A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

Beware The James Kirtley Syndrome

Posted on August 5, 2017 by in Tests

Since 1st January 1990, 138 (male) cricketers have been awarded their first Test cap. 72 of these took at least their maiden wicket on debut; another 15 bowled but didn’t take a wicket in that first match. For some, such as Mike Smith, this was their entire Test career, gone in the flash of five wicketless days. Others had longer in the team – by the end of his debut, Matthew Hoggard had the ripe old figures of 0/49 from 13 overs but would go on to 248 before being fucked over by the ECB.

We'd never get tired of putting lego bricks in his shoes.

We’d never get tired of putting lego bricks in his shoes.

What we want to do with this article, is to remind the latest England newbie’s fanclub that an exceptional debut does not guarantee a lengthy career and a place in the upper echelons of leading wicket-takers. We take a look here at those who recorded the best bowling on their debuts in this period. Amazingly, because we are using wickets taken, rather than averages, this leaves no place for Anthony McGrath – who walked away from Lord’s in 2003 with an average of 5.33 (and a batting average of 69.00).

No doubt his performance was down to his love of yoga.

No doubt his performance was down to his love of yoga.

  1. James Kirtley 8/114 vs South Africa, 2003 (career figures: 19 wickets @ 29.52 from four matches)
  2. Dominic Cork 8/115 vs West Indies, 1995 (131 wickets @ 29.81 from 37 matches)
  3. Neil Mallender 8/122 vs Pakistan, 1992 (10 wickets @ 21.50 from two matches)
  4. Toby Roland-Jones 8/129 vs South Africa, 2017
  5. Peter Such 8/145 vs Australia, 1993 (37 wickets @ 33.56 from 11 matches)
  6. Dean Headley 8/176 vs Australia, 1997 (60 wickets @ 28.85 from 15 matches)
  7. Graham Onions 7/102 vs West Indies, 2009 (32 wickets @ 29.90 from nine matches)
  8. Richard Johnson 6/100 vs Zimbabwe, 2003 (16 wickets @ 17.18 from three matches)
  9. Mark Ealham 6/111 vs India, 1996 (17 wickets @ 28.70 from eight matches)
  10. Darren Gough 6/152 vs New Zealand, 1994 (229 wickets @ 28.39 from 58 matches)
  11. James Tredwell 6/181 vs Bangladesh, 2010 (11 wickets @ 29.18 from two matches)
  12. Michael Watkinson 5/92 vs West Indies, 1995 (10 wickets @ 34.80 from four matches)
  13. Steve Watkin 5/93 vs West Indies, 1991 (11 wickets @ 27.72 from three matches)
  14. Alan Mullally 5/103 vs India, 1996 (58 wickets @ 31.24 from 19 matches)
  15. Alex Tudor 5/108 vs Australia, 1998 (28 wickets @ 34.39 from ten matches)
  16. Steve Harmison 5/120 vs India, 2002 (226 wickets @ 31.82 from 63 matches)
  17. Ian Salisbury 5/122 vs Pakistan, 1992 (20 wickets @ 76.96 from 15 matches)
  18. Kabir Ali 5/136 vs South Africa, 2003 (that’s it)
  19. Chris Jordan 5/136 vs Sri Lanka, 2014 (21 wickets @ 35.80 from eight matches)
  20. James Anderson 5/138 vs Zimbabwe, 2003 (480 wickets @ 28.20 from 125 matches)
  21. Saj Mahmood 5/168 vs Sri Lanka, 2006 (20 wickets @ 38.10 from eight matches)
  22. Adil Rashid 5/227 vs Pakistan, 2015 (38 wickets @ 42.78 from ten matches)
  23. Ajmal Shahzad 4/63 vs Bangaldesh, 2010 (that’s it)
  24. Chris Silverwood 4/71 vs Zimbabwe, 1996 (11 wickets @ 40.36 from six matches)
  25. Ed Giddens 4/79 vs New Zealand, 1999 (12 wickets @ 20.00 from four matches)

What does this show, apart from another opportunity to mention Saj Mahmood? Firstly, that there are many more Unlikely Lads that 51allout can write about.  Secondly, that ‘horses for courses’ selections used to be more common than they are now.  Thirdly, that Ian Salisbury really was shit. And finally, that Toby Roland-Jones is by no means guaranteed a long and vibrant Test career.

In turning this article into an interesting and entertaining piece, we have bitten off more than we can chew.

In turning this article into an interesting and entertaining piece, we have bitten off more than we can chew.

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