Empire International Cricket Captain 2000 Competition
A new feature of International Cricket Captain 2000 is the addition of 4 scenarios which allow you to replay some classic Test Match series of the past. The scenarios included are
If Empire were to create additional Test Match series of the patch which one would you like them to create and why? Send in your choices and 10 lucky winners drawn from the hat will win. Note this is my idea and not Empire's. Whilst I will pass on the results of the poll there is no mention of additional scenarios being created.
A couple of points about this competition seem to have to be mentioned
Despite listing the scenarios included with the game the number of people who obviously did not read the competition was quite staggering. Despite this there were 236 entries. A large number of these entries though were incorrect in either the wrong year or saying Team A vs Team B when Team B was actually the home team.
The voting for the 74 different series nominated was
Chris Kuszelyk Series: 1992/93 Australia vs West Indies
This series had many fantastic moments,even though Australia did lose. This series included one of the greatest test match finishes in history when the West Indies beat Australia by 1 run at the Adelaide Oval. Tim May took 5/9 on the 3rd day to leave Australia needing 186 to win the match, series and Frank Worrell Trophy for the first time in 20 odd years. Australia crumbled to be 7/74 under the weight of Curtly Ambrose, and when Justin Langer (in his test debut) was dismissed for a courageous 54 in over 4 hours, Australia still needed 43 runs with one wicket in hand. The game seemed over but I along with millions of cricket watchers were glued to their radios and TV sets as Tim May & Craig McDermott inched their way closer to an improbable victory. At 9/184, McDermott smacks one into Dessie Haynes at short leg and somehow he saves a certain boundary which would have won the match. Next ball Courtney Walsh rips in a steepling bouncer which McDermott gloves on it's way to Junior Murray. The West Indies win the closest test in history by 1 run. I remember sitting their in front of the TV with the rest of my family in absolute shock, speechless for almost 10 minutes at what we had just witnessed.
And there were many other fantastic moments in this awesome series.Lara scoring 277 at the SCG, his first major score, Curtly's magnificent spell in the 5th & final test at Perth taking 7/1 on the opening day to destroy the Aussies (probably the best spell of fast bowling I have witnessed) and help the Windies keep their unbeaten series record alive.
Some other highlights in the series included on the 5th day of the first test at the Gabba when Australia had set the Windies 230 odd to win in just over two sessions and they had them in tatters at 4/9 but the Windies held on being 8/130 odd from memory. The Second Test in Melbourne was a marvellous Australian Victory with Shane Warne making his first significant contribution in test cricket when he rolled the Windies on a 5th day wicket taking 7/52. He took the wicket of Richie Richardson with a flipper and until then I don't think many people had seen this delivery, this effort was transformed Warne into the bowler he is today.
This series was superb, probably the best I have ever witnessed as hard as that is to say being an Australian. I would think that these West Indies & Australian teams are the most closely matched teams that have ever challenged for the Frank Worrell Trophy. Australia were too good in 75 when they blew them out 5-1, the Windies were not the unrelenting machine back then. By the time 94/95 came around and Australia finally won the trophy back, the West Indies were well below their best and were primed for defeat. The 92/93 teams with the Windies slipping a little from their magnificent 1980's play without Viv and AB's Aussies star on the rise with the emerging talent of Shane Warne and a very good batting line-up, I feel they are extremely close in skills and would make a remarkable series to replay.
Chris Morgan Series: Australia vs England 1998/99
A truly remarkable test match. England 2-0 down in the series ridiculed in both the English and Australian press beat the Australians at their own game. No-one could see little English match the supposed best Test Match team ever and there backs were against the wall for most of the match. But we showed the rest of the cricketeting world that we could compete with the best and we did it with so much commitment, all the players dug in together with true English spirit something which had been missing since the Botham era. Chasing a target in their 4th innings Australia needed less than 80 runs with 9 wickets remaining, a spectacular Ramprakash catch and an inspired performance by Gough on the longest day of test match history (over 8 hours) right to the end, kept me on the edge of my seat through the wee small hours and made me proud to be English when Gough uprooted the stumps to take the last Australian wicket.
England were unlucky not to win the final test in Sydney in a match that included a Gough hat-trick but from no-hopers in November 98 to a team that showed true commitment and could compete with the best by January 99. It showed to me that England were on the way back, but could I give people like myself even more pleasure if the series was replayed by taking the Ashes of the Australian's. You know give me a chance and I won't let you down!
Dale Hansen Series: Australia vs England 1932/33
I have chosen the 1932/33 Ashes Series on the basis of several factors. These are as follows:
* The significance of the series at the time - England had lost the previous Ashes series at home, and there was possibly a bit of expectation considering England won 4-1 the last time they went to Australia.
* The match-ups of great players, names which will go down in history - the world-record breakers Bradman, Hammond & Ponsford, champion spinners Grimmet & O'Reilly, English patriots Jardine & Sutcliffe, and the gritty Australian Stan McCabe who scored one of the most memorable centuries when he made 187 not out, the first ever 100 made against Bodyline Bowling.
* The controversy - one of the most talked-about issues in cricket before match-fixing -- Bodyline or "Leg Theory" - it restricted batsmen, it injured batsmen, and it dismissed batsmen - yet this is the only test series in cricket history for it to be employed throughout - even if it was only used by England.
* The previous point brings me to my final, and most important factor of all - The Bradman Factor.. England captain Douglas Jardine had to come up with something to counteract "The Don", as the memories of his world-record 334 still haunted the English. That's not to mention that Bradman had just come away from a series against South Africa averaging over 200!
Well Jardine came up with something alright - Paceman Harold Larwood. Larwood's "Leg Theory" earned him 33 wickets at 19 for the series, while Bradman still managed to average a healthy 56, compared to his team-mate's 20-odd averages.
If this scenario was to be replayed I would suggest the option of the choice to captain either side.
Be England, and watch those Aussies duck and flinch as you line them down legside, with a more-than-normal rate of body-blows to the batsmen. Try to repeat history, or even better the 3-1 England result!
Be Australia, and prepare to dig deep & fight hard as Larwood & Voce fire them down at your body - who knows? you might just change history --- but don't expect Bradman to be rattling off centuries, as in the scenario the Bowlers would be favoured (particularly when bowling leg stump), just as it was in 1932/33.
Freddie Abrahams Series: Australia vs South Africa 1993/94
Reason: This series was packed with tension, great fast and slow bowling and batting that was at times simply superb. The series was tied 1-1 in the end but every match bar none was enthralling, and four ended with the match going either way on the last day.
One match that I'll always remember was on 2nd June and was fascinating. Australia used to scoff at the English hoodoo score of 111, known the world over as Nelson after the Admirals war wounds reduced him to one eye, one of a more delicate pair of male organs. Not any more, following their collapse to 111, the same score as in the Botham Test 13 years earlier. South Africas recovery was to win after trailing by 123 was a different sort of victory from the Botham gung-ho extravaganza. This one was fashioned by Jonty Rhodes whose first 50 took him over 2 hours longer than Bothams first hundred. Rhodes also started at a similar low point, coming in at 110 for 5, with his side still 13 adrift. He had to cope with a rampant Shane Warne who took 12 wickets from 70 overs in the match. Hudson and Cronje were the only batsmen he failed to dismiss in both innings. South Africa had a 59 with Symcox, De Villiers, Mathews and Donald to come, the first three went for 27, but Donald stuck around for 10 in a partnership of 36 for the 10th wicket. Taylor and Boon took Australia to 51 for 1 before De Villiers got them both. He also got the wicket of Tim May, the night watchman, before the close on the 4th day. Donald picked up Border and Mark Waugh on the last morning bringing the home side to 75 for 8, McDermott and Martyn then swung the bat leaving just 8 needed and 2 wickets left. Tension mounted and Donald dismissed Martyn leaving De Villiers to take a return catch from McGrath to steal a stunning victory. De Villiers was man of the match with 6-43 of 23.3 overs.
This match was a display of both exceptional spin bowling, from Warne, pace bowling, from de Villiers and Donald and McGrath, and also temperament and character in the way Rhodes batted.
Joe Finnigan Series: South Africa vs England 1995/6
Reason: England's historic first tour of South Africa since their re-entry to international cricket was a classic tight contest with the interfering weather always adding a third element to play. Emulate Atherton's defining innings, make a better go at managing Devon Malcolm and put right the 1-0 defeat for England.
John Bird Series: Australia vs West Indies 1960/61
The West Indies turned up in Australia virtually unknown, but they showed in this test series that they were a team that would remain as one of the all time greats with such players as Garfield Sobers, Frank Worrell and Wes Hall. But the Australians were also just as good with greats as Richie Benaud, Norman O'Niell and Bobby Simpson who are all still know as some of the best players to grace world cricket.
The first test match is still known as one of the best test matches of all time as it reached a dramatic ending. Garfield Sobers showed that he was one of the all time greats with a 2-hour century against, at the time, the best in the world. But he was by no means over shadowed by Alan Davidson who's all round performance was second to none with bowling figures in the match of 11-222 and batting scores of 44 and 80. But as the match began to draw to a close the Australians thought it was in the bag with only 6 needed off the last 8 ball over. But eventually there were 2 run outs and the end of Richie Benaud with 5 runs bringing the first tie in test cricket history.
Eventually, after the exciting first test, the Australians won it 2-1. But by the end of the tour, the West Indies who arrived anonymous, left by a heroic ticker tape parade through the streets of Melbourne. The test series brought a change to the history of cricket, for the first time, the West Indies had shown themselves as a cricketing nation and one capable of dominating against the best teams of all time. It showed that the Ashes also were not the greatest series of cricket and that some tests could rival this.
John O'Shea Series: 1998/99 West Indies v Australia
The West Indies came into this series after a 5-0 hammering in South Africa, Australia had thoroughly defeated the English at home. The series includes some of the all-time great names - Walsh, Ambrose, Waugh, Lara, Warne and McGrath (although Warne suffered from a severe lack of form). West Indies returned from their lowest score (51 all out) to level the series, largely down to one B C Lara, who ended with a series average of 91, including three hundreds - one score of 213. It also includes one of the truly great Tests - Bridgetown, where Lara restored faith in his captaincy, if only briefly with an unbeaten 153 to take them to victory by a single wicket. Could a different captain take either side to victory?
Matt Williams Series: South Africa vs England 1999/00
England went to South Africa with a squad comprising of a mixture of youth and experience, the youth provided us supporters with a glimmer of optimism after years in the doldrums of cricket. What came out of the tour was the emergence of several good Englishmen, notably Michael Vaughn and Andy Flintoff and the revival of Andy Caddick. We saw that although England might well struggle and collapse against the best they have the ability to produce a performance every once in a while that startles the opposition, most notably at Durban. We saw from the series a display of exceptional fast bowling from both Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald , the undoubted all-round brilliance of Jacques Kallis, swashbuckling Lance Klusener, and the up and coming Gibbs, in this series we were witness really to the all round depth of South Africa's game but also this series was the first time in my 15 year life that I have seen an England cricket team go on tour and actually have a feeling of optimism/hope in my body that they could do well, they did to an extent and we came out of the series not too disappointed.
Prashanth S. Kharche Series: West Indies vs Australia 1999/2000
The first test saw West Indies bowled out for 51 in the first innings, their lowest ever! After such a demoralising performance, they fought back to win the second Test through Lara's fantastic one handed effort. Not to be left behind, the Aussies in their true fighting spirit matched fire for fire and blew them away again. Just for the West Indies to bounce back again in an astonishing one wicket win mastered again by one of the greatest contemporary cricketers of all time, Brian Charles Lara. The series fluctuated to such an extent that Steve Waugh, the Australian captain was heard saying that it was the most fiercely competed series in his cricketing career.
Thomas Nicholas Series: England vs Rest of the World 1970
With the cancellation of the South Africa tour in 1970, England played host to a Rest of the World XI over five 'test' matches. Without the introduction of a 'test match championship' this series with the likes of Graeme Pollock, Clive Lloyd, Mike Procter, Gary Sobers and of course Ray Illingworth, Alan Knott and Derek Underwood offered the greatest array of talent seen in many an international series. England subsequently lost the series 4-1, but to any Englishman surely this scenario would be the ultimate challenge.
Saturday, 16 March 2013.