Between them, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Tom Moody represented Australia on 592 occasions during what was arguably the country’s most successful era in the history of the game.
An earmark of Australia’s spell as the most dominant side in international cricket around the turn of the century was the depth of the talent pool they had at their disposal. Players who in other eras would have likely enjoyed lengthy spells in the national side were often not even afforded a single chance to impress for their country.
On the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, host Ian Ward posed a question to the three panellists – Warne, Gillespie and Moody – about who were the best cricketers they saw on the domestic scene during their careers that never went on to play for Australia. Gillespie opened with what he admitted was a slightly left field choice in Grant Lambert, an all-rounder who averaged less than 25 with the bat and more than 35 with the ball in first-class cricket.
“I’m going to go a bit left field,” said Gillespie. “A player I thought was an outstanding cricketer and potentially could have played a game or two for Australia is a bloke called Grant Lambert from New South Wales. I thought he was a very good, underrated all-rounder.
“I’m not saying he would have gone on to play 100 Tests but he never let anyone down when he played for New South Wales. New South Wales in that era, and it still happens now, they’ve got such depth and so many Australian players that these guys who come in who dominate grade cricket, dominate second team cricket and they come in and they’re battle-hardened cricketers. He was a good cricketer.”
Moody struggled to adhere to the criteria given to him in the question by Ward. When asked for a name, he initially offered up Martin Love who played five Tests for Australia in the early 2000s. Moody said: “I’m going to go with a guy, who I know played Test cricket, but I reckon he would have played 100 Test matches in another era and that’s Martin Love who played for Queensland.”
Warne offered up a three players in answer to Ward’s question. “Batsman – Jamie Siddons, bowler – David Saker, and wicketkeeper – Darren Berry,” said Warne. “Those three were very, very good cricketers.”