It’s the Wills 2017! The complete review of the county cricket season | Sport

Team of the year

With a word for Worcestershire, another of the little guys whose overachievement has been fostered at home, this has to be Essex. Well supported from east London to East Anglia, brilliantly coached and captained, and with the best spinner, seamer and eight blokes who scored a ton. Little wonder they won.

Player of the year

Kumar Sangakkara The numbers are worth repeating: 16 innings across 10 matches; 1,491 runs (335 more than anyone else in Division One); average 106.5; eight centuries. Most of those tons were to dig Surrey out of a hole, and five came in a row, including two at Lord’s the week he had a Pavilion portrait unveiled. When talking, Sangakkara became an erudite defender of the jobbing county pro and proved a wonderful team-mate, as well as a wizard in the middle. Put simply, Sanga, thank you for lighting up our little game for the last three summers. You won’t be fast forgotten or easily replaced.

Kumar Sangakkara waves farewell to first-class cricket. Photograph: Barry Mitchell/Rex/Shutterstock

Young player of the year

Jamie Porter. If 24 is not young then we might as well pack up and go home. Porter took 75 wickets (so many of them in the first 10 overs of an innings), with no wild pace (82-85mph) but superb command of length and if there was even a fraction of seam movement, he found it. Worked in recruitment four years ago, thinking the game was up, but now looks the real deal and could form a potent partnership for years with Sam Cook, who emerged in September but goes back to Loughborough University on Monday.

Busted myth of the year

The gap There are huge differences between the divisions – the second tier can be limp and lawless, with matches fizzling – and most top-flight sides regressed this summer. But the coming of Essex and the plight of Middlesex shows that Division Two’s finest need have no fear when going up. The ECB must keep it two-up two-down; it makes Division One callously…

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