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Barrington Sports digital edition Issue 1: MAY 2014

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New Season!

barrington Launches its cricket Day


Welcome to the very first Barrington Sports digital cricket magazine, produced in conjunction with our friends at All Out Cricket. We’re immensely pleased with this first edition. There’s a load of great content inside, from Scott Borthwick teaching leggies and Paul Nixon giving a wicketkeeping masterclass, to brilliant features with Nick Compton, Tymal Mills and Jos Buttler. We’ve even managed to squeeze in some legends of the 80s, through a joint interview with none other than Messrs Gooch and Emburey. In amongst all this, our expert team here at Barrington Sports are on hand to give you the inside track on what kit is hot this season! We hope you enjoy the read, and do tell us if you want more of this through the season. If you want it, we’ll deliver! Tom Dolby Barrington Sports

How good it feels to be talking about cricket again. With the season well and truly underway (even for most of us amateurs) the AOC office is awash with grown men shadowbatting for England, while hourly whoops of delight mark another ‘worldy’ taken on our indoor catching cradle. I’ve chosen my blade, we’re netting every week and dreaming every day; for sure, this is the cricketer’s time of year. We’ve picked out some of the very best content from our monthly mag to share with you in this inaugural collaboration between All Out Cricket and Barrington Sports. A fascinating interview with one of England’s many batting hopefuls in Nick Compton, a profile of Essex tearaway Tymal Mills and loads of cracking coaching content, including some top tips from new England coach, Peter Moores. And of course, there’s loads of top-notch kit to see and assess, courtesy of Barrington. If you’re a real kit badger, you’ve got to check out our full magazine (available in print and digital) for the results of our annual Gear Test from Lord’s - if it’s good enough for Goochie, it’s good enough for you!

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news and events from Barrington Sports by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook!


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Phil Walker Editor, AOC

The annual Barrington Sports in-store cricket day took place on Saturday March 22 and saw customers and leading cricket brands mingle, explore the store and get excited about the season ahead. Doors were flung open at 9am and Liam from Little Man Catering made quite an impression with his scotch eggs and hot drinks served from the back of his three-wheeled piaggio van, parked up indoors. Derbyshire County Cricket Club batsman Stephen Moore was on-hand for coaching tips in the practice area and expertise was not in short supply with the likes of batmaker Paul Bradbury from Bradbury Cricket jetting over from Australia to be there. Moore’s lunchtime question-and-answer session was one of the highlights with a candid and entertaining talk on a breadth of issues. We got to hear of his ordeals in the middle against Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Bond at Worcester and opinions on the next England coach and cricket in schools. The afternoon saw a blizzard of sausage rolls and scones with England huffing and puffing against New Zealand on the big screen in the World Twenty20. Their opening match was ultimately a damp squib, unfortunate to lose by five runs to Brendon McCullum’s side thanks to Duckworth-Lewis. But in Cheshire – where we were treated to some lively weather and hail showers of our own – all eyes were on the new England T20 kit, which had just gone on sale and caught the attention. Other than exploring the Barrington Sports store, there was plenty to do, with those of a competitive nature eager to test their hand-eye co-ordination with the CrazyCatch rebound net competition. The prizes on offer during the day ranged from two tickets to watch England take on Sri Lanka at Old Trafford in a oneday international to bats from New Balance and adidas. The final few hours allowed for more shopping, browsing, talking and post-match celebrations from the nearby Tatton Brewery. It was good to see old friends and new customers come along. We peeled away thinking that the cricket season couldn’t come soon enough… | | AOC | 3


New for 2014! Bradbury Bat Collection - Exclusive To Barrington Sports

Under the lid


Bradbury Being crafted from natural materials means that the quality of a cricket bat is very much dependent on the attention it is given during production. Different clefts must be crafted to the demands of that particular piece of wood in order to maximise its performance. So having seen the exquisitely fashioned 2014 Bradbury range, exclusive this year to Barrington Sports, the staff were understandably excited to learn that Paul Bradbury would be flying in from Perth to educate them on the latest range. Paul talks about the new range of bats with the utmost modesty and it’s no wonder with a selection of cricket bats that so easily sell themselves. He talks of how he and Sally Bradbury “fell into bat making” but as distinguished cricketers themselves their combined experience was well placed to start their company. Founded in 1993 from Launceston, Tasmania, Paul and Sally handcrafted top quality bats, destined for top flight cricketers, using mostly antique tools such as the block plane, draw knife and spoke shave. After two years in Tasmania the Bradburys returned to Western Australia where they expanded to a more convenient workshop and invested in machinery allowing them to produce more bats. By using machinery to craft the basic shapes, greater attention could be given to carefully honing the bats’ performances using traditional techniques including the rather unusual practice of polishing the bats with a horse’s shinbone. In 2001, along with their three young children, the Bradburys moved to Somerset, England, and for six years they flitted between Somerset and Perth servicing both cricketing seasons in six-month spells. Now living back in Perth, Paul and Sally are as dedicated as ever to sourcing the very best English Willow and from there meticulously crafting the very best cricket bats. Testament to the quality of the willow can be

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seen in the great volume of feather-light weights in the range, lightness that is only achievable from the highest quality clefts of willow.

The Range Locus Specialist

This exciting new shape from Bradbury has a more gradual pressing to enhance the performance of the willow. A lowered middle and exaggerated swell make this a powerful bat ideal for English conditions. Made from Bradbury’s highest quality clefts portioned off specifically for the Locus Specialist, this bat maintains a beautifully light pick-up despite its lower-positioned middle.


A powerful combination of big edges and high profile, nicely balanced to suit flamboyant shot-play as well as powerful drives. Similar in style to the Locus with slightly more wood shaved away to create an equally nice pick-up.


The Sovereign is another impressive new shape that boasts enormous swell and volume of willow, with a higher middle to counteract the weight and maintain a balanced pick-up. This is a great bat for the big hitting player who likes to explode off the back foot.


The Orion is concaved in its spine to allow players to generate a greater bat speed. Still offering plenty of power, the Orion is ideal for younger players whose height dictates a Short Handle bat with a wide shot versatility.

NICK COMPTON Day Job: Run-machine Mood: Hungry Party Trick: Tom Cruise impersonations Specialist Subject: Travel; photography; batting INTERVIEW | JO HARMAN | | AOC | 5

under the lid

57.9 “ Cook and Compton’s average as an opening partnership

25.8 England’s average opening stand since Compton was dropped

Did it help to put things in perspective after the disappointment of missing out on the Ashes? You know what sport’s like… it can be quite an individual, self-consuming job. So to do something that wasn’t necessarily about me was a good thing. And I think it’s good to get into a different environment, to put your head into a different space. Cricket environments are very close,

It’s easy to sit on the couch making perceptions of what’s going on out there but it was frustrating… I would have really enjoyed the fast, bouncy tracks of Australia

you’re with each other 24 hours a day for weeks on end, and I enjoy being able to move from one environment to the other and be in a totally different space with totally different people, with different interests. Now I’ve come back I’m ready and I’m back doing the thing I do best and the thing I love. I’m really feeling refreshed now. Let’s go back to the start of your England career and the series win in India in late 2012. How comfortable did you feel in that environment? Firstly, it was really just an incredible privilege to be on an England tour, playing with guys that I’ve wanted to emulate in a series of that magnitude, winning a series over there for the first time in 28 years. To start with I was quite nervous but I was determined to continue playing the brand of cricket that got me selected. When you come into a new environment you’ve always got a few new challenges, winning your teammates’ respect and that sort of thing. That always takes time, it’s not going to happen overnight. Fortunately I managed to do the first job, which was to get selected, and I think once I got selected it was a little bit easier to calm down and really focus on my role. And you saw your job as batting time? Soaking up as many deliveries as possible? I’ve always believed in building foundations. I wanted to build a world-class defence because my journey was about scoring hundreds and to score hundreds you have to spend a long time out in the middle, and to spend a long time out in the middle you have to have a good enough defence to keep out the best bowling. It’s not rocket science but from there I think my game has really come on a long way. In India I was very keen to try and make the most of the experience. So I was pleased with the way I went about things and when I spoke to Graham Gooch and Andy Flower they were really pleased with my application, but the one thing that was missing was

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All these lovely photos you see before you are from the camera of The Compdog himself

that big score. I thought I had a couple of opportunities to get it, so that was niggling away at me a little bit. So it must have come as a huge relief when you hit back-to-back centuries in the Test series in New Zealand that followed? Yeah, there was a bit of conjecture as to whether I should be opening the batting so this was the time to put in a couple of big performances. I was aware of where things stood – it was very obvious what I needed to do. My dad had flown out to New Zealand having not been in India and I got nought in the first innings at Dunedin. On the second night I had a really bad toothache, it was killing me, and I remember going to the emergency dentist after the day’s play and I ended up having emergency root-canal surgery. That night I got back and had an almighty fight with my dad – I was in a terrible mood – but I woke up the next day and remember thinking, ‘If this is your last chance to play for England, how would you want to go about it?’ I was confident and positive and went on to make a hundred. My dad was in the ground2 and at the end of every over it was nice to look over at him – he was holding his fist up, as if to say ‘Come on, keep going!’ We saved the game and then to go on and get back-to-back Test hundreds was pretty awesome. Then you come home and there’s an incredible amount of scrutiny on the lineup during the home series against New Zealand ahead of the Ashes, with several high-profile commentators such as Michael Vaughan saying Root should take your place at the top of the order 3. Did you feel like people were waiting for an excuse to move you to one side? Yeah, exactly. There’s no doubt that the energy was for Joe, I was aware of that. But those are the cards you get dealt and it was a case of me needing to perform and unfortunately, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t take my opportunity with two hands, I only took it with one. That was the area where I suppose I let myself down but I think it was surprising coming back from New Zealand that there still were doubts over my place given what I did out there and the partnerships Cookie and I had produced there and in India. I thought we had a good relationship. But I gave them an opening.


How did you spend your winter after missing out on the Ashes touring party? I thought the best thing to do after a pretty busy last three years was to just get away from the game. I used my time well. I went to LA and helped out a cricket team that I’ve been associated with for the last few years called the Compton Cricket Club. They’ve got a really exciting story 1 and I’ve become a sort of ambassador for them, helping them to generate more funds. Then I went out to India, doing some work for a Bristol-based water charity called FRANK Water. You get pretty well looked after in five-star hotels when you travel around playing cricket so it was good to get out there and see some of these outlying villages, how people live and what safe drinking water can do for communities. I’m into my photography too, so it was great to take in the colours, the aesthetics, the people and the culture.



 ompton Cricket Club, also known as the ‘Homies and the Popz’, are an LA-based club with a mission statement to curb the negative C effects of gang activities, address homelessness and encourage and promote civility. They’ve toured the UK on four occasions. 2  Compton’s father Richard hid under a tree when Nick hit his second ton at Wellington after TV cameras picked him out in tears after his maiden century at Dunedin. 3  Vaughan didn’t hold back, saying Compton would “always struggle against high-quality seam bowling outside off because of basic technical flaws”. | | AOC | 7

under the lid

Were you trying too hard in that home series against New Zealand? I think it probably looked that way and I don’t think I was in great form, if I’m honest with you. I’d also broken a finger ahead of the first Test in the Lord’s indoor school and had a badly bruised rib during the second match at Headingley after Ashley Giles hit me in the nets, which meant I couldn’t field for the last two days – it wasn’t a good time for me! But if you look at the scores in the top order, no one really scored many runs. Cookie got a hundred in the second innings at Headingley but up until then there hadn’t been a lot of top-order runs from either side. Tim Southee and Trent Boult aren’t the worst two opening bowlers, they’re probably up there with the best: they swing it, they bowl full and in England early season when my feet weren’t moving that well I got caught out. But to say I was trying too hard? No, I wouldn’t agree with that. It obviously came to a head in that last innings when I got 7 off 45 balls or something and people made a few comments but from my point of view Cookie was going so well and we were still rollicking along at about six an over. I just thought, ‘I’m not in the best of form but it’s a great opportunity to spend some time at the crease’. I wasn’t thinking anything other than that when I got out. It looked a bit painful maybe, but so what? We’ve all had innings like that. I didn’t think it would be scrutinised as much as it was, because I certainly wasn’t that worried about it. We were in a good place as a side, we’d won the series, and so I was obviously very disappointed to miss out when it came to the Ashes. Why do you think you were dropped? I think Joe Root was the coming man and I think the energy was for him to be the longterm replacement for Andrew Strauss. It was just a case of seeing how long I could keep him out. I thought I’d made a good start to my international career and played really, really well for the last few years in county cricket. So why did I get left out? I’m not entirely sure – I think that’s pretty much the reason. What I’ve done this winter is work incredibly hard at trying to win my place back and make sure that 2014 is better than 2013, to try and give the selectors a really tough time in not selecting me. There were suggestions that you were dropped because of your style of play, that England wanted to move Root up top to bring in another strokemaker in the middle order. Does that frustrate you given England’s sluggish scoring-rates since you were dropped? If Test matches were going five days and 8 | AOC | MAY 2014



ending in draws then I probably wouldn’t have a leg to stand on but the bottom line is that when Test matches are going three or four days it doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you’re scoring. Test matches are there to go five days and I don’t think the fundamentals of top-order batting have changed. You’re there to have a look, get your eye in, see off the new ball, and go big when you get the chance. If I get a hundred I’d like to think that the team has really benefitted from that. I’ve never seen myself as a particularly slow batsman; I think conditions dictate that. If you take Chris Rogers as an example, look at the way he played in the last couple of Test matches this winter compared to when he first came into the Australian side. Why is that? Because he’s got the confidence of the team, he’s feeling secure in the side. It’s very easy to judge at an early stage but I’d like to think that I’ve proven myself to be versatile over the years. I know that I’ve got all the shots and I’ve got the ability – once you’ve got a few foundations then yes, you’ll see more. That’s the style of play that I’ve always believed in. I think batting at the top is a tough job and you can’t force and dictate terms. Yes, there’s the likes of David Warner and that’s great, but I feel that my game is more about assessing situations, assessing the wicket and trying to make a success of whatever’s out there. Do you feel like you would have had the game to counter Australia’s quicks this winter? Yeah, I do. It’s easy to sit on the couch making perceptions of what’s going on out there but what was frustrating was that I grew up as a young boy on pretty fast tracks in South Africa and I feel that I’ve built a reputation as someone who faces quick bowling as well as anyone. It was frustrating because I would have really enjoyed the fast, bouncy tracks of Australia. In saying that, Mitchell Johnson and what he brought to the series, it was high-quality fast bowling. Whether you’re a good player of fast bowling or not, it would have been an incredible challenge. But I must admit, and I’m not just saying this, it’s something that I really would have revelled in, facing that sort of situation. Quick, short-pitched bowling is something I feel I deal with quite well. Is it safe to assume that the picture you tweeted of you playing a textbook backward defensive shot the day after Johnson rolled England at Brisbane wasn’t just a coincidence? That might have been a bit silly but when Jonathan Trott went home, and given all the success I’ve had batting at No.3 for Somerset over the last four years, I was

QUESTIONS How would you have played Mitchell Johnson this winter? Andy Davis, via email Stand on middle-and-off-stump, and look to play balls on the stumps. Very few deliveries swing back too much so hopefully that would force him to bowl straighter. I would look to get inside or under his short deliveries until such time as I felt I could ride them or pull down with control. Easier said than done of course, but that’s the plan! I saw a video on YouTube of you running around in your pants on US TV. What the hell was going on there!? Owen Richards, via email I was in LA trying to raise funds for a homeless cricket team I’m an ambassador for. The team was started by a British producer living in the US and a friend of hers asked me if I wanted to wear a Halloween outfit on E News for some money they would put towards the charity. I made a fairly poor attempt at emulating Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Not my best moment, but such is the off-season! If you had to pick a song that was played every time you walked into a room, what would it be? @EcoFaz, via Twitter I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys – I’m a massive wannabe!

If Test matches were going five days and ending in draws then I probably wouldn’t have a leg to stand on but the bottom line is that when Test matches are going three or four days it doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you’re scoring really hoping that there may have been an opportunity to be a like-for-like replacement. Sometimes you go unheard and people forget you and I just wanted to make sure I was very much thought of as someone who could come in and do a good job. That wasn’t the case but it didn’t change the fact that I worked incredibly hard back in England at my game, preparing as if there was going to be an opportunity. Is there a part of you that thinks maybe it wasn’t such a bad tour to miss given the scoreline? No, I don’t feel that way because those are the opportunities you get a few times in life to really stick your hand up, show some courage, show some fight, show some of the attributes that I feel that I very much stand for. And, as I’ve said, and as my coaches and people who know me well will tell you, quick and bouncy pitches are the conditions in which I would probably thrive best. It would have been an amazing experience to have had and I’m sure a lot of the players who have played over there will come back stronger for it. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the ethos of the England dressing room. Did you find it to be a welcoming place? I thought it was a really good dressing room. In every dressing room you’re going to have different individuals and I’ve always believed that in teams it isn’t necessarily about liking each other, but it’s about relying on each other. That’s what I believe team spirit is and as long as you’re all trying to achieve the same goal out on the field and are amicable enough in the changing room, then

you’re getting everything you need. Some of the greatest teams in the world have not been the best of friends, but out in the middle they’ve relied on each other. There was a very good professional attitude, particularly winning that series in India, and of course it helps when you win and of course it helps when you’ve got some real match-winners in your team. So my experience of the dressing room was a good one. If you do get back into that England dressing room, will you be disappointed not to have Kevin Pietersen in there with you? I like KP, I got on well with him and I always found him a positive influence on my cricket. In any team it’s sad when you get to the point where you’re losing one of your best players but every team will move on. In KP you’ve seen a fantastic player for England and he’s been an incredible asset to the team, there’s no doubt about it. But that decision’s been made, whether it’s right or wrong, and England need to rebuild now and I’d very much like to be a part of that process. Do you feel like you know what you need to do to force your way back into the England side? Yeah, very much so. I’d really like to use those experiences I’ve had in Test cricket and the runs I’ve scored over the last three years to set me up for an even better 2014. I’ve gone away and I’ve worked at some of the things I feel will help me become a better player. One is to continue building my world-class defence, to continue tightening that up and make it even better. But in addition to that I’ve really worked at some of the shots that have been very good to me. One is the pull shot: I’ve been trying to refine that and make it even more controlled. And also the back-foot punch – that’s something I’m really looking to enhance in my game and take into the new season. So I’m hoping that we all start afresh and I have as good an opportunity as anyone else if I start well. If I get the runs then hopefully I’ll be rewarded for that. It’s pretty clear from my point of view what I need to do: get my head down and bat the way that I know I can. | | AOC | 9

Next Man In ‘I wouldn’t get in the Scotland team now. I told them that’ England assistant coach Paul Collingwood doesn’t much fancy a return to T20 cricket

S wa s hb uck e r l s



Aravinda de Silva

KATE CROSS AGE: 22 ROLE: Right-arm fast-medium seamer WHO THE HELL? Lively Lancashire quick who’s made an impressive start to international cricket in recent months, after initially struggling to make her break. WHAT’S HIS STORY? The daughter of FA Cup-winning footballer David Cross, Kate showed tremendous early promise as a cricketer, playing from the age of eight and forcing her way into the Lancashire Women’s senior side at a decidedly junior 13 years old. Two years later in 2006 she became the first ever woman to be accepted into Lancashire’s cricket academy. At 15, an overzealous doctor informed Cross that a medical condition would render her blind by her 18th birthday. It didn’t, and after keeping her eye on the ball at county level for some time now, over the winter she forced her way back into the international fold. GOOD TIMES? Cross first stormed the England stage in a 2013 ODI when she ravaged the West Indies top order with her first ever bowling spell in the format; claiming figures of 4-51 and a Player of the Match award. Her Test debut was a triumph. In a finely poised


Style: Known as “Harry” in Kent, the pocket-sized, portly Sri Lankan didn’t look an obvious cricketer. Once appeared in a TV commercial demolishing a plate of sausages – showed a similar appetite for bowling. “There has not been a better smaller player” suggests Simon Wilde.

Ashes clash in January 2014, Cross was the pick of England’s bowlers, bowling with pace and accuracy, nipping the ball off the seam and taking 3-35 in both innings, including a remarkable spell on the third evening that swung the match in England’s favour.

Achievements: As a kid was inspired by the West Indies in Columbo, thereafter went about business with similar gusto. His finest moments came against Australia – in the 1996 World Cup final at Lahore, took two catches, 3-42 and made 107* – as much, wrote Michael Henderson “as one man can do in any match”. In 2002 was Man of the Match again in an ICC Champions Trophy semi-final at Columbo, strangling the Aussies with 10 overs of what Simon Briggs called “creaky off-spin” for 16 runs. With over 6,000 Test and 9,000 ODI runs, Henry Blofeld suggests favours were “distributed equally” against everyone.

CHALLENGES? As a precociously gifted young quick, Cross was included in the 2011 England Ashes squad but a healthy crop of fast bowlers kept her sidelined until two years later. After finally getting a crack on the world stage she’s still got plenty of competition for the chance to replace the increasingly injury-prone Katherine Brunt as England’s attack leader.

They said: Few overseas players were ever as popular, suggested John Stern, De Silva leaving “enough enduring memories to last the Canterbury members a lifetime: his manners off the field as charming as his strokeplay on it”. Like all great players, “made the game look gloriously simple” and “mesmerised bowlers into pitching it just where he wanted it” wrote Vic Marks. “Touched by the divine hand” said Blofeld, and even his defensive strokes “would have found their way into any art gallery”.

FINAL WORD: “There were times when she was considering not playing cricket whatsoever! She was in the academy for so long and the squad’s bowling unit stayed quite consistent for quite a few years, meaning she was never going to get in the squad. She disappeared from cricket, had a bit of a break and then decided ‘Actually, I really want this’. Then she got back in, got fitter, got stronger, quicker – she’s reaping the rewards now. She’s just brilliant. Her spell on Test debut on the third evening was one of the best I’ve ever seen.” Sarah Taylor, England wicketkeeper-bat

If he was playing today: Australia wouldn’t relish meeting him, but he’d be welcomed everywhere else, especially in Columbo and Canterbury.



Lancashire youngsters

The Red Rose club are letting all under 11s into Old Trafford for free during their T20 Blast campaign. The kids will get to watch Jos Buttler and co without their parents even having to open their wallets when Lancashire start their home campaign on May 17 and each of the seven group matches will be themed. If the weather holds out then the youngsters will get a taste of the Roses rivalry when Yorkshire visit on June 6. 10 | AOC | MAY 2014


Penis-based artistic freedoms

Arise Sir Andy, Sir Curtly and Sir Richie During the opening ODI of the recent West Indies v England series, three legends of the Caribbean were knighted to take the total for the islands to 11. Fast bowlers Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose, and former captain and batsman Richie Richardson, all became ‘Sirs’ during the ceremony at the appropriately named Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. It’s pretty much the first time they’ve ever been put to the sword.

What? You can’t even draw a penis on a cricket pitch anymore without someone claiming you’re bringing the game into disrepute? It’s political correctness gone mad... In a Futures League game between Victoria and South Australia, Redbacks player Daniel Worrall scratched an image of a penis, complete with testicles, on to the pitch and was punished accordingly with a twomatch ban, despite appealing the penalty. Haven’t the authorities ever heard of art?

Tim Gruijters

When a cricketer takes to YouTube to self-record a video, you know something’s gone wrong. Poor Tim Gruijters, a batsman in the Netherlands’ World T20 squad, went on record to allege that he was forced to have a back scan by the Dutch coaching staff – full in the knowledge that he had a long-standing back condition – so the unexpectedly available Tom Cooper could be called up in his place. The ICC said the matter was closed.

RAVI’s diary ‘Shoaib Akhtar just came in and kissed me’

‘I’ll say it for the last time, as one of England’s best ever death bowlers I’m willing to help, sick of saying it and watching tripe bowled’

Nasser updates from the commentary box during the World T20 in Bangladesh. What goes on tour stays on tour, Nass.


Darren Gough gets it right in the blockhole

side and I’m absolutely desperate to get back in there. I want to give myself every chance of claiming a spot. I want to knock on that door and say, ‘I’m playing well, I want to be here’. Obviously you’ve got to put the runs together first, but I feel in a great place. I’ve been hitting training hard, harder than I ever have before, and I’m in no mood to rest. It’s a case of doing both the T20 stuff and the longer stuff – there’s different elements to be worked on – and I can’t afford to rest. Frankly, I don’t want to. We had a game coming up with Cambridge University, so I called up Larry – Paul Grayson, our coach at Essex – and asked if I could play. He said yes, as did the England management fortunately.

ISSUE 1 Introducing our brand-new T-Rex-hunting, Pizza Hutting, pullin’-and-cuttin’ star diarist: Mr Ravi Bopara. Are you ready? APRIL 1 Here we go then… Back home after the Twenty20 World Cup. Even though we didn’t get the results we were after, it was a great learning curve and one that’s made me a better player. Unfortunately we didn’t play at all how we would have liked. We had a momentary high beating Sri Lanka, who ultimately became world champions, but losing to South Africa and the Netherlands was a killer. The thing with T20 cricket is that it’s totally unlike four- or five-day cricket. In the longer form of the game, you can have a bad session and still pull it back, but in T20, you have a bad five or six minutes, and that’s it, you lose. We had too many of those. We simply weren’t good enough when it mattered. Away from the crease, it was great to hang out with the lads again. But, with everything Bangladesh provides from a cricketing perspective, let’s say it lacks in some other places. One night, needing something to eat, 12 | AOC | MAY 2014

We waited in the car for two hours while all the security was signed off – we’re now talking about the most eagerly anticipated Pizza Hut of all time I Googled top restaurants in Chittagong and imagine my surprise when Pizza Hut popped up on my screen. With a five-star rating, no less! Apparently that’s the best restaurant there and who are we to dismiss Google’s recommendations? So myself, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan and a couple of the South African boys headed down to reception, said to the guys we were off to Pizza Hut and asked if we could please book a car. We waited in the car for two hours while all the security was signed off and we were allowed to leave the hotel. We’re now talking about the most eagerly anticipated Pizza Hut of all time. Finally, after the appropriate sign-offs

were made, we were given a police escort all the way to the front door. Had we known it would be this much trouble, it’s probably fair to say we would have given it a miss! Having said that, I was impressed with their Pizza Hut. Naturally, however, being the healthy type, I gave the pizza a miss and stuck to salad with a pre-prepared protein shake… APRIL 2 After the joys of travelling, I’m back in Essex and as that TV show suggests, the only way really is Essex. I hadn’t been back five minutes before a few of the boys were trying to drag me to Sugar Hut – the nightclub made famous by the reality show. Needless to say, I didn’t fancy it. An invite from Tymal Mills, Reece Topley and Saj Mahmood just wasn’t a deal maker. Next time, lads. Well, maybe… APRIL 5 We cricketers are sad creatures. We haven’t got lives and if we’re not playing cricket, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. So, after a couple of days of resting, I was desperate to get back into it. I was told I should rest up after coming home, but frankly I was bored out of my mind. I wasn’t tired. I just wanted to carry on going and get some runs on the board. There are a few Test spots available in the international

Birthday boy: Bopara junior turns three

APRIL 7 First game back for Essex and it was a good test on a dodgy wicket. I got 90 and it set me up nicely. It wasn’t the hundred I wanted, but it’s there or thereabouts and puts me in good stead for the start of the season.

Back in the old routine: Ravi gets stuck in to Derbyshire

APRIL 16 Brilliant win for the lads against Derbyshire, after what can be only described as a pretty shocking opening knock of 94 all out in the first innings. To win from a position like that is not the usual, but it’s nothing more than we deserved after a top fightback. Let’s face it, they were on fire straight from the off, but thankfully some quality bowling from David Masters got us back into it. From there Cookie played a blinding innings in the second to give us some control after being on the back foot up to then. It was great to be out there batting with him and I’m chuffed with our partnership, as that 100 or so between us seemed to help us pull away. That said, we knew it wasn’t going be easy – playing against Shiv Chanderpaul never is – but credit to Derbyshire, I don’t think any of us expected them to come so close in that chase. All in all a top game to be involved in and I’m proud of the lads for seeing us through. APRIL 17 My little boy’s third birthday. I left the present-purchasing up to his mum and instead I took charge of the day’s activities. We went to the National History Museum and, if I’m honest, it was more for me than him! As a three-year-old, all he wanted to see was the T-Rex which, fair play to him, I was all about seeing as well. I was in my absolute element. By the time we got to the T-Rex, there was a queue about an hour long. As it happened, the guy working on the door was a mad, mad cricket fan and after asking me for a photo, he kindly offered to take us through the back, through some crazy corridors in the back of the building until we got to the T-Rex. Big thanks to that bloke! My little boy is getting to the stage where he’s obsessed with cricket. He can’t get enough when it’s on the TV, watching England, county stuff, IPL, and what’s happening now is that I’ll come home after a long day in the field and he’ll be waiting in the living room with his little bat waiting for some throw downs. It’s exhausting, but awesome. To be fair to him, he’s looking like he’s got some talent. He’s a batter for sure; seems too lazy for bowling! Ideally I’d like to mould him into some sort of batting, mystery spinner. That’s what you want to be, a worldie spinner who smashes it out of the park. APRIL 19 Saw Mooresy got the England job. I had my debut under him and really enjoyed our time working together. He’s a guy that drives and drives and always wants more. You can’t want any more than that as a player from your

GET THE CRICKETERS’ WHO’S WHO FOR JUST £12.50 The Cricketers’ Who’s Who is the number one guide to the English cricket season, packed full of stats, facts and silliness about every county player as well as detailed profiles of the stars of England’s senior sides. This year you can buy your copy direct from All Out Cricket for just £12.50 (RRP £19.99). This include P&P and is the best price available. To order your copy go to coach. He’s a real student of the game, always learning and striving to achieve more, and I’m already looking forward to sharing that with him and Cookie. APRIL 20 Decent game against Surrey, though in the end it just fizzled out a bit. I was happy with my performance with the bat; I faced a lot of balls and it wasn’t easy, but it was good to be out there again. It was really good to see the Surrey boys as well. There are some really top lads over there and it was good to see them and see how they’re getting on. It should be said that those boys are looking really good as well, which is great to see. During the rain breaks I managed to catch Monty sleeping on several occasions, which kept myself and Saj entertained! All in all, it’s been a pretty good start. Roll on next month… | AOC | 13




in focus: Maxifuel Focus, Energy, Recovery Athletes of all standards, across all sports, share a common set of characteristics which compel us to compete, drive us to improve and push us to our physical limits. Whilst the physical demands of our chosen sporting disciplines can vary widely, the importance of sports nutrition is a constant and is instrumental in ensuring that we perform, whether it is competitively or in training, at the peak of our endurance. Rugby requires its players to exert bursts of explosive power, hockey players must be agile and lightning fast, cricketers must exercise a steely focus and runners require a solid mental toughness. Maxifuel equips all athletes with the nutritional tools to optimally execute the specific demands of their sporting disciplines. Maxifuel was born in 2010 when the company Maximuscle changed its name to Maxinutrition and sub branded into four categories; Maximuscle, Maxitone, Maxiraw and Maxifuel. Originally developed to recognise the growing demands of endurance athletes, Maxifuel products contain a unique blend of carbohydrate and protein that aids athletes pre-, during- and post-workout to ensure effective hydration and recovery. From fuelling a fiercely intense hockey match to finding the extra 10 per cent on an energy draining run, the Maxifuel range is key to helping both men and women compete, train and perform at their best. Traditionally sports nutrition has weighed heavily on the need to be well fuelled with carbohydrates prior to exercise. Whilst this is still a must on the agenda and a key factor in beginning a workout with 14 | AOC | MAY 2014


optimal energy levels, the emphasis of sports nutrition has now shifted to the importance of maintaining high levels of energy throughout an athlete’s workout and refuelling their muscles post workout in order to boost recovery in preparation for the next session. Ordinarily, the varying constraints of where sporting activities are conducted have made it difficult to fuel the body during and after exercise. Finding a source of energy on the side of a mountain or a source of protein directly after a competitive match can be difficult, but thanks to the convenience of Maxifuel products in the form of bars, powders and gels, sports nutrition post and during exercise need no longer be neglected.

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to the inherently powerful bat. Very rarely does a bat with such response and depth of power pick up with such delightful balance. The XXX, new for 2014, differs slightly from the XXIX in that it has a marginally higher driving area with less pronounced edges giving the inventive batsman the freedom to execute innovative strokes with quick hands. The exact dimensions of each AJK XXX are defined by the individual cleft as Andrew lets the natural properties of the blade determine the precise height of the driving area. The finish of the AJK XXX replicates the attention to detail given to its production with understated stickers alluding to its hand crafted heritage and a classy ribbed grip in deep maroon colour giving a feel more akin to a double grip. All in all the new AJK XXX is as exquisite as ever, a true reflection of master craftsmanship in the art of bat making and design.

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ESSEX RHB, LF Pure pace

AOC says: In the post-Mitch world that we all now occupy, left-arm seamers are quite the thing. Tymal Mills has got the pundits talking and the batsmen ducking. He has only seven years of cricket under his belt so he’s green – and the stats bear that out – but sometimes cricket is about more than just numbers and such is the excitement surrounding the young Essex man there was even talk about an England Test debut over the winter. First job? Nail down a place in the Essex XI. After that? Who knows. He always has done things quickly. Watch out for: Pace, gas, wheels – whatever you call it, it’s here, and all delivered from that much soughtafter left-arm angle.

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ype Tymal Mills into YouTube and one of the top videos is entitled “Future Stars of Cricket”. Mills doesn’t feature in the video but one of the world’s most intricate search facilities feels they belong together. The ECB seems to think likewise – his has been a rapid ascent. At 17, a mere three years after first playing cricket as a stand-in for his mate’s midweek village side, Mills was selected for the ECB Elite Player Development XI against Sri Lanka under 19s at Loughborough and took 3-42 in the first innings. A marker was laid and a year later Mills was picked for the same XI to play at Old Trafford – also against Sri Lanka, (a theme develops). At least this time he could drive himself to the ground. “I’d just passed my driving test that week,” Mills says, happy to report he passed with just five minors. “My mum wasn’t happy about me having to drive all the way up to Manchester after only being on the road for a week or so. But it came out of the blue. David Graveney called me up and said could you be at Old Trafford next week to play a game. “I’d hardly played at all before then, I think I’d played a couple of games for Essex, I was still playing a lot of second-team cricket and turning out for Suffolk as and when, just playing as much as I could to try and improve. And then I got asked to go and play at Old Trafford which at the time was a really big deal for me.” Having only “messed around” with cricket in the park, Mills’s first six deliveries in organised cricket for Tuddenham came as a surprise to everyone, including himself. He hit someone in the head and bowled “about five wides”. It was enough to bring cricket into his life and steadily he found an adoration for the game. “That first day, there were guys batting in just caps in a very village, friendly game on a Wednesday night. That’s when I noticed that I was a bit quicker than what most people, including myself, would have thought. I just played socially on a Sunday, bowling loads of wides, noballs, beamers, everything; in my trainers, I didn’t have cricket spikes. I was just enjoying it, a few of my mates played for them so it was just a bit of a laugh really.” Tearaway Tymal was quickly too good for village cricket and very soon moved to Mildenhall and Saturday league cricket. It was the first in a rapid promotion through the cricket pyramid that now sees Mills considered in the top 10 bowlers in England having been selected for England Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka. There was even some clamour to have 21-year-old Mills thrown into a Test debut during the Ashes; his peppering of England’s batsmen in the Perth nets seized upon as evidence that Mills could be used as a British Mitchell Johnson – but there was no call for any facial hair whatsoever. It was hideously premature talk. He was back playing club cricket and at Minor Counties level last summer during a difficult middle period of the season where Essex appearances were thin on the ground – but the odds against Mills fulfilling the YouTube prophecy are shortening. How England would love their own terrorising 90mph left-armer; though theirs would be more graceful, Mills has a smoother approach to the crease and a more flowing natural action – and he rejects the idea of becoming just an enforcer. “I’d like to think I’m a better bowler,” Mills says, but simply bowling as fast as possible earned him a first-class best 4-25 against Glamorgan in 2012. He recalls the spell: “I remember bowling a lot within myself, I was trying to do the right county cricket type thing. I had a good start to the season and was taking a few wickets and that spell in Cardiff, just trying to bowl as quick as I could paid off. But I did tail off and after that I realised that bowling quick isn’t enough. You need to be able to back it up with consistency. In a perfect world I’d be swinging it on a length at

Tymal Mills was one of 10 players to take at least 10 YB40 wickets last season at a strike rate below 20

Photos: Thusith Wijedoru



90mph but that isn’t always going to be the way. “When I do get it right, I think I’ve got decent skills, I can swing the ball and I can operate at a decent level. I still want to bowl quickly whenever I bowl because that’s my main weapon, my selling point, I never want to lose that.” It is indeed a rare commodity and a number of selectors have been instantly sold upon seeing Mills’ pace. Bobby Flack at Suffolk sent him to John Childs at Essex. Mills was instantly offered a place on the academy and his life got a great deal busier. A first-class debut against Sri Lanka (them again!) wasn’t far away. Since then, it’s been slightly stop-and-start. He has caught eyes everywhere he has been but too often for his liking those eyes have ended up flicking skywards as another spell of exciting pace has ended up fruitless and expensive. Too much of his time has been spent off the pitch. He sounds a little fed up. “I’ve spent a lot of time not playing over the last few years and I’ve got to a stage in my career where I’ve got past this potential stage, I want an opportunity to deliver. I’m in a better place now. If I don’t deliver then obviously that’s on me and I’ll have to go from there but I’m at a stage where I want to show I can perform how I think I can perform.” Mills should just need a bit of moulding. Chris Silverwood, Essex bowling coach, and ECB lead fast bowling coach Kevin Shine are the sculptors. He’s malleable and open to new suggestions, but very little has changed since he first ran in for Tuddenham. “My action is quite simple, there’s not much going on. My run up I’ve had to work with quite a bit, that’s been a big thing for me,

it’s always been quite long and I think I’m stuck with it now. The tempo is the main thing so when I’m at the crease I’m balanced and the more balanced I am the more repeatable my action should be. I found a nice balance at the moment so I’m sticking with it.” English cricket has its fingers crossed for Mills’ development. He is the type of bowler that very rarely appears. England Lions picked him immediately this winter but it seems to be tougher winning a place in the Essex side. His contract at Chelmsford expires at the end of the season. “My first goal is just to be in the team. There’s a lot of competition for places. This winter has come at a good time for me. I played some games in Australia which went nicely and I’ve been picked in Sri Lanka too. I’ll head into Essex all guns blazing.” Alex Winter


Despite the England recognition, is it fair to say last season wasn’t ideal? Last year was a poor year for me in my four-day cricket. I didn’t bowl well enough; I know that. I was quite happy with my one-day cricket and I’m confident with that going forward, so for me to have a whole winter not even thinking about the white ball, just working on red-ball cricket, has been a good thing for me. At the end of last season, my confidence wasn’t there with the redball stuff. | | AOC | 17



No. 5

John Emburey AND Graham Gooch For more than 40 years a pair of Londoners – a prolific opening batsman from the east and a canny off-spinner from the south – have enjoyed one of the game’s most enduring friendships. Since being thrown together in a London Schools side, Embers and Goochie have been inseparable. They were on the same side in 86 England internationals and in opposition for Middlesex and Essex countless times. And even during AOC’s 2014 Gear Test they could be seen giving throw-downs to each other at Lord’s. INTERVIEW JOHN STERN

How and when did you first meet? JE: It was 1969, down at Barn Elms in south-west London. London Schools... GG: ...culminating in a tour to Zambia and Kenya. It was the first time I’d ever been on an aircraft. JE: It was the first time I’d ever been overseas! I suppose what cemented the friendship to start with was that we were all billeted out. Graham and I were put together with a family called Ellis in Zambia. We were only 16, going on 17, and although it was primarily a cricket tour there were opportunities to visit game parks and to have other new experiences along the way. We went up to the copper mines. GG: I remember a family taking us out into the bush looking for hippos and rhinos. They told us that if you see a hippo on the road

you accelerate, you don’t slow down, because otherwise you’ll come off worse if you have a collision. I’m not sure that’s a great animal rights story! JE: We spent a lot of time together. In Kenya we stayed with a German woman and her English husband – that was a bloody nightmare. Graham and I were very similar, especially in the food that we ate which was the very plain food that we grew up with. One night the couple were having people round for a whist evening so we had to have our meal in our room. We found out the next day that the other boys had been out gallivanting around and we’d been stuck in our room, eating this food that we didn’t enjoy, which we’d left quite a lot of. The next day we got a dressing down for leaving all this food. We weren’t too happy about it... GG: ...I’d never had sauerkraut before.

Emburey and Gooch photographed exclusively for AOC, Lord’s, March 2014

18 | AOC | MAY 2014 | | AOC | 19


Emburey AND Gooch

And you’ve been best mates sacked. They brought Brearley back as a sort of stop-gap and that made all the ever since? difference. Not so much that Mike was a GG: We hit it off straight away, we liked brilliant captain but he had the knack of the same things and got on well. It was bringing the best out of people like Bob just fate that we were thrown together. Willis and Botham in particular who Our friendship’s remained unbelievably was the most influential cricketer I ever strong all the way through our careers played with for England. and now, even on the periphery of the Back row and to the right, the tyros game, it’s still exactly the same. JE: It was as though the chains were prepare for their first Ashes tour, 1978/79 JE: We were set in our ways from a off though wasn’t it? There was less pressure on him when he wasn’t captain young age. I remember Graham doing and he just went out there and played. all these bloody press-ups, about 72 of them – and I could do about seven! So straight away it was clear he was into keeping fit and I wasn’t. I played football in the winter In the third Test at Headingley the heroics of Botham and Willis brought about an astonishing 18-run victory to level the series… but I didn’t like doing any exercise unless it was actually sport, JE: And the next game at Edgbaston was very similar. Australia whereas Graham... needed 140-odd and it followed a similar pattern GG: You played a lot of squash though. We used to play squash at Lord’s even during Test matches if we were both out or it was GG: John got the big wicket, Border. Gloved it. raining. And of course, our England careers pretty much coincided JE: Well it hit something! with each other. GG: Famously, Beefy didn’t want to bowl. JE: I was on. Brearley wanted Ian to bowl but Ian said he didn’t think he should. He was going to bring Chris Old on and then we got Border. Did friendship blossom on England tours? Brears and Both stood next to each other at slip, they were chatting GG: Our relationship in the England team was really cemented on about it and Both said, “OK I’ll bowl.” Then my next over Both caught the ‘78/79 tour of Australia. John played in four out of the six Tests Yallop at silly mid-off and after that... alongside Geoff Miller when we switched to playing two off-spinners. GG: ...yeah he rushed in and bowled quick. Got five for one. Martin Kent [Australia batsman] made that great comment didn’t he? “Stuff Did you ever coach each other? this chasing 120. Give us 350 to chase and we’ll be OK!” GG: We used to throw to each other. I was talking to Andy Flower last night and that has gone out of the game. JE: These days players expect somebody [back-room staff] to throw At the end of the following winter you both went on the first rebel to them and they queue up waiting for it. tour to South Africa. Was that something which you, as good friends, discussed? You both played in the 1981 Ashes – what are your abiding memories JE: It was very much a last-minute of that series? decision. It was really decided when we were in Sri Lanka. It was only a GG: Well, the biggest thing that happened in that series was that Ian couple of weeks before it happened. Botham was about to be sacked as captain but resigned before he was

‘Siamese Twins’ On England’s disastrous tour of West Indies in 1985/86 Graham Gooch was close to flying home early, worn down by the ongoing protests in the Caribbean about his connections with South Africa. In her entertaining but controversial diary of the tour, Another Bloody Tour, Frances Edmonds, wife of England and Middlesex spinner Phil, articulated the closeness of Gooch and Emburey: “One of the people no doubt pleased to hear of Gooch’s final change of heart was his inseparable ‘Siamese Twin’, John Emburey. ‘Good job Goochy isn’t going home,’ was the general feeling in the camp. ‘Otherwise they’d have to put Embers on a life-support system.’” Frances played an unexpectedly central role in Emburey’s wedding day in 1980. Emburey chose Phil Edmonds, rather than Gooch, as his best man because he had a “closer day-to-day relationship” with his Middlesex team-mate than with Gooch at that stage of their careers. Emburey recalls: “But his speech was just a load of gibberish so Frances said ‘Oh, for f***’s sake, Philippe, just sit down. Then she got up and gave the best man’s speech.” “That about sums it up,” says Gooch. “She’s a fearsome woman. Phil and her used to have some fearsome rows. We were in the Melbourne Hilton one time, all sitting round by the hotel pool and suddenly all these clothes started raining down on the pool. She’d tipped his suitcase out of the window.”

20 | AOC | MAY 2014

JE: We had two winters playing together for Western Province in South Africa so I spent a lot of time bowling in the nets to Graham. But when we came back I couldn’t bowl to him. He spanked me all over the place. GG: Embers used to like getting through his overs. He would be back to his mark and ready to bowl straight away so I developed this routine where I would be in my stance with one hand on the bat and one held up towards the bowler, going “Hang on Ern, not ready yet, not ready yet … Right OK, ready.” JE: That used to piss me off. It’s like playing golf. I used to play the shot out of turn because I was too impatient for the guy behind me to hit the ball. I wanted to get into a rhythm by bowling and a lot of sides knew that so used to slow me down. It really annoyed me. GG: The last time we played against each other, which was also my last game, was just a few years ago. JE: I still play for Lashings and Graham actually played a game against us at the HAC ground in the City. He swept a ball off me, got a top edge and cut his eye – he didn’t have a helmet on. GG: My pride was dented... JE: …he was more annoyed because, when he came off, he had this gash above his eye and his partner didn’t notice it.

Emburey dismisses Graeme Yallop at Edgbaston, 1981, as England turn the screw during ‘Botham’s Ashes’; Gooch is at slip

Embers Liked to get through his overs, so i had this routine where i’d stand with one hand on my bat and one held up to him, going ‘hang on, ern, not ready yet, not ready yet... right, ok, ready’

Your respective counties were the dominant forces in the domestic game for much of the 1980s. What was behind that? GG: We were very fortunate to learn our cricket under two very attacking, astute tactical captains. Mike Brearley [Middlesex] was a great leader of men; Keith Fletcher [Essex] wasn’t so gifted in that respect but he was a brilliant tactical captain. JE: They both encouraged opposing captains to have games of cricket. Essex would win games out of nowhere and you’d think, “Well, how did you get a game of cricket out of that?” And we would as well. But it was because they were experienced, respected figures on the circuit. GG: You had to be enterprising. If you wanted to win the County Championship you had to win about about half of your 20-odd games. So you had to make games, set up totals to chase, which put the bowlers under pressure. There were a lot of good things about three-day cricket. Captains had to be enterprising, aggressive and be prepared to lose to win. I think that’s almost gone out of the game now. Captains now are much more reactive and not so proactive.

“Just a few more, Ern...” – Lord’s, March 2014

GG: Yeah, there were a lot of negotiations going on throughout the Indian tour about this private tour being put together. You’ve got to remember a lot of players were playing cricket in South Africa at the time individually. We were only contracted for the tour, county contracts started 1st April and there wasn’t the money in the game that there is now. We were professional cricketers so as John said it was only sorted out right at the end. I think coming on the back of a turgid series in India didn’t help. You were both part of hugely successful county teams, Essex and Middlesex – what was it like playing against each other? GG: You’d spend more time in our dressing room than your own. JE: Yes and it got to the point where one day the Essex boys moved my case out of the Middlesex dressing room and into their own. GG: Fletch [Keith Fletcher] and Clem Driver, our scorer, used to play bridge, and Gatt and Ernie [Emburey] used to come into our dressing room to play bridge with them two. The ill-fated 1993 Ashes was the last time the two would play together for England

How competitive was it when you faced each other? GG: It was a friendly rivalry but it was a rivalry. I didn’t want John to get the better of me but there was no needle in it. | | AOC | 21


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GM was founded in 1885 by the English Test batsman William Gunn and local businessman Thomas Moore. They situated their factory by the River Trent in Nottingham and set out to produce the finest of English willow cricket bats. Now their highly acclaimed bats are world renowned and endorsed by the likes of England cricketers Joe Root and Graeme Swann as well as the South African Graeme Smith and Aussie allrounder Shane Watson, to name just a few. From their historic roots, GM has moved with the times and today their factory is said to be the most technologically advanced cricket bat factory in the world. As a result they employ computer-aided design and manufacturing processes that not only rival but lead hand-crafted techniques to produce superior wood conditioning, blade craft, improved stability, consistency of willow pre-production and a huge increase of bat options. This advanced manufacturing, combined with research and development, has resulted in GM producing a comparatively vast cricket bat range that not only offers differentiation of weight, willow grade and bow shape, but also on the positioning of the sweet spot and the shape of the face. Having this variety of options is key to finding the right bat for you. Whether you are a technically distinguished opener looking for a lightweight option with exceptional power-to-weight ration or an assertive middle order batsman looking for an exaggerated sweet spot, the GM collection has a bat for you.

with slightly bigger edges that results in a larger sweet spot, yet still retaining the light pick-up akin to an F7. F2: The F2 has the flattest face design with the biggest edges. Available in the ICON, ZONA, ARGON, OCTANE and PURIST range, this is the most popular shape that gives the batsman enhanced shot choice and huge power potential with the larger sweet spots.

Sweet Spot Position

The highest sweet-spot position in the GM bat range is the ICON. This bat is ideal for the cricketer who plays off the back foot looking for a reasonably big middle swell but a lightweight pick-up. The high sweet spot allows for the lightest of pick-ups which means the batsman’s hands are up and ready quicker, giving them more time to adjust to the shorter pitched deliveries. Sat below the ICON in terms of swell position is the ZONA, a specific bat for the player who loves a lightweight pick-up like the ICON but is looking for something more powerful, more overstated and more outlandish. An enormous middle concentrated high up the bat face certainly means the ZONA looks unconventional but it

is surprisingly well balanced and, timed well, the ZONA generates enormous power. At the other end of the spectrum sits the OCTANE. With a big powerful middle positioned low down on the bat face, the OCTANE is a prerequisite for powerful stroke-makers looking to inject their own pace into the ball. If you are looking for slightly more forgiveness the ARGON sits just slightly higher than the OCTANE in terms of its sweet spot position, but is crafted with a much more extended middle. The less pronounced swell in the bat gives the batsman a greater range of freedom to play shots off more of the bat face. Next up from the ARGON is the PURIST. A returning profile with an even less pronounced sweet spot, the purist is very much a shot-maker’s bat. Its lightweight pickup is surprising given that the swell position is still low down, giving the batsman a quick pick-up for back foot shots but the low-down power to execute full pitched drives. Finally, sat in the middle of the range is the new SIX6 F4.5. Sported by Joe Root, the SIX6 is a confidence-inspiring big bat with a great balance, a forgivingly extended sweet spot and is an ideal bat for all-round stroke-play.

Bat Faces Options

The three bat face options that GM now offer sit on a spectrum from the more traditionally convex F7 to the more modern flat F2, with the unique F4.5 that sits between the two. ‘F’ simply stands for Face and the number illustrates the curve of the face in millimetres. F7: Available in the ICON and ARGON the F7 is GM’s proven bat face design. A lightweight option with concentrated power that gives the batsman the greatest power-to-weight ratio and an excellent pick up. F4.5: The brand new F4.5 is available in the ICON and SIX6. A confidence-inspiring Big Bat design with a flatter face than the F7 and | | AOC | 23



THE DEFINITIVE The West Australian middle-order style guru

damien martyn on the matches that made him INTERVIEW phil walker

THE PROFESSIONAL BOW 24 & 27 | Western Australia v Victoria, Sheffield Shield, Perth, Jan 1991 It was against Victoria, with Merv Hughes and Dean Jones and all that. Merv was playing for Australia at the time. He gave it out a lot; sledging was just part of it. All the young kids got a bit of chat, but it was one of those environments. At the end of the day we were playing men and you just had to stick your chest out and take it otherwise you’re gonna get walked over. It was just the way we were all brought up. DOUBLING UP 133* & 112 | Queensland v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Brisbane, Oct 1992 We were playing against a Queensland side at Brisbane that had an attack featuring Craig McDermott, Dirk Tazelaar, Michael Kasprowicz and Andy Bichel. My two hundreds in this game really put me on the map. The year before I had made a couple of hundreds but this made me stand out. All of the kids who come through the under 19 system have their careers planned out, so a lot of us were already in Shield cricket. It was about making your mark from then on. AUSTRALIA CALLING 7 & 67* | Australia v West Indies, Melbourne, 2nd Test, Dec 1992 It’s a whole different level. There was a lot of hype surrounding the series. There was a push to try and get someone young into the Australian team. As a result, there was extra pressure, especially when Dean Jones was left out for me. He had some issues going on and there was a lot of backroom stuff going on at that time. I’d grown up watching the West Indies and they were just different. I got 67 at the MCG, which is where Warnie got his 7-fer. That was my first taste of making runs at that level and batting for a while.

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HANGING IN THERE 13 & 31 | Australia v West Indies, Perth, 5th Test, Jan 1993 My first Test at my home ground was a strange match – Curtly Ambrose took 7-1 and Allan Border got a pair! I was happy just to make 31 in the second innings – it felt like 200 at that stage. It was actually fun because I was a youngster. I’m not sure how the older guys felt about facing Ambrose, Bishop and Patterson. SNUFFED OUT BY THE PROTEAS 59 & 6 | Australia v South Africa, Sydney, 2nd Test, Jan 1994 I I was never going to play the next Test as I only came in to replace Steve Waugh. I made a fifty in our first innings and then batted seven in the second. Everyone collapsed and I was there, the young kid, just trying to hang in. McDermott came in and started swinging and we got closer. Then he got caught at cover and soon it was all over. I had six world-class batsmen above me and yet there was still a lot of pressure on me to save the match. We should never have lost it. BIDING HIS TIME 85 | Queensland v WA, Shield Final, Brisbane, Mar 1999 We were all fighting each other and waiting for an injury to pop up to grab a spot. Myself, Stuart Law, Jamie Siddons, Matthew Elliot and others just had to keep working in Shield cricket as the Australia team didn’t change much. WA got to a few Shield finals in that period, winning a couple, losing a couple. It was either us or Queensland at the time. Law was captain for them and Hayden was coming through. We had Langer, myself, Gilchrist – Tom Moody was captain. It was really enjoyable, firstclass cricket. In the 1996/97 season we lost to Queensland at home but we got payback two years later when we played them in Brisbane and won. I got 85 in our only innings and took the wicket of Hayden in the second dig.

HIS TIME 105 | England v Australia, Edgbaston, 1st Test, Aug 2001 This is when I got in full-time. The first hundred’s always an important one. I actually didn’t feel much pressure because I’d been around the side for a while and travelled with them. I’d made runs in the lead-up games and then just got the spot. It was business as usual, really. I’d been given an opportunity to bat for the series. The Ashes has always been a big thing; I was on the tour in ’93 but it was great to be a playing member. Then I got a second hundred in the fourth Test at Headingley. SOUTH AFRICAN COMFORT 133 | South Africa v Australia, Johannesburg, 1st Test, Feb 2002 I made three centuries in quick succession against South Africa, but the one at Johannesburg stands out. They were all at some great grounds – Adelaide is so beautiful and Sydney was special for me because I never made that many there in State cricket, but The Wanderers is right up there because it’s an iconic stadium and a tough wicket. Important runs, especially after what happened against them in ’94. GLOBAL SUCCESS 88* | Australia v India, Johannesburg, ICC World Cup Final, Mar 2003 We hadn’t played great cricket early on but got through thanks to some exceptional individual performances. We batted first and there was a big storm around and rain went on to hold up the game in their innings. Hayden set the tone early by walking at Zaheer Khan and puffing his chest out. It was hard early on when I came to the wicket and Ricky [Ponting] was going along slowly. I got to fifty first. The next thing I know, he took off and I was almost just batting with him. We set a target of 359, and they never got near it. It was special.


THE FINAL FRONTIER 114 & 97 | India v Australia, Nagpur, 3rd Test, Oct 2004 I think this series was probably my best in my career. To me, the subcontinent were the hardest conditions to bat in. I watched the 2001 series in India where we lost and thought, “Shit, I’m lucky I’m not playing!” You had to get used to the crowd and the conditions so it was nice to make serious runs against Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, in India – I felt like I had ticked a box. We had to bat our arses off for long periods. At Nagpur there was a lot of pressure on us; we were 1-0 up with two to play and we knew we had to win here to win the series as Mumbai was going to be a real turner. I got runs in both innings – would’ve loved three more in the second! – but I felt like I was repaying the faith of Steve Waugh and the selectors for sticking with me at the beginning.

MORE! Definitives with video footage at | | AOC | 79 25



IN FOCUS: MONGOOSE LEADS THE WAY Introducing Mongoose, the company that has changed the way the game thinks about bats… Since the dawn of cricket, the bat has remained largely unchanged. Whilst the game has seen a shift to bigger edges and exaggerated bow profiles, the generic blade and handle sizes have not altered. The primary reason for this is that within the laws of the game held by the MCC all bats must be made from the same raw materials, a willow blade with a cane handle. Common shifts in sports technology have seen upgraded raw materials to improve equipment performance: hockey, for example, has moved from wooden to composite sticks, while racket sports have shifted from wooden to graphite frames. The tradition of cricket, however, and the laws that protect its heritage, has meant there has been little incentive in the past to innovate any wildly differing bat designs; but cricket is changing. What has for so long been predominantly a defensively orientated sport is now broadening to accept much more attacking forms. Twenty20 has given rise to a more attacking style and the game has needed bats to match. In 2009, Mongoose, the Indian symbol for courage and ferocity, invented the MMi. An alien looking bat to the traditionalists which has a much longer handle and shortened blade, creating a pendulum effect to the batsman’s swing and generating significantly greater bat speed. Continuing to work within the constraints set by the MCC, the extended handle on the MMi houses the splice, meaning that the entire blade can generate power, unlike traditional bat designs where the area around the splice is effectively dead. Due to its unusual design the MMi is generally owned as a specialist bat to be used under big hitting 26 | AOC | MAY 2014

circumstances, needless to say a lot has been learned from its innovation and there are certain benefits to be had from reducing the impact of a splice on the blade and creating a lower weight distribution for a pendulum effect. Don’t let this deter you though: Gareth Andrew of Worcestershire scored a century with his MMi in a four-day game. Tailoring towards the more traditional aesthetics of a cricket bat, the Mongoose COR acts like a hybrid, incorporating the splice in the handle to leave just one inch in the blade and distributing much of the bat’s weight lower down with a much wider toe. The result is a larger sweetspot with a greater potential bat speed. The COR is a great bat for the player looking to experience the benefits of the MMi in their less dramatic format. Next in the Mongoose range is the TorQ. This bat was designed in collaboration with Marcus Trescothick and is Mongoose’s first standard bat offering. The bat boasts a heavily concaved profile which, when combined with its two-inch splice – still shorter than all other bat manufacturers – gives a great lightweight pick-up. Additionally, the smaller splice means the bat benefits from a larger middle area. New to 2014, the Mongoose Rebel is the natural progression in their ground-breaking range. A combination of its three predecessors, the Rebel is a flat-faced, big-bowed, enormousedged powerhouse with a massive middle and a full back. Crafted only from the higher and thus lighter grades of willow, the Rebel offers forceful hitting in a very well balanced bat that made it this year’s silver medallist in the All Out Cricket Gear Test.



ith all this month’s talk of new gear, the season seems close enough to touch: all we can smell is cut grass and linseed. It seems a good time to pick up a few more tips on reaching fighting weight ahead of the first game of the campaign.

RIP IT UP! Durham and England upstart Scott Borthwick on the game’s toughest art

GET SHIRTY! Give you and your sponsors a better deal this term


COACHING BACKFOOT PLAYERS Peter Moores on working to a strength

Allow the Niggle Doctor to nurse you through | | AOC | 27


MORE! Drills, advice and video demos at


PERFORMANCE Tactics At first you want to bowl dot balls, land the ball in a good area and bowl maidens. As you go into your spell you change your pace, you change how much you want to spin it. You want to find the pace of the pitch.


Ideally, if you’re spinning it you want to pitch it on middle-stump so you can take the edge, although if it’s spinning more then you can re-adjust. If it’s not spinning much then pitch it on off-stump so you can still take the edge.


Durham and England leg-spinner Scott Borthwick has worked with many of the world’s best spin bowling coaches in the last few years and is beginning to blossom as a cricketer – he made his Test debut down under over the winter. Here he shares some tricks of the trade.

Try and spin the ball with the third finger. The third finger is the most important. It’s tucked in behind the ball but it comes over the ball when you bowl. Some leg-spinners have the thumb off the ball; I rest mine on it.


I take four or five steps then jump off my left leg just before the crease. Ideally you want your back foot on the line of the stumps, and your base when you land should not be too closed, so that you’re facing towards the leg-side, but not too open, because you need to use your shoulder to spin the ball.

Front arm The front arm is important, you need that in front of you – rather than to the side, and to get it coming through so that you can follow it, and finish your action off.

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Googly My first change-up is the googly which I bowl with a scrambled seam to make it harder to pick. It’s exactly the same action, but instead of bringing your arm round, it just flips out of the back of the hand with the thumb finishing it off.

As a leg-spinner it’s hard and you have to accept that people will want to come at you and you’re going to bowl bad balls. The biggest thing is to be brave, have a big heart and accept that you’re going to have good days. And when you do have good days, try and make them very good days, as they might not come round that often.

Ideally you want your back foot on the line of the stumps, and when you land your base should not be too closed


Every leg-spinner has a different run-up. Shane Warne had the walk in and the bound which I try to do. My run-up is sort of eight steps, and after I’ve had my walk in I try to get my energy from the crease.


Follow through Ideally you want to get your right leg coming through and be set on the crease facing the batsman so you are ready for the ball coming back to you and maybe a return catch. You don’t want that leg too wide otherwise it means you’re not completing your action.

First ball I just want to land it on a good length and spin it and make the batsman think. For the field, I wouldn’t go too attacking. As a young leggie you can go too attacking if one spins and throw in a slip, a gully and a short leg. You have a slip and an off-side ring with a point, and to start with, a deep cover, in case somebody drives you. That way they only get one for it rather than a boundary. You then have an extra cover, midoff, mid-on, mid-wicket and man back for the sweep shot. Leggies do occasionally bowl bad balls so you want that protection on the leg-side. You need either a short leg for the ball which pops up or a drive man on the off-side, which I tend to have. With a drive man it tends to make you bowl at a length which is a wicket-taking ball, ie bringing the batsman forward.

Bowling a googly, it’s natural to fall away but you want to try and make your action look as similar to your leg-spinner as you can. Your front arm needs to be as strong as possible to stop you from falling away. You can’t try to spin it too much, which is the natural tendency, because then your shoulder goes back too much and it’s easier to pick. You want to get that line right outside off-stump and above his eye line so you can get the batsman driving and bowl him through the gate.

Top spinner

The ball You want it to be hard as the harder ball might spin a bit more. In the subcontinent the ball tends to get soft quite quickly which actually doesn’t help us spinners.

Pace and line You want to try and make your pace as different as possible so the batsman can’t settle. The slower one is also likely to spin more, which is useful. With your line, sometimes as a leg-spinner you want to chuck one wide so the only option is to clip it for one, but if they do try and slog it, it’s spinning away so it’s hard to control.

Again, a similar grip to the leg spinner but instead of coming around you go over the top. The seam is pretty much straight, and if the ball’s got some shine on it then it might curve in. The length is key – you want him coming forward so if it does bounce you might get a catch – or if the ball skids on, an lbw. | | AOC | 29



MORE! Drills, advice and video demos at

Low-high cross-hand catches drill • You’re using one hand to catch the ball here, with the other hand placed behind your back. If the ball’s to the right, you use the left and vice versa.


WICKETKEEPERS: STAND UP More useful glovework drills for all levels with Paul Nixon.

Overarm throws under chair drill • P lace the chairs at half-volley length and have your thrower kneel a few yards back, throwing overarm under the seats. • You need to keep your head low to watch the ball bounce under the chair and try to see it early. • T he half-volley length is hard to take when you’re standing up and this drill is a good way to develop the simpler work you’ve been doing in the build-up to the season. • T his drill adds a bit more bounce, because the throws are overarm, and it’s preventing you from viewing the ball for just a second, so it’s creating a bit of mystery and putting you under pressure. • S ometimes, your thrower can send one through the other chair, forcing you to move quickly down the leg-side. 30 | AOC | MAY 2014



N o.1


• With your coach or a mate a few yards away on one knee, get them to throw underarm on the full: one at shin height on one side, the next at shoulder height on the opposite side, and so on. • I f you can catch it with just the opposite hand in practice, then standing up to a spinner or a seamer – using two hands – when there’s turn and bounce, will be much easier.


We all want to wear gear that makes us play (and look) our best. Now there are clothing options that can help make your club a whole heap of cash, too. Director at teamwear specialists Romwear, Paul Hutchison is a former Yorkshire, Sussex and Middlesex seamer, and also chairman of Bradford League giants Pudsey St. Lawrence CC. And his desire to raise money for his beloved club institution gave him an idea about how to produce the playing shirts. He tells AOC: “With a standard cricket shirt you’re buying the garment, there’s an extra cost to add your club badge and then an extra cost to add a centre-chest print and then additional charges if you want any other prints. So if you’re lucky to get two or three sponsors, the costs just spiral out of control. If you do manage to get £400 or £500 out of a sponsor, it all gets sucked into the production of the garment. “This way (sublimation), the whole shirt is designed by you before production, so you can add as many sponsors to the one design as you like and the cost doesn’t change.” That means that clubs who work hard to generate sponsorship income can keep a lot more money for themselves. “I really believe that this will become the norm in the next five years, because it is a vehicle for clubs to generate money.” And all clubs are looking to raise a buck these days, that’s for sure. If your fundraising committee really nail their brief, your biggest problem might be finding a patch of white space between the logos… Check out shirt sublimation


“I’m coaching a player who is really strong off the back foot but keeps getting out lbw. How do I get him to play more on the front foot without ruining his best asset?”

ry S o t c i V


Celebrate a win in style with aoc’s recipes for glory THE DISH: CELEBRATION BEEF WELLINGTON THE REASON: For a celebratory meal, treat yourself to a meal worth celebrating.

The sidearm is your friend

Play to your strengths: Athers was always a back-foot player

Accentuate a player’s strength This is a classic case. People often want to focus on improving the weakness (in this case, front-foot play) but really, you’re better off trying to accentuate a player’s strengths. You should aim to get him better at executing off the back foot rather than spending all your time practising his front-foot weakness. Obviously he needs to be able to go forward when needed but some of the best players, the likes of Mike Atherton, have been backfoot players. His main scoring shots are off the back foot – which is fine – he just needs to be good enough that he doesn’t get out lbw. Carry on doing quite a lot of back-foot work to make sure he’s really good at that because that’s where he wants to play from.

Method not technique This is not so much a technical issue but more about method. Technique is how you swing the bat whereas method is how you apply the

shot. While a player can’t just play off the back foot or just off the front foot, they can have a preference. If the batsman wants to be a backfoot player, discuss how they can apply the skills they’ve got, what balls they could score off but also what balls they could get out to, so they can see potential dangers. You also need to ask how they are going to play a bowler who is bowling full on middle-and-off which you can’t play back-foot shots to. This will allow the batsman to see what they have to do to become the player they want to be.

Front dog There will be a certain length that the player feels comfortable coming forward to and this may well be fuller than for other players. Emphasise the need to get his front-foot work to a threshold point so he can play some shots and not be too easy to bowl at.

Explore different lengths Take the player into the nets, try using a dog ball-thrower/Sidearm to send down cricket balls because this makes the ball bounce and so forces the batsman to pay attention to each delivery. If you ask questions after each ball about where it pitched and how the batsman is doing, this gives the player greater awareness of length, and how they move and operate to different lengths.

THE METHOD: • S ource a fillet of beef from an organic butcher that has been hung for at least 28 days – longer is better as the flavour of fillet matures with longer hanging. • F irst, make your pâté, which will cover the seared fillet and be held in place by aged parma ham and watercress. This pâté needs to be rich, it will be melting into the meat as the 200 degree oven crisps up the puff pastry so get hold of some foie gras – add some smoked garlic, red onion and brandy, blitz this until it is smooth and cover the seared fillet with it. • Your puff pastry should be rolled out to a large rectangle around three times the size of your fillet and the parma ham should be layered on top of the pastry. In the bottom corner add a layer of watercress, place the pâté-covered beef fillet on top and then add more watercress. Finally fold up the ham around the meat and put the pastry together. It is very important that the meat is at room temperature before it’s cooked so that even when it’s superbly pink it will be warm inside. • A simple sauce consisting of sautéed wild mushrooms, cream, beef stock and cognac should accompany the beef. This meal fit for a king should be enjoyed with a bottle of the finest French red money can buy, some creamy potato dauphinoise and the freshest spring asparagus. Recipe by Mickey at Green Cow Kitchens To have him cook it for you, visit





new! Masuri Launches Club Teamwear For 2014


WORDS | Miles hammond

Famed for their helmets, Masuri have now launched a top-end Teamwear offering for cricket clubs this season. With lead times of only four weeks from order to delivery on bespoke kit, Masuri has produced a slick offering for cricket clubs to get their team kit sorted this season. So often, decisions are invariably last minute and co-ordination difficult at local club level. So what clubs want is quality, quickly and at a fair price. Masuri’s new sublimated range certainly fits the bill for cricket in 2014.

The Playing Range

As you would expect from any playing wear range, Masuri offers a comprehensive range of whites, which includes a V-neck shirt, collared short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, as well as sleeveless and long sleeve slipovers and classic trousers. With the exception of the slipovers, all of the garments are made from a polyester micro mesh material, which is designed to keep the player cool and dry

in the harshest of climates. The slipovers are also made from the highest quality polyester but are instead woven into a thicker fleece material – this keeps players warm during the cooler parts of the day but remains lightweight and allows a natural range of movement.

The Training Range

Masuri’s small but perfectly formed training range consists of tracksuit top and bottoms, a hoodie, training shorts and a training top. The training range again consists of the poly micro mesh and the poly fleece materials but with the addition of poly taslon, another lightweight but waterproof material used on the training shorts, tracksuit top and tracksuit bottoms, giving the obvious advantage of staying dry in typical British cricket conditions. The hoodies are made from a poly fleece material, similar to that used in the playing slipovers but with a higher thread count, giving extra warmth in the colder months.

The training top is made from a lighter, more breathable version of the poly micro mesh used on the playing shirts.

Masuri Background

Masuri‘s roots began in Cape Town, in 1988 and ever since they have been at the forefront of technological innovation in the cricketing world, leaving their mark with the first ever stainless steel grille. Since then, Masuri has continued to lead the industry, pushing the boundaries and setting the standard for the design of the modern cricket helmet. This is epitomised by their upcoming ‘Vision Series’ helmet which will move the market to a whole new level of safety and performance. With Masuri proving themselves throughout the decades as the leading helmet brand in the world, Barrington Sports is delighted to support them in their new-found venture, becoming one of the first retailers to offer their brand new teamwear range in the UK.


BUTTLER Super scooper Keeper, batter, blue-eyed bruiser Describe yourself in one word? Calm. I’m not too bothered about most things What words or phrases do you most overuse? Um… Which living person do you most admire, and why? David Beckham – he’s got better and better as he’s got older, the way he carries himself is good; he’s easy for people to relate to

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What’s your idea of happiness? Home

What keeps you awake at night? Noise…?

Pet hate? Jealousy

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life? Bradley Cooper

In which era would you most like to have lived? The Sixties. The mods and the rockers… We did that in history at school and it seemed quite cool. Or the Nineties, I watched The Class of ’92 the other day, I was born in 1990 so to experience the Nineties as an older person might be cool If you were an animal, what would you be and why? A lion, just because they’re cool, and they sleep all day. They’ve got a good life What’s been your biggest disappointment? The Champions Trophy final

What’s your most marked characteristic? Softly-spoken

What becomes of the broken hearted? Broken-heartedness…?

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice? Superman

If you could edit your past, what would you change?  Nothing. Well, maybe… no, nothing

What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? Be yourself What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Waiheke Island in New Zealand What’s wrong with the world? Too much What’s your favourite joke? It’d be a bit controversial, I think… Who is your favourite fictional hero? James Bond’s pretty cool What if God was one of us? Lionel Messi What came first, the chicken or the egg? Jack Leach | | AOC | 33

Barrington Sports Cricket Magazine  

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