Thursday 1 January 2009

Nasser Hussain 96, Ian Harvey 0

Sky Sports began the New Year by doing one of its favourite things: obsessing over the Ashes of 2005. It's now officially an Ashes year, you see, and so it's out with the tapes (and the super slo-mo, for added gravitas) and into the studio with Gower, Hussain, Willis and Botham to talk us through it again, with all of the stern wisdom that hindsight can bring.

In need of an Australian view, they whistled up Ian Harvey, the only man present not to have played in an Ashes Test, or indeed in any Tests at all, despite being good enough for Wisden to make him one of the five Cricketers of the Year in 2004.

Harvey's presence made a subtle point all of its own. By accident of birth, he qualifies as one of Australia's lost generation of cricketers, men who enabled everyone from selectors to pundits to point at successive teams and say, 'look at the players who can't even get in'. Stuart Law played one Test (and was never dismissed), Tom Moody eight, Martin Love five (both got hundreds), Jimmy Maher none and so on. Darren Lehmann could have have played many more than 27 times had he played for England; Adam Gilchrist would have been in any other team in the world years before he was in Australia's; Stuart MacGill might have four hundred wickets. All leant psychic weight to the notion of Australian dominance.

Next to Harvey sat Nasser Hussain, who played 96 Tests, arguably 96 more than he would have done had he been Australian. 

Accidents of birth, accidents of time. The past is another country, as the programme showed in more ways than one. 

NB: Harvey does have one little piece of history that will be his forever: in 2003, he scored the first ever Twenty20 century. Nice. 


Jrod said...

Poor freak, when he played Australia would never have picked an all rounder who couldn't justify his spot on batting or bowling alone, now they'd pick him for sure.

The Old Batsman said...

And imagine the young Nasser, duking it out with Ian Bell and MPV to see who can average 35 at number three for England.