5 unsung artists of the death overs
As we know, limited overs cricket is the territory of batsmen and the bowlers are the ones who get beaten up, and now with the short boundaries, bigger bats, ball a piece at each ends have made it even harder for the bowlers. But there are some who make the batsmen think a bit before taking on them. But remember, these bowlers are not the scary ones like the Brett Lee’s or Shoiab Akthar’s or even Wahab Riaz on the other day. And they do not have a great numbers either, like the Akram’s or Murali’s or Warnie’s. But, equally effective as the above names when it comes to their department of ‘bowling at the death overs’. Here are they:
1) Adam Hollioake, England (1996-1999)
One of the most decorated captains of the English county, Adam was a talented young Victorian(Australia) born allrounder, who made his Test debut with his younger brother Ben Hollioake in 1997 and was already a permanent member of their one day squad. Adam was a gentle medium pacer with which he operated intelligently by mixing up the in dippers, slower ones and the odd bouncers. His statistics don’t express anything about his cricketing ability.
He was known for his leadership ability which escalated him to captain the England’s one day side (in order to reduce the workload from their Test captain Mike Atherton). But when T20 made its way to England in the year 2003, we saw Adam marshalling his Surrey troupe winning the inaugural title. In those tournaments, he often bowled his quota of 4 overs where he reserved himself until the end to finish the proceedings. It was impossible for the batsmen to deal with his mind reading ability.
In 2013, to celebrate the Decennial year of the Twenty20 cup in English county, a “Dream Team of English County” was chosen by the Cricket Experts. In this team of T20 Giants, Adam Hollioake was honoured as the Captain. He was also awarded the ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2004’ for his outstanding achievement in English county circuit. In his 35 ODIs for England, he took 32 wickets at the economy rate of 5.06.
Later when his younger sibling Ben passed away in a road accident, Adam gradually moved away from serious cricket. Now the former England captain is keeping himself busy as a Cage Fighter in a private wrestling league.
2) Ian Harvey, Australia (1997-2004)
As a talented cricketer with allround ability, Ian Harvey was a great asset to the Australian team in finishing the one day game with both and ball. He’s one of the rarest of ODI specialists who never played a single Test for the nation. Like Adam Hollioake, stats do not speak Ian’s ability as a cricketer. Having played 73 one day internationals for Australia, he never even scored a half century nor picked a five-for. Being the country’s go to bowler at the slog overs, he bowled 60% of his overs in the last 10. He managed to pick 85 wickets at an astonishing economy rate of 4.71 which tells how well he could manage the crunch moment of the game.
The variations he possessed were quite remarkable, with a quicker one not more than 135kmph, in dippers, leg cutters, off cutters, occasional bouncers and variety of slower deliveries which includes, split finger deliveries, back off the hand, double fingered gripped ones, gentle off breaks, slower Yorkers and even slower bouncers.
The most important part of his variety was, just when he made up his mind to deliver a slower one, he always used to signal the wicketkeeper (most of the times it was Adam Gilchrist) by pulling his collar upwards before starting the run-up. This made the keeper come a fraction closer than usual. This was a prime example of the intelligence he possessed.
In 2003, when the Twenty20 Cup was played for the first time in England, Ian represented Gloucestershire and scored the first ever T20 century. He also bowled all four of his overs at the death. When he was excluded from the national squad, he joined Cape Cobras in South Africa and later in 2008 he came to the Indian Cricket League and joined the Chennai Superstars team. Here he played as an opening batsman and a finishing bowler. He was instrumental in making his team win the Inaugural T20 title and also won himself ‘player of the final’ and ‘player of the tournament’ awards.