Unnatural Selection by Trevor Woolley

Selection in any team sport has always been a subject to enthral followers of the game. The chance for everyone to test their judgement against the experts with the magic of a quick answer – the performance of that team in the days to follow.

For any supporters of the England cricket team over the last 50 years there have been numerous opportunities to test their mettle against any number of appointed experts. The national side has experienced great highs and demoralising lows and all the major players have had their fair share of triumph and disappointment.

David Gower, John Snow and Kevin Pietersen – fairly treated or punished for a maverick nature? Ray Illingworth, Micky Stewart and Ted Dexter – more sinned against than sinning? Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash and John Emburey – always destined to fail or poorly handled?

And yet 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.

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