Fidel Henderson Edwards
February 06, 1982, Gays, St Peter, Barbados
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
Fidel Edwards, blessed with one of the most thrilling fast-bowling actions in world cricket, had an extraordinary international beginning. Spotted in the nets by Brian Lara, he was called up for his Test debut after just one match for Barbados, and promptly took five wickets against Sri Lanka in Jamaica in June 2003. He added five in his first overseas Test, and six in his first one-day international. With a round-arm action not unlike Jeff Thomson's, which has left him vulnerable to back strains, he was more of a protégé of his neighbour Corey Collymore than his half-brother Pedro Collins. He bowls fast, can swing the ball and get reverse swing, but insists that he does not go for out-and-out pace.
Despite regular chances at Test level, however, he rarely showed enough control to be a match-winner and the selectors blew as hot and cold as did his bowling. They did draft him into the squad to tour England in 2007. He bowled well in the Chester-le-Street Test but was fined for swearing too loudly, and an unproductive series in South Africa followed. He lost his spot for the first Test against Sri Lanka, was recalled in Trinidad and grabbed five wickets to help West Indies draw the series. At one-day level he was given a long run in 2006 but axed towards the end of the year after failing to shine at the Champions Trophy. Edwards was not needed at the World Cup but, on his ODI recall, he blasted through England with 5 for 45 at Lord's.
He reached a personal milestone in the second Test against New Zealand at Napier on West Indies' 2008-09 tour, taking 7 for 87 - his career-best figures - to pass 100 Test dismissals. Settling into the role of senior bowler in the West Indies side, he bowled aggressively without much reward on England's tour of West Indies in early 2009, and was particularly venomous towards Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson. But arguably his most important performances in the series came with the bat, as he and Daren Powell clung on for 60 balls to secure a draw in the third Test in Antigua. Edwards was at it again in the fifth Test in Trinidad, surviving a tense finale to secure the Wisden Trophy for the first time since 2000.
But just as Edwards began to find the consistency that had long eluded him, he picked up another back injury in the course of West Indies' campaign at the World Twenty20 in England in June 2009. He returned to Barbados and was put on a remedial programme, but abandoned it to represent Deccan Chargers in the Champions League later that year. He picked up another injury in the course of that tournament, and was ruled out of West Indies' tour of Australia - perhaps a relief as the depleted side failed to win a single game. The last of his 55 Tests came against Bangladesh in Khulna in 2012.
Hampshire benefited from his presence in 2015. By picking up 45 Championship wickets at 20.8 from eight matches, he was the prime force in their First Division survival, taking 10 wickets in a first-class match for only the second in his career as Hampshire crucially beat Nottinghamshire in the last match to avoid relegation. A broken ankle suffered in a pre-match warm-up at Headingley wrecked his 2016 season as Hampshire only escaped relegation because Durham were demoted after a financial bale-out, but a useful season a year later again helped Hampshire escape on the final day. On his day, he could still be a spectacular sight.
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