Picking an England XI of Forgotten Test Players and One-Cap Wonders
As Liam Plunkett's recent renaissance shows, being out of the England fold for a few years doesn't automatically mean an international career is over.
The likes of Ravi Bopara, Graham Onions and Eoin Morgan have flirted with the Test limelight without cementing a place in the five-day team. Others such as Ajmal Shahzad and James Tredwell have enjoyed “blink and you'll miss it” Test careers.
After Plunkett's nine-wicket performance at Headingley, England's nearly men can still hope for a call from the chairman of selectors and a return to the biggest cricketing stage of all.
Read on to see who has made our England XI of forgotten Test players and one-cap wonders. All selections have played for England within the last decade.
1. Michael Carberry
Runs: 345 @ 28.75
What must have gone through Michael Carberry's mind when Sam Robson scored his maiden Test century at Headingley? The Hampshire opener impressed against Mitchell Johnson and the Aussie heavy mob during the disastrous Ashes tour without making a big score.
He must surely have fancied his chances against the solid if unspectacular Sri Lankan attack.
2. Nick Compton
Runs: 479 @ 31.93
Two centuries from his first nine Test appearances marked a decent entry into the international arena for Nick Compton. The selectors thought otherwise, though, and wielded the axe after a tortured seven from 45 balls against New Zealand at Headingley in 2013.
Steady rather than flamboyant, the Somerset-opener has been prolific in the county game but was sometimes let down by unconvincing body language in the Test arena.
3. Ravi Bopara
Runs: 575 @ 31.94
Wickets: 1 @ 290
Despite being a mainstay of the England ODI and T20 teams, Ravi Bopara's name is nowhere to be seen when candidates for the Test XI are mooted.
The Essex all-rounder's career first-class record is good, with 8,947 runs coming at an average of 42.20. The 29-year-old has been in the runs this year, too, adding 505 of them in just six County Championship appearances this season. A return to the Test fold seems unlikely, though.
4. James Taylor
Runs: 48 @ 16
A Test debut against an attack that included Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Jacques Kallis and Imran Tahir was a tough ask for James Taylor.
The Nottinghamshire batsman contributed 34 to a 147-run partnership with Kevin Pietersen on his debut but was dropped after failing twice in his second appearance.
Since then, Taylor has continued to score heavily in the first-class game and has performed well for the England Lions.
At the age of 24, time is still on his side.
5. Eoin Morgan
Runs: 700 @ 30.34
Eoin Morgan has been England's most dangerous performer in the T20 and ODI arena but hasn't quite delivered in the longest form of the game.
Two centuries and three fifties in 16 matches are a disappointing return for a batsman of Morgan's undoubted talents.
The Irishman is performing well in the County Championship this season with 570 runs at an average of 63.33. On his day he is one of the most destructive strikers in world cricket.
With a steely temperament, he has unfinished business in the five-day game.
6. Chris Woakes
Runs: 42 @ 42
Wickets: 1 @ 96
If only Chris Woakes was a little bit quicker, just enough to give the batsmen the hurry up once in a while.
A few more clicks on the speed gun and England would have a superb all-rounder on their hands. Offering excellent control and the ability to swing and seam the ball when conditions suit, the Warwickshire man is one of the most consistent performers in the county game. Is he rapid enough to trouble top-class opposition, though?
The 25-year-old averages 38 with the bat and 24 with the ball in first-class cricket but with Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan ahead of him in the Test queue, a spell carrying the drinks seems on the cards.
7. Tim Ambrose
Runs: 447 @ 29.80
The Aussie-born gloveman showed again this week that he is one of the top wicketkeeper-batsmen in England. An unbeaten 82 helped Warwickshire to a three-wicket victory over County Championship leaders Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
An excellent cutter and puller, Ambrose has a first-class average of 34.24, but his international days appear to be over.
8. James Tredwell
Runs: 37 @ 37
Wickets: 6 @ 30.16
With 52 wickets at an average of less than 25, James Tredwell has become an automatic selection in England's one-day team.
The 32-year-old has struggled to replicate that success in the first-class arena, though, losing his Kent place to young Adam Riley.
Tredwell performed solidly in his only Test appearance and wouldn't let the side down if called upon again.
9. Ajmal Shahzad
Runs: 5 @ 5
Wickets: 4 @ 15.75
Ajmal Shahzad impressed on his Test debut against Bangladesh. Bowling at decent pace and swinging it both ways, it was enough to get him onto the 2010/11 Ashes tour. Despite performing well in the warm-up games, he didn't get the nod in any of the Tests.
His county career quickly went downhill thereafter but a move to Nottinghamshire from Yorkshire via Lancashire seems to have turned things around.
10. Graham Onions
Runs: 30 @ 10
Wickets: 32 @ 29.90
In another era Graham Onions would probably have 50 caps rather than just nine. The Durham paceman has never let England down with the bat or ball (just ask the South Africans).
He may have lost a bit of zip since undergoing back surgery but remains a serious proposition when the conditions suit.
11. Steven Finn
Runs: 169 @ 11.26
Wickets: 90 @ 29.40
After a disastrous winter Down Under, Steven Finn is slowly getting his career back on track. The Middlesex paceman is one of the leading wicket-taker's in this year's County Championship with 37 victims to his name.
Somewhat expensive he may be, but the 25-year-old has that elusive knack of consistently taking wickets.
The England hierarchy will be keeping a close eye on Lord's during the latter part of the summer.
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