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Thread: Those who should have played more

  1. #1
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Those who should have played more

    A thread to look at players whose Test careers should've been much more considerable than they were, and the reasons why they weren't.

    Here's a few seam bowlers:
    Ken Higgs - never truly fathomed his case. 15 Tests in 3 years, in which he took 71 wickets at less than 21, and a First-Class career of 22 years (1958-1979, plus a few games thereafter) in which he scarcely had a bad year (averaged over 30 just 3 times). England had more than a few good seamers around this time, but Higgs might well have been as good as all and was almost certainly better than most.
    Bill Bowes - similar. Between 1932 and 1939, England played 51 Test matches. Bowes featured in just 14 of them, but took 67 wickets at 21.58. Of course, there were Larwoods, Voces and Allens, plus the small matter of Hedley Verity, but Bowes (First-Class average of under 17 between 1929 and 1947) was surely better than almost any seam-bowler of his time, possibly including Larwood after his injury.
    Fanie de Villiers - 29 years old when he made his Test debut, having been 27 when South Africa were readmitted, de Villiers made-up for lost time by taking 75 wickets at 25.45 in his first 16 games. Nonetheless, he still missed 7 in this time, and sure enough, that was basically that. He played just 2 more games in 1997/98. Why was this? I've never been totally sure. Neil Manthorp mentions "physical setbacks, language prejudice and the blinkered view that his talents were fit only for limited-overs cricket", all of which seems a crying shame.
    Bruce Reid - well-known case, suffered cruelly from injuries.
    Mike Hendrick - I just don't understand this at all. Hendrick played around a time when there was no shortage of high-quality seam bowlers in England (Snow, Willis, Arnold, Old, latterly Botham). Yet his average was the best of them. Why did he not play more?
    Damien Fleming - another Australian of the 1990s who suffered cruelly from injuries, but was also of times demoted below the likes of Paul Wilson and Adam Dale, which, frankly, beggars belief.
    Gary Gilmour - between '73/74 and '77, Gilmour played 15 Tests, taking 54 wickets at 26. But that was it. Nor was he someone lost due to Kerry Packer, though he did join the schism. He simply suffered injury, and his lackadaisical attitude didn't allow recovery.
    Len Pascoe - debuting just before the Packer schism, aged 27, he immediately defected there, and ended-up playing just 14 Tests, in which he averaged 26.06.
    Shane Bond - little need be said here.
    Geoff Dymock - like Pascoe, a late debutant (aged 28), and after 4 ineffective games that seemed to be that. But after good performances for Australia while Packer players were out, he earnt the right to start as a first-choice after it, and performed with excellence that home summer ('79/80). But after an ineffective series in Pakistan, that was it.
    Khan Mohammad - was Fazal and Khan potentially Pakistan's former-day Sarfaraz-Imran or Wasim-Waqar? We'll never know, as Khan played just 13 Tests (3 disposable ones against New Zealand), succombing many times to various muscle strains and pulls.
    Winston Benjamin - after a brief but successful foray into the West Indies team between 1987/88 and 1989, playing 8 Tests, you wouldn't have expected Benjamin to have to wait another 4 years for his next Test cap. But this he did, and though he again let no-one down in his first 6 games of this streak, his last 7 were shockers and that was it. Even though the high tide of West Indian seam-bowling excellence had ebbed by the time of his career (he was less unfortunate than the likes of Wayne Daniel and Sylvester Clarke) he still had a fair few bowlers to contend with, and his poor fielding may have counted against him. However, to have his namesake Kenneth and the likes of Anderson Cummins preferred must have grated.
    Dean Headley - an England bowler who suffered injuries, how unusual is that? Headley suffered worse than most, however - he managed just 2 years of a Test career, and was a late developer, not debuting until the age of 27. His record, however, equalled Fraser and ended-up surpassing Gough, Caddick, Cork and DeFreitas.
    Harold Larwood - after his debut in 1926, surely one of England's greatest ever bowlers was in for a long Test career? It proved not to be. He was in and out of the side between then and 1932, and his (entirely understandable) refusal to apologise for Bodyline, coupled with a serious injury in 1933, meant his career was over at 28.
    Dion Nash - not quite of Bond's calibre, but an excellent bowler who suffered horrific injuries more than once.
    Tibby Cotter - be good if Sean (either one) or someone could inform me as to why he played so little Test cricket.
    Ken Farnes - it was bad enough that war was declared just as England's premier seam-bowler of his time was entering his prime years. Tragically, Farnes lost his life not long into the conflict.
    Simon Doull - like Bond, and Nash, a Kiwi seamer who could unquestionably bowl, but whose career was cut short by serious injury.
    Neil Hawke - a fine Australian seam bowler, backing-up Garth McKenzie, but whose health was always dubious
    Shayne O'Connor - a talented Kiwi seamer who suffered from multiple injuries. Where've we heard this before...?
    Reon King - injuries, yet again. He could've been the new Walsh, but he ended-up a sorry tale.

    Let's have some others.
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  2. #2
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Im sure this is at least partially prompted by Higgs featuring prominently in the 'Best Player of the 60s' and looking his story up. Sign of a good article BTW

    Anyway, to comment on a few of the names.

    Bowes was little more than cannon fodder against quality batsmen on all but the most seam friendly tracks.

    Winston Benjamin was a notch or 2 below those previous. Not as quick, skilled or tall as others. Not a particular loss

    Dion Nash, and I know Ill get hammered for this, wasn't anything special, IMO. Just a decent seamer with one fantastic performance that will go down in history.
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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    International Captain kingkallis's Avatar
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    Lets include some more...

    Ian Bishop
    Mfunako Ngam

    More to come...
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    To state a really big one you missed, Graeme Pollock. Had his career cut short at the age of 26 due to apartheid, after just 23 matches with the second-highest completed test average.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    A quartet of Gloucestershire spinners George Dennett, Charlie Parker, Tom Goddard and Sam Cook - more than 10,000 first class wickets at less than 20 between them yet a grand total of 10 test caps

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    State Vice-Captain slugger's Avatar
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    roger twose and geoff allottt for nz...

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    I'm trying to remember what happened with Hendrick. My impression he was fine in helpful English conditions, but didn't offer enough of a threat elsewhere or if we had a dry summer. And his eventual figures were artifically impressive becuase of playing a lot of tests against the Packer-weakened sides of the late 1970's. iirc he debuted well enough in 1974 but then struggled on the Aus wickets that winter. Any home tests he played in 1975 & 1976 would have been in the hottest summers for eons, which probably didn't suit his bowling at all. The we get to the summer of 1977 after which he pretty well stayed in the side for a couple of years, didn't he? Of course, we didn't play anyone of any note in 1978 & 1979, which boosted his stats accordingly. Perhaps his figures tailed off again when we played WI in 1980 & 1981. Dilley had emerged by then and started well, so that was another threat to his place in the side. Prior to that, as you indicated, there was a heck of a lot of competition for places. You forgot John Lever, btw. Eventually, he disappeared after going to SA in 1982.

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    International 12th Man
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    The number one for me is Mike Procter. His record in the few tests he played is absolutely stunning and there is no doubt that he would have matched up with the illustrious quartet of allrounders in the 70s/80s, and indeed may have been the best of the lot.

  11. #11
    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Others - some great and some not so - who spring to mind.

    Frank Tyson - unplayable in his first Ashes series, but injuries did for him.

    Richard Ellison - arrived like the 5th cavalry to bring home the 1985 ashes, but barely played thereafter, mainly due to injuries.

    Nick Cook - produced a batch of astonishinghly good performances in his first few tests, had a few poor ones (in the spinners paradise that NZ isn't and against the might of the 1984 W'Indies) and was barely seen again.

    Graham Dilley - where the *** was he from 1982 to 1986?


    And a few batsmen ...

    David Steele - dug in like no other English batsman against mid70's Aus and WI, but never played again.

    Robin Smith - ditched by Illingworth for reasons that were never really clear. The best
    number 3 that England never had in the mid/late 1990's.

    David Lloyd - dropped after 1974/75 because he struggled against Lillee & Thomson. Still averaged over 40 in tests, IIRC. Compare that to how WI reacted to their thrashing in Aus 12 months later.

    Chris Broad - way better than most other English openers in the 1980's, but the selectors were keen to ditch him after the fun & games in that tour of Pakistan and further misdemenours in NZ and/or Aus that winter. Which they did, as soon as he had a poor game or two. And then he went to SA, so that was that.
    Last edited by wpdavid; 16-12-2008 at 02:08 PM.

  12. #12
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Boycott obviously. Could have had at least another 40-50 Tests.

    I always though Moxon was hard done by. His Test record isnt special but he was maybe due more opporunities. Was a very good layer for a period.

    Il add a few more (non-Yorks) in a min

  13. #13
    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Boycott obviously. Could have had at least another 40-50 Tests.

    I always though Moxon was hard done by. His Test record isnt special but he was maybe due more opporunities. Was a very good layer for a period.

    Il add a few more (non-Yorks) in a min
    Agreed about Moxon. Did he eventually burn his bridges by going to SA in 1989? But he was unlucky not to play more after some decent test innings circa 1987/88.

    As for Boycott, I reckon he missed about 30 during his self-imposed exile in the mid70's. I suppose he would argue that he'd have still been picked for a while after 1981/2 if he hadn't gone to SA. All in own bloomin fault, in other words.

    The other tyke who probably should have played more tests was FST, of course.

  14. #14
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    A quartet of Gloucestershire spinners George Dennett, Charlie Parker, Tom Goddard and Sam Cook - more than 10,000 first class wickets at less than 20 between them yet a grand total of 10 test caps
    Agreed with Parker and Cook. Both interesting and accomplished cricketers and people.

    I enjoyed Foots 'Cricket's Unholy Trinity' many, many years ago.

    TBH, I dont know anything about Dennett.

    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    Agreed about Moxon. Did he eventually burn his bridges by going to SA in 1989? But he was unlucky not to play more after some decent test innings circa 1987/88.
    I dont think he did. He just wasnt selected.
    Last edited by Goughy; 16-12-2008 at 02:28 PM.

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