Hoggard proud to join 200 group
by AFP

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Scorecard:England v Sri Lanka
Player:MJ Hoggard, MF Maharoof
Event:Sri Lanka in England 2006

DateLine: 13th May 2006


Matthew Hoggard couldn't hide his pleasure after becoming only the tenth England bowler to take 200 Test wickets.


The often under-rated Yorkshire swing specialist reached the landmark when he caught and bowled Farveez Maharoof on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's here Saturday and went on to finish with innings figures of four for 27 from 14 overs as the tourists were made to follow-on.


"There was a little bit of movement and it was nice to get into that elite group," the 29-year-old Hoggard, playing his 52nd Test, told reporters after stumps.


However, he admitted: "I felt like a bag of spanners in the first innings. It (the ball) didn't come out right."


There was a time when it looked as if Hoggard, criticised early in his international career for being one-dimensional and lacking pace, might lose his spot in the Test side.


But England's 2004 tour of the West Indies saw the self-deprecating seamer take a leading role, including a hat-trick in the Barbados Test.


However, he admitted it needed some straight talking from his Yorkshire team-mate and England captain Michael Vaughan, currently sidelined with a knee injury, to set him on the road to success.


"I didn't think I'd go on the West Indies tour. But Michael Vaughan put it to me in layman's terms that I was sweeping up the shop floor and keeping things tidy for the rest of the bowlers.


"I'm very happy in that role. It's good to have quality fast bowlers at the other end," said Hoggard who, having played alongside the likes of fellow Yorkshireman Darren Gough and Durham's Stephen Harmison, is currently one of the senior figures in England's injury-hit attack.


"The batsmen don't want to face them but the 'dibbly-dobbler' at the other end and take me too lightly, I think," said Hoggard, an ever-present in England's last 30 Tests.


Looking ahead to the prospect of becoming only the fourth England bowler to take 300 Test wickets, Hoggard said: "It would be lovely to get there but I'm not a massive stats man.


"But sitting here on my (Test) debut in 2000, sat on the balcony chewing my bat handle off and watching while we made the runs to beat the West Indies, I wouldn't have dreamed of getting 200 wickets let alone getting it at Lord's where I started."


Hoggard also paid tribute to the influence of former England bowling coach Troy Cooley, who earlier this year returned to his native Australia to take up a similar position with England's arch-rivals.


"He's a been a big inspiration and a big help to me over the years. He was a great asset to English cricket but hopefully he won't replicate what he's done here with Australia."


Away from cricket Hoggard is known for relaxing by walking his dogs. "It beats the gym, I have to tell you.


"Everybody's got their own little sanctuary they go to. Mine happens to be dog-walking, I'm sure Fred's (Andrew Flintoff's) is the pub and Andrew Strauss most probably slips through the Financial Times to see how his stocks and shares are going.


"Everybody's got their own way of doing things and I enjoy getting out in the countryside and getting away from it."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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