County Championship Team of the Week: Saeed Ajmal, Michael Carberry and More
England Test rejects, unheralded journeymen and international stars were among the pick of the performers in the latest round of County Championship matches.
Alfonso Thomas' four wickets in four balls helped Somerset cement their place at the top of Division One. With doosras—the prime exponent of mystery spin—the talk of the media, Saeed Ajmal delivered another masterclass for Worcestershire.
Read on to find out who else made the team of the week.
1. Michael Carberry (Hampshire)
Michael Carberry put the disappointment of being axed from the England Test team behind him with an accomplished hundred against Worcestershire.
The left-hander's century in the second innings helped salvage a draw for Hampshire and gave the selectors a timely reminder if the Sam Robson experiment fails.
2. Rory Burns (Surrey)
After a slow start to the season, Surrey are starting to hit their straps. They may not be in full "strut" mode, but Alec Stewart's men are certainly walking a little taller, none more so than Rory Burns.
The opener scored a career-best 199 against Gloucestershire to put the South Londoners in pole position for victory in a game that finishes on Thursday.
3. Ravi Bopara (Essex)
Amid all the speculation concerning England's post-Ashes middle order, one name largely absent from the conversation was Ravi Bopara. The Essex all-rounder has been a fixture in England's one-day line-up and showed against Kent that he's still a capable performer in the longer form of the game.
Coming in at first drop, the 29-year-old contributed 162 to a 242-run partnership with Tim Westley.
4. Jesse Ryder (Essex)
With just 233 runs to his name at an average of 23.3, Jesse Ryder hasn't exactly got off to a flying start with Essex. He's made up for his batting troubles with some impressive performances with the ball, though.
The New Zealander ended the drawn game against Kent with the impressive match figures of 10-110.
5. Steven Croft (Lancashire)
Steven Croft was the pick of the performers during Lancashire's draw with Warwickshire. The all-rounder scored his first century in a year, taking just 118 balls to notch 104.
Stalemate was always the most likely result heading into the final day on a sluggish Edgbaston pitch. Croft made the home side work for their draw, though, claiming three quick second-innings wickets.
6. Jason Roy (Surrey)
The big-hitting middle-order batsman delivered an innings more often seen in the Twenty20 than County Championship arena. Roy smashed eight sixes and 10 fours in a brutal innings of 121 not out that came from just 71 balls.
Throw in three first-innings wickets for just nine runs and it's been an impressive few days for the 23-year-old.
7. Chris Read (Nottinghamshire)
What is a more important skill for a wicketkeeper? Silky glove work or runs down the order? Nottinghamshire skipper Chris Read managed both in the drawn game against Yorkshire.
The 35-year-old scored a breezy, run-a-ball 30 in the first innings and followed it up with 75 in the second. He also added three dismissals with the gloves.
England's loss is definitely Nottinghamshire's gain.
8. David Wainwright (Derbyshire)
Derbyshire's first Championship win of 2014 was in large measure down to the all-round efforts of David Wainwright.
Coming in to bat at No. 8, Wainwright's 109 gave the visitors a slender first-innings advantage. The 29-year-old followed that up by taking five for 54 in Leicestershire's second innings to set up a comfortable nine-wicket win.
9. Peter Siddle (Nottinghamshire)
Peter Siddle is proving to be one of the most astute signings of the 2014 County Championship. The Aussie paceman impressed once again, adding four more wickets to his tally, including in-form Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth.
Cricket's most famous vegan performed admirably with the bat too. Siddle followed an unbeaten 39 in the first innings with 48 not out in the second—both knocks coming at faster than a run a ball.
10. Alfonso Thomas (Somerset)
Could this be the year that Somerset finally win their first County Championship? If they do, the form of Alfonso Thomas will have much to do with it.
The South African seamer became the first Somerset bowler to take four wickets in four balls as the home side claimed a six-wicket win over Sussex.
Taunton has been a happy hunting ground for the 37-year-old, and he has bagged a five-wicket haul in his last three Championship matches there.
11. Saeed Ajmal (Worcestershire)
England fans will be hoping that Moeen Ali will surprise Sri Lanka's batsmen at Lord's this weekend with his fledgling doosra. The Worcestershire all-rounder has benefited from the tutelage of doosra king Saeed Ajmal, who delivered another masterclass this week.
The Pakistani spinner took 7-53 from 21.5 overs in the first innings against Hampshire.