Mike Hendrick, who has died aged 72, was an outstanding medium-fast bowler for England, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Six foot three, and loping in off a curving run, he would deliver with a classical action, the arm high, the body sideways on. Extremely accurate, he achieved considerable bounce off the pitch, specialising in moving the ball away from the right-hander off the seam. Unlike many bowlers, however, he was honest enough to admit that he never knew in advance quite how each delivery would behave. Hendrick was unlucky in that, during his cricketing prime (1973 to 1981), there were so many bowlers – John Snow, Bob Willis , Ian Botham, Geoff Arnold, Peter Lever, Chris Old, Mike Selvey – well qualified to open the England attack. Nevertheless he played in 30 Tests, taking 87 wickets at a respectable average of 25.83 apiece, while restricting scoring to 2.17 per over. Indeed, he was so relentlessly accurate that batsmen were liable to get out taking risks when facing … [Read more...] about Mike Hendrick, cricketer whose relentless accuracy made him an England bowling regular in the 1970s – obituary
What length is a cricket bat
When John Woodcock, the former cricket correspondent of The Times , died on Sunday afternoon aged 94, it marked in two ways the end of an era. In genealogy, first. Wooders’ grandfather was alive at the time of the Battle of Waterloo, 206 years ago. Is there anyone left in the world to say that? Secondly, Wooders worked - reporting more than 400 Tests in all - when journalists were closer to the England cricketers than ever before or since. Before the Second World War, there wasn't really a touring media; afterwards they travelled together by ship, for weeks on end. Wooders was privy to some of the game’s great secrets; and as he was the soul of discretion, and never wrote a book, some have died with him. It was the Trent Bridge Test of 1973 when I first met Wooders. He had started in cricket journalism as the “amanuensis” of EW Swanton - Jim would never employ anybody so mundane as a secretary - and had gone from there to The Guardian briefly before joining The Times . … [Read more...] about John Woodcock tribute: Farewell to a legendary cricket journalist who cherished the game and its eternal verities
John Woodcock, who has died aged 94, was a cricket writer whose views won him as much respect from the players themselves as they did beyond the boundary; yet in comparison with his friends and rivals, E W Swanton of The Daily Telegraph and the commentator John Arlott, Woodcock was not a household name. Modest and not especially ambitious, Woodcock was not one to revel in the gaze of television or the self-importance of Test Match Special on the radio. Surprisingly for a man whose writing appeared effortless, he said that he had to work at his craft. The greatest enjoyment he derived came through watching the game and mingling with players and administrators. He was fortunate in that his career on The Times and with Wisden and The Cricketer, took place for the most part in a period when writers mixed happily with players and there was no requirement to report indiscretions off the field. Indeed, when England won the Ashes in Australia in 1954-55, Woodcock, who was ill at the … [Read more...] about John Woodcock, doyen of cricket writers who was held in high esteem by the players – obituary
'Sri Lanka series an opportunity to reflect that not all wickets are going to be flat. We need to find ways to scrap and score 130, 140 on these wickets' IMAGE: Sri Lanka’s players celebrate the fall of an Indian wicket during the third T20 International against India, in Colombo, on Thursday. Rahul Dravid believes that the new crop of Indian batsmen will learn with experience that "not all wickets will be flat" and they need to develop the art of scrapping it out on low-scoring tracks, like the ones on offer during the last two T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka. India lost the three-match T20 International series against Sri Lanka 1-2 on Thursday, playing without nine of their first team players due to COVID-19 related isolation. Rookies Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana and Sanju Samson literally struggled against a quality spin bowling attack, led by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Asked if he was disappointed in the manner the younger players were … [Read more...] about Dravid’s advice for new crop of Indian batsmen…
‘Our City Our Way’ are the words inscribed on a mural at the concrete grounds at Sparkhill, the area in inner-city Birmingham where Moeen Ali grew up playing tapeball cricket. Alongside the words is a portrait of Moeen himself, encircled by orange: the colour of Birmingham Phoenix’s kit, the team that he will captain in the Hundred. The mural of Moeen, commissioned by the BBC, reflects the hope that the Hundred will make the English professional game more relevant and accessible in areas such as this, a hub of British Asian cricket. Sparkhill is renowned for 20-ball-a-side games, played with tapeballs and fibre bats. One quirk of the ground is the gap in the wall at point on the left-hander’s off side - Moeen Ali’s favourite area growing up. Players who hit the ball through here get extra runs. Yet the zest for cricket at grassroots level among British Asian communities has not been reflected in the numbers playing the sport professionally. British Asians account for 30 per … [Read more...] about The Hundred: Can new format help the ECB engage the British Asian population?