Second Test, Adelaide December 4, 2006

Dogs of Warr

It is a bad sign when a bowler’s presence reminds you of another’s absence, as Anderson’s does Simon Jones with every innocuous over

John Warr © The Cricketer International

When twenty-three-year-old Cambridge fast bowler John Warr arrived in Sydney with Freddie Brown’s MCC side of 1950-51, a Sydney wharf labourer hailed him. ‘Hey Warr, he shouted, ‘you’ve got as much chance of taking a test wicket on this tour as I have of pushing a pound of butter up a parrot's arse with a hot needle.' The labourer was wrong. Warr took exactly one, for 281 runs. Mind you, it was a close run thing: the umpire looked like giving Ian Johnson not out when he nicked to Godfrey Evans at Adelaide Oval, before Johnson decided he could not ignore the pitiable sag of Warr’s shoulders.

This summer, the parrot and butter standard faces another test, from Jimmy Anderson. His figures were one for 280 today when he managed to dismiss Glenn McGrath, and halve his average. The haircut is the same as four years ago; perhaps in recuperating from he stress fractures that kept him out of the last English season, he has lost the whip that gave him pace and away swing. Pitches with bounce but without pace have led him to bowl too short – a costly error. He is in danger of becoming a cipher in this series, if indeed he bowls again. It is a bad sign when a bowler’s presence reminds you of another’s absence, as Anderson’s does Simon Jones with every innocuous over.

Warr famously never had difficulty recalling his Test figures, able to rely on his memory of Hymn #281: ‘Art thou weary, art thou languid/Art thou sore distressed?/
“Come to Me,” saith One/“And coming, Be at rest”.’ Anderson can draw inspiration at the moment of Hymn #140: ‘Great is thy faithfulness.’ He’s going to need it.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 5, 2006, 13:07 GMT

    You are a legend, Gideon Haigh. After seeing Anderson bowl today, as Ponting, Hussey & Clarke got Australia home, one could only be thankful that Simon Jones was not there. The English companions around me did not share my thankfulness.

  • testli5504537 on December 5, 2006, 0:33 GMT

    I really love your work though

  • testli5504537 on December 5, 2006, 0:32 GMT

    I read over your entry this morning (Ontario time) and there wasn't a single response to it. I kept on checking it throughout the day - still nothing! It must be getting hard to find a new topic to fire up the would-be bloggers. They are probably becoming as unresponsive as the pitch, Gideon.

    Cheer up though, you only have another 3 tests, one 20-20 and 12 one-dayers to go.

  • testli5504537 on December 5, 2006, 0:12 GMT

    Nice piece. Especially the Hymn part:)

  • testli5504537 on December 4, 2006, 23:43 GMT

    Reading Gideon Haigh's insightful postings from the Ashes has become a daily ritual for me...thank you Cricinfo for finally giving this blog a permanent link from the main site..

  • testli5504537 on December 4, 2006, 9:15 GMT

    I remember Maniander Singh's debut for India against Pakistan in 1982-83 series that was as tough as it could get for Indian bowlers. Fromthere he went to the West Indies to play a 5 test series. Couldn't have been worse for him. I do not remmber his figures exactly but if you add his bowling stats for the games he played on thoese tours, I will not be surprised if Warr and Anderson look like achievers. Fortunately for him and India, Maninder soon had good fortune of playing on Indian turners and a great talent was not completely lost to the world.

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