August 6, 2009

Mike Holmans

Andy Caddick, the second-innings demon

Mike Holmans
Andrew Caddick appeals as Somerset chip away at Lancashire, Somerset v Lancashire, Taunton, September 25, 2008
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Amid the welter of high-profile retirements from Test cricket, one which has not been noticed very much is Andy Caddick's – the consequence of his retiring from all cricket at the end of this season.

The great mystery about Caddick was the enormous disparity between his performances in the first innings, which were usually insipid, and those in the second, which were often devastating. It is particularly appropriate to take note of his retirement on the eve of a Test at Headingley, scene of one of his most spectacular feats of brilliance and of one of his most abject disasters.

In 2000, West Indies struggled to 172 in their first innings, with Craig White taking 5-57. That England managed to gain a lead of 100 was entirely down to a stand between Michael Vaughan, in his 11th Test innings, and Graeme Hick, who scored his last Test half-century. When West Indies batted again, it was Gough who took the top-order wickets, but then came Caddick's over of overs: W . WW . nb W, crashing WI from 52-5 to 53-9. Sarwan managed a three off Caddick's following over, but the second ball of his next knocked Walsh's off stump back and England had achieved their first innings victory against West Indies in 34 years, Caddick's second-innings return being 5-14.

Two years later, he was by a long distance the senior bowler in the England attack for the game against India. There were gasps around the ground when it was announced that Sourav Ganguly had elected to bat on winning the toss. The sky was dark grey and there was dampness in the air – ideal conditions for pace bowling – and when Sehwag departed in the seventh over, it seemed as though Ganguly's gamble was a loser. But we had reckoned without Caddick's inability to bowl well in the first innings of a match. Ball after ball was banged in far too short and went sailing harmlessly over the stumps as Rahul Dravid swayed patiently out of the way. By the time the clouds cleared and batting became a much less daunting proposition, the match was effectively over.

His last Test was the fifth of the 2002-3 Ashes, a dead rubber to be sure, but one which England won through one of Caddick's classic performances – a weak 3-121 followed by a brilliant 7-94. He was not officially dropped, as he never ceased to remind people, but England under Michael Vaughan had moved on.

Two-hundred-and-thirty-four Test wickets is no mean tally. Only seven England bowlers have taken more, and most of them have claims to greatness. A new-ball bowler who fails to take first-innings wickets can have no such pretensions, but he did enough to re-establish the idea that England could win matches after the barren 1990s. He was too diffident and too grumpy to win many fans' hearts, especially since his main England partner was the ebullient crowd-pleaser Gough, but his contribution to England's revival under Nasser Hussain was profound.

But even if he was not an international great, he has been an absolute giant for Somerset for whom he has taken 873 first-class wickets (and counting). Of post-WW2 players, only Brian Langford took more, and he was never required by England. That 75 of them at 23 apiece were in 2007, when he was 38, behind only Mushtaq Ahmed and Ottis Gibson was remarkable, but that he took more than half of them at the Taunton bowlers' graveyard was little short of phenomenal.

The body won't take any more pounding, and so he has announced that he will not be back next season. For the remainder of this one, the collection boxes for his testimonial deserve to overflow, and may he have a long and happy retirement on the proceeds.

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Posted by John Fuller on (November 4, 2009, 15:01 GMT)

Certainly from a county point of view, Caddick has been a legend for Somerset and though he featured little in 2009, his new-ball, steepling bounce will be missed as Somerset look for his successor.

www.somersetccc.wordpress.com

Posted by Vikram Maingi on (August 10, 2009, 11:40 GMT)

I remember than spell from Andy Caddick. It was a superb display of swing bowling.

Posted by Yogesh on (August 8, 2009, 1:59 GMT)

Mike, firstly it is appreciable that you chose to bring some attention to a workhorse amidst the Ashes hoopla. Caddick definitely played his part in early years of Hussain rebuilding the english team. Caddick stats between innings are quite shocking (37 & 20) ! And probably as shocking as Srinath between home(26) & away(37). Even Vaasy seemed to perform better at home than away. Though it is a classic argument that pace bowling in sub-continent is difficult than Eng/Aus/SA etc, i think Srinath & Vaasy are perfect counter ex. to the theory. Both condns require different skills. Similarly for batting (eg. Ponting, Dravid). Sri, i felt was always a few inches short like freddie and similarly a bowler who always seemed to beat the bat but never take wickets. Caddick could be a bit up & down but Sri was more consistent. But not much between the two. And yes, abiding memory of Caddick is WC 2003 !! Nothing against Caddick! I wish there is some more space dedicated to this good bowler

Posted by Amit on (August 7, 2009, 23:08 GMT)

My point was Caddick's success against better batsman was limited - not sure if there is a way to check in Statsguru. Plus take away his success against weak teams (NZ, zimbabwe and WI) and his average soars to mid 30s. Any yes, Srinath is pretty average too. Just lucky to play for a country who just didn't produce any fast bowlers. It's not just the average. IMO, There have been better bowlers with similar record to Caddick and Srinath (Flintoff, Hoggard, etc). caddicks and Srinath have seldom delivered against good teams away from home. Check their record against Australia.

Posted by Bala on (August 7, 2009, 6:59 GMT)

Oh mike..Bad comparison though. Srinath took most of his wickets on sub-continental pitches which are dead flat. Caddick's matches mostly have been on England's swinging tracks. Compared to srinath, caddick is a very very avg bowler. Srinath was far better than caddick any day of the year.

Posted by Kaustubh on (August 7, 2009, 5:43 GMT)

@amit i agree.....Srinath was an underrated bowler.... Gough & Caddick were good but neither can be called great..the last great bowler England produced was Bob Willis (neglecting if Flintoff was fit)

Posted by Sree on (August 7, 2009, 4:20 GMT)

My abiding memory of Caddick is a delivery from '03 WC match against India. The ball was a bit short and Tendulkar pulled it clean out of the stadium. I am not being judgmental, just sharing what comes to my mind when I think of Caddick.

Posted by Simon on (August 7, 2009, 3:50 GMT)

Whilst Caddick was never a front liner he was a great toiler and probably contributed to helping the bowler at the other end picking up wickets.

One of the English bowlers I rated highly when he played.

Simon from Australia

Posted by daniel on (August 7, 2009, 3:24 GMT)

HAHAHAHAHAHA amit, ur honestly going to say that caddick did as much for England as Srinath did for India??? what a joke, Javagal Srinath was Indias only great pace bowler for YEARS, (Venkatesh Prasad was good, not great). what Srinath did for Indian pace bowling is nothing short of remarkable, Caddick had a good career, NOWHERE near great, and if their averages and wickets tallies are about the same then it just reinforces the fact that numbers dont measure greatness our game, Srinath was a legend in an average side, Caddick a good bowler in a crap side

Posted by amit on (August 7, 2009, 0:50 GMT)

4 tailander wickets against WI and not much against frontline batsman is 'spectacular feat of brilliance'? It summerizes Caddicks career - similar to the 3 wickets he took in the last over against India in WC 2003 and ended up giving 70 runs in 10 overs. Pretty average bowler, just like Gough in a pretty average england team of 1990s.

[Mike: Javagal Srinath took 236 wickets at just over 30 to Caddick's 234 at just under 30. What they did for their teams was roughly the same. I therefore assume that you regard Srinath as a pretty average bowler, which is fair enough if that's what you think, though I would rate both of them higher than you obviously do.]

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