April 20, 2009

'I felt I was going a bit cuckoo in New Zealand'

Six months away and enjoying every minute of it, though being dropped from the England side still rankles
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Hello, you may remember me. I used to open the bowling for England. That's not what I've been up to lately, though. I've been at home in Yorkshire with my wife Sarah and young Ernie, who's two in May. It's been a full six-month break and it's been a godsend. For one reason or another it's my first full winter at home for 13 years, so it's been a chance to do normal things like normal people, and appreciate having the time to do them properly.

I haven't played for England for more than a year now, since the New Zealand tour last March, and I'm still pissed off about the circumstances of my dropping, to be honest. But more about that later. This winter, I've tried to distance myself from the England team, and what do you know, it's been surprisingly easy.

It won't surprise you to learn I'm not the most organised of people - I never know whether it's Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday - so I'd find myself flicking through the TV, and thinking, "Wow, there's a Test match on today, when did that start… yesterday, was it?… that's a shocker!"

It's been suggested that England have been quite easy to miss this winter, but that's a bit unfair. They've been playing on some - how can I put it - interesting wickets. West Indies went into their shell after winning the first Test, and then employed the most pathetic of gameplans on the flattest of wickets in the last match. They got their tactics completely and utterly wrong by playing for the draw, and it would have served them right if the game had turned around and taken a massive chunk out of their rear end.

All in all it was a good winter to be unwanted as a bowler! Our lads stuck at it well on a series of pudding wickets, but increasingly around the world that is the way the game is going. Pitches are getting flatter and flatter, the amount of runs being scored is getting bigger, and it's increasingly hard to be a bowler. I reckon it'll stay like that this summer as well. England will provide some more helpful wickets early on, but every ground in the country wants five days per Test match, to increase their revenue - especially for the series that everyone's talking about… kerching, kerching.

Will I have a role in the Ashes? I'm not ruling it out, but it's completely out of my hands. It's nice to reminisce and draw on the feeling of winning the Ashes in 2005, but that was four years ago. This is a new series with a new set of players, and they have got to perform and not rely on yesterday's games. I was a firm believer when I was playing that you're only as good as your next game. I think it's still true today.

Which is a bit of a bummer, because apparently my name was left out of some 25-man preliminary whatsit squad the other day - now there's a shock! - but to be honest I didn't even know anything like that had been named. My contact with the ECB has been zero, and so I'm completely and utterly not even thinking about a recall. I'm just concentrating on taking wickets for Yorkshire, and pushing for trophies.

But like I said, I am still very upset about my axing from the England team. It affected me a lot more than I thought it would. It still breaks my heart to think back to how I lost out, after one bad Test match at Hamilton, and I was never really told why or spoken to about it. I thought I'd done enough to put it right, but unfortunately for me it wasn't to be. The rest, as they say, is history. One minute I was sixth on England's all-time list of wicket-takers, the next I was told I'd lost my central contract and I was completely out on my ear.

As I've written in my autobiography (which comes out next month - plug plug!), I was having a tough time in New Zealand. Ernie was only nine months old and Sarah was struggling back home, and halfway through the match I admitted to Vaughany I felt I was going a bit cuckoo. I've no idea if that played a part in what happened next, but it would have been nice to have a bit of communication from up top.

"Apparently my name was left out of some 25-man preliminary whatsit squad the other day - now there's a shock! - but to be honest I didn't even know anything like that had been named. My contact with the ECB has been zero, and so I'm completely and utterly not even thinking about a recall"

Still, there's a silver lining, and that has been the chance to watch Ernie grow up this winter. I'm enjoying every minute of it, but I'm also getting an understanding of how hard it is as well! It's not a walk in the park by any stretch, but you share the experiences and grow with them, and just live life as a normal person. A lot of people don't get to do that - not just sportsmen, but people who have to work away from home. I was lucky enough to do it for six months, and I loved it.

Now it's back to the harsh reality of pre-season nets, and the hard work of bowling again. But so much for the miserable sods who gripe about the weather at the start of the English season - it's a beautiful blue in Yorkshire at the minute! We've just had three days of practice between each other, and there was more help for the bowlers than the batters, which was a nice change.

Actually, we did the bulk of our pre-season work in Dubai at the Pro Arch Trophy, which wasn't the obvious place to plan for April's showers, but then, seeing as Headingley didn't have any grass until last month, it would have been a bit of a drawback to stay put. Indoor rubber matting somehow doesn't feel the same as proper turf.

I'm also looking forward to letting someone else bowl to Vaughany! He didn't have a great time of it in our middle practice this week, but nor did many of the batters. In the nets, his balance and movement has been good, and he made a cracking hundred in Dubai. England were meant to name their Test squad today, but it's a good thing they postponed that, because it would have been difficult to pick the team without seeing him bat.

I'm looking forward to seeing how England go under Andy Flower. I don't think the coach actually needs to lead the side - the players and captain need to take charge, and the coach just stays in the background doing the donkey work. But his big attributes are that he's been there and done that. Obviously he's a very highly rated Test player, and coming from a lesser nation he's had his back against the wall for a lot of his career but still came out on top as a hugely respected batter. England will draw off his knowledge, and I'm sure he'll do a good job.

Of course the Ashes is the series that everyone cares about, but it's vital that England have a really good series against West Indies. It all comes back to that word "bouncebackability" that we used a few years ago. It's a different thing saying you're confident and actually believing it. If England can put their winter behind them, start afresh, and win early doors, they will have real confidence to take into the summer.

Matthew Hoggard will be writing regular columns for Cricinfo through the 2009 season

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sabina2009 on April 23, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    I show my deepest sympathy for Hoggard. He is one of the finest English bowlers I have seen. English Cricket Board should keep in mind that they normally do not get natural talents like Hoggard so rather than wasting opportunities, they should utilize it properly so that talent like Hoggard does not fade away. I simply do not know the roles of English cricket board. Are they always against those who perform better?

  • o-bomb on April 22, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Hoggy, you are a bloody legend and your axing from the test side was a disgrace - and that's from a Surrey fan. I'd love to see you take a hatful of wickets at the start of this season and get back into the test side for the Ashes. Your type of accurate bowling is the sort that would be useful in any side. Great article too - a really easy read. Let's hope the pitches don't get too batter friendly. Nobody wants to see draws all the time, even if it does mean the grounds get 5 days of revenue. I'm looking forward to your articles throughout the summer.

  • haider2525 on April 22, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Mathew Hoggard is a cricketing god. He is one of my favorite pace bowlers ever, who was unceremoniously droped and forgotten. He is one guy you can expect to give a 102% in any situation and condition. Beats me how a drama-queen like Hamison has been given such a long second chance while Hoggard is never even mentioned as a probable. Hoggy, if you can read this, your fans still believe in you and are with you and, hopefully, justice will be served to you and your talent. Other than that, what else can ya do? It's English cricket after all...

  • Simon_1 on April 21, 2009, 21:24 GMT

    Harmison has multiple bad tests and he is still in the team (Although has been had done by very flat wickets). Hoggard has one bad test and he is out. Doesnt take a rocket scientist to conclude that was logical thinking by the ECB there wasnt it!

  • stiab3 on April 21, 2009, 10:43 GMT

    Crikey! You are bitter, aren't you? Having a go at pitches you never even bowled on. You didn't care enough to watch the matches but still had to have a go at the opposition's tactics and the conditions.

  • Delboy71 on April 21, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Great to see your column on here Hoggy. We met a couple of times when I was a guest of Warren's at a couple of events (although you'll not remember!!) and you're a great guy who has been very badly treated by the selectors. Unfortunately you're not the first and probably won't be the last to be treated like this but I hope you have a great start to the season and force the selectors to rethink. Good luck mate!!

  • noz3112 on April 21, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    Good read, Hoggy, looking forward to more from you later in the season. Have to say that I agree with most of the comments here that you were a bit unlucky to be dropped and you were (and I'm sure still are) a class act. Thing is, I was watching you & Harmy's figures in county games after that & didn't see anything of yours that really stood out & said 'pick me again'. That might be a bit unfair because I haven't actually seen you bowl since New Zealand, but in the media, you would read that Harmy was looking good, and he was picking up cheap wickets, so I guess that's why he got back in & you didn't. Would love to see you and/or Simon Jones play for England again though, and there's definitely a spot for a 4th seamer open. I mean, Harmy's been so hit & miss(more miss recently), Sidebottom seemingly always 50% fit and the rest of the pack so far behind I'd be seriously thinking of playing 2 spinners even early doors in England! Good luck for the season, remind us you've still got it!

  • marisi on April 21, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    Mate I'm not even a England supporter but hope you get back in the team, seeing you bowl to the SL team in SL & England I really appreciate the skill behind the swing. More than anything if you get into the team I rekon the chances of beating Auss next will significantly increase! Hang in there, get wickets and hope to see you in the ashes. Good luck!

  • Zvakanaka on April 21, 2009, 2:06 GMT

    Forget Hoggie, bring back Dazzler!

  • krik8crazy on April 21, 2009, 0:25 GMT

    Of course cricket fans will remember you. We also remember the unfair way in which the England selectors treated you. You are one guy who bowled well in all kinds of conditions and regularly got wickets, a team man to the core. You deserve a better deal than this.

  • sabina2009 on April 23, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    I show my deepest sympathy for Hoggard. He is one of the finest English bowlers I have seen. English Cricket Board should keep in mind that they normally do not get natural talents like Hoggard so rather than wasting opportunities, they should utilize it properly so that talent like Hoggard does not fade away. I simply do not know the roles of English cricket board. Are they always against those who perform better?

  • o-bomb on April 22, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Hoggy, you are a bloody legend and your axing from the test side was a disgrace - and that's from a Surrey fan. I'd love to see you take a hatful of wickets at the start of this season and get back into the test side for the Ashes. Your type of accurate bowling is the sort that would be useful in any side. Great article too - a really easy read. Let's hope the pitches don't get too batter friendly. Nobody wants to see draws all the time, even if it does mean the grounds get 5 days of revenue. I'm looking forward to your articles throughout the summer.

  • haider2525 on April 22, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Mathew Hoggard is a cricketing god. He is one of my favorite pace bowlers ever, who was unceremoniously droped and forgotten. He is one guy you can expect to give a 102% in any situation and condition. Beats me how a drama-queen like Hamison has been given such a long second chance while Hoggard is never even mentioned as a probable. Hoggy, if you can read this, your fans still believe in you and are with you and, hopefully, justice will be served to you and your talent. Other than that, what else can ya do? It's English cricket after all...

  • Simon_1 on April 21, 2009, 21:24 GMT

    Harmison has multiple bad tests and he is still in the team (Although has been had done by very flat wickets). Hoggard has one bad test and he is out. Doesnt take a rocket scientist to conclude that was logical thinking by the ECB there wasnt it!

  • stiab3 on April 21, 2009, 10:43 GMT

    Crikey! You are bitter, aren't you? Having a go at pitches you never even bowled on. You didn't care enough to watch the matches but still had to have a go at the opposition's tactics and the conditions.

  • Delboy71 on April 21, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Great to see your column on here Hoggy. We met a couple of times when I was a guest of Warren's at a couple of events (although you'll not remember!!) and you're a great guy who has been very badly treated by the selectors. Unfortunately you're not the first and probably won't be the last to be treated like this but I hope you have a great start to the season and force the selectors to rethink. Good luck mate!!

  • noz3112 on April 21, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    Good read, Hoggy, looking forward to more from you later in the season. Have to say that I agree with most of the comments here that you were a bit unlucky to be dropped and you were (and I'm sure still are) a class act. Thing is, I was watching you & Harmy's figures in county games after that & didn't see anything of yours that really stood out & said 'pick me again'. That might be a bit unfair because I haven't actually seen you bowl since New Zealand, but in the media, you would read that Harmy was looking good, and he was picking up cheap wickets, so I guess that's why he got back in & you didn't. Would love to see you and/or Simon Jones play for England again though, and there's definitely a spot for a 4th seamer open. I mean, Harmy's been so hit & miss(more miss recently), Sidebottom seemingly always 50% fit and the rest of the pack so far behind I'd be seriously thinking of playing 2 spinners even early doors in England! Good luck for the season, remind us you've still got it!

  • marisi on April 21, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    Mate I'm not even a England supporter but hope you get back in the team, seeing you bowl to the SL team in SL & England I really appreciate the skill behind the swing. More than anything if you get into the team I rekon the chances of beating Auss next will significantly increase! Hang in there, get wickets and hope to see you in the ashes. Good luck!

  • Zvakanaka on April 21, 2009, 2:06 GMT

    Forget Hoggie, bring back Dazzler!

  • krik8crazy on April 21, 2009, 0:25 GMT

    Of course cricket fans will remember you. We also remember the unfair way in which the England selectors treated you. You are one guy who bowled well in all kinds of conditions and regularly got wickets, a team man to the core. You deserve a better deal than this.

  • tomjs100 on April 20, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    Don't worry about it Hoggy. Take lots of wickets this season, and they'll be begging for you to come back. Just look how Steve Harmison got given another go following a productive county season. Also will be great to watch you for Yorkshire. You aren't too old yet, so chin up and make them take note.

  • gunjanamit on April 20, 2009, 22:54 GMT

    Hoggard was a brilliant bowler, he is far better than sidebottom or harmison, he should be playing for England, he deserves it.

  • yorvik on April 20, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    Is there anything better than playing and winning with Yorkshire? Let them soutron softies pick who they like and we'll sit and smile as you bowl us to the championship! It might be an honour to play for England but it's a priveledge to be born in, and play for Yorkshire.

  • HenWelder on April 20, 2009, 21:42 GMT

    Shame you're not in the side Hoggy i always thought you gave your all for England and i don't remember you letting the side down. I hope ou take lots of wickets for Yorkshire and force your way back in. Good luck.

  • Partyman on April 20, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    Tugga1977 - Are you sure you don't want either Harmison or Flintoff in the team? You are a generous lad. What damage could a bowler who bowls absolute tosh day in day out could cause to the likes of Ponting and Clarke (Harmison)? In the case of Flintoff, he is always a bowler who has bowled better than his figures suggest! I mean, is this a running joke or what? Try telling Pigeon after a bad day at the office, that he bowled better than his figures suggest - you may have to detox your hearing system!! England selectors were grumbling about Marcus North and Hughes being given a county stint before the Ashes - what they don't realise is that they have done you lot a huge favour by giving the boot to Hoggard as early as last year and blindly retaining the services of Harmison, Bell, Prior et al. Aussies in the County circuit or not - England have already released their meek hold on the Ashes urn. Finally for me personally, Hoggard was the best player in the England set up post Ashes!!

  • emmersonne on April 20, 2009, 20:54 GMT

    Why oh why isn't Hoggy, our most reliable bowler and general class act, in the England team?

    We miss you, Hoggy!

  • sarastro on April 20, 2009, 19:53 GMT

    It is strange that Hoggard was dropped so quickly and then not brought back. If nothing else, he could always keep a length and plug away at the batsmen - always handy on flat pitches - and at his best can run through a side given the right conditions. It is even stranger after the repeated failings of other bowlers. Harmison should not play again and Sidebottom seems to have fallen out of form and favour. It will be interesting to see who makes the team given that Anderson, Flintoff and Swann are the only real bowling certainties for the test side and it will be a surprise if Flintoff makes it through the summer without an injury. There are many worse bowlers than Hoggard to choose - and the selectors will probably choose them! Also interesting to see if the appointment of Flower makes a difference to the make up of the attack now that he is full time.

  • Basil-Lancs on April 20, 2009, 17:56 GMT

    Well Hogster, I have to agree with every other poster here. You were one of the most accurate bowlers I have seen in the recent England set up, and you are probably one of the best flat track bowlers I can think of too - i.e that 6for against India in 05/06.

    Anyway, despite playing for the wrong rose, i wish you the best of luck in the '09 season.

  • FizzyFish on April 20, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    I abandonded the England team the day they abandoned the best and most consistent bowler available. Ridonculous decision. Good luck for the season

  • kiruthikan on April 20, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Simple and Straight.... One bad series doesn't mean the end of a cricketer and one good series doesn't confirm him as a permanent player. England selectors will not understand this for ever. Ryan Sidebottom took some 60 odd wickets in the year Hoggard got dropped, but 41 of them came against a sorry NewZealand team in 6 matches. I have no idea how on earth ECB and England selectors never make right decisions. Only good period they had was the period prior to Ashes 2005. After that magnificient victory over Australia they thought they had conjured the world, but see now, they are no where close to the top. Atleast for the upcoming Ashes England must give Hoggard a run in all 5 tests with Jimmy Anderson partnering him. Aussies will certainly have a problem against the swinging ball. Kick Sidebottom and Harmison out. My team for the upcoming Ashes would be Strauss, Cook, Vaughan, KP, Colly, Freddie,Prior, Broad, Swan, Anderson, Hoggard/Simon Jones

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 20, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    The Hogster Absolutely Deserves a Second Chance. His control of Swing, Line and Length and more importantly his Attitude on Tough overseas tours places hims head and shoulders above the lieks of Anderson and Harmison. It is unfortunate how England tend to have this erroneous pre-conception that pace is the key as opposed to cntrol, variety and skill. Clearly, the faster they come on the bat, the quicker they disappear! Maybe the lessons of Glenn McGrath's relentless accuracy and his Bunny Atherton have not yet been fully grasped.

  • ajaygodbole on April 20, 2009, 12:41 GMT

    It is strange, that such a class bowler like you is sitting outside england team. I always enjoyed your bowling and was wondering why you are still not in England Team. If england want a good bowling attack which can take on the aussies, they cannot do without Hoggard

  • PottedLambShanks on April 20, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    I think you were dropped because you slowed down but if you have that pace back, I'd love to see you back in the England team this summer. Given the current trend for flat wickets and the success you've had on them in the past I am surprised you have not yet been called up.

    Btw, how was the hangover after the PCA dinner last year?

  • StJohn on April 20, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    I expected Harmison to be dropped after the Hamilton test, but not you. Then, when you were dropped, I didn't expect it to be permanent. It's extremely poor management to drop any player without open & honest communication & giving reasons. I know it's not like an employee working for a company; but like an employee, without feedback, encouragement, a warning or constructive criticism, how can a player know what he needs to do, or if he needs to do anything? I am astonished that nobody has really told you anything - it reflects very badly on the ECB and the team management. That said, communication is a two-way process. Have you actually been proactive & asked anyone, directly & bluntly if necessary? I hope you play for England again: Harmison looks spent, sadly Simon Jones is always injured & Sidebottom looks a shadow of his 2006-7 self. Hang in there, bowl well for Yorkshire and you never know! I think England would have won in India & WI if you had played instead of Harmison.

  • Nick_M on April 20, 2009, 11:48 GMT

    I was genuinely gutted when I realised that the ECB selectors had cast aside Hoggy after one poor performance especially after all his hard work and top performances for England. Other bowlers have been dropped, recalled and dropped again after sub par performances. Why doesn't Hoggy get another chance? He's been Englands best bowler in the last 10 years. Keep putting in the performances for Yorkshire and the selectors have to come to their senses and consider you.

    You're a credit to England and Pudsey!

  • danmcb on April 20, 2009, 11:29 GMT

    you were always one of the better England bowlers Hoggy. Loved watching you knock 'em over with that inswinger. Shame the ECB has it's head so far up it's **** that they don't see it. Never mind, just keep doing what you do mate. Thanks for the straight up perspective on things.

  • kpisthebest on April 20, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    Hoggy is past his best so Aussies have to look out for the BURNLEY BULLET Anderson, better don't underestimate him as he has improved big time.

  • Kassto on April 20, 2009, 11:08 GMT

    There are two Yorkshire players who should be back in the England side.

  • rinspin on April 20, 2009, 11:08 GMT

    hoggard was a very good swing bowler for england. Bowled well in adelaide last ashes on a flat track, I thought he should at least be in the team unless the selector

  • RandomTalk on April 20, 2009, 9:57 GMT

    Hoggy, really disappointed you didn't make the squad, but in a way glad that you're not a part of the sorry shower. You're the one bowler who could have made a difference to the outcome of the Ashes. The ECB remind me of an ostrich, head in the sand and all that. Do continue writing though.

  • jw89 on April 20, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    Surely Hoggard has got to be right back in contention for England now. Having shown that Sidebottom is no use unless fully fit or in swinging conditions, Pattinson an average club cricketer and Harmison and Amjad unable to land the ball of the pitch then it has to be time to turn back to the man you was England's most consistant and highly rated bowler before getting injured. He bowled England to series victory in India on the most un-Hoggard friendly pitched imaginable, and led the attack the following years when others were injured. He's always a danger with the new ball and normally gets a wicket or two, as well as being able to bowl a lot of overs and being consistent, not something which can be said of England bowlers of late. Hopefully the England selectors will see sense and bring Hoggard back to where he should be, opening the bowling for England.

  • kewlneeraj on April 20, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    Hey Matthew ! what a pleasant surprise seeing your column on Cricinfo (though a tad bit early on the biography bit i must add ;)). I've always regarded you as a genuinely skilled swing bowler and a super honest trier. still remember the sri lanka series when you kept bowling despite vomiting and heat and the hat trick in west indies ... did not know you were No. 6 on the all time list!! with simon jones seemingly out of action for Ashes I reckon you may still be in the reckoning. Wish to see you and Vaughan one last time playing the Ashes. Meanwhile keep writing and enjoy your kid's growing up. All the best.

  • NeilCameron on April 20, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Just a reminder that Matthew Hoggard is England 6th highest wicket taker in Tests and needs five more to become 5th.

  • Creesio on April 20, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    It's interesting to read that Hoggie was just as perplexed by the circumstances surrounding his axing from the England team as I was. The manor in which he was discarded, a player who has taken nearly 250 test wickets, who always gave 100 percent effort and was one of England's most consistent performers over the last ten years, was a disgrace.

    So, he had one bad test. Steve Harmison has been underperforming for over 2years, yet has had endless opportunities to prove himself. Whereas, I can't remember Hoggie's name being mentioned once in terms of getting a recall.

    I for one would love to see him in an England shirt again this summer, but I reckon the selectors have got other ideas. Oh well, here's hoping!

  • Diston on April 20, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Nice one Hoggy...it does seem a litle strange to be dropped after one bad game..if this applied to all English bowlers, we would be down to the minor counties by now. One of the perennial methods of levelling home series is to catch the opposition on an overcast morning at Headingley, and I can think of no other bowler to exploit these conditions better...or Chester-Le-Street or Trent Bridge since the new stand mysteriously converted it into a bowlers paradise, for that matter...I have to admit I'm not keen on "English" bowlers unable to perform elsewhere...but I have not forgotten South Africa 2005 or the Last Ashes series where you were the only bowler who seemed to be performing, even if the selectors have. Nice one mate, keep on keeping on...and don't hang up your boots until the present incumbents learn to bowl a side out twice...I don't think we've seen the last of you yet...cheers

  • allblue on April 20, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    I hope this is a regular column because its candour makes a pleasing counterweight to the anodyne 'managementese' which the ECB regularly smother us all in. Hoggard was great player for England - wholehearted and often a match-winner. That he was treated so shabbily I'm afraid does not surprise me because expecting English cricket to be run properly is one of those youthful fantasies I left behind a long time ago. Still, Hoggy knows how much his efforts have been appreciated by the supporters, and if his international career is over it will be a pleasure to see a player of his quality competing regularly in the County Championship. One small point - I think it would have been better to describe Zimbabwe as a 'lesser cricketing nation' rather than "lesser nation" which may be misconstrued.

  • purplepanther on April 20, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Yes, I am not surprised you were pissed off about the way you were dropped - I certainly was, and certainly missed your bowling this winter - if anyone could have carved out a few more wickets in the West Indies it was you. So it is great to hear that you have quality family time as a consolation, enjoy it to the maximum just in case someone finally admits what a stupid mistake they made and the phone starts ringing again.....

  • sameeullah on April 20, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    hi Matthew, i am from pakistan and i always enjoyed your bowling .the outswinger specially .it was realy fun watching you bowling.you will not believe two or three days ago i was just thinking about .i thought "where is this guys? why he is not playing since long time?".thx for sharing your thoughts.i hope you make it to ashes.i would say "We miss you." if you can come back please come back to international level.wish you good luck for future....

  • Rastus on April 20, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    I know the central contract money was nice but you are better off staying away form this latest bunch of losers. The way Matthew was treated is a disgrace after the way he played for the team game after game and I am sure very time Michael Vaughan sees him he is embarrassed.

  • KrishnanN on April 20, 2009, 5:33 GMT

    Hmmm.... Interesting to note that India's is not the only board that doesn't give a regular player reasons for him being axed. Really bad management. I once saw Hoggard bowl in a series in India and if I'm not mistaken, he was the highest wicket taker for England.

  • kris_mg on April 20, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Your article was just like you were always.. Straight as an arrow.. Great to know you had a great time with the family and looking forward to read more of your columns.. Agree with you that the selectors should give a more serious look on the way Vaughan is batting and the move to go for Andy as the coach the best ECB could do in present situation.. Looking forward to seeing you back in the English team soon.. Best Wishes..

  • Venkatesan on April 20, 2009, 4:55 GMT

    Matthew- I have always regarded you as one of the best swing bowlers in the last 10 years. Playing in England against the recharged Aussies would require a combination of pace, swing and spin. I sincerely hope the English selectors recognise the importance of picking the right balance in bowling against the Aussies. The best way you can prove your mettle, is to show the selectors your worth while playing for Yorkshire. I am sure you will get your recall by teh second or third test, particularly, if England loses the first or the first two tests. I dont want England to lose, but at the same time, I would like to see you play.

    Regards and All the Best!!

    Venky- India

  • Tugga1977 on April 20, 2009, 3:55 GMT

    As an Australian I am over the moon that Hoggard is no longer considerered a first option for England. All we need is for Harmison to be dropped once and for all and Flintoff to get injured and the Ashes are ours for the taking. With our batting slightly vulnerable at the moment the last thing we need is for a bowler who isnt quickly put off hs game and has the ability to work hard at exposing a batsman weakness, such as Hoggard. Any more favours you want to give us, ECB?

  • BawaTheGreat on April 20, 2009, 3:35 GMT

    Hey Mate,

    Good 2 hear from you. Well, everyone has ups and downs in their career but special are the once who overcome all the obstacles and become victorious again. All in all, I meant good luck with future and hopefully you will take lot of wickets. and also hope that we will see you playing for england again someday, making a grand comeback.. if Not, then England is missing out on something special.. you are special.. I really appreciate you as a bowler...

    Ciao Mate.. have a great one... (from down under).. OH yeah, good luck to England team.. hopefully they win the Ashes back...

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  • BawaTheGreat on April 20, 2009, 3:35 GMT

    Hey Mate,

    Good 2 hear from you. Well, everyone has ups and downs in their career but special are the once who overcome all the obstacles and become victorious again. All in all, I meant good luck with future and hopefully you will take lot of wickets. and also hope that we will see you playing for england again someday, making a grand comeback.. if Not, then England is missing out on something special.. you are special.. I really appreciate you as a bowler...

    Ciao Mate.. have a great one... (from down under).. OH yeah, good luck to England team.. hopefully they win the Ashes back...

  • Tugga1977 on April 20, 2009, 3:55 GMT

    As an Australian I am over the moon that Hoggard is no longer considerered a first option for England. All we need is for Harmison to be dropped once and for all and Flintoff to get injured and the Ashes are ours for the taking. With our batting slightly vulnerable at the moment the last thing we need is for a bowler who isnt quickly put off hs game and has the ability to work hard at exposing a batsman weakness, such as Hoggard. Any more favours you want to give us, ECB?

  • Venkatesan on April 20, 2009, 4:55 GMT

    Matthew- I have always regarded you as one of the best swing bowlers in the last 10 years. Playing in England against the recharged Aussies would require a combination of pace, swing and spin. I sincerely hope the English selectors recognise the importance of picking the right balance in bowling against the Aussies. The best way you can prove your mettle, is to show the selectors your worth while playing for Yorkshire. I am sure you will get your recall by teh second or third test, particularly, if England loses the first or the first two tests. I dont want England to lose, but at the same time, I would like to see you play.

    Regards and All the Best!!

    Venky- India

  • kris_mg on April 20, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Your article was just like you were always.. Straight as an arrow.. Great to know you had a great time with the family and looking forward to read more of your columns.. Agree with you that the selectors should give a more serious look on the way Vaughan is batting and the move to go for Andy as the coach the best ECB could do in present situation.. Looking forward to seeing you back in the English team soon.. Best Wishes..

  • KrishnanN on April 20, 2009, 5:33 GMT

    Hmmm.... Interesting to note that India's is not the only board that doesn't give a regular player reasons for him being axed. Really bad management. I once saw Hoggard bowl in a series in India and if I'm not mistaken, he was the highest wicket taker for England.

  • Rastus on April 20, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    I know the central contract money was nice but you are better off staying away form this latest bunch of losers. The way Matthew was treated is a disgrace after the way he played for the team game after game and I am sure very time Michael Vaughan sees him he is embarrassed.

  • sameeullah on April 20, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    hi Matthew, i am from pakistan and i always enjoyed your bowling .the outswinger specially .it was realy fun watching you bowling.you will not believe two or three days ago i was just thinking about .i thought "where is this guys? why he is not playing since long time?".thx for sharing your thoughts.i hope you make it to ashes.i would say "We miss you." if you can come back please come back to international level.wish you good luck for future....

  • purplepanther on April 20, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Yes, I am not surprised you were pissed off about the way you were dropped - I certainly was, and certainly missed your bowling this winter - if anyone could have carved out a few more wickets in the West Indies it was you. So it is great to hear that you have quality family time as a consolation, enjoy it to the maximum just in case someone finally admits what a stupid mistake they made and the phone starts ringing again.....

  • allblue on April 20, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    I hope this is a regular column because its candour makes a pleasing counterweight to the anodyne 'managementese' which the ECB regularly smother us all in. Hoggard was great player for England - wholehearted and often a match-winner. That he was treated so shabbily I'm afraid does not surprise me because expecting English cricket to be run properly is one of those youthful fantasies I left behind a long time ago. Still, Hoggy knows how much his efforts have been appreciated by the supporters, and if his international career is over it will be a pleasure to see a player of his quality competing regularly in the County Championship. One small point - I think it would have been better to describe Zimbabwe as a 'lesser cricketing nation' rather than "lesser nation" which may be misconstrued.

  • Diston on April 20, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Nice one Hoggy...it does seem a litle strange to be dropped after one bad game..if this applied to all English bowlers, we would be down to the minor counties by now. One of the perennial methods of levelling home series is to catch the opposition on an overcast morning at Headingley, and I can think of no other bowler to exploit these conditions better...or Chester-Le-Street or Trent Bridge since the new stand mysteriously converted it into a bowlers paradise, for that matter...I have to admit I'm not keen on "English" bowlers unable to perform elsewhere...but I have not forgotten South Africa 2005 or the Last Ashes series where you were the only bowler who seemed to be performing, even if the selectors have. Nice one mate, keep on keeping on...and don't hang up your boots until the present incumbents learn to bowl a side out twice...I don't think we've seen the last of you yet...cheers