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THE CRICKETER COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF THE YEAR

Who would make your XI? Let us know @TheCricketerMag

1. Daryl Mitchell

1,266 runs @ 55.04, seven hundreds

In a summer that he passed 11,000 first-class runs, Worcestershire’s opener has been mountainous at the top of the order. Mitchell produced a decisive knock (139*) to end Notts’ unbeaten season and send Worcestershire top of the table.

Alastair Cook came close desPite only playing in seven matches. The former England skipper’s availability at the start of the season was a huge benefit for champions Essex. The opener racked up 667 runs in 10 innings, scoring three hundreds.

2. Mark Stoneman

1,156 runs @ 60.84, four hundreds

After leaving Durham in the offseason, Stoneman has gone from strength-to-strength since his move to the capital. The Surrey southpaw has been immense at the top of the order in a season that has seen him called up to the England Test squad.

3. Gary Ballance

951 runs @ 67.93, three hundreds

A Championship average of 101 meant England could not resist recalling the Yorkshire captain for a third crack at Test cricket. After suffering a fractured finger against South Africa, Ballance’s form dipped for his county, but those early-summer runs proved vital to Yorkshire’s survival.

4. Kumar Sangakkara

1,491 runs @ 106.50, eight hundreds

For most, being labelled with the nickname ‘The King’ would be hyperbolic to say the least, for Sangakkara it is barely befitting the man’s class, talent and contribution to this great game.

At Chelmsford in May, Sangakkara fell 16 short of a century that would have put him alongside CB Fry, Don Bradman, and Mike Procter as the only men to score six first-class centuries in a row. And, against Yorkshire in the One-Day Cup, he registered his 100th century across first-class (61) and List A (39) cricket.

5. Samit Patel

906 runs @ 53.29, two hundreds; 19 wickets @ 35.89, 

Samit’s efforts in all three formats have had many calling for an England call-up. The Notts man hit back-to-back Championship double-hundreds in June including a career-best 257* v Gloucestershire.

6. Ryan ten Doeschate*

659 runs @ 41.19, one hundred; three wickets @ 20.00

The Essex skipper said that their success was down to playing without fear. Ultimately the captain leads from the front and ten Doeschate has done so, scoring important runs in the middle order and marshalling a team that has a depth of quality to deal with the absence of Alastair Cook and Tom Westley.

7. Ben Foakes

29 catches, two stumpings; 680 runs @ 42.50, one hundred

A fine season with bat and gloves has been capped with a call-up to England’s Ashes squad. Alec Stewart reckons (and we're not going to disagree with him) Foakes is up there with the very top gloveman in the game, if not the best. The former Essex man has long been on England’s radar and will provide able back up to Jonny Bairstow if required.

8. Darren Stevens

62 wickets @ 18.08, 7 x 5W; 701 runs @ 41.59, one hundred

"He is a bit of a fine wine is Darren” - Kent head coach Matt Walker.

Age has been told where to go. 41-year-old Stevens has been an all-round powerhouse for Kent in 2017, rolling back the years and unleashing match-winning displays with both leather and willow. 

9. James Pattinson

32 wickets @ 12.06, 2 x 5W; 197 runs @ 49.25

The fact that he only played in five matches and still makes it into the team of the year points to the impact the Australian had for Notts. ‘Patto’ was evidently a class above in Division Two, his next assignment will be to terrorise England’s top order in Australia.

10. Simon Harmer

72 wickets @ 19.19, 2 x 10W, 4 x 5W

The South African Kolpak signing has been a revelation for Essex finishing with 72 wickets to his name. In June the offspinner took 28 wickets in two matches, against Warwickshire and Middlesex.

11. Jamie Porter

75 wickets @ 16.83, 1 x 10W, 5 x 5W

Alongside Harmer, Porter has been a pillar of consistency in Essex’s Championship-winning squad. He wasn’t born when Essex last won the County Championship (1992) and nearly gave up on a first-class career in 2014 but has taken 180 wickets in his last three seasons. If Porter starts 2018 in a similarly rich vein of form, he won’t be far from England’s thoughts.

The votes from our six-man panel

6 – Kumar Sangakkara, Ben Foakes, Simon Harmer, Jamie Porter.

5 – Mark Stoneman.

4 – Samit Patel, Darren Stevens.

3 – Daryl Mitchell, Gary Ballance, Rory Burns, James Pattinson.

2 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ryan ten Doeschate, Kyle Abbott, Jofra Archer.

1 – Ben Coad, Paul Collingwood, Joe Denly, Dan Lawrence, Joe Leach, Liam Livingstone, Ryan McLaren, Sam Northeast.