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Digital Subscriptions > The Cricketer Magazine > December 2017 > Those who missed out

Those who missed out

James Coyne picks out a few of the great batsmen who received no votes at all

There were just two left-handers in our 15 – a sign of the orthodoxy of English coaching methods down the years, perhaps? Among them was one stylist, David Gower – held in some suspicion by disciplinarians – and the unpretty but highly effective Alastair Cook.

Before Gower’s time, the player considered by many to be the finest English left-hander was Frank Woolley. Indeed, Woolley was included in the All-Time England XI chosen by EW Swanton, John Arlott and David Frith for The Cricketer to celebrate the Centenary Test of 1977. (Swanton was so besotted with him that, in 1996, he appeared beneath the dressing room to implore Matt Walker not to break Woolley’s record score for Kent at Canterbury; Walker carried on regardless.) Woolley scored 58,959 first-class runs – second only to Hobbs among all batsmen, English or not. But his reputation no doubt suffers for a Test record of five hundreds in 64 matches, at just 36.

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England’s greatest batsmen – we asked 27 experts to name their top 5, and collated the results. There are some fascinating choices! The superb Simon Barnes, with the best turn of phrase in sports journalism, on England’s year so far. The feisty Jarrod Kimber on the state of play in Australian cricket. The elegant and massively under-rated David Townsend on Adelaide Oval. A lovely piece on the greatness of Dennis Lillee, by Simon Hughes. A forensic look at the problems at Sussex, by the man in the know, Bruce Talbot.