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Showing posts from June, 2020

SONNY RAMADHIN: THE CALYSO CRICKET ENIGMA

One beautiful summer’s day in 1964 I had the pleasure of being taken to Headingley to watch the Roses match, a highlight of cricket’s summer in England. It was a memorable day in which Yorkshire scored 352, belying the old adages of ‘no fours before lunch’, and ‘no cutting before July’ (well, it was august in fact), applicable specifically to Roses matches. Several of Yorkshire’s batsman scored runs, in a team of which only one, Tony Nicholson, never played for England (mind you, he was elected to tour south Africa but pulled out due to injury). There was one large reason why the batsman all got in and then got out, and that reason was Sonny Ramadhin, with Lancashire as an overseas player. Ramadhin was a small man, bowling off a short run, and had a nondescript, apparently unthreatening action. It was noticeable that he always bowled in a cap and with his sleeves rolled down. He bowled 50 overs in that innings, mainly on that day, and nobody was able to collar him or figure out whic…

Bob Appleyard: One of Cricket's Almost Greats

As a former spin bowler myself the art of spin bowling has always fascinated me. Jim Laker to Yasir Shah via Sonny Ramadhin, Derek Underwood, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Muttiah Muralitharan, Graeme Swann, and many, many others have enthralled my cricket over several decades. I have seen many of these great spinners operate, but I never saw Bob Appleyard, whose career was brief, ending when I was 8 years old. Reading an interview by Chris Waters with two Yorkshire players of the 1950s on the subject of Fred Trueman I was surprised by their answer when asked, ‘So was Fred the greatest bowler you played with or against?’. ‘Oh no’, they replied, ‘that would be Bob Appleyard’. I was not just surprised but intrigued. Most people who followed cricket in England in that era would have admired Jim Laker, Tony Lock, Ray Illingworth, Johnny Wardle … but only those in the know would mention Appleyard, who played for England only nine times. What was it about Appleyard that commanded such deep res…