England is one of the most influential countries in the world when it comes to cricket. Although football is always at the first place in the popularity of the British, cricket undoubtedly plays a fundamental role not only for the locals but also for the people (Indian, Pakistani, Caribbean etc.) who live by the millions in the UK.
Walking through the neighborhoods of each city it is not difficult to find high-level cricket-grounds, often even exclusive clubs, or improvised grounds. Young Englishmen also grow up following cricket, chasing the dream of becoming future national team captains or just looking for the best cricket prediction in the world. But who are the most influential English players of all time?
Let’s start this article by talking about a pioneering early 20th century cricket figure, Sydney Barnes. Some say you have to work hard and for a long time to be remembered, but Barnes claimed 24 five-wicket hauls in just 27 caps … if you think England’s all-time record wicket-taker James Anderson has posted 28 five-wicket hauls in 151 appearances, it is easy to understand how influential the figure of Sydney Barnes is for English cricket.
Barnes was considered by all to be an extremely complete player: his heady mixture of seam, swing, spin and pace have been passed down from generation to generation, making millions of people fall in love with this mythological figure. Yes, let’s say mythological because you remember that at the beginning of the twentieth century there was no TV and most cricket lovers could only imagine the exploits of Barnes… but we are sure that whoever played against him back in the days, has dreamed of him for many many nights!
Sir Len Hutton
If at least once you have approached cricket as a player or have followed a game, you cannot fail to know Sir Len Hutton, one of the most elegant batsmen to play the game of all time. Sir Len Hutton was the first official captain of the England national team and with his unmistakable style he was an icon of British cricket. Ray Illingworth called him “God to me” after his death in 1990 and we are sure that he is not the only one who still thinks so.
Sir Ian Botham
If cricket has become a sport also followed by the mass media it is also thanks to Sir Ian Botham, the man who represented the double face of cricketer / rock star during the 80s. Although the press often spoke of Botham for his private life as well as Best or Becker, the whole cricket world appreciated his exploits on the pitch as one of the most influential English cricketers ever. With his 14 Test centuries and 383 wickets – Botham held the national record until 2015 – he’s still one of the high bar for English all-rounders.
So far we have listed English cricketers who have represented the history of the sport, but there is a player who is still writing important pages of cricket made in England, with constantly improving statistics: we are obviously talking about James Anderson. During his incredible professional career, which began in 2003, Handerson showed off his entire class as a true master of swing bowling and pace bowling.
We put Handerson right here, right after Botham, because he was the one who relieve his his wickets record and he has gone on to extend that mark to 584, and he’s still continuing to play … unbelievable. No international cricket man has dismissed more batsmen and bowled more deliveries than James Handerson. Chapeau!
Sure there would be tons of other English cricketers to mention, but hey remember this is just a list and we wanted to get a broader overview of the sport, including some of the most influential players from the early 1900s to the present. Names like Sir Alastair Cook, Fred Trueman or William Gilbert Grace, just to mention a few, are milestones of British cricket. .