We never wrote about Andy Caddick when he retired. We should have done.
Say what you like about Andy Caddick. Say that he was mad as pies; say that he got picked for England because people wanted him there to fix stuff while they were on tour; say he was a nutcase who thought he should get picked by England when he was 40; say that Nasser Hussain had to treat him like he was eight to get the best out of him. Say all of those things, but he was a fine bowler.
The defining statistic about Andy Caddick is that his bowling average was 37 in the first innings of Test matches and only 20 in the second. It says it all really. It says that he didn’t shape Test matches and it says that he should have done because he could run through a side like undercooked chicken through a digestive system.
His last Test performance was 7-94 against Australia (3-121 in the first innings), which isn’t a bad way to go out, but we’ll remember him most for his performances against the West Indies in 2000.
We’ve written about Caddick’s four wickets in an over at Headingley before, so we won’t repeat ourself (it’s worth clicking that link though, if you’ve not read it before). What we haven’t written about is his 5-16 (1-58 in the first innings) at Lord’s a couple of Tests before that. That spell of bowling was right up there with anything we’ve seen for England. On his good days, in the second innings, Andy Caddick could produce a sublime blend of swing and seam that few have ever matched.
We can picture it now and it’s not something you ever really see from other bowlers. Maybe it’s because tall bowlers rarely swing the ball.
Caddick would run in robotically, all elbows, legs and ears. As he got into his delivery stride, the hand holding the ball would jag out sideways for some reason and that would signal an end to all the angular awkwardness. From there, the limbs would sort themselves out and the ball would arc through the air, swinging and making it difficult for the batsman to line it up. As it pitched, it would jag off the seam AND rear up towards the bat handle.
If the batsman was really good, he’d edge it.