Why Yorkshire CCC’s Matthew Fisher deserves all the lucky breaks going as he looks to make up for lost time – Chris Waters
He always has a smile on his face. He always says hello.
He is the sort of lad that you want to see do well.
For too long, though, we did not see enough of him.
Fisher experienced some awful luck with injuries and was kept off the park.
Now, happily restored to fitness – touch wood – and bowling better than he has ever done, we are starting to see just how good he is and how good he could become.
At 23, Fisher still has a long career ahead of him – plenty of time, if you will, to make up for lost time.
There is no point in listing all the injuries that he has suffered. One might just as well pick up the nearest medical dictionary, turn to a random page and wherever one’s gaze happens to fall, there is a fair chance that Fisher has had it.
In all seriousness, the injuries have tested his strength of character as much as anything, and although there have been plenty of dark times, times when he thought that he might not achieve what his talent suggests that he can achieve in the game, that character has not been found wanting.
On the contrary, it has revealed him to be as tough as old boots behind the amiable smile, a man whose sheer willpower has kept him coming back for more.
At Scarborough last week, and at Southampton the week before, we saw Fisher doing what he does best and enjoys so much – bowling. He has modified his action; he now runs in straighter and consequently puts less pressure on his abdominal muscles, which has been a problem area for him.
Five wickets in Southampton were followed by nine in Scarborough, where he returned career-best match figures of 9-64, and he played a considerable part in the victory by an innings and 33 runs over Somerset which breathed fresh life into Yorkshire’s County Championship title hopes.
Fisher’s spell of 4-2 from six overs at the start of Somerset’s second innings, which helped to send them sliding to 18-5, was perhaps the best bowling we have seen from him as he blew away top-class players with his pace and skill.
How distant the dark times must have seemed as the cheers of the North Marine Road crowd were ringing in his ears, the same crowd who had watched him make his debut all those years ago at the tender age of 15.
He was back among friends – namely, the Yorkshire faithful. You could sense them urging him on with every delivery.
What I like about Fisher – apart from the obvious attribute of his cricketing talents, not just with the ball, indeed, but also with the bat and in the field – is his spirit and attitude.
To keep coming back from all the setbacks – and he is wise enough to know that there may be more in the future, because that’s just how life works – is a commendable characteristic.
He is a team man, too, another thing to like – someone who takes obvious enjoyment from other people’s success.
It is never about him, but always about the team.
Let’s hope that the cricketing gods are kind and that Fisher gets the breaks – lucky ones, not the ones to his bones – that allow him to go from strength to strength in the coming years.
If those gods are kind, then Fisher will surely flourish.