Thursday, 6 August 2009

In praise of....Andrew Caddick

In all the hype surrounding the Ashes, a piece of cricket news slipped out last week that seemed to go rather undetected. The retirement of Andrew Caddick at the age of 40 was barely mentioned by commentators too busy bemoaning England's one dimensional attack (an attack currently being picked on the sole premis that it'll be cloudy outside).

In a way this lack of interest seems to sum up Caddick's career - but consider the facts - Caddick is one of England's ten leading Test wicket takers of all time. It's sobering to realise that Caddick played 62 Tests taking 234 wickets at an average of under 30 while also claiming 69 victims in 54 one-day internationals. Eighth in the list of all-time England Test wicket-takers, he made his Somerset debut 18 years ago and in 2005 he became one of only six current players to take 1,000 first-class wickets. Stats in this case clearly make the case for Caddick to be an England legend but he's barely mentioned these days. Why?

The main reason seems to be that Caddick never seemed to fit in. Perhaps it was his massive ears, or the fact that he was born in New Zealand but whatever the reason a succession of England management teams never seemed to know quite what to do with him. It wasn't until Hussain and Fletcher instigated their revolutionary idea of actually backing players that Caddick, who like so many bowlers clearly fed on confidence, actually felt at home. The fact that he made his debut in the same series as Graham Thorpe who went on to play 100 Tests to Caddick's 62, is a perfect example of how he was messed around.

Another reason seems to be his apparent spikiness and trawling through the usual suspects' autobiographies only Caddick's Somerset team mate Marcus Trsecothick repeatedly sings his praises. Darren Gough, Caddick's opening bowling partner, shows downright hostility describing how the New Zealander constantly took the piss out of him for not taking 5 wickets as many times as he did. At one point they came to blows after Gough called him a 'twat' in front of the England dressing room.

When not playing for his country, Caddick did another rare thing. He rolled up his sleeves and got on with the business of taking wickets for his county. He never made himself unavailable for England and in 2007 was the country's leading wicket taker prompting many including Andy himself to wonder why he'd never had a sniff of a recall since his last match in 2003. Team mate Justin Langer even compared him to Glenn McGrath saying "I cannot believe he hasn’t played every Test for England over the past ten years.”

Unlike contemporaries such as the aforementioned Gough, Phil Tufnell or Dominic Cork it seems unlikely that Caddick will move into a media career. Instead he'll have to content himself on that top ten place and a twenty year career as an excellent fast bowler. Sometimes that's enough.

Caddick's greatest England moment:

1 comment:

  1. I always really rated Caddick, as did everyone who ever faced it, seemingly. Sharp, steepling bounce, great outswing.

    He did sound like a bit of a temperamental sod mind, as a chap and as a bowler. Should've played more, but you could say that about a dozen players over the last few years.


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