Ian David Blackwell
June 10, 1978, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Blackdog, Donkey, Le Donk
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Manor Secondary School
A fierce hitter and a tidy left-arm spinner whose first first-class wicket was Steve Waugh, Ian Blackwell was called up by England when Andrew Flintoff pulled out of the ICC Trophy in Sri Lanka in 2002. He owed that to an innate sense of timing: Blackwell whacked 28 off Matthew Hoggard in front of Duncan Fletcher in the County Championship earlier that season - though he didn't know Fletcher was at the ground - and smeared a matchwinning 86 off 53 balls in the televised C&G Trophy semi-final the same year.
He began his career with Derbyshire, before moving to Somerset in 2000, an appropriate move for a man who professed to base his batting style on Ian Botham. He established a reputation as a retriever of lost causes with bat and ball. Despite a run of scores that left his face even redder than usual in the 2002-03 VB Series in Australia - he finished with 0, 0, 0 and 1 - he claimed a place in the 2003 World Cup squad.
An unwillingness to adhere to England's strict fitness regime meant that he spent much of the following two years in the wilderness, but his appointment as Somerset captain heralded a new responsible outlook, and a recall to the England one-day squad for the tour of Pakistan. His Test debut came in India, but he looked out of his depth with both bat and ball, and the experiment lasted one match. Sadly, his progress stalled when he missed almost all of the 2006 season after surgery on his shoulder. After overcoming his injury problems he slowly restored his form and remained a consistent allrounder. Under Justin Langer's tough regime at Taunton he tried to change his lifestyle, with mixed results, but surprisingly lost his one-day place in 2008.
At the end of the season, after nine years at Somerset, he made a significant move to Durham. He enjoyed a productive 2009 as Durham defended their Championship title, scoring 801 runs at 40.05 and taking 43 wickets at 23.53. He held on to hopes of an England recall ahead of the 2011 World Cup, but Michael Yardy's resurgence ruled that out.
Despite an impressive first-class record - he scored over 11,000 first-class runs at a fraction under 40 and claimed 398 first-class wickets at 35.91 apiece - he fell out of favour at Durham during 2012 and did not feature in their Championship side after May. His season ended on a high note, nonetheless. Loaned out to Warwickshire for the final few weeks of the season, he was part of the side that clinched the County Championship title and his last game was the CB40 final at Lord's.
After undergoing surgery for a third time on a long-standing shoulder injury, he was thought unlikely to be fit for the first three or four months of the 2013 season and his contract was terminated one year early, after which he announced his retirement from first-class cricket.
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