Neil Mallender, the Yorkshire raised fast-medium bowler, came close to
making his England debut while playing in New Zealand domestic cricket
in 1984, but despite his impressive figures Tony Pigott was chosen as
the emergency replacement for Bob Willis' team. In the end Mallender had
to wait eight more years before he was called up to play against
Pakistan in one of those years when selectors looked to experience
rather than long-term team building. That summer of 1992 he was sharing
the new ball for Somerset with Andy Caddick, who was still a year away
from being qualified for England.
He made his Test debut on a responsive
wicket in the fourth Test at Headingley, preferred on the morning to
Devon Malcolm, and his 3-72 helped bowl Pakistan out for 172. By the
second innings he seemed to feel in complete control, and took 5-50 to
set up a six wicket victory. Conditions were less to his liking in the
fifth Test at the Oval, and he got only two tail end wickets as Wasim
and Waqar bowled Pakistan to a 10 wicket win. So white was his blonde
hair that colleagues early nick-named Mallender 'Ghostie'. He played for
Northamptonshire from 1980 to 1986, then played at Somerset before a
brief return to the Midlands.
In 1984 he took 4-53 and 2-12 for Otago
against England at Dunedin just days before the Christchurch Test in
which a late injury to Dilley made an emergency replacement necessary.
His victims included Fowler, Tavare, Chris Smith, Lamb and Gatting. He
became a first-class umpire in later life. (Bob Harragan)