Australia dominated Test cricket for two decades from 1990. Richly blessed with a depth of talent, there were far too many who couldn't get a Test or played a lot less than their talent deserved. Here are some of their stories.
A classification quiz
Estimated time: 3 mins.
Last 3 plays: masfon (4/15), ozzz2002 (11/15), workisboring (7/15).
Place the cricketer into their best category.
Tom MoodyBrad HodgeJason KrezjaChris HartleyMichael BevanStuart LawMartin LoveNathan BrackenAndy BichelMichael Di VenutoJamie CoxDarren BerryStuart MacGillBryce McGainBrad Williams
* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the correct categories.
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Darren Berry
Darren Berry played first class cricket for both South Australia and Victoria. During his time, he was rated as the finest gloveman in the country, and he would finish his career with over 600 dismissals, 50 of those being stumpings.
While playing for Victoria, Berry would keep to leg-spinning legend Shane Warne, with the latter describing Berry as "Darren Berry up to the stumps has probably been the best keeper that I've ever seen in my time". Berry did get selected for the Ashes tour of 1997 as the second to Adam Gilchrist, which he has pointed to as one of the highlights of his career, however, he was never selected for a Test match. Aside from the fact that he was competing with, first, Ian Healy and, later, Gilchrist for a spot in the side his first-class batting average, which, in contrast to the above two, stood at a lowly 21 runs, and that was always going to an issue with the selectors.
2. Michael Bevan
Michael Bevan is a legend of the One Day (ODI) game. An important member of Australia's World Cup winning teams in 1999 and 2003, he was the number one ranked player in the ICC (International Cricket Council) rankings for several seasons. He was also named in Cricket Australia's "Greatest Ever One Day Side". He represented Australia in 232 ODIs and scored a little under 7,000 runs at a staggering average of 53.38. In all List A (One Day) games he managed over 15,000 runs at 57.80. Little wonder he was nicknamed the "Pyjama Picasso".
This success, however, did not translate into the Test arena. He was blessed with 18 appearances for his country in the long format, scoring a paltry 785 runs at an average of 29.07. That said, that was also early in his career and his batting toward the end had improved considerably. After making his debut for New South Wales in the 1989/90 season, where he'd scored a century on debut, he moved to Tasmania in 2004/05 and dominated the Sheffield Shield competition. In that year, he amassed, what was at the time, a Shield record 1,464 runs for the season but, such was the strength of Australian cricket that he did not rate a mention with the selectors.
3. Andy Bichel
Andy Bichel was a workhorse through and through. A right arm fast bowler who produced a little movement through the air and regular deviation off the seam but, more importantly, would charge in all day and give it his all. By the time he'd retired in 2008 he'd taken 769 wickets with a best effort of 9 for 93. Of those, 430 were Sheffield Shield dismissals which, at the time, put him at third on the all-time list.
He would get to wear the baggy green, 19 times but he was 12th man on more occasions than he'd care to remember. Whilst that may sound like a fair go, Andy can consider himself unlucky... at the same time he was competing with the likes of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Ryan Harris and Stuart Clark for a place in this line-up.
Bichel did manage to play 67 One Day Internationals for his country, and it was in this format that he produced one of his most treasured memories. Against England in the 2003 World Cup campaign, he tore through the English line up taking 7 wickets for 20 runs off his 10 overs, restricting them (England) to a mere 204. However, he wasn't done yet. When he came to the crease Australia was in dire trouble with his home country still requiring 73 runs for victory, with only two wickets in hand. Bichel made 34 as he and Michael Bevan steered their team to a win.
4. Nathan Bracken
Nathan Bracken was one of the best One Day (ODI) bowlers in the world during his time and he helped to establish his country as one of the dominant nations in the format. In all, he played 116 ODIs and took 174 wickets.
However, the Test arena was a barren place for him. It was hard enough for him to break into the line-up with the likes of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz and Brett Lee ahead of him in the pecking order. He did manage five Tests for his country in which he took 12 wickets, with a best effort of 4 for 48.
One of his best moments with the ball, came after being dropped from the Test team in 2004. He took his frustrations out on the hapless South Australian team, who were rolled for a mere 29 runs, the second lowest score in the history of the Sheffield Shield at the time. Bracken's figures, a scarcely believable 7 wickets for 4 runs of 7 overs.
5. Jamie Cox
In a first-class career that spanned from 1987 through to 2006 Jamie Cox scored 51 hundreds in carving out 18,614 runs at an average of just under 43. Despite being in the difficult role of an opening batsman, during a stellar spell that began in 1992, he averaged over 50 in eight consecutive Sheffield Shield seasons. This included an incredible 1,349 runs during the 1996/97 season and yet, he could not get a gig with the Australian side.
That said, he was extremely unlucky as he had players of the calibre of Mark Taylor, Michael Slater, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden in the way. Cox would finish his career as the second highest run scorer in the Sheffield Shield competition - only Darren Lehmann had scored more. Jamie would continue giving to the game, spending time as a national selector for Cricket Australia, before becoming the general manager of football performance for the St. Kilda Football Club in the AFL (Australian Football League) and then accepting a post as the assistant secretary for the MCC Staff.
6. Michael Di Venuto
Di Venuto was an aggressive left-handed opening batsman who spent the majority of his first-class career playing for the state of Tasmania. After retiring from the Tigers in 2012, he would move to England and play county cricket for Durham before making his mark as Australia's batting coach in 2013. He moved back to England to coach Surrey between 2016 and 2020 and was appointed Australia's assistant coach in 2021.
Over sixteen Shield seasons he accumulated 25,200 runs, which included more than 60 centuries, at an average of almost 46. These are numbers that would have made Michael a regular in the Test sides of most international sides. While he managed to play nine One Day Internationals for his country, which netted two half centuries, the baggy green in the longer format continually eluded him.
7. Chris Hartley
Chris "Hannibal" Hartley became Queensland's first choice wicketkeeper in 2002 and stood behind the stumps for his state for the next 14 years. A very durable keeper he would play 100 consecutive Shield matches before a broken finger curtailed his run.
Hartley was also a hard hitting batsman who finished his first class career with over 6,000 runs, which included ten centuries. Blessed with a wonderful pair of hands he would finish with 564 dismissals, 547 of which were catches, by the time that he retired. Both of these marks were Australian Sheffield Shield records at the time.
A man who figured in the Australian A team (the equivalent of a second eleven) a number of times, he was never selected to wear the baggy green. Why, you might ask? During his time the two men that kept him out were a certain Adam Gilchrist and a New South Welshman by the name of Brad Haddin. That really is tough.
8. Brad Hodge
Possibly the most unfortunate player on this list. Hodge was an extraordinary batsman, possessed of exquisite timing and a wonderful cricket brain. He scored over 17,000 runs in first-class cricket, the majority of those games with his beloved Victoria, with 51 centuries and a highest score of 302 not out.
He managed to secure six Tests for his country between 2005 and 2008, in which he maintained an elite average of 55.88. To give you an example as to how tough it was to remain in this Australian team at the time, he scored an undefeated double hundred (203*) against South Africa in Perth in 2005 and was dropped for the next Test. His replacement... the incomparable Damien Martyn.
9. Jason Krezja
Nicknamed "Krazy", Jason was an off-spinner who plied his trade with Tasmania, too often playing on an unforgiving wicket that was Blundstone Arena. Even as an off-spinner it was difficult to break into the Australian line-up with Nathan Hauritz being Australia's preferred option at the time and, if that didn't work, they looked to the erratic leg-spin of Steve Smith.
Jason finally got his break in India, called up for the fourth Test of series in Nangpur in 2008. Australia would lose but Jason would take 12 wickets in the match (creating a swag of history in the process) and he would walk away with the Man of the Match award. That is basically where it ended for Jason. He played in the next Test and it proved to be the last time he'd represent his country in the long format of the game.
10. Stuart Law
Stuart Law possessed an illustrious first-class career. He was the captain of the Queensland Sheffield Shield side when they won their first title in 1995. He scored 79 first class hundreds and, at the time that he'd retired, only five other Australians in the history of the game had scored more centuries.
Making his debut for Queensland in the 1988/89 Shield season, he showed his class by scoring 179 in only his second game. His best season arrived two seasons later when he accumulated over 1,200 runs and an average in excess of 75. In 1998 he was selected as one of Wisden's five "Cricketers of the Year" and, in 2007, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. All this and he could only manage one Test match for Australia.
That Test came in 1995 against Sri Lanka in Perth, the same day that Ricky Ponting would also make his debut. Law batted once and remained undefeated on 54. He got the gig because Steve Waugh was injured. Waugh returned for the following Test, Law received his marching orders and never wore the baggy green in the long format again. After retiring from the game, he coached the national sides of Sri Lanka (2009), Bangladesh (2011-2012), and the West Indies (2018-2019).
11. Martin Love
Martin Love made batting look easy. If Mark Waugh was the personification of grace and elegance at the crease in Australian cricket, then Love could have been his love child (pardon the pun). He scored over 16,800 runs in his first-class career at an average that was a fraction under 50. There were 44 hundreds among those, with his highest score being 300 not out.
Love was a member of the Queensland Sheffield Shield side that managed to break through for their first ever Shield victory in 1995. He was a major contributor to that win scoring 146 in the final. Unlike some of the players on this list, he did get to wear the baggy green for his country, playing in five Test matches between 2002 and 2005. Despite maintaining an average of 46.60 in these games and scoring an unbeaten century in his last Test, he was not able to add to that measly total.
12. Stuart MacGill
I can hear the screams... "What, he got a fair run in the Aussie team". I will agree he got a run. He managed 44 Test matches for his country but, he played his first Test for Australia in 1998 and his last in 2008. In that time he managed to take 208 wickets, a rate of 4.72 wickets per Test, which is up there with the best. But, in keeping with the idea of this quiz, he was born at the wrong time. It could be argued that MacGill, in his time, was the second best leg-spinner in the world. The only problem was that the best, Shane Warne, was also an Australian. Without Warne, there is little doubt that Stuart would have played over 100 Tests for his country and ended with a tally that was closer to 500 wickets.
MacGill was born to play cricket. His father Terry and grandfather Charlie both played first class cricket for Western Australia. Even his initials, SCG (Stuart Charles Glyndwr), came to represent the hallowed ground (the Sydney Cricket Ground) on which he played the majority of his first class career. This was a career that saw him play 184 games and take 774 wickets.
13. Bryce McGain
Not only was Bryce McGain born at the wrong time, he was born in the wrong state. In this case, that state was Victoria. Bryce would have to wait until he was 30 years old before he got to make his first-class debut. The reason... Victoria had two quality leg-spinners in Shane Warne and Cameron White. Whilst the latter lost his gloss as a bowling option as his career progressed, he was such a dangerous batsman that he was retained in the line-up, usually at McGain's expense.
In his short first-class career (33 matches) McGain took 101 wickets, including sets of five wickets on five occasions. He was regularly invited to be a part of the Australia A side, which is a strong indicator as to the high regard he was held in. He did manage to play one Test for his country, but it is a memory he probably will not treasure fondly. Pitched into a battle against a powerful South African batting line-up on a Newlands pitch that offered little assistance, he became a tactical target for the opposition. He finished the game with the figures of 0/149, made two runs in his first innings and a duck in the second as Australia lost by an innings. He would not play for his country again.
14. Tom Moody
Standing at 1.98 metres (6 feet 6 inches) in height, Tom Moody was a giant of a human being and a colossus of the game of cricket in Australia. Noted, primarily, for his batting he is considered to be the finest all-rounder produced by Western Australia prior to the year 2000.
He made over 21,000 runs in first class cricket, which included 64 centuries as well as taking 361 wickets. He seemed to reserve his best for the big occasions and, to this end, became the first Australian to score 150 runs in both innings of a Sheffield Shield final, a feat that helped Western Australia to the title in the 1988/89 season. In the 1996/97 final he would produce another 150 and take eight wickets but, this time, it was in a losing cause against Queensland.
Despite having a decorated One Day (ODI) career for Australia, which produced over 1,200 runs, 52 wickets, a World Cup victory and a silver medal at the 1996 Commonwealth Games, Tom had limited opportunities to ply his trade in the Test match arena. He managed eight Tests for his country, scoring 456 runs, which included two centuries.
15. Brad Williams
Whatever you do, don't get Brad Williams angry. That used to be one of the bits of advice opposition teams passed onto their players. It was easy to understand why. Williams was a tall and powerful individual who was built like a log-chopper, and he was fast... very fast. When he got fired up, he was more than a handful to deal with.
In, possibly the greatest comeback in Sheffield Shield history, Western Australia reversed a near impossible position on the back of a Brad Williams' thunderous execution. The bear had been poked when a debutant chipped Williams with an uncalled for comment and a steamed up Williams charged through the Victorian batting line-up to dismiss them for 98 on what had previously been described as the flattest wicket on Earth. Williams did get a call up for Australia and managed to play a mere four Tests in which he took 9 wickets, but it could have been so much more.