CRICKET: HENRY BLOFELD'S FIVE MEN OF THE SEASON

ANGUS FRASER

IF Angus Fraser had not been let down by the batsmen, he would have won the series for England in the West Indies. With 10 wickets at Trent Bridge and another heroic performance at Headingley, he did more than just help England beat South Africa. But I have included him here for his batting. When he strode out on the last evening at Old Trafford, he knew there was a good chance he would have to survive 13 balls from Allan Donald if England were to escape. The consummate professional that he is, he took guard and, armed for mortal combat and sticking out his chin as far as his helmet allowed, he kept out Donald and walked back to the pavilion as if it was just another day's work.

MICHAEL ATHERTON

The 1998 season saw Michael Atherton outlive his own obituary notices. It was courageous of him to fall on his sword after England had collapsed on the last day of the Antigua Test in April. He came back to England, an object of mild ridicule after the time he had taken off at the end of the Oval Test against Australia the previous August, to decide upon his future. He was not now helped by an early duck at Hove but from that moment his character shone through. His innings of 103 at Edgbaston was a masterpiece, his 98 not out at Trent Bridge, when he glared back defiantly at Allan Donald, was Victory Cross material. His 496 series runs against South Africa were a reward for character, guts and ability.

MIKE GATTING

Middlesex will never be quite the same without Mike Gatting. Plump, developing towards the point of rotundity, Gatting has been Middlesex cricket since he took over the captaincy from Mike Brearley. Cheerful, cheeky, noisy, hungry (on and off the field), determined and extremely able as a batsman, as a captain and as leader of a dressing room, he captained England to the Ashes in Australia in 1986-87 and Middlesex to just about everything on offer. He will be remembered, most unfairly, for that infamous ball from Shane Warne at Old Trafford, most roundly because he was a legend in his own lunchtime, and most justly because he was an unforgettable character and a complete cricketer.

ED GIDDINS

Character is the qualifying quality of my five cricketers for 1998 and no one's has shone through more spiritedly than that of Ed Giddins. Banned from the game for 18 months for failing a random drugs test when playing for Sussex at Tunbridge Wells in 1996, he served his sentence and returned a new man. He has been an outstanding new ball bowler for Warwickshire this year and has, according to the chairman of selectors, been considered for every Test Match, although he was not chosen for any or for a winter tour. He has accepted his fate with great good humour and has kept going. He is a shrewd thinker about the game and a highly articulate chap - maybe this has been held against him.

CHRIS TOLLEY

County cricket is a hard grind if things are not going well. A year or more in the shallows is hard to combat and, for the moment, Nottinghamshire are not winning anything. One of those splendid players, whatever the fortunes of self or side, who comes out to bat or field relishing the fight, full of enthusiasm and obviously enjoying every moment. Reddish haired and cheerful, he bounds in left arm over the wicket and keeps going long after others have given it best. With the bat he comes in at No 7 and goes for his strokes, ending the season against Gloucestershire with a vibrant 78. Tolley is my kind of cricketer and all power to his elbow. He and Trent Bridge deserve each other.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Order Processor

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Graphic Designer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Concierge and Porter

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot