Monday, 28 December 2009

Lament for the released

It's the time of year when people start perusing lists to see who's getting a CBE for managing to be famous, or who's getting a knighthood for managing to live long enough.

But for cricketers and cricket fans there comes the dubious pleasure of scanning the lists of the retired and released, to see who was unlucky enough to get the bullet in 2009, and who finally called it a day on a career that could have been more.

The most obvious is John Crawley, a man associated with the England batting line-up for almost a decade.

Like a couple of peers, he seemed star-struck on the big stage and never fulfilled his promise. His strength against spin was heralded as England's Ashes answer to the mastery of Shane Warne. But of never worked out like that.

Crawley got the reputation of what I remember Ian Chappell terming a 'second-innings Sid' – implying he only ever got runs when the game was beyond competition.

A stuttering career came to an end at a point where Creepy had started to suggest he could make it, but like Ramprakash he was finally discarded just as he seemed to get going.

Other former England cricketers calling it a day include Jason Gallian, most famous for throwing KP's kit out of the dressing room; Alex Wharf, another in the battery of ODI all-rounders; Martin Saggers, trusty Durham seamer and occasional England fill-in; Chris Silverwood, a rapid seam bowler who should have been so much more; Mark Ealham, chubby England all-rounder who looked like a throwback; Jason Brown, another feted England spin-bowling whizzkid during the wilderness years; Andy Caddick, one of the best England seamers of a generation; Alex Tudor, who probably should have been; Mark Butcher, evergreen in the top three for several years; Jimmy Ormond, perhaps most famous for one of the best sledges ever at Mark Waugh; and Michael Vaughan, destined for the TMS box with a new head of hair.

But there's more to it than the passing of of a few former England pros. It's the names that have graced sports pages and Ceefax screens for years that will also be missed.

Tony Frost, Jason Lewry, Chris Murtagh, Steven Crook, Stephen Adshead, Stephen Stubbings, James Pipe. Names to conjure with, though I could tell you little about any of them, bar Lewry.

All have plied their trade around the country circuit for years, and Lewry was often thought of as England material.

In the end all it comes down to is a brief footnote in the end-of-year country round-ups before their names are forgotten by most casual cricket fans forever.

Not much to show for a career perhaps, one last moment in the national spotlight before fading away to minor county or club cricket; back to careers stalled for 20 years; fading away back into everyday life.

1 comment:

  1. so sad about all these great cricketers! adshead averaged over 40 last year, its a crying shame


Write something crickety: