Sunday, 23 May 2010

Broad & Collingwood miss Bangladesh tests!!

When Andrew Strauss took time off from tests recently some people criticised the Captain’s choice. The England team play a great number of matches these days and even if the bowlers do not bowl huge numbers of overs, the intensity of competition and travel are still there. What the public do not always appreciate is that there is a huge difference in players approach and mentality. Some players become mentally drained after a test match and, with others, it is far less taxing. Thank goodness we are all different.

When considering and injury, one very big difference between professional cricket and top club cricket is, if a player carries a niggling injury, it is harder for him to shrug it off when you are playing or practising almost everyday.

As soon as the test matches against Bangladesh start then the long build up to the Ashes test matches is underway with a huge programme of cricket in all forms of competition. That’s why there is a squad.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Please hang me in the Long Room – not the toilet!

When you arrive at the Oval on your first pro contract at 16, and walk through the Long Room, the thought of one day, having your portrait adorning the walls with great players, is the other side of the moon!

Surrey gave me the greatest honour of my life when they said that they would like me to have a portrait painted for The Oval. Very kindly, my son Toby produced and donated the oil painting (it helped that he runs his own art business!)

Never in my career was I ever remotely tempted to move counties and yesterday, at the unveiling, was as good as it gets for a Surrey player/pro/life long fan. Yesterday at the unveiling was a very special moment for me.

Knowing the leg-pulling lot of the players I played with over 24 years, I haven’t heard the last of it!!

Many many thanks Surrey County Cricket Club!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

World Cup win – well done, but better things shone through.

England are so pleased to have got the one day failure monkey off their backs.  What many people do not realise is that the shortest form of cricket can be the biggest lottery of all.  All top snooker players want their Championships to be as many frames as they can possibly make it, as, the longer the games go on, the best player will shine through.  The same analogy applies to cricket.  The most satisfying thing about England’s win is the all-round performance of all the departments of the game.  The Australians, Pakistan, South Africa and (the outsiders for the Tournament) Sri Lanka take some beating.  Yet England were head and shoulders the most professional unit in the Caribbean and the results reflected their collective achievements.  Much credit must go to, of course the players, but also the playing Management and the gelling of Collingwood and Flower.

England are going to be on a high when they start again, but, next time it’s the real thing. I am sure that anything short of a convincing win against Bangladesh will not be acceptable to the players and Management.  Then the big test.  Pakistan will try desperately to hang on to some form of supremacy as a test nation.  It bothers me like mad to think that they may not play another test match, on their home soil, in my lifetime, and, only staying in the top bracket will the game hold its own in Pakistan and produce the players needed for the next decade.

Watch this space..!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The greatest Cricket World XI ever?!

There are very many people who have made their World XL public.  Players come and go over the eras. Without mentioning players such as Bradman, Hobbs, Hammond, Headley, Compton, Miller etc, you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.  As soon as players had to play one day cricket they had to contend with learning a different technique than just playing first class cricket.  One day cricket started in the 60’s so I made my team from 1960.

Richards, Barry
Richards, Viv

If you are going to have team as strong as this, in reality,  you would only need possibly 8 players.  To gauge just how strong the above team is you have to look at the people who are omitted – Graveney, Gavaskar, Roberts, Kanhai, Knott, Barrington, Greenidge, Lloyd, Hadlee, Cowdrey, Underwood, Chappell G & I., Border and many, many others. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Beware - Twenty20 needs nurturing

Virtually all the criticism that I have heard or seen regarding T20, is a mirror of the remarks made about one day cricket when it first came. Although the initial one day competition was the Gillette Cup in ’63, the real surge came when we were playing it every Sunday in the John Player League in ’69. Without one day cricket, County Cricket, and County Cricket clubs, as we know it, would have died.

The World cricket organisations were able to dovetail one day programmes into the First Class & Test Match itinerary without adverse effect.

Twenty20 cricket is fast, highly competitive and exciting, but the victories and team successes of T20 are forgotten even faster that the results of the longer one day formats. For over a century Test match cricket has been the backbone of world and professional cricket and it always will be, but, to seek the highest standard in test matches, finance plays a large part.

T20 cricket has given the cricketing coffers a chance to rise to a higher level that was ever dreamed of just a decade ago. It has brought an abundance of people all over the world into cricket grounds who otherwise would not have entered which must be good for the game. Players and teams alike require space in their itineraries to fit all forms of the game into a yearly programme. Yes, T20 is the golden goose, but, if we do not secure the correct balance of matches, the very heart and substance of World Cricket will be torn apart.

Currently the most successful and lucrative T20 matches are played in India. World Cricket has been lead and dominated by England and Australia for over a century, and the two countries have guided the other countries, fairly successfully most would say.

For a few years now India have been the all powerful nation, calling most of the shots, but, if India are going to adopt this mantle, then they have to take the responsibility that goes with the territory. There are so many personal agendas to be satisfied, but, if we don’t reach a satisfactory outcome, cricket will be blown apart.