Hoggard: 'I'm the pea-shooter'

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The Independent Online

Matthew Hoggard claimed three West Indies wickets yesterday but later described himself as the "pea-shooter" in the England bowling line-up.

Matthew Hoggard claimed three West Indies wickets yesterday but later described himself as the "pea-shooter" in the England bowling line-up.

"I know my role a bit more now than I did two years ago," the Yorkshireman said. "We've the big guns like [Steve] Harmison and Fred [Andrew Flintoff] that come in and bowl the quick deliveries and rough the batsman up, and I'm just a little pea-shooter at the other end who puts it on a line and length.

"We have had a winning side and as a bowling group we don't care who is getting the wickets - it's been fantastic watching everyone else perform. We've got special players putting in great performances, and I've been chipping in here and there."

The 27-year-old seamer continued: "It is the ethic of the team that whoever does well gets the plaudits, and everyone else enjoys each other's success."

This ethic emerged in the way Hoggard revealed how yesterday's dismissal of Brian Lara had been part of a plan. The West Indies captain went across his stumps and missed an attempted leg-glance at a full-length delivery from Flintoff which hit leg stump.

"We have plans for each batsman," Hoggard explained. "We saw how he struggled with the yorker at Edgbaston - 'Fred' bowled him a couple there which he didn't see. So the yorker early doors was part of the plan, and thankfully he walked across his stumps and missed it."

For his own part, the highlight of Hoggard's day was getting rid of Dwayne Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul after the pair had shared a stubborn total of 157 runs for the fifth wicket.

Lara later praised the bowler, saying: "I don't think you should underestimate Matthew Hoggard. Back in the Caribbean before that series, I thought he was England's best bowler. Harmison proved that wrong. But Hoggard is someone who is very consistent and bowls a good line and length - and I have great respect for him. He bowls well and deserves his wickets; he works hard and gets the reward."

Lara was less fulsome in an analysis of his own players. He was expecting a greater team effort from his young squad after several cameos during the opening two Tests.

"Individual performances are not what we are looking for," the West Indies captain emphasised.

"We have to up the team performances - we need guys bowling in tandem, batting in partnerships and backing up the bowlers in the field. It is a good team we are playing against, and we will not beat them with individual brilliance. Similarly, the way England can beat us is not with individuals but by good team cricket."