Brief profile of Gavin Hamilton
by Matthew Reed

Player:GM Hamilton

DateLine: 20th December 2005


Poor Gavin Hamilton. If there was ever a cricketer who fell off the mountain with a bump, it was him. After a slow start to his county career, he suddenly bloomed into a high quality domestic all-rounder in 1998 and 1999. Strong county performances in these seasons were further embellished by an excellent display in Scotland’s 1999 World Cup campaign, where he top-scored in four out of Scotland’s five matches. His first change bowling also looked reasonable at that level. This evidence that he was not intimidated by the big stage helped book him a plane ticket for the 1999-00 tour to South Africa. After some good contributions in the warm-up games (where he swung the ball both ways), he was given his Test debut in the First Test at Johannesburg, where he succumbed to Allan Donald twice in recording a king pair. The South African batsmen then treated him like a net bowler as they laid the foundations for their innings victory. The decline in Hamilton’s cricketing fortunes can probably be traced directly from this match. Although he played reasonably in a couple more provincial matches, he never got close to the Test team again, and he returned to England before the start of the limited-overs series. He had a strong 2000 season with Yorkshire, but was in and out of the Championship winning team of 2001, where his batting form evaporated. Worse was to come though. 2002 saw the yips completely take over his bowling. A real low came in the Championship against Sussex in June 2002, where his sole over of randomly pitched deliveries cost 17 (including 5 wides and a no-ball). The next season brought a ray of hope, as in an appearance as a specialist batsman he scored 68 in the Championship at Cheltenham, although that was to be his last First-class match for the Tykes. A fresh start seemed the best bet for everyone, and Hamilton travelled north to Durham for 2004. Despite bowling a reasonable amount of overs at the start of the season, the yips struck again, and his batting form alone did not warrant his inclusion in the side. In 2005 he was loaned to Scotland for six matches in their Sunday League campaign, and on his return he again played for Durham as a batsman only. With his bowling rhythm having again left him, and with his batting form not top six quality, Hamilton retired. He had also played for Scotland in their 2005 ICC Trophy campaign (again without bowling), although he had a below par series as Scotland qualified for the 2007 World Cup. Hamilton had earlier shown his importance to the Scottish cause with a top-scoring century in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup at Sharjah in November 2004, as Canada were crushed by an innings and 84 runs. Frustratingly, his Scottish career had been curtailed by his dalliance with England, as had to serve what was effectively a four year ban before he could play for his home country again. Any cricketer who has been through the yips deserves sympathy, and he may yet play in his second World Cup, which is something that hardly any of his county colleagues will ever get to do. However, whenever the issue of ‘worst Test debut’ is up for discussion, Hamilton’s name will inevitably feature.


December 2005

(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)