Caddick delivers an irritating performance

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The Independent Online

While Mark Ramprakash was England's principal enigma on the first day, the mantle passed easily and predictably to Andrew Caddick on the second. While Matthew Hoggard tore through the first half of the New Zealand order with some brilliant outswing bowling, Caddick was sadly ineffective.

Over the years whenever the conditions have been ideal for his type of bowling and the expectations have therefore been high, he has seldom been successful. Too often his radar has been wrong and for over after over he has failed to make the batsman play – as happened here.

The body language of Hoggard and Caddick could hardly have been more different and it told the story. Hoggard could hardly wait to get on with it even on the rare occasions when he had been hit for four. Caddick, on the other hand, when the batsmen were letting ball after ball go through to the wicketkeeper, seemed reluctant to get on with it.

He would paw with his feet, first at the popping crease where his front foot came down, then the place his back foot landed and finally at a spot a yard and a half back from that. He stood and stared and pawed at the ground trying to make a visible excuse for yet another wayward ball.

This, in conditions where the ball was swinging and also moving a little off the seam although not so extravagantly as on the first day. While Hoggard was brimful of enthusiasm, Caddick was disgruntled, depressed and looking for excuses.

It is an extraordinary fact that the wickets Caddick takes in the first innings of Tests cost 37 runs each and those in the second innings only 20. His successes have almost always come on the back of his partner. It was no surprise yesterday that when Hoggard eventually came off after doing the hard work and taking 5 for 59, Caddick moved to his end and picked up three wickets in an over.

In the West Indies five years ago, Caddick failed to deliver in the first of the back-to-back Tests in Trinidad in spite of Angus Fraser's magnificent bowling at the other end.

He managed to follow Fraser's example in the second which England won, but they should have left Trinidad two matches up instead of being 1-1 and that was Caddick's fault.

Two years later in South Africa, he wasted a helpful pitch in Port Elizabeth when he really should have taken wickets. One Test match later, on a flat pitch in Durban which gave him nothing, he took seven wickets in the first innings in a match South Africa had to fight in order to save. It made no sense.

In a funny way it is the same with his batting. When support for the last recognised batsman is the requirement as happened on Wednesday with Nasser Hussain, Caddick played a ludicrous stroke and got himself out for nought.

Then, when the end seems inevitable on an awkward pitch with Caddick coming in last, as happened at Edgbaston against New Zealand in 1999, he helped Alec Stewart add more than a hundred for the last wicket. Caddick has so much ability with the ball, and maybe with the bat as well, but it may be that he was born to irritate or maybe it is just that pressure does different things to different people.