Despite James Ormond bowling both fast-medium and off-spin on his Test debut in 2001, he still came away with figures of 1-115 as England were beaten by an innings in the Fifth Ashes Test. However, that versatility, coupled with a couple of useful knocks with the bat (and some well judged sledges back to the Australian fielders) marked him out as a cricketer with spirit. He was picked to tour India that winter (with his off-spinning ability no doubt a big plus point) although he again failed to look dangerous in the First Test of that series. He was dropped from the rest of the tour to accommodate the full-time spin of Ashley Giles and Richard Dawson. However, he was already assured of his ticket to New Zealand for the second leg of the winter, and he could return home that Christmas looking forward to the green wickets and cloudy skies of Christchurch and Auckland, which would no doubt greatly assist his first string of high quality seam and swing bowling. However, when he arrived in New Zealand, his already burly frame had, unnecessarily added some extra pounds. With Duncan Fletcher being especially humourless about such things, Ormond found himself having a boring tour and out of contention for the Test team. He hasnt been seen near the England team since, and despite winning the Championship with Surrey in his first season at The Oval in 2002, his First-class wickets have come at 32 for the Londoners, rather than the svelte 24 they cost him during his time at Leicestershire. However, much of his time has been spent as the workhorse in a now transitional Surrey line-up, and it was felt that the 36 wickets he took in 2005 could easily have been much higher with just a bit more luck. Ormond remains out of international contention though, and with nearing 30 and the English pace bowling attack in good shape, he may well have to see his career out on the county circuit.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Matthew Reed)