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Murray Goodwin: Zimbabwe’s one that got away

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

On the most recent episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, the panel picked a ‘What could have been’ Test XI, and Zimbabwe’s Murray Goodwin narrowly missed the cut.

In Test cricket, Goodwin finished with an average of 42.84 but played just 19 times, and his last appearance for Zimbabwe came before he had turned 29. However, while his career was unfulfilled in one sense, Goodwin’s story is really one of fulfilment, as the panel of Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine editor and editor-in-chief Jo Harman and Phil Walker, host Yas Rana, and wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner explained.

Phil Walker: A nice, solid, respectable bloke, the kind you wouldn’t mind sharing a nice crescent with in middle-class Australia where he played a lot of his cricket. A solid kind of bloke but an outstanding player in Australia and in England for Sussex, and of course he made his runs for Zimbabwe, his birthplace.

He came late to the game in Zimbabwe but from 19 Test matches he averaged 43 with three hundreds in there, two good ones as well, one against a really good Pakistani attack, and 140-odd not out against England. He made runs against Australia as well, a good 90-odd having been run out first ball in the first innings. He averaged 47 from over 300 games with 71 hundreds in first-class cricket, so he’s my rock at No.5.

Yas Rana: One aspect of this team is about a career not being 100 per cent fulfilled at international level as well, and while he started late he also finished early. One of the reasons he only played 19 matches was because his wife wasn’t settling in Zimbabwe, so Goodwin left Zimbabwe only two years after he started for them in international cricket. So that’s someone who could have feasibly had another three, four years while Zimbabwe were a mainstay on the Test cricketing map.

PW: And that was the era when Zimbabwe were briefly a formidable side. They had the Flower brothers of course, Alistair Campbell was in there, Neil Johnson was an excellent all-round cricketer who I considered in this side although his first-class record wasn’t quite good enough. But with Heath Streak as well leading the bowling side of things, they had a proper good side really.

Of course it was dismantled soon after that and I think perhaps Goodwin got a sense of the prevailing wind and got out before it became untenable really. There’s a lot of players from that Zimbabwe side who you could conceivably discuss in this context, because if you’re talking about unfulfilled talents at the top level then Zimbabwe is almost a byword for that.

BG: Although he’s unfulfilled from one point of view, he’s almost too fulfilled for this team having a nice content happy family life in England.

You can listen to the full episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast on Spotify or the Podcast App


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