King of Spain

Ashley Giles returns to the pavilion after scoring 59 and the Ashes are England's. England v Australia, The Oval, 12th September 2005 (Brian Carpenter)

I've been meaning to post something about Ashley Giles ever since he announced his retirement on Thursday.

In truth I thought his great mate and erstwhile skipper Michael Vaughan went a little bit far when he described Giles as one of England's most underrated players. For a good part of his career he wasn't underrated; he simply wasn't very good, but, that said, he did grow into his job and became an essential figure in the England side which won six series in a row in 2004 and 2005, culminating in the most magical day in modern English cricket history.

As someone who was at The Oval on 12th September 2005, I'll remember him best for the innings in support of Pietersen without which the Ashes win would never have been. Giles' cool stoicism that day summed him up; diligent, rational, self-improving and with a genuine love of the game.

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