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Vaughan averaged 41 in Tests and 36 in FC cricket.
Trescothick averaged 43 in Tests, and averages 40 in FC.
So both were better Test players than county players - and I imagine Trescothick's average was lower still before he embarked on his post-retirement Indian summer.
Athers actually averaged 3 more in FC than in Tests (40 vs 37), but I'd be interested to see his comparative averages once he'd become an England regular - he has been quoted more than once saying that he found it hard to focus on county games after that. A point which I admit is not relevant to the current debate, but explains why I thought of Athers in this context.
EDIT: although it may be that you were taking my assertion literally - of course all scored a greater number of runs at county level, but over a lot more innings.
Last edited by Penguinissimo; 14-09-2009 at 08:03 AM.
Atherton was far less successful in First-Class cricket before his Test career than during. For Lancs he averaged 36 1987-1989; 1990-2001 he averaged a full 10 runs higher, 46. However hard he found it to motivate himself, make no mistake, he managed it.
Vaughan averaged 37 for Yorkshire 1994-1998, which is a pretty damn decent effort for a youngster who plays half his games on the most seaming deck in the country. Vaughan gets all the "they looked beyond the county averages" because a) he was picked in 1999 after a very poor season and b) he'd done absolutely dreadfully for England A which pulled his career First-Class average down. Vaughan then averaged 50+ from 2000-2003, which encompassed most of his success at Test level. He then averaged 25 2004-2009, when he mostly just popped-up in the occasional game without having the chance to find his touch, and was often trying to play when unfit (to prove his fitness) to boot.
Vaughan was, by-and-large, a reasonably successful batsman at county level, and by-and-large a considerable disappointment at Test level. I'll leave my thoughts about Trescothick aside for here but suffice to say I never rated him as a Test batsman above Graeme Wood or Andrew Hilditch.
The details are interesting, and bring back to mind things which had sort of faded into the mists of time and which even Cricinfo doesn't have the stats tools for me to look up in a few minutes.
I think the point can still be relevant, though - players can show certain skills in the county game, and just because they don't top the averages charts doesn't automatically mean they'll be a write off at Test level.
After all, topping the averages charts isn't exactly a guarantee of international success - examples of that from England alone are so numerous I don't even have to bother giving examples.
Success at county (or any domestic) level is far from a guarantee of success at international level.
But honestly, if someone is backing a player to succeed, properly, at international level who can't even succeed very well at county level, they're asking far too much for my liking. Yes, it will happen once in several blue-moons (Paul Collingwood, for example; or David Gower) but I'm quite happy if no-one ever guesses when it's going to and simply gives a debut to the players delivering the goods at county level when a place is available.
Go through successful Test cricketers and you'll find precious, precious few who didn't enjoy success at the domestic level.
There's the danger of overall averages again. In Cook's career so far he's had serious problems against the bowling of:
Australia in 2006/07
India in 2007
Sri Lanka in 2007/08 (they dropped catches off him enough times to make this less apparent)
New Zealand in 2007/08
Australia in 2009
And that's being charitable - he's also had other periods where he's struggled with himself if not the bowling.
Cook's problems are slight, and should he be able to solve them he'll be a hell of a batsman. Here's hoping he might have already done so. But there have been a fair few occasions on which he's been found-out, and England's Test results have certainly been affected.
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