Virtual Test: Nasser Hussain vs Rob Key in all-England clash
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange will use a cricket simulation to play out a Virtual Test between Nasser Hussain and Rob Key England XIs
Last Updated: 20/04/20 1:35pm
The Virtual Test is back. And this time it's a battle between Nasser Hussain and Rob Key.
The pair were tasked with picking England XIs from the eras they played in, which they will then 'captain', but had to make their selections in an NFL draft-style format.
Nasser's predominantly '90s team will now do battle with Keysey's of the '00s in Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange's cricket simulation that was used to play out England's postponed series in Sri Lanka.
Watch Nasser and Rob make their selections in the video above or on Sky Sport Cricket's YouTube.
Benedict's Virtual Simulation
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange is using a cricket simulation that takes into account batting averages, strike-rates, bowling averages and bowling speeds and plays out a five-day Test match based on those figures.
Nasser vs Key team lineups
|Nasser Hussain XI||Rob Key XI|
|Graham Gooch||1||Marcus Trescothick|
|Alec Stewart (wkt)||2||Alastair Cook|
|Nasser Hussain (c)||3||Rob Key (c)|
|David Gower||4||Kevin Pietersen|
|Robin Smith||5||Ben Stokes|
|Graham Thorpe||6||Andrew Flintoff|
|Ian Botham||7||Matt Prior (wkt)|
|Ashley Giles||8||Graeme Swann|
|Darren Gough||9||Stuart Broad|
|Angus Fraser||10||Steve Harmison|
|James Anderson||11||Simon Jones|
1) KEY PICKS... Kevin Pietersen
Key: "I was going to go with an opener, but actually I'm going to pick the best batsman I've ever seen for England, Kevin Pietersen."
2) NASSER PICKS... Graham Thorpe
Hussain: "Someone who got tough runs all the time; small in stature but big in heart."
Key: "Damn. I wanted him."
3) NASSER PICKS... Ian Botham
Hussain: "I'm going to put Keysey under pressure here because he's going to have to pick between his best friend - his only friend in the world - Andrew Flintoff and Ben Stokes, who he is constantly texting. I'm picking England's greatest ever cricketer, Sir Ian Botham."
4) KEY PICKS... Andrew Flintoff
Key: "I'm picking Flintoff."
Hussain: "Shock! What a surprise."
Key: "Freddie was injured for a lot of the easier games, against the likes of Bangladesh, and his best was outstanding."
5) KEY PICKS... Ben Stokes
Hussain: "Hold on, you've already picked your allrounder!"
Key: "I'm playing him as a batsman. Has he batted at No 5 for England? Yes, end of argument."
6) NASSER PICKS... Graham Gooch
Hussain: "The greatest cricketer I ever played with, and an Essex man like me."
7) NASSER PICKS... James Anderson
Hussain: "I need a bowler, and so I'm going to pick England's best ever, Jimmy Anderson."
Key: "Is he your era?"
Hussain: "Excuse me; I gave him his first cap!"
8) KEY PICKS... Marcus Trescothick
Key: "One of the great blokes, but also a bloody good player. For me, Tres is actually an underrated cricketer. He was one of England's very best."
9) KEY PICKS... Simon Jones
Key: "I played a lot with this fella, not necessarily in international cricket. I don't know how he's going to work out in the simulation but, let me tell you, Simon Jones at his best was an outstanding bowler. His career was sadly cut short through injury but, had he played more Test matches, he would have been one of England's best."
10) NASSER PICKS... Alec Stewart
Hussain: "Alec Stewart is my wicketleeper. I played with him for a number of years; England's best keeper-batsman by far, a brilliant player. He can open the batting too."
11) NASSER PICKS... Ashley Giles
Hussain: "I want Graeme Swann."
Key: "You can't have Swann! When did he make his Test debut?"
Hussain: "His debut tour was when I was captain to South Africa. I picked Swann for England, but I can't have him in my side?!"
Key: "Did you play him? You and your mate [Duncan] Fletcher didn't then play him for another 10 years. You can have Gilo, bowling over the wicket."
12) KEY PICKS... Graeme Swann
Key: "My spinner is Swann."
Hussain: "What a surprise!"
13) KEY PICKS... Matt Prior
Key: "I could go for my mate Geraint Jones or Matt Prior as wicketkeeper. I didn't play with Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, or people like that. I'm going to go for Prior - he was an outstanding cricketer."
Hussain: "All the histrionics! You just wanted to give Geraint - because of your Kent connection - a bit of a shout out but then you've completely binned him for Prior. Were you ever going to go for Geraint there?"
Hussain: "The acting skills! One little podcast with Sam Mendes and suddenly the acting skills come out. 'My mate Geraint'."
14) NASSER PICKS... David Gower
Hussain: "How have I forgotten him? My childhood hero. I've got a picture of him up somewhere; Lord Gower."
15) NASSER PICKS... Darren Gough
Hussain: "I've got Anderson, and I'm going to pair him with the legend that is Darren Gough, What an opening attack!"
Key: "Annoying; I wanted Gough."
16) KEY PICKS... Alastair Cook
Key: "I don't think it's fair to pick Joe Root, as I'd pretty much retired when he started playing county cricket. I'm going to limit myself to either Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook or Michael Vaughan. I'd like Vaughan in there, and he'd be my captain - but I've got to captain. Warney picked Strauss, but I'm going to pick Cook, England's greatest ever run-scorer."
Hussain: "Look at you umming and ahhing over Alastair Cook, the bloke who has the most ever runs for England."
17) KEY PICKS... Stuart Broad
Key: "I need another bowler and I'm going to go for Stuart Broad."
Hussain: "Good shout."
18) NASSER PICKS... Angus Fraser
Hussain: "Someone that if he hadn't got injured would have been one of England's all-time greats. A high-quality player and bloke; a top, top bowler."
19) NASSER PICKS... Robin Smith
Hussain: "As long as Shane Warne isn't in the opposition, I'm going to go with Robin Smith; The Judge. His square cut was a joy to watch. A top bloke, a great player of fast bowling; an outstanding cricketer."
Key: "I used to love watching him."
20) KEY PICKS... Steve Harmison
Hussain: "Over to you; pick your last mate."
Key: "Funny you say that, because I'm going to pick Steve Harmison. You can't have me, Freddie and then not Harmison."
Hussain: "What a surprise! You can't split those three up."
Hussain: "That is an unbeatable side. With me as captain, motivating and setting cunning fields for Ashley Giles."
Key: "I don't want to pick myself. I'm so disappointed I'm in my own team. Can I drop myself?"
Hussain: "Hold on, the match referee has just handed me the team sheet; there has got to be an error there? Key is between Cook and Pietersen?! I'm telling my bowlers to give Pietersen the single and then bring the field in to surround you."
Key: "Can I just ask why you've not picked your big mate Michael Atherton?"
Hussain: "No, you can't ask that! … I'm just picking the best side based on the stats; I'm not doing what you used to do at Kent, just picking your best mates. 'Oh, we had a great laugh, but we lost every single game we played in'."