November 23, 2010

A swinger for all seasons

No one-trick pony, Ben Hilfenhaus has developed into an all-conditions performer of substance
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Ben Hilfenhaus was the non-striker when Australia handed back the Ashes at The Oval last year, but it is not the memory of Michael Hussey's dismissal that hurts the most. That moment came when he watched the England players on the podium, receiving the urn. "It's something you don't like to see as a player," he said. "That sort of heartache makes us stronger and makes us want it really bad."

Hilfenhaus has his first chance to channel the disappointment into English wickets from Thursday, and he will do it at a ground that has been made for him. In an age when bowlers hurl the ball into the pitch, Hilfenhaus comes from an older era and starts every innings by trying to swing the new ball. The Gabba always offers early movement and if the conditions remain humid and overcast he will be a threat throughout the game.

The first England men Hilfenhaus will see are Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. For someone who doesn't like bowling to left-handers, he has an outstanding record against them and they account for 23 of his 48 Test wickets. He picked up Strauss four times in five Tests in 2009, although he doesn't remember being so effective. "I wouldn't say I enjoy bowling to them, I think they're harder to bowl to," he said. "I do get a fair few left-handers out, but it's harder for me to bowl to a leftie."

When Cook and Strauss are starting out slip cordons are always on alert, but the fielders will be extra attentive when Hilfenhaus trots in. He carries a three-pronged danger with balls that curl into their pads, cut across them, or do nothing. The deliveries that don't swing, or go straight because he's lost his wrist position, are just as dangerous as the ones that do. "Whether it's a mistake or natural variation, it depends on which way you look at it," he says as he laughs. "If it doesn't swing, you've got to find a way."

The matured version of Hilfenhaus is on display as he speaks at the Australian squad's training day at Allan Border Field. A year ago, as he sat next to Ricky Ponting across town at the Gabba shortly after beating West Indies, a press conference started with an official asking if there were any questions. The first reply was a whispered "no". It came from Hilfenhaus, the Man of the Match.

Jason Gillespie used to be like that at the start of his career, a shy but thoughtful fast bowler who was most comfortable with the protection offered in the dressing room. In retirement one of Gillespie's early roles was as a commentator and he was opinionated, humorous and insightful. The easy thing would be to let Hilfenhaus be, but he has a fabulous story and people want to know more about him. A former brickie's labourer from northern Tasmania (one of his nicknames is "Buildahouse"), he has developed into the country's leading swing bowler.

A master of curving the ball, he has proved in 13 Tests that he's not just a guy who smiles when the clouds come over or the surface is verdant. He can bowl when it's hot and the pitch is flat too, like he did in India last month when he bounced out Virender Sehwag in the first innings in Bangalore and had him caught behind playing off the back foot in the second.

"When the ball's not swinging for me the role does change a little bit," he said. "The more I play the more I'm learning of ways to change my role and do the best I can. I see myself more as a dot bowler than a wicket-taker like Mitch [Johnson] when the ball stops swinging for me. I've just got to build pressure and do the team thing."

The ability to perform in all conditions is gaining Hilfenhaus more attention and he is valued so highly that it will be Peter Siddle and Doug Bollinger who will jostle over the next couple of days to make the XI. Despite being a regular when fit since debuting in South Africa in 2009, Hilfenhaus has played only one Test at home.

When Cook and Strauss are starting out slip cordons are always on alert, but the fielders will be extra attentive when Hilfenhaus trots in. He carries a three-pronged danger with balls that curl into their pads, cut across them, or do nothing

While earning the Man-of-the-Match award at the Gabba last year, he entered the final stages of a knee tendon injury that would keep him out for the rest of the summer. He didn't return until the Pakistan series in July and the problem still nags him. "It's a lot better," he said. "It's hanging around for a while, but it's at a stage now where it's very manageable and we're doing everything we can, so I don't have to miss any more cricket. It doesn't restrict me in any way."

So far the reputation of Hilfenhaus has been mostly developed in Tasmania, South Africa and England, but he is a player local supporters will fall for quickly. He currently has forestry-worker stubble and a moustache for Movember. And he can bowl outswingers in the 140kphs.

For those not craving fame, being a good cricketer thrust into a high-profile world is intimidating. Until he started jetting around with the Australian team, Hilfenhaus had never really travelled. A small-town boy was catapulted into the big time and it has taken time to adjust. He didn't want to look stupid in front of the cameras; didn't think he had anything to say.

At 27, Hilfenhaus is polite and ready to laugh, but would rather be joking with his team-mates and staying out of the public glare. In his job it is impossible. "I don't know if I'm comfortable with it, but I'm accepting it more," he said. "It's part of the game."

Before he played for Australia people didn't chase him for autographs or want to know everything about him. From what he does in his spare time (he's a member of the Tasmania Golf Club and played off eight before he hurt his knee), to whether he can remember every wicket like Glenn McGrath (he can't), or if he drives a fancy car. He has upgraded his Holden ute, but won't say what to. "It's not an Aston Martin."

One of his biggest hobbies is playing Scrabble with his mates on his phone. Hilfenhaus doesn't look or sound like a wordsmith, but his approach is similar to his bowling. "I keep it simple: small words, just location." Pick the right spot on the pitch and collect the points.

His bowling spoke loudest during the 2009 Ashes, when he gained a series-high 22 victims, but Australia didn't win. Would he give up taking wickets to get his hands on the trophy? "As long as we get the urn back I'll be happy."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • soorajiyer on November 24, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    @Karthik132, come on its just we would trade a win in indo-pak series for any number of India-Aus series .. And Ashes has more history than that :) So folks here are talking about emotion here, which would be missing in an India-Aus series or India-SA series.. I find it absolutely logical..

    But what I fail to understand is why should we compare different series??? I've said this thousand times, will say it again.. We are living at a time when test cricket is still considered the best by atleast many cricketers and we get to see some of the best in the world in RP,SRT,RD,VVS play.. We would regret the day these 4 players call it a day, for the pleasure they gave us cannot be given by anybody else!!! So enjoy test cricket mate. Let the Ashes begin, India-SA begin - I need test cricket thats it!!!

  • Something_Witty on November 24, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    Landl, what you say is perfectly true, and don't get me wrong, James Anderson is a very skilful bowler. - However, like nearly everything that comes from England, has been ridiculously over-hyped by the British media. Anyway, Hilfy has only played a handful of games in non-swinging conditions, Anderson has played far more. The difference between the two is not how many wickets each has, but the fact that Hilfy still looks very dangerous in flat conditions, whereas Anderson's deadly late outswingers become front foot flat track fodder, and he struggles to make necessary adjustments. Anderson, in conditions where the ball is not swinging around corners looks about as harmful as a cream slice. - On the other hand, Hilfy retains all of his bowling menace. And don't get me wrong Landl, I don't dislike you at all. - You make for some very interesting conversations. All I can say is may the best team win the coming series. =)

  • landl47 on November 24, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Something_Witty, I did watch Hilfenhaus in India and while (as I said in my first post) I think he is a fine bowler, the fact is that near misses don't equal wickets. Every opening bowler has near misses, just as every opening batsman plays and misses- it's the nature of those positions. However, when a pattern emerges, it's for a reason. Anderson had to learn to be able to bowl economical spells which hopefully that will result in more wickets for him when the ball isn't moving and the same applies to Hilf. At any rate, Hilf thinks so. I take the view that when a bowler talks about his own bowling and the figures back up what he says, then he's probably more likely to be right than you are. Nothing personal, of course! However, when the ball moves around, as looks likely in Brisbane, Hilf is the biggest danger to England- just as Anderson is the biggest danger to Australia.

  • MrBobDobalina on November 24, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Hilf is a good bowler, but not quite as intelligent as everyone says. He'd be alot more dangerous if he learnt to use more of the crease when he bowls. Hilf keeps bowling in the same channel - close to the stumps, outside off. But he would be more effective to right handers by occassionally delivering from a bit wider on the crease - curving it into them and bringing it away. Maybe Hilf struggles with this as he struggles to bowl to left-handers - same action required. He might find it hander but he still takes wickets.

  • karthik132 on November 24, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @ pauld - How can I be jelous? I am an Indian! And in India all sorts of tournaments get hyped up. You wouldnt believe the hype in the media with Sachin expecting his 50th ton!! And the major sport is cricket here unlike Eng and Aus. I was just saying that this Ashes is too hyped, especially by the English, backed by their supposedly good run. But alas, I feel Australia will win easily.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on November 24, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    HILFENHAUS, SIDDLE, BOLLINGER, & JOHNSON/STARC/ MCKAY AS BOWLER ARE ENOUGH FOR THE POMS.............ITS THE BATTING WHICH IS WORRYING FOR AUSTRALIA........IF PONTING IS AT HIS AUDACIOUS BEST & CLARKE SCORES BIG THAN ASHES IS THEIRS.....

  • on November 24, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Never saw Hilfanhaus bowl until he bolwed in India. Dont let his bowling average fool you. He was awesome against a great batting lineup on bowler unfriendly conditions. He is the one to watch out for, for England. Aussies bowling is vastly underrated and they might be in for a big surprise from the aussies pace bowlers. Aussies 3-1 I say.

  • Rahul_78 on November 24, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Instead of mcgrath, gillespie, lee and warne we are looking at hilfenhaus, siddle, johnson and doherty this time around. And radar less johnson leading the pack..hmmm..so much for the mcgraths 5-0 scoreline prediction. Poms must be quacking in their boots about facing this bunch in the 1st test.

  • heterosexualcricketfan on November 24, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    He can't reverse swing it.Hard worker he might be,but he doesn't have great skill & bowls too many drivable balls.& No he didn't 'bounce out' Sehwag either.It was a slower ball that got sehwag out in the first innings.Good thinking but no bouncing out there. BTW what is up with the aussies cribbing about the heat in india.Australia is the hottest country on the planet & you don't play in the winter in India(primarily Dec,Jan) when temps are very low.

  • JAH123 on November 24, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    @ Adrian - On what basis can you say Hilfenhaus is better overseas than at home?!?! He's only played one test in Australia, and he got man of the match for it, albeit against sub-par opposition. Pretty sure he won his national spot by running through domestic batting lineups on home soil. I would have preferred Bollinger to Siddle too, since I think Siddle still bowls too short, but there is no way that Harris gets a gig over Hilfy (although I am a Harris fan). And BTW, he swings the Kooka ball further than the Duke. He'll be our leading wicket taker again unless Johnson finds his form of 18 months ago.

  • soorajiyer on November 24, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    @Karthik132, come on its just we would trade a win in indo-pak series for any number of India-Aus series .. And Ashes has more history than that :) So folks here are talking about emotion here, which would be missing in an India-Aus series or India-SA series.. I find it absolutely logical..

    But what I fail to understand is why should we compare different series??? I've said this thousand times, will say it again.. We are living at a time when test cricket is still considered the best by atleast many cricketers and we get to see some of the best in the world in RP,SRT,RD,VVS play.. We would regret the day these 4 players call it a day, for the pleasure they gave us cannot be given by anybody else!!! So enjoy test cricket mate. Let the Ashes begin, India-SA begin - I need test cricket thats it!!!

  • Something_Witty on November 24, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    Landl, what you say is perfectly true, and don't get me wrong, James Anderson is a very skilful bowler. - However, like nearly everything that comes from England, has been ridiculously over-hyped by the British media. Anyway, Hilfy has only played a handful of games in non-swinging conditions, Anderson has played far more. The difference between the two is not how many wickets each has, but the fact that Hilfy still looks very dangerous in flat conditions, whereas Anderson's deadly late outswingers become front foot flat track fodder, and he struggles to make necessary adjustments. Anderson, in conditions where the ball is not swinging around corners looks about as harmful as a cream slice. - On the other hand, Hilfy retains all of his bowling menace. And don't get me wrong Landl, I don't dislike you at all. - You make for some very interesting conversations. All I can say is may the best team win the coming series. =)

  • landl47 on November 24, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Something_Witty, I did watch Hilfenhaus in India and while (as I said in my first post) I think he is a fine bowler, the fact is that near misses don't equal wickets. Every opening bowler has near misses, just as every opening batsman plays and misses- it's the nature of those positions. However, when a pattern emerges, it's for a reason. Anderson had to learn to be able to bowl economical spells which hopefully that will result in more wickets for him when the ball isn't moving and the same applies to Hilf. At any rate, Hilf thinks so. I take the view that when a bowler talks about his own bowling and the figures back up what he says, then he's probably more likely to be right than you are. Nothing personal, of course! However, when the ball moves around, as looks likely in Brisbane, Hilf is the biggest danger to England- just as Anderson is the biggest danger to Australia.

  • MrBobDobalina on November 24, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Hilf is a good bowler, but not quite as intelligent as everyone says. He'd be alot more dangerous if he learnt to use more of the crease when he bowls. Hilf keeps bowling in the same channel - close to the stumps, outside off. But he would be more effective to right handers by occassionally delivering from a bit wider on the crease - curving it into them and bringing it away. Maybe Hilf struggles with this as he struggles to bowl to left-handers - same action required. He might find it hander but he still takes wickets.

  • karthik132 on November 24, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @ pauld - How can I be jelous? I am an Indian! And in India all sorts of tournaments get hyped up. You wouldnt believe the hype in the media with Sachin expecting his 50th ton!! And the major sport is cricket here unlike Eng and Aus. I was just saying that this Ashes is too hyped, especially by the English, backed by their supposedly good run. But alas, I feel Australia will win easily.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on November 24, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    HILFENHAUS, SIDDLE, BOLLINGER, & JOHNSON/STARC/ MCKAY AS BOWLER ARE ENOUGH FOR THE POMS.............ITS THE BATTING WHICH IS WORRYING FOR AUSTRALIA........IF PONTING IS AT HIS AUDACIOUS BEST & CLARKE SCORES BIG THAN ASHES IS THEIRS.....

  • on November 24, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Never saw Hilfanhaus bowl until he bolwed in India. Dont let his bowling average fool you. He was awesome against a great batting lineup on bowler unfriendly conditions. He is the one to watch out for, for England. Aussies bowling is vastly underrated and they might be in for a big surprise from the aussies pace bowlers. Aussies 3-1 I say.

  • Rahul_78 on November 24, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Instead of mcgrath, gillespie, lee and warne we are looking at hilfenhaus, siddle, johnson and doherty this time around. And radar less johnson leading the pack..hmmm..so much for the mcgraths 5-0 scoreline prediction. Poms must be quacking in their boots about facing this bunch in the 1st test.

  • heterosexualcricketfan on November 24, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    He can't reverse swing it.Hard worker he might be,but he doesn't have great skill & bowls too many drivable balls.& No he didn't 'bounce out' Sehwag either.It was a slower ball that got sehwag out in the first innings.Good thinking but no bouncing out there. BTW what is up with the aussies cribbing about the heat in india.Australia is the hottest country on the planet & you don't play in the winter in India(primarily Dec,Jan) when temps are very low.

  • JAH123 on November 24, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    @ Adrian - On what basis can you say Hilfenhaus is better overseas than at home?!?! He's only played one test in Australia, and he got man of the match for it, albeit against sub-par opposition. Pretty sure he won his national spot by running through domestic batting lineups on home soil. I would have preferred Bollinger to Siddle too, since I think Siddle still bowls too short, but there is no way that Harris gets a gig over Hilfy (although I am a Harris fan). And BTW, he swings the Kooka ball further than the Duke. He'll be our leading wicket taker again unless Johnson finds his form of 18 months ago.

  • Stevie_Lematt on November 24, 2010, 2:06 GMT

    Adrian Merideth >> "Hilfenhaus is like Terry Alderman, better overseas than at home"

    Ummm....1 test in Australia, where he was man of the match.

    Yeah, rubbish at home.

  • thetopofoff on November 24, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    Wulfrunian - 3 or 4 nil England, thanks to their superiority in all aspects... I just can't wait until Ponting holds the Urn aloft again and you Pommie gits are put back in your place. Silly buck toothed geezers.

  • Something_Witty on November 24, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    landl, you know very well that there's more than just stats and averages when it comes to whether a bowler bowls well or not. Did you actually watch Hilf in India? I'm guessing not, if you had, you'd be able to appreciate how well he bowled and how dangerous he was to all batsmen even in flat conditions. You didn't see him bounce out Sehwag 3 times in 2 matches? You didn't see him bemusing many batsmen (particularly Murali Vijay) with his lovely slow offcutter? Again, I'm guessing not. Hilfenhaus was absolutely luckless in India, (having a couple of LBW's that could've easily gone either way, and one or two that were absolutely plumb turned down) and beating the edge countless times. It isn't just stats that tell you whether a bowler has bowled well or not. Try watching them in action and then judge eh?

  • on November 23, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    I would rather Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger as support for Johnson, than Hilfenhaus and Siddle. Hilfenhaus is like Terry Alderman, better overseas than at home. Apparently Harris is out due to injury concerns and Bollinger, if he misses out, will be for the same reason. Hopefully I am wrong and Hilfenhaus and Siddle can do well but it just doesn't seem all that likely to me.

  • hilfy_rocks on November 23, 2010, 23:26 GMT

    What a delight this guy is! His temperament and demeanour bely his ability to taunt batsmen. He consistently beats the outside edge with the swinging new ball. When there's not a lot on offer from the pitch and conditions he has the patience and endurance to stick with the line and length. His presence on the field lifts his team mates and it's obvious how much he is admired by all of them. One of those cricketers who doesn't care for the fuss, but just want to get on with the job, he's the antithesis of the modern day sports star. But it's why the Australian public will jump on his band wagon this summer. Hilf - mate, you are a joy to watch and I'll be cheering loudly at the Gabba this week.

  • pauld on November 23, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    @karthik - awww, the green eyed monster getting you down? I don't think you'd find any Aussie or England fan claiming that the Ashes is a contest of the two best teams in world cricket, I agree. But every Ashes series is hyped up. It's just the way it is. You can't concoct the immensity of 130+ years of tradition behind every series. The border-gavaskar trophy is barely a decade old, and it's only a rivalry of convenience in any event. I'd happily drop 3 series against India if it meant we won the ashes this summer.

  • mrmonty on November 23, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    @Pranam, Prove himself in the subcontinent. I think he did that in spades. Troubled most top order Indian batters in the last series. I am an Indian too, but we need to give credit where it is due.

  • landl47 on November 23, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Something_Witty, you seem to be considerably more optimistic about Hilfenhaus than he is about himself, since in this article he says that his role is to be a dot ball bowler when the ball isn't swinging. However, to check whether you are right, I've dug out his record in the five tests (out of his total of 13) that he's played in places where the ball doesn't swing, namely South Africa and India. He's taken 13 wickets @ 48 runs each. In the tests where the ball has swung (7 in England and 1 at the Gabba last year) he has taken 35 wickets @ 24. So he is actually twice the bowler he himself is when the ball swings. Overall both he and Anderson average 31 and since Hilf has played more than half his tests in England that's probably a fair comparison. You've called me one-eyed, SW, but that appears to be half an eye more than you. You're attributing virtues to Aussie cricketers that they don't even claim for themselves.

  • smudgeon on November 23, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    Great article! As a Tasmanian, it's great to see Hilfenhaus finally getting this level of praise - we don't produce a lot of test cricketers in Tassie, but when we do we seem to get them right more often than not (apologies to Greg Campbell). Hilf may not be a destructive bowler who can run through the opposition, however he shows rare patience and is willing to spend time working for his wickets. It is amazing that he hasn't yet taken a 5-for, but he has a knack of taking the important top-order wickets. And as Majr pointed out, he plays in the right spirit of the game, which seems to be in short supply in the Aussie camp - you really get the feeling he wouldn't trade being on the ground in the baggy green for anything in the world. Looking forward to seeing Hilf prove his mettle in the Ashes this summer!

  • sempaimal on November 23, 2010, 21:07 GMT

    I am a huge Hillfy fan .He plays the game of cricket the way it should be played from a bygone era.It is a piy some of the rest of the team do not follow his example.I have followed his career from when he first came into first class cricket and told every one about how this bloke will play for Australia because of the way he can move a ball around.A class act and I know he will do well.

  • sbc1989 on November 23, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Hilfenhaus is the best replacment for mcgrath the aussies have had!he also happens to be one of the top 3 quick bowlers in the world with styen and morkel.he will be the leading wicket taker in the ashes just like he was in england last time.

  • Percy_Fender on November 23, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Ben Hilfenhaus is not just a fine bowler. He is an intelligent man, who is committed to Australia in every sense of the word without the need to be abusive. It is not just conventional swing bowling that he adheres to. He is every bit an old world Australian. Like I suppose the Neil Harveys and the Colin Macdonalds would have been. Thy were tough but never abusive. The trend started by Steve Waugh of mind games, simply does not appeal to Ben it seems. I saw him recently in the Bangalore Test match when I saw him, Hauritz and Hussey truly different to the others. Very civilised and even applauding of the opposition's efforts. He is a pretty lethal bowler with the new ball and is in fact equally so with the old one. He is also a wonderful No 10 batsman. It will be worth going miles to see Ben Hilfenhaus bowl to Strauss and company on a green top at the Gabba. I can forsee a tremendous run from a bowler who got his baptism so late.

  • karthik132 on November 23, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    Uff!! I think the Ashes is getting too hyped up this time. It maybe the most important series in the world for England and Australia, but it is far from the best. The best series is the Border-Gavaskar trophy and India-SA, which will be played parallel to the Ashes. And talking about the Ashes Australia will win easily. England dont stand a chance.

  • jkaussie on November 23, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    Swervin you don't get it do you? Dot balls from bowlers bowling in partnership lead to wickets, especially when low scoring and maiden overs are strung together. The blast em out approach every ball doesn't work. McGrath and Warne understood this hence why they were so effective - they would bowl to take a wicket in 12-18 deliveries, not every one. What Hilfenhaus says is absolutely spot on - when the ball's new and if its swinging then he bowls to take wickets (a little fuller with the accurate short ball thrown in). When that stops he changes his plan accordingly and bowls a little shorter and on or just outside off with a quicker fuller one thrown in.

  • Tigg on November 23, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Best Aussie bowler at the moment. He is Australias answer to Swann, capable of taking wickets and stopping scoring whilst bowling long spells, also a smart bowler.

    I particularly remember him dismissing Ravi Bopara (I think at Lords, but i'm not sure). Perfectly set up with a series of away swingers to get him playing a bit away from himself followed by a cross seam delivery with identical action. Plumb, the batsman fell for it hook line and sinker.

  • on November 23, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Hilfy is a good bowler. He needs to prove in the sub continent

  • Wulfrunian on November 23, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Never has an Aussie bowling lineup seemed less threatening and Hilfenhaus being talked up only confirms that. Cook and KP will never get a better opportunity to play themselves back into form. Can see several England 500+ totals. 3 or 4 nil England, thanks to their superiority in all aspects.

  • onehorsetown on November 23, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    HatsforBats - not entirely sure Anderson doesn't have a bouncer, he smashed up Daniel Flynn's face a few years ago, not to mention India's last tour to England in which he got Tendulkar's wicket more than once with the short ball. At his quickest, he's quicker than Hilf and will swing it more, more often and in more directions. Don't get me wrong, though, as an England supporter living in Tas, I'm a huge fan of Hilfy and watched him bowl many a maiden in Shield and ODD cricket over the last 5 odd years.

  • Winsome on November 23, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    I don't like many of the Aus players, which makes it hard following them, but Hilfy works hard, has improved as a bowler and a tail-end batsman, and he shuts up most of the time. Admirable player.

  • Beertjie on November 23, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Sounds like a very likeable bloke. Best wishes, mate - maybe another man of the match display at the Gabba! Just hope the support (strike?) bowlers can keep it tight. That was part of the reason for 5-0 - Clark and McGrath smothered the Poms.

  • v_singh on November 23, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Well written article.. One must admire his concentration & hard work while bowling on flat Indian pitches (compared to other bowlers from visiting teams - who are not used to bowling in hot & sometimes, humid conditions). He, along with Bollinger, are two bowlers in this Aussie line up that are capable of unsettling any opposition (though, they they do not 'terrorize' the batsmen which may be partly due to the pressure let loose at the other end by their bowling partners).. Hope he has a good series this (aussie) summer and hope for an exciting contest over a period of one and a half months....

  • swervin on November 23, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    i don't know whether Hilfy should be calling himself a dot bowler when it doesn't swing, even if that is true - not exactly inspiring words particularly given it often doesn't swing in aust (and if hauritz/doherty are the dot bowlers and Mitch bowls 4 4 out of six balls way outside off stump who is going to get the wickets??? lot of pressure on dougie)... though admittedly i am more worried about the aust batsman than the bowlers

  • HatsforBats on November 23, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    That's true. If conditions suit Hilfy they'll suit Anderson. But Anderson doesn't have much of a bouncer and Hilfy can run in all day, while poor little Jimmy has to stop every few overs to get of the field and re-style his hair.

  • Something_Witty on November 23, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    This is why Hilfenhaus is and always will be twice the bowler that James Anderson is. He can take wickets when the ball isn't swinging around corners. Something that Anderson is yet to prove capable of.

  • landl47 on November 23, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    If the conditions are at all helpful to him, I see Hilfenhaus as the main threat to England. He was impressive in the last Ashes series and again against Pakistan in England this year, when he looked a much superior bowler to Johnson and Bollinger. Of course, if the conditions suit him they will suit Anderson too, so it's a bit of a two-edged sword.

  • thetopofoff on November 23, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Hilfy is a champion. He'll take 30 wickets in the Ashes and knock over Strauss, Cook and Trott more often than not.

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  • thetopofoff on November 23, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Hilfy is a champion. He'll take 30 wickets in the Ashes and knock over Strauss, Cook and Trott more often than not.

  • landl47 on November 23, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    If the conditions are at all helpful to him, I see Hilfenhaus as the main threat to England. He was impressive in the last Ashes series and again against Pakistan in England this year, when he looked a much superior bowler to Johnson and Bollinger. Of course, if the conditions suit him they will suit Anderson too, so it's a bit of a two-edged sword.

  • Something_Witty on November 23, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    This is why Hilfenhaus is and always will be twice the bowler that James Anderson is. He can take wickets when the ball isn't swinging around corners. Something that Anderson is yet to prove capable of.

  • HatsforBats on November 23, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    That's true. If conditions suit Hilfy they'll suit Anderson. But Anderson doesn't have much of a bouncer and Hilfy can run in all day, while poor little Jimmy has to stop every few overs to get of the field and re-style his hair.

  • swervin on November 23, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    i don't know whether Hilfy should be calling himself a dot bowler when it doesn't swing, even if that is true - not exactly inspiring words particularly given it often doesn't swing in aust (and if hauritz/doherty are the dot bowlers and Mitch bowls 4 4 out of six balls way outside off stump who is going to get the wickets??? lot of pressure on dougie)... though admittedly i am more worried about the aust batsman than the bowlers

  • v_singh on November 23, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Well written article.. One must admire his concentration & hard work while bowling on flat Indian pitches (compared to other bowlers from visiting teams - who are not used to bowling in hot & sometimes, humid conditions). He, along with Bollinger, are two bowlers in this Aussie line up that are capable of unsettling any opposition (though, they they do not 'terrorize' the batsmen which may be partly due to the pressure let loose at the other end by their bowling partners).. Hope he has a good series this (aussie) summer and hope for an exciting contest over a period of one and a half months....

  • Beertjie on November 23, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Sounds like a very likeable bloke. Best wishes, mate - maybe another man of the match display at the Gabba! Just hope the support (strike?) bowlers can keep it tight. That was part of the reason for 5-0 - Clark and McGrath smothered the Poms.

  • Winsome on November 23, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    I don't like many of the Aus players, which makes it hard following them, but Hilfy works hard, has improved as a bowler and a tail-end batsman, and he shuts up most of the time. Admirable player.

  • onehorsetown on November 23, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    HatsforBats - not entirely sure Anderson doesn't have a bouncer, he smashed up Daniel Flynn's face a few years ago, not to mention India's last tour to England in which he got Tendulkar's wicket more than once with the short ball. At his quickest, he's quicker than Hilf and will swing it more, more often and in more directions. Don't get me wrong, though, as an England supporter living in Tas, I'm a huge fan of Hilfy and watched him bowl many a maiden in Shield and ODD cricket over the last 5 odd years.

  • Wulfrunian on November 23, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Never has an Aussie bowling lineup seemed less threatening and Hilfenhaus being talked up only confirms that. Cook and KP will never get a better opportunity to play themselves back into form. Can see several England 500+ totals. 3 or 4 nil England, thanks to their superiority in all aspects.