The Lowdown - Glen Chapple June 13, 2006

Never giving up

The Lowdown on Glen Chapple, who has been called into England's one-day squad at the age of 32

With so much cricket played these days it is often difficult to keep track of who is who and what they are doing. In this weekly feature Cricinfo will take a look at one player who is making the news, whether at the highest level or as an aspiring talent, and tell you what they are all about. This week, it's the turn of Glen Chapple, the Lancashire allrounder who has finally won an international debut.



The wait is over: Glen Chapple swings a six on his international debut against Ireland © Getty Images

Talk about a long wait. Glen Chapple was first touted as an England player as far back as 1995; 11 years later he made his debut in the unexpected surroundings of Stormont in Ireland. On the strength of his Lancashire performances he could have been selected at any point over the last decade. At 32, he still has time to make the most of his call-up and find a role in the World Cup.

There have been plenty of less talented cricketers to fill the role that is now designated to Chapple - from Ronnie Irani to Alex Wharf - the strong seam bowler who can bowl at any time in the innings and crack some useful runs from No. 8. But Chapple has just kept plugging away and has been the model of consistency. He has gone about his work in a quiet, understated manner and this could probably explain why his name has often slipped under the selection radar.

Chapple has been part of two generations of Lancashire attacks. In his early days he was part of an line-up that included Wasim Akram, Peter Martin, Ian Austin and Phil DeFreitas before the young stars of James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood took their place. But throughout it all Chapple has remained the constant.

Four times he has passed 50 wickets in a season, yet his best haul is just 55. But invariably Chapple figures prominently in the averages at the end of a season and certainly never lets his captain down. After starting out as a bowler who might flay 20 or 30 down the order, he has developed into a genuine allrounder at county level who brings balance to the Lancashire side and allows them to play a five-man attack.

But it was purely his bowling that got him noticed in 1994 and he followed a productive season with an impressive A tour of India. At the start of the 1995 season he was thought of as a shoo-in for the one-day squad to face West Indies but was surprisingly overlooked - ironically for his team-mate Martin. After this disappointment he had a relatively poor Championship season, averaging 36 with the ball. His omission knocked him back, but by 2000 he was developing into a fine allrounder.

His time appeared to have come when he was called up to the squad for the third Test against South Africa, at Trent Bridge, in 2003. Again, though, he missed out as James Kirtley was preferred before an untimely ankle injury ruled him out of the next match at Headingley, where he would almost certainly have played as England picked five seamers. However, this time Chapple didn't let the disappointment hit him and churned out more fine displays for Lancashire. Three years on he finally has an international cap, and no one can ever take that away.



Chapple has been a consistent wicket-taker for Lancashire over the past decade © Getty Images
Timeline

January 1992
Tours Pakistan with England Under-19

July 1992
First-class debut against Sussex

November 1994
Part of the England A squad that tours India and tops the bowling averages with 20 wickets

May 1995
Misses out on the England one-day squad despite being tipped for selection

September 1996
Demolishes Essex in the Natwest Trophy final with 6 for 18 and secures spot on A tour to Australia

July 2001
Hits career-best 155 against Somerset

August 2003
Called-up to Test squad to face South Africa at Trent Bridge but misses out in final XI

June 2006
Named in a new-look England one-day squad for matches against Ireland and Sri Lanka

Current form
Averaging 41 with the bat and 23 with the ball in the County Championship and 16 with the ball in the C&G Trophy. In the match before his England call he took seven wickets and hit 47 against Sussex.

Vital stat
During the first Championship match of the season, against Hampshire, Chapple became the tenth Lancashire player to reach the milestone of 5000 runs and 500 wickets

What he says
"I decided last winter just to enjoy what I would be doing with Lancashire and forget about anything else. I even said in one interview that I thought I had no chance, but things have gone well for me this season."

What they say - Mike Watkinson, Lancashire cricket manager
"Glen has been close to England honours before but hasn't quite made it. It must have been frustrating for him because he has been one of the most consistent bowlers in the country, but now they will be looking at him as an all-round package."

What you may not know
In 1993 Chapple hit a century off just 27 balls against Glamorgan. However, it arrived in contrived circumstances as Matthew Maynard and Tony Cottey tossed up a series of long-hops and full tosses to set a declaration. Although still included in the records, it is as a footnote with an explanation of the situation.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo