Alex Massie

Jack Russell

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That's the wicket-keeper not the misanthropic terrier. In the light of my defence of Ian Bell, a reader asks if I could write something about Gloucestershire's Jack Russell. Certainly!

Jack Russell was a blazing beacon of excellence. He was, in his pomp, the best wicket-keeper in the world. Obviously, he was traduced by England and the people who claimed to know what was best. For neither the first, nor the last, time they were wrong.

In a better, more seinsible world Jack Russell would have spent a decade being the first name on an England team-sheet. For quite some part of that time - an uncomfortably large part in fact - he could reasonably have been considered England's sole realistic entry for a Pick Your World XI contest. (Adam Gilchrest would change this, of course. But I would contend that Jack Russell was a better keeper than Ian Healy, to say nothing of other, less-qualified pretenders.)

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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