Andrew Hilditch – Australia’s Chairman of Selectors wasn’t the worst opener to play against England in this period, but he may have been the most stupid. In the 1985 series, David Gower set the trap for the hook and like a punch-drunk boxer, Hilditch fell for the sucker blow every time.
Rick Darling – Just like his hapless namesake in Blackadder Goes Forth, Darling was like a fish out of water at Test level, which he only played because of World Series Cricket. The lasting memory he left on the Ashes was when he almost died at Adelaide during the 1978/79 series. A piece of chewing gum became lodged in his throat before John Emburey came to the rescue.
Trevor Chappell – Poor old Trevor. Despite doubtless losing every backyard game to his immensely talented brothers, the ugly duckling of the Chappell family still managed to play three tests in the 1981 series - scoring only 79 runs at 15.8. His underarm bowling wasn’t required.
Martin Kent – Unlike his namesake Clark, Martin didn’t turn into Superman during his three tests in the 1981 series where he averaged fewer than 30. The luckless Kent then suffered a serious back injury, which forced his early retirement from the game.
Michael Bevan – Surprisingly for such a fine player who excelled in county cricket, Bevan had a woeful Ashes career averaging 11 in six tests, where a weakness against the short ball proved his undoing.
Phil Carlson – Makes our England all-rounder Pringle look like Miller or Sobers. Carlson played two tests in the WSC affected 1978-79 series and floundered against the short ball, scoring 23 runs in four innings. His bowling was no better with only two wickets at 50.
Graham Manou – Drafted in at the last minute at Edgbaston for the injured Brad Haddin in the 2009 series, Manou made such an impression that he immediately lost his role as the back-up keeper.
Shaun Young – With Gillespie and Reiffel injured and Young being close at hand in Gloucester, he was called up for the final test of the 1997 series at The Oval. He scored four runs and bowled eight wicketless overs as Australia crashed to defeat. Other than having a sex change and starring in Bladerunner alongside Harrison Ford, Young has never been heard of again.
Chris Matthews – Australia had a dreadful side in the 1986/87 series and were duly beaten by Mike Gatting’s England. Matthews was one of the journeymen who appeared taking six wickets in two tests at 39.
Murray Bennett – The slow left armer made Xavier Doherty look like a Warne, O’Reilly or Grimmett in his single Ashes test at The Oval in 1985. Took one wicket for 111 as Gower and Gooch made hay in the sun.
Dave Gilbert – Played his solitary Ashes test in the same Oval test of 1985, where he did marginally better than Bennett in taking one for 96. Just pips Joe Angel and Matt Nicholson to a spot in the XI.
A version of this article first appeared in the third and final edition of Cricket Sadist in November 2010.
Cricket Zeroes: Andrew Hilditch
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