Picture of Michael Atherton

Michael Atherton

Batting style:
Right Handed bat
Bowling style:
Leg break
Played for:
England, England Under-19
Roles played:
Ex Skipper-Test,ODI | -
Home country:
March 23, 1968, Manchester


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.

Fast Facts

  • Michael Atherton was appointed an OBE in 1997 for services to cricket.
  • He has written two books - an autobiography 'Opening Up' and, away from pure cricket, 'Gambling: A Story of Triumph and Disaster'.
  • Mike was awarded the Wisden Young Cricketer Award in the year 1990.
  • In 2009, he was named as the Sports Journalists’ Association’s Specialist Correspondent of the Year and in 2010, won the Sports Journalist of the Year award at the British Press Awards.


  Matches Innings Runs NO Avg. SR 100's 50's HS
Test 115 212 7728 7 37.69 37.31 16 46 185*
ODI 54 54 1791 3 35.11 58.64 2 12 127
  Matches Innings Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM Avg. Econ. 4w 5w 10w Extras
Test 115 14 408 302 2 1/20 / 151 4.44 0 0 0 0
  Catches Stumpings Runouts
Test 83 0 0
ODI 15 0 2
  Matches Won Lost Tie No Result Win percentage
Test 53 13 21 0 19 24.53
ODI 43 20 21 1 1 46.51


England Vs Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham - Aug 10, 1989
Last played:
England Vs Australia at The Oval, London - Aug 23, 2001
England Vs India at Headingley, Leeds - Jul 18, 1990
Last played:
England Vs Sri Lanka at Lord's, London - Aug 20, 1998