Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hamidullah Qadri: the future of English spin?

This blog takes an interest in the emergence of young English spin bowlers. Both Adil Rashid and Mason Crane featured here early in their careers.

Today's Guardian introduced us to another bright prospect:
Last month Hamidullah Qadri did much more than become the first person born in the 21st century to play county cricket when, at the age of 16, he was picked for Derbyshire against Glamorgan. 
Qadri did much more than inspire Derbyshire to their first four-day victory in two years when, as an off-spinner, he opened the bowling in the final innings of a match which ended as he took his fifth wicket amid excitement and joy. 
He did much more than explain why Iain O’Brien, who played 22 Tests for New Zealand, calls him The Magician.
Qadri has since been called up to the England under-19 one day squad.

Why is the thought of a new England spinner so enticing?

In part it is because really good ones are so rare. In my long cricket-watching careering England have had precisely two consistent match-winning spinners: Derek Underwood and Graeme Swann.

And in part it's because it is good to craft and guile triumphing over strength and power in the modern game.

But I think it is also because one of my favourite cricket memories is Phil Edmonds' debut against Australia at Headingley in 1975. He took 5-28 in Australia's first innings and they were skittled for 135. (England did not win: the game was abandoned after protesters vandalised the pitch overnight.)

Edmonds was about the first young player I saw being picked for England. In those days a batsman could be promising at 30 and the selectors specialised in recalling former players. Both Ted Dexter and M,J.K Smith, who might as well have batted with dinosaurs, reappeared in the test side.

So as long as there are young England spinners, I will not feel entirely old myself.


Hywel said...

Bit harsh on Dexter who was only 33 when he played his last test. Now Cowdrey in Australia is a different matter! :-)

Jonathan Calder said...

Dexter had retired before he was recalled in 1968, but Cowdrey was a good one too.

Frank Little said...

I must put in a word for the Robert Croft/Ashley Giles combination which had some success, though largely abroad.

- Frank Little, in Neath