Ashley Fraser Giles
March 19, 1973, Chertsey, Surrey
Gilo, Skinny, Splash
Right hand Bat
Slow Left arm Orthodox
George Abbott County Secondary School, Guildford
With a high-trotting approach to the crease climaxing in an energetic flurry of limbs, Ashley Giles did not have the most fluent spin-bowling action - possibly because he began life as a fast bowler - and was once derided as a "wheelie bin", much to his annoyance. But he was accurate, found some turn and even more bounce, and was a dependable spinner for England over five seasons at the turn of the century.
Throughout his playing career Giles had to justify his selection repeatedly, and in early 2004 he came close to retirement after a modest tour of the Caribbean. Then he returned a match-winning nine-wicket haul at Lord's later that summer, and endowed with new confidence, continued to chip in with vital performances - with ball and with bat - culminating in his career-best 59 at The Oval, an innings that helped seal England's first Ashes victory for 18 years.
Until his late flowering, Giles's most memorable moments had all come on his three tours of the subcontinent. The rip-snorting delivery that pitched outside leg and fizzed past Inzamam-ul-Haq's dangling bat onto the stumps in Karachi paved the way for a famous victory in 2000-01. The following winter, nursing a persistent Achilles injury, Giles hobbled back and forth from the middle to the physio's ice bucket, while taking 5 for 67 in Ahmedabad. And in 2003, after remodelling his action and enduring a dismal tour to Bangladesh, he burst back to form in Sri Lanka, with 18 wickets in the series and a magnificent match-saving stand in the first Test in Galle.
It was one of many impressive batting performances from a man who had worked hard to become a pivotal player in England's lower order, and against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2004, his partnership with Graham Thorpe was instrumental in England's triumph. One month later, at Lord's, he produced a wickedly ripping delivery to bowl Brian Lara - his 100th wicket in Tests - weeks after being virtually written off by the press.
In the field he had a strong arm and was agile for a man of his size, but a persistent hip injury ruled him out of England contention throughout 2006. And though his skills as a utility player continued to appeal to his coach, Duncan Fletcher, the strides made by his replacement, Monty Panesar, put a return to the fold in jeopardy. A recurrence of his hip problem forced Giles to announce his retirement towards the end of the 2007 season but within weeks he had been appointed as Warwickshire's director of cricket - a role he reprised for England, for whom he also had a stint as limited-overs coach.
Batting & Fielding
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List A Matches
|England XI vs West Aust||4||0/33||09-Dec-2006||Perth||OTHER|
|England vs Australia||27* & 0||1/103 & 1/46||01-Dec-2006||Adelaide||Test # 1819|
|England vs Australia||24 & 23||1/91 & 0/22||23-Nov-2006||Brisbane||Test # 1817|
|England XI vs NSW||9||2/46 & 1/32||12-Nov-2006||Sydney||OTHER|
|England XI vs PM's XI||13||1/53||10-Nov-2006||Canberra||OTHER|