Matthew Hoggard: Sachin and I will always regret not being on the Lord's honours board
What I Learnt This Week
Saturday 30 July 2011
I never thought I would say this – at least, not in relation to cricket statistics – but Sachin Tendulkar and I have one thing in common: neither of us has made it on to the honours' board at Lord's and, it would appear, neither of us ever will.
There is not much Sachin has failed to do in this sport. His total of runs and number of international centuries mean he will be considered the greatest batsman of all time by some people and rated among the top three or four by just about everybody.
But unless Tendulkar keeps playing into his forties, he will not be able to say he scored a Test hundred at Lord's (or even a Test fifty, which is almost unbelievable). Will it really matter to him, though? I would say most definitely yes.
Once your name is on that board, be it for scoring a century or taking five wickets in an innings, it is there for ever. Players come and players go but the boards stay put and you look at them every time you go into the changing room. They are not only part of the history of Lord's but also part of the history of the game.
I still regret not getting a Test five-for at Lord's, and always will. I managed a few four-fors but never the magic five. You just want your name on that board – simple as that. Being up there means a lot more to most cricketers than many people imagine, and I'm sure Sachin will be disappointed.
You could tell that a lot of people, England fans included, wanted him to make a century last week. In the end, he wasn't even close in either innings – but a miss is as good as a mile, as I know well.
I managed four wickets in an innings on three occasions at Lord's, but perhaps the closest I got to the five-for was against Zimbabwe in 2003. I had three wickets in the first innings but, because we intended to enforce the follow-on, Nasser Hussain took me out of the attack so I was fresh for the second innings. Jimmy Anderson, making his Test debut, promptly bowled out the tail to finish with five. And how many wickets did I get in the second innings when Zimbabwe did follow on? Yep, you guessed it: none. Thanks, Nas!
Oh, and just by the by, if you can name the two England players who took seven wickets between them in that second innings, then you either played in the game or you really should get out more. Give up? Mark Butcher and Anthony McGrath.
2. Jimmy is king of swing while Broad shows talent and character
Talking of Jimmy Anderson, I see he is now up to second place in the Test bowling rankings after playing a big part in England's terrific victory at Lord's. That is still one place behind South Africa's Dale Steyn but, probably more important to Jimmy, one place ahead of his mate Graeme Swann. There will be a bit of banter about that in the dressing room this week, you can guarantee.
Jimmy has come on in leaps and bounds since I was playing for England and he was often on the fringes of the team. Now, given the way he is bowling, it looks perfectly possible for him to make it to No 1 sooner rather than later.
You could say Anderson has a bit of a dark side to him because he is pretty fiery on the field and looks a bit sulky if things are not going his way. But hats off to the lad, because he swings the ball both ways and, having earned the reputation as an outstanding bowler, he is certainly living up to it.
As for his spats with the opposition, that is just the way it is with some bowlers. Jimmy likes to have a few words when he is in a battle with a batsman, but I guess finding what makes you tick, and what makes you perform better, is half the battle.
Stuart Broad is another who needs to show aggression. And while it was great to see him getting most of his wickets at Lord's through pitching the ball a bit further up, no one should try to take away his nasty streak when it comes to bowling bouncers. It is good that Broad can put batsmen on to the back foot, before going fuller and taking the edge. I'm sure he will get the balance right more often than not from now on.
I will admit that if I'd had to make the decision last week I would have gone for Tim Bresnan over Broady, but that performance showed how much character he has, never mind how much talent. He was under a lot of pressure and to get the wickets he did, especially in the first innings, after taking so muck flak, was really impressive.
Overall, I don't want to take anything away from England's win at Lord's because I think they played wonderfully well. But we do have to be a little bit careful not to get too carried away, because the loss of Zaheer Khan on the first day was very important.
Everyone, quite rightly, talked about the slice of good luck we had in 2005 when Glenn McGrath stood on a ball and turned his ankle just before the start of the Edgbaston Test. But sometimes you need something like that to go your way – and there is no doubt this England team had a piece of good fortune when Zaheer hurt his hamstring.
The great thing is, they took advantage. But India will come back hard, be it at Trent Bridge or elsewhere, because they are not No 1 without good reason.
3. Rumble over DRS will become a thunderstorm by end of series
India are not only top of the tree when it comes to Test cricket. They are also the dominant force off the field and appear to be running the world game – regardless of what the International Cricket Council might like us to believe.
I'm referring, of course, to the fact that this summer's main series is being played with a limited Decision Review System – not including lbws – because India don't think the ball-tracking system is accurate enough. What a nonsense! The ICC allegedly runs our game and they believe Hawk-Eye's worth has been proven. But that is not good enough, apparently. I'm afraid it just shows how much power the Board of Control for Cricket in India has in our sport.
The Lord's Test could have turned out differently after both Tendulkar and Suresh Raina survived lbw appeals – which umpire Billy Bowden somehow thought were missing – that would have been upheld on referral. Fortunately, no real harm was done in that match but there is every chance the rumbling we heard last week will become a fully fledged thunderstorm before this series is over.
Whether you believe in the technology or not is neither here nor there, really. What I find shocking is that India have so much power these days that they can win any argument they choose, regardless of what other countries think.
4. Little Jimmy Taylor will lead by example and make a big impact
While England are playing India, another series of matches will be taking place in this country. And although the Test and one-day internationals between England Lions and Sri Lanka A will not receive anything like as much media coverage as the main event, everyone at Leicester was delighted to learn that our young batsman, James Taylor, is to captain the home side.
As anyone who has seen him play will confirm, Taylor is a real talent. And although he's only 21, we've no concerns about him leading the Lions because he has a very wise head on young shoulders.
In fact, James has already captained Leicestershire twice this season – and it seems to bring out the very best in him, because he scored a double hundred against Loughborough University and then, a couple of weeks ago, made 160 or so when Sri Lanka A started their tour at Grace Road.
For someone so young (and so short – he's about 4ft 3in!) he has already made a big impact. Now for the selectors to give him the Lions captaincy just shows how much England think of him.
James knows that it is weight of runs that will force him into the full England side. So far this season, so good. He has played some excellent innings for us and his form in the T20 was one of the reasons we finished second in our group and have made it to the quarter-finals.
As you may recall, another county has enquired about taking Taylor away from Grace Road. We remain optimistic he will stay with us and we want to keep him – no question. He is Leicester through and through and, hopefully, he is excited about what we are trying to do at the county.
5. I've gently turned my arm over...now it's time to wang it down
It was only very gentle but I rolled my arm over this week and bowled a ball. Exciting, hey? Well, it was for me because I've had more than enough of not playing after damaging my wrist when hitting a punchbag nearly a month ago.
As mentioned last week, the plaster is now off and I'm just wearing a brace. I will have another scan this Wednesday and then, hopefully, it will be all systems go in terms of getting back to cricket asap. I've managed to maintain my general fitness, thanks to working out on a spin bike, running and, of course, plenty of dog walking. But what I really want to do is to start wanging the ball down again.
6. Catching them in his shoe, Ernie the fastest fisherman in the west
The other good news for me this week has been the return of my family after their holiday in Lanzarote. And I'm pleased to say that my little lad Ernie has not lost the knack of fishing after two weeks away. In fact, he somehow caught a little 'un in his Croc (that's as in shoe, not as in "odile") while we were standing in the river with our nets a couple of days ago. Beat that, Dad.
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