Hard toil swings it for Giddins (16 August 1999)

16 August 1999

Hard toil swings it for Giddins

Christopher Lyles

The last three years have proved to be something of a rollercoaster ride for Ed Giddins, the Warwickshire swing bowler who was yesterday included in an England squad for the first time. After being handed a 19-month ban from first-class cricket for taking cocaine, towards the end of the 1996 season, he was sacked by Sussex when a guiding hand might have been more appropriate.

Not that Warwickshire, who were one of a bevy of counties clamouring for his services, particularly lamented the unsympath-etic attitude emanating from the South Coast. Giddins returned to action last season, taking 83 championship wickets, and he has claimed a further 43 this year after an indifferent start.

"I just want it to be 11 o'clock on Thursday morning, if selected," said a delighted Giddins, 28, yesterday. "County cricket is one atmosphere but I should imagine that Test cricket is quite another, and I just want to feel that adrenalin flowing and to channel it in the right direction."

The affable Giddins could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that an individualistic character and past misdemeanours were starting to count against him, but the well-documented changes to the England selection panel and the injuries to Darren Gough, Alex Tudor and Dean Headley have obviously worked in his favour.

"It has been a matter of nudging at that door," he added. "I have been waiting for that one moment, and hopefully I can make it impossible for them to leave me out. I was more hopeful of being picked for the Oval, because of the injuries to other bowlers, which I wouldn't wish on anyone. But it is up to their replacements to get a foot in the door."

Giddins captured just nine wickets in his first six games this season before bagging a further 34, at an average of 17, in the last six.

"For the first time since I started playing, I totally lost my rhythm and I felt the panic stations a bit. The more overs I get under my belt, the better I bowl, and I hardly bowled in the first few matches. Knowing that the rain clouds were constantly around, it was probably a matter of trying to do too much, but the rhythm came back as suddenly as it went after a lucky catch off the boot at short leg.

"I'm now bowling more consistently than last year and I have tended to use the inswinger as a surprise ball, as a genuine wicket-taking ball every four or five overs rather than as a stock delivery."

His opportunities to play Test cricket were seemingly ebbing away, but he was still planning to work on his fitness this winter by undertaking a five-month programme at Lilleshall, at a personal cost of L10,000. With a competent performance at the Oval against New Zealand, he may be able to start planning for a winter in the slightly more attractive surroundings of South Africa.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)