My favourite cricketer

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My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 11:47 am

This is a section in The Cricketer which I always enjoy. Past and present cricketers, journalists and other well known cricket fans of popular fame, lament and praise the falls or rises of their favourite players - and they're often not the greatest players to have played the game.

The pieces are often erudite, well written and tinged with a certain rose-tinted looking-back-in-the-past-and-sighing which I've always liked when reading about past players.

I wonder if we could recreate such a thing here. Plenty of us can talk and debate at great lengths on our favourite player, and on why he is so. Especially if we drop our troll hammers for a minute.

I might craft a piece on Boycott but I'd invite others to post here too.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 2:21 pm

Why do I love Geoffrey Boycott?

Or better yet, given his propensity for being a downright arse with an ego greater in scope than his playing career, why Boycott at all? I suppose I should start with a broad spectrum analysis, and then narrow the focus:

I love cricket
I love Test cricket most of all
I support England
I like batsmen, and batting, best.
Of all batsmen, I like openers best.
Of all opening batsmen, I am fond of those who have had to battle headwinds and undercurrents to maximise gain from more mortal ability, rather than float gracefully across a sea of oozing talent. I like fighters, obdurate men, and characters, – the Hussains and Athertons of this game over the Tendulkars.

Geoffrey is a cricketer. Check. He is a Test cricketer and an England player. Check check. He was a good England player, one of the best batsmen we've ever had. Check. He was an opener. Check. He did not have Tendulkar-esque talent; his God-given gifts were a determination – driven by arrogance, or by insecurity, or both? - to maximise his returns from a good but not princely ability. He certainly battled the undercurrents. And he was definitely an obdurate man, to a fault. Triple check. And man, did he have some personal battles.

Why Boycott amongst other nuggety, battling, less-than-perfect opening batsmen in Tests for England? Athers was similar, and I like Atherton a lot. He is a perceptive commentator and writer on the game. Boycott's also not the only cricketer with a chequered past regarding his relationship with his team mates. I've always found the story of Kim Hughes an interesting one for similar reasons. But they've not quite grabbed my interest the way Boycott did.

Firstly, though not in the same gene-pool as Hobbs, Richards (either of them) or the triumvirate of Tendulkar/Lara/Ponting (or Kallis/Lara/Sangakkara, or Border/Chappell/Gavaskar, whatever triangle of players you want to pick) lets not pretend he wasn't a bloody good cricketer. He would have had 10,000 Test runs, no doubt, if he hadn't unselected himself. He took runs off Australia (2,945 at 47.50) the West Indies (1966-1981, their absolute pomp, 2,205 runs at 45.93). He scored over 1,300 runs in Australia at 45, and managed to keep an average of 59 touring the sub-continent (admittedly only eight Tests). He faced the Aussies, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies. Though they may not have been as good a team as at times in the past, or as good a team then as they were to become, none of these teams could be considered weak during Boycotts career. No minnows. On his return after isolation in 1977 he averaged over 100 in the four Tests of that year, together with averages of 109 in 1971 and 98 in 1967.

His average in England victories? 54. In England draws? 52.80. In defeats? 28.10. England never lost a Test match in which he scores a century, and they only lost 20 of his 108 matches. We might baulk at his ethos of scoring heavily enough to avoid defeat before pressing for a victory, however in this era of batting collapses and brittle, can't-play-away-from-home cricketers, perhaps it's a bit of grit that we would want to see back in Test cricket. If you disagree, ask 5.338 million Yorkshire folk (July 2013 estimate).

His success was the result of application, hard work, insatiable practice practice practice. Again I look back at Hussain and his 200 against Australia. A result of inner fire and determination triumphing over the modicum gap in talent that lay between good and world's best. Boycott for all his excellence wouldn't fit in the most upper tiers of Olympian batting echelons for they are overpopulated. More endearing does he become as a result.

But so what if he was good? He isn't the only good Test cricketer in history, and it takes more than ability to earn the tag 'favourite player'.

Beyond the numbers, runs, centuries, is a more personal affinity. There's something in Boycott's personality that I identify with. A caveat: I obviously don't know Geoffrey, I've never met the man and only seen him in person and heard him speak in person once, in London in 2016 where I was in the audience while he was interviewed by Simon Mann. I know his personality only in the way that sports fans globe-wide know the personalities of their idols: from what they have seen, what they have read, what they have heard, smelt, tasted of those people, and from this what we surmise their real personality to be. And we have read what others have surmised about their personalities.

Many people have written on Boycott's personality. He's an arse. Self-centred, arrogant, obsessed with his own success at the expense of the teams and his colleagues. All these things are true.

But what is the source of this behaviour? Deep down inside Boycott, as inside most people like him (cough, Kevin Pietersen, cough), is a harrowing insecurity and a fear. Under the bristle is the same 10 year old boy who was impaled through the chest by a piece of metal after a fall and nearly died; who saw his father crippled in the mines of Fitzwilliam, Yorkshire, eventually succumbing to his injuries when Boycott was 27 and faced with being the sole provider for his beloved mother and family. He left school at 17 so as not to be a financial burden on his family. Under all his bolshy exterior, I think Boycott was terrified of not being successful, of not being the best. Perhaps he felt an impostor in his own skin. He never felt good enough. “What about my average?” he reportedly cried when deliberately run-out by Botham. I have no doubt he said it. I've no doubt he unselected himself from England for a number of series because he was angry and upset about not being given the captaincy. But what drove that statement or that act out of him in a cry of angst that let slip a glimpse of his inner workings? Fear that his average would fall? Yes. But why? Because he feared that there was yet another chance that he might not be the best, that he might not have done well enough, played good enough, to his own high standards. People might not think so highly of him as he craved. High standards stacked up not by a ravenous ego, but by a completely cavernous lack of an ego and corresponding terror at the thought of failing. He needed to make himself the best player, because he needed people to tell him he was the best player, for in himself he did not truly believe it. Perhaps he even doubted those who told him he was the best, sometimes. Were they all conspiring in a far-reaching joke, because in fact he was not the best?

Often if you dig deep into those with the biggest egotistical mouths of all, you'll find that their inflated bubble of bluster is nothing but that: a balloon raised to protect a vulnerable nugget within. Compare this to many others, who have a healthy self-perception and thus feel no need to inflate it beyond the confines of acceptable behaviour.

It doesn't mean that Boycott doesn't behave like a crass fool, even now when he has little left to prove. He still puts down Aggers and other colleagues in TMS slightly too harshly to be believable banter. Maybe this vulnerable 10 year old bespectacled, un-athletic looking boy, average at best in school, has never left him. Whatever sympathy I might have for its inner cause, I don't deny that he's still a bit of a jerk. But it's that warmth he showed for those he truly trusted to let it beyond those outer defences. I think that's what gives it away, showing that we're dealing with 80% insecurity, 20% utter prat, rather than the other way around. It's almost endearing.

Why does all this mean that I like him? I suppose above all else there's a little bit of empathy. I've been there.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 2:22 pm

I'm especially keen to rear what raja might have to say of his favourite players.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Misty » Thu May 11, 2017 3:21 pm

You even talked with him twice face to face
Debutant Reggie Duff was the first centurian bats at number 10 in test,his last test at Oval he hits 146 in 1905

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Going South » Thu May 11, 2017 3:40 pm

Sachin tendulkar

Noway you get raja say just one name.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 4:38 pm

Going South wrote:Sachin tendulkar

Noway you get raja say just one name.


But tell us why.

I assume it can't just be because he was so good, or because he scored X amount of runs. Some people despise him for the way he made his runs. Are there other reasons he is your favourite too?

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 4:42 pm

Incidentally here are the 'My Favourite Cricketer' essays that CricInfo hold:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/co ... ?genre=184

Here is one on Boycott:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/co ... 41359.html

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 4:43 pm


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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby raja » Thu May 11, 2017 6:41 pm

Wonderful read, Boycs30.

Will think about writing but very hard to pick just one player.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Thu May 11, 2017 7:25 pm

Pick several! :)

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Sat May 20, 2017 8:08 pm

Come on raja I want to read yours

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Leo » Sun May 21, 2017 3:58 am

Aqib Javed (Pakistan): My childhood hero after watching him during 1992 ODI WC :)

Mark Waugh
Demien Flemming
Steven Flemming
Glen Mcgrath
Ricky Ponting
Brian Lara
Dale Steyn
Time is the Best Speaker

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Mick180461 » Sun May 21, 2017 4:59 am

The great man, DK Lillee is and all ways will be my fav. Loved watching him bowl. Skill, heart, passion & fire, he had it all. Would leave nothing on the field. Was at the centre of the greatest session of Cricket i have ever seen played. Last 1/2 hour or so of the 1st days play of the MCG test Aust v WI in 1981 when after being bowled out for 198 Australia had the great Windies side 4/10 at stumps, Lillee getting Richards with the last ball of the day.
Also at the centre of perhaps the greatest List A game ever played, the Domestic one dayer between WA & Qld in 76-77 when WA made 77 batting 1st, Lillee come out and lead the WA attack to bowl out a Qld side including Greg Chappell & Viv Richards for 62.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Paddles » Sun May 21, 2017 5:02 am

Leo wrote:Aqib Javed (Pakistan): My childhood hero after watching him during 1992 ODI WC :)

Mark Waugh
Demien Flemming
Steven Flemming
Glen Mcgrath
Ricky Ponting
Brian Lara
Dale Steyn

Hold on, you watched the 1992 Wasim Akram World Cup, where Pakistan was led victorious by Imran Khan, and his ever his reliable with the bat deputy Javed Miandad, unveiling Inziman Ul Haq, and leg spin in Mushtaq Ahmed; and you liked the guy filling in for Waqar Younis?

Please explain why.
Last edited by Paddles on Sun May 21, 2017 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Katto » Sun May 21, 2017 10:29 am

.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Sun May 21, 2017 11:51 am

Ah, a punctuation war is it katto?

@

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby baggygreenmania » Mon May 22, 2017 5:17 am

Boycs wrote:This is a section in The Cricketer which I always enjoy. Past and present cricketers, journalists and other well known cricket fans of popular fame, lament and praise the falls or rises of their favourite players - and they're often not the greatest players to have played the game.

The pieces are often erudite, well written and tinged with a certain rose-tinted looking-back-in-the-past-and-sighing which I've always liked when reading about past players.

I wonder if we could recreate such a thing here. Plenty of us can talk and debate at great lengths on our favourite player, and on why he is so. Especially if we drop our troll hammers for a minute.

I might craft a piece on Boycott but I'd invite others to post here too.


With respect Boycs you are only in your thirties as I understand. So you have not lived thru some of the great cricketing eras. On the other hand as I am several decades older than you I can safely say I have.

My first taste of Test cricket was watching the great DK and Thommo devastate your 74/75 Poms on our shores. In my humble opinion Lillee rates among the all time great fast bowlers and arguably Australia's best. I say arguably as Glenn McGrath can correctly lay claim to that title.

When Dennis Keith Lillee burst onto the scene in 71 if I recall he was only a tick under Thommo's express pace. With his long mane of dark hair, Mexican moustache, chains dangling over his hirsute chest and his trademark bustling but classical run to the crease, he was the epitomy of everything that a supreme athlete brings to his sport. :lol:

In addition to this great site there was a deafening chant from the crowd of Lillee-Lillee as he pounded to the crease to deliver another thunderbolt. By 74/5 after severe back trouble the previous two years he had lost a little of his pace but still commanded the deepest respect.

When my Dad took me along to that Sydney test it was my introduction to a wondrous cricket journey and a game that I have been devoted to for the best part of 50 years. The fantastic gentleman's sport of cricket. Tho some of the Pom batsmen of 74/5 would no doubt disagree on the gentlemanly part of this epic battle for cricket supremacy all those years ago. :o
ps: excellent thread Boycs.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Katto » Mon May 22, 2017 9:41 am

Boycs wrote:Ah, a punctuation war is it katto?

@


even my briefest posts create controversy, what can I say...

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My favourite cricketer

Postby Going South » Mon May 22, 2017 3:09 pm

Yes katto. Unlike someone you know who, you don't need to quote line by line for a 100 paragraph long post to create controversy

Does that mean the player KATTO is also your favorite cricket player hence you got it as your avatar name ??

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Mon May 22, 2017 4:41 pm

baggygreenmania wrote:
With respect Boycs you are only in your thirties as I understand. So you have not lived thru some of the great cricketing eras.


Oh, you'll get no argument from me on that!

And I'm not quite yet in my thirties ;)

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Katto » Mon May 22, 2017 5:09 pm

Going South wrote:Yes katto. Unlike someone you know who, you don't need to quote line by line for a 100 paragraph long post to create controversy

Does that mean the player KATTO is also your favorite cricket player hence you got it as your avatar name ??


He got fired from CA around the time I joined. I liked the way he stood up to Clarke and I think he got dudded with his career.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Mon May 22, 2017 9:09 pm

Katto wrote:
Going South wrote:Yes katto. Unlike someone you know who, you don't need to quote line by line for a 100 paragraph long post to create controversy

Does that mean the player KATTO is also your favorite cricket player hence you got it as your avatar name ??


He got fired from CA around the time I joined. I liked the way he stood up to Clarke and I think he got dudded with his career.


What's embarrassing is that I've had a complete mental block on his name!!! I keep thinking instead of Michael kasprowicz

Argh! So annoying! I can see his face! I can see him batting! I know he pinned Clarke against the wall by his throat! FFS

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Mon May 22, 2017 9:11 pm

Simon Katich!!

God!

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby baggygreenmania » Tue May 23, 2017 3:05 am

That Clarke/Katich incident was a festering sore in Aussie cricket for a long time. It hurt Pup's reputation and career to an extent. No one can deny that Clarke was a superior batsman to Katts and probably a superior captain.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby baggygreenmania » Tue May 23, 2017 3:24 am

If I wanted a cricketer that would put all on the line for his country I would pick Steven Waugh every time.

You could fill Sydney Harbor with the boundless reserves of mental stamina he possessed. There are so many incidents that defined his incredible career.

The 1989 Ashes tour where he scored his first ever away century and then continued to plunder the Pom attack to distraction.
When he took on a firey Curtly Ambrose and partner in crime Courtney Walsh (1999 I think) in the Windies refusing to back down against their brutal and prolonged spell of fast bowling to score an exceptional one short of a double ton.

His heroics in his final Ashes test match against the Old Enemy in Sydney in 02/3 when he defied the odds and a run of poor form to pinch a last over century. His last of an amazing career that started with so much doubt. :bow:

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Mick180461 » Tue May 23, 2017 4:07 am

baggygreenmania wrote:
Boycs wrote:This is a section in The Cricketer which I always enjoy. Past and present cricketers, journalists and other well known cricket fans of popular fame, lament and praise the falls or rises of their favourite players - and they're often not the greatest players to have played the game.

The pieces are often erudite, well written and tinged with a certain rose-tinted looking-back-in-the-past-and-sighing which I've always liked when reading about past players.

I wonder if we could recreate such a thing here. Plenty of us can talk and debate at great lengths on our favourite player, and on why he is so. Especially if we drop our troll hammers for a minute.

I might craft a piece on Boycott but I'd invite others to post here too.


With respect Boycs you are only in your thirties as I understand. So you have not lived thru some of the great cricketing eras. On the other hand as I am several decades older than you I can safely say I have.

My first taste of Test cricket was watching the great DK and Thommo devastate your 74/75 Poms on our shores. In my humble opinion Lillee rates among the all time great fast bowlers and arguably Australia's best. I say arguably as Glenn McGrath can correctly lay claim to that title.

When Dennis Keith Lillee burst onto the scene in 71 if I recall he was only a tick under Thommo's express pace. With his long mane of dark hair, Mexican moustache, chains dangling over his hirsute chest and his trademark bustling but classical run to the crease, he was the epitomy of everything that a supreme athlete brings to his sport. :lol:

In addition to this great site there was a deafening chant from the crowd of Lillee-Lillee as he pounded to the crease to deliver another thunderbolt. By 74/5 after severe back trouble the previous two years he had lost a little of his pace but still commanded the deepest respect.

When my Dad took me along to that Sydney test it was my introduction to a wondrous cricket journey and a game that I have been devoted to for the best part of 50 years. The fantastic gentleman's sport of cricket. Tho some of the Pom batsmen of 74/5 would no doubt disagree on the gentlemanly part of this epic battle for cricket supremacy all those years ago. :o
ps: excellent thread Boycs.

Sacrilige Baggers saying that McGrath could be better then the great man DK, you fell in love with Cricket the same Summer as me.
There will never be another like Lillee and he's contribution to Australian Cricket continues to this day.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby baggygreenmania » Tue May 23, 2017 4:31 am

Really Mick. The same summer eh. Another thing we have in common. :cool: Sacrilege is a touch harsh. Not easy to compare the two as they were completely different bowlers.

DK was the ultimate tearaway fast bowler early in his career at least. As you say he had it all..skill, heart, passion and fire. Plus that all too often missing ingredient of a fast bowler..the ability to stir a crowd.

On the other hand McGrath was the metronomic part of the attack that wore down batsmen with accuracy making them play a loose stroke when they should shoulder arms. GM was past master at that and probably the best in history. He could also stir a crowd.

So it is fair he should be mentioned in the same breath as DK. Also GM has the world wicket taking record signed sealed and delivered. DK was going to do anything but was cut short at many tests less than the gangling GM. :o

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Katto » Tue May 23, 2017 5:12 am

baggygreenmania wrote:That Clarke/Katich incident was a festering sore in Aussie cricket for a long time. It hurt Pup's reputation and career to an extent. No one can deny that Clarke was a superior batsman to Katts and probably a superior captain.


Katto was a team man and Clarke was all about himself and his legacy.
Clarke knew how to set a field better than Ponting, but he failed to get the team behind him because he wasnt a leader of men.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Leo » Wed May 24, 2017 3:44 am

Paddles wrote:
Leo wrote:Aqib Javed (Pakistan): My childhood hero after watching him during 1992 ODI WC :)

Mark Waugh
Demien Flemming
Steven Flemming
Glen Mcgrath
Ricky Ponting
Brian Lara
Dale Steyn

Hold on, you watched the 1992 Wasim Akram World Cup, where Pakistan was led victorious by Imran Khan, and his ever his reliable with the bat deputy Javed Miandad, unveiling Inziman Ul Haq, and leg spin in Mushtaq Ahmed; and you liked the guy filling in for Waqar Younis?

Please explain why.


Hair Style :popcorn:
Time is the Best Speaker

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Wed May 24, 2017 4:51 am

Marcus Trescothick was my first favourite, along with Ashley Giles. Meeting Giles was my first little "EEEEE I met a cricketer!" moment :D

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Going South » Wed May 24, 2017 3:04 pm

Leo wrote:
Paddles wrote:Hold on, you watched the 1992 Wasim Akram World Cup, where Pakistan was led victorious by Imran Khan, and his ever his reliable with the bat deputy Javed Miandad, unveiling Inziman Ul Haq, and leg spin in Mushtaq Ahmed; and you liked the guy filling in for Waqar Younis?

Please explain why.


Hair Style :popcorn:

ROFL

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Going South » Wed May 24, 2017 3:06 pm

Boycs wrote:Marcus Trescothick was my first favourite, along with Ashley Giles. Meeting Giles was my first little "EEEEE I met a cricketer!" moment :D

Book a room in city where IPL cricketers are playing for same hotel. If not lobby, If you are lucky you get to attend rave parties with them too. RCB in Bangalore would cover a lot of ground.

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Wed May 24, 2017 4:13 pm

That would involve travelling to India :P

One of my former colleagues happened across David Warner and Phil Hughes leaving the county ground at Taunton and got their photographs

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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Boycs » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:11 am

Marcus Trescothick

Trescothick was one of my first favourite players. But why? As Lector might say to Starling, we start by coveting the things we see everyday. Trescothick was a local boy: growing up in Taunton you saw him walking around town; signing autographs in the local WH Smiths; everyone knew which house was his up in the hills outside town. During much of his career, Somerset was Trescothick and ten other people. Only later in his career did it become Trescothick and Hildreth and Trego and some others, or Tresco, Hilds, Treggers and Justin Langer for a bit. Trescothick has been forever a monolithic presence, and the beauty of the small ground at Taunton meant that when he walked past you going out to bat, he was only about a foot away. "Come on, Bangers!". And through it all he's always seemed self-effacing, down-to-earth. A proper West-County boy in a growing era of imports over home-grown.

As before, in a world of Laras, Pontings, Warnes, Tendulkars, I've always been more partial to the tier below. Trescothick was a solid dependable player, and one of the best one-day batsmen England have ever had, particularly in the old-world of one day cricket batting along with Nick Knight. A master of strike rotation and nicking singles to get a 100 from 110 balls rather than wasting obvious singles waiting for the four-ball. But he'd put the four-ball away as well. He was a pioneer for England of the forward-press and the slog-sweeps applied with such success against spinners like Warne in the 03-04 England resurgence. Admittedly, he took a lot more off bowlers at home than he did away, but whatever he took he took it quickly: career SR of 85; SR against Australia was in the 70s but it was 94 against India, 85 against Stri Lanka and the West Indies. He even skippered and kept wicket occasionally.

But it was in Test cricket, with my affinity for openers, that he nabbed my attention between 2003 and 2005, scoring 1,000 Test runs on each of these years. He was brewing towards his pinnacle under Michael Vaughan under home he played for 33 Tests, scoring 2,818 runs at 47.76 with nine of his Test centuries. He scored 431 runs in that '05 series with three fifties, including that 90 from 102 balls in the famous (in England anyway) Edgbaston Test where England romped to 407 at over 5.10 runs an over. Who cares he he was weaker away from home (wasn't everyone in that team?) he is a nice guy and a decent bat so lets wish him some bloody runs.

My lasting image of him is stood tall at his crease, with the most minimal footwork, and the bat moving down into clunk into the off side. His narrow features and tall frame, and the head and shoulders tracking the ball down onto the bat while the feet didn't seem to move anywhere, were quite unique. It wasn't quite graceful, more shovel-esque. He was a thumper of the ball, and he was still striking double centuries last year and has one century this year to reach a Somerset record. I think you always knew it was Trescothick you were watching bat for England.


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Re: My favourite cricketer

Postby Going South » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:48 am

:up: nice write up.