his thirst for batting long periods and producing big scores.

While just three centuries might seem under-par for the former South Africa captain, what also stood out was his ability to dig in and produce match-saving innings.

Among those was a doughty 37 not out off 278 balls on the final day against Hampshire to secure a draw at the Ageas Bowl in July.

Hampshire’s bowlers will be crossing their fingers the fixture list keeps them away from the 38-year-old next season after he also scored an unbeaten 215 against them at The Kia Oval at the end of April.

Ollie Pope (Surrey) – 49%

861 runs, average 78.27, three centuries

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope made a first-class career-best 274 in his last innings of the 2021 season against Glamorgan

Ollie Pope experienced what can only be best described as a rollercoaster 2021 for both club and country.

Out of the blocks like an express train in early season, he then endured an injury setback in the middle before regaining both fitness and his place in England’s middle-order for the Test match against India at The Kia Oval.

Despite his first-innings 81, he was unable to prevent England losing, but returned to Surrey colours for the conclusion of the County Championship.

He finished it in some style by scoring a first-class career-best 274 against Glamorgan in a run-fest on his home ground for his third century of the campaign.

Added to that, it was his second double ton of the season after scoring 245 against Leicestershire in April.

Ben Brown (Sussex) – 51%

967 runs, average 51.37, four centuries, 30 dismissals

Ben Brown
Ben Brown was replaced as Sussex four-day captain by Tom Haines in September

Despite a season of ups and downs both on and off the field, Sussex wicketkeeper Ben Brown still managed to produce some impressive figures both with the bat and behind the stumps.

While a number of young and exciting academy graduates, like Tom Haines, began to establish themselves, 32-year-old Brown was on hand to be an experienced head.

But as his team struggled for form, Brown also found himself left out of the side and relieved of both the club captaincy and wicketkeeping duties in mid-season.

He put that disappointment behind him though to finish with centuries against Leicestershire (133 not out) and Derbyshire (157) and push his batting average above 50.

Darren Stevens (Kent) – 69%

650 runs, average 43.33, three centuries, 39 wickets, average 18.59

Darren Stevens
Darren Stevens lifted the domestic T20 title for the third time in his career

‘The Summer of Stevo’ returned in 2021 for its latest chapter as one of county cricket’s cult heroes once again demonstrated his enduring class and popularity with more than 10,500 selections.

Despite turning 45, Darren Stevens showed no signs of slowing down as he produced another stand-out season despite Kent failing to win any of their matches in the first phase of the County Championship.

But as well as helping the county win the T20 Blast in the closing weeks, he also contributed with both bat and ball to their four consecutive wins in the second phase as they won Division Three.

That included a big-hitting 107 not out off just 70 balls against his former county Leicestershire.

However, his standout performance came in May when he struck 15 fours and 15 sixes in a spectacular innings of 190 off 149 balls against Glamorgan at Canterbury.

In the age of live streams, it got the cricketing world watching and wooing all around the globe.

Craig Overton (Somerset) – 47%

237 runs, average 23.70, 42 wickets, average 15.48

Craig Overton
Craig Overton earned a recall to England’s Test side this summer during the series against India

It is probably no coincidence that Somerset’s decline in form in the second phase of the County Championship season came at the time Craig Overton found himself recalled to England’s Test side.

The right-arm seamer, 27, only featured once in the second phase and by then his county’s chances of a first County Championship title had long gone.

But in the first phase he produced four five-wicket hauls as Somerset finished top of their group, performances that saw him recalled for the India series in the innings victory at Emerald Headingley.

Simon Harmer (Essex) – 50%

317 runs, average 26.41, 53 wickets, average 23.26

Simon Harmer
Simon Harmer played his first season as one of Essex’s overseas players following changes to Kolpak registrations

While defending champions Essex failed to qualify for Division One in the second phase of the County Championship, one of their lynchpins of title wins in 2017 and 2019, and the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020, did find form with the ball once again.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer may not have matched his impressive wicket hauls of 74 in 2017 and 86 in 2019, but did find time to claim 53 this season and record first-class career-best figures of 9-80 against Derbyshire in May.

In a season where spin bowlers struggled to feature among the leading wicket-takers, South African Harmer was still streets ahead of the rest, with Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson the closest behind with 36 wickets at 20.55.

Luke Fletcher (Nottinghamshire) – 60%

66 wickets, average 14.91

Luke Fletcher
Luke Fletcher made his first-class debut for Nottinghamshire in 2008

Taking the new ball and picking up more than 9,000 selections is Nottinghamshire seamer Luke Fletcher.

The 33-year-old helped mastermind a return to form in red-ball cricket for his county while also finishing leading County Championship wicket-taker with 66.

He consistently took wickets as third-placed finishers Nottinghamshire picked up seven wins during the season, as well as ending a near three-year wait for a victory in the competition.

Among the highlights for the 6ft 6ins (198cm) right-armer were then first-class career-best figures of 6-24 as defending champions Essex were beaten by an innings at Trent Bridge.

But, a couple of weeks later, he surpassed those figures with 7-37 on the same ground against Worcestershire before finishing with match analysis of 10-57.

Chris Rushworth (Durham) – 43%

59 wickets, average 18.19

Chris Rushworth
Chris Rushworth became Durham’s leading first-class wicket-taker during 2021

And opening the bowling with Fletcher is another dependable County Championship performer in Durham seamer Chris Rushworth.

The 35-year-old was close behind Fletcher in the wicket-taking charts with 59 and was selected more than 6,600 times by BBC Sport website and app users.

Rushworth also became Durham’s all-time leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket as he surpassed Graham Onions’ tally of 527 when he claimed match figures of 9-108 against Worcestershire in May.

The scale and emotion of that achievement was even more impressive given he was released at 19 by the county in 2006 before being given a second chance four years later.

His dependable new-ball performances in 2021 also helped Durham reach the One-Day Cup final but his 1-37 proved in vain as they were beaten by 58 runs.



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