David Capel: The England Cricketer’s Finest Hour

David Capel recently passed away but he was one of England's greatest potential players and was a top player for Northamptonshire

West Indies Tour 1990

In the winter of 1990 England toured the Caribbean. The cricket world expected a heavy defeat for the young England side. Ian Botham and David Gower were surprisingly omitted from the squad, with the selectors opting for youth. The uncapped Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain both earned call ups while the late David Capel was selected as the all-rounder.

Uphill Task

Recent results against the West Indies underlined this pessimism – 14 consecutive test match defeats against the men from the Caribbean. In fact England had not won a test match against the West Indies since 1974!

Sabina Park Win

Sport, Cricket, pic: 1990, 1st Test Match, Kingston, England beat West Indies by 9 wickets, David Capel, England, David Capel, an all rounder, played for Northamptonshire and England his first class career spanned 1981-1998 and his England Test career 1987-1990 (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

However this tour was full of intrigue, twists, drama and subplots. England played with courage and a lack of inhibition to famously win the first test at Sabina Park, only ultimatley to lose the series 2-1.

The late David Capel, played an integral role in the aforementioned first test victory.

Also, Read – Top 5 Most Test Match Runs For England Cricket

Sadly David passed away last week after a two year battle with cancer. After a stellar county career as player and coach, he is fondly missed from all at Northants.

David Capel represented his country in 15 test matches and his shining hour came in Jamaica, March 1990.

Sky’s First Match

This was a historic tour before a ball was bowled. It was Sky TV’s first foray into the sports broadcast market and so cricket fans in England could watch an overseas tour for the first time. The West Indies were just about at the peak of their powers. Richards, Haynes, Greenidge and Marshall were the powerhouse names along with the likes of Richardson, Ambrose and Walsh. It was a gargantuan task for Graham Gooch’s men.

Also, Read – Picking The West Indies All-Time Test XI

Inspired Bowling

The West Indies won the toss and batted first at Sabina Park. Viv Richards’ men were cruising at 81-1 when David Capel entered the fray. Bowling a tight, accurate line, outside off stump Capel took the wicket of Riche Richardson, caught at backward square leg by Gladstone Small.

Sport, Cricket, pic: 2nd September 1995, Nat West Final at Lords, Warwickshire beat Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire bowler David Capel makes a strong appeal, David Capel, an all rounder, played for Northamptonshire and England his first class career spanned 1981-1998 and his England Test career 1987-1990 (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Just two overs later new batsman Carlisle Best was caught behind by Jack Russell from a glorious Capel outswinger. The West Indies were 92-3 and ultimately all out for 164.

England won the test by 9 wickets and it was the inspirational bowling of David Capel that set England on their historic way.

Later in the series Capel would be one of the not out batsmen (40 not out) in the controversial Trinidad test where West Indies’ time wasting denied England victory.


David Capel was a Northants stalwart, a proud England international and above all a good cricketer.

Those halcyon days of early 1990 are etched in England cricket history and David Capel was central to same.


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