If Lancashire and Peter Moores want to find a way to make that elusive title victory a reality then they could do a lot worse than find a means of extending Kyle Hogg’s purple patch after the Lancashire bowler again wreaked havoc upon an unsuspecting county batting line-up. It has been an unlikely, and welcome, coming of age for a bowler who has always appeared to boast great promise without delivering conclusive results. Indeed, such was his promise that it once was Hogg who appeared to be destined for greatness alongside his County compatriot James Anderson back in 2003 when on the back of a decent performance in the under-19 World Cup and some promising form for Lancashire he was named in England’s provisional World Cup squad. Yet while Anderson made the grade and promptly went on to put in some eye-catching performances, Hogg was dispatched back to Lancashire where he not so much fell off the radar as disappeared from it altogether.
Injuries haven’t helped, and he has had more than his fair share of them over the years, nor has the competition for places among the burgeoning numbers of seam bowlers at Lancashire which has often meant he has struggled to get into the County Championship line-up which means he has often struggled to put together a consistent run of form and has meant that he has only featured in 69 games, hardly the number of games of someone who has been in first class cricket for almost a decade. Yet this season has not been so much a renaissance as a reminder of what he can do. While he has never had express pace, he always been lively and like most Lancashire pace bowlers he is adept at making the most of conditions when they suit. Though he has never quite mastered the art of orthodox or reverse swing like an Anderson, or boasted the miserly economy of an Chapple though few do.
But as he has shown this season, when he hits his straps he can be a match-winner. 29 wickets in 5 games at an average of nigh on 15 is an eye-catching return for someone who has never really been trusted in first class cricket, while his haul against Hampshire: 7-28 and 4-31 gave him the best figures of the season so far with 11-59, it was symbolic that his seven wicket haul was the first time since 2002 he had taken five or more wickets in an innings in first class cricket. His latest efforts of 5-62 against Yorkshire were probably more important given the status of the opponents and had he not taken quite such damage from the tail enders then he could have easily have had figures to match those he scored against Hampshire.
Admittedly he was as much as fault for Lancashire letting Yorkshire get off the hook as any of their bowlers this was still a hugely successful, and symbolic performance for a bowler who has stuck with Lancashire despite the possibilities of better chances elsewhere. For this has been the season which has been so much of a renaissance for Hogg, than a reminder of what he could have been but for his cursed luck with form and fitness and perhaps a sign that there may be better things yet to come for him.