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Thread: The mysteries of an England selector's mind

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    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    The mysteries of an England selector's mind

    I was doing a bit of research for work on Otago bowlers and the name of Neil Mallender popped up. Taking a look at his test figures and I found he averaged 21.5 with the ball.

    The Cricinfo write-up seems to suggest it was a disgraceful decision not to give him another crack after his two tests against Pakistan in 1992. How good was he? He was certainly a loyal servant to Otago cricket and even received a testimonial here.

    With some of the cafeteria bowlers on display for England in the early 1990s, what were the selectors thinking?

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    International 12th Man deeps's Avatar
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    Isn't he an umpire now?

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    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    Yes.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voltman
    I was doing a bit of research for work on Otago bowlers and the name of Neil Mallender popped up. Taking a look at his test figures and I found he averaged 21.5 with the ball.

    The Cricinfo write-up seems to suggest it was a disgraceful decision not to give him another crack after his two tests against Pakistan in 1992. How good was he? He was certainly a loyal servant to Otago cricket and even received a testimonial here.

    With some of the cafeteria bowlers on display for England in the early 1990s, what were the selectors thinking?

    he was a good county bowler...but despite what the averages say, he wasnt of international standard, by watching him play, that much was obvious
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend _Ed_'s Avatar
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    Cricinfo: "He took 5 for 50 and eight wickets in the match (the best figures by an English debutant for nine years), helping to win the game and thereby ensuring his selection for the final Test of the series. He found conditions harder at The Oval, but stuck to his task well on a good batting track. It was felt that he would struggle on Indian pitches and he was discarded before the tour to India and Sri Lanka, a decision that Richie Benaud, among others, described as "disgraceful.""

    Interesting.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    God, showing my age, but I can remember him being selected! IIRC he was a bit of a "horses for courses" pick. He was the sort of decent medium-fast seamer we seemed to produce by the bucketload back then. If Gus Fraser hadn't have been around he'd have possibly played a bit more test cricket.
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    I think he was just chosen because his style of bowling suited the conditions at Headingley. The selectors did a similar thing against India in 1986 when they recalled John Lever who was 36 by then and hadn't played for England for years.

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    Yes, the Headingley pitch was a ploughed field at the time, even Derek Pringle and other medium-pace workhorses took wickets there. I seem to remember Steve Watkin did well there also, around then.

    Having said that, the "Ghost" was a steady sort, and probably should of played more, but he played for somerset, so was forgotten inevitably
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    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    Sorry to bump this, but there was a wee piece on Mallender in the Otago Daily Times in the lead-up to the State Shield final (as he was in the last Otago team to win the one-day trophy back in 1987-88). It mentioned something about him being sick and having to give up umpiring. Apparently he's just started up again - anyone know anything about the illness?

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    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    It certainly semed odd at the start of the 1993 series, when a very inexperienced England attack was taken to the cleaners by Aus. By then, Fraser was injured and Gough was still a year away from being picked.

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    State Vice-Captain Poker Boy's Avatar
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    Yes he was purely a horses for courses pick for the Headingley pitch at that time (two of our other bowlers in that Test were Derek Pringle and Munton both typical English seamers). I suspect they planned to give him just the one Test but because he did so well they probably picked him for the Oval to prove that he wouldn't do so well on less helpful pitches(he still took 2 wickets though). Wether he would have done better than Paul Taylor or and Paul Jarvis (who were picked for the Indian tour ahead of him) is an interesting but irrelevant point but it would have been hard for him to do worse. Some people say he should have been picked eight years earlier - I'm too young to have an opinion but in 1984 when England were hit by injuries and needed a replacement at once they reckoned it was betwen him and Tony Pigott (both playing for NZ povinces at the time) and they picked "Lester" - this for the Test were Hadlee scored 99 and England scored 82 and 93. (fielding Gower, Gatting, Lamb, Botham and Randall). As I said it was before my time - crap pitch or crap batting?
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    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poker Boy View Post
    Yes he was purely a horses for courses pick for the Headingley pitch at that time (two of our other bowlers in that Test were Derek Pringle and Munton both typical English seamers). I suspect they planned to give him just the one Test but because he did so well they probably picked him for the Oval to prove that he wouldn't do so well on less helpful pitches(he still took 2 wickets though). Wether he would have done better than Paul Taylor or and Paul Jarvis (who were picked for the Indian tour ahead of him) is an interesting but irrelevant point but it would have been hard for him to do worse. Some people say he should have been picked eight years earlier - I'm too young to have an opinion but in 1984 when England were hit by injuries and needed a replacement at once they reckoned it was betwen him and Tony Pigott (both playing for NZ povinces at the time) and they picked "Lester" - this for the Test were Hadlee scored 99 and England scored 82 and 93. (fielding Gower, Gatting, Lamb, Botham and Randall). As I said it was before my time - crap pitch or crap batting?
    Both. Plus dreadful bowling from most of he Englishmen. Botham was particularly culpable, trying to bounce Hadlee out when the pitch was crying out for someone to pitch it up. Piggott didn't do great, but, on debut, he was far less to blame than his experienced team-mates. Obviously Hadlee cleaned up in both innings in conditions that were made for him, but I've never had a problem with that. The English just didn't have the stomach for it. The press had a field day, with all sorts of stories about *** & drugs scandals. The English players took great umbrage, but they played as if they were on something, even if it was nothing more than an ego trip.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grecian View Post
    Yes, the Headingley pitch was a ploughed field at the time, even Derek Pringle and other medium-pace workhorses took wickets there. I seem to remember Steve Watkin did well there also, around then.
    Stephen Watkin was an identical pick the previous year. A perfect fit to the "horses-for-courses" stereotype.

    And Headingley, for a few brief years, fitted the stereotype and Watkin and Mallender in consecutive years justified their selections.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy View Post
    he was a good county bowler...but despite what the averages say, he wasnt of international standard, by watching him play, that much was obvious
    There's a surprise, now. Tell me - how many successful domestic bowlers have you not said that about?

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    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    Aaaaaanyway, the illness? Anyone know?

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