Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Everyone in cricket remembers the quickest bowlers they faced. The heightened awareness, the sense of limits, the physiological messages that "you shouldn't really be doing this, you're out of your depth".

For me, there are four, plus a couple of others that bowled the odd sharp ball. In chronological order, rather than speedgun, first there was Barrington Browne, the most beautiful bowling action I've ever seen. Then there was Mick Lewis, twitching and spitting and swearing, a man who looked like the guy from Green Day who would go on to bowl the most expensive spell in the history of ODIs. 

The fourth express paceman was Tino Best, a story I've told a few times. But before him, while having a two-year sabbatical from Moddershall with Wollaton in the Notts Premier League, was Mark Footitt, the left-arm quick who carried the drinks and bowled at cones all winter. At 30 years of age, and with next Test tour going to India, Footy is unlikely to get himself a Test cap, especially with Finn and Wood (not to mention Woakes, Jordan and Plunkett) vying for the third seamer's position.

You never know, and a good debut season in Div One with Surrey might convince the selectors to give him a run. It's odds against, mind. And my own experience of playing against him as a raw 21-year-old would suggest that he isn't quite up to scratch.

Still, it was fun hearing Footitt stories from one or two old comrades and foes, most of which went into this ESPNcricinfo blog which, again, has a slightly clunky title. I'd have gone for: Fast-Tracked Footitt a Lesson in Perseverance (or a synonym of the last word beginning with 'f').  

'The Cordon': Memories of Mark Footitt's club career 

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