Amazing Ackermann on top of the world

When people sat around a table looking at the concept of T20 cricket, it is fair to say that bowlers were probably not the first group of people it was designed for.

Spinners were perhaps perceived to be the worst off with belting wickets, short boundaries and bigger bats designed to entertain crowds up and down the country.

But the slow men have found a niche in the market, particularly at Leicestershire Foxes, so Colin Ackermann’s night to remember should not have come as a surprise.

Slow left armer Claude Henderson (69) has the most wickets in the club’s history and off-spinners Jigar Naik (41) and Josh Cobb (38) were also highly successful.

Jeremy Snape (36) has one of only two hat-tricks while Callum Parkinson (37) is very close to becoming the fifth highest wicket-taker in the club’s competition history.

Ackermann rewrote the record books in front of both a healthy crowd and the television cameras, and it means the three world’s best figures in the format have now been taken by spin bowlers.

There are two Leicestershire connections in that top three with Ackermann’s seven for 18 sitting alongside former Fox Shakib Al Hasan (six for six in the Caribbean Premier League).

The previous record was held by Arul Suppiah for Somerset in 2011, who picked up six for five in a game that Foxes batsman Mark Cosgrove also played in.

Ackermann’s unbelievable haul got the crowd recalling some of the greatest occasions in the proud T20 history of Leicestershire Foxes, and sparked worldwide debate on social media.

Former Fox Stuart Broad chipped in fresh from his excellent performance for England against Australia in the recent test, comparing one of Ackermann’s deliveries to the moon ball that Snape perfected.

Ackermann was the seventh bowler to take five wickets or more for the Foxes following Jim Allenby (twice), Clint McKay, Andrew McDonald, Richard Jones, Anthony Ireland and Iain O’Brien.

Seamer McKay, one of the most skilful white ball bowlers to have represented the Foxes, had the previous best figures (five for eleven) in the superb win against Worcestershire Rapids in 2017.

Fellow Victorian Andrew McDonald, a key figure when the Foxes lifted the trophy for a record third time at Edgbaston in 2011, held the Foxes record for several years having taken five for 13 at Trent Bridge in 2010.

T20 is full of statistical quirks, and although Lancashire Lightning have proved one of the toughest opponents for Leicestershire Foxes, they have also bore the brunt of some of the best figures in the past.

Allenby’s five-for in 2008 at Old Trafford included the unique Foxes feat of four wickets in four deliveries.

The only instance of taking five on debut was achieved by Richard Jones, who achieved that feat in Manchester. Having linked up with his new teammates in the immediate build-up to the game, Jones introduced himself in some style and later signed for the club on a permanent deal.

When England star Andrew Flintoff made his playing comeback for Lancashire Lightning in front of a packed crowd on Bank Holiday Monday in Liverpool in 2009, all eyes were on the England all-rounder.

But Allenby batted well on that occasion and New Zealand international O’Brien then picked up five wickets, including Flintoff’s scalp at Aigburth.

There have been two games against Derbyshire Falcons where five-fors have been taken: Allenby at the FCG in 2008, and Ireland at Chesterfield in 2014.

Head Coach Paul Nixon has been involved in many of these games, both as a player and coach, and he’ll be urging his team to build on the momentum gained from the Birmingham Bears win when the Foxes face Northants Steelbacks on Friday.

*Tickets are still available for the game, and advanced prices at 25% are available to buy online HERE before midnight tonight!