Ian Blackwellindia Updated: Oct 23, 2006 16:57 IST
A fierce hitter and a tidy left-arm spinner whose first first-class wicket was Steve Waugh, the chunky Ian Blackwell was called up by England when Andrew Flintoff pulled out of the ICC Trophy in Sri Lanka in 2002. He owed that to an innate sense of timing: Blackwell whacked 28 off Matthew Hoggard in front of Duncan Fletcher in the County Championship earlier that season - though he didn't know Fletcher was at the ground - and smeared a matchwinning 86 off 53 balls in the televised C&G Trophy semi-final the same year.
He started off at Derbyshire, before moving to Somerset in 2000, an appropriate move for a man who says he bases his batting style on Ian Botham. Blackwell's bowling is modest - he has never taken 25 first-class wickets in a season - but he has established a reputation as a retriever of lost causes with bat and ball. Despite a run of outs that left his face even redder than usual in the 2002-03 VB Series in Australia - he finished with 0, 0, 0 and 1 - he claimed a place in the 2003 World Cup squad.
An unwillingness to adhere to England squad's strict fitness regime meant that he spent much of the following two years in the wilderness, but his appointment as Somerset captain heralded a new responsible outlook, and a recall to the England one-day squad for the tour of Pakistan. He plays golf off a handicap of six, and lists Eminem among his favourite artists.
First Published: Feb 15, 2006 18:04 IST