Friday, 20 May 2011

Whatever happened to Alex Gidman?

It seems slightly cruel to write this post off the back of captain Gidman scoring his first championship hundred since September 2009, it's just that reading through some of the press from his innings the Jessop Tavern View was reminded of how good a player Gidman could/should have been.

Gidman made his Gloucestershire debut in 2002. By the end of 2003 he had progressed to such an extent that he was not only selected for the England academy but did enough there to prompt Rodney Marsh to name him captain of the England A team that toured the subcontinent that winter. OK, we all know there have been lots of guys who have shown this sort of potential at 23 or 24. It is what they do next that matters. Yet in 2007 Gidman was still being talked up after being selected for the England Lions game against the West Indies. "The men to watch in this side are Stuart Broad and Alex Gidman" wrote Simon Briggs. Well, one of these has done alright. It does, however, highlight the sort of talent that Gidman possessed (possesses?)

His career statistics are hard to read. In 9 seasons he has passed a thousand runs 4 times. But never has he got on to have that one really big year. In 2006 he posted 1200 runs at an average just below 50. That is his best year to date. It's perfectly respectable. But this is a man who has played the majority of his career in division 2 of the county championship. An excellent article on Cricket Archive points out that Gidman is a big match player, highlighting several fond memories as evidence. In fairness the last 5 or 6 years have hardly given Gidman much of a chance to shine on the big occasion.

So what do we make of Gidman. Is he really now the 'lesser' brother? Lets not forget that he is still only 29. Too old, presumably, for any resurrecting of his England career, but not too late to relaunch his county championship credentials as one of the the circuits most prolific scorers.

As critical as we have been about the skipper, especially last season, it is hard not to like a man who effectively threw away his career in 2008 by deciding to stay at Gloucestershire. You can't help but feel that Gidman really would have been better served had he moved to a bigger, more fancied county, where he could have had more chance to shine. Whether this shows a lack of real drive and motivation, or an admirable loyalty will be decided over the next few seasons.

Let's all hope that yesterdays glorious 168, plus the kick up the backside that must come from watching his younger brother become the divisions leading run scorer, will help captain Gidman go on to have that really big year his CV so far lacks. We'd love nothing more than to stop having to call him 'the other' Gidman.

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