English Cricket Players – The Never XI
At any given time there can only be eleven players representing England in a Test match. Throughout the years a number of players have produced regularly on the county scene, without earning that heralded three lions cap. These are the men who are considered unlucky English cricket players.
Down the years the English county game has produced some of the best Test cricketers the world has seen, the likes of James Anderson, Alastair Cook and Ian Botham to name just a few. Who were the unlucky men, who deserved but never earned international recognition?
There have been many a one-cap wonder represent England in a single test match never to be seen again, this eleven did not even achieve that honour.
But who are the English Cricket players that feature for their unlucky eleven?
The Top Order
- Alan Jones – He was capped by England against the Rest of the World in 1970, but that series retrospectively had its Test status withdrawn. He originally had to hand his cap back. Remarkably, he made 1,000 runs in 23 successive summers for Glamorgan, but England never came knocking again. The Welshman was recently reinstated with an England cap albeit not a recognised test match.
2. Mal Loye – Represented England in both ODI and T20 format but was never considered worthy of a Test cap. Despite an average of a nudge under 40.00 throughout his first-class career during spells with Northamptonshire and Lancashire, including 65 centuries and a highest score of 322*
3. Ali Brown – Perhaps to his detriment Brown was best known as a one-day specialist. He played 16 ODIs between 1996 and 2001. However, he also averaged 42.67 in a first-class career which included 47 centuries. A leading star for Surrey for most of his career, he subsequently helped Nottinghamshire to the County Championship title.
4. James Hildreth – Still playing and somehow still without an international call up of any kind, Somerset legend James Hildreth can count himself one of the unluckiest of all time not to have worn the three lions in some format. With a first-class average of 42.57 across a mammoth 263 matches, England’s loss has been Somerset’s gain. Probably should have been part of English Cricket Players of his generation.
The Wicket Keeper & Number 6
5. Geoff Humpage (wk) – The wicketkeeper who was also a more than effective batsman, he struck 29 first-class centuries, including a memorable 254 against Lancashire. He remained with Warwickshire throughout his career in the English game. Humpage was picked for three ODIs but never in the longer format.
6. John Langridge – One of the finest batsmen of Sussex’s history, amassing 76 first-class centuries in a career spanning from 1928 to 1955. He did earn selection for one England tour – to India in 1939-40, unfortunately for Langridge, the tour was cancelled due to the outbreak of the Second World War. After retirement, he became a first-class umpire for 25 seasons.
English Cricket Players – The All-Rounders
7. Luke Wright – Another who’s limited overs career has outshone his longer form ability, Wright has represnted England on numerous occasions in both ODI and T20 cricket. His all round ability and first-class batting average of 38.11 deemed not enough for test consideration. He has gone on to become one of the finest English Cricket players in T20 cricket. Wright has played for various T20 sides across the world – including the Melbourne Stars and the Pune Warriors India.
8. Darren Stevens – Similarly to James Hildreth, Stevens has never received a national call up of any description. He accrued over 25,000 first-class runs and 517 wickets to his name. When Stevens retires he may consider himself hard done by not to have represented his country in his generation of English Cricket players. Stevens has been an immense county cricketer, most notably for Kent. At his current age of 44, he is still playing excellent cricket and had a fantastic 2019 County Championship season.
English Cricket Players – The Bowlers
9. Glen Chapple – A one cap wonder in the ODI game, despite many years filled with bag fulls of wickets for Lancashire, Chapple never deemed worthy of a test cap. Despite England selectors handing them out like sweets to seam bowlers at times during the 90s, Chapple’s staggering 985 first-class wickets never earned the call-up. A more than handy batting average of 24.16.
10. Don Sheppard – His phenomenal 2,218 first-class wickets remain a record for any bowler not capped in the elite format. He was Glamorgan’s key figure in their 1969 Championship win. He should have been part of the English Cricket players of his generation.
11. Gary Keedy – Another Lancashire legend, left-arm orthodox spinner Keedy claimed 696 first-class victims during his lengthy career. Kept out of England reckoning primarily by Ashley Giles. Giles’ batting ability perhaps a reason for his inclusion over Keedy. Ashley Giles was a handy batsman and produced partnerships with the lower-order many times. For example, he batted well with Kevin Pietersen in the 2005 Ashes at the Kia Oval to help the test match to a draw and help England regain the Ashes.
These are the unlucky English Cricket Players who make this team.
We can all agree this would make a strong test team in its own right and there’s only one questionable cap between them. England struggled during the 1990s and early 2000s until Michael Vaughan became captain. Would such players have improved the England Cricket team in those periods?
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