Mop-up of the day – legs and hands

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Our latest Kings of Cricket piece is up on the All Out Cricket website. The subject is Paul Collingwood. Bear with us. We think we’ve made our case.

It’s mostly about his magical magnetic hand, but there’s more to it than that. Consider it a paean to three-dimensionality; an ode to all the qualities that don’t show up in the stats.

Bangladesh have got a leggie

Fast bowlers and mystery spinners – that’s how you win Test matches. But several years ago Bangladesh spotted a gap in the market for a seven-man attack comprising nothing but conventional finger spinners. They’ve been ploughing this furrow for quite some time despite the complete lack of crops.

But maybe things are changing. They’ve got a leggie. Jubair Hossain took 5-96 in the first innings of the third Test against Zimbabwe. It probably doesn’t pay to get too excited being as this is only his fifth first-class match, but at least he gives their attack something different.


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  1. If you read Paul Collingwood’s profile on Cricinfo it describes him as “never the most gifted cricketer” in the first paragraph and a “natural athlete” in the second.

    Even his mother would concede that he was hardly the most thrilling or technically impressive batsman to ever play, but nobody could deny that his natural athleticism was a cricketing gift that allowed him to punch far above his statistical weight.

  2. It was only a matter of time. And in a way, a restriction to 1000 words is a fitting tribute to a perennially underrated player. Nicely done, KC.

  3. I’m confused, though. You mention some kind of Test match in Adelaide where he scored a double century?

    I have no memory of that match. Are you sure you didn’t dream it?

    What with all this talk about KPIs, sounds like you want cricket further infested with sabermetrics.

    1. I am with KC on this one. Kevin Pietersen Impersonator scale seems to be an excellent tool to judge attacking batsmen. Buttler is a 6, Chanderpaul -27.

    2. That was the famous “Lost Ending” test match. Collingwood did indeed score a double century, and England put Australia to the sword. Unfortunately, the entire last day of the test match was swallowed by a passing time vortex. It’s not that nobody knows what happened, that entire chunk of time was erased from history. Children born that day will never have a birthday.

      Chronoarchaeologists have attempted to piece together what would have happened from fragments of a postcard sent just as the time vortex arrived. It appears that England would have won convincingly, as expected.

  4. Nice words, KC. I can only imagine the pain it must have caused you to leave out all the other things you could have written about the Ginger Genius.

    By the way, your face doesn’t look like I thought it would look.

  5. Oh Mr Collingwood,
    How he’s missed.
    He could still sneak in six overs,
    Or a dive, where he muddies his trousers

  6. Ploughing a furrow doesn’t mean you necessarily sow seeds in it. It prepares the earth for sowing of seeds. If Bangladesh had been ploughing their finger spin furrow without sowing finger spin seeds, they wouldn’t expect any growths at all. I think what you wanted to say, KC, is that Bangladesh have been planting finger-spin seeds in the same field over and over again, until they have thoroughly exhausted the soil. They have also failed to keep an eye on the patch where they grow their batting crops but that’s an entirely separate agricultural analogy.

  7. I don’t miss Paul Collingwood. Or should I say, I didn’t miss Paul Collingwood. I do now, you bastard.

  8. Colly was my favourite. The train jumped the tracks when he stepped off.

    Collingwood was also first on my list (when it wasn’t Shiv Chanderpaul) for the “who would you want to bat to save your life” ranking table. You knew he’d eventually get out, but there was the sense of loyalty/grit in him that one imagined he’d then take his bat to one’s executioners–buying you enough time to make a getaway.

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