Don Topley: My player ratings from Essex’s County Championship campaign
Don Topley ranks the players from Essex’s remarkable County Championship winning campaign in his latest weekly look at all things cricket.
Essex were crowned County Champions last week, in their first season back in Division One – a remarkable achievement, having never survived more than one season in the top flight.
When winning Division One you are the very best side and they should be congratulated wholeheartedly. It is astonishing that Essex won it with two games left, the entire competition is only 14 four-day matches.
Here are my player ratings from their wonderful season...
Ryan ten Doeschate: Quality player, quality captain and human being. Much respected – when he talks, the dressing room listens. Has become a great leader as he never asks someone to do something he wouldn’t do himself – 10/10
Alastair Cook: Currently averaging 66 for the season over his seven Championship outings. Not only has he a major influence on the field with the bat but off the field and in the dressing room. Made more hundreds than anyone else in the dressing room – 9/10
Simon Harmer: Essex’s official spinner and a world class one. Shrewdly Essex have selected left arm bowlers and encouraged Harmer to bowl into their rough which is one of the oldest tactics in the game – it has proved fantastically successful – 9/10
Jamie Porter: Unbelievable season. Jamie will probably be pinching himself for sometime yet! Together with Harmer, has been brilliant. A captain’s dream as it is hard to get the ball out of his hand – 9/10
Nick Browne: Nick would like more than his one hundred (a double hundred) for his endeavours but still averaging a healthy 40+ per innings. Nearest Essex player to the landmark that is 1000 championship runs – 8/10
Tom Westley: Has he done enough to get on the Ashes plane? Only time will tell. Averaging over 45. If he didn’t know before, he does now know that he is an LBW candidate. Still a very good and valuable player – 8/10
Ravi Bopara: Has shown an excellent attitude throughout the season and scored some important runs, but he will still be disappointed with his return as he sets such high standards – 8/10
Dan Lawrence: Dan’s match-saving large hundred in the first game v Lancs was significant as the rest of the Essex players took confidence that this young man played beautifully and saved the game. The rest of his team realised that they could contribute too - huge moment at the beginning of the season – 8/10
James Foster: Didn’t start in the side, but Wheater’s average start to the season persuaded Silverwood to bring back Foster and he repaid the faith with a ton in his first game back. Kept well throughout the season and added useful and aggressive runs – 8/10
Mohammed Amir: His match figures of 10/72 were instrumental in the dynamic victory at Scarborough. Blowing Yorkshire away in two days was a sensational win and basically all down to Amir’s devastating figures in both innings. A popular man at Essex – 8/10
Neil Wagner: Passionate New Zealand left arm pace bowler who has often got quality opposition batsmen out. Started as the first overseas player before Amir arrived but returned when Amir got injured and was recalled to Pakistan – 8/10
Varun Chopra: Has contributed more in white ball cricket but still been successful in the Championship. Played well on his return to Edgbaston recently. An experienced batsman who has much to offer – 7/10
Matt Quinn: Endured a repeat stress fracture of the back in the middle of the season and has undergone surgery where a pin has been put in. Clearly in discomfort at times – 6/10
Sam Cook: This Loughborough University young man has enjoyed being selected over Arron Beard and Paul Walter. As with Porter over the last couple of years, Essex must look after him and the other young bowlers – 6/10
Adam Wheater: Started in the side after his return from Hampshire. Lost his place to Foster and never got it back – 5/10