Best of the rest

A look at some players who missed out on Test cricket because they came from Associate-member countries. (One from each nation.)

Steven Lynch

August 19, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Shahzad gets ready to swing hard, Afghanistan v India, World T20, Group A, Colombo, September, 19, 2012
Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad scored a double-century to chase 494 against Canada © ICC/Getty
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Mohammad Shahzad, Afghanistan
Seemingly the best of the many promising players who have inspired Afghanistan's climb up the world rankings, the chunky Shahzad has already hit three one-day international centuries - and 214 not out in an Intercontinental Cup game against Canada in Sharjah in February 2010, anchoring an incredible chase as Afghanistan reached 494 to win by six wickets. If we weren't restricted to one player per country, then Shahzad's team-mates Mohammad Nabi, a fine allrounder, and fast bowler Hamid Hassan would also be close to selection here.

Sheridan Raynor, Bermuda
A left-hander who made centuries against county-standard opposition in the 1960s, Raynor so impressed Garry Sobers during one game that, legend has it, Sobers asked that he should be given a trial for West Indies, only to be told that Bermuda was not affiliated to their board. When Raynor died in 2011, proceedings were held up in the Bermudian parliament as MPs paid tribute.

Steve Tikolo, Kenya
A fine batsman who at his best exuded something of the confidence of Viv Richards at the crease, Tikolo was the backbone of the strong Kenyan side that shocked West Indies in the 1996 World Cup and reached the semi-finals in 2003. With little competition for places, he played on for too long, but remains arguably the best batsman yet produced by one of the non-Test nations. His 31 centuries in all matches for Kenya included two doubles.

Ryan ten Doeschate, Netherlands
Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards both reached 1000 ODI runs in just 22 matches. And next, in 24 games, comes... Ryan ten Doeschate of Netherlands. Granted, some of his runs were against fellow Associates, but it's still a mighty record: and ten Doeschate crashed World Cup hundreds against England and Ireland to emphasise his talent. If we weren't restricted to one player per country, his erstwhile orange-clad team-mates Roland Lefebvre (the first Dutchman to score a County Championship century) and long-serving batsman Tim de Leede might also feature.

James Aitchison, Scotland
A minister in the Church of Scotland, Aitchison never found the time for county cricket - but he did score 56 centuries in club cricket and seven for Scotland, including one off the 1956 Australians that Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller rated the best against them all summer. Worcestershire's Roly Jenkins was less impressed after a long, chancy innings, suggesting that with his luck the Rev Aitchison ought really to be an archbishop.

Gerrie Snyman, Namibia
Namibia's big-hitting middle-order batsman Snyman would add punch to our team in limited-overs matches - if he can reproduce the form that brought him 230 (out of a completed innings of only 282, and including 11 sixes) against Kenya in January 2008, or 201 not out (only seven sixes this time) at Kenya's expense late in 2012.

Niall O'Brien - Ireland
There are several Irish candidates for our XI, notably canny spinners like Dermott Monteith and Scott Huey, but we need a wicketkeeper - and feisty O'Brien is good behind the stumps, and active in front of them too, as proved by several hundreds in county cricket and for Ireland. And he wouldn't be lost for words in this company: "I've said a few things to Kevin Pietersen," O'Brien admits, "and I'd like to think I've chirped him out a couple of times."

Basil Robinson, Canada
A Rhodes Scholar from Vancouver who bowled probing offspin for Oxford University in 1947 and 1948 - Trevor Bailey was among his six victims in the '47 Varsity Match - Robinson later captained a strong Canadian team that held its own with the counties on a tour of England in 1954. He later became a diplomat, wrote a biography of the Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker, and a family history entitled This Family Robinson.


Derbyshire bowler Ole Mortensen bowls  during a match at the Festival in Scarborough, September 1, 1985
Denmark's Ole Mortensen took more than 650 wickets in county cricket between 1983 and 1994 © Getty Images
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Bart King, USA
Undoubtedly the best cricketer ever produced by the United States, John Barton King was a fast bowler who swerved the ball disconcertingly. King toured England three times with the strong Philadelphia teams of his day, and actually topped the English first-class averages in 1908 (when he was 35) with 87 wickets at 11.01. That followed 72 at 20.10 in 1897, and 93 at 14.91 in 1903. In 1909 he took all ten wickets against a touring Irish team, and three years later he took 17 Australian wickets in two matches as they journeyed home from the Triangular Tournament in England.

Ole Mortensen, Denmark
A fine seamer who achieved near-cult status during a long county stint with Derbyshire, Mortensen emerged from club cricket in Denmark. Nicknamed "Erik Bloodaxe", he took more than 650 wickets in all formats over a dozen seasons from 1983. "He says little, and his appeal is presumably Danish for owzat," wrote Peter Roebuck. "He takes a dim view of fielding and, if he is moved from one spot to another, an even dimmer view of chasing any ball entering his previous domain." However, Roebuck added, "He is, though, a very fast bowler... Steaming in with his flailing black hair, he bowled me just about the best over I've ever received."

Clem Gibson, Argentina
A purveyor of fast swing in his youth, Gibson of Eton was one of the schoolboy bowlers chosen as Cricketers of the Year by Wisden in 1918 in the absence of any first-class cricket in England. He went on to Cambridge University, and in 1921 took 6 for 64 for the all-amateur XI, raised by Archie MacLaren, that defeated the previously dominant Australian tourists. Gibson soon returned to his native Argentina, where he was a pillar of the local cricket scene. MacLaren apparently arranged for him to be invited to tour Australia for the 1924-25 Ashes, but Gibson declined.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook

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Posted by   on (August 24, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

How could you possibly leave out EC Joyce ???? Most runs and highest first class average amongst active players in the County Championship never to play a test match.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

to be fair.. that.. nepal bollower paras khadka.. and sanjam regmi ..wt about them??

Posted by busybrats on (August 21, 2013, 2:13 GMT)

How about Bula, the Fijian Botham - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/24046.html

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

What about the great Dutch fast bowler Carst Posthuma who played for WG Grace's London County team in 1903? Or Alma Hunt from Bermuda?

Posted by Rowayton on (August 20, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

John Davison? Give me a break - have a look at his Sheffield Shield figures. Ordinary does not begin to describe it.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

I realize that you were quoting from Wisden (and not citing it), but the Rev. Aitchison could never have become an arch-bishop because the Church of Scotland doesn't have them! Just sayin'.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (August 19, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

It always surprised me that, considering some of the dubious overseas "stars" signed by various counties, nobody ever signed up Steve Tikolo. I doubt that would be overlooked so easily now, with several cash-strapped counties in need of a boost.

Hopefully we'll see some Afghanistan players in county cricket soon. Plus regular fixtures against Ireland: there's nothing stopping an ECB XI playing a "friendly" Test against Ireland as a warm-up game. Definitely a more stern examination than Assorted of Essex were this season.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

Quite poor to overlook the legendary Irish off-spinner, Jimmy Boucher.

Posted by Cricfever_PM on (August 19, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

ICC should select Best Associate XI and make them play against any of full member team on every years, may be 1 or 2 games would give them boost as well as other associate national players which will create huge popularity for cricket!

Posted by Haries on (August 19, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

I think Paras Khadka (Nepal) is also a great player of all time we cant exclude him....

Posted by Dashgar on (August 19, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

To be fair, Ryan Ten Doschate didn't miss out on test cricket. If he was good enough to make the South African side, his country of birth where he also played First Class cricket he would have been a test player. Same goes for Tom Cooper and Dirk Nannes of Netherlands/Australia

Posted by rajivgower on (August 19, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

JT - Jignest Tailor, incredible bowler from Hong Kong. He also had the confidence, he really did think he was good. His sister, a well known cricket expert, really thought he was something special. He should have played for England when he moved over to the UK. But the great thing was that he and his sister were so humble about it, they never spoke of his immense talent.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:52 GMT)

Notable absentees: Thomas Odoyo, Ravindu Shah, John Davison, Ashish Bagai, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan, John Blain, Tim de Leede, Dirk Nannes, Tom Cooper, Paras Khadka and more than half the Irish team!

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

Why not create an ICC Associate XI give it official Test status, and base it in Dubai under direct governance of ICC? This team could then play against the bottom 4-5 Test teams. At least the best Associate players won't be lost in England. Irish players will stay in Ireland and when they eventually get Test status, they will be better prepared as some of their players will already be experienced at this level. Ryan Ten Doeschate and even some Afghan players do not deserve to end their careers without a Test cap!!

Posted by calcu on (August 19, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

So, who is the best player from Associate-member countries.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

what about John Davison of Canada? A 69 balls hundred vs WI in WC.........

Posted by Migara on (August 19, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

Very much ill reseacherd when you dont have Mahadevan Sathasvam, one of the best batsmen in the world in late 40s and early 50s. He basically would have walken in to few test sides by then.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

"There are several Irish candidates for our XI, notably canny spinners like Dermott Monteith and Scott Huey, but we need a wicketkeeper"

Did you forget about Shahzad at the top of the list?

Kandarp Mehta, They already have Steve Tikolo as the Kenyan player. He was a World class fish in a very small pond.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

This is an ill-researched piece. Deepak Chudasama was a much better batsman than many here. Similarly Mukesh Narula who played for UAE was a very good allrounder (played Ranji for Baroda). Similarly surprised to see no Kennedy Otieno. What about Kevin Curran who followed Greame Hick and ended up playing for neither England nor Zimbabwe? And wonderful Asif Karim who troubled famous Australian line-up in the 2003 world cup super six game?

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

There was a superb leg spinner who played for Hong Kong U19 about 10 years ago, world class. He was amazing, according to his sister, a prominent HK cricket expert. His name was JT, in the league of Shane Warne apparently, a confident chap, very sure of his cricket. Sadly he was lost to medicine. Yes, also heard of Sathasivam of Ceylon, Sobers said he was "great".

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

It's not a problem @nursery_ender. We took the test mace from South Africa B a yr ago now.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

I L Bula from Fiji should have been on the list also.

Posted by Sushrutdhakal on (August 19, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

Surely Paras Khadka has been excluded. Its biased because he is one of the best allrounders amongst associate nation

Posted by nursery_ender on (August 19, 2013, 6:06 GMT)

I await all the comments that will no doubt flow from the usual suspects, pointing out that ten Doeschate is actually South African and is only eligible for a Dutch passport by virtue of his ancestry. Or is that only a problem for them when players choose to play for England?

Posted by pauln2 on (August 19, 2013, 5:07 GMT)

I.L. Bula from Fiji would be an interesting inclusion - I presume he was left out because his full name wouldn't fit into the scorebook! He was a serious hitter, though, who smashed a hundred in little over an hour in a first-class match for Fiji v Canterbury in 1953/54, and I believe there were questions raised about whether he could be included in the 1949 New Zealand team to tour England - if I remember the story correctly, he could have been but they eventually decided not to choose him in case he struggled with the anticipated cold. Given the dry season that year, he would likely have been quite a hit (pun intended).

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Anura Tennekoon of Ceylon/Sri Lanka who had to retire just before SL attained Test status due to injury and Brian Davison of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe are two of the more obvious ones who should have been listed.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (August 19, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

An interesting and worthwhile article. However, I would also like to see a different and more worthwhile article focusing on "some players who missed out on Test cricket because they came from" South Africa and were prevented from playing by the policy of apartheid because they were not white. To quote cricinfo writer Dileep Premachandran: "it beggars belief that so little is written or said about those players of colour who missed out in the dark days of Apartheid".

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (August 19, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

M Sathasivam of Ceylon. Nobody better missed out on Test Cricket.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

With proper homework, you would have more than loved ot include Paras Khadka from Nepal.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (August 19, 2013, 3:18 GMT)

Can u explain the exclusion of nepali Captain Paras khadka?I think he is best associated and affiliated all rounder and fine captain.I think Nabi and Hamid Hasan deserve spot also.

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.
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