Despite taking 3 for 2 off 2 overs, on debut, in the rain, on a worn out non-spin-friendly synthetic pitch, Dean’s cricket ‘career’ shockingly never took off. His very gentle left arm orthodox was only used twice more during that debut season, in which he finished the year with the mighty figures of 5/11 from a grand total of 5 overs. His performance, for lack of a better word, with the bat was below ordinary. Rarely troubling the scorers, and with an average that was struggling to nudge 2, it is not really surprising that he spent most of his time at number eleven. Maybe it had something to do with the $30 piece of Kashmir that he was wielding, or maybe he was just complete rubbish.
The following year saw less time bowling, more time at number eleven, and plenty of time chasing the ball, making Dean essentially a specialist fielder — not that he was necessarily a particularly good fielder either mind you. Built like a stick-insect and with the upper-body strength to match he wasn’t exactly an outfield weapon, he did however once manage two direct hits with throws from the outfield from consecutive deliveries. Neither were close to being run-outs, but they did serve to slow the match down while the stumps were re-assembled in their sandy footings. Statistically there was little to write home about during the year, a couple of lucky wickets, a catch or two and an ever so slightly better run with the bat, although still hideously abysmal when compared to his record in backyard cricket.
In what would be his final season Dean finally hit form with the bat towards the end of the season, producing standout scores of 8 and 11, remaining unbeaten on both occasions. His 8 could well have been many more if not for the limiting factors of his previously mentioned lack of strength, the length of the grass on the country field that slowed the balls progress, and his partner at the other end who was many years his senior and not quite as fast between the wickets. His 11* came after being bumped up the order — to 9th or 10th due to someone else not being ready at the fall of that particular wicket — and was likely helped by the downward slope of the ground and luck, scoring plenty off the edges of his cheap willow.
His favourite shots were a perfectly placed cut-shot just behind point and a brutal front foot pull-shot. Unfortunately he had neither the skill nor the timing to execute either, instead resorting to a consistently mistimed chip straight back over the bowler’s head, and the occasional lofted flick off the legs that always went much higher, and finer than intended. He wasn’t a huge snicker, rarely caught behind the wicket, instead opting for the much more direct approach of just getting bowled.
After three glorious seasons his cricketing career ended without fanfare nor success, he went on to enjoy cricket in other, easier, ways such as watching it, analysing it and writing about it — occasionally in third-person.
- Taking 3/2 (2.0) on debut, in the rain.
- Crafting 11 not out on a sloping ground
- Taking the first catch in the first day-night C-grade cricket match played in his district — he was 12th man after being 15 minutes late to the ground
- Taking a hat-trick sealing catch that to this day no-one is really sure whether or not he actually caught. His team mates thought he had taken it, the batsmen not so much. DRS hadn’t been invented. Even got a mention in the local newspaper for his efforts.
- Being part of a team that conceded close to 200 runs in a 20 over game (years before anyone had even heard of Twenty20) only for his side to then be bowled out for about 30.
Events and statistics may or may not be 100% accurate given all this happened more than 10 years ago.