King of spin tormented by hip injury and hungry batsmen

"The King of Spain" might have felt yesterday that it would be pleasant to abdicate, buy a little hacienda somewhere in Andalucia and watch the sunsets. It had to be a better option than being carted regularly into the stands here to the delight of a crowd whose friendly hysteria such activity did nothing to quell.

"The King" is otherwise known as Ashley Giles, England's admirable left-arm spin bowler, who gained the sobriquet after ordering some commemorative mugs for his benefit season. They were supposed to say "King of Spin" but came back with an extra letter, the manufacturers presumably not knowing their A's from their elbow.

Giles was given the treatment by Pakistan on the first day of the second Test in Faisalabad. It was possible to tell it could get nasty when his third ball was despatched for six over long-on by Shoaib Malik. In his second over he was hoisted again in a similar direction by the left-hander Salman Butt. And this was only the 11th over of the match.

Throughout the entire day Giles was never allowed to settle. He could find no rhythm, partly because the batsmen decided to take him on, partly because his bowling is being affected by a longstanding hip injury. In four spells, he was allowed to bowl only a total of 10 overs which went for 55 runs. There were four sixes in all, the wonder being that none came from the whirling blade of Shahid Afridi, who struck four of his own.

Whatever the England coach Duncan Fletcher said afterwards - and it was not much in a tetchy press conference in which he spent most of the time muttering at or disagreeing with his interlocutors - this was not in the original script for the match.

Fletcher rightly defended his leading spinner. "The ball has hardly spun," the coach said. "But at the end of the day if you're spinning it slightly away and giving the batsmen a little bit of room it's a little bit easier to face that kind of spinner. We'll see what happens when the wicket starts turning later on."

For England, the expected story-board would have read something along the lines of the corresponding match here five years ago. It was also the second match in a series of three and Giles was still a Test rookie then. By the end of the first day he had bowled 24 overs and taken 3 for 63. He was trusted in a way that he could not be trusted yesterday.

Giles has come back several times from disappointing performances, spurred on by unfair critics who have blamed him for not being a combined left-arm version of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. He tends to speak from the heart in low times, but it is the hip that is beginning to be more than troublesome. It kept him out of the two Tests against Bangladesh last summer and he has had two cortisone injections in it. Fletcher denied that it was any worse, but with every six the probability grows that Giles will have surgery sooner rather than later.

He is an important component in England's team and at 32 is the oldest among the Ashes winners. Only three left-arm spinners (Derek Underwood, Tony Lock and Hedley Verity with whom he is fast catching up) have taken more wickets for England than Giles's 138.

An average of 38 means that he probably has more claim to being the "King of Spain" and the "King of Spin" but to get back into this series England need Giles to be more than a pretender to the throne.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain