The England cricket team of today is very different from that of the 1990s in batting department as well as bowling
The England cricket team of today is very different from that of the 1990s in batting department as well as bowling.
In the 1990s they used to have mediocre talent with such bowlers as Alan Mullally, Ronnie Irani, Chris Lewis, Ben Hollioake and Phil DeFreitas (yes, there was Ian Botham, but he played his last international match in 1992, having passed his prime).
DeFreitas got only 140 wickets from 44 Tests. His ODI record wasn’t any better either. Lewis had 93 victims in 32 matches. He had a similar record in ODIs.
Mullally got 58 wickets from 19 matches, at a below-par average of over 31 runs. Ronnie played 31 ODIs and got just 24 wickets. Ben Hollioake got just eight wickets from his 20 ODI appearances.
There was Dominic Cork who managed just 131 wickets from 37 matches. Allan Donald of South Africa ridiculed him for his lack of wicket-taking ability.
There were only two bowlers who can be called above average: Darren Gough and Andy Caddick. The former ended his career with 229 wickets from 58 Tests and 235 wickets from only 159 ODIs. The latter retired after taking 234 from 62 Tests.
But the fortunes turned in the early 2000s and England have continued to produce high quality pacers since then. In the 2000s they had such bowlers as Matthew Hoggard (248 wickets from 67 Tests) and Steve Harmison 226 from 63), who together with the all-round ability of Andrew Flintoff gave England a number of memorable wins.
In early 2000s arrived James Anderson who has become the most successful English bowler in Test cricket with 463 wickets from 119 matches, surpassing the likes of Ian Botham and Bob Willis.
In the second half of 2000s emerged Stuart Broad. He was hit six sixes by Yuvraj Singh. At that time it looked as if this baby-faced bowler won’t survive long in international cricket. But he did and has been one of the top bowlers of the world for about a decade across the three formats of the game.
There has been such an abundance of fast bowling talent in England that many fast bowlers who could have played continuously if they had been nationals of other Test playing nations have not been able to cement their place in the English side.
Graham Onions has played only nine Tests so far although in these limited opportunities he proved himself worthy of many more chances by taking 32 wickets.
Steven Finn is an exceptional talent and has proved his mettle by taking 98 wickets from just 65 ODIs but has failed to cement his place in the team because the selectors have had a lot of choice.
Chris Woakes who tore apart Pakistan’s batting quite a few times in their recent series (26 dismissals in just four Tests) has played only 12 matches since his debut in mid-2013 because of the tough competition for fast bowling spots in England cricket team.