DateLine: 9th October 2006
Gary Keedy’s development into a high quality left arm spinner probably came too late to activate an England career. Capable of generating more spin than several players tried at international level, his batting (he has only one half century in any form of the game) and the fact he was approaching 30 seemed to be viewed by the selectors as too decisive a weakness.
Picked up by his native Yorkshire, Keedy played only one first class game for the county - never sending down a delivery! However after heading west across the Pennines he quickly found first class action in 1995, taking 37 first class wickets and holding down a championship starting berth. After a disappointing 1996 the next three seasons saw him play a secondary role, appearing in less than half of Lancashire’s four day games and hardly any of their one day matches.
It took until 2000 for him to be re-established in the first team, where he often bowled in a two prong spin attack with Chris Schofield.
It was in 2003 that Keedy moved from a county journeyman to a potential England player hauling in 60 first class wickets. One year later he was the leading English qualified wicket taker capturing 72 dismissals, including a golden run which saw him collect 37 wickets in 4 home championship matches.
Yet international recognition never came, Gareth Batty’s better all round game was preferred on the tours after Keedy’s bumper years and in 2005 any hopes of touring were scuppered by a finger injury. The major irony of this being the decision to take the older Shaun Udal and the similarly run challenged Monty Panesar away that winter.
Another 60+ season followed in 2006 firmly establishing Keedy as one of the county circuit’s most effective performers.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006 John Dobson)