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Saturday, April 20, 2024

England’s left-arm seamers – The Full Toss

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England’s white ball groups now have a battery of left arm seamers, and sometimes go in with as many as three. The sudden profusion of left arm choices is, nonetheless, a reasonably current growth, as till just lately it was a comparative rarity for England to pick a left armer of their seam assault.

Maybe one of the best recognized England left armer was JK Lever, and though he predated my time as an England fan, I do have imprecise recollections watching him late in his profession for Essex. his figures, it’s a shock he didn’t play extra, taking 73 wickets in 21 exams at a mean of 26, and 24 in 22 sooner or later internationals at 29 with the extremely respectable economic system price of three.71. It appears stunning that he didn’t play extra for England, notably within the early to mid 80s given his nice file.

The primary left arm seamer I watched dwell for England was Mark Ilott, who performed a few exams within the dismal ashes yr of 1993, and a pair extra on tour in South Africa in 1994-5. A complete hearted county bowler, he was uncovered in opposition to Check batsmen and performed solely 5 Checks, at a mean of 45. To be blunt, he in all probability lacked the tempo to actually succeed at worldwide degree.

Alan Mullally, who debuted in 1996, has a extra substantial file than Ilott. He performed 19 exams and 50 ODIs, taking 58 check wickets at 31. He was introduced in to try to give a poor England facet some selection, and is maybe remembered extra for his dismal batting. Nevertheless, he was a strong worldwide bowler, albeit in all probability a greater white ball bowler than crimson, taking 63 wickets in ODIs at an economic system price of lower than 4, indicating how effectively suited left arm seam bowlers could be for shorter kind matches.

Honourable mentions additionally go to “Sam” Brown, who performed one check in 1996, and “Smudge” Smith, a diminutive county bowler who once more performed a solitary check in 97, and missed out on a check wicket when Graham Thorpe dropped Matthew Elliott. Each might swing the ball persistently at county degree however struggled of their sole appearances at exams. This was additionally, by the way, an issue for Mullally. He bowled at a sooner lick than Ilott however didn’t actually swing the ball into the right-handers persistently sufficient.

Arguably one of the best left-armer England have had lately was Ryan Sidebottom. He debuted in 2001 however solely grew to become a daily within the facet when he was recalled in 2007. Sidebottom had a nice profession and ably changed Matthew Hoggard as England’s swing specialist. At a good top of 6 foot 4, and bowling within the mid to late 80s, he had a strong check file of 79 wickets in 22 video games with a bowling common of 28. He was additionally a nice sooner or later bowler, with a superb yorker and modifications of tempo, contributing to England’s first ever World Cup trophy – the 2010 World T20.

Trying again, Sidebottom for my part ought to have performed extra for England. Nevertheless, he suffered resulting from Duncan Fletcher’s notion that he lacked the tempo to succeed on the highest degree. His success after his belated recall, in fact, refuted this principle – though he generally pushed his physique too laborious and picked up niggling accidents.

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The fashionable period has resulted in a plethora of left-armers enjoying white ball cricket, notably the T20 recreation. The primary England tried on this format was Harry Gurney, who exhibited some first rate expertise “on the dying” together with slower balls, which have grow to be such an integral a part of a seamer’s armoury in white ball cricket.

Of those that have performed extra just lately, David Willey is a constant swing bowler and a strong decrease order hitter, and Reece Topley is an exceptionally tall bowler with a superb yorker and bouncer. It’s only a disgrace about his continual harm issues.

England’s most outstanding left-armer of current occasions, nonetheless, has been Sam Curran. Though his Check file is presently modest, he’s a formidable white ball bowler, notably in T20 cricket, the place his selection in addition to his skiddy trajectory could make him tough to play on the dying. His batting, whereas erratic, will also be brutally efficient, notably on gradual wickets

Whether or not Curran can turn into an efficient Check bowler stays to be seen, however his comparatively modest tempo and lack of top implies that he’ll have to swing the ball to threaten the batsmen. England even have a profusion of quick bowling choices in Check cricket so his alternatives may be restricted.

The rise of left-armers in county cricket – George Garton and Luke Wooden spring to thoughts – could be a quirk of nature, however the deluge of T20 leagues and their obsession with ‘match ups’ has undoubtedly benefitted the practitioners of this specific artwork. The truth that left armers might be able to cramp the batsmen might partially clarify their recognition. Nevertheless, except for Lever and Sidebottom, few of the gamers talked about above have actually satisfied at Check degree. England haven’t produced a Wasim Akram, or a Mitchell Starc, or perhaps a Mitchell Johnson. It’s about time they did.

Rob Stephenson

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