>>Wandering slightly here John, but I'd opine that there's actually two
>>biases in English selections. Region and Oxbridge/top school.
>>Thinking Pringle, Brearley, Edmonds etc
>Those players are all from some way back. I'm not sure that their
>selection indicates bias. Edmonds was probably the best left-arm spinner
>in the country at the time.
And was very much considered an all-rounder, since he made several
centuries in f-c cricket early on.
>Brearley was very successful as a batsman
>below Test level, but may have had more chances than he should have done
>prior to becoming captain and ascending to God-hood.
Two Tests against WI in 1976 and dropped, and then the tour of India
the following winter, when he averaged just over 30. And then there
was Packer, which came just in time to save his place.
>astonishing figures against the counties whilst still at Cambridge, and
>his original selection I think was justified, but he was arguably
>persisted with much too long.
And there was definitely a case of Essex mafia in the persistence,
because Gnome Fletcher was in charge. His previous background wasn't
as important as the fact that he was close to Gooch and Fletcher.
>From the same era, I can also think of Tavare and Vic Marks. In the case
>of all these players, with the exception of Pringle, I don't think that
>they were picked until they had had considerable success for their
>In recent years, the only selections that I can think of with an
>Oxbridge background have been Atherton and Hussain, both clearly worth a
>place on merit.
You've already corrected yourself on Hussain.
However, the following players have got Blues since 1980 and
subsequently played for England:
That's more names than you expected, isn't it? Well, it's more than I
expected, anyway. I knew about Smith, Atherton and Pringle, but the
others hadn't really registered as being Varsity men. The only one I
think it benefited was Crawley, who I now recall impressed the touring
Australians when they played against him while he was up.
Others who have played a fair amount of county cricket:
GJ Toogood (actually, not too good)
Of those, Wagh is likely to play for England, and Dalrymple is a
If you want to find examples of the kind of class bias that Alvey's
referring to, you can go back fifty years or more and find them all
over the place. Nowadays, I don't think it has any bearing at all. In
that playing for Oxford or Cambridge used to get you f-c experience
before you played for a county, it was a help, I guess, but now that
there are 4-6 UCCEs playing f-c cricket, that opportunity is spread
rather wider these days.