Unnatural Selection

50 Years of English Test Teams

 Trevor Woolley
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Every follower of England cricket has a view on who should be in the England Test team. In pubs, sports bars, and around family dining tables, lovers of cricket argue about nothing more than the selectors’ choices for the next Test or the next tour. The debate will be informed by the print and other media, not least, in the 21st Century, by online blogs. The national side has experienced great highs and demoralising lows and all the major players have had their fair share of triumph and disappointment.


In this book, Trevor Woolley examines the history of England Test selection since the early 1960s. He seeks less to mark the selectors’ homework, than to explain why they made the decisions they did. Some were highly controversial at the time: the dropping of Brian Close as captain in 1967; the D’Oliveira affair in 1968; the selection of four different captains in one home series in 1988; the omission of David Gower, in 1989, 1991 and 1992; the inconsistency as to whether to view Alec Stewart as a specialist batsman, or a wicket-keeper batsman, in the 1990s; the continuing issues surrounding Kevin Pietersen.


The selectors can only call on the best available and England’s best over the last 50 years have not generally been good enough. Did the selectors do their best with what was on offer? How do these, and the many other selectorial judgements made, look now, in the context offered by the passage of time? This book, based on extensive research of contemporary media comment and players’ own reflections, offers one set of answers.


"....a book well worth reading and Trevor Woolley has every right to take pride in his first book."

Martin Chandler, Cricket Web

Read the full review here