James Lawton: Giles' conduct unbecoming in the war of nerves

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The Independent Online

Giles has still to grasp the point that he is not a hate figure, he hasn't been picked out for critical monstering. It just happens that, in an acutely disappointing England performance in the first Test, he and his colleague Geraint Jones had notably ineffectual performances.

That this was duly noted was unavoidable. He is not a poorly paid worker in some obscure corner of the labour market. He is a front-line Test cricketer who has to take criticism along with the praise, which he has presumably enjoyed well enough in the past.

That he should have to be reminded of this at the age of 32 is not the least dismaying aspect of the England meltdown at Lord's. We know Giles is not Shane Warne; we know that spin bowling in England for a depressingly long time has been, in terms of hard competition, just a notch or two above morris dancing. We know Giles cannot be blamed for this. We assume he does his best.

What is becoming insufferable, however, is behaviour that former England captain Mike Atherton has described as precious. Giles cannot be blamed for not being Shane Warne. Going on like a girl's blouse is, on the other hand, quite a different matter.

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