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The Definitive: Matthew Hoggard

Ed Kemp by Ed Kemp 15 minute read

England’s much-loved seamer Matthew Hoggard, one member of the historic 2005 Ashes quartet of pacemen, talks Ed Kemp through the 10 defining moments in his career.

THE STEP UP
3rd XI to 1st XI | Pudsey Congs CC, 1994

A big moment for me was being taken from the 3rd XI and being put into the 1st XI by Phil Carrick. I was 17 when he made that decision and within two years I was playing for Yorkshire. That was a massive point in my life. Phil came into my club, Pudsey Congs, and set me on the road for Yorkshire. He saw something in me. That year we had a young overseas professional called VVS Laxman, and [Carrick] said, you two will play Test cricket against each other, and we both laughed at him, but he was right, we did play Tests against each other. Unfortunately he passed away before it came into fruition, but if it hadn’t been for Phil I don’t think I’d be here talking to you now.

THE BREAKTHROUGH
4-39 | Yorkshire v Surrey, Benson & Hedges Cup quarter-final, Headingley, 2000

It’s not talked about often but a performance against Surrey in the quarter-final of the Benson & Hedges Cup at Headingley did a lot to get me noticed. It rained a lot and I managed to get four wickets – Butcher, Brown, Thorpe and Hollioake – and everybody started talking about me playing for England. So that was a big moment in that respect. It put me on people’s radar.

THE FIRST SCALP
3-79 & 3-93 | England v Pakistan, Second Test, Old Trafford, 2001

I was fairly quick to 50 wickets. I wasn’t the fastest of all time but I think I was in the top 10 or something, so yeah it wasn’t too bad a start to Test cricket. My first wicket at Old Trafford, it wasn’t hitting the second set, but I think the umpire wanted to get off for tea. That was a big moment – Younis Khan, not too shabby.

THE TOUR SUCCESS
7-63 & 1-142 | New Zealand v England, First Test, Christchurch, 2002

On one of my first tours in New Zealand I managed to pick up seven in Christchurch. That was an interesting Test match – Andrew Flintoff scored his debut ton, Nasser Hussain scored a hundred and then Nathan Astle scored the fastest ever double-hundred and kept smacking Caddy [Andrew Caddick] out of the park. I got him out to win the game, I remember that, with a slower ball that he edged behind to the keeper. It was a fantastic Test match for all the right reasons – drop-in pitch, hard work to get runs in the first innings, and then a run-fest in the second innings. It was good fun.

THE HAT-TRICK
1-34 & 4-35 | West Indies v England, Third Test, Barbados, 2004

I couldn’t forget Barbados. I was the 10th Englishman to get a hat-trick. To follow in those footsteps, with people like Goughie [Darren Gough] and Corky [Dominic Cork] as well, was nice. My last ball in that hat-trick was a wrong ball actually. I got Sarwan’s wicket with an outswinger that got the edge and was caught at gully, then I got Chanderpaul lbw and then Ryan Hinds came in, who was another left-hander. I thought I’d bowl him another inswinger and try to get him the same way, but it went across him and got caught at slip! It was a ball that I messed up, but thankfully I messed it up well.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
5-144 & 7-61 | South Africa v England, Fourth Test, Johannesburg, 2005

Taking 12 wickets in the game in Johannesburg to help England secure a series victory over there was pretty special. I have bowled better than that, the first innings I bowled like a shower of s***. It’s one of those grounds where you can turn up and it seams all over the shop. I played a couple of times there for Free State and always bowled badly. In the first innings I thought I bowled badly again, but I got 5-144 in about 50 overs [35]. It was one of those voodoo grounds, everyone’s got one, and you think, ‘Well I won’t do well there.’ But then in the second innings everything seemed to go right, and when Jacques Kallis edged his first ball behind to first slip, I thought it might be one of my days.

THE WALL
64* | Yorkshire v Lancashire, County Championship, Headingley, 2005

Another highlight was my 89 not out against Glamorgan, but the big one, batting-wise, was my 64 not out, which saved the game against Lancashire. It’s always nice to score runs. Against Glamorgan, I just didn’t want to bowl, it was always going to be a boring old draw anyway, so the longer we batted, the less we had to bowl. Getting 89 was great, it was my first fifty and I hooked Simon Jones – that’s always nice. But batting for two-and-a-half hours against Lancashire to save the game for Yorkshire, that was brilliant. Every batter thinks they can bowl, but when you bat down at the low end of the order you either run out of partners or have a rush of blood to the head. It’s nice when you get the opportunity to have a bat, a long bat, and then you can see how much work the batters don’t really do and how it’s a piece of piss!

THE START
1-40 & 2-56 | England v Australia, First Test, Lord’s, 2005

The first game of any series is really important and I managed to pick up the first wicket of Matthew Hayden in that series and it went on from there really. He scared the heebie-jeebies out of me because he was a bully – once he got in you couldn’t bowl at him. Luckily he was out of form, I put it in the right area and we had some great fields; take nothing away from Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher – they had done their homework, their research and they put the fielders in the right place. Getting Langer out was always nice as well. At the time I thought he was a mouthy, brown-nosed gnome but then I played with him at the Hong Kong sixes and he was fine, so it’s just your perception of the people you play against rather than the person themselves.

THE COVER DRIVE
10 & 8* | England v Australia, Fourth Test, Trent Bridge, 2005

Helping Gilo [Ashley Giles] score 12 to win the fourth Test match at Trent Bridge was good fun. I was s***ing myself before I went out and I couldn’t watch the game. I knew there was going to be a twist, and I was hiding in the changing rooms not watching. But as soon as you cross that white line, it’s calm. You think, ‘We need 12, we can edge them.’ So I was quite relaxed when I got to the crease, but then Gilo said, “Brett Lee’s bowling f***ing quick inswinging yorkers and bouncers and Shane Warne’s turning it miles. Good luck!” But when it’s in your hands, in your control, and your destiny’s at your feet, it’s much easier to cope with than watching.

THE MOTORBIKE
6-57 & 1-29 | India v England, First Test, Nagpur, 2006

I got a six-fer in India and I was awarded the Man of the Match, so I rode around on a motorbike. It started off a trend; I was the first person to do it. I don’t remember too much about it. I remember I got Sehwag out with a ball that nipped back – it was supposed to be an outswinger. It must have hit a worm, I can’t remember if he left it or not. It was just one of those things where you get into a rhythm and everything seems to go right for you. I think it’s days and circumstances, bowling is about rhythm, sometimes you will bowl fantastically well and not get a reward and other times, you’ll bowl averagely and pick up six. It’s very much a consistency game; if you are consistent you are going to get a reward at some point.

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