Thursday, 25 September 2008

Three Retirements

Since it's very nearly the end of the cricket season in England, there has been the usual wave of retirements recently. Three of them in particular seemed to deserve some comment.

  1. Graham Hick. Worcester and England batter with more first class hundreds than any player currently in the game. He came to England from Zimbabwe in his teens, and had to wait 5 years to qualify for England's national side. During that time, everyone was talking about how he was the greatest player they'd ever seen and how he'd score millions at international level. It never quite worked out like that, since a succession of very fast bowlers worked him over, leading to an international average only in the thirties. He was messed around by the national selectors, being picked and dropped again far too many times. At county level though, he was, even at the age of forty, a player to be feared.
  2. Darren Gough. Yorkshire, England, Essex and then Yorkshire again fast bowler who formed one half of England's only real bowling partnership in the 1990s with Andy Caddick. It probably would have worked better if the two of them could have got on for five minutes, but Gough was still dangerous, swinging the ball at over 90 mph at his best. Even towards the end of his career he remained capable of operating in the mid-80s, and his knack of bowling in the final few overs of a one day match earned him a call up as recently as a couple of years ago. He has also spent the season captaining Yorkshire (mostly to a series of defeats) Will probably be remembered as much for his exuberant personality as for his achievements on that score.
  3. Mushtaq Ahmed. Short, fat, and with a beard with more grey in it than the rest of the county circuit put together, Mushie hardly looked like the most dangerous leg-spinner on the county circuit. He was though, bowling Sussex to consecutive county championships while taking more wickets than anyone else might have thought possible. His international career was less spectacular, and he found himself overshadowed both by the great Pakistani pace attacks he shared a team with and by the emergence of great spinners in the form of Warne, Kumble, Muralitharan etc... Even so, it was a sad day when his knees finally called time on a hugely prolific career.

No comments: