Birthday special: Matthew Hoggard – The energetic English pacer

On 31st December 1976, another of Yorkshire’s favourite sons, Matthew Hoggard, was born in Leeds. Charging in with infectious energy, Hoggard made giant strides to become a top fast bowler for England. In the early 2000s, Hoggard came to be known as a slippery and skiddy bowler who could naturally move the ball away from the right-hander.

Under skipper, Nasser Hussain and coach, Duncan Fletcher, Hoggard evolved from being a random talent to a match-winner for England. Having set a string of consistent performances at the county cricket level, he was handed his Test debut against West Indies at Lord’s in 2000. He went wicket-less on a supportive pitch, but the guidance of Gough, Caddick, and Cork proved to be a significant step forward in his cricketing career.

With just two Tests under his belt, Hoggard was chosen to lead the attack on a tough tour of India in 2001-02. He was at the peak of his career during his 7 for 63 against New Zealand in Christchurch, which was a coming of age performance. As he grew into his role in the English attack, the sparkling performances became more common.

Career highlights

A phenomenal hat-trick at Barbados in April 2004 followed by a brilliant 12-wicket haul at Johannesburg in the following winter, where he single-handedly led England into a series-clinching 2-1 lead against South Africa came before the following summer. That is when he shrugged off a quiet start to contribute nine wickets at Trent Bridge and The Oval, as England sealed their first Ashes victory for 18 years.

Having represented his nation in 67 Tests, Hoggard claimed 248 wickets at an average of 30.50, with 7 five-wicket-hauls and a solitary 10-wicket haul to his name. In limited-overs cricket, he represented England in 26 One-day Internationals, he managed to grab 32 wickets. In First-Class cricket, Hoggard was a force to reckon with. His final tally in FC games read 786 wickets from 239 matches, including 26 fifers.

His form plunged in 2006-07, and a lean patch against New Zealand led to his axing after the first Test in Hamilton. Though he earned a recall to the squad for the first Test of the 2008 season, he was subsequently ignored on home soil. Hoggard was a part of English squad in 2008, however, he remained an unused squad player and retired soon after.