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.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star