Michael Artherton is widely regarded as a great Test Match batsman.  Athertons deeds has an opener and his duels with great fast bowlers of his time like Allan Donald and Glenn Mc Grath were much talked about by commentators and media. Between 1990 to 2003 Michael Artherton played 115 Tests for England aggregating 7728 runs. Artherton inspite of the being rated very highly averaged a meagre Test Average of 37.69 at the end of his career.

In the history of Test Matches as many as 48 players had the distinction of representing their countries in 100 or more Test Matches with Michael Artherton being one of them. 33 of those players were batsmen who averaged more than 40 in their career while 12 of them averaged in excess of 50.  Artherton is the only specialist batsman in the history of Test Matches to average under 40 in Test Cricket after playing 100 Tests.  The rest of them who averaged under 40 included 7 bowlers in Mc Grath, Walsh, Muralidharan, Kumble, Wasim Akram, Shane Waarne and Chaminda Vaas 4 all rounders in Kapil Dev, Shaun Pollock, Ian Botham and Carl Hooper and 2 wicket keepers in Ian Healy and Mark Bouncer.  In fact England's under rated wicket keeper batsman Alec Stewart performed better than Artherton averaging close to 40, an average of 39.54 to be precise.

Artherton had a strike rate of 37.31 per 100 balls and if you combine it with his average of 37.69 it meant that neither Artherton was a match winner nor was he a match saver. Michael Artherton never gave any extra utility to his team in the form of bowling or wicket keeping options  and yet Artherton was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to captain England in 54 Test Matches which meant he captained England for almost half of his career. Not surprisingly Artherton was persisted as captain by team management and given a long term inspite of his repeated failures as captain.  The selectors were consistent in retaining Artherton as player and captain when he failed in both aspects. If Artherton would have played in any another team in the world he would have been dropped as captain or batsman or both, but in this case Artherton retired first from captaincy and then as a player and both on his own terms.

The fact that Artherton got to play 115 Tests in 13 years at an average 9 Test Matches per year is an indication that he was a regular in the team. A regular player like who enjoyed  a long career thanks the confidence of selectors and team management should have performed better



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