DateLine: 13th February 2006
Although Ed Giddins ascended to being a Test cricketer, history is likely to find his off-the field misdemeanours more memorable. Despite a decent debut against New Zealand in 1999 (where he batted below Alan Mullally and Phil Tufnell in the order) he was omitted from the tour to South Africa, although the next summer he started strongly in swinging Zimbabwe to defeat, thanks to 5-15 in the first innings followed by 2-27 in the second innings. However, his effectiveness was much reduced in the next Test as the African tourists had the better of a rain affected match, and he was venom free on his home ground of Edgbaston as a creaking West Indian side beat England by an innings in June 2000. Giddins was a four county man during his career. His first move came after Sussex sacked him after he had tested positive for cocaine in 1996. Warwickshire beat off several other counties to sign him for 1998, although with his Test caps in his pocket he moved south to join reigning champions Surrey for 2001. This arrangement lasted two seasons before he decamped to Southampton to join Hampshire. However, before 2003 was out he had retired, claiming that his fitness just wasnít good enough for him to turn in the performances he wanted. However, in May 2004 he was fined £5000 and banned from all cricket for five years after he was found guilty of betting £7,000 on Surrey to lose a Sunday league match against Northamptonshire in 2002. Although he didnít play in the match, he knew Surrey would be fielding a scratch team to rest their first XI for a C & G Semi-final the next day. In the event Surrey had won anyway, although in the post Cronje era, such an action smacked of extreme self destruction, extreme naivety or extreme arrogance. Giddins had earlier made a more palatable living by selling Christmas trees in partnership with Nadeem Shahid. His Test bowling average is dead on 20 thanks to his dismantling of Zimbabwe. However, the sad thing is that all the controversy has largely obscured the fact that he could be a high-class swing bowler, although his action always seemed very suspicious, with some braver umpires calling him for throwing. Although chucking remains one of the most contentious issues in the game, it is a shame that wasnít the only controversy to surround him both during and after his career.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Matthew Reed)