Thursday, May 27, 2010
Has Hildreth come of age?
In county cricket, one player I have always kept an eye on is Hildreth. From whatever I have seen of him, he is a promising batsman as he is a fine timer of the ball and has a wide range of shots. The downside is, he hasn't been consistent enough in the last few seasons. He has also been known as a player, who can score heavily only on that feathered, Taunton. So, it is refreshing to see that in 2010, Hildreth has been scoring heavily for his county, Somerset.
During his younger days, Hildreth was said to be good at other sports like football as he played for England independent schools and was also good at squash, tennis and even rugby, but took up cricket as his main sport. A lot was expected of him, especially after he scored a century against Durham with Akthar in the opposition bowling attack, but unfortunately he struggled to make his mark from 2003 to 2008 and seemed like another player, who promised much but won't fulfill his potential. 2009 was a better year for him as he averaged in the mid 40's and more importantly in 2010, he has been able to perform even better as he has scored 590 runs at an average of 65.55. I know that his critics would always point to the fact that he plays on that batting paradise Taunton and that helps. Yes, it is true that this season he has scored lots of runs at Taunton and even last year he got that mammoth 303 against Warwickshire again at Taunton, but it doesn't take away the fact that he has been in tremendous form this season.
Secondly, he got that 102 against Yorkshire when Somerset were chasing a stiff target and his knock of 131 against Warwickshire came in a low scoring match and that has to be considered. Actually, his 131 proved to be the difference between the two teams as rest of the batsmen struggled to do well. He also made 99 at Manchester and a century at Southampton. So, it is perhaps a bit unfair to say that he is a flat wicket bully.
I don't see too many question marks over his technique though, he can get into the habit of playing from the crease. If a player plays on very good batting tracks like Taunton, the advantage for a young player is, he can play his shots and build his confidence, but it can sometimes lead to lazy footwork. Actually, I was more worried about Hildreth's temperament as in the past he has given his wicket away, but he has been scoring heavily this season and more importantly is doing well under pressure.
Hildreth is a good player to watch, especially can play some delightful shots through square of the wicket on the off side and contrary to what many think he does have a decent technique. I do hope that he continues to score heavily this season and would hopefully get a chance to play for England in the future.