In recent weeks there’s been an eerie calm around the 51allout office. The weather has (partly) abated, England have got back to winning ways and we found enough cash down the back of the sofa to get the gin cupboard restocked to an acceptable level. However, we don’t really like the calm, needing that bit of edge to drive us on. We’re like Kings Of Leon in that respect, only we haven’t toned down our facial hair and started making shit albums.
When we need to get angry we usually head back to scorecards from England debacles of the past. On this occasion, when looking back at perhaps the greatest debacle of them all, the 2006/7 Ashes in Australia, we spotted a name in the squad that immediately launched our blood pressure skywards. By the time we found a picture we were almost apoplectic with rage. Normal service had been resumed.
Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce
There’s nothing we love more than a bits and pieces all-rounder, one who isn’t good enough to earn a place in the side with either bat or ball. And there might be no better example of this than Jamie Dalrymple, a man who took a single five-wicket haul in his entire First Class career and made just ten hundreds in a decade. And yet he still played 27 ODIs for England and very, very nearly found himself in the Test side on more than occasion – narrowly missing out against Pakistan in 2006 and against Australia at the SCG the following winter.
It’s hard to see what Duncan Fletcher saw (or thought he saw) in Dalrymple. In 27 ODIs he averaged less than 20 with the bat, making only two fifties, both in 2006 and both in defeats (against Sri Lanka and Pakistan). He started out batting at six before gradually moving down to a more appropriate position, batting at number eight. With the ball things were even worse; Dalrymple averaged 47.57 for his paltry 14 wickets. He never even managed to take three wickets in an innings and only once was he was brought on a second change, with the majority of appearances being as third or fourth.
So far, so negative. But there must be something nice we can find to say about him. Erm, well, he was great in this documentary about his childhood dabblings with LSD:
Of course, there is one good (non-television related) thing about Jamie Dalrymple, and that’s that he was part of one of the more unlikely England successes of recent times – the victory in the Commonwealth Bank ODI series that followed the aformentioned Ashes. England went in as an utter rabble, even by their traditional one-day standards. Luckily New Zealand weren’t great either and the two teams traded victories inbetween getting absolutely slaughtered by Australia. Dalrymple contributed little, making scores of 2, 1, 31, 0, 10, 14, 30 and 29* and taking a single wicket in the never-ending group stage.
Thanks to a freak victory over Australia in game ten (in which future Unlikely Lad Ed Joyce made a hundred) England somehow found themselves in the best-of-three final. Now was Dalrymple’s chance to shine on the biggest stage of them all, a third-full MCG. Thanks to amazing figures of 1/41 and an epic score of 3 Dalrymple was on the winning side, although Collingwood’s 120* was equally important. The best thing about the game though (and we’ll quote straight from the ever-reliable Wikipedia here) was this:
“Whilst [Andrew] Symonds was talking about raising money for breast cancer research, [Ian] Healy, unaware that he was on camera, gesticulated playing a tiny violin for which he was criticized. He made a public apology to women who had suffered breast cancer. He later drank a litre of Jim Beam in an hour.”
The second final game, at the SCG, followed a similar pattern. Dalrymple scored a mighty 5 from 10 balls before picking up the wicket of Brad Hodge in four expensive overs. He did however, take a wonderful catch, one that looks something like this:
England’s attack in that game is the stuff of legend: Plunkett, Mahmood, Flintoff, Panesar, Dalrymple and Collingwood. And yet they still thrashed Australia in their own back yard, winning under Duckworth/Lewis to seal the tournament.
The celebrations that followed that game are somewhat legendary, so it’s fair to assume that the selectors were still drunk when they selected the hapless Dalrymple for England’s World Cup squad a month or so later. His contribution plumbed new depths – 6 runs at an average of 2 and no wicket for 69 in his three games – and finally the penny dropped. Dalrymple was never to darken the doorstep of international cricket again.
Darlrymple returned to the county game, spending another year with Middlesex before moving on to Glamorgan for a couple of years before resigning when he was replaced as captain by Alviro Petersen. He then moved back to Middlesex for the 2011 season, before being released.
Despite using all the research tools at our disposal (Google, Wikipedia and Cricinfo) we can’t seem to find what’s happened to him since then. He’s certainly not playing County Cricket this year. We even tried the website of the Unofficial Jamie Dalrymple Fan Club. We wouldn’t recommend you do the same, unless you’re an avid collector of malware.