England’s reliance on players hailing from a small number of counties means that they would struggle in a match against Yorkshire if they were unable to call upon the services of any Headingley-based personnel.
Yorkshire’s clinching of their 31st County Championship title this year was even more of an achievement when you considering that they managed it without the services of Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Liam Plunkett for varying periods this summer.
All three players had key individual performances for their country this year, but if they were to play for their home county, they would tip the scales in the favour of Yorkshire in a hypothetical match against England.
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Yorkshire claimed their first four-day silverware in 13 years with a game still to spare this summer. The excellent form of Adam Lyth and Alex Lees with the bat combined with the regular wicket-taking traits of Jack Brooks, Ryan Sidebottom and Adil Rashid to produce a match-winning formula.
They won the Championship with the result of their penultimate match - a thumping victory away to title rivals Nottinghamshire.
Under the guidance of Jason Gillespie, the White Rose county were the side to beat, and showed the gulf in class to the nearest challengers with that performance at Trent Bridge.
But they could have been even more convincing winners had they had the use of some of their best players.
Joe Root and Gary Ballance have this summer established themselves as two of England’s most consistent and reliable performers. A string of centuries and big partnerships have labelled the pair as feared batsmen on the international stage.
Meanwhile Liam Plunkett had a good start to the summer, taking 5-64 on his home ground in the second Test against Sri Lanka.
The limited availability of those stars made Yorkshire’s task of winning the title more difficult, but they still triumphed with ease.
England vs Yorkshire
So that leads us to the prospect of a match between Yorkshire - with all of their players available - against an England side that isn’t allowed to select any Yorkshire players.
An England batting order with a void created by the absence of Root and Ballance would really struggle up against the seam attack of Brooks, Sidebottom and Plunkett. Meanwhile Adil Rashid could give Moeen Ali a run for his money as a spinning all-rounder option.
While a fixture like this is unlikely to ever come to fruition, it is interesting to ponder the dominance of certain counties when it comes to producing Test cricketers.
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