CategoryNostalgia

Family Misfortunes

It must be tough to be a sibling, in the same line of work (professional sport for instance) and yet be overshadowed by an older or younger brother or sister (or cousin for that matter). Iain Greig was a solid county all-rounder – but few casual fans would be able to tell you that he played two tests in 1982 as England floundered even with Botham for a period of time. More recently Billy Root has showed signs of developing into a solid county batsman at Glamorgan, yet will always suffer...

South Africa ’76: What Might Have Been?

The long hot summer of 1976 saw the Montreal Olympics, Bjorn Borg win Wimbledon for the first time and Johnny Miller clinch the British Open title. It also witnessed England’s mauling by the West Indies with a rich seam of talented cricketers. A 3-0 series defeat somewhat flattered England as Viv Richards smashed 291 at the Oval. However, what might a South African test side have achieved at this time? The Proteas had already been in exile for six years as the apartheid regime continued to...

The Joy Of Medium Pace

We all know how cricket writers and supporters in England love to romanticise certain forms of bowling. Leg spin and fast bowling are probably the best examples, in part because there are so few genuinely great exponents of both of these challenging arts. Medium pacers (and I enclose medium fast and fast medium) seam and swing doesn’t seem to get quite the same respect, although Jimmy Anderson’s skill and longevity are certainly well known and respected, as is Stuart Broad. The list of English...

The End Of The Tail Ender?

So the sun is shining and all the windows are open. A game of cricket glows from the TV screen as I settle down with a cool beer. Oops, both openers have gone cheaply but we’ve still got the middle order; which slowly begins to crumble, and before you know it the all-rounder is about to be joined by the wicket-keeper. The last two recognised batsman with 5 wickets down would soon expose the tail, a mythical beast that never seemed to wag properly – unless there was a batsman who could...

Warriors At The Crease: Inside The Mind Of An Opener

The redoubtable commentator Henry Blofeld once observed one day cricket is an exhibition; a test match is an examination. If so its keenest students are the opening batsmen. The single minded, tactic driven obsessives who commence the innings. They face the new ball and a bowling attack designed to unsettle and probe for weakness. If the toss is lost there could also be the small matter of a turning wicket favouring the bowlers. An opener may have the full repertoire of shots in their locker;...

Last Of The Great All-Rounders?

Compton, Botham, Neville and Moore … New writer Brian Penn celebrates the elite sportsmen that excelled at both cricket and football. When the world was younger and less troubled, the sporting calendar had an air of glorious simplicity. We played cricket in the summer and football in the winter. The tranquil hum of leather on willow would ultimately give way to the mud and spit of football; it was English sport’s equivalent to the changing of the guard. This neat demarcation in seasons...

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