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Stephen Vagg

Roar Guru

Joined February 2014

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A Queenslander never forgets a selection slight.

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My top ten Queensland spinners

The growing skill of Mitchell Swepson in recent years has come as a delight to many: those who instinctively just want a leg spinner in the side no matter what (hi, Warnie), those who predicted Swepson would come good years before he actually did (hi again, Warnie), and most of all… Queenslanders.

Good summer to be English. That team was soon brought down to Earth against the West Indies in 1985-86. That also showed how weak Australia had been.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

Very good domestic results over 84-85. And I think reassured Border.
http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1980S/1984-85/AUS_LOCAL/STATS/FC_1984-85_BOWL_MOST_WKTS.html
Domestically he was one of the best performers. It was a mistake to take him, but he had a case.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

O’Donnell was a bright shiny new toy at a time when Australian cricket really needed one. He took to ODIs straight away. His test batting was okay – he hit the winning runs in some rare Oz victories (at Lords and SCG) but I think his bowling wasn’t quite strong enough. In tandem with another all rounder he might’ve been more effective.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

Agree with this, if you can’t bowl out a side, then all you can do is hope for a draw. Australia were never really in with a chance of winning the first, third or fourth test. They were a little lucky to get away with a draw in the fourth.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

Yes. Always a bit unfashionable. I think maybe found his groove too late in life so was never spoken of as a prospect. From what I gather his main motivation to go wasn’t the money but the chance to play top level cricket.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

Packer preferred batsmen. He signed up five players to a scholarship to ensure they weren’t poached – Steve Waugh, Dean Jones, Robbie Kerr, Peter Clifford and Veletta (I think those are the names)… all batsmen!

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

The only rebels to play test cricket after the tours were bowlers – Hohns, Rackemann, Alderman. The batsmen tended to lose form when they came back from S Africa (though I think Mick Taylor had a good season for Tasmania)

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

I think as well there was an Australian XI that toured New Zealand in 1955 or something wasn’t there? Led by Ian Craig where Alan Davidson first emerged as a top player?

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

Very good question. The official test side had better batting (well, it had Border) and spinners, the South African side had better fast bowlers and a better wicket keeper.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

It was bc Packer was into one day cricket rather than tests. I wrote about this a while ago. https://www.theroar.com.au/2018/05/03/kerry-packer-helped-pick-ashes-squad/
I doubt Hughes was promised a spot in the squad – the only people who could do that were selectors – but I do believe someone said “you’ll surely be picked” bc most people believed it. Christian Ryan’s book is the one to read on this topic.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

You could be right about that. The pity was there were back ups available like Wessels and Border himself.

Test XIs we should have had: 1985 Ashes

I’m not as across that one. Had a look to the stats. Simmo’s batting incredible. I get why they didn’t take him. In hindsight they should’ve taken Greg Chappell but it was early (not taking him in 69-70 tour was a bigger mistake). Should’ve taken Stackpole over Joslin. You’re right, the bowlers seem to have been taken off the averages! I can’t even argue there were any over looked Queenslanders.

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

He didn’t do that well in Supertests but was one of the best performing batsmen in the Cavalier and Country comps against some incredible bowling.
https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_hundreds_career.html?class=15;id=3669;type=tournament

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

I’ve thought a lot about the 77 squad too. I think Bruce Laird would’ve done fine but they could’ve played Serjeant and Cosier as openers in the tests – both did okay as openers in the tour games.

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

Didn’t do well in the super tests, it’s true but had some great innings in the Cavalier games. https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/averages/batting_bowling_by_team.html?id=3669;team=221;type=tournament
https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?id=3668;type=tournament

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

No plans on that one happy to see someone else have go 🙂

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

Thanks… but I think there’s only one or two series left in me. 🙂

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

Yes Pakistan was 79-80.
Bright played some magnificent games during WSC – and some decent ones for the official eleven.

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

I think 2005 was a different case. A bunch of champions all lost form around the same time. I do think Australia should’ve played Macgill once McGrath was injured. So no plans – have a go at an article, people seem to like ones on these topics!

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

Chappell was burnt out after 80-81 esp the underarm. He said it was for business reasons but I think the real reason was his he was exhausted. I don’t begrudge him not going we should’ve been able to win without him.

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

He gives a great interview in Christian Ryan’s book on Kim Hughes

Test XIs we should have had: 1981 Ashes

They did have night cricket in 77-78 but didn’t get the blockbuster crowds til next season.

Test XIs we should have had: 1978-79

You’re right it’s actually fascinating who was picked for that WSC team. Chappell clearly had a lot of time for Martin Kent and Rob Langer – and I think both would’ve done well at test level (Langer never got his chance, Kent did in 1981 then was injured shortly afterwards). Trevor Chappell got in via family connections but actually didn’t play too bad if you look at the scores. People like Ian Davis and even Doug Walters struggled. Australia had to import Kepler Wessels in 78-79 to have an opener!

Test XIs we should have had: 1977-78

I got to meet Paul Hibbert a few years before he died and talked about the series. He says he felt he got picked too early and wasn’t anywhere near as good as he was later in his career (when he was a very dependable player for Victoria). But if an opportunity is there you can’t say no.

Test XIs we should have had: 1977-78

I got most of the insights from Bob Simpson’s book “Simmo” – an interesting read. I gather there was a bit of a team revolt in the West Indies in 1978 – Christian Ryan’s book on Kim Hughes is a good source on this. Toohey and Wood deserved their chances based on their strong efforts in 1977-78

Test XIs we should have had: 1978-79

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