Michael Atherton
Personal information
Full name Michael Andrew Atherton
Born 23 March 1968 (1968-03-23) (age 52)
Failsworth, Lancashire, England
Nickname Athers, Cockroach, Dread, FEC
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Right arm leg break
Role Batsman
International information
National side England
Test debut (cap 538) 10 August 1989 v Australia
Last Test 27 August 2001 v Australia
ODI debut (cap 108) 18 July 1990 v India
Last ODI 20 August 1998 v Sri Lanka
Domestic team information
Years Team
1987–1989 Cambridge University
1987–2001 Lancashire
1987–1990 MCC
Career statistics
Competition Test ODIs FC LA
Matches 115 54 336 287
Runs scored 7728 1791 21929 9343
Batting average 37.69 35.11 40.83 36.49
100s/50s 16/46 2/12 54/107 14/59
Top score 185* 127 268* 127
Balls bowled 408 0 8981 287
Wickets 2 108 24
Bowling average 151.00 43.82 29.62
5 wickets in innings 0 3 0
10 wickets in match 0 n/a 0 n/a
Best bowling 1/20 6/78 4/42
Catches/stumpings 83/- 15/- 268/- 111/-
Source: CricketArchive, 1 September 2007

Michael Andrew Atherton OBE (born 23 March 1968) is a broadcaster, journalist and retired England international cricketer. A right-handed opening batsman for Lancashire and England, and occasional leg-break bowler, he achieved the captaincy of England at the age of 25 and led the side in a record 54 Test matches. Known for his stubborn resistance during an era of hostile fast bowling, Atherton was described in 2001 as a determined defensive opener who made "batting look like trench warfare" and he had several famed bouts with bowlers including South Africa's Allan Donald and Australia's Glenn McGrath. Atherton often played the anchor role at a time when England batting performances lacked consistency and the side's overseas results were mediocre.

His playing career included some controversy, including an accusation of ball tampering, and several brushes with the media with whom, by Atherton's own admission, he did not have a good understanding when he was a player. Often hampered by a chronic back complaint which was to contribute to the end of his career, Atherton was considered a leading England batsman during the 1990s. Following retirement he became a journalist and is currently a cricket commentator with Sky Sports.

Early career

Atherton was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, England. His family includes several lesser known sportspeople, such as his father Alan, a former Manchester United goalkeeper in the 1960s. During 1st test of India tour of England 2014, he also added that his dad played only in the reserves, never for the main team.

As a youth, he captained the Manchester Grammar School cricket team, for whom he scored almost 3,500 runs and took 170 wickets. His performances led to selection for the England under-19 team, which he captained aged 16. He also represented Lancashire Schools from 1982 to 1986. In 1983 he won the Jack Hobbs Memorial Award as the Outstanding Schoolboy Cricketer at under-15 level. In a (non-first-class) match against the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1984 he took 6–27.

Entering Downing College, Cambridge, to read History, he was selected at 18 to play for Cambridge University Cricket Club and awarded a blue. A year later he made 73 on his county debut for Lancashire, scoring his maiden first-class hundred against Derbyshire a fortnight later. During this time he represented his university, the Combined Universities cricket team (which he captained to the quarter finals of the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1989) and his county. This early rise through the ranks, and extensive leadership experience earned him the nickname "FEC", which is thought to have stood for "future England captain". In his autobiography Opening Up, Atherton is candid about the fact that there are more colourful alternatives for "FEC"; the second word being "educated"; as suggested by his teammates at the time.

Test Centuries

Michael Atherton's Test Centuries
No. Runs Against Venue Year
1151New ZealandNottingham1990
4144West IndiesGeorgetown1994
5135West IndiesSt John's1994
6101New ZealandNottingham1994
7111New ZealandManchester1994
8113West IndiesNottingham1995
9185*South AfricaJohannesburg1995
11118New ZealandChristchurch1997
12103South AfricaBirmingham1998
13108South AfricaPort Elizabeth1999
15108West IndiesThe Oval2000

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