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Thread: England in West Indies, 1986

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    England in West Indies, 1986

    Amid the discussions about the worst defeats for Australia and India, this occurred to me. This five-match Test series was almost beyond doubt the most comprehensive beating an England Test side has incurred which did not come in the aftermath of WW1 - not quite the same as the "most painful" because I imagine this was so near-inevitable it wasn't all that painful at all for England fans.

    But it's a series that still interests me greatly. And there seems to be precious little information about it anywhere. It was before the age of televised cricket in West Indies, I think - the first footage I've seen of "normal" cricket coverage dates from the next England tour in 1990, which was Sky Sports' inaugural foray into cricket. And the number of articles available on it that I've found are minimal. Obviously there aren't all that many posters on here whose memories date back to this time, but there are a few - and would you a) know where I might find stuff about it and\or b) be able to give any interesting non-obvious titbits?
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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    The only book on the tour was written by Frances Edmonds - "Another Bloody Tour" it was called - I might even cast my eye over it now you've mentioned it - if you want a copy have a look on Ebay - I expect you'd pick it up for a couple of quid

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Yup have heard of said Frances Edmunds book, quite a few times, but what I have heard tends to suggest it's more of an outlook on a typical tour for a cricketer's wife than a genuine recollection of a tour that a cricket fan might expect.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Yup have heard of said Frances Edmunds book, quite a few times, but what I have heard tends to suggest it's more of an outlook on a typical tour for a cricketer's wife than a genuine recollection of a tour that a cricket fan might expect.
    iirc it's better than you think it might be - not full of real cricketing insight, of course, but some interesting observations nonetheless. As has already been said, well worth a couple of quid on amazon. That being said, it's been a while since I read it.

    You're right that it wasn't THE most depressing defeat we'ver had simply because of the standard of opposition. The 1989 ashes was worse. Maybe India in 1992/93 as well. But it was grim and, daft though it sounds now, we thought we'd do OK after winning the 1985 Ashes reasonably comfortably. Gower's comment about WI 'quaking in their boots' wasn't serious, but we thought we'd be more competitive than in 1984, especially with our SA 'rebels' back in the side.

    The problem was that we didn't really have a pace attack worth speaking of, so the hosts knew they could prepare a minefield for the first test with something close to impunity, whereas our batsmen would be in mortal danger fending off the life-threatening stuff from Patterson & chums. Rather like 200/6/07, once we'd lost the first two tests, the stuffing was pretty much knocked out of us. But the feeling was that we were pretty amateur - fine when the going was good, but not terribly interested when it wasn't.

    Books by Gower & Botham tended not to say much about the series. Likewise Richards' autobiography, iirc. Maybe there are some online archives from the papers?


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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Have had a quick look around and nothing obvious. The Wisden report is about the only thing I've ever seen written on it.

    Lack of mention from Gower, Richards et al of 1986 is mirrored by Atherton etc. in the 1990/91 Ashes, another I've always found of considerable interest (think he mentioned it in about 1 sentence in the entire book). Fortunately there's a bit of footage around of that - still nowhere near as much as I'd like, mind.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Was Neal Radford available for this tour? I was never a huge fan of his and I doubt he would have made much of a diference but it seems harsh that he wasnt selected when he was the only bowler to take 100+ wickets in 1985 and was the Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    One comment in the Wisden report that I found particularly interesting was that England were accused of being inadequate and lackadaisical when it came to attitudes to practice, and the WIndians were said to have shown them up badly.

    Somewhat ironic given that for at least the last 15 years one of the most regular criticisms levelled at the game in the Caribbean has been poor attitude to practice.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    According to the '86 Wisden Radford was "on standby"

    As many as 16 of the combatants in that series have gone into print - few dwell on it, especially the West Indians, and the 20 page chapter in Gower's autobiography seems to be the most by some distance

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I guess for most of the WIndians it wasn't exactly a seismic point in their careers. Greenidge and Haynes had been excellent for years and still had, respectively, a few and many more years of excellence in them; Richardson and Richards the same (other way around with the respectively); Patterson made his debut and never recaptured that form thereafter; Marshall it was one indistinctable series of excellence in a career that contained so many; for Harper (who only played the last two Tests) it was comparable with his entire career, bit-part; Carlisle Best is a relative nobody and Walsh only played once as a stand-in, not yet being a first-choice player. Only for Holding, Garner and Gomes (has he ever written an autobio?) was it a series that could be called remotely pivotal - it was the last time those three would demonstrate their capabilities. Gomes had a shocker in 1986/87 and retired; Holding and Garner attempted to play that season but were rarely fit and would have both done best to have retired after that series.

    What was, with hindsight, ironic about that is that it was the series which marked the high-tide of West Indies' dominance of World cricket; thereafter, they were unable to beat the stronger challengers and spent the next 5-6 years thrashing weak opposition and drawing against those who posed a threat to their crown. So although it was not pivotal for many players, it certainly was for the team.

    And for England it was the start of the most wretched half-decade in their Test history.

  10. #10
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    and what was the deal with Dilley? Injured? Out of favour?

    I understand taking Thomas as he was pretty much the lone Englishman with real gas but oviously Dilley could also bowl quickly.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Looks like he was on his way back after injury

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    For neither the first nor last time, eh?

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    The Jamaicagleaner should have alot of information about that series. Other newspaper will have all the information you need, but I think you would have to pay to view the archives.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Where exactly might I find Gleaner archives?

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    U19 Debutant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Where exactly might I find Gleaner archives?
    Jamaica Gleaner - Library

    There is a link in the last line, go from there.

    I think the cost is very cheap, but remember all newspapers have their achives online, times of london etc etc.

    But goodluck.

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