‘Foxy’ had a relatively brief Test career but, like Joe Root this month, laid the foundations of a stunning Chennai win
The sight of an Englishman scoring a double-century on the way to an emphatic victory in Chennai might have triggered certain memories in the England fan of a certain age. It was only the 13th time in the past half-century that an England player has scored a double-century in an away Test, and though it seems to be becoming more common – it was the second time Root has done it in the space of a month – this remains a rare feat: in the 1970s, 80s and 90s combined it happened only four times. Of those four, two came on a single day in January 1985 when England were, as they are now, in Chennai, and when one of the two batsmen who reached this magnificent milestone was playing his penultimate Test, in his final series.
Accepted wisdom, certainly at the time, was that Graeme Fowler was a batsman of imperfect technique and unpredictable results, destined to be cast aside – as indeed he was – as soon as Graham Gooch became available for selection following a three-year ban for captaining England’s rebel tour of South Africa in 1982. But this is to ignore both Fowler’s achievements in an England shirt, and also the real reason he stopped being asked to wear one.