The 1990s-est Australia Test XI

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Let’s pick a 1990s Australia XI. We’re not looking for the best team here; we’re just trying to pick an Australia Test team that couldn’t be more Nineties if it tried.

We’re not as comfortable gauging Australian 1990s-ness as we are gauging English 1990s-ness, so a couple of weeks back we asked our Twitter followers who they thought were the Nineties-est Australia Test cricketers.

What resulted was a bit of an informational tsunami, but fortunately people were largely in agreement. Once we’d weeded out all the players who actually played most of their careers in the 1980s or 2000s and who just *seemed* kind of Nineties for one reason or another, this was pretty much what we were left with.

  1. Mark Taylor
  2. Michael Slater
  3. Greg Blewett
  4. Mark Waugh
  5. Steve Waugh
  6. Michael Bevan
  7. Ian Healy
  8. Colin Miller
  9. Brendon Julian
  10. Paul Reiffel
  11. Damien Fleming
  12. Shane Lee

A couple of things to explain here. 

The seamers are interesting. There’s a really English vibe about a Julian, Reiffel, Fleming pace attack.

We actually wanted to include Stuart Law at six because we felt like his single Test cap summed up that decade of Australian batsmanship better than anything. But then Geoff Lemon from The Final Word podcast told us that, “Bevo was the Heaps Ninetiesest of the lot.” 

Being as Geoff knows this subject way better than we do, we have bowed to his superior knowledge. So Law misses out. Again. Which is perhaps the way it should be.

You’ll also note that Shane Warne is missing. It was a tough call, but the general feeling was that while Warne is intrinsically Nineties, he nevertheless played on for quite a while afterwards. In contrast, Colin “Funky” Miller’s Nineties credentials are unblemished in any way.

Shane Lee is 12th man as an e-gift to Lemon’s fellow Final Worder and friend of the site, Adam Collins. 

Lee never played a Test for Australia. Cricinfo’s Daniel Brettig told us that he was called into the squad once, ahead of 6th (sixth!) Ashes Test in 1997 due to injuries. However, he missed out to Shaun Young, who played his one and only Test.

Now that we’ve got a Nineties England XI and a Nineties Australia XI, there is of course only one possible course of action. Next week we’ll pit these two teams against each other in a one-off exhibition Test – Sim Nineties: the 1990s-est Ashes.

21 comments

  1. I for one do not fancy 1990s England’s chances, although the lack of Warne is a small mercy for which to be thankful.

    1. They will need a big first innings total. With that Australia attack, it’s not impossible, given the right conditions.

  2. Has a good “feel” to it. Would be interesting to see how many of them appeared in the same starting XI. Certainly more than the corresponding England one I’d wager.

  3. > There is of course only one possible course of action:

    Nineties Australia XI vs Nineties Australia A XI ?

    1. Would be a high quality match.

      England Nineties XI v England Nineties A XI would be more entertaining though.

      Our money would be on England Nineties A XI.

  4. My cup is overflowing with hope for the Nineties England XI.

    In my heart, England will pull off a win this time, despite the evidence to the contrary.

    I’m in the nineties-est mental state that I have been in…

    …since the nineties.

  5. Funky is batting at eight. His Test match batting average is…eight. Hmm.

    Also accordingly to Wikipedia, I’ve just discovered he now lives in Las Vegas!

    In my memories he was a spinner who had converted from being a medium pacer, but seems truth is more complicated and he actually bowled both in a somewhat Sobersesque way, even once opening the bowling against England in 1999 while in seamer mode. Why did I forget that?

    https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/102146/of-fond-memories-and-a-tragedy-colin-miller-opens-up-australia-cricket-player-tendulkar-lara-cricbuzzcom

    1. We misremembered him too. We remembered the bowling part but for some reason thought he could bat (perhaps because he was a ‘utility player’.)

      He should probably be down at 11.

      1. There’s a lot of “esque” in “Sobersesque”. Inevitably true for any other player too, though I do wish we had all been able to watch Kallis (statistically perhaps the closest thing) switch to being a leggie occasionally…

  6. If you leave Warne out for playing into the mid 2000s surely you have to leave out Steve Waugh too? Does that 2 years extra for Warne push him over the edge? Waugh had 5 years of 80s to go with his 4 years of 2000s. What’s the official ration of 90s/2000s that makes someone ineligible?

    I’d also like to nominate Matthew Elliot as a reserve batsman.

    1. Warne was only really left out because Miller is more Nineties.

      Fine margins.

      Similarly, Warne was 92 to 07, whereas Waugh was 89 to 04.

      1. The Waugh one was the fault of our fat thumb.

        But Warne really did play in 2007. His final Test started January 2.

      2. I really don’t understand the rules of this game.

        If Warne isn’t about as nineties Australia as i gets, I don’t know what to think. The nineties was my decade, not yours. It was a period where they were building up to some elite mateship, which would eventually, 20 years later, lead to rare unitism.

      3. Why is the Nineties not our decade?

        Either way, we asked Australians and most of them seemed to agree that while Warne was very Nineties, Colin Miller was 100 per cent Nineties. It wasn’t really our decision.

  7. Sorry, was kidding about the Nineties. I assumed everyone would realise that I didn’t have some sort of weird exclusivity rights over an entire decade.

    1. Disappointing. Think of the possibilities if you did; one year you could only allow people to play, listen to or remember the music of Asian Dub Foundation, then the next confuse the world by switching the total global musical output of the decade to the bittersweet crooning of Baby Bird.

      It was, of course, the decade of near constant industrial action in international sport, as players fought administrators for control; the odd test match was completed, an occasional tournament started in football or rugby, but never finished. Bitterly disappointing as an England fan, particularly as the domestic achievements of England’s batsmen promised so much.

      1. An Asian Dub Foundation song came into my head the other day, out of nowhere. It was the one with Sinead O’Connor on vocals.

  8. Are Asian Dub Foundation the most 90s band ever? Maybe. Is Shane Warne the most 90s cricketer ever? Maybe. He certainly ended the careers of most of the early 90s English batting stalwarts. An Aussie 90s team doesn’t feel quite right without him.

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