Login

Lost your password?
Don't have an account? Sign Up

Lets praise the members of the 500-wicket club | E

Broadly speaking Freddie Trueman was right when, on claiming the record for most Test wickets, he volunteered, “Any booger who passes that mark will be bluddy tired.”

West Indies offspinner Lance Gibbs eventually broke Trueman’s record of 307 Test wickets. It took him about 27,000 deliveries and his reward was a huge carbuncle on his spinning finger, so presumably he was sore as well as tired.

Since then the record has been stretched to 800 wickets, which would have been thought of as unattainable in Trueman’s day, by Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Murali deserved to be tired – it took him a mammoth 44,000-plus deliveries.

An indication of how unlikely that record might sound is provided by the story of the former Australia fast bowler Rodney Hogg, who wrote when Shane Warne was only just beginning his first-class career that Warne would claim 500 Test wickets. He was writing for the Truth, a Melbourne newspaper, and the editor sacked him for such a reckless prediction. “That’s ridiculous,” he claimed, “no one will take 500 Test wickets.” Warne finished his career with 708 victims.

ALSO READ: Stuart Broad, England’s spring-heeled superstar

With Stuart Broad‘s recent ascent there are now seven members of the 500-wicket club: three spinners followed by four faster bowlers. To achieve that landmark Broad has delivered in excess of 28,000 balls, but in defiance of Trueman’s prediction, he seems to be going from strength to strength.

In an era of stringent media training Broad was refreshingly honest in an interview following his omission from England’s side for the first Test against West Indies. He didn’t lambast the selectors he just expressed his disappointment and then proceeded in the next two Tests to display why they were wrong. Any selector worth the title should be delighted at such a positive player reaction to an omission.

Capturing his 500th Test wicket was a particularly satisfying part of Broad proving his point. Incredibly, the victim was Kraigg Brathwaite, the same player that Broad’s partner in bowling excellence, Jimmy Anderson, dismissed to reach his milestone. In contrast to Anderson’s fulfilling achievement – a bowled dismissal at Lord’s in front of an appreciative crowd – Broad reached his milestone in muted circumstances, in a ground devoid of fans, with only his grateful team-mates at hand to applaud his laudable achievement.

However, there was one mitigating factor. Thanks to the vagaries of cricket in the Covid-19 era, his father, former Test batsman Chris, was the match referee and he was able to enjoy the moment with his son. Isn’t that the game of cricket? Isn’t that sport in general? It takes on the one hand and gives on the other.

The seven members of the 500-Test-wicket club are an eclectic group of bowlers; two leggies, an offspinner, a swing bowler and three seamers. The one missing ingredient is an out-and-out speed merchant, which is probably an indication of how tough on the body that is as an occupation.

ALSO READ: Stuart Broad: ‘I want to be the person who changes the game’

Of the group, Broad has the best average for his best performance in Test cricket: a minuscule 1.88 for his 8 for 15 against Australia. However Indian legspinner Anil Kumble has the honour of a record that won’t be broken: he was the first member of the group – and currently the only one – to have taken all ten wickets in an innings.

Muralitharan has two records that will likely never be beaten. He has an incredible 67 five-wicket hauls and an almost equally amazing 22 ten-wicket matches. Warne is next on the list with a far distant 37 and 10 respectively.

The four seamers in the club have all only taken three ten-wicket match hauls, which is probably an indication of the extreme physical exertion required for a fast bowler to achieve such a feat. Even Trueman, never one to hide his light under a bushel, only achieved three ten-wicket hauls.

It’d be interesting to hear the response if “Fiery” Fred Trueman was around today.

“Eh Fred, young Broad equalled one of your records.”

“Oh aye, but it took him 13,000 more deliveries to bluddy do it,” might well be the expurgated version.

Author:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*