Who is Tom Helm?

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Tom Helm dismissing someone-or-other at some point (via Twitter)

We experienced a delightful nostalgic moment earlier this week when we read that Tom Helm had narrowly lost out to Tom Curran for an Ashes call-up.

“Who’s Tom Helm?” we thought.

We knew the name, we knew he was a bowler, but it’s been a long, long time since we had so little information at our disposal about a cricketer who was reportedly ‘knocking on the door’ for England selection.

We’ve been writing this site for over a decade now and throughout that time we’ve generally been on top of these things. This year, a family expansion has left us rather more out of the loop than normal, but that only seems to be part of the story.

Helm really does seems to have been residing wherever the hell leftfield is (on the left, we suppose – unless you turn round and face the other way).

He was named in at least a couple of narrowly-missed-out-on-selection articles earlier in the week, but even they emphasised that he didn’t actually play much first-class cricket this year and didn’t do anything too spectacular when he did appear. So how exactly did he make this leap from being unknown to being written about as a likely Ashes squad addition? There’s a full next-cab-off-the-rank interview over at Cricinfo today.

Presumably the cricket media’s been given a steer and presumably we’re no longer a functioning part of that (or maybe we should check our junk mail for press releases).

Anyway, the long and short of it in cliché form is…

  • 6ft4in
  • Insistent line
  • Lively pace

We actually made up the last one, but if a seamer doesn’t demand comment about their bowling speed one way or the other, you can safely commit to ‘lively’.

Ashes selection, if it happens, would be above and beyond what he was aiming for this year. “It was my first full season and I was over the moon to get out the end without being in a cast of some sort.”


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. Tom Helm bowled especially well in this match:


    …not that you’d be able to tell from the above match report.

    I rate him very highly but in truth I think he needs another decent season at least before international selection is a sensible suggestion.

    The journalists talk about him in “next cab off the rank” terms because he has played for (and done reasonably well for) the Lions.

    I cannot agree with KC’s cliché summary. Having seen Helm bowl a fair bit, in my view Tom Helm:
    * is about 1.93 metres tall;
    * has a repeatable action with nagging line and length;
    * bowls with pace and bounce.

      1. Hope he gets picked, does well and ends up taking over as captain.

        If only for the sake of the tabloid headline writers.

    1. Repeatable is the main quality I look for in a fast bowler’s action. So many great bowlers over the years have fallen on the basis of being able to deliver only one ball then succumb to the yips forever more.

      Cricinfo have young Helm as a ‘fast bowler who generates pace and bounce’ yet categorise him as RMF. So some much-needed variety from the battery of RFM currently available.

      The main criteria that appear to have fast-tracked him for selection can hence be summarised thus:
      – plays for Middlesex

  2. The hover captions have become more sporadic as time goes by, meaning that I look forward to them particularly when I can see them. Today’s belter did not disappoint.

    1. On the plus side, if they’re now calling up people who’ve only played 9 more FC games than me I can’t be too far away from a phone call myself.

      1. Are you fit Daneel? That is a quality that would rule me out unfortunately as I too am only 9 FC games away from a call up by the same standard. Sadly though if you asked me to deliver 20 overs of slow military medium long hops i’d struggle with back issues… So in short, you, and possibly other readers of this site, are ahead of me in the taxi queue.

  3. I have seen George Garton bowl at Hove – the abandoned match we went to see at the end of the day written up here:


    There is a link to the scorecard within. But no mention of George Garton whose performance that evening was less than memorable. The Sussex cognoscenti were talking about two of their young seamers in glowing terms that evening; the unfortunately named Jofra Archer being the far more impressive of the two on the night.

    1. As a further aside, the Sussex cognoscenti spoke very highly of Tom Barber, one of the Middlesex youngsters who by all accounts looked absolutely cracking in the nets warming up for that match, although in the end he didn’t play:


      Tom, like Daneel, has yet to play a first class match. But he is signed for Middlesex, so I expect Tom has more reason to sit by the phone than Daneel, at least for now.

      1. Good luck to young GG. How many people with matching initials have ever played Test cricket for England?

        Martin McCague. Haseeb Hameed. Jeff Jones. Graham Gooch. Chris and Colin Cowdrey. Matt Maynard…

        Liam Livingstone waits by the phone.

      2. Alfred Archer, Bernard Bosanquet, Charles Coventry, David Denton, Frederick Fane, Francis Ford, Frank Foster, George Geary, George Gunn, Harry Howell, John Jameson, Martyn Moxon, Peter Parfitt, Paul Parker, Pat Pocock, Jack Russell (Robert), Sandford Schultz (actually SSS), Sam Staples, Ted Tyler, Willie Watson

        And these people who cheated by not using their proper names:

        Bob Barber, Billy Barnes, Billy Bates, Bob Berry, Bill Bowes, Bill Bradley, Bill Brockwell, Brian Bolus, Mandy Mitchell-Innes

        Does Raman Subba Row count?

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