By David Green
Up until this season, Glen Chapple had been one of the foremost unsung heroes of county cricket. Too good and certainly too canny for the majority of county batsmen, but not quite good enough - or just plain unlucky, depending on your opinion - to make the final step up to international honours.
Like Marcus Trescothick, Chapple has a remarkable record over the last five seasons:
2011: 55 wickets at 19.81
2010: 52 wickets at 19.75
2009: 35 wickets at 25.25
2008: 42 wickets at 20.50
2007: 47 wickets at 21.85
Overall that is 231 wickets at 21.16. So Chapple’s performances this season shouldn’t come as any real surprise to regular followers of county cricket. Except, and this is the crux, that he took most of his 55 wickets this season pretty much on one leg.
Chapple’s bravery and downright doggedness epitomised Lancashire’s title challenge where the whole grossly exceeded the sum of the individual parts.
As captain, Chapple must take a lot of credit for his team’s formidable spirit. Playing alongside such an exceptional leader of men seems to have proved inspirational to his team-mates.
In that final game at Taunton, Lancashire were behind the eight ball after Day One, but Chapple’s refusal to stay in the dressing room despite a bad hamstring injury seemed to act as the spur for a stirring fightback that propelled Lancashire team to win the title for the first time in 77 years.
We’ve already likened Chapple to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and just like John Cleese’s character you just know that even if Chapple had lost all his limbs, you still wouldn’t have been able to get the ball out of his hands.
If that’s not heroic, we don’t know what is.
(David Green is the brain behind the irreverent The Reverse Sweep blog and also writes for a number of cricket publications and sites such as World Cricket Watch. You can follow him on Twitter also@TheReverseSweep. David was a decent schoolboy and club cricketer (and scored his maiden 100 the same week that Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test ton) but not good enough to fulfil his childhood dream of emulating Douglas Jardine by winning the Ashes in Australia and annoying the locals into the bargain. He now lives with his wife and two young children in the South of France and will one day write the definitive biography of Hedley Verity)