DateLine: 20th December 2005
After the 2002-3 Ashes Series, Richard Dawson joined the long list of English spinners to be tried, tested and discarded. However, he at least bowls in an attacking manner, looking to actively take wickets rather than just slowing the scoring rate and giving the quicker bowlers a rest. Dawson had come out of nowhere in 2001 to take 30 wickets as Yorkshire finally reclaimed the Championship. When he had made his debut for the Tykes a year earlier, there were several claims that Dawson was the first ever graduate to wear the White Rose. On top of the Championship medal, he was selected for the winter tour to India after Robert Croft had pulled out for security reasons. He performed creditably, although the stellar (and spin loving) Indian top order did occasionally get on top of him. The following winter he replaced the injured Ashley Giles in Australia. Predictably this was a difficult tour, as the Australians scored off him with ease. He also got caught up in Steve Waugh’s inevitable charge to a century in his world record equalling 156th Test match, although it is often forgotten that England did actually go on to win that match. Dawson’s batting also contained gumption and courage, and marked him out as a spirited cricketer. Even with the acknowledgement that Headingley isn’t the ideal place for a spinner to play half his matches, Dawson has had some average recent seasons. Since his Ashes exploits he has been overtaken by Gareth Batty, the 36 year old Shaun Udal and the inexperienced Alex Loudon in the quest to understudy Ashley Giles, although as none of these have staked a decisive claim to the role, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Dawson were to don the three lions once again, especially as his batting has recently further improved.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)