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THROWBACK THURSDAY: YORKSHIRE'S TEST QUARTETS

— 16 March 2017

Paul Dyson looks at how frequently Yorkshire have had four players in an England Test team.

It will not have escaped notice amongst Yorkshire’s supporters that when England played two Test matches in Bangladesh last autumn each of its teams contained no fewer than four Yorkshire players – Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Adil Rashid and Joe Root. Although by no means a rare feat, it was the first time that the White Rose county had produced such a quartet since the Ashes tour of 2002/03 when the game at Adelaide included Richard Dawson, Matthew Hoggard, Michael Vaughan and Craig White. The succeeding match at Perth had Chris Silverwood instead of Hoggard.

So how frequent is it for a county to have four – or more – players in a Test team. The feat has been achieved on no fewer than 125 occasions as the following shows:

COUNTIES WITH FOUR OR MORE PLAYERS IN A TEST TEAM ON MOST OCCASIONS

Yorkshire- 33
Surrey- 32
Middlesex- 19
Nottinghamshire- 15
Kent- 10
Lancashire- 7
Essex- 3
Northamptonshire- 3
Sussex- 3

So just two counties – not surprisingly the ones which have won more County Championship titles than any other county – have contributed more than half of the 125 quartets. But how do the nine counties not mentioned above fare in this analysis? All of them have, at various times produced a maximum of three players to any one Test team but with the exceptions of Glamorgan and Somerset who have managed only two at any one time.

Yorkshire’s supporters will also have noticed in recent times that the county has had FIVE players in some of England’s ODI teams – Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, Rashid, Root and David Willey. Has this ever been equalled at Test level? Yes, is the answer but only by four counties:

Middlesex have had five players once;
Surrey have had five players three times
Yorkshire have had five players five times and pride of place goes to Nottinghamshire who have had five players six times and six players once.

This unexpected statistic occurred during England’s first 30 Test matches up to the end of the 1888 series . Although all of these games were against Australia, England’s players were chosen from only eight different counties and nine of Yorkshire’s quartets and two of its quintets (in the very first two Tests) came during this period. The other times when Yorkshire has produced five players for England have been twice on the South Africa tour of 1898/99 and, most famously, in the final Ashes Test of 1938 at The Oval when Len Hutton made his unforgettable 364. His county colleagues in that match were Bill Bowes, who took five for 49 in Australia’s first innings, Morris Leyland, who scored 187, Hedley Verity and wicket-keeper Arthur Wood on Test debut, who made a half-century.

Can Yorkshire’s contribution to that famous event be equalled once again?

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