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The Definitive: Andy Caddick

Jo Harman by Jo Harman

The man-mountain former England seamer Andy Caddick speaks to Jo Harman and reflects on the moments that mattered most. 

THE BREAKTHROUGH
8-46 & 1-37 | Surrey 2nd XI v Somerset 2nd XI, 2nd XI Championship, The Oval, 1989

I didn’t feel things were going my way in New Zealand so I decided to move to the UK in 1988 and qualify for England. After a few games for Middlesex seconds I had a trial for Somerset at Taunton which didn’t go too well, but then I went up to The Oval and took 8-46 in a three-day match. I broke my thumb batting and took one wicket in the second innings before I stopped bowling because it was bloody sore, but it was a crucial match for me. Somerset then decided to get me qualified as an Englishman.

THE FIRST-CLASS BEST
3-88 & 9-32 | Somerset v Lancashire, County Championship, Taunton, 1993

Andre van Troost had smashed 30-odd to give us something to defend but Lancashire still only needed about 90 to win. I bowled well, everything fell together and they kept nicking it. I got the first seven but Mushtaq Ahmed took a wicket to stop me getting a 10-fer – which really pissed me off – but we bowled them out for 70-odd to win the match. It made the England selectors sit up and take notice and probably got me in the Ashes squad that summer.

THE TESTING START
0-120 | England v Australia, Second Test, Lord’s, 1993

I’d been dubbed the ‘Great White Hope’, which was hard to live up to, and we were playing a very strong Australian side. It was a tough baptism of fire. I made my debut in the first Test at Old Trafford, which we lost, and we got absolutely hammered at Lord’s. I went wicketless, the first three batsmen got hundreds and Mark Waugh got 99 at No.4. My first series was probably my hardest and I was left in no doubt as to how tough Test cricket was.

THE BAJAN WIN
0-92 & 5-63 | West Indies v England, Fourth Test, Bridgetown, 1994

This was a defining performance because West Indies hadn’t lost at Bridgetown for nearly 60 years. I’d taken two wickets late on day four and we came back the next day and bowled them out. It was the highlight of my international career at that stage and the team was euphoric. We had back-to-back Tests and almost missed our flight to Antigua because we were still celebrating in the airport bar!

THE REJECTION
8-64 & 3-47 | Somerset v Worcestershire, County Championship, Taunton, 1998

I remember the Ashes squad to tour that winter was announced over the Tannoy and neither me nor Graeme Hick – who was also playing in that game – were in it. I had taken 105 wickets that summer but they went for Alex Tudor instead. There was always a lot of talk that Alec Stewart – who was captain – didn’t rate me but that’s fine, people have their opinions. I remember Steve Waugh later saying in a press conference that I would have been a handful on Australian wickets. That put a bit of a smile back on my face.

THE ‘I TOLD YOU SO’
3-57 & 5-32 | England v New Zealand, First Test, Edgbaston, 1999

After missing out on the Ashes, I won my place back and was named England’s Player of the Series against New Zealand the next summer. It’s always nice to do well against the Kiwis, to stick the knife in a bit, but that didn’t drive me. I just wanted to bowl well. This was a great match, with Tudor scoring 99* as nightwatchman to knock off the winning runs, but that was as good as it got and we went on to lose the series.

THE DURBAN DEMOLITION
7-46 & 1-70 | South Africa v England, Third Test, Durban, 1999

This was probably the best I ever bowled in Test cricket and certainly my most consistent performance through a full Test. I had very good rhythm at the start and it just continued. The wicket had just enough bounce in it for the taller bowlers, such as myself, and it should have been a strong victory for us but unfortunately Gary Kirsten was a thorn in our side and we ended up drawing.

THE SERIES TURNER
1-58 & 5-16 | England v West Indies, Second Test, Lord’s, 2000

I took four wickets in an over later in the series at Headingley but this is recognised as both a match-winning performance and as the one that actually turned the series. I’d bowled absolute shit in the first innings but there was a little breeze second time around and I ran in from the Nursery End and just bowled as quickly as I could. Everything just clicked and I remember bouncing out Brian Lara, who fended off to gully. Nasser Hussain has always said that was the day Andy Caddick got out of bed and just decided to bowl.

THE HOMECOMING
3-50 & 6-122 | New Zealand v England, First Test, Christchurch, 2002

I had a few things to prove to the selectors having decided not to tour India earlier that winter and I bowled quickly at Jade Stadium, particularly in the second innings. It was a drop-in wicket that dried out after the first day but it still had some pace in it. Unfortunately a little guy called Nathan Astle smashed a quick double-century and took 32 off one over of mine, but it was still a great win on my home patch.

THE UNTIMELY FINALE
3-121 & 7-94 | Australia v England, Fifth Test, Sydney, 2003

We’d had a really competitive match at Melbourne, where we had them five-down chasing 90-odd to win, and took that strong finish to Sydney. The wicket was deteriorating and on the last day all you had to do was stick it in the right area and the pitch would do the rest. It was a great finish to what had been a hard trip and we went down and thanked the Barmy Army for all their support through the series. I didn’t get to enjoy many Ashes victories, so I’ll always remember those moments. I never wanted that to be my last Test but my back went completely and I had to have surgery. The only regret I have from my playing days is that I didn’t get to decide when I was going to retire and was thrown out into the wilderness despite some promises made by selectors. But I had a great career and I can’t complain really.

Follow @JoHarmanAOC

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