Gower's charm, and Thomson the role model

A selection of Cricinfo's writers recall their favourite players

Cricinfo staff
As the 2005 Ashes prepare for their second chapter, Cricinfo asks a selection of its writers and senior staff to recall their most memorable Ashes moments - good, bad or downright ugly. Last week, it was lows. Now it's the favourite players

Jeff Thomson: a great example for impressionable teenagers © Getty Images
David Gower. Had to be; I am a sucker for romance. Even today, I can watch him in the mind's eye, his bat wafting like gentle breeze, softly persuading the ball to its destination. He didn't brutalise bowlers, he charmed them. I suspect even the bowlers found it tough to take offence while being taken apart by him. I switched off English cricket for years after he was cast aside callously. Sambit Bal
Darren Gough played in four Ashes series without getting close to winning, but he always gave his all and was accorded a rare honour by the Australians when they said he would make their side - as 12th man. Gough raised his game when he saw a baggy green and his efforts at Sydney in 1994 even earned the respect of the harsh local crowds. Andrew McGlashan
David Gower. Jack Hobbs is the only English batsman to score more heavily against Australia but I bet he didn't do it as stylishly. Gower scored runs in all conditions [he made hundreds at eight of the 11 grounds where he faced Australia] and in all circumstances. He regained the Ashes as captain [and lost them too] but faced triumph and disaster with equanimity. And then there's the Tiger Moth incident and the theatre date that brought an early end to a press conference. You gotta love him. John Stern
Jeff Thomson. Written off as a beach bum, the sight of him slinging England into oblivion on the BBC highlights in the winter of 1974-75 sent shivers down my spine as I huddled in front of the fire; in the flesh the following summer, he was even more awesome. That spring, the nets at my school were full of 13-year-olds aping Thomson's unique action, arching their backs and propelling balls in every direction except the right one, leading to the headmaster banning future impersonators. Add into the equation his hard-drinking, no-nonsense approach, and he was the ideal role model for impressionable teenagers. Martin Williamson
Ricky Ponting - you couldn't fit that much flair into a warning signal. Edward Craig
Steve Waugh. Four tours, four trophies, seven hundreds and the defining memory of three series - baggy-green wearing run-machine in '89, Old Trafford scrapper in '97 and 2001's hobbling hero. Peter English
Glenn McGrath. Has there ever been a more relentless bowler? Michael Atherton might be the first to say nay. If Geoffrey Boycott invented the phrase, "corridor of uncertainty", it was McGrath that constructed it, ball after ball, over after over, wicket after wicket. Since he came on the scene, England haven't had a sniff, so much so that you fear for what will happen once he departs. Dileep Premachandran
Angus Fraser. Lumbering, red-faced and knackered. Perpetually knackered. Fraser was the very antithesis of an athlete, which was why I rejoiced in his heroics all the more. With a run-up memorably described by Mike Selvey as "a man trampling through a nettle-bed pursued by a swarm of bees", he produced one of the great futile performances in Ashes history - 6 for 82 at Melbourne in 1990-91, from 39 hip-jarring overs - before limping out of the game, seemingly for good. Two years later he returned with eight triumphant wickets at The Oval, and against all expectations, he was still hanging in there six winters later. Andrew Miller