England's One Cap Wonders: Where Are They Now?

In the 21st century, eleven men have experienced the honour of being selected for England, and then suffered the ignominy of being discarded after a single Test Match. Here are their stories:


Darren Pattinson - 2008 v South Africa


The selection of Darren Pattinson is one of the most bizarre moments in English Test history. Born in Grimsby, Pattinson's family moved to Australia in his youth. On his return to the UK as an accurate seam bowler plying his trade for Nottinghamshire, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could identify him as an Englishman. Pattinson was as Aussie as they come. He worked as a roofer in between games in Australia, a background a million miles from the professional and privileged members of the English Test squad.


2008 witnessed a changing of the guard in England's fast bowling ranks. The experienced duo of Stephen Harmison and Matthew Hoggard had been dropped during the winter tour of New Zealand. Their replacements, a revitalised James Anderson and a youthful Stuart Broad were instrumental in a series victory. Come the summer, England faced a battle-hardened and talented South African side, with Harmison and Hoggard seemingly out of the selection picture.


Pattinson had been enjoying a successful summer with Nottinghamshire and was called up to England's Test squad as back up for James Anderson. Eyebrows were raised in the press, but it appeared unlikely Pattinson would feature. With the Test being held at Headingley, Matthew Hoggard was not considered for selection on his home ground. The popular Yorkshireman surely would have been an ideal 'horses for courses' selection on a seam friendly wicket.

On the eve of the Test, opening bowler Ryan Sidebottom failed a fitness test, and Pattinson, a man with just 11 first-class matches to his name, would be making his England debut. He was up against it from the start. England were skittled for 200, and with the new ball in hand, Pattinson had the thankless task of dragging his new side back into the game. The match situation and absence of Hoggard created a negative atmosphere towards him before a ball had even been bowled.

As South Africa piled on the runs, Pattinson's lack of pace was ridiculed in the commentary box. His figures of 2-95 included the notable scalp of Hashim Amla but were ultimately disappointing. Succumbing to a ten-wicket defeat, Pattinson was an obvious scapegoat for the press to prey upon, despite a poor performance from the whole team.

Captain Michael Vaughan, perhaps feeling the pressure on his place in the side growing, opted for self-preservation rather than loyalty to a player he barely knew in his post-match comments. He alluded to the selection as having unsettled his side and bemoaned a "confused" selection policy as a contributing factor in his team's performance. Head selector Geoff Miller hit back, stating his selection panel had given Vaughan the bowler he wanted for those conditions. Vaughan later revealed that Hoggard, in his benefit year at Yorkshire, had enjoyed one too many drinks at a function the Tuesday before the Test, and was thus deemed unselectable.

Pattinson was consequentially cast aside, and would never be in an England squad again. He enjoyed an excellent career with Nottinghamshire, helping them to the championship in 2010. He hung up his boots at the end of the 2012/13 Australian season and has become involved in the world of Greyhound racing. Younger brother James, who is a member of Australia's Test team, has cited the treatment of Darren by the English management as motivation when playing in Ashes contests.

The selection highlighted once again the unique, and often turbulent relationship between a captain and the selection panel when deciding upon a playing XI. It also gives us an insight into the disconnect between those in the England squad and county professionals. Darren Pattinson was the collateral damage in this perfect storm of selection indecision, miscommunication, last-minute injuries and unprofessional behaviour. He may not have been good enough for England, but a man who could boast impressive career statistics surely deserved better treatment. It can only be hoped that these situations can be learned from, and anyone selected for the national team is given the full backing and confidence of his captain and teammates.



Simon Kerrigan - 2013 v Australia


Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the selection and subsequent treatment of Simon Kerrigan was perhaps an early indication that Andy Flower's time as England head coach was coming to an abrupt and traumatic end.


Kerrigan endured a torrid debut appearance for England, in the final Ashes Test at the Oval in 2013. Having wrapped up the series 3-0, and facing another five Tests in Australia at the end of the year, England elected to trial two youngsters at the Oval, with an eye on a long and gruelling winter. Chris Woakes made his debut in place of the reliable Tim Bresnan, and Kerrigan joined Graeme Swann to form a two-pronged spin attack.

On a brutal first day, Kerrigan sent down eight erratic overs, consisting largely of long-hops, full tosses and wide deliveries. Shane Watson, on his way to an explosive 176, took particular relish in feasting on these stray deliveries, battering the ball into the stands, and Kerrigan's morale into the dirt. Kerrigan appeared to lose confidence in his action, with his deliveries being bowled with ever-increasing haste and anxiety. Captain Alastair Cook largely ignored Kerrigan for the remainder of the drawn Test, as the young spinner spent the remainder of his only international appearance ruing his luck in the field, or perhaps feeling relieved to be out of the firing line.

Kerrigan's performance was, without question a poor one. It did not reflect the ability of a spinner who had bowled impressively for Lancashire for three seasons, playing a key role in the 2011 championship victory. Whether it was the pressure of the occasion, or the sudden nature of his England call up, Kerrigan would be the first to say he was not good enough on the day. But the careless and ruthless treatment of this young player, by an England management team on the brink of collapse, must be examined. Much has been made of the Flower-Cook axis at the top of the English game. Despite their success, it was not a happy changing room. Kerrigan can count himself unlucky to have been thrust into an increasingly hostile and macho environment that would not tolerate any failure or perceived weakness.

Kerrigan's form flatlined for Lancashire in the following seasons and despite some valuable performances, especially in 2016, was released in 2018. After a spell coaching and playing minor counties cricket, Kerrigan has earned another opportunity at the first-class level with Northamptonshire, signing a two-year contract. Kerrigan is only 31 years old, and could well be set for a career renaissance. Any cricket fan would wish him a successful end to his playing career.



Amjad Khan - 2009 v West Indies

Born and raised in Denmark, Amjad Khan enjoyed a successful first season with Kent, claiming 63 wickets in 2002 with his brisk fast-medium pace. After gaining British citizenship in 2006, Khan was firmly on the England selectors' radar. After an 'A' squad tour to Bangladesh, Khan was named in a provisional 30-man squad for the 2007 World Cup but did not make the final 15. 2007 proved to be a disastrous year for Khan, as a serious knee injury ruled him out of the whole season.


It is testament to Khan's talent and mental fortitude that he fought back from this setback to be named as back up in England's ODI tour of India in late 2008. Despite his unquestionable resilience, it was, without doubt, a surprise when Khan was selected to make his debut in the crucial 5th Test of England's tour of the West Indies. England had struggled on slow, unresponsive surfaces, and despite dominating the series found themselves 1-0 down.


The pitch that greeted Khan at Trinidad was another batsman's paradise. After England had racked up a huge total, Khan toiled for 25 difficult overs, conceding over a hundred runs, but taking his maiden test scalp, the prolific Ramnaresh Sarwan. The game appeared to be heading for a draw until the final day when a West Indian collapse gave England a chance of levelling the series. In a tense situation, Khan was only trusted with four overs as England strained to take wickets late on day five. West Indies would survive, and the series was lost.

Khan would stay with the squad, playing in the T20 game in Trinidad, that resulted in defeat for England. Despite these modest beginnings, Khan would have been hoping for more opportunities for his adopted nation. But come the English summer, Khan slipped behind Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan in the fast bowling pecking order. Perhaps it was due to his association with a disappointing series defeat, but Khan was not talked about seriously for English selection again. His misfortune was compounded when another knee injury ruled him out of the majority of the 2009 summer.

In 2011, he moved along the south coast from Kent to ply his trade with Sussex. After initial success, more injuries scuppered Khan's chances, and he eventually left the county in 2013. He ended his career in 2016, captaining his native Denmark in a tournament in Los Angeles.



Scott Borthwick - 2014 v Australia

On occasion, a selection for the national side raises the question; how much county cricket do the England management seriously watch? Scott Borthwick is a perfect case in point. He began his career at Durham as an energetic leg spinner and fluent lower-order batsman. It was these early-career performances that saw him called up to the national white-ball squads in August 2011 for games against Ireland and the West Indies.


Two years later and it appeared nobody had been paying much attention to Borthwick's career progression. He was selected as a front-line spinner, a late addition to the Test squad during England's disastrous 2013/14 Ashes tour after Graeme Swann's retirement. If the selectors had been watching, they would have noticed that from 2012 onwards, Borthwick had made huge strides in his batting, with his leg-spin becoming an afterthought on the green pitches of Durham. With Swann leaving the tour, Panesar's form disintegrating, and Kerrigan deemed unselectable after his Oval ordeal, Borthwick's inclusion in the final Test was one of desperation.

As it is, Borthwick's performance was adequate at Sydney. With a team collapsing all around him, he contributed four wickets and performed with admirable enthusiasm in a difficult situation. His batting, from number eight, was non-existent, but so was the rest of England's shot batting line up.

Borthwick's batting went from strength to strength in the following years and was seriously considered for England's number three spot in 2016, with head coach Trevor Bayliss complimenting his performances in an interview. After a move to Surrey in 2017, his performances have been mixed, and another England call-up is unlikely. It is rumoured he will return to Durham at the end of the 2020 season.



Boyd Rankin - 2014 v Australia

Another promising player who became associated with a disastrous series defeat, and was never selected again. Boyd Rankin symbolises, more than any other player, the dilemma Irish cricketers, plying their trade in county cricket faced when the opportunity to play Test cricket arose. He provoked anger from Ireland fans when retiring from the Irish team in 2012 to pursue a potential England career, and bemusement from England fans, who saw an unfit and nervous bowler making his debut at Sydney.

The Northern Irishman's debut in the final Test of England's 5-0 drubbing was a poor reward for many seasons good work at Warwickshire. Despite Rankin's huge size and strength, he was not a bowler of rapid pace, something Mitchell Johnson at the time was demonstrating to be the most electrifying skill in all cricket. He was selected for England's Ashes tour as Head Coach Andy Flower aimed to replicate Chris Tremlett's success during the 2010/11 series. But on this occasion the steepling bounce of Tremlett proved ineffective, fellow lanky paceman Steven Finn was sent home, deemed unselectable, and Rankin suffered from a lack of fitness and confidence. Match figures of 1-81 in 21 injury affected overs would be Rankin's first and only Test match figures for England.

Rankin was not completely forgotten by England and was selected for a Lions tour the following year, denying Ireland the chance to persuade him to rejoin their ranks for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. But he was never seriously in the England selection conversation and switched allegiances back to Ireland at the end of 2015. Now very much a veteran, he was a part of the side that gave England an immense scare in their 2019 Test match clash at Lord's.



Ian Blackwell - 2006 v India

At last, a one-cap wonder where perhaps the single appearance was justified. The England team were suffering an injury crisis as they began their Test tour of India in March 2006. Blackwell, a burly all-rounder capable of useful left-arm spin, was one of three debutants at Nagpur, alongside Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar.

Blackwell was first selected for England's ODI squad in 2002 following an injury to Andrew Flintoff. His hard-hitting performances had gained attention on the county circuit, but his physical fitness, or lack of, meant Blackwell was often viewed as a throwback, a relic of a less professional era. in 34 ODI appearances he never quite replicated his Somerset form with the bat, but would occasionally chip in with a useful wicket in the middle overs. Blackwell would later remark on his bad luck at being in the team so often against the all-conquering Australian team of the early 2000s.

Come 2006, and Blackwell was captain of Somerset and had made positive strides in regards to his fitness. The drawn first Test is notable for Cook's debut hundred and an exuberant and exciting performance from Panesar. Blackwell bowled 19 wicketless overs and scored only four runs with the bat. There was little evidence to suggest he could replace Ashely Giles when the veteran spinner would return from injury. But as a support bowler and lower-order batsman, the selection of Blackwell was a sound one, as England struggled to find a winning formula with so many players unavailable. His place was taken by Liam Plunkett for the second Test, and then, with some success, Shaun Udal in the third as England sealed an unlikely 1-1 draw.

Blackwell enjoyed a stellar county career, winning a T20 cup with Somerset, and being a part of title-winning squads at Durham and Warwickshire. He announced his retirement in January 2013 and now serves as an umpire.


Ajmal Shahzad - 2010 v Bangladesh

It is without question a shame that exciting fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad represented England just once in a Test match. But, put into the context of the quality in England's side at the time, it is perhaps understandable.

Bristling with confidence and energy, the Yorkshireman impressed during England's white-ball games in the UAE and Bangladesh in early 2010. With England planning their trip to Australia at the end of the year, Shahzad's pace and reverse swing were thought to be valuable assets for the Tests down under.

His chance came in the summer of 2010 against Bangladesh. Tim Bresnan picked up an injury ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford, and Shahzad's performance could not have been more emphatic. Bowling with pace and guile, he registered match figures of 4-63 as England won within three days. Unfortunately for Shahzad, the competition was fierce amongst England's bowling ranks. James Anderson and Stuart Broad would take the new ball, and along with Bresnan, Steven Finn was making a hugely impressive start to his international career.

That said, it was a slight surprise when Shahzad was named as an only backup player to the Ashes Test squad, with the in-form man-mountain Chris Tremlett preferred instead. After missing out on Ashes selection, Shahzad made a handful of ODI appearances, including playing at the 2011 Cricket World Cup. But he could not maintain consistency in his performances, and gradually slid down the pecking order. This spilt over into his county form, where he left Yorkshire to play at both Nottinghamshire and Sussex. He cites the victory in the Pro40 final at Lord's in 2013 as a career highlight. Shahzad is now based permanently at Lord's as the head coach of the MCC.



Kabir Ali - 2003 v South Africa

Debuting in the fourth Test of England's series against South Africa, Kabir Ali was a part of a hastily assembled bowling attack, made up of county stalwarts and young pretenders. The series was locked at 1-1, and despite missing key bowlers due to injury and retirement, England believed they had the momentum after victory at Trent Bridge.

Caddick, Gough, Hoggard, Harmison and Jones; all of these bowlers were unavailable to new captain Michael Vaughan in a pivotal match. So he had to be creative. A young, and rapid James Anderson, the skiddy James Kirtley, veteran Martin Bicknell and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff made up the bowling line-up. Vaughan opted to play without a spinner, so Ali, who had made been making an impact in the County Championship, was given his cap.

England began superbly with the ball, and when Ali took his first Test wicket, the South Africans were wobbling at 21-4. But Vaughan's men could not press home their advantage, and South Africa reached an improbable 342 thanks to Gary Kirsten's superb century and lower-order resistance. Without a spin option, England simply lost their incisiveness with the ball once it had gone soft. Indeed, Anderson, Kirtley and Ali in the same attack meant England lacked the variety to dismiss set, international class batsman.

Despite an eventual defeat, Ali could be satisfied with his performance, taking five wickets in the game for 136 runs. What counted against Ali was the lack of control he offered Vaughan, serving up too many boundary balls despite his wicket-taking ability. It may have been harsh on Ali, but the return of spinner Giles and Harmison in the final Test strengthened the team and resulted in victory.

Ali would not be completely forgotten by England and would make 14 ODI appearances. This included starring in a last-ball thriller against South Africa in 2005, when his superb final over rescued an unlikely tie for his team. But breaking into England's famed pace bowling quartet of the mid-2000s proved to a step too far for Ali, who fell down the pecking order. Ali would eventually leave his home county of Worcestershire for Hampshire in 2009 and retired at Lancashire in 2015, aged 35.



Jon Lewis - 2006 v Sri Lanka

Despite a fulfilling and successful county career with Gloucestershire, Jon Lewis seemed destined to be a nearly-man when it came to international cricket. Despite his height, it was believed his medium pace would prove to be ineffective at the highest level. But his reliable and accurate bowling alongside a professional attitude earned him a spot on England's tour of South Africa in 2004/05 and was in line to make his debut as injuries took their toll.

But it did not happen, and Lewis had to be content with a smattering of ODI appearances, although he did play a starring role in England's first-ever T20 match against Australia. It was another injury crisis in the spring of 2006 which handed Lewis a chance in a Test match. Sri Lanka was the opposition, and England were hoping to seal a series victory at Trent Bridge.

As it was, a Muttiah Muralitharan masterclass and an England performance lacking the ruthlessness that had seen them win the previous summer's Ashes, saw Sri Lanka win to secure a drawn series. Lewis bowled solidly with the new ball, bowling opener Vandort with his third ball, and ending with three wickets. He was unable to take a wicket in the second innings but did keep the batsmen quiet with his accuracy.

Harmison returned from injury to take Lewis' place in the Test squad against Pakistan, and with an eye on a trip to Australia in the winter, the absence of pace from Lewis proved to be his undoing. However, Lewis was named in the 2007 World Cup squad but was unable to break into the first XI. In a 19-year career, Lewis took a huge 849 first-class wickets. After retiring at Sussex in 2014, Lewis has developed a burgeoning reputation as one of the top new coaches in the game. He is now directly responsible for England's new generation, serving as England under 19 coach, before taking charge of the England Lions.



Mason Crane - 2018 v Australia

England's misuse of a leg spinner at the end of an Australian tour reared its ugly head once again in the case of Mason Crane. 3-0 down and desperate to end the series on a high, the 20-year-old leg spinner was thrown in at the deep end against a confident Australian side. Spectators agreed that his match figures of 1-193 by no means reflected the potential Crane showed.

All is not lost for Crane. Until this summer, he had struggled for consistent first-class games at Hampshire, and frustrating back injuries had often disrupted him at inopportune moments. But this year gifted Crane a chance, and 14 wickets was a good return in an unusual season. At such a young age, and with tough moments in his young career spurring him on, Crane will hope to break once again into England's Test squad. For now, he may have to play the waiting game, but the determination and talent are evident for anyone to see.

Olly Stone - 2019 v Ireland


The stress fractures to the back and side strains Olly Stone has suffered demonstrate the perils of fast bowling. Tipped to book a place in England's 2021/22 Ashes squad, the Warwickshire paceman has had a frustrating time with injuries, and only managed one first-class appearance in 2020 before succumbing to a side injury. He has returned and played in the truncated T20 tournament, performing solidly.


His debut Test appearance came at Lord's in July 2019 against Ireland and took an impressive 3-29 in twelve hostile overs. If Stone stays injury-free, he will play many times for the England Test side. If Stone has a year with a clean bill of health, we could see a player growing in confidence and gaining prominence in England's pace battery.

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