Matthew Hoggard dropped

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The Hoggster puts his back into trainingThis is a bit of a weird one. What do you make of this?

In a climate where senior players are being unjustifiably indulged, Matthew Hoggard’s had a bad game and he’s out on his ear.

The long, slow descent towards Harmison’s dropping now seems unnecessarily cruel in its inevitability, but he was still given those chances to prove his worth. Andrew Strauss kept his place for an extraordinary amount of time in the face of poor form and certainly hasn’t earned a recall. He paid the selectors back with 45 runs over two innings in the first Test.

Hoggard did have a poor game and he didn’t look wholly himself. He put the new ball on the spot, but he was sluggish. But consider this. Two matches prior to that, he took 4-29 to reduce Sri Lanka to 42-5 at Kandy and for years he’s been England’s most reliable bowler. Has everyone got short memories when it comes to the Yorkshireman or is it something else?

We can think of a couple of possible reasons – none too convincing.

(1) The selectors don’t think he prepared adequately for this tour and this is a robust slap on the wrists.

(2) They genuinely think that Hoggard’s had it; that the drop in his bowling speed is as a result of his injuries and age and therefore irreversible.

(3) Someone had to go and Hoggard was the only player other than Harmison who had an unreservedly bad match. Most of the batsmen had one innings of substance. Just.

Angry or amazed? We’ll have to go with angry on this one.


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  1. I’m fervently hoping it’s:

    4) They know something we don’t, and don’t believe Hoggy is back to full fitness just yet.

    But then you’d think they’d have said as much if that were the case. If it’s not that, then I agree: angry. Compared with Harmison’s million and one chances and Strauss’s return-to-form that isn’t, this just seems capricious.

  2. I’m with Simon on this..

    He looks undercooked.

    He’s slimmed down a fair bit, and seems to have lost his strength and zip..

    He’ll be back as the spearhead soon enough.

  3. Curse of the bloody columnist/blogger I think – Hoggard – Times on line columnist – dropped
    Swann – BBC blogger – never even gets a chance.

    Don’t count the rest of the “columnists” as they don’t write their own….

  4. I think it’s maybe a little harsh, but the Management are under pressure to ‘Do Something’ about the bowling, and he took 1 for 140-odd in the first Test. Maybe Wellington would have suited him more, but critics cannot have their cake and eat it.

    I know this last fact for certain as I have just eaten some cake with my lunch, and now no longer have it.

  5. It seems a bit of a strange decision – when Anderson comes in and inevitably sprays it all around taking few for lots, who are they going to bring in for the third test?

  6. I’m definitely ANGRY about this. Very, very ANGRY.

    This stinks of a coach wanting to placate the media and be seen to “do something” . Even more so given the announcement that they didn’t think the batting line-up needed shaking up at all.

  7. I’m with Lemon Bella, the treatment of Hoggard was unfair. I think that they wanted to boot Harmison but, seeing as he wasn’t the only bloke who had a terrible game, needed another scapegoat to make the dropping look fair.

    Hoggard, reliability personified for so long, was that goat.


  8. Smacks of Peter Moores trying to justify his appointment to the media by dropping a stalwart. Sounds a lot like Steve McClaren. Doomed to failure, methinks.

  9. It’s certainly got a whiff of do-something-itis to it, but this article on cricinfo makes it sound very much Vaughan’s decision as well. It puts paid to my theory that Hoggy’s absence is just a matter of fitness, to boot.

    Terrible decision. Truly terrible. And you’ve got people sagely nodding and saying Hoggy’s been in decline for the past year, when he only played four Tests in 2007 due to injury (and averaged 26.5 in those). Rrrgh.

  10. Simon, that’s Michael Vaughan trying to deflect attention away from Michael Vaughan.

    “Look how ruthless Michael Vaughan can be, isn’t that impressive? No, look this way, don’t look at his batting form or his uninspired captaincy, look at the bowlers, look at the bowlers…”

    As I said, very, very ANGRY.

  11. Oh, I quite agree; my opinion of him is dropping rapidly (that whole interview reminded me of Blackadder: “Believe me, I shall be asking myself some pretty searching questions later”). He couldn’t get away with dropping just Harmison, as that would appear too reactive, yet the obvious batting candidate for the chop (Strauss) has just been rushed back, meaning to drop him again would look confused.

    The disparity in treatment between various players is so blatant it might as well be written in 20-foot pink neon letters. How can any player (even the apparent untouchables) be motivated in this sort of environment? When a record like Hoggy’s counts for nothing, yet form like Anderson’s gets him picked, how can any player link their performance to selection? Ooh, it’s enough to make me write a “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” letter.

    (Actually, I think I just did, didn’t I?)

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