Matthew Hoggardindia Updated: Oct 23, 2006 17:01 IST
Big, bustling, and with the sort of energy coaches kill for, Hoggard shapes the ball away from the right-hander at pace and is surprisingly slippery off the pitch, although he can be Fraserishly ineffective when the ball refuses to move.
Hoggard was one of the leading lights among Yorkshire's bright young things, but it was under the astute tutelage of Duncan Fletcher and Nasser Hussain that he grew the senior bowler of the England quartet that swept all before them in an unbeaten year 2004. His apprenticeship was long and at times tortuous.
With just two Tests under his belt, Hoggard was chosen to lead the attack on an arduous tour of India in 2001-02, where he charged in obediently and accurately, and capped his winter with figures of 7 for 63 against New Zealand at Christchurch. By the end of the following summer he had been voted the bowler of the season by readers of Wisden Cricket Monthly, but he endured a horrific winter Down Under, where his arcing inswing was meat and drink to Australia's legion of left-handers - in particular, Matthew Hayden.
To his credit, Hoggard retreated to the ECB Academy in Adelaide, and returned with a snappier run-up to play his part in England's fifth-Test win at Sydney. By his own admission, he took a while to learn his role in the side, and his flashier colleagues consistently stole his limelight. But his moments when they came were worth waiting for - a brilliant hat-trick at Barbados in April 2004, and then a phenomenal 12-wicket haul at Johannesburg the following winter, where he single-handedly bowled England into a series-clinching 2-1 lead.
And the following summer, he shrugged off a quiet start to the summer to contribute nine wickets at Trent Bridge and The Oval, as England sealed their first Ashes victory for 18 years. His batting is limited, but he has developed into a reliable tailend blocker and one of the most effective nightwatchmen in the game.
First Published: Feb 15, 2006 18:04 IST