Friday, 6 July 2012

Tommy Rundlers - bowlers who thrive on tracks wetter than Linsey Dawn McKenzie

Guest blogger Thorpster gives us his take on those who have picked up most of the wickets this year. Those dibbly dobblies, often entered into the scorebook as T.Rundler are thriving in these wet conditions, much to the chagrin of Thorpster.

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Lindsey Dawn...knows all about a damp track

In this most miserable of cricketing summers, those miserly exponents of the art of medium swing and seam bowling affectionately known as Tommy Rundlers, are no doubt thriving across the length and the breadth of the country.

These dibbly dobblers like nothing better than opening their curtains on a Saturday morning pre match to see liquid dribbling from the sky as it may have done from Abi Titmuss' mouth the night before in their dream. And so to the ground where another 17 overs of darting it around on a green top awaits.

I have always disliked such bowlers from the point of view of an opening batsman and spectator. As a player the thought of patting the ball to mid off and on for 10 overs on a sticky dog (no reference to any of the aforementioned ladies) was a painful nightmare. With the score at about 16-1 and me on about 4, I would inevitably succumb to a wipe across the line and 9 times out 10 either hole out, or miss and be LBW or bowled.

As a spectator watching cricket on tv during school holidays in the 70s and 80s I hated nothing more than watching a county or international game with Tommy Rundler opening from one end partnered by sir wobbly at the other on a wet one. I remember watching in utter boredom as Colin Dredge or Colin Tunnicliffe plodded in with a ring field. At my favourite county Middlesex, you had Simon Hughes now an esteemed cricket analyst trundling in, and also back in the day one of this sites heroes Gatt lobbing em down.

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A classic Tommy Rundler

Of course the county game was the dominated by Tommies as the soggy conditions dictated. But in those days the England selectors also had a penchant for picking dull medium pacers. Those of my vintage will remember test caps for Arnie Sidebottom (affectionately known as Assie Side ass by sniggering school boys), Neil Radford (The Worcester wobbler), Alan Igglesden (the mulleted moustachioed one) and Ian Greig (the only similarity with brother Tony was the crazy Arthur Scargill style hair style). 

I always wanted England to go for the quick men and was delighted when commentators declared the short lived opening combination of Gladstone Small and Graham Dilley as the quickest combination for a decade.

The type of Tommie I have talked about are okay in English conditions with the ball wobbling like Rik Waller in the air and moving around at a sharper angle than a David Cameron U-turn and/or spitting like Katie Price.

However when faced with conditions other than a damp and dank one they struggle big time. Although being slightly quicker than a Tommy, such a fate befell English/Australian "pace man" Martin McCague. Standing in for the injured genuine paceman Devon Malcom, the Kent bowler was smashed all over the place leading to yours truly waking up to headlines of "Slater feasts on McCagues diet of half volleys".

Thankfully England now have an abundance of fast bowling talent. So I avoid the dismay I discussed with the co editor of this site, when not so long ago in a home ashes series England opened up with a "lightning quick" attack of Martin Bicknell and James "Chucker" Kirtley steaming in at 73 miles an hour. We still see the odd bizarre horses for courses selection particularly at Headingley such as Darren "the Aussie roof tiler" Pattinson, whose brother James now chucks em down for the auld enemy.

So to me the choice between watching a quick steaming in with new red cherry with an attacking field or a mystery spinner with men round the bat as opposed to Jeremy Coney or Chris Harris wobbling em down with a ring field is an easy one to make.

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Chris Harris knew how to make 'em wobble

They say it takes all sorts and I realise on something wetter than a 1970s Joan Collins, after a night on the dance floor in the Bitch movie, simply begs for the Tommies of this world. My problem is that although they may be effective and as tight as an Arsenal Board member and be able to manipulate the ball as effectively as "Bonus" Bob Diamond with the Libor rate, whilst being as metronomic as a Spanish midfield player, they are frankly dull to watch or bat against.

Roll on the great British summer and the hardening and cracking of tracks creating the type of crazy paving type surface which turns Dominic Littlewood incandescent with rage on Cowboy Builders.

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