Presenting the Sixes and Sevens XI

Simon O'Hagan selects a side to look back in anguish
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The Independent Online
IT'S the time of the year when the dew isn't just on the grass, it's in your eyes. Far from being a phenomenon of the modern age, instant nostalgia is a condition that has long been known to cricket lovers. Not everyone in the game, however, has fond memories of 1996. If the season has had a theme it has been one of thwarted hope, of success that quickly turned to disappointment. This is an XI who have experienced that more than most ...

Mike Atherton: After the exercise in self-delusion that was the series against India, the Pakistanis reminded him there's only so much a captain can do for a team without bowlers.

Ian Botham: Few of us understood why he bothered to take Imran Khan to court. Even fewer of us understood what was happening when he got there. Nobody understands why he thinks it's worth going through the whole thing again.

Allan Lamb: See Ian Botham

Graeme Hick: Bizarrely, his psychologist was still claiming he had transformed his client's game even after his run of disastrous Test scores. Maybe Hick needs a new one.

Alastair Brown: The most talked of batsman of early season used to enjoy confounding people by pointing out that his first-class average was higher than his one-day average. It isn't now. He still didn't deserve to be dropped from the Pakistan one-dayers after his century against India.

Tim Munton: The biggest hard-luck story of all. At the start of the season the Warwickshire seamer was playing well enough for a Test recall. Then he broke an arm.

Min Patel: Disappearing acts don't come much more accomplished than the Kent slow left-armer's. Selection for the Test team was the signal for the wickets to dry up.

Mohammad Azharuddin: Rumoured to have been India's captain in the Test series against England. Rumoured to have once been a great batsman. Both, sadly, took some believing.

Steve Elworthy: The argument against overseas players is that they hamper the progress of English talent. Embarrassingly for Lancashire, theirs wasn't good enough for that.

Chris Lewis: The flat tyre on the way to the Oval Test could not have summed it up more aptly: for England (but not for Surrey) he was a let- down.

Ed Giddins: The Sussex fast bowler, banned for cocaine use, was not so much loser as victim. Testimony to the fact that the TCCB have no more clue about getting it right off the field than they do on it.