The Cricket Tier
Lancashire Cricket Supporters Survey
Aug 5, 2021
We have had a tremendous response to our survey since it was launched at the start of the Royal London competition. The survey supports our campaign to have the MRG elected by the members and for two member-elected representatives to be on the board at all times.
Thank you to everyone who has taken 5 minutes to respond. It is fantastic to see that there are so many people putting themselves forward to sit on either the MRG or the board and the feedback you've provided will be acted upon.
We want to make sure everyone has had a chance to reply so that we are representing the views of as many Lancashire fans as possible. The club has banned us from handing out the survey inside the ground which makes it harder for those who don't go online much to have a say, so please do complete it and share this survey with any friend or family member who might want to reply.
Please use the following link -
The survey will close on Friday 20 August. We will compile the results and provide an update to everyone in time for the start of the division one stage of the County Championship. We will also be in touch with those people who want to volunteer to serve the club to discuss the best way forward.
During the summer, we have attempted a dialogue with both the club and the MRG on our campaign. We are still awaiting a reply from them. I want to share with you the latest note we have sent to all MRG volunteers and ask that if you do support our campaign that you take the time to email them to say so.
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
Letter to the Members Representative Group (MRG)
Dear MRG members
You will have seen that the Cricket Supporters Association and the Lancashire Action Group are campaigning to increase the involvement of Lancashire cricket fans in the club’s governance. We are encouraging members to put themselves forward for both the MRG and the board alongside a survey to understand supporters' priorities and how they rate the club’s facilities.
We wrote to Colin in June to ask the MRG to consider its views on our key aims:
1. To have two member-elected representatives on the board at all times.
2. MRG volunteers to be elected by the membership at the next round of appointments.
We very much hope that the MRG does support these aims and would welcome hearing back from you.
We have had a very positive response to the survey, despite the club preventing it from being distrubuted to supporters in the ground. The survey will close on Friday August 20th.
We wish to discuss the issues that concern members and former members with the MRG. Do you have a new date for the MRG meeting postponed in June as we would like to schedule a meeting before then? We will in any case send you and the club a summary of the survey results.
With best wishes, Alan Higham, Lancashire Member, Cricket Supporters Association board member and Lancashire representative. Co-opted onto the Lancashire Action Group
NEW FANZINE NOW OUT
Our new fanzine is a bumper edition and has 48 pages packed full of articles, features and our regular columnists. Still only £2 we have been told it is our best yet.
To order a copy of any of our fanzines, badges & shirts please go to
www.lancsactiongroup.com/shop Thank you, Ian Lomax, Lancs Action Group
Your Voice Counts - Lancs Action Group
Jul 3, 2021
Lancashire Action Group's latest newsletter covers : Members on the board and the Cricket Supporters Association joins our campaign, as well as the AGM and the MRG meeting on 30th June.
Cricket Supporters Association
Our campaign to have members elected to the board received a huge boost with the national Cricket Supporters Association publicly endorsing our aims. We put our case forward to a number of journalists resulting in a major feature in the Sunday Telegraph https://lancsactiongroup.com/sunday-telegraph by their chief cricket correspondent. The CSA Lancashire county representative and board member, Alan Higham has now joined the LAG. Please do take a look at the Cricket Supporters Association website https://www.cricketsupporters.com and sign up for free as a member so you can have your voice heard in its regular surveys.
Campaign update following the AGM
A difficult AGM took place on Friday 28 May with embarrassingly only 42 members in attendance. Members initially only allowed to observe via Zoom had to be given the ability to take part fully in the meeting in order to be quorate. We received reports from members who weren’t provided with online access and we asked the club to put a recording of the meeting online which they did here at Lancashire Cricket News
LAG member questions were read out in full and partially answered by the board. https://lancsactiongroup.com/action-group-statement We will do a full report in a bumper edition of Not the Spin 9 which is due out at the start of the Royal London games towards the end of July. The club still insists that any member can stand for the board but no one has done so since the nominations committee was put in place eight years ago.
Members were encouraged by Lee Morgan to put themselves forward if they felt they have the "right skill sets" to make a contribution. James Sheridan glossed over the long-standing concerns of the LAG that remain unresolved and pointed to the MRG as the forum to discuss these with the club management. The question of reforming the MRG to be elected by the membership wasn't actually answered. Instead, Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney praised the group "we would not be able to function without them", and pointed to the MRG minutes on the club's website to show members the "massive number of completed items". Gidney said he wasn't aware of a significant material issue that has not been resolved after discussions with the MRG.
Gidney denied that MRG members were privately chosen by the club stating that they are chosen by the nominations committee which he said was composed of a board member (Sara Tompkins), a non-board club member (Dave Taylor) and a "completely" independent person (Tim Johnston). We agree that the MRG has done good work recently in calling members during the pandemic to check on their welfare and the new initiative to have a MRG stand at the Roses’ match gave members a chance to give feedback directly.
But if the MRG was so effective then how is it than Daniel Gidney doesn't know about the main reasons why 9000 members have left the club and only now after many years are the club going to pay for market research to ask why members have left?
Members have left because the club has not delivered on the promises made by past management to provide members with decent viewing facilities in the pavilion. Members care passionately about the heritage of the club and they don't see this being shared by the board who didn't seem to know or care that the Championship Pennant was lost for years only to be found damaged in a Club's dusty cupboard or that the Museum is still no nearer being built although the Caffe Nero built on its original site was built in no time. Even now, the club feels that giving members facilities to view the match from side on is acceptable.
MRG meeting 30th June
The club sent an email this morning with the agenda for Wednesday’s MRG meeting on 30 June. We welcome this openness and hope that more than 3 days’ notice can be given for the next such meeting!
We draw your attention to two areas. For the first time, the club is discussing the possibility of having members on the board with the MRG.
Secondly, there have been a huge number of complaints around ticketing problems particularly affecting disabled people which the club has been very poor at addressing. Ticketing issues have been a persistent problem for members for many years now. If they can sell 50,000 tickets for a pop concert then why is it that a cricket audience of a fraction of these numbers are persistently treated so poorly?
We would like to hear from any supporter who has struggled with tickets and member services so that we can provide a full report to the club.
We urge Lancashire cricket supporters who want to see member facilities and services taken seriously to also email the MRG chair Colin Gore directly at - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members should be allowed to elect representatives to the board unhindered by a board-controlled committee. At the very least the MRG should be elected by the members and not appointed by the club through its nominations committee. Gidney at the AGM embarrassingly quoted the old nominations committee. The club changed the rules in 2020 and the nominations committee is now the club chairman, a club board member, and a club member appointed to the committee by the club. Incidentally, the Club has still not got round to updating the Club rules on its own website which changed at the AGM in 2019.
Gidney insults the intelligence of its members when he claims that these appointments aren't privately controlled by the club.It is time for the club to trust its members, be more honest about the mistakes it is making and turn words around member services and facilities into demonstrable action. We aim to support the club in improving its offering and attracting members back to the club.
As ever all feedback is welcome good or bad. You can email us at - email@example.com, join our ever growing facebook group & follow us on twitter at @lancscccaction Thank you, Ian Lomax, Lancashire Action Group
Pride of Cricket Awards 2021
Jul 1, 2021
The Pride of Cricket Awards are open for nominations right now with various categories available for you to put forward who'd your like to nominate.
The awards are generously supported this year by LV= Insurance, and are designed to celebrate the kindness, compassion and creativity of the cricket family in the UK.
Nominate an unsung hero... and spread the word
They present an opportunity for counties, clubs, schools, companies, organisations and charities to put forward individuals who have gone the extra mile to inspire, encourage and engage the community with the sport, over both the past 12 months and their lifetimes.
Spread across seven categories - from lifetime achievement to community engagement, fundraising to social media - the awards encapsulate the importance of selflessness, ingenuity and dedication within the game of cricket.
There is also a category for pros who have done more than most to advance the game in their communities, or shown the spirit of cricket through other initiatives outside of the sport over the past year.
PRIDE OF CRICKET AWARDS: THE CATEGORIES
LV= Club Hero: Open to individuals (or group of individuals) who have done the most to help their club thrive or survive in the current climate.
LV= Pro Hero: Open to the professional cricketer, male or female, who has given the most back to their community over the course of the past 12 months.
LV= Young Hero: Open to a child or group of children under the age of 18 who have given back tremendously to the cricket community over the course of the past 12 months.
LV= Fundraising Hero: Open to individuals (or group of individuals) who generated money for charity using cricket as a vehicle, or fundraised for clubs and cricket-based causes.
LV= Community Hero: Open to an individual (or a group of individuals) who have taken cricket out into the wider world, and generated new interest.
LV= Media Hero: Open to individuals whose work in media – traditional, mainstream, digital, social, professional and amateur – has given cricket and their cricket community increased prominence.
LV= Pride of Cricket Award: The headline award, recognising the lifetime contribution of an individual to the game of cricket, away from the limelight.
HOW TO NOMINATE
Nominations can be made using a quick and easy form online: nominate here
Nominations close on July 12th, prior to a judging process which will generate seven shortlists to be voted on by the general public.
The same individual can be nominated in multiple categories.
There are so many stories of individual and collective dedication, ambition, perseverance, ingenuity and exceptionalism out there in the grass roots and professional games, and we would love to tell those stories this summer.
Is England’s Batting Attack in Crisis or Lacking Confidence?
Jun 25, 2021
Cricket’s roots lie in England, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise after recent performances from the Test team. Historically, English cricket has boasted a fearful batting attack, with Alastair Cook, Jack Hobbs, and Kevin Pietersen showcasing the country’s talent at the crease. Those days, however, feel like a distant memory. From Test to Test, England’s batting performances appear to get worse, so let’s consider if they’re in crisis or whether it’s just a dip in confidence.
Coming Under Fire from Former Captains
Before England travelled to India for a tour-Test series, Chris Silverwood's team faced Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium. Had it not been for the captain, Joe Root, England’s batting line-up would likely have come under fire, with Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley, for the most part, having a torrid time at the top of the order. After a 2-0 victory in Sri Lanka, Silverwood's side travelled to India, where they suffered a 3-1 defeat.
In India, England had something of an excuse for their poor performance, blaming pitch conditions for their downfall. While this had some weight behind it, there's no excusing the 32-time Ashes winners’ display at home to New Zealand. In the second innings of the second Test, the hosts were bowled out for 112. It speaks volumes about the top orders’ confidence that Mark Wood, a pace bowler, registered the highest individual run total, scoring 29 from 38 balls.
As a collective unit, serious questions surround England’s batting attack. However, Rory Burns did come out of the New Zealand clash with some credibility, knocking 132 runs from 297 balls in the first innings of the first Test. The rest, however, were on the end of scathing criticism from Nasser Hussain, who wants Silverwood’s top order to “get back to playing normally”.
Australia Will Punish Lacklustre Displays
Hussain went on to say that England players are trying to reinvent the wheel, and few can disagree with him. Over the coming months, English cricket’s pride will be at stake, with Silverwood's side travelling to Australia for the Ashes. Irrespective of whether confidence is low, there appears to be a deeper issue in the batting attack. Michael Vaughan believes that “glaring tactical errors” were responsible for England’s loss to New Zealand. Moreover, the former captain doesn’t think green-top wins against India will transform their fortunes ahead of the Ashes tour.
If England stand any chance of pulling off an unexpected victory over Australia and winning the Ashes, the top order will need to step up and accept responsibility. However, they’ll also need time. Crawley and Ollie Pope are both 23, and between them, they’ve only played 33 Test matches. When the Ashes comes around, they’ll have their work cut out facing the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, meaning they’ll have to adapt quickly to Australian pitches. The Baggy Greens will be confident of causing England’s batting line-up problems, and they are 8/15 in cricket betting to win the 2021-22 Ashes Series, as of June 17th.
Low Confidence is Slowly Becoming a Crisis
As evident from the Sri Lanka series, England are incredibly reliant on Root. If the captain doesn't deliver, there aren't consistent batsmen to fall back on. With each underwhelming performance, the offensive confidence will diminish further, and it will culminate in a crisis if it continues much longer.
Spectators return this Thursday to Old Trafford
May 24, 2021
Spectators return this Thursday to Old Trafford for the first county championship game since 2019. On Friday evening, the club has its AGM and we hope that many of you will stay to attend.
Thanks to having a hotel on site, the club were able to host international matches last year and reduce the devastating impact the pandemic had on the club’s finances. The club lost over £17m in revenue compared to the bumper 2019 year yet still produced an operating profit of over £2m. The club’s long term debts are £46.7m, slightly down from 2019 at £48.7m.
Conference events and hotel revenues were down by almost £5m and cricket tickets and hospitality down by £13m.
The reduction in activity has been accompanied by significant cost reductions, which means job losses for many people. It’s been a tough year for sure and credit must go to everyone involved who have made sacrifices and worked hard to make the best of it.
If there has been one thing the last year has shown us, it is that we can’t take anything for granted.
The focus for the Action Group this year is to have members elected to the board. We will continue to highlight member concerns that are raised with us. We have submitted the following questions to the AGM. We want more members involved with the running of the club because constructive participation helps the club to improve, grow and succeed which is surely an aim everyone can support.
We will publicise the campaign on social media but also in person through leaflets at matches and through press releases.
1. Does the club agree in principle with Lancashire vice-president Michael Atherton when he writes:
“I believe supporters should have a presence on the ECB board and on their county clubs. There are obvious practical problems on how such a person should be elected and how easy it would be to represent a group that often has disparate aims and views, but a voice is better than no voice at all”?
If so, will the club take positive steps to encourage members to put themselves forward so that at the next AGM there are candidates for the members to choose from in elections?
2. My name is Alan Higham. I am also a board member of the national Cricket Supporters Association. I’m sad that the Lancashire Action Group thrives whilst the club’s membership falls and issues of contention remain unresolved. My question is for James Sheridan. The senior independent director has a special responsibility to be accessible to members when issues of member concern persist and fail to be resolved through the club’s normal channels. What steps have you taken to consider these concerns with colleagues at the club and are you willing to meet with members who feel it is time to bring this schism to an end?
3. Will the club commit to reform the Member Representation Group (MRG) so that it is entirely elected by the membership instead being chosen privately by club officials and commit to total transparency in the minutes of its meetings with the club? That would make a significant difference to those members who feel the group has failed to resolve the real issues of concern for members.
4. Does the club have evidence that the Member Representation Group is well known amongst the membership and how does the club assess its effectiveness in the absence of any validation from the membership by electing the people who sit on it?
5. Last year LCCC had to navigate very difficult circumstances and full credit must be given to the club’s management and staff for the results from 2020. Can I remind the club though that It published the following statement about Platinum membership:
"What if I can’t afford to become a ‘Platinum Member’ as money is tight? Will I be treated any differently because I couldn’t afford to enter the ‘Platinum Member’ category?
Absolutely not. You are valuable to the Club and we understand that needs must in these circumstances. The only difference will be those that have opted in will receive the extra benefits as outlined in the letter."
(The benefits in the letter being a name on a wall, a reduction on shop merchandise, a free meal and a reduced fee for 2021 membership.)
There are though very important differences that have since come to light given recent decisions by the club. Platinum members have priority access to tickets for the Yorkshire game over even Life Members. Members who asked for a refund last year have not been allowed to attend or ask questions at the AGM.
Did LCCC forget its pledge to members in taking these recent decisions and what does it propose to do to put this right in future?
6. In recent years the club has successfully transformed its business model but lost a lot of members in the process whilst other major counties have grown theirs. Has the club surveyed former members who have left to understand their reasons and what plans does the club have to improve member facilities and promote membership?
7. Members really enjoy watching games at the Lancashire out-grounds. Given no spectators were allowed at Liverpool last year, why is the only first team match outside Old Trafford being played at Sedbergh School, Cumbria instead of a ground within Lancashire’s traditional boundaries?
YOUR VOICE COUNTS - To show your support for this campaign please either -
1. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Text or phone the Action Group on 07974 936046
3. Contact one of our leaflet distributors
4. Visit our website at - https://lancsactiongroup.com/action-group-statement
We are also on Twitter at @lancscccaction and Facebook at - lancashirecricketactiongroup
Dickie Bird OBE hosts private talk for isolated blind veterans during lockdown
May 22, 2021
Dickie Bird OBE has hosted a private talk for a group of 20 blind veterans with an interest in cricket, providing some much-needed entertainment as this period of self-isolation continues.
Streamed on Microsoft Teams, the blind veterans from the South East with an average age of 85 were able to join the call via telephone.
Dickie vividly described his time playing first-class cricket for Yorkshire and Leicestershire before moving onto his umpiring career at various World Cups and Test matches through the years. Recalling some of his most treasured memories, he emotionally described his lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, listing it among his proudest moments.
Dickie then moved onto a series of questions from the blind veterans on the call, giving his opinion on the current state of the game as well as the impact technology has had on umpiring decisions.
Dickie says: “At the age of 75 I had a sight loss scare myself when I woke up one morning and couldn’t see a thing. It was only by the power of God and the amazing doctors at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital that I managed to get 90% of my sight back.
“So I had a brief insight into the challenges that blind veterans face everyday and I have the world of respect for them. Blind Veterans UK are a wonderful charity who do a brilliant job supporting them through those challenges. It was a fantastic afternoon and I look forward to speaking with them again.”
83-year-old Graham Forshaw from Worthing was one of the blind veterans on the call. He says: “I think I speak on behalf of all the blind veterans on the call in saying that it was an amazing experience to hear from Dickie in the comfort of our living rooms. He not only regaled some amazing stories from the world of cricket but was also highly entertaining as you would expect.
“It broke up the social isolation that so many of us have experienced in the last year or so. It was a wonderful feeling to hear the voices of friends and discuss our shared love of cricket.”
The presentation with Dickie Bird was just one of the many virtual activities that the charity now offers the veterans it supports. Blind Veterans UK launched ‘Operation Entertain’ last year to maintain the beneficiaries’ morale and prevent social isolation.
So far over 1,000 veterans have taken part in virtual social activities including online photography, woodwork, and art clubs. There are now 75 national groups of blind veterans and 102 local groups meeting regularly and supporting each other.
Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and at an increased risk from Covid-19. The National Support Service has and will continue to help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.
Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations said: “Living in isolation, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as the shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.
“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”
You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to Covid-19 at blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2021
Apr 15, 2021
BEN STOKES IS WISDEN’S LEADING CRICKETER IN THE WORLD
FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Five Cricketers of the Year:
DOMINIC SIBLEY &
In his Editor’s Notes, Lawrence Booth:
· Remembers cricketers lost to Covid-19
· Praises the “swift measures” taken by the ECB to ensure the game could continue during the pandemic
· Says the England team were wrong to stop taking a knee in the struggle against racism
· Criticises the continued financial inequalities in the international game
· Welcomes the return of live Test cricket to terrestrial TV, and suggests Channel 4 should cover one Test a season
· Argues that Bristol should erect a statue of W. G. Grace
The Leading Cricketer in the World: Ben Stokes
Booth says: “Ben Stokes becomes the first England player to be named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World more than once, retaining the title he claimed in 2020. His haul of 641 Test runs at 58 in the calendar year was more than anyone else, while his 19 wickets cost just 18 apiece. He did it all against a backdrop of personal tragedy: his father, Ged, died in December at the age of 65.”
Darren Stevens named a Cricketer of the Year at 44, the fourth-oldest on record
“Darren Stevens is Wisden’s oldest Cricketer of the Year since Leicestershire’s Ewart Astill in 1933. His 29 Bob Willis Trophy wickets for Kent at an average of 15 confirmed his status as one of the domestic game’s most unsung heroes.”
Oldest Wisden Cricketers of the Year (Age at April 15th in the year of Wisden selection)
48 years 242 days – Lord Hawke (1909)
47 years 272 days – W. G. Grace (1896)
45 years 45 days – Ewart Astill (1933)
44 years 350 days – Darren Stevens (2021)
44 years 90 days – Levi Wright (1906)
44 years 18 days – Jack Simmons (1985)
43 years 71 days – Bill Alley (1962)
42 years 322 days – Misbah-ul-Haq (2017)
Steve Waugh wins the Cricket Photograph of the Year award
Former Australian Test captain Steve Waugh has won the Cricket Photograph of the Year award, with his image of children playing cricket among sand dunes near Osian, India. The award is judged by an independent panel, led by former Sunday Times chief sports photographer, Chris Smith, and the award-winning cricket photographer, Patrick Eagar. A keen amateur photographer during his career, Waugh took the image as he travelled around India making a TV documentary, “Capturing Cricket”.
Winner of Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year 2020 - Steve Waugh
Extracts from the Notes
“Cricket, like everything else, had its heart ripped out… It lost family and friends.”
Booth writes: “Cricket has never been less important than in 2020 – and never more. As coronavirus spread, it seemed frivolous to wonder when the season might start, or whether anyone would be there to watch; months later, with the UK’s death toll into six figures, even writing about runs and wickets felt wrong.
“The pace of events was dizzying, shocking. David Hodgkiss was the Lancashire chairman when Wisden 2020 was printing; by publication, he had died. And the obituaries this year include at least 15 others linked to Covid-19. They were all ages, and from every corner of the game. Lee Nurse was just 43, and had played for Berkshire. Riaz Sheikh, a former leg-spinner who was 51, once dismissed Inzamam-ul-Haq. Phil Wright, aged 60, was Leicestershire’s popular dressing-room attendant. The 73-year-old Chetan Chauhan will always be four decades younger, dragged by Sunil Gavaskar towards the pavilion after an lbw decision in a Test at Melbourne. Ken Merchant, a member of The Cricket Society, died at the age of 81, on the same day as his wife, in the same Southend hospital ward. Peter Edrich, cousin of Bill and John, was 93.
“How did cricket go on? The trite answer is it had to; those above would have had it no other way.”
“At the end of West Indies’ tour of England, Jason Holder spoke passionately about inequality in the game, and demolished one of the early platitudes about the virus’s spread – that it was indiscriminate, affecting pauper and prince alike. The figures proved this was not the case, and so did cricket.
“A predictable theme emerged. England had been grateful for the visits of others, then left South Africa in a hurry, even after two positive Covid-19 tests in their own camp proved false. Australia snubbed Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Afghanistan – but travelled to England, and moved heaven and earth to accommodate India (who had already cancelled series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka). At the last minute, the Australians then called off a Test tour of South Africa, who had bowed to numerous demands. The Sri Lankans – who did visit South Africa – insisted on strict quarantine rules for Bangladesh, who stayed at home, but relaxed them for England.”
Runner-up of Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year 2020 - Darrian Traynor
Enough of the excuses
“On July 8, at a near-deserted Rose Bowl, the West Indian and England teams took a knee. They were paying tribute to George Floyd, who had died at the hands of Minneapolis police a few weeks earlier, and to the Black Lives Matter message… It was quiet, digniﬁed and powerful – and one of the images of the year.
“Also that morning, Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent gave moving accounts on Sky Sports of their own experiences of racism. It was a moment to pause, and reﬂect. Players past and present had already begun telling stories of prejudice; the trickle became a torrent. The rule of thumb was simple, and brutal: if you weren’t white, you had suffered…
“For a while, cricket said and did the right things. The ECB admitted they had let things slip, and promised action… But cricket isn’t fond of radicalism (unless there is money to be made). Predictably, it lost its nerve. By the time Pakistan arrived, taking a knee had been quietly dropped, amid supposed concerns about the politicisation of BLM.
“Cricket has been here before: a sympathetic ear, a pat on the shoulder, a promise that things will change. They never do, but this time they must… By not taking a knee, cricket raised a ﬁnger.”
“If cricket’s response to racism is one of expedience rather than repudiation, everyone loses.”
“When Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara revealed in 2018 that his Yorkshire team-mates had christened him “Steve”, the news came and went. Apparently, they found his ﬁrst name hard to pronounce; Pujara was too polite to complain. Then it turned out he hadn’t been the only Steve at Headingley. As Yorkshire investigated allegations of racism from their former all-rounder Azeem Raﬁq, one ex-employee – Taj Butt – said the name was routinely given to “every person of colour”…
“But the Raﬁq case has conﬁrmed that self-examination does not always come easily to cricket… If cricket’s response to racism is one of expedience rather than repudiation, everyone loses.”
“Cricket is our national summer sport… In Channel 4’s heyday, Sky would exclusively broadcast one of the home Tests. Why not return the favour?”
“When Ian Bell signed off from ﬁrst-class cricket with 50 and 90 for Warwickshire at Cardiff in September, it meant every player from the 2005 Ashes had retired… Among current England cricketers, only James Anderson – who has been an international cricketer since 2002-03, but missed that series – had played a Test on free-to-air television.
“The gods of TV scheduling woke up: in February 2021, Channel 4 – for ever linked with the summer of ’05 – acquired the rights to England’s Test series in India. Providing punditry from a hurriedly assembled studio in London was Alastair Cook, whose entire Test career – 161 games and 12,472 runs – had taken place behind the paywall.
“The station’s last-minute re-entry into the big time was low on frills, but high on signiﬁcance. Despite little time to plan their broadcast or spread the word to fans who had almost forgotten watching an England Test on free-to-air telly, they secured a peak ﬁrst-day audience of 1.1m – more than twice what Sky managed during England’s tour of Sri Lanka. By day three, the ﬁgure had risen to 1.7m. In all, nearly 6m tuned in. Meanwhile, 44% of viewers were said to come from homes without a Sky subscription… Live Test cricket was now more accessible…
“Cricket is our national summer sport… In Channel 4’s heyday, Sky would exclusively broadcast one of the home Tests. Why not return the favour?”
Runner-up of Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year 2020 - Jed Leicester
The one-day greats
To mark 50 years of ODIs, Wisden names its greatest player for each decade:
The 1970s: Viv Richards
The 1980s: Kapil Dev
The 1990s: Sachin Tendulkar
The 2000s: Muttiah Muralitharan
The 2010s: Virat Kohli
Five Cricketers of the Year
Zak Crawley, Jason Holder, Mohammad Rizwan, Dominic Sibley, and Darren Stevens
Booth says: “Zak Crawley’s 267 against Pakistan in the Third Test at the Rose Bowl has been bettered only once by an England No. 3, when Walter Hammond made 336 not out at Auckland in 1932-33. It confirmed Crawley as a high-class strokemaker, which he underlined with centuries against Hampshire in both the Bob Willis Trophy and the T20 Blast.”
“Jason Holder was a giant both on and off the field last summer. After agreeing to lead his West Indies side on a tour of Covid-hit Britain, he inspired his team to victory over England at the Rose Bowl with first-innings figures of six for 42. Holder also led a dignified West Indian response to Black Lives Matter, taking a knee with his team-mates before each Test and wearing a black glove, a gesture that recalled American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.”
“Mohammad Rizwan was an electric presence behind the stumps for Pakistan, pulling off arguably the take of the summer when he caught Ben Stokes high to his left during the First Test at Old Trafford. He also averaged 40 with the bat, and was later confirmed as his country’s new captain.”
“Dominic Sibley regularly provided the glue England needed at the top of their Test order, not least when he made 120 in more than nine hours to help square the series against West Indies. In a difficult summer for openers, he batted for at least two and a half hours on five occasions, making life easier for those who followed.”
“At 44, Darren Stevens is Wisden’s oldest Cricketer of the Year since Leicestershire’s Ewart Astill in 1933. His 29 Bob Willis Trophy wickets for Kent at an average of 15 confirmed his status as one of the domestic game’s most enduring heroes.”
The Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the editor of Wisden, and represent a tradition that dates back to 1889, making this the oldest individual award in cricket. Excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion as a Cricketer of the Year. No one can be chosen more than once.
The Leading Twenty20 Cricketer in the World
“Kieron Pollard took T20 hitting to new heights in 2020, launching 59 sixes in the format’s various competitions at a rate of one every 5.5 balls. His strike-rate of 199 rewrote the rules – and all the while he averaged 53. Unsurprisingly, his teams prospered: Trinbago Knight Riders won the Caribbean Premier League, and Mumbai Indians the IPL. He has now won a record 16 T20 titles.”
The Leading Woman Cricketer in the World
“Beth Mooney was the Player of the Tournament at the women’s T20 World Cup, clinching the award with 78 not out in 54 balls to help Australia see off India in front of more than 86,000 spectators at the MCG. She was also the leading run-scorer at the Women’s Big Bash League in 2020-21, with 551.”
Other Wisden awards
Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year: Although there is no Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2020, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2021 contains a list of notional past winners backdated to 1900.
Wisden Book of the Year: This is Cricket by Daniel Melamud
Wisden’s Writing Competition: Philip Hardman
· Duncan Hamilton considers the effect of coronavirus on cricket
· In a year when racism was rarely out of the headlines, Ebony Rainford-Brent writes powerfully about the need for greater diversity in cricket
· England spinner Jack Leach reflects on life in the England bubble
· James Anderson salutes Stuart Broad, who reached 500 Test wickets last year
· Tom Holland considers the sport’s uneasy relationship with slavery
· Following the death of Everton Weekes, Sir Garry Sobers remembers the Three Ws
· Jon Hotten explores the history of the bat
· Patrick Kidd browses the war-time Wisdens, the last time cricket ground to a halt
· Derek Pringle bids farewell to first-class university cricket
And finally, from the index of unusual occurrences
· Belgian batsman tops global averages
· Burglars stop play
· Captain blames wedded bliss
· Groundstaff use hairdryers
· International team drop two catches off one ball
· IPL cricketer scuppered by double first cousin
· Monkey sends home World Cup batsman
· Snake stops play
· Test batsman gives himself out
· World’s most famous cricketer mangled by President Trump
Wisden 2021 is made up of 1,248 pages and nine parts, including Comment and Review sections which are the longest in Almanack history. The obituaries alone run to 85 pages. It has 129 contributors. Also within its pages are reviews of books, podcasts, blogs, television, print and social media, technology and the weather, as well as articles on cricket and the environment, and cricket in the courts.
The RRP of both the standard hardback and softcover editions of the 2021 Almanack is £55; the large format is priced at £75, and the leatherbound limited edition at £295. Wisden 2021 is also available as an abridged eBook, The Shorter Wisden, containing the best writing from the Almanack, at £15.00.
Not the Spin - issue 8
Apr 1, 2021
Not the Spin's new fanzine is now available to order and will be sent out in early April. It's packed full of articles from illustrious writers including Roy Cavanagh MBE, Stuart Brodkin (ex Daily Express), Paul Fitzpatrick (ex Guardian) & Mark Giles (ex Times).
There is an article on the new Chairman Andy Anson and hopefully, any updates on how he intends to back up his pledge to "build up a stronger membership base". The season is nearly upon us so he needs to hurry up! We also cover the zoomed AGM debacle, Graham Onions' new position as bowling coach and much, much more.
To order a copy please visit their website at - www.lancsactiongroup.com/shop.
Not the Spin will be keeping an eye on what Lancashire intends to do regarding refunds or reduced membership fees for the upcoming season with the first three Championship fixtures being behind closed doors. At the moment the Club is still to make a decision.
Despite having planning permission granted the Club has announced that they are canceling the new stand to replace the old Red Rose suite. They state that the new proposal will increase the capacity of the hotel by an additional 100 bedrooms but that the stand will hold only 1,000 seats. The original plans were for a stand to have a capacity of 4,850 so this is a huge reduction.
Don't forget you can follow them on twitter at - @lancscccaction and their ever-growing private Facebook group has now over 700 members.