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
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence