Draft: 90s England Draft - It's Richard Blakey time

Aislabie

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England in the 90s man. The stuff writes its self if you pick the right players

You're not wrong. Dave's Richard Blakey comment led me to this video:

I came away with several conclusions.
  1. Richard Blakey might be the worst player of spin I've seen at any level of cricket.
  2. Neil Fairbrother, Richard Blakey, Ian Salisbury and Paul Jarvis all played together in a single Test XI.
  3. Neutral umpires are the best thing to happen to Test cricket in 50 years.
  4. Anil Kumble was very good.
  5. Sachin Tendulkar was a fantastic close catcher.
  6. 00s Bangladesh would have a chance playing at home against 90s England.
  7. "Howzat Dad?" "Out, son."
 

blockerdave

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You're not wrong. Dave's Richard Blakey comment led me to this video:

I came away with several conclusions.
  1. Richard Blakey might be the worst player of spin I've seen at any level of cricket.
  2. Neil Fairbrother, Richard Blakey, Ian Salisbury and Paul Jarvis all played together in a single Test XI.
  3. Neutral umpires are the best thing to happen to Test cricket in 50 years.
  4. Anil Kumble was very good.
  5. Sachin Tendulkar was a fantastic close catcher.
  6. 00s Bangladesh would have a chance playing at home against 90s England.
  7. "Howzat Dad?" "Out, son."

I’m playing every England Test of the 90s on cricket 19. I’ve reached the summer of 1992, and am currently being led a merry dance by the brilliant Pakistan side of that summer.

That India 1993 tour is the next series I get to play - what joy.

Oh and if you think that line up was bad, in the next test of my current series Pakistan’s attack is Wasim, Waqar, Aaqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed. England’s is Chris Lewis, Neil Mallender, Tim Munton and Derek Pringle.
 

Aislabie

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Oh and if you think that line up was bad, in the next test of my current series Pakistan’s attack is Wasim, Waqar, Aaqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed. England’s is Chris Lewis, Neil Mallender, Tim Munton and Derek Pringle.


So basically this
 

Aislabie

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Pretty much. I'm like a year behind Dave so I've not really experienced the total dross yet. The way we picked bowlers in the 90s was the most scattergun of scattergun approaches.
One of my favourite 90s England lines is from a description of the 1990 Rebel Tour:
Three of the English players, Mike Gatting, John Emburey and Chris Cowdrey, had served as England captain during the 1988 West Indies tour to England, while a number had full Test caps.
Like, that's not just "three players were England captains", but "three players were England captains in the same five-Test series". Even better is that by the fifth Test, all three had been sacked and Graham Gooch appointed.

My day is always brightened by a reminder of that series.
 

blockerdave

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One of my favourite 90s England lines is from a description of the 1990 Rebel Tour:

Like, that's not just "three players were England captains", but "three players were England captains in the same five-Test series". Even better is that by the fifth Test, all three had been sacked and Graham Gooch appointed.

My day is always brightened by a reminder of that series.

The summer of 4 captains. Did we not also use 29 players in the 5 tests? A number we’d match over the 6 tests of the 1993 Ashes.
 

blockerdave

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If you got that England Rebel side to play a 5-match series against almost any England team 1990-92 (they could all play again from 93) I honestly don’t know who’d win it.

Foster, Dilley, Jarvis, Emburey was a match for almost any attack we put out in that period.

Broad, Robinson, Athey, Gatting, Maynard was not a lot worse than any of our top 5s either...
 

blockerdave

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As with all England sides in the 90s, the issue is balancing the side... add Ellison and French you’re light on batting. Swap Ellison for Jarvis and Barnett and French you’re maybe light on batting... push Barnett up the order, stick Athey at 6 and tell him to keep, with Ellison 7 and you’ve a poor man’s Alec Stewart followed by a less fashionable Derek Pringle (which is saying something.)
 

Aislabie

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As with all England sides in the 90s, the issue is balancing the side... add Ellison and French you’re light on batting. Swap Ellison for Jarvis and Barnett and French you’re maybe light on batting... push Barnett up the order, stick Athey at 6 and tell him to keep, with Ellison 7 and you’ve a poor man’s Alec Stewart followed by a less fashionable Derek Pringle (which is saying something.)

Well I've already decided how I'm planning to balance my side in this draft. It's not ideal to put it out in the open because it all but guarantees I won't get the players I need, but I'm looking at something like this:
  1. :bat: Opener
  2. :bat: Opener
  3. :bat: Top-order batsman
  4. :bat: Top-order batsman
  5. :bat: David Gower
  6. :wk: Wicket-keeper
  7. :ar: Spinner
  8. :bwl: Seamer
  9. :bwl: Seamer
  10. :bwl: Angus Fraser
  11. :bwl: Devon Malcolm
It'll be a bit light on batting, but it's the way I think I'd be most likely to win Test matches. Of course, it also makes the draw fearsomely unlikely...

There's also a non-zero chance I might make Crawley or Maynard pull an Alec Stewart if it's a choice between them and Steve Rhodes. Alternatively I could just pick Richard Blakey for the memes
 

Aislabie

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@blockerdave @Dale88 - So I've had a look through, and I'm honestly a bit confused why the selectors of the time had such a hard time selecting teams. I've come up with a sort of extended squad of players that would pretty much have done a job for the entire decade just fine.

upload_2020-12-28_2-57-0.png

Player|Span
Batsmen
:eng: :bat: Michael Atherton|1990-2000
:eng: :bat: Graham Gooch|1990-1995
:eng: :bat: Alec Stewart|1990-2000
:eng: :bat: Robin Smith|1990-1995
:eng: :bat: David Gower|1990-1992
:eng: :bat: Graeme Hick|1990-2000
:eng: :bat: Allan Lamb|1990-1992
:eng: :bat: Nasser Hussain|1993-2000
:eng: :bat: Mark Ramprakash|1993-2000
:eng: :bat: Nick Knight|1995-1997
:eng: :bat: Graeme Thorpe|1995-2000
:eng: :bat: Mark Butcher|1998-2000
Keepers
:eng: :wk: Jack Russell|1990-2000
:eng: :wk: Paul Nixon|1990-1998
:eng: :wk: Chris Read|1999-2000
All-Rounders
:eng: :ar: Chris Lewis|1990-1992
:eng: :ar: Ian Botham|1990-1992
:eng: :ar: Craig White|1994-2000*
:eng: :ar: Paul Weekes|1995-2000
Seamers
:eng: :bwl: Angus Fraser|1990-1998*
:eng: :ar: Phillip DeFreitas|1990-1994
:eng: :bwl: Devon Malcolm|1990-1996
:eng: :bwl: Neil Mallender|1990-1992
:eng: :bwl: Gladstone Small|1990-1991
:eng: :bwl: Martin Bicknell|1992-2000
:eng: :bwl: Darren Gough|1993-2000
:eng: :bwl: Andy Caddick|1993-2000
:eng: :bwl: Dean Headley|1994-1999
:eng: :ar: Dominic Cork|1995-2000
:eng: :bwl: Alan Mullally|1997-2000
:eng: :bwl: Chris Silverwood|1999-2000
:eng: :bwl: Alex Tudor|2000-2000
Spinners
:eng: :ar: John Emburey|1990-1993
:eng: :bwl: Phil Tufnell|1990-2000
:eng: :bwl: Eddie Hemmings|1990-1991
:eng: :ar: Robert Croft|1992-2000
It's obviously not a perfect squad - going into a Test with one spinner and that spinner being Robert Croft is genuinely terrifying - but it's pretty much the best use of resources that England had available at the time. It's also one that doesn't resemble real-life England in the slightest. There's no Ian Salisbury, for example. And really, if the cookie had crumbled this way, would 90s England have produced such magical moments as Richard Blakey trying to bat against Anil Kumble? And am I just leaning on hindsight a lot or were the selectors really that incompetent at the time? I know for instance that given the opportunity, Gus Fraser would likely have carried on beyond 1998 and done so perfectly well.

I also completely forgot Craig White existed in the spreadsheet but I'm including him here.

The general approach would be to select a team that looked something like this:

1990
:eng: :bat: Michael Atherton
:eng: :bat: Graham Gooch
:eng: :bat: Alec Stewart
:eng: :bat: Robin Smith
:eng: :bat: David Gower
:eng: :wk: Jack Russell
:eng: :ar: Chris Lewis
:eng: :ar: Phillip DeFreitas
:eng: :bwl: Angus Fraser
:eng: :bwl: Phil Tufnell
:eng: :bwl: Devon Malcolm
1993
:eng: :bat: Michael Atherton
:eng: :bat: Graham Gooch
:eng: :bat: Alec Stewart
:eng: :bat: Robin Smith
:eng: :bat: Graeme Hick
:eng: :wk: Jack Russell
:eng: :ar: John Emburey
:eng: :ar: Phillip DeFreitas
:eng: :bwl: Darren Gough
:eng: :bwl: Angus Fraser
:eng: :bwl: Devon Malcolm
1996
:eng: :bat: Michael Atherton
:eng: :bat: Alec Stewart
:eng: :bat: Nasser Hussain
:eng: :bat: Graeme Hick
:eng: :bat: Graham Thorpe
:eng: :wk: Jack Russell
:eng: :ar: Robert Croft
:eng: :bwl: Andy Caddick
:eng: :bwl: Darren Gough
:eng: :bwl: Angus Fraser
:eng: :bwl: Devon Malcolm
1999
:eng: :bat: Michael Atherton
:eng: :bat: Alec Stewart
:eng: :bat: Nasser Hussain
:eng: :bat: Graeme Hick
:eng: :bat: Graham Thorpe
:eng: :wk: Jack Russell
:eng: :ar: Robert Croft
:eng: :ar: Dominic Cork
:eng: :bwl: Andy Caddick
:eng: :bwl: Darren Gough
:eng: :bwl: Dean Headley

There are obviously some terrifying things about that side still, including Jack Russell, Test number 6 as well as Robert Croft, Test number 7 but those are the kind of sacrifices that I made to pick a team with the best chance of winning. Interested in what you guys think.
 

blockerdave

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Well I've already decided how I'm planning to balance my side in this draft. It's not ideal to put it out in the open because it all but guarantees I won't get the players I need, but I'm looking at something like this:
  1. :bat: Opener
  2. :bat: Opener
  3. :bat: Top-order batsman
  4. :bat: Top-order batsman
  5. :bat: David Gower
  6. :wk: Wicket-keeper
  7. :ar: Spinner
  8. :bwl: Seamer
  9. :bwl: Seamer
  10. :bwl: Angus Fraser
  11. :bwl: Devon Malcolm
It'll be a bit light on batting, but it's the way I think I'd be most likely to win Test matches. Of course, it also makes the draw fearsomely unlikely...

There's also a non-zero chance I might make Crawley or Maynard pull an Alec Stewart if it's a choice between them and Steve Rhodes. Alternatively I could just pick Richard Blakey for the memes

well you’ve just answered my question about whether Crawley keeping in 1 ODI made him eligible in the draft to be used as a keeper...
 

Yash.

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Graham Thorpe and Michael Vaughan for me.[DOUBLEPOST=1609133867][/DOUBLEPOST]@blockerdave
 

blockerdave

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Oh man, Graham Thorpe was my absolute next pick!! Thorpe was I think the only debutant in the 90s to score a hundred - I can’t think of any others anyway. Of 58 players to debut in the 90s, 34 played less than 10 tests - a debutant coming in and being successful right away was unheard of.

Still, since I have a double pick I’ll grab Robin Smith - my favourite batsman of the era - and Dean Headley - a fantastic bowler cursed by injury.


[DOUBLEPOST=1609146361][/DOUBLEPOST]Back to @Yash.
 

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