Cricket: Moles needled by inaccuracy

A week in cricket by Jon Culley
Click to follow
The Independent Online
As a cricketer with, let's say, a fuller figure, Andy Moles is well used to remarks about his build and generally takes them in good part.

However, when a national newspaper poked fun at him for consuming a ham sandwich and a Coca-Cola at the crease during a particularly long innings last month, the Warwickshire batsman was less than pleased.

The writer was apparently unaware of the fact that the 36-year-old opener has developed diabetes, and after batting for six hours in hot sunshine was beginning to worry about his blood sugar levels. "It made it sound like I'd stopped for a snack," Moles said.

"I don't eat much lunch or tea if I'm batting, but I knew it wasn't a good idea to go much longer without anything. I'd actually asked our 12th man to bring me a banana, but the ham sandwich was all he could put his hands on at the time."

The condition manifested itself last winter, while Moles was in South Africa coaching Orange Free State's B team.

"I had a spate of dizzy spells and a simple urine test revealed what it was," he said. He has a brother and an uncle who are also sufferers.

Now, his daily routine involves injecting himself with insulin four times a day and taking care over his diet, although he insists his career will continue unaffected.

"Thousands of people have the disease, and as far as I'm concerned it is just an inconvenience. I'm certainly not going to turn it into a sob story."

Close monitoring of the condition's progress should prevent any emergency arising, although he has briefed team-mates on the danger signs. "If my speech starts to ramble and I'm making no sense, that's a tell-tale sign," he said. Presumably "Yes! No! Wait! - Sorry!" doesn't count...

THE TOP TEN

The 10 leading wicket takers in Ashes Tests

1 Dennis Lillee 167

(Australia)

2 Ian Botham 148

(England)

3 Hugh Trumble 141

(Australia)

4 Bob Willis 128

(England)

5 Montague Noble 115

(Australia)

6 Ray Lindwall 114

(Australia)

7 Wilfred Rhodes 109

(England)

8 Syd Barnes 106

(England)

9 Clarrie Grimmett 106

(Australia)

10 Derek Underwood 105

(England)

Moustache with a dash

Dennis Lillee announced himself with a short-pitched ball that turned Geoffrey Boycott's cap back to front. He was 21 and playing for Western Australia. The following year he played his first Ashes series in England, taking 31 wickets at 17.67, a figure he bettered in 1981 with 39. He is perhaps best remembered for his partnership with Jeff Thomson, which demoralised England in Australia in 1974-75. His career total of 355 wickets places him sixth among the all-time leading Test bowlers, despite missing the best part of two years with back problems.

THE WEEK

AHEAD

The extraordinary happenings at Cardiff have allowed Middlesex to stake a claim for top spot in the Britannic Assurance table. The position in the games involving Gloucestershire and Kent suggests their lead may be more than temporary, with the former facing a stiff task to score 363 against Worcestershire and Kent likely to find the clock against them at Old Trafford.

Gloucestershire are Middlesex's opponents in the championship round that starts on Wednesday. One suspects still that the West Country side will not sustain their challenge, although Mike Smith, the left-arm seamer who might have been pushing for an England place had a side strain not ruined his A tour, has started well.

Middlesex, meanwhile, have unearthed a promising partner for Angus Fraser in Jamie Hewitt, whose 6-14 at Cardiff raised his tally for the season to 31 championship wickets. He made his debut against Gloucestershire last season, dismissing Robert Dawson with his first ball.

Should they fail today, Kent will be still more anxious to beat Durham at Darlington. Elsewhere, Nottinghamshire, whose bright start has been more surprising even than Gloucestershire's, should have Paul Pollard and Tim Robinson back against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge.

TERMS OF THE GAME

The googly

Why the wrist-spinner's disguised off-break is known as the googly has never been established, although there is a theory that it has its root in the 19th-century dialect word "google", meaning to confuse. The Australian name "bosie" is less obscure, recognising the role in the googly's development played by the Middlesex and England bowler B J T Bosanquet, who used an idea discovered on the billiard table to take 6 for 51 against Australia at Sydney in 1904.

Pleasant views from one of the circuit's largest dressing-rooms

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Aigburth, Liverpool

First-class cricket has been played at the Aigburth Road ground, five miles from the city centre, since it was completed in 1881, during an age of considerable prosperity for Liverpool.

The port was thriving and members of Liverpool Cricket Club made generous donations to finance the construction of a fine pavilion, an imposing structure for an out-ground with distinctive green and white panelling set against red brick. It boasts one of the largest dressing-rooms on the county circuit.

The building was finished in time for the opening first-class fixture against Cambridge University, and pre-dates the pavilion at Old Trafford by 13 years. At the time, Liverpool provided several members of the Lancashire side and this, combined with the establishment of such a fine ground, posed a challenge to Manchester's status as the county's headquarters.

In contrast to the city's main football grounds, the cricket ground is situated in pleasant surroundings on the way to Speke and Garston. The first-floor balcony offers views over the Mersey estuary towards the Welsh hills. The playing area is large and the square has a reputation for good, durable wickets.

Although the pavilion has been extended, most of the ground remains as it has looked for much of its history. There is also a smaller Ladies' Pavilion and plenty of space for marquees. First-class matches used to be staged every year, but nowadays Aigburth takes its turn in a rota of out-grounds.

If the weather is good, matches tend to attract decent-sized crowds, although nowhere near the 7,600 who watched a one-day match against the West Indian tourists in 1984. Glamorgan are this year's visitors, in a four-day match starting on Wednesday.

Top of the form

Most runs and wickets in last five innings

Bowlers Wkts Last five (most recent on right)

1 M Bowen (Notts) 23 7-75; 4-34; 3-153; 5-52; 4-128

2 D Malcolm (Derbys) 23 4-95; 5-50; 6-75; 4-42; 4-91

3 A Cowan (Essex) 19 5-58; 3-75; 5-45; 2-48; 4-74

4 P Taylor (Northants) 17 4-101; 0-9; 4-99; 2-54; 7-87

5 R Stemp (Yorks) 15 1-51; 3-79; 6-77; 2-41; 3-108

6 K James (Hants) 17 1-20; 1-52; 2-58; 5-44; 8-49

7 K Shine (Som) 16 1-59; 7-43; 4-54; 1-41; 3-37

8 R Croft (Glam) 16 5-33; 3-54; 5-51; 2-81; 1-90

9 M Smith (Gloucs) 16 3-68; 6-58; 4-74; 2-46; 1-34

10 A Fraser (Middx) 15 1-35; 6-77; 0-60; 4-68; 4-17

Batsmen Runs Last five (most recent on right)

1 V Wells (Leics) 521 56; 95; 107; 39; 224

2 D Hemp (Warks) 431 138; 114*; 2; 117; 60

3 J Morris (Durham) 389 48; 20; 149; 48; 124

4 M Hayden (Hants) 364 119; 46; 136*; 0; 63

5 A Stewart (Surrey) 326 12; 0; 11; 271*; 32

6 M Ramprakash (Middx) 322 2; 50; 111; 97; 63

7 A Moles (Warks) 313 168; 8; 42; 12; 83

8 G Lloyd (Lancs) 309 82; 100*; 0; 5; 122

9 J Crawley (Lancs) 298 51*; 101; 41; 61; 44

10 S James (Glam) 288 54; 76; 153; 3; 2

Comments