Michael Andrew Atherton captained England for 54 Test matches, more than any other English captain. He is best remembered for his intrepid batting approach and gritty defense.
Seen as an upcoming talent right from his Lancashire days, Atherton finally made his England Test side debut in 1989 against arch rivals Australia at Old Trafford. In the following year, he made his ODI debut for the national side. Out of the 115 Tests he played, he scored centuries against the likes of India, West Indies and New Zealand. Hence, by the time he was 25, he was handed over the captaincy of the English team as Graham Gooch retired.
Two of the most memorable innings of his career came against South Africa. His 185 not out in the fourth innings while facing the diabolical pace of Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock’s precise swing bowling lasted for 643 minutes. In the process he snatched a draw for England from the jaws of defeat. The second one against the Proteas was a match winning innings of 98 not out in Nottingham that helped England level the series which they eventually won.
However, “Athers” resigned as captain after the 3-1 drubbing at the hands of West Indies in the winter of 1997-98. He continued to ply his services as an opener for England for three more years until finally resigning in Ashes 2001. Post retirement, Atherton has become a commentator on English matches. He is as well an open minded and no-nonsense journalist.