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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory