DateLine: 8th December 2005
Tim Munton was the combined stock/strike bowler that a lot of great cricket teams have. In Warwickshire’s triumphant run in the 1990’s he was both their bedrock and spearpoint. After many years as a line and length bowler par excellence, he made a conscious effort to lead the Edgbaston bowling attack in 1994, as previous alpha bowler Allan Donald was unavailable due to touring England with South Africa. He set about this task by bowling quicker, with a more attacking line, and more variety (bouncers, yorkers etc), and was rewarded with 81 Championship wickets at 21.58. Of equal note was the fact that with Dermot Reeve injured and then out of form, Munton led the team for 9 Championship fixtures, securing an amazing eight victories as Warwickshire stormed to the title. Injuries hit in 1995, although his haul of 46 Championship wickets (at 19.56) was only bettered by Donald as the trophy stayed in Birmingham for a second consecutive season.
Munton suffered from being a fringe England player in the days when many careers didn’t get past one or two Tests, and when players were left to guess what they had or hadn’t done right. Three of his four Test wickets were high class batsmen (Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq & Rameez Raja), but the closest he came to international recognition again was when he was picked for the A Tour to Pakistan in 1995/6, where his first-class wickets came at just 12.88. Despite this, he may have suffered from being a contemporary of Angus Fraser in terms of his international non-selection, as both of them stood well 6ft height and usually placed an emphasis on economy and accuracy. After missing the whole of the 1997 season, Munton returned strongly for Warwickshire in 1998 and 1999, and all at Edgbaston were genuinely disappointed when he asked to leave Edgbaston with a year left on his contract. He joined Derbyshire (despite interest from reigning county champions Surrey) for the 2000 season, and although injuries really started to bite, he was still capable of high class performances, including a masterclass in exploiting seaming conditions as he steamed through a Surrey side containing Thorpe, Stewart et al with 7-34. His last playing season was 2001, although it was puzzling how Derbyshire refused to turn to him when their electric start to the 2002 season blew a fuse, as he was still under contract and performing well in the Second XI. The respect which Munton commanded as a player and person has helped him find positions in his post-playing career, as he now sits on ECB Disciplinary Panels and works for the Professional Cricketers Association.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)