“I hear you’re an opening bowler now, Jack. How did you get interested in that type of thing?”

Posted by
2 minute read

Doing your cricket things slightly earlier in the match is all the rage this month. Steve Smith’s become an opening batter. Jack Leach (or Rehan Ahmed or Tom Hartley or Joe Root) has become an opening bowler.

England have picked just one quick bowler, Mark Wood, for the first Test against India in Hyderabad. There is much talk about whether a man of Wood’s physical history can possibly shoulder the fast bowling burden alone. Mulder reckons it won’t be that heavy a burden.

It’s not uncommon for seam bowlers to find themselves bit-part players on Indian surfaces. For every long innings when a pair of quicks only got through eight overs each, there were five or six overs with the new ball where it was dawning on the bowling side that they’d made a huge mistake.

So why even go through that palaver? Why piss about? Why not just go straight to Jack Leach (or Rehan Ahmed or Tom Hartley or Joe Root)?

If nothing else, everyone loves Jack Leach. Why delay? To hell with the breadsticks and olives! Bring us the wood-fired pizza!

Such a move also accelerates the journey to that other magnificent destination: the part-time bowler.

> Goldenarms: The best part-time bowlers in the history of Test cricket

The obvious tragedy for this Test match is that Harry Brook has gone home for personal reasons and therefore won’t get the opportunity to wow us with his pure, scintillating, part-time military-medium.

A less obvious but greater tragedy is that his replacement in the squad hasn’t made the team. Here is a very important article about the three best parts of Dan Lawrence’s bowling action in escalating order of greatness.

Nevertheless, the very nature of part-time bowling is that it is built on absences and desperation. That means this could be a very exciting Test match for England.

England’s part-time bowling options for the first Test

  • Zak Crawley, off-spin: 0-33 from 11 first-class overs and 0-17 from two List A overs
  • Ben Duckett, off-spin: 2-99 from 25 first-class overs
  • Ollie Pope, unknown bowling style, but most likely generic medium-pace dobble: 0-10 from one first-class over
  • Jonny Bairstow, medium-dobble: 0-1 from one first-class over
  • Ben Foakes (why not?), probably dobble again: 0-6 from one first-class over

We’re sure you’ll agree, the prospect of potentially dipping into the above at some point in the next few days is absolutely mouth-watering.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Is Duckett doing an impression of the great SKW in the linked tweet? (the part before the ball comes out of his hand)

  2. Someone on Twitter claimed to see Bairstow bowling seam in the nets. Very excited for this test.

  3. Long way to go. Pace yourselves, everyone.

    Last time England toured India, I was regularly getting up at 4am to watch. These days I can barely rouse myself in time for the tea break.

  4. Meanwhile in Brisbane… Australia used 8 (eight) bowlers in the first innings. Possibly not the most noteworthy thing about the Test so far, to be fair.

  5. Today’s edition of Bazball nonsense is brought to you by Jeetan Patel.

    ‘Runs don’t matter, the score doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is how many wickets we’ve taken.’

    ‘If you walked into the ground and didn’t know the score, you’d have thought we were right on top.’

    India lead England by 175 runs with three first innings wickets remaining.

    1. I imagine it went something like this.

      ECB: Alright people, we are assembled here to pick the next Assistant Coach. We have one simple question: what’s your best strategy in India?

      Applicant 1: Offense. Attack.
      Applicant 2: Defence. You got to play the spinners.
      Jeetan Patel: Delusion. You can’t feel bad if you don’t know.

      ECB: Jeetan, when can you start?

      1. “If you walked into the ground and didn’t know the score, you’d have thought we were right on top.” That is a wonderful quotation. Kind of “if we hadn’t lost we could’ve won” vibes.

        But… today went much better than it might have done. The only downside is the hideous wall of noise from a thousand commenters shouting “you see it was proper batting that did it, not bazball muck”. But I’m putting my fingers in my ears and keeping on believing.

      2. You wonder what the timespan is for thinking the team that was not on top was in fact on top. One ball? An over? Watch for long enough and the situation surely becomes pretty apparent.

        Agree on all the Bazball disproving cobblers. People have narrowed their definition to something so specific that the team themselves have never specifically claimed as some cure-all masterplan that they’ll never need to deviate from and then whenever they do anything different, they’re beaten with that straw man.

      3. Big day for Catholic theologians as new evidence arises with regard to Pope’s infallibility.

  6. I was there for the historic moment of England’s victory. I was actually at the ground when it happened. I was even in the England dressing room for a while. The ground I’m talking about is Lord’s, of course, but still…I was with a (small) crowd and it felt good. Not least because we were all still bathing in the reflected glory of West Indies beating Australia.

    For fans of bestial roars, btw, here is a 20 second clip of a fine roar, just a few minutes after that famous England victory yesterday. https://youtu.be/QlnR5FAqPnw?si=1LjRQap3XKZZTnTp

Comments are closed.