Magellan Ashes 2017-18

Greg Chappell's Ashes icons: 25-21

Former Australia captain and current national selector Greg Chappell picks the 40 best Ashes players from the past 40 years

Greg Chappell

4 November 2017, 04:21 PM AEST

Greg Chappell is a legend of Australian cricket who amassed 7,110 Test runs at the incredible average of 53.86. He is an  Australian selector and the National Talent Manager at the Bupa National Cricket Centre

As a player, captain, selector and commentator at varying times between 1977 and 2017, legendary Australia batsman Greg Chappell is among those most qualified to judge the finest players to have taken the field in an Ashes Test across the past four decades. Here Chappell has delved into the memory bank and listed his 40 Ashes Icons from the past 40 years; men who have left indelible impressions on his memory through their deeds in Ashes cricket. Today we’re looking at numbers 26-21… 

25. Darren Gough (England)

17 Ashes Tests 74 wickets at 30.81. BBM: 7-119. 4x5WI

From the Ashes: Darren Gough - Sydney 1999

Gough just looked like he hated batsmen, hated Australians and wanted nothing more than to get them out. For a period he was in the top few fast bowlers going around. He was a bit of a Rolls Royce in that he just glided into the crease, but he was very strong and seriously quick.

I played against him in Perth in a festival match and I got to appreciate just how quick he was – I think he would've surprised people with pace and he had the best change of pace of all; he could bowl a quicker one. That's what got him wickets. Plus, he swung the ball, and he had a laser yorker – we saw both of those traits on display when he took that hat-trick at the SCG in '99.

He would've been a pretty good teammate, too, because he was a good character. And he was determined. He was a seriously good bowler who I would've enjoyed playing with or against in the Ashes. 

24. Mitchell Johnson (Australia)

19 Ashes Tests 87 wickets at 25.81. BBM: 9-82. 5x5WI

Johnson's 37 Ashes wickets, 2013-14

Johnson's is quite a remarkable story. He was discovered up in North Queensland as just a raw talent, and he got by on that raw talent for a while. Then after he got to the top of his game he went into a downward spiral from which a lot of people mightn't have recovered.

But great credit to him, and those around him, he was able to come back and have two or three fantastic series where he was the strike bowler and made all the difference – and never more so than in 2013-14 Ashes. It was like Lillee and Thomson at their best, in the sense that every time he took the ball, people expected things to happen – and not only off the field, but on the field; opponents started thinking differently, and his teammates expected wickets to fall.

He had a reputation for being expensive at times but in those years when he was at his best he bowled a lot of good balls. It wasn't just sheer pace that was getting wickets, it was the consistency of line and length as well as the pace that just wore batsmen down.

You could see that England team feeling very uncomfortable against him, to the point that their best batsman, Kevin Pietersen – a confident batsman who feared no-one – was all of a sudden very mortal. And that came down to the quality of Johnson's bowling in that period.

He was very hard-working, he came back from serious injuries much like Lillee, who he had as a great mentor, and he'll forever be remembered for that 2013-14 series which, in terms of impact in the Ashes, was as great as anything I've seen. 

23. David Gower (England)

38 Ashes Tests 3,037 runs @ 46.01. HS: 215. 9x100s, 11x50s

From the Ashes: David Gower - Perth 1986/87

David was a classical left-hander, and a bit like Mark Waugh in his laidback approach and style at the crease. But underneath it all was a very strong character. He made a lot of tough runs for England – more than anyone else from that side of the Ashes ledger in this 40-year period – and you knew that if he got in, he was going to accumulate runs much quicker than it appeared.

There were times when people thought he got out softly but he that was more appearance than reality; he was a very determined player, and he enjoyed taking on the Australians – he had a great time of things in the '85 Ashes when he made three big hundreds. He scored plenty of hundreds in Australia as well, and had no trouble handling the conditions here.  

22. David Boon (Australia)

30 Ashes Tests 2,041 runs @ 42.52. HS: 164no. 6x100s, 8x50s

From the Ashes: David Boon - Adelaide 1986/87

David is probably under-rated to a large degree. I think people got caught up with the 'keg on legs' persona but his stocky build belied some real athleticism. He was strong physically and mentally and made himself into a very good international cricketer. He was a brilliant bat-pad fieldsman, had very quick reactions and showed all of that with a terrific catch as the final wicket in Shane Warne's MCG hat-trick.

He made himself a hard batsman to get out; bowlers really had to work to take his wicket. He played some very good innings against England in the '80s and was a very important member of the side that grew under Allan Border.

He, along with Geoff Marsh, Ian Healy, Steve Waugh, was a key member of that team becoming a very, very good side under Allan, as we saw when he scored three hundreds on that '93 tour. But it wasn't just about the runs that he made; his personality, his love of the Baggy Green cap, and the support he gave his teammates all played a big role in developing that strong Australian team. 

21. Terry Alderman (Australia)

17 Ashes Tests 100 wickets at 21.17. BBM: 10-151. 11x5WI, 1x10WM


Alderman's debut Test tour to England in '81, when he took 42 wickets, was quite remarkable. And then he did it again in '89. Bowling in England in those days, there was a lot of grass left on the pitches. So it was ideal for a bowler like Terry.

He was quick enough – up around the high 130s at his peak – and he swung it both ways, predominantly away from the right-handers, and had great control. And he bowled just an immaculate length – an lbw length. Balls that he bowled weren't going over the stumps, so he worked on the theory that if they missed, he hit.

He would've got an inordinate number of lbws in both those series, and I can remember Graham Gooch just getting hit on that front pad time after time.

It was brilliant to watch. He got in close to the stumps at the bowler's end, was basically stump to stump, and got just enough swing to cause problems. His straight one was as effective as an inswinger and he just kept smashing them on the front pad.

I played against him in first-class cricket and I found myself playing at balls I didn't want to play at. He was also a very good fielder – one of the first frontline bowlers who spent a lot of time in the slips – with a very good pair of hands. 

Chappell's Ashes Icons

Read more: No.40 - 36

Read more: No.35 - 31

Read more: No.30 - 26

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21