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Oborne & Heller on Cricket Profile

Oborne & Heller on Cricket

English, Sports, 1 season, 118 episodes, 4 days, 7 hours, 42 minutes
Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have launched a new podcast to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They will chat regularly about cricket topics – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.
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World Cricket And All That Shapes It Covered By Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2023 is the longest edition on record. It not only records the present state of global cricket but also reflects on the mighty global forces – political, social, commercial, environmental – which shape it. Its editor, Lawrence Booth, analyses its content as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Lawrence begins by hailing the turnaround in England’s Test team under Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach. Although the England team dislike the term Bazball he thinks it a healthy sign that the general public have adopted it for the enthralling blend of cricket they are playing. The only pity is that they are not seeing it on free-to-air television (a topic regularly ventilated in previous Wisdens) but he still hopes that this summer’s Ashes series might raise the profile of cricket as did that of 2005. He comments especially on Ben Stokes’ confidence in asking for fast flat wickets in the Ashes series in contrast to the conditions in which England have gained all their home series successes since 2001.Above all, Stokes and McCullum have removed the fear of failure from a previously careworn team. He suggests that Stokes’s character has deepened from the crises in his life: his empathy was illustrated by the consoling text he sent to the teenaged aspinner he had hit for 34 in an over. He views Brendon McCullum as the most significant cricketer of the last twenty years, given his innings which ignited the Indian Premier League on its first day and his contribution to the re-invention of Test cricket.A major theme in this year’s Wisden is the multiple threat to Test cricket from T20 Leagues which have induced leading players in the world to reduce their commitments to international series or even abandon them. Lawrence believes that it is too late to reverse this process but he hopes that national boards might grow sufficient spine to halt the release of players to new T20 Leagues, particularly that proposed in Saudi Arabia, which would transform the international scene if it secures the best Indian players.Lawrence comments pungently on the role of the International Cricket Council on three major topics covered in the Almanack: Afghan cricket since the Taliban takeover, cricket in Ukraine and the sponsorship deal with Aramco. The ICC has developed a habit of ducking fundamental decisions about the governance of the game and most of the full members are in permanent thrall to the financial and political power of India.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you.
5/3/202355 minutes, 49 seconds
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Sovereigns, stars, stewards, scorers, statisticians … Steven Lynch on this year’s Wisden obituaries

Two monarchs lead the obituaries in the 2023 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. As always, it is a melancholy but matchless memorial to global cricket’s losses, and a section to which many readers turn first. Its compiler and editor, Steven Lynch, discusses its selection and preparation as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In this edition Roger Alton replaces Peter as co-host.Steven outlines the late sovereign’s long connexions with cricket, understandably placed above the alphabetical list (“we could not file her under Q for Queen”.) He does the same for her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, reflecting the Almanack’s current policy of retrospective tributes to women omitted from Wisden, as she was in the 1902 edition.The 195 following names ranged in age from a 16-year-old Indian schoolboy to a 102-year-old former umpire. Inevitably the number includes premature deaths from accident (such as Andrew Symonds and Rudi Koertzen) and suicide, but very broadly it suggests that cricket contributes to a long life.The former cricketers are led by Shane Warne and Rodney Marsh, who died on the same day: Warne’s final tweet was a tribute to Marsh. Steven wrote Marsh’s himself: Warne’s was by his long-time collaborator Richard Hobson. Other contributors were Matthew Engel and Richard Whiting. Steven explains the general policy of not naming obituarists, to emphasize that the tribute of whatever length is Wisden’s final judgement on the subject. The object is always, especially in those less well-known, to bring out some unexpected detail of character and career (as with the player who had fielded out the whole of Hanif Mohammed’s innings of 499). Steven felt that Warne’s tribute had brought home his acute cricket brain and hoped that Marsh’s would counter his early stock image as a beer-drinking larrikin to suggest the thoughtful man behind it.Steven also comments on:Jim Parks  of Sussex and England, first of a long line of Test batsmen-wicketkeepers, generously helped into that role by Keith Andrew;Sonny Ramadhin, the great West Indian spin bowler, never the same after being made to bowl  98 overs against Peter May and Colin Cowdrey in 1957 with umpires who would not give him an lbw decision. He was the last survivor of the great West Indian touring team of 1950. Steven suggests that he and his partner Alf Valentine deserve a book to themselves;the talented but troubled Andrew Symonds, who preferred fishing to off-field official events including team meetings and was embittered by the resolution of his dispute with the Indian Harbijan Singh;the multi-gifted Andy Goram who played cricket as well as keeping goal for Scotland and annoyed a famous fast bowler by facing him without a helmet.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you.
4/18/202354 minutes, 18 seconds
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From teenage record breaker to players’ champion: James Harris of Glamorgan and the PCA

After a record-breaking early start in county cricket for Glamorgan, James Harris is back with them after spells with Middlesex and Kent. He has also begun his second term as chair of the Professional Cricketers Association. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In this edition Roger Alton replaces Peter as co-host.James has just returned from Glamorgan’s pre-season tour of Zimbabwe. He gives an upbeat account of the country and its cricket.He looks forward to reconnecting with his colleague Marnus Labuschagne, who will be rejoining the county in advance of the Ashes series. He describes him as a great player who has kept the eagerness of a t2-year-old.He gives an overview of the PCA. Its founder, Fred Rumsey of Somerset and England, had found it hard to recruit among the generally conservative cricketers of the 1960s. But this was not true today: membership for first-class cricketers was almost automatic, as they took stock of its wide range of services at a very reasonable subscription. It represented professional players in the first-class game, present and past (for life if they wanted). Present membership was 475 men and 99 women (up from 18 in just a few years). The membership included overseas players with an English professional contract and when necessary the PCA represented English players overseas. It had relationships with other countries’ players unions through the Federation of International Cricket Associations.He had involved himself under the influence of friends and team mates at Glamorgan, and as a payback for a fulfilling professional career of 17 years (at just 32). Re-elected for a second term, he would now serve as chairman for another two years. Although demanding, the job was a rich opportunity for personal development, combining board membership of the PCA, being a trustee of its charity, and a regular place at the table on major issues with the England and Wales Cricket Board. As the voice of playing members, he saw its prime responsibilities in securing for them a fair share of all the game’s revenues, looking after their welfare and well-being, creating an environment that encouraged them to play at their best, and to prepare them for life after their playing careers. The PCA had to react rapidly to constant change in domestic and global cricket.James explains the complex arrangements that now determine English county finances and players’ earnings. Although some counties are better off than others, he believes that English cricket is now reasonably stable financially, helped by money from the Hundred filtering down to all levels of cricket. He sees no danger of county clubs following rugby union clubs into insolvency with unsustainable wage bills. He describes the impact of the salary collar and cap in county cricket and the range of earnings from professional county cricket. The PCA had secured its objective of £27,500 a year as a starting salary for a professional in his first year. The 18 counties were independent employers not tied to a salary scale but he thought that their best-paid players were on something over £100,000. Earnings and opportunities were not remotely comparable with those of football, and he suggested that there was no economic motive for sportspeople to choose cricket for over other sports – they do this for the appeal of the game itself.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear fr
3/28/202356 minutes, 57 seconds
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The weird genius who revolutionized cricket history

Many eccentric geniuses have written about cricket, and indeed played it. Few have been as eccentric as Major Rowland Bowen – or had his genius. In 1970, after years of dedicated research (not all his own) he published Cricket: A History of its growth and development throughout the world. Long out of print, it is still unmatched in its global sweep, its presentation of arcane facts, and its insurrectionary daring (which delighted C L R James) in overturning almost sacred cricketing myths. It riled the cricketing Establishment of its day, especially those seeking to defend white supremacy.Russell Jackson is an award-winning Australian author and journalist. He became fascinated by Bowen and his contribution to cricket history. He has now inherited from the late Murray Hedgecock the daunting task of reviving Bowen’s work and making sense of his extraordinary life, as he explains to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Russell speculates about the motives behind Bowen’s very personal and cantankerous crusade for the truth in cricket history. His career had echoes of John Le Carré: he was the son of a disgraced solicitor and served in Intelligence. In spite of family financial problems he attended Westminster School in the 1920s and was noted early as a cricket obsessive although not noted as a player. At seventeen, he became a member of the MCC (thanks to an influential proposer. Already a natural contrarian, he read cricket literature copiously and decided that almost all of it needed challenge and correction by himself.His actual trigger was Roy Webber, the leading scorer, who was the authority for a wrong fact on a quiz show. It inspired a lifetime’s war for his view of the truth in cricket. To achieve an outlet for this, he eventually founded his own subscription-only journal Cricket Quarterly in 1963. He had a habit of quarrelling violently with subscribers, striking them off, and rejecting new ones for fear that they were the old ones trying to sneak up on him under assumed names. This business model is not normally recommended to publishers, but CQ survived for 32 issues until 1971 and produced a highly influential corpus of work as the basis for his history. With its book it deserves a full re-issue.The undismissed subscribers formed a global network of amateur cricket historians and statisticians. Bowen was astute enough to enlist them as volunteer contributors of obscure local materials which he needed. Peter Hain was among them, and submitted to a volley of demands. He said that his only supporters for stopping the apartheid tour of 1970 in the world of cricket were John Arlott, David Sheppard – and Bowen.Russell suggests that Bowen’s central mission was to correct the established Anglocentric history of cricket with its almost exclusive focus on first-class matches. He stressed especially the long success of American cricket and the impact of its exclusion from the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1911.Financial pressures drove Bowen into the army. He served first in India and then in Intelligence in London in the 1950s as a map and topographical analyst. His main achievement was to be the first to detect the Soviet missiles which provoked the Cuban crisis of 1962.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
3/21/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds
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Two testaments of cricket and war

John Broom has combined his passions for cricket and military history in two books on global cricket in both world wars: Cricket In The First World War Play Up! Play The Game and Cricket In The Second World War The Grim Test. They are both meticulous and moving. He explains his mission in writing them, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.John sought to fill a significant gap in cricket’s historiography. Eminent writers of standard works had all but ignored the wartime years. These were not only full of drama but also represented two lost opportunities to change the course of English cricket.Turning first to the Great War, John describes the mixed response of English cricket to its outbreak in August 1914. The English County Championship wound down and cricketers generally were urged (notably by the elderly W G Grace) to stop playing and serve the war effort. However, the Bradford League in Yorkshire controversially decided to continue and to take the chance to recruit some of the best County players, including Jack Hobbs, Frank Woolley and Jack Hearne. This generated some fierce attacks on the League and its participants.Cricket had never before had to come to terms with the demands of total war. Some players like Hobbs placed their first duties to their dependent families, others like Woolley and Phil Mead tried to enlist but were surprisingly rejected as unfit due to minor conditions. Most joined up immediately, on the urging of the counties and clubs, team mates often enlisting together in the same unit. The future England captain Arthur Carr joined his regiment from the crease when called by telegram, allowing himself one more over.He contrasts the mixed response of cricket to the outbreak of war with the demonstrative patriotism of rugby union and the much-attacked decision of association football clubs to carry on with their programme. Its mixed, even muddled, response preserved wartime cricket from either a total shut-down and mass extinctions of clubs or from general ostracism if it had carried on as usual.He also notes cricket’s very different reaction to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. There was no belief that it would be “over by Christmas” (as in August 1914) and in business (and cricket) as usual. The touring West Indians went home early to avoid the expected U-boat attacks, although three, Learie Constantine, Manny Martindale and Bertie Clarke stayed on to make notable contributions to the war effort, including cricket.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
3/14/202355 minutes, 27 seconds
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A story made for the movies – Pakistan women’s cricket

Based in Mumbai, Aayush Puthran is an experienced cricket reporter and analyst, with a strong focus on women’s cricket. He has written an inspirational book, Unveiling Jazbaa, which weaves together the astonishing personal stories of the creators and players of women’s cricket in Pakistan.Aayush begins by explaining the Urdu word Jazbaa. It has no precise English equivalent, but conveys a cocktail of emotions and passions which generate stunning unexpected achievement. It has been regularly applied to the Pakistan men’s team: he thought that the women’s team also deserved it, to convey their determination to step out.He outlines the early history of Pakistan women’s cricket in the 1970s, largely confined to well-connected women in élite institutions. As in India in the same era, it was much easier for women to take part in individual sports such as running or badminton or in hockey.Aayush tells the dramatic story of the Khan sisters of Karachi, Shaiza and Sharmeen (who sadly passed away in 2021). They pioneered Pakistan’s international women’s team against entrenched opposition and often great personal risk. Daughters of a wealthy father and a cricket-crazed mother (who had postponed her wedding to watch Pakistan play the West Indies), they had discovered themselves as cricketers during their English education during the 1980s. They identified with Pakistan’s increasingly successful men’s team of that period, but had no women’s team which they and others could aspire to. They therefore decided to create one from nothing.He explains the political background which made their ambitions and activities so dangerous. Pakistan’s then military dictator, General Zia ul-Haq had formed an alliance with deeply conservative fringe religious movements. They had promulgated the so-called Hudood Ordinances, imposing severe controls on the lives of women and girls, especially all activities outdoors, with severe punishments for alleged female transgressors of any kind.  They could play cricket and other sports only in enclosed private spaces, such as the compound at their father’s carpet factory. When Zia was killed in an air crash in 1988 and replaced by Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister, the sisters thought it would be safe to organize a proper cricket match involving former men’s stars including the great Zaheer Abbas. They were mistaken. The religious ultras were still strong and the sisters faced death threats. They were forced instead to play an all-women’s match in the compound with a massive police presence, and their father demanded that they fly back to England immediately it finished.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
3/1/202349 minutes, 33 seconds
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After a hard day in Nagpur, the great cricket writer Mike Coward gives a masterclass on Australian cricket

Mike Coward is among the world’s most distinguished and distinctive cricket writers and broadcasters, although he graciously declines the title of “Australia’s John Arlott.” He makes a welcome return to the crease as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Mike begins by responding to a grim result (for Australia): the innings defeat within three days in the first Test of their current series in India. Coming after two unsatisfying one-sided domestic series against West Indies and South Africa, it strained the loyalty of Australian cricket fans to Test match cricket. Across the world, this format, the summit of the game cannot afford a succession of uncompelling, poorly followed series.Recovery from the defeat in Nagpur would be a major challenge for Pat Cummins, as captain, who had recently faced criticism at home for his progressive stance on social and environmental issues outside cricket. He believes that Cummins, in line with a growing number of modern sports personalities, will maintain his involvement in these issues and predicts that he will grow as a leader on and off the field.A rare bright spot for Australia in the recent match was the début performance, capturing seven Indian wickets in their sole innings, of the off-spinner Todd Murphy, selected after a handful of first-class matches. Mike profiles the player, whose spectacles have earned him the inevitable nickname of Harry Potter in succession to Australia’s spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori. He hails the temperament and methods which earned his success.Continue reading here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
2/14/202345 minutes
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An elephant never forgets India’s first Test victory in England

In August 1971 Bella the elephant from Chessington Zoo travelled to the Oval to watch India’s historic first Test match victory in England.  Her story gives the title to the fascinating book, Elephant In The Stadium, by the historian Arunabha Sengupta. Around it he weaves not only the gripping cricket played in the series but also the major surrounding events, the political, social and cultural history of India’s relationship with Britain and its empire, and its enduring legacy. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
2/7/202354 minutes, 47 seconds
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How professionals save soccer – but not cricket – from public school amateurs, explains sports historian Richard Sanders

In the British isles cricket had a start on association football of over a hundred years as a game with Laws, organization and popular following. In the late Victorian era it was overtaken in a short time. Based on his fascinating book Beastly Fury on the strange birth of British football, the distinguished documentary maker and sports historian Richard Sanders teases out the reasons why. He is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast.Richard’s book begins with an account of the astonishing mass football match – or more accurately battle – all over Derby in 1846. It was a survival of mediæval festivities on Shrove Tuesday when normal life was turned upside down by a lord of misrule. But alongside these exhibitions of mass mayhem were much more organized and disciplined local matches of “folk football”, with set numbers playing over a prescribed area. In these are the true origins of the modern football which emerged in the late nineteenth century.He combats the persistent myth that public schoolboys civilized and controlled the anarchy of folk football. The opposite was more true: contact with folk football civilized the public schoolboys. The historic seven “great schools” of the early nineteenth century had all evolved their own bizarre forms of football filled with psychotic violence...Read the full description here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
1/24/20231 hour, 6 seconds
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Cricket, diplomacy and a fierce despatch from Freddie Flintoff

Cricketer, diplomat and author Tom Fletcher is now Principal of Hertford College, Oxford. As the UK’s ambassador to Lebanon, he made notable efforts to support the country’s cricketers, especially from its community of Sri Lankan workers. Previously, he served in 10 Downing Street as the principal adviser on foreign policy to three British Prime Ministers, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
12/13/202255 minutes, 55 seconds
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England versus Pakistan – the first seventy years with historian Najum Latif

As England play their first Test series in Pakistan for nearly twenty years one of the country’s leading cricket historians, Najum Latif, describes their reception and celebrates the timely republication of a classic work on the start of England’s cricket relationship with the country. He is an expert tour guide to a vanished world as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: England versus Pakistan – the first seventy years with historian Najum LatifGet in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
12/7/20221 hour, 56 seconds
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Another thrilling spell from fast bowling legend Wes Hall

Few sights in cricket’s history have been more thrilling than the great West Indian fast bowler Wes Hall in the 1960s bounding in from his long run. He is now Sir Wesley Hall and the subject of a fine new biography Answering The Call by Paul Akeroyd. He creates the same thrill in his spell as the guest in the latest cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. In Peter’s absence, Roger Alton again faces the bowling.Peter, Richard and Roger are delighted to put out the appeal again for the MCC Foundation, the MCC’s charity, in the week in which all contributions are automatically doubled. They will be used in support of the wonderful Alsama project in Lebanon which has brought cricket to war-damaged children and to extend the Foundation’s efforts to bring cricket to children in deprived areas at home. To learn more about the appeal and contribute please use this link.,O5TN,957ZD,2X7VO,1Answering The Call The extraordinary life of Sir Wesley Hall is published by J W McKenzie from McKenzie Books or AmazonRead the full description here: in touch with us by emailing [email protected], we would love to hear from you!
11/29/202257 minutes, 11 seconds
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Before D’Oliveira – the glories and the shame of England’s Tests against South Africa

In his book Swallows And Hawke, co-written with past podcast guest André Odendaal, the historian Richard Parry gives a uniquely penetrating account of England’s first eighty years of cricket relations with South Africa, ended by the D’Oliveira affair. It is full of pulsating cricket matches in exciting locations – but all deeply entwined with racism and imperialism. He is the guest in the latest edition of the cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton takes up the attack.Richard explains that racial segregation in South Africa was firmly established long before formal apartheid and in the earliest days of its representative cricket. One of South Africa’s first captains, William Milton, was secretary to Cecil Rhodes, and responsible for the first major racist legislation in British South Africa. Cricket helped to cement the economic relationships of South Africa with British capital and to normalize for the Empire and the outside world the white-dominated society on which they depended. 2-7 minutes He traces the business interests of the controllers of both countries’ cricket, Lord Harris and Sir Abe Bailey, which turned England – South Africa cricket relations for eighty years into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Consolidated Goldfields. 8-9 minutesOn the field, the cricket was memorable. He identifies three phases. The first, before 1900, was started with a pioneering tour led by Aubrey Smith, later a knighted actor and founder of the celebrated Hollywood Cricket Club. The early tours had long, hard and dangerous travel conditions before the arrival of major railways (25-27 minutes) and played largely exhibition matches, often against odds. The second phase after the Boer war saw victories by South Africa’s quartet of bowlers who had mastered the new mystery ball, the googly. These were avenged by 49 wickets in just four Tests by Sydney Barnes.  He sets out the playing conditions which the brilliant Barnes demanded for himself – and why he refused to take even more wickets by walking out of the fifth Test. (33-34 minutes) Then for nearly fifty years after the Great War England’s visits produced series which were not settled until the last day of the final Test, in contrast to the many dead Ashes rubbers of the same period. 10-12 minutes Richard tells stories of the great cricket played in these matches, including the epic duel between Barnes and South Africa’s legend, Herbie Taylor, (34-37 minutes) and the so-called timeless Test in 1939, when England’s pursuit of a target of 696 was ended by their need to catch the boat  home – or risk being stranded by the impending war. (38-42 minutes) England’s captain in that series, Walter Hammond, had many relationships over a long period with South Africa: one ended in his second marriage. Like other players of his era, he benefited from media silence about his off-field activities. 42-47 minutes England Tests in South Africa attracted huge crowds – almost exclusively white, despite the efforts of campaigners including Gandhi. The few black and coloured spectators at major grounds were herded into special pens, where they showed their feelings by cheering for England. 12-14 minutesAnd more...Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/22/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 17 seconds
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A select offering from Ed Smith

Ed Smith played cricket for Kent, Middlesex (as captain) and England, was an incisive commentator on Test Match Special and was England’s Chief Selector from 2018 to 2021. In that role, he drew on learning from many different fields as well as those of cricket, as he reveals in his recent polymathic book, Making Decisions. He is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast. Ed begins by describing his childhood training for the post of Chief Selector, in role play in the classic game of Owzat. He suggests that selecting is simultaneously highly complex and highly democratic: all cricket-lovers have views, if not votes, and never hesitate to express them. Social media have opened up new and often unusual perspectives on selection and strategy.Current form and a past record in county cricket were once the sole basis of selection of England’s international players, but he and his panel looked at other factors as well. He suggests that the gulf in playing standards has widened between county and international cricket. The dramatic and successful selection of Jofra Archer for the 2019 World Cup was based on IPL evidence.  IPL games are not only highly competitive but rich in detailed televised data.He cites some players who made inauspicious starts in international cricket but whose evident quality demanded their retention, especially Jos Buttler in England’s one-day cricket. Selectors face a constant dilemma of when to over-ride data and rely on their personal assessments of players, as Duncan Fletcher had done with Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan. Decision-makers who always play safe and follow conventional wisdom never add value to the decision process – and not only in cricket. Although cricket has no transfer market, like football and other sports, it is still imperative for selectors to find undervalued players (by reputation) and offload overvalued ones.He cites the guidance of the conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott on how to choose among the runners in the Derby and other classic horse races: “there are no precise rules for selecting the winner and some intelligence not supplied by the rules themselves is necessary.” Scientific systems can filter out obvious losers, but human judgement is needed to identify the attributes of a winner.  Sam Curran would never have been selected by scientific algorithm: he was picked after a human assessment of his personality and his ability to add variety and enhance team performance.He argues strongly that selection must always aim to create the best possible team from the resources available for the contests ahead. The team’s needs will sometimes entail omitting a fine individual player and giving a long run to players whose figures appear unexceptional: he gives three examples of this by his panel. In T20 cricket it is especially important to get the maximum value from the best batter in a limited span of overs and to surround him or her with the players that contribute the most to achieving this. A strong team culture will overcome the disappointment of the individuals passed over for particular matches and remove their fear of being discarded and forgotten.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/15/202252 minutes, 51 seconds
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From the captains’ table – cricket in two village communities

Two highly successful captains of village cricket teams, Tom Greaves of Reed, Hertfordshire, and Callum Widdows of Horningsham, Wiltshire, are the latest guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. They share the problems and triumphs of making cricket thrive in local communities – where it belongs.Both were raised in the villages they now captain, but had little exposure to cricket in primary school. At around 12 years old each was inspired by watching the thrilling Ashes series of 2005 on free-to-air television. It led Callum into long practice sessions in his garden trying to imitate Freddie Flintoff, and then into seeking out the under-13 squad in the nearby town of Warminster. After an initially unpromising reception from the coach, this would give him his first experience of captaincy.Cricket had had little appeal for Tom and his younger brother: they thought it a game for posh people. They were golfing tearaways (literally) carving divots from the lovingly tended Reed cricket pitch when practising their golf shots. One happy day the groundsman marched them into the nets and made them practise with bat and ball instead. They were converted to cricket, and the following summer alternated long net sessions with a dash home to watch the 2005 Ashes. Before long Tom was opening the batting for Reed’s under-14s and he has been deeply involved with the club ever since...Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/8/202253 minutes, 17 seconds
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The cricketing car park of Beirut

Fernando Sugath, a Sri Lankan expatriate, has been playing cricket in Lebanon for 25 years, in some extraordinary places and despite some extraordinary obstacles. With Will Dobson, an English expatriate and a bookseller in Beirut, he recently organized the biggest cricket tournament in Lebanon’s turbulent history. They are the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/1/202243 minutes, 23 seconds
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Wendy Wimbush – fifty years of keeping but never settling scores

Wendy Wimbush has given a lifetime of service to cricket. She is best known as the BBC scorer in the 1970s but has also worked in other capacities in other countries and with some of the most famous names in cricket. She is the guest in the latest edition of the cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton takes up the attack.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
10/25/202247 minutes, 50 seconds
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Mike Coward - sixty years of great cricket writing

After sixty years’ experience in all forms of media, Mike Coward has become one of the most honoured reporters and analysts of cricket in his native Australia and across the world. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
10/18/202256 minutes, 54 seconds
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At the wonder house of cricket books

Most of cricket’s history for nearly three hundred years can be found behind a small shopfront in a quiet suburban street in Surrey, forty minutes on the commuter train service from London Waterloo. It is easy to miss on a first visit. The most obvious landmark is the large plastic poodle promoting the dog grooming parlour next door. But a closer inspection shows a handsome carved wooden cricket frieze at the base. Peter Oborne and Richard Heller went there to meet England’s premier cricket bookseller, John McKenzie, the guest in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here:
10/11/202249 minutes, 48 seconds
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Geoff Boycott celebrates yet another century

Throughout his playing career, Sir Geoffrey Boycott made a habit of celebrating special occasions with a century. It makes him the ideal and appropriate guest for Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on the hundredth recorded edition (according to official statisticians) of their cricket-themed podcast. With him is his new opening partner, Jon Hotten, his collaborator on a revealing, intimate book Being Geoffrey Boycott.Signed copies and two limited editions – celebrating Sir Geoffrey Boycott’s 100th first-class hundred and 108 Test caps, respectively – of Being Geoffrey Boycott are available to buy from copies are also available to Oborne & Heller on Cricket listeners at the discounted price of £19.99 + p&p when you use coupon code OHBOYCS at the checkout.Read the full description here:
10/4/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
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High performance or last performance? Campaigner Alan Higham dissects the ECB review of English cricket

Alan Higham has become a leading campaigner for the preservation of the county championship as the foundation of first-class cricket in England and Wales and for real consultation with its supporters over its future. He explains why this is essential now in the light of the ECB’s just-published high-performance review, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here:
9/27/202251 minutes, 33 seconds
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Can serious cricket survive pornography asks Simon Heffer

Simon Heffer has had a distinguished career as a journalist, historian, academic and man of letters, above all as a cricket-lover who contributes a monthly column on the game to the Daily Telegraph. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here:
9/13/202252 minutes, 26 seconds
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Rebuilding Ukraine cricket and children’s lives – despite the ICC

When Peter Oborne and Richard Heller last spoke to Kobus Olivier, CEO of the Ukraine Cricket Federation, he and his four dogs had escaped to Poland from the war-shattered city of Kyiv. A lot has happened since to him and to Ukraine cricket. He updates Peter and Richard as the first guest in their returning cricket-themed podcast.Donations to the programme can be made directly to Kobus Olivier through PayPal to @wardogsandIFollow Anna’s journey on Facebook and Instagram.Read the full description here:
9/6/20221 hour, 1 minute, 42 seconds
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The joy of Sri Lankan cricket, expertly distilled

Given the joy it has given to the world, the history of Sri Lankan cricket has been strangely neglected. A young author, Nicholas Brookes, has now filled the gap with a masterly study: An Island’s Eleven. He shares its rich and often surprising contents as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s absence, Roger Alton is co-presenter of this episode.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
7/5/202249 minutes, 59 seconds
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Dutch cricket – and when it can be dangerous to watch

The Netherlands has played organized cricket almost as long as England. Steven van Hoogstraten was chairman of the Royal Dutch Cricket Association for over a decade and is a current member of its supervisory board: he has also had a distinguished career in public service in the Netherlands and with the United Nations. As England play their first one-day international series in the Netherlands, Steven explores the rich history of Dutch cricket and analyses its current state as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/21/202244 minutes, 11 seconds
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Writing and cricket: two matching crafts for Harold Pinter

The 2009 edition of Wisden Cricketers’Almanack contains a beautiful tribute to Harold Pinter. It was written by the academic and musician Ian Smith, his friend and teammate in the celebrated Gaieties Cricket Club. Ian traces Pinter’s deep dedication to cricket and its influence on his life and work, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s absence, Roger Alton is co-presenter.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/7/202248 minutes, 7 seconds
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Cricket – a prisoner of market forces?

Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde won major awards in 2020 for their book Cricket 2.0, tracking the T20 cricket revolution. Tim has now joined forces with one of the world’s leading sports economists, Stefan Szymanski, to write Crickonomics The Anatomy of Modern Cricket. He reveals its essential messages about the inescapable impact of economic and social change on the future of cricket, and surprising conclusions from its data, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/31/202257 minutes, 44 seconds
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Charles Sale digs deep into the tunnels at Lord’s

Charles Sale has been a sports journalist for forty years, almost half of them as the incisive sports diarist of the Daily Mail. In his book The Covers Are Off, he excavates the chaotic and costly story of the redevelopment of Lord’s cricket ground, blighted by two decades of unnecessary conflict between the Marylebone Cricket Club and a sharp-witted local property developer. He shares its story and analysis with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/24/202253 minutes, 33 seconds
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Non-racial sport: its slow journey with English cricket in the rear

The former Sports News Editor of the BBC, Mihir Bose, has written with great authority about British and international sport for nearly fifty years. His latest book, Dreaming The Impossible, tracks the slow journey towards a non-racial sports world. It draws on dozens of interviews with leading sportspeople, coaches, managers, administrators, business leaders and campaigners for change. He outlines its vital messages as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/17/202249 minutes, 54 seconds
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Writer, broadcaster, cricketer Isabelle Westbury celebrates the upward trajectory of women’s cricket

After a playing career in the Netherlands, Middlesex and Somerset Isabelle Westbury has become one of Britain’s most acute writers and broadcasters on cricket, in combination with a professional legal career. She is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton shares the bowling in this edition.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/10/202256 minutes, 7 seconds
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Haringey Cricket College – a missing engine of opportunity in English cricket

In modest premises in a deprived part of north London, the Haringey Cricket College was a unique institution which developed a generation of talented black players into English first-class cricketers. Its disappearance was a lasting loss. Adrian Rollins was one of its alumni, an opening batter with over 7000 first-class runs for Derbyshire and Northamptonshire between 1993 and 2002. Julien Cahn was chair of its successor, the London Cricket College. They are the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/3/202247 minutes, 29 seconds
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Wisden’s obituary section, a tapestry of cricket, by their master weaver Steven Lynch

Year after year the obituary section of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is one of its most admired features. Its tributes to people who have contributed to cricket mean a great deal to their families, friends and followers. But they also form a tapestry of cricket itself. They capture its varied settings and moods: they reveal why millions of people in all walks of life across the world have been drawn to the game. Even the briefest typically contain the germ of a novel. Their long-serving compiler is Wisden’s international editor, Steven Lynch, who discusses the 2022 edition as the guest in the latest cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
4/26/202248 minutes, 5 seconds
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Wisden 2022, the global publishing event of the year, and its editor Lawrence Booth

The arrival of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is the global publishing event of the year. It makes butterflies stop flapping their wings in the Amazon. On their latest cricket-themed podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller celebrate it with Lawrence Booth, its distinguished editor since 2011.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
4/20/202252 minutes, 52 seconds
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Suing the ECB? Former board member and Somerset chairman Andy Nash suggests how to resist its destruction of English cricket

After a varied and highly successful business career, Andy Nash was chairman of Somerset County Cricket Club for ten years full of achievement on and off the field. He became a non-executive director of the England and Wales Cricket Board,  but resigned dramatically and publically over fundamental issues. As the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast he forensically dissects the ECB’s errors and failures in running English cricket – and tells fans how to oppose them.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
4/12/202255 minutes, 29 seconds
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Some searing yorkers at wreckers of cricket

Jonathan Collett is a devotee of Warwickshire, whom he represented at under-19 level. He was Press Secretary for Michael Howard, then Conservative party leader and later Public Relations advisor for Pakistan’s successful cricket tour of England in 2016. He shares fierce but trenchant views on what’s gone wrong with cricket in Warwickshire, England and the world – and who’s to blame – as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
3/29/202247 minutes, 8 seconds
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A classic cricket book republished for a new generation

The late Mike Marqusee, who described himself as a “deracinated New York Marxist Jew”, wrote two of the most daring and important cricket books of modern times. The second, War Minus The Shooting, was long out of print. The distinguished cricket journalist Siddhartha Vaidyanathan explains why he republished it and what it has to say to a new generation, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
3/22/202249 minutes, 1 second
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Great cricket writers – and capping the Pope

What defines great cricket writing? Should it be on the side of “progress” in the game? Should it be more representative of the global world of cricket and its players and lovers? Is there too much of it by louche comic incompetents? These are among themes of a fascinating hour with two distinguished practitioners. Jon Hotten is the author of The Meaning Of Cricket, a collection of essays which illuminate … well, the meaning of cricket. Matt Thacker is managing editor of The Nightwatchman, Wisden Cricket Quarterly’s collection of fine cricket writing and publisher of Fairfield Books. They are the guests of the latest cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. Roger Alton is co-host in Peter’s unavoidable absence.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
3/15/202255 minutes, 18 seconds
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Escape from Kyiv; the Modi grip on India’s cricket ball

Kobus Olivier, CEO of the Ukraine Cricket Federation, returns to the latest cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller, with an update on his personal situation and the impact of the war. They are joined by Sharda Ugra, one of India’s leading cricket writers, who has analysed with great authority the relationships between Indian cricket and the country’s politics, business and wider society.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
3/8/202246 minutes, 10 seconds
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Waiting for the Assault on Kyiv

“It’s quite a pleasant day here, warmer and sunny,” says the expatriate cricketer, “and if we won the toss it’s definitely a day to bat first.”The problem for Kobus Olivier is that he is speaking to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller from Kyiv, in the apartment where he has had to barricade himself against Vladimir Putin’s savage assault.The 62-year-old South African is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ukraine Cricket Association. Before the war, cricket was beginning to thrive. He personally had introduced the game to over 2,000 Ukrainian boys and girls aged 6 to 17. There were high hopes of qualification for Ukraine as an Associate member of the International Cricket Conference, opening the path to international competition and finance. But now there is no cricket. Hell has stopped play.Read the full description here: Get in contact by emailing [email protected]
2/28/202239 minutes, 27 seconds
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Reporting the whole world of cricket: Osman Samiuddin

Osman Samiuddin is Senior Editor at Cricinfo, the largest cricket website in the world. He is also the author of The Unquiet Ones, which during the past decade was one of a trio of epochal books on Pakistan’s cricket history. He joins the authors of the other two, Peter Oborne and Richard Heller, as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
2/22/202256 minutes, 45 seconds
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English cricket’s biggest and longest crisis: economic inequality

Mohammed Sadiq Patel is a long-serving activist for equality in sport – and the rest of life. As a lawyer he has pursued some notable cases in the cause and as a charitable entrepreneur launched some important initiatives. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
2/15/202244 minutes, 34 seconds
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Class and the myths of English cricket analysed by historian Duncan Stone

The sports historian Duncan Stone has written a thoroughly irreverent book about English cricket. Different Class destroys many cherished myths about his history. It smashes many icons of English cricket writing. All this has a moral purpose, to tell the true story of English cricket and strip it of the class-based ideology that has stunted its growth as a national game. He explains this to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the guest in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
2/8/20221 hour, 18 seconds
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The shocking sight of a dive in the field: Micky Stewart remembers highlights of a vanished world of cricket

Micky Stewart’s service to English cricket began in the 1950s as a county cricketer for Surrey – a stylish opening or top-order batsman and one of the finest close catchers in the world. He played eight Test matches.  He captained the county from 1963 to 1972, winning the County Championship in 1971. He was Surrey’s cricket manager from 1979 to 1986, and then England’s from 1986 to 1992. For another five years he was England’s Director of Coaching and Excellence. He shares highlights of his career and reflections on English cricket past and present as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton replaces him as co-host.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
2/1/202251 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Graces CC, the club which opens up cricket to LGBT people

Founded in 1996 and based in London, the Graces CC is the first cricket club in the world specifically for LGBT people. Until this year, it was the only such club but there is now one other, the Birmingham Unicorns. Stuart Anthony is the Graces captain, Chris Sherwood its press and publicity officer. They explain what the club has meant for them and other members, and review the situation of gay cricketers in Britain and worldwide as the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: Get in contact by emailing [email protected]
1/11/202246 minutes, 54 seconds
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Two festive offerings from Henry Blofeld

The incomparable Henry Blofeld switches on the festive lights as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. Henry explains his choice of the nailbiting finishes in the cricket matches beautifully described in his latest book Ten To Win… And The Last Man In. He also describes his recently-completed project: a three-part documentary of his full and vivid life.For more information on At Home With Henry visit: purchase Ten To Win... And The Last Man In visit: Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
12/14/202157 minutes, 58 seconds
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Tanya Aldred and the global pressure to save cricket from climate change

Tanya Aldred has become one of Britain’s most respected cricket writers, contributing notably to  The Guardian, The Cricketer, Wisden Cricket Monthly and many other media. She is a co-editor of The Nightwatchman, the publication which showcases the best cricket writing every quarter. For the past three years, she has contributed one of the most significant sections of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, on cricket and the environment. She is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: Get in contact by emailing [email protected]
12/7/202144 minutes, 32 seconds
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Scyld Berry – England’s greatest cricket-watcher – shares highlights from over forty years of England on tour

Scyld Berry, a former editor of Wisden, has watched nearly 500 England Test matches (more than anyone in history), and reported them for The Observer and then The Daily Telegraph.  He has just published a penetrating account of all the countries where he has seen England on tour: Beyond The Boundaries, published by Fairfield Books. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Listeners are invited to contribute to the MCC Foundation appeal  It will aid the Foundation’s National Hubs, which offer cricket and personal development to disadvantaged communities in Britain, and the wonderful Alsama Project in Lebanon which is transforming the lives of young Syrian refugees. The podcast featured Alsama and three of its young beneficiaries earlier this year.Episode 39: The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new livesAll contributions to the Appeal made between midday 30 November and midday 7 December will be doubled in value.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/30/202156 minutes, 46 seconds
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The great commentator Fazeer Mohammed brings up to date the stories of BlackLivesMatter and West Indian cricket

By popular demand … the brilliant West Indian cricket commentator Fazeer Mohammed returns as a guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. Speaking from Sri Lanka, where he is commenting on the current West Indies tour, with his customary ebullience, eloquence and erudition he reviews a turbulent period for English and West Indian cricket.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/23/202146 minutes, 6 seconds
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Seventy years of revolution in English women’s cricket

Rafaelle Nicholson is the author of Ladies And Lords: A History Of Women’s Cricket In Britain. Having previously presented the highlights of the first six hundred years or so, she returns to share the dramatic events and big personalities of the next eighty, as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/16/202148 minutes
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Tantrums and turmoil, racism and riots, class conflicts and colonialism – and some great cricket – in a historic tour

In the winter of 1953, the MCC sent a full-strength England team to the West Indies for the first time, led by Len Hutton, the first professional captain. The party included Denis Compton, Tom Graveney, Peter May, Trevor Bailey, and two pairs of great bowlers, Jim Laker and Tony Lock, and Fred Trueman, and Brian Statham. They played a thrilling series against a West Indian team with the three Ws, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell, and the spinners Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine, who had triumphed in England three years before. The series was billed informally in advance as the world championship of cricket.But the cricket took second place to the external dramas, including arson and riots which exposed deep social, political, and racial divisions in both countries. Dr David Woodhouse has written an enthralling book about this series, and its context in both West Indian and English history. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton is guest host.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
11/2/202151 minutes, 20 seconds
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The magisterial Imran Khan: the inspirational Lingard Goulding

“I expected a bit more from England”, says a magisterial Imran Khan, at the start of  the latest podcast from Peter Oborne and Richard Heller, rebuking the recent cancellation of England’s short cricket tour of his country. In a clip from an extended interview with Peter Oborne, the Pakistan Prime Minister and former captain suggests that England still think they are doing Pakistan a favour by playing them at all: they would not dare treat India in the same way, because of its financial power over international cricket. He says that there was no security reason for cancellation of the England tour or the earlier one by New Zealand: the latter was prompted by false information from an Indian source.Then Peter and Richard hear more from the amazing multi-layered life of Lingard Goulding, especially his inspirational cricket coaching and mentoring of children in two continents. Commenting first on the reluctance of some England players to go to Australia, he recalls Alec Bedser’s account to him of the trials and tribulations of postwar Ashes tours, when the players travelled by sea and had no time with their wives and families.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
10/19/202145 minutes, 9 seconds
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A great umpire raises his finger against discrimination in cricket

After a first-class career as a pace bowler for Hampshire, John Holder became one of England’s finest umpires. He was a popular expert on Test Match Special and the regular Observer newspaper feature “You Are The Umpire.” On the first-class list from 1983 to 2009 , he joined the Test panel in 1988 and after only a handful of matches was chosen to be one of the first “third-country” Test umpires for a dramatic series between Pakistan and India. But his Test career was interrupted without explanation for ten years after his report on a controversial home Test match. As the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast he explains why, years after retirement, he brought a legal action against the England and Wales Cricket Board not only for himself but also to ventilate racial discrimination issues in English cricket.  In Peter’s absence in Pakistan, author and broadcaster Mihir Bose takes over at the Pavilion End.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
10/12/202151 minutes, 50 seconds
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England’s most incisive cricket writer, George Dobell, who never forgets the fans

George Dobell, chief correspondent of Cricinfo but not for much longer, is one of the most independent, incisive and informed cricket writers in Britain. Never a captive of the cricket Establishment or a champion of any interest except everyday cricket fans, he has broken or developed some of the biggest stories in English cricket. He brings unique insights as the first guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their new season of cricket-themed podcasts.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
10/5/202154 minutes, 21 seconds
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Painful testimonies of racism shake the culture of denial of apartheid in South African cricket

In recent months, South Africa has been rocked by the testimonies from black players of the isolation, hostility and outright racial abuse they have encountered playing in first-class and international cricket. Two expert South African cricket broadcasters and authors, Mo Allie and Aslam Khota, relay these stories and their impact as the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
8/31/202158 minutes, 46 seconds
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Who needs the Hundred when Two Hundred Parents Start Playing Cricket?

Annie Chave is the founder and editor of County Cricket Matters magazine and a regular contributor to Guerilla Cricket. Rob Eastaway is a writer, lecturer and cricket-lover who produced a clear and witty book explaining cricket’s mysteries called What Is A Googly? as well as several explaining the mathematics behind such everyday mysteries as why buses arrive in threes. They are joint trustees of a new charity called the Googly Fund which supports adult recreational cricket. They describe its origins, purpose and successes as the latest guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s unavoidable absence, Roger Alton replaces him as co-host.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
8/24/202155 minutes, 17 seconds
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South African cricket – still haunted by its unacknowledged legacy of white supremacy

Former first-class cricketer and leading historian André Odendaal has made it his personal mission to reconstruct the true story of South African cricket from its beginnings. He reveals more of the black, mixed-race and Asian-descent players  whose talents and achievements were suppressed and for whom opportunity was denied by South Africa’s white rulers and cricket administrators. He suggests that South Africa is at last coming to acknowledge the deep poisoned legacy of white supremacy, as a returning guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
8/17/202156 minutes, 24 seconds
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Lonsdale Skinner: a cricket career blighted by racism

Lonsdale Skinner was Surrey’s wicketkeeper-batsman in the early 1970s and also played cricket in the same role for his native Guyana in the West Indies. Since 2013, he has been chairman of the African Caribbean Cricket Association which campaigns for fair treatment and greater representation of African Caribbean people throughout English cricket. As guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast he gives powerful first-hand testimony of the impact of the racism he encountered in his English cricket career and expresses his deep scepticism over official efforts to overcome enduring discrimination and prejudice.Read the full description and response from the ECB here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
7/27/202139 minutes, 2 seconds
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“Caught Eagle bowled Eagle” and other highlights from a political cricket lover

Dame Angela Eagle has been the Labour MP for Wallasey in the Wirral since 1992. When her sister Maria was elected as Labour MP for Liverpool Garston five years later they became the first twins to sit together in Parliament in modern times, and later they became the first twins to be Ministers of State in the same government. Angela held a variety of posts under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, including wide-ranging responsibilities as the first Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. She has also been a long-serving member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. But most importantly, she is a lifelong cricket lover. She shares her memories of playing and watching cricket, and her wider reflections on the interplay of sport, gender and politics as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
7/20/202154 minutes, 22 seconds
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The hidden history of a huge success: women’s cricket in Britain

The rise of women’s cricket is one of the biggest sporting stories in modern Britain – but behind it is nearly 700 years of history. That is one of many surprises revealed by Rafaelle Nicholson, a leading authority on women and sport, in her book Ladies And Lords: A History Of Women’s Cricket In Britain. She is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
7/13/202152 minutes, 24 seconds
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Behind the stumps but never the times in eight decades: the multiple lives of Lingard Goulding

Lingard Goulding kept wicket superbly in three continents over eight decades. He also found much else to do with his life, as an industrialist, a master of early computing, an author, a Formula 5000 motor racing driver and most importantly an inspiring head master and cricket coach, mentor and recorder. He shares highlights of an astonishing portfolio career, and memories of his high-achieving family, as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
7/6/202148 minutes, 22 seconds
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Restoring the lost history of South African cricket

Professor André Odendaal has made it his life’s work to tell his native South Africa its true cricket history. He has restored to memory the achievements of thousands of black, mixed-race and Asian-origin players deliberately suppressed to serve the cause of white supremacy. Besides giving back to South Africa its cricketing past he shares responsibility for its present and future as a board member of Cricket South Africa. Born into apartheid, he describes his personal journey into truth and liberation to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the latest guest in their cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/29/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 35 seconds
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Cricket’s romantic numbers

Cricket has always been rich in statistics, but lately they have deepened and multiplied. Cricket’s new professional data analysts can access the detailed results of every single ball bowled in major cricket matches for over twenty years and use them to influence team selections, tactics and onfield decisions. This has alarmed many critics, who say it is turning cricket into a process without character or the thrill of the unexpected. Not so, argues Ben Jones, the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast. He is a leading member of the new profession and co-author with Nathan Leamon, chief analyst for the England One-Day and T20 teams, of a fascinating book Hitting Against The Spin. Ben shows that for those who know how to arrange and orchestrate them, numbers deepen the romance of the music of cricket.Read the full description here: Get in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/22/202154 minutes, 30 seconds
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No longer underdogs but still undervalued… New Zealand’s world-class cricketers

It is an almost unnoticed revolution in global cricket:  New Zealand’s cricketers have completed a journey from amateur whipping-boys to worldbeaters. They have secured an emphatic Test series victory over England while enjoying the luxury of six team changes to prepare for the ultimate prize of the World Test Championship. David Leggat, former chief cricket writer of the New Zealand Herald, gives unique insight into their modern success and the present state of New Zealand cricket, as a returning guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/15/202155 minutes, 27 seconds
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Cricket’s clarion call… from the man who delivered it

For about fifteen years no England Test match seemed complete without the golden notes of Billy Cooper, the professional trumpeter who accompanied the Barmy Army. It made him the best-known musician in the cricket world since the celebrated pianist Don Bradman. He shares his memories of matching music to the many moods of cricket with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest podcast.Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/8/202155 minutes, 47 seconds
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George Headley and a supporting cast of two emperors, one king and Evita Peron, in Latin America’s cricketing drama

Timothy Abraham and James Coyne are co-editors of the perennially fascinating and expanding section of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack on cricket around the world. Together they completed a long-cherished project, a personal odyssey into Latin American cricket, which took them from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile. They have just published an unputdownable book about it called Evita Burned Down Our Pavilion. They discuss it with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast, which returns after a short interval. Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
6/1/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 26 seconds
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The County Championship – past, present and future – by its great historian Stephen Chalke

 Author, publisher and supreme recorder of cricketers’ memories Stephen Chalke returns as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. They celebrate a tremendous start to the English County Championship, before Stephen draws on his detailed and beautifully illustrated history Summer’s Crown, to analyse the competition’s past and its prospects. Read the full description here: in contact by emailing [email protected]
5/4/202157 minutes, 13 seconds
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Wisden 2021: cricket and class, race, plague and global warming

Steven Lynch, International Editor of Wisden Cricketers Almanack, returns to the regular podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller to celebrate a landmark edition which more than ever lights up the mighty issues which shape global cricket and the lives of all its players and devotees. Read the full description here:
4/26/202144 minutes
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Rich lives in a few words: the obituaries in Wisden 2021

The arrival of Wisden Cricketers Almanack is always one of the great publishing events in the calendar. The latest edition had rather less cricket to record than usual, but was nonetheless packed with important content. Indeed, it is a major source book for future political, social, economic and cultural historians. In their latest cricket-themed podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller celebrate it with its International Editor Steven Lynch.Read the full description here:
4/20/202153 minutes, 57 seconds
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The park cricketer who married the Queen

Annie Chave is a cricketer and editor of County Cricket Matters, journal of the members organization of the same name which supports the county structure of English cricket. She is also part of the team at Guerrilla Cricket, which provides eclectic and independent commentary and analysis of major matches. She is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket-themed podcast. County Cricket Matters can be obtained through www.countycricketmatters.comRead the full description here:
4/12/202158 minutes, 51 seconds
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Why crowds roar for the Tigers of world cricket

Whether in victory or defeat, Bangladesh’s cricket team, the Tigers, have some of the most passionate supporters in the world. Athar Ali Khan is a former Bangladesh international players and selector, now a freelance commentator. He explains how and why their cricketers have captured the hearts of their nation on its fifty-year journey since independence, as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast.  In Peter’s absence for family reasons Roger Alton is the replacement opening bowler.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
4/6/202152 minutes, 40 seconds
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The man who discovered Eoin Morgan (and other stories)

Over twenty years ago an expert watcher predicted that a boy called Eoin Morgan would make his name in world cricket. These and other wonders of Ireland’s rich cricket story are related by author, cricketer, lawyer and all-round man of letters Charles Lysaght, returning by popular demand as guest on the latest cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
3/29/202155 minutes, 19 seconds
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The great Pakistani fast bowler who nearly became a Hollywood movie star

The Lahore Gymkhana ground is one of the most delightful places in the world to play or watch cricket. It houses a cricket museum, small but full of treasures, which was the first of its kind in Pakistan. Its founder and curator is the eminent cricket historian Najum Latif. He has watched generations of Pakistan’s great players perform at the ground, played with many himself, befriended many more and, vitally, captured their oral memories of past epochs of Pakistan cricket. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
3/23/202148 minutes, 9 seconds
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Wilf Wooller – the man at so many great moments of Welsh cricket

Welsh cricket gets off to a noisy, swearing start in Swansea on a Sunday in 1771. Local landowners, railways, the British army and industry all help the game to spread. After success as a Minor county, Glamorgan are the first Welsh team into the County Championship in 1921. They struggle but are revived by inspiring leadership from Maurice Turnbull, who meets a hero’s death in the Second World War. Under another inspiring leader, Wilf Wooller, they win their first Championship in 1948 – celebrated by the ex-Glamorgan umpire who gives them an lbw decision to clinch victory. To take the story forward is the historian and curator of the Museum of Welsh Cricket, Andrew Hignell, in a second innings as guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
3/15/202159 minutes, 38 seconds
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Andy Flower: inspiring cricketer – and protestor

Andy Flower was one of the most talented cricketers of his generation. In 2003 he and his teammate Henry Olonga amazed and inspired the world when they played a cricket match in black armbands, in mourning for the death of democracy in their country, Zimbabwe. He gives a vivid and moving account of their protest as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
3/8/202155 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Modification of Indian cricket, expertly assessed

A dramatic first Test match at the giant new Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad is the cue for an insightful assessment of the Prime Minister’s impact on Indian cricket by Mihir Bose, in his second innings as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their regular cricket-themed podcast. The former Sports Editor of the BBC is the author of over thirty books, including Nine Waves, a comprehensive history of Indian cricket and, most recently Narendra Modi The Yogi Of Populism. He has led three cricket tours of India, which have included frequent encounters with former Indian Test players on Indian Test match grounds.In Peter’s absence, to complete a book of international importance, Roger Alton is the replacement opening bowler.Read the full description here: literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
3/1/202159 minutes, 26 seconds
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Kashmir – where cricket has become a political statement

Kashmir contains some of the most beautiful settings for cricket in the world – but cricket there has been blighted for over seventy years by the political and military conflicts which were a legacy of the partition of India. It has become not just a game but a political statement, as is explained by a local journalist, author, historian and cricketer Gowhar Geelani, the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: A BBC briefing on Kashmir can be found here’s profile by the Frontline Defenders Organization can be found here literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to [email protected]. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
2/22/202157 minutes, 10 seconds
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Maurice Turnbull – and other heroes of cricket in Wales

The rich history of Welsh cricket still comes a surprise to many English people, even after Glamorgan’s hundred years in the County Championship. That is no fault of Dr Andrew Hignell, author of some 40 books about it, Glamorgan’s scorer (since 1982) and archivist, and curator of the Museum of Welsh Cricket at the county’s headquarters at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. Read the full description here: in contact with the podcast by emailing [email protected], we’d love to hear from you!
2/15/202159 minutes, 35 seconds
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A great historian’s love affair with cricket

Ramachandra Guha is a hugely distinguished historian not just of Indian cricket but of India itself. His most recent book, A Commonwealth Of Cricket,  has a detailed descriptive sub-title “A Lifelong Love Affair with the Most Subtle and Sophisticated Game Known to Humankind.” He talks about that relationship and its high and low points as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full description here: in contact with the podcast by emailing [email protected], we’d love to hear from you!
2/8/202150 minutes, 58 seconds
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Another fast-scoring innings by Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene is a busy man these days: chairman of the Sri Lankan National Sports Council, head coach of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, running a chain of successful crab restaurants with his friend Kumar Sangakkara. But characteristically, the former Sri Lankan captain scored rapidly in a few overs with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the latest guest in their cricket-themed podcast. Read the full description here: in contact with the podcast by emailing [email protected], we’d love to hear from you!
2/1/202131 minutes, 20 seconds
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The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new lives

“It was very hard to live with Isis. You could see them cutting off the heads and cutting off the hands of some people.”  Maram, 15-year-old refugee, on the life cricket is helping her to forget. Alsama means “the sky” in Arabic. It gives its name to a cricket club in one of the world’s most astonishing locations – the teeming Shatila camp in Lebanon where tens of thousands of refugees are trying to rebuild lives shattered by war, tyranny and deprivation. expressive teenagers – Louay, Maram, and Amani – are among the 200 or so children between 11 and 16 who have learnt to play the game there. Cricket gave them new goals and a new sense of self-worth. They and the club’s founder and director, Richard Verity, are the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. To find out more about Alsama cricket and become a supporter please use this link 
1/25/202150 minutes, 21 seconds
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What happened to the magic of Sri Lankan cricket?

In 1996 Sri Lanka won the World Cup with electrifying, innovative cricket. They brought solace and hope to a deeply troubled nation and joy to all the world’s neutral cricket-lovers. For the next fifteen years or so, players such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, and the brothers-in-arms, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, delivered often magical performances which kept their country in the top flight in all forms of the game. But now Sri Lanka is struggling to keep up its standards. The young historian Nicholas Brookes explains why in his forthcoming book An Island’s XI, a masterly study of Sri Lankan cricket since the British first arrived in 1796. He lived there for two years and taught at one of the country’s top cricket schools, St Thomas’s Colombo. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.
1/18/202155 minutes, 41 seconds
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The United States: Paradise Regained For Cricket?

The United States is the Paradise Lost of world cricket. For about half of the lifetime of the Republic cricket was its major summer sport. Then it lost its hold to baseball and other sports and recreations. In modern times waves of immigrants from the West Indies and the Indian subcontinent have fostered many attempts at a revival. Another big effort is under way, backed by high-profile investors – but will it prove another false dawn? Giving an expert assessment is the author and journalist Peter Della Penna who has penned astute and astringent coverage of United States cricket in many media, especially Wisden Cricketers Almanac. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.
1/11/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 47 seconds
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The man who changed cricket for ever: Peter Hain

He was once the most hated man in cricket. He faced down threats to his career and to his life. He achieved his mission, an epoch-making change in international sport. His new book (with the great historian André Odendaal) Pitch Battles not only narrates his astonishing personal journey but sweeps up the history of South African sport and society, especially the lost stories of non-white players, and throws down major challenges for everyone today who cares about the state of global sport. Peter Hain discusses these themes and makes new revelations as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Read the full episode description here:
1/4/20211 hour, 1 minute, 10 seconds
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“Absent, caught fire” and other great moments from Scotland’s cricket heritage

To most English cricket-lovers Scotland is an exotic foreign country, but it has a rich, independent cricket history, as Peter Oborne and Richard Heller discover from an expert guide in their latest cricket-themed podcast. Fraser Simm is an author, historian, analyst and collector who has been chairman of the Cricket Society of Scotland for over 25 years. Fraser speaks of his first introduction to cricket – from Richie Benaud’s Australians visiting Edinburgh at the end of their long  1961 Ashes-retaining tour. They became lifelong heroes to him for playing on through constant drizzle which (said Benaud) turned his normal legbreaks into off-cutters (he still took seven wickets with them, and scored over 70). Fraser picks out some eminent names in the Scottish team including Ronnie  Chisholm, Jimmy Allan, Rudy Webster, later a sports psychologist and ambassador, and a young future England captain, Mike Denness. He also recalls Bradman’s last two playing matches in the British Isles, in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, where he scored a century, after which King George VI invited him and both teams to Balmoral. A surviving member of the Scottish team later told Fraser that Balmoral was very untidy, that Keith Miller was seen walking with his arm around Princess Margaret and that there was a phoney press row about Bradman with his hands in his pockets talking to the King. Fraser says that the King gave permission for this but cannot answer whether Bradman gave the King permission to put his hands in his pockets. All of these scenes were mysteriously omitted from The Crown. Fraser delves into the early history of Scottish cricket. He cites the earliest known recorded match near Alloa in 1783, but also mentions evidence that cricket was played by Scots at home and as emigrants to Georgia fifty years earlier. He traces the influence of the English soldiers in the Hanoverian army in Scotland after the suppression of the 45, and that of English workers in Scotland’s textile, paper and iron works during the Industrial Revolution. Cricket became popular all over Scotland in the nineteenth century, and had a major stimulus in 1849 when many of England’s best players in the All-England XI came to play 22 of Scotland: they won easily although Scotland’s Charles Lawrence took all ten English wickets in an innings. Fraser sets out his  interesting afterlife: he became a major cricket “missionary” to Australia and managed the first Australian tour of England, by Aborigines, in 1866. As in Italy many famous Scottish football clubs began life as cricket clubs, but cricket in Scotland was held back by lack of a central organization. Although Scotland received many visiting teams from England, including several led by W G Grace, and provided a vital two-year apprenticeship to Wilfred Rhodes, English cricket gave little support to its development. Although largely denied first-class or professional cricket opportunities in their own country, many important Scottish personalities played cricket enthusiastically and in some cases with real ability. Fraser sets out the astonishing multi-sporting achievements of Scotland’s cricket champion, Leslie Balfour-Melville (a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson). J M Barrie loved cricket and formed his own literary team to play it. It included Conan Doyle, who once had to leave the field on discovering his flannels were ablaze after the ball ignited a box of matches in his pocket. Hesketh Pritchard, educated at Fettes, refused a cap for Scotland in order to play for his house at school. Later as a literary explorer his search for the giant sloth inspired  Conan Doyle to write The Lost World.  And more...
12/28/202054 minutes, 8 seconds
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“To take us to tea – and beyond”: the incomparable Henry Blofeld

For over fifty years, there have been few pleasures to compare with spending a cricketing hour with Henry Blofeld. He was the joyous guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.Henry explains his philosophy as a radio commentator on TMS and elsewhere of making listeners feel part of a real cricketing event. If they hear only the events in the middle “it all becomes rather two-dimensional and not very warm or human.” Hence the buses, pigeons and colourful spectators which made his commentaries world-renowned. After his early nervous start on TMS, Peter Baxter, its long-serving producer, gave him a gentle encouragement to “go over the boundary” a bit more. “I think at times I’ve gone too far over the boundary ever since.” He has no regrets over the end of incidental detail for scene-painting in modern commentary, which he attributes in part to the demands of short-form cricket for constant updates of the score and match situation.He tells of his happy escape (very similar to that of Mike and Psmith in his beloved P G Wodehouse) from a joyless career in banking into cricket reporting,  through the good offices of John Woodcock, the great cricket correspondent of The Times. This was in 1962, when newspapers had far more cricket coverage and he fears that today’s trapped banker Blofelds would find it impossible to make a similar career change. His later entry into commentary was almost equally fortuitous.Henry’s brilliant career at a cricketer at Eton was halted by a horrific accident (with a bus). He gained a Blue at Cambridge and had a Minor County and first-class career but never reached the promised heights. He speaks candidly but philosophically about the physical and emotional impact of the accident, and his determination throughout his career never to look back on what might have been and always to seek out new sources of excitement and fulfilment.He shrewdly analyses his “Bertie Wooster” mannerisms and style of dress – and denies strongly that his unique tones owed anything to elocution lessons. (He comes from a vocally distinguished family.) He uncorks a startlingly good imitation of John Arlott, while paying tribute to his  personal kindness and mentorship. Brian Johnstone was cordial but detached. E W Swanton (“the demi-god of the press box”)  gave him little help, apart from one job with fagging duties. That was on England’s 1967-68 tour of the West Indies. Henry offers insight into Basil D’Oliveira’s personal problems on that tour, and believes that like Fred Trueman on an earlier tour he was poorly supported by his captain and manager, Colin Cowdrey and Les  Ames.He gives a warm and vivid tribute to the supreme stylist of the press box, and his great personal friend John Woodcock. He had unique powers of observation and analysis. He recalls their adventurous journey overland  from London to Bombay in 1976, their transport (a vintage Rolls Royce Silver Ghost) and their clothing in sharp contrast to the lorry drivers and hippies they met on the route. The last stages were marked by an unexpected cricket match in Tehran and the accidental purchase (and ingestion) of some strong hashish in Kandahar. When they heard over the radio commentary on a Test match between India and New Zealand they realized (like the two cricket-obsessed English characters in The Lady Vanishes) that they had regained access to civilization.After years of interviewing players, Henry explains why he thinks their answers to questions have become more guarded and boring: partly the influence of corporate sponsorship and firm media coaching and control, partly the loss of intimacy and trust between players and journalists.And more...
12/21/20201 hour, 1 minute, 54 seconds
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New Zealand cricket’s long journey to success

Charles Darwin watched a cricket match in New Zealand in 1835 – but the country had to wait a long time for international recognition and even longer for its first Test match victories. Things began to change in the 1970s, and David Leggat explains the reasons for its climb, and not only the one named Richard Hadlee. Formerly the chief cricket writer of the New Zealand Herald who has reported and toured with many New Zealand teams, he is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.David profiles the latest addition to New Zealand’s formidable pace attack – Kyle Jamieson (roughly the height of Joel Garner). He pays tribute to the leadership and exceptional dedication of Kane Williamson. New Zealand’s best teams, he suggests, have been built on a world-class performers supported by hard-working players who “get on with the job and do their bit” – in line with the country’s national character. He suggests reasons why rugby union took off so much more quickly than cricket in New Zealand. He reveals that the legend of the invincible All-Blacks began with a misprint in newspaper copy. Historically, he argues that distant England did more to support New Zealand cricket than neighbouring Australia, who played one (retrospective) Test match against them in 1946 and then no more until 1973. There is enduring gratitude to England’s pioneering tourists in the nineteenth century – notwithstanding the betting scandal in 1877 (the first in international cricket) by the English wicketkeeper Ted Pooley. England later established the practice of tacking on a short Test tour of New Zealand after Ashes tours to Australia. In one of these, Walter Hammond struck what was then the record Test match score. He pays tribute to an early great New Zealand bowler, Jack Cowie – who needed just one over to dismiss Don Bradman in front of a packed Adelaide Oval. He traces New Zealand’s generally friendly relationship with Pakistan cricket – and gives a striking first-hand portrait of Imran Khan on and off the field. David’s father, Gordon Leggat, played for New Zealand on their pioneering tour of Pakistan in the 1950s, and, as a barrister, was called on to perform most of the team’s many speaking duties. He was later a national selector, tour manager and chair of the New Zealand Cricket Council, and David traces his influence on making New Zealand stronger international competitors.For years, New Zealand’s best cricketers were amateurs, with just a small allowance for overseas tours. Some of the best, such as Bert Sutcliffe, had to leave the game for long periods to earn a living. David assesses the impact of access to English county cricket for New Zealand players in the 1970s such as Glenn Turner, John Parker, Geoff Howarth, and of course Richard Hadlee – who became the first New Zealand player to have his name chanted by crowds. They gave inspiration to others to apply themselves professionally. Three highly significant Test wins in the 1970s, and success in ODIs, put New Zealand’s cricket on an upward trajectory which brought them to number 2 in the international Test rankings. Finally, he reveals the team’s pain at the manner of their defeat in last year’s World Cup beneath the public display of good sportsmanship which won them so much admiration.
12/14/202048 minutes, 20 seconds
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The thrill returns of Ted Dexter at the crease

In the pomp of his playing days, Ted Dexter filled cricket grounds with spectators. The former Sussex and England captain returns to the crease as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket-themed podcast.  This also includes an appeal from Mike Atherton for the MCC Foundation. For the week from 1 December donations will be doubled in value, and will help to give cricketing experience and access to coaching for disadvantaged boys and girls.  See    Ted has generously donated to the Foundation the royalties from his autobiography 85 Not Out recently published by Quiller. Ted recalls one of his most electrifying innings, 70 in the Lord’s Test against the 1963 West Indians, which ended with all four results possible on the last ball, Colin Cowdrey with a broken arm at the non-striker’s end. (He pays tribute to the cool David Allen, who actually received the bowling of Wes Hall.) He was given lbw to Sobers, bowling left-arm over: “with DRS I would have reviewed it.”Modestly (and wrongly) he denies that he had an aura as a player, but he always set out to the batting crease as if he meant business. Of modern players, he thinks that Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes and Steve Smith inspire awe in their opponents. Bradman in retirement had huge authority, and once silenced him in a memorable encounter. So far the only Test cricketer to have been born in Milan, Ted speaks of his early life in Italy and then following his father on war service to distant parts of the UK. He pays warm tribute to his father’s support in his career, not least his response to a lordly President of the MCC who had criticized him as captain of the 1962-63 tour of Australia. The peer was a cactus aficionado, and Mr Dexter senior made a graphic suggestion of where his lordship might place a cactus. He discusses his relationship with the Duke of Norfolk, the unexpected manager of that tour. The Duke had once given him tickets to Ascot, and he tells how he hurried to complete victory on the fourth day of a Test against Pakistan so that he could use them on the fifth. He reveals how he himself acquired his unwanted nickname of Lord Ted as a schoolboy at Radley (a story worthy of P G Wodehouse’s hero Psmith.) He looks back at his cricket career at Cambridge University (which owed much to his father and older brother) and as an amateur at Sussex. In his first year in the side, he sent a belated telegram pulling out of a Championship match to pursue a romance in Denmark – a story from a lost world of cricket. That romance came to naught but not long after he courted (to the background of Frank Sinatra’s Songs For Swinging Lovers) the beautiful model who became his wife of over sixty years. He and she became the most glamorous figures in world cricket and he speaks revealingly about the condition of professional sportsmen’s lives in the new cultural and social era of the Sixties. As captain of Sussex (despite the romantic AWOL incident), he tells how he won them their first silverware (the initial two Gillette Cups) through his understanding of containment by accurate seam bowling. Although blamed for the long exile of spin bowlers from one-day cricket, he rejoices in the present paramountcy of leg-spinners in T20. He pays a warm tribute to his Sussex partner Jim Parks, a natural athlete. He is proud of his influence (with the aid of chairs) over John Snow’s development as a world-class bowler. And more...
12/7/20201 hour, 1 minute, 35 seconds
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South African cricket and the poisoned legacy of apartheid

As England’s tour of South Africa gets under way, the two latest guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast offer deep insight into South African cricket past and present. Mo Allie, of the BBC Africa service has reported on South African sport for many years and is the author of More Than A Game, telling many heroic stories of South Africa’s non-white cricketers in times of racial segregation. Cricket historian and analyst Arunabha Sengupta has written Apartheid – A Point To Cover, the story of South African cricket to 1970 and of the successful Stop The 70 Tour campaign. Mike Atherton delivers an appeal for the MCC Foundation. For a week from 1 December donations will be doubled in value, and will help to give cricketing experience and access to coaching for disadvantaged boys and girls.  See explains the turmoil in South Africa’s cricket administration which almost caused the cancellation of England’s tour. He and Arunabha also analyse the bitter conflicts within South Africa over taking the knee in support of BlackLivesMatter. They have their roots in the poisoned legacy of apartheid, which created inequalities and imbalances in South African society which will take generations to eradicate, in the present violence which engulfs the country, and in a failure, not only in South Africa, to shake off cultural attitudes and racial myths formed in colonial times. Mo conveys the shock in South Africa when Makaya Ntini, the “poster boy” for its newly integrated cricket, revealed the loneliness he experienced in the team through enduring racism. He reveals that white players who took the knee earlier this year received death threats. Arunabha shows how racial segregation was embedded in South African cricket long before it was formalized and developed under apartheid, citing particularly the case of Krom Hendricks, a brilliant pace bowler of mixed race, denied international selection as far back as 1894 at the behest of Cecil Rhodes. He was the first of many non-white cricketers excluded  by a “100 per cent white” quota system. Mo gives moving personal testimony of the losses experienced by his family through waves of discriminatory laws, especially from enforced removals, and of what it was  like for him to grow up under apartheid. Many non-white people, not only in sport, had to go overseas to get a career, and the talents of millions more were lost to the world.Arunabha traces the impact of exclusion from international cricket and sport generally on the image and self-confidence of a sports-crazed nation, and how Nelson Mandela later saw integrated sport as an agent of change. He cites Mike Procter and Clive Rice on the effect of playing in multi-racial English county cricket in taking South African players out of their “white bubble.”Mo expresses deep worry about the shortage of selfless capable leaders not only in South African cricket but in other sectors. Racial quotas and stereotypes are too often blamed for failures. The “rainbow nation” may be dissolving as communities retreat into their own laagers and compete for scarce resources in a deeply troubled economy. However, both he and Arunabha see signs of positivity and hope, not least in the public efforts to promote inclusion through cricket by former cricketers such as Lance Klusener, Paul Adams, and especially Gary Kirsten, who is developing the talents of disadvantaged young players at his cricket academy. They also cite the successes of South African women in cricket and other sports and the efforts led by Professor André Odendaal (a future guest) to recapture the lost history of non-white players and make the nation aware of its full sporting legacy. 
11/30/20201 hour, 1 second
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John Cleese Shares His Lifelong Love of Cricket

“In that moment I went absolutely rigid with real terror, far worse than facing Jeff Thomson.” That is John Cleese, sharing with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast his experience as a performer of the “yips”, that dread loss of control which can blight cricketers on the field. He shares joyous memories of a lifelong love of cricket, which began watching the postwar Somerset team play at Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare. A previous guest, Jeffrey Archer, might also have been in the crowd but he cannot remember meeting him there. He does remember the fast bowler and mighty hitter, Arthur Wellard, hitting a six so high in the air that it when it fell it burst through the roof of a tea tent and shattered much crockery beneath. He recalls two other personal favourite Somerset players. Horace Hazell was a very accurate slow left-armer but so portly that he was forced to pause before each delivery to reposition his flannels. Bertie Buse was an all-rounder with an eccentric run-up which he tried to imitate as a fledgling bowler, “like an Edwardian butler serving tea on a tray.” Somerset were a happy team to watch, regularly bottom of the County Championship. John remembers his shock of adjustment, even sense of vague disappointment, when they broke the pattern by winning the Gillette Cup in 1979.There were darker moments in Somerset cricket, and he shares movingly the experience of watching two of them. Harold Gimblett was an explosive opening batsman subject to deep depression, which eventually drove him to take his life. John describes seeing him walking back to long-off so sunk in gloom that he was not even aware that the ball had been struck towards him; his belated attempt to catch it resulted only in falling over and injuring himself on some scaffolding on the boundary. The second was watching Maurice Tremlett get “the yips” at Taunton,  losing the bowling action which had earned him selection for England and delivering endless wides and no-balls.  He recalls the horror of the crowd as they desperately willed him to complete the over. John reveals his long fear of a similar experience in his performing career, a fear which especially haunts comedians.  He tells the story of his own “Tremlett moment.” It came during a sketch with Ronnie Corbett on live television for The Frost Report. Mercifully for posterity, John got through the awkward line which had given him sleepless nights, but he remembers Ronnie Corbett’s surprise at his nervous amendment, when he described him as the tallest person he had ever met.John is modest about his prowess as an off-spinner at Clifton College, where he contributed to two victories at Lord’s over their rivals, Tonbridge. Already very tall, he claims that his greatest successes came on the school’s mid-season pitches where his hand appeared over the sightscreen against the background of a red brick building. (Joel Garner, another famous Somerset cricketer, would later enjoy a similar advantage.) John shares his joy at dismissing Denis Compton in a Clifton match despite an unco-operative wicketkeeper who wanted to see the great man bat. John explains why he did not play much after leaving Clifton, but shares the experience of a happy tour of Corfu with the Lords Taverners (renamed the Lords Tavernas) with Ken Barrington, Roy Kinnear and John Price of Middlesex and England. Discussing the influence of cricket on his work, John mentions his deep affection for the cricket-crazed Major in Fawlty Towers, a loving caricature of his father. He examines the treatment of English cricket in Monty Python as a monumentally dull experience narrated by idiotic backward-looking commentators. more...
11/23/20201 hour, 9 minutes, 41 seconds
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Jill Rutter on watching cricket with Prime Ministers and others

Jill Rutter had many high-profile roles in British public service, including Director of Communications at the Treasury and a spell in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit. She is now a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London and a senior Fellow at the Institute For Government (which has the uphill task of promoting better government.) She has been a regular and trenchant commentator on Brexit issues and the machinery of government (especially when this breaks down). But most important, she is a lifelong cricket lover, which is why she is the latest guest on the regular podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. Peter still being away on assignment, Roger Alton again takes the new ball in his place.Jill talks about her early life in Birkenhead, where she developed her obsession with cricket although top-class cricket matches with Lancashire were not easy to access, being overwhelmingly concentrated on Manchester. She remembers walking with her father through fields to bucolic club matches, and occasional excursions to the festive one-day matches with the Rothman International Cavaliers, with stars such as Rohan Kanhai. She describes her feelings of isolation as a girl watching cricket matches and the lack of encouragement for her and other girls to play the game, although at school she was coached by the then England women’s wicketkeeper, Sheila Plant.Her first Test match (England v Australia Old Trafford 1968) was a dull drawn affair. Alan Knott gave her his autograph, Geoff Boycott refused and rebuked Knott for giving his. (Her father mistook Alan Knott for a schoolboy.)County cricket became much more accessible when her family moved south and she became a member of Surrey CCC. Apart from the Oval she went to many outgrounds, and regrets that they have fallen out of use.Jill vividly describes the qualities that made her fall in love with cricket at an early age: the sheer beauty of great batsmen, the excitement of fast bowlers (but not when used for sheer intimidation), and the mix of players of all shapes and sizes. Above all, the constant drama and the potential for any individual player to change the course of a game, sometimes (like Jack Leach at Headingley last year) using their non-chosen and unrated skill.She enjoys all formats – and will go to the 100 if it gets going. Lockdown has made her an addict of the IPL. She especially likes Womens T20, and all international matches with fans from the Asian diaspora, which both have a completely different atmosphere for woman and children as spectators. She calls for an end to the alcoholic culture of men at nighttime T20 matches.Jill joined HM Treasury in 1978 and she tells how she very quickly discovered its strong cricket culture, although after Botham’s epic at Headlingly 1981 senior penny-pinchers stopped her and her colleagues from using official phones to check the Test match score. She was lucky to be posted to the private office of another Surrey CCC fan – John Major, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury. She took him to the Oval to watch Graham Hick, whom he had never seen before. She and other favoured officials were invited to watch cricket passages on his ministerial television.She describes senior official colleagues who played for the celebrated Mandarins cricket club (colours mandarin orange and civil service grey). The most eminent was Robin Butler, who became Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service: unsurprisingly he was a very correct batsman. She formed an enduring bond with cricketlovers in the civil service and still watches matches with them, both here and in Australia. She loves the atmosphere at Australian grounds – if she is not too close to the Barmy Army. She discusses the prospects for England’s next Ashes visit. And much more...
11/16/202054 minutes, 28 seconds
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Talking with Pakistan Women’s Former Cricket Captain Sana Mir

Sana Mir played in 226 international matches for Pakistan, as an off-spinning all-rounder, 137 as captain, an appointment she received at just 23. She won many awards in her career, including two Asian Games Gold Medals, and was the first woman cricketer to be honoured by her country. Wisden named her Captain of the  Women’s Team of the last decade. On her retirement earlier this year, she received messages from admirers all over the world, in tribute to the inspiration she has given to women in cricket. She is the latest guest in the regular cricket-themed podcast by Peter Oborne and Richard Heller. In Peter’s absence on an assignment overseas, their friend Roger Alton replaced him as co-host.Sana Mir vividly describes her first memories of playing cricket aged 3 ½ with her elder brother and his friends in the backyard and the street in the northern city of Gilgit, where her father was stationed in the Pakistan army. In childhood, she was usually the only girl playing and had to give up the game in her teens in the face of social pressures at the time. 5-8 minutesBut her family supported her cricket dreams, and her mother induced her to seek a trial with the pioneering Khan sisters of Karachi, who decided to form a Pakistan women’s team and invited girls from all over the country to be part of it. She was successful, enjoying the experience of playing hardball cricket with other girls, including other future stars of Pakistan women’s cricket. She also attended other trials in Lahore organized by the rival group recognized by the then Pakistan Cricket Board. She describes her sadness at the bitterness between the two groups – which led her, still in her teens, to invite the President of Pakistan to reconcile them. It was painful for her and other girls to be caught in the crossfire between the two groups, and the experience gained by the Khan sisters’ team in international cricket was lost to the new Pakistan team formed in 2005. 9-15 minutesSana Mir describes her entry into that team aged just 19. Although unable to play at her college (for lack of facilities) she kept fit with other sports and did well enough in trial matches to be selected for an ODI against Sri  Lanka. She survived running out her captain and became captain herself four years later.  16-19 minutes She tells the secrets of her success, based on values learnt from her family, in motivating players to improve their performance and win matches by team work. 27 minutes She herself became the ICC’s top-ranked Woman bowler – but for all her many awards she is proudest of the fact that eight team mates joined her in the top 20 World rankings. 24, 27-31 minutes In telling the story of her two Gold medals in the Asian Games, she suggests that these T20 contests could provide a model for women’s cricket in the Olympic Games. She shows how the Asian Games victories were especially important for the prestige of women’s cricket in Pakistan in view of the recent matchfixing scandal which had mired the men’s team. 35-39 minutesShe celebrates beating India twice  in World Cups (a feat unmatched by Pakistan’s men) and describes the greatly improved relationship between the two teams since she first appeared. She names her favourite male players and says why M S Dhoni is her favourite captain. 25, 31-35 minutesFor six years, she received no match fees or regular income from the PCB. She describes the financial difficulties still faced by women cricketers in Pakistan, especially those who want or need to leave home, and the lack of facilities, equipment and special nutrition for them. She pays tribute to the banks and Departments who give them essential support as effectively semi-professionals. 20-24, 40-41 minutesAnd more...
11/9/202055 minutes, 20 seconds
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The glorious social and cultural heritage of Irish cricket with Charles Lysaght

Besides being a celebrated student debater, who replaced Ken Clarke and handily defeated Vince Cable in 1964 as President of the Cambridge Union, then one of Ireland’s leading constitutional and administrative lawyers, a biographer, obituarist and a man of letters Charles Lysaght has been a noted cricketer and host of cricketers in Ireland for over sixty years. (For the curious, he is a distant kinsman of Cornelius Lysaght, the racing commentator.) He shares his deep love and knowledge of the history of Irish cricket and its literary heritage with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the latest guest in their cricket-themed podcast.Delving into the early history of Irish cricket, Charles Lysaght reveals the score made by the future Duke of Wellington in the match in 1792 between the Dublin Garrison and All Ireland – and the other future duke who dismissed him with an underarm delivery.  2-4 minutesHe explains how cricket became popular in rural Ireland after Waterloo, often but not exclusively through teams raised by landlords for their tenants, and also in Dublin. One cricketing landlord was Charles Stewart Parnell. Charles Lysaght says that he was not a popular captain and once led his team off in a sulk over an umpire’s decision. Parnell gave up cricket when he entered the House of Commons and led the campaign for Home Rule – but his onfield behaviour might have inspired his successful obstructive Parliamentary tactics. 5-8 minutesHe mentions another surprising  Irish politician to have played cricket – Eamonn De Valera, at Blackrock school. De Valera enjoyed watching cricket, and even more so rugby, but had to conceal this from the powerful Gaelic Athletic Association, which for nearly a hundred years tried to ban Irish people from playing or even watching so-called English “garrison games.” 9-12 minutesCharles Lysaght describes two nineteenth-century Irish cricketers who played for England, Leland Hone, from a celebrated artistic and literary family, and an irascible but talented baronet, Sir Tom O’Brien (no relation of Ireland’s recent batting hero Kevin O’Brien). 13-15 minutes He is surprised to learn of a third: J E P McMaster (born in County Down) accompanied England’s first organized tour of South Africa and played in a match later given Test status. He was out for a golden duck, did not bowl and did not take a catch. This represented his entire first-class career. 17-19 minutesHe explores the rich links between Irish cricket and literature, particularly those forged by Clongowes School, in county Kildare. He reads James Joyce’s beautiful short description of cricket there in Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, although noting that Joyce was forced to leave the school at the age of ten. He is sceptical about the feat later ascribed by Joyce in Ulysses to Captain Buller – hitting a six on the Trinity College ground through the window of the Kildare Street Club at square leg. 25-27 minutesAnother Clongowes cricket-lover was the barrister and Home Rule MP Tom Kettle (who once said that the only legal briefs he ever received were from cricket friends). Charles Lysaght reads Kettle’s beautiful sonnet to his infant daughter, composed before his death on the Somme in the Great War. He explains its political and moral context and contrasts this with Yeats’ celebrated poem An Irish Airman Forsees His Death (whose subject, Robert Gregory, was also an Irish cricketer.) 21-25 minutesAnd more...
11/2/202046 minutes, 19 seconds
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Cricket's growth in remarkable places: the man who knows

James Coyne, Assistant Editor of The Cricketer magazine, has prepared each year since 2012 the section in Wisden Cricketers Almanack on Cricket Around The World. He is also the co-author of a book Evita Burned Down Our Pavilion ​(to be published next April) a record of an epic cricketing odyssey in Latin America. As the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast, he shares his knowledge of all the astonishing places in the world which now play cricket.  He outlines the cricketing crime instigated by Evita Peron, and explains its background in sporting politics. Cricket and two forms of football were all introduced by the British through their commercial influence in Argentina, but whereas association and later rugby football acquired a general following, cricket remained a game for the Anglophile élite, and therefore a prime target for the Perons’ populist nationalism. Egyptian cricket had a similar trajectory (its most famous product was the future actor Omar Sharif). He tells the story of the MCC tour of Argentina in the 1920s, managed by Plum Warner with Gubby Allen and a future Prime Minister, Alec Douglas-Home leading the attack. He tells the remarkable story of another amateur on the tour who was picked by Warner to lead the following year’s Test tour of South Africa – and the non-cricketing reason why Warner chose him.The Round the World feature in the Almanack has covered around 150 countries or territories – many more than the 104 current members of the ICC. James explains that it tends to focus on countries in the news, countries where cricket is contributing to recovery after conflict, cricket among refugee populations – and those with a great new cricket story to be told. The feature has tracked many countries’ rise through the ranks of cricket, notably Afghanistan and latterly Thailand. He suggests reasons for the rapid progress of Thai women’s cricket, a model for the rest of the world.In contrast are the sad decline of cricket in Morocco (where Richard was the only visiting captain to lose an international series) and the apparent disappearance of the cricket league named after “Sir Peter Oborne” in the West African state of Chad. It may have been a victim of equipment shortages, which have affected cricket in its neighbour Mali. James analyses the problems, especially amateurish governance and factionalism, which have persistently held back cricket in the United States despite its rich history and huge potential for participation, spectatorship and financing. He describes the present ambitious plans for American cricket which try to replicate the successful business models of other American sports – and names two of America’s top business leaders who are ardent cricket supporters. He cites the hugely exciting proposal to include cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and the obstacles it faces.He tells fascinating stories of cricket in St Helena (population around 4500 but ahead of China in the current ICC rankings), in the Falkland Islands (often interrupted by wind or Argentina, and lost kit in Tierra del Fuego), and Antarctica (a match at the South Pole in 1959, regular fixtures at the Australian base).  He shares the moving story of cricket in desperate conditions in the Shatila refugee camp in the Lebanon, and its British pioneers led by Richard Verity and supported by a local headmaster, David Gray. It has shown the potential for cricket to offer its healing power to Syria’s huge refugee population as it has done previously to Afghans and others. 
10/26/202045 minutes, 49 seconds
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Talking with Human Rights Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith

Clive Stafford-Smith OBE  is a cricket-lover who is also one of the leading human rights lawyers in the world. He is the founder of Reprieve, an organization which specializes in defending people facing execution and victims of rendition, extrajudicial detention and torture in the name of counter-terrorism. As a lawyer practising in the southern United States he personally represented over 300 prisoners sentenced to death: all but six were spared. He won five cases in the (pre-Trump) Supreme Court. He has secured the release of 80 inmates detained without charges at the American facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, including all the British ones, and is still at work at another seven cases there. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast. For information and how you can support Clive’s local cricket club, Broadwindsor, visit: sets out his philosophy – and practice – of cricket as an alternative to war, especially between India and Pakistan, and hails the Taliban’s enthusiasm for cricket.  8-11 and 24 minutes He has had a long relationship with Imran Khan, forged in campaigns for victims of drone strikes, 14-18 minutes and repeats Imran’s stark warning of the possibility of a nuclear exchange in the recent hostilities over Kashmir. 18-19 and 21-23 minutesHe sets out ways in which cricket-lovers and other sporting enthusiasts might move human rights forward in different countries, including Dubai, the headquarters of world cricket, where foreign workers are victims of discrimination and exploitation. 50-55 minutesHe describes his amazing experiences playing cricket at Guantanamo (a location not so far mentioned in Wisden’s Cricket Around The World) with the poorly-paid Jamaican workers, 2-7 minutes and how he managed to give the latest scores to cricket-loving inmates despite often bizarre US censorship over numbers. 13-14 minutesClive learnt his cricket at Radley College, where his Warden was the inspirational Dennis  Silk, a major figure in English cricket. 36-37 minutes He became the College’s opening bowler despite a teenage struggle against bulimia. He describes this movingly, along with his response to Freddie Flintoff’s recent account of his own struggle with a condition still poorly understood among men. 39-41 minutesHe recalls his long experience of a thriving cricket scene in the United  States, 47-49 minutesparticularly  playing in Atlanta with and against many famous West Indian cricketers. They included Conrad Hunte. He speaks warmly of his ethical personality and his on-field kindness and forbearance with the efforts of his lesser playing colleagues. 42-46 minutesHe recently testified on behalf of Julian Assange in his fight against extradition. He explains the significance of the case and looks forward to welcoming the most celebrated member of the Quito Cricket Club into his local cricket club, Broadwindsor in Dorset. 26-28 minutes He is now trying to save the club from the threat of eviction by the new owners of their ground. 29-35 minutes He gives listeners the chance to donate to the campaign (and purchase an office or title within the club). Henry Blofeld sent such a fierce letter of support that he felt compelled to tone it down slightly. 34 minutes Surprisingly for such a battling lawyer he remarks: “The law’s not a great way to solve anything. I’d rather solve it by the rules of cricket”. 33 minutes
10/19/202057 minutes, 41 seconds
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Talking with Historian and Author, Dr Prashant Kidambi

In 1911 the first cricket team to represent all of India made a long tour of all parts of the United Kingdom. Professor Prashant Kidambi wrote a book about it, Cricket Country, which won the Lord Aberdare Prize awarded by the British Society of Sports History and was the first sporting work to be shortlisted for the Wolfson Prize for history. Cricket Country not only describes the events on the field but also the long and complex preparations for the tour, and its role in the history of India and the British Empire. As the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast, Prashant Kidambi vividly describes the challenges of capturing the big themes of the book and of writing sports history itself. He sets out the way in which the Indian middle class in Parsi, Hindu and Muslim communities took over the development of the game from the British and adapted cricket into Indian culture. 3 minutes et seq The British had an ambivalent attitude to Indians playing cricket – disparaging the early teams, then welcoming them as pupils and gracious losers, but shocked and resentful when Indian teams started winning in front of their enthusiastic spectators. 10-13 minutes The British made many excuses for their defeats – including an excess of champagne at the lunch interval. 19-21 minutesHe shows why it took such a long time to overcome communal differences and select a team, and how the tour had an underlying political motive of demonstrating Indians’ loyalty to the British Empire at a time of growing tensions. Although generally unsuccessful on the field, the tour gave a lasting legacy to Indian cricket. 39-44 minutesThe tour was held in the shadow of Ranjitsinhji, who refused the offer of the captaincy. The tourists were not in his class and their initial performances disappointed the press and the public. Prashant Kidambi analyses Ranjitsinhji’s difficult task of managing a series of conflicting roles – international superstar, English cricketer (although regularly described as benefit unfairly from “Oriental magic”) and maintaining his claim to the Indian princely state of Nawanagar. 23-29 minutesThe hero of the tour was Palwankar Baloo, the first great Indian bowler, judged on the tour to be the equal of Sydney Barnes. Prashant Kidambi describes the struggle he faced in showing his talent, as a member of an 'Untouchable' Hindu caste, facing regular episodes of fierce discrimination. Baloo had a later political career as a respected campaigner for the Dalits. 30-37 minutesDrawing on his recent Derek Birley lecture, Prashant Kidambi sets out how he reconciled the three simultaneous tasks which he sees as required of any sporting historian: setting out the social, economic and if necessary, political context of sporting events; describing the sporting action (sometimes all but forgotten by modern historians) and the purely sporting developments that shape the story; and establishing the time frame of the story. He illustrates this with the example of Shane Warne’s Ball of the century: an episode in English-Australian history, a great cricketing moment condensing years of cricket history, and one of the events of 1993. 47-54 minutes
10/12/202055 minutes, 28 seconds
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Talking with ECB's Managing Director of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor

The rise of women’s cricket, in England and worldwide, is the biggest story in the modern history of the game. Clare Connor CBE is a witness to this journey and a key driver of it. As a cricket-crazed girl, she played in boys’ and men’s teams, not even aware of English women’s cricket. But still in her teens, she played Test cricket for England women, then captained the side to a famous long-delayed Ashes triumph. After retirement she became a top administrator. Since 2012 she has been the chair of the ICC’s women’s committee, and more recently became the ECB’s Managing Director for women’s cricket and a board member. From October next year, she will become the first woman President of the MCC – a men-only bastion for over 150 years. She is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.She describes the thrill of learning about her MCC appointment from its incumbent, Kumar Sangakkara (then captaining MCC on tour in Pakistan) and the MCC Chief Executive, Guy Lavender.  She outlines her ambitions in the role in making the Club more inclusive. She outlines her early cricket career in and near Brighton, unaware of women’s cricket and with no role model in women’s cricket. Although  the only girl in her early teams, she never felt like an outsider, through the unconditional support of her parents and team members. She describes the trial – and the shot  in front of the then England women’s coach – that brought her into women’s cricket. Clare speaks of the demands of her England international career, juggling them against her university studies in English and her later job as a teacher. Like her colleagues she was never paid match fees: initially they even had to pay all their own expenses, including overseas tours. Full professional contracts were introduced only in 2014. She describes vividly the intense national celebrations in 2005, shared with the England men,  of the double success in their respective Ashes series, culminating in a ceremony and a joint photograph at an empty Lord’s.Clare picks out highlights of the global advance of women’s cricket, given new impetus by T20, notably its take-off in Thailand, its progress in Pakistan after the pioneering courageous work of the Khan sisters, and the current proliferation of women’s competitions. She outlines the ICC’s efforts to develop the game in new territories with no background in cricket, and to use the game for social unity and global healing after the pandemic. She cites dramatic statistics of the current TV and digital audience for women’s cricket in England and worldwide. She refers to the growing discussions of the possibilities of women’s cricket selling its own rights and obtaining its own sponsorship. (One downside to its growing success is the infiltration of attempted match fixing into women’s cricket.) She emphasizes the huge importance of showcasing women’s cricket (with free-to-air TV coverage) at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, and the strong efforts being made to include both men’s and women’s cricket in the next Olympic Games in  Paris. Time constraints might well require this to be a T10 format. Hybrid pitches (real turf matched with artificial)  will be essential: they have played a great role in the spread of global cricket. Finally she contrasts her early career, unaware of women’s cricket, with the ambitious ten-stage pathway devised by the ECB to attract girls and women into cricket and let them progress as far as they want. She concludes: “There are so many more opportunities now for girls and women to feel more part of cricket, as players, fans, coaches, and that’s a very exciting journey.”
10/5/202047 minutes, 37 seconds
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Talking with MCC's Head of Heritage and Collections Neil Robinson

Neil Robinson is the MCC’s Head of Collections and Heritage at Lord’s. He is responsible for one of the world’s greatest collections of sporting art, artefacts, and memorabilia, as well as a constantly expanding Library of over 20,000 books and complete collections of journals, many rare, as well as the MCC Archive, a treasure trove for historians and not only of cricket. Previously the MCC’s Librarian and head of research, he has given unstinting help to thousands of writers on cricket. He is the  guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. Neil describes the scope of the collections (up to 5,000 works of art or artefacts, hundreds of thousands of photographs) and its nineteenth-century origins, especially the efforts of Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, an MCC grandee associated with the club for no fewer than 75 years. The oldest photos show the first English overseas cricket tour, of the USA and Canada, in 1859 as well as the sheep used to crop the field before the lawnmower was invented in the 1860s. Two other historic photographs show the English playing cricket in Yokahama, Japan, in 1863: amid great tension, the sides carried weapons on the field to defend themselves from expected attack by samurai. Neil also mentions the first English cricket tour of Australia in 1863 – as a late substitute for a cancelled tour by Charles Dickens (a cricket fan).He describes the restoration at the Natural History Museum of one of the most popular artefacts – the sparrow killed in mid-flight by a ball from Jehangir Khan (father of Pakistan’s Majid Khan). The gender of the bird has finally been established.Neil describes the efforts to build up the audio archive of over 200 cricketing interviews, to make the collections, especially the portraits, more representative of non-English countries and of women, and to put more of the collections online, a priority heightened by the temporary shutdown of the Lord’s Museum and the ending of tours. The collections are to be reviewed in the light of current concerns over associations with slavery and colonial oppression. Neil reveals the amazing Victorian romance hidden in the Ashes urn – and his own remarkable experiences in transporting it to Australia as part of a (non-cricketing) exhibition. He describes the creation of his own cricket book -  Long Shot Summer  - the history of England’s deeply troubled Test match year of 1988. Finally, Neil describes some of the vital historic materials in the MCC Archive, especially records of all the England tours organized by MCC as late as 1968. He explains the gaps caused by the haphazard way records were preserved before the Archive was begun in 2006.
9/28/20201 hour, 3 minutes, 43 seconds
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Talking with Huw Turbervill and Simon Hughes of The Cricketer

The Cricketer, on the edge of a well-deserved century, is the oldest surviving cricket magazine in the world – and shows no sign of leaving the crease. With Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast are its managing editor, and historian, Huw Turbervill, and its editor, Simon Hughes, known to millions from his televised appearances as the Analyst. They reveal that another distinguished centenarian, Captain Sir Tom Moore is a subscriber and an avid cricket follower. They trace the history of The Cricketer, from its foundation in 1921 as a worthwhile activity for Plum Warner after his retirement from first-class cricket. Although it followed the Great War and the Spanish flu pandemic but  neither figured much in its early pages.  Initially a weekly newspaper (at six old pence, about the price of a pint of beer), it began a tradition of securing famous cricketers and distinguished authors as contributors for little or no money.Besides being general editor of The Cricketer, Warner was cricket correspondent of the (ultra-conservative) Morning Post newspaper. He combined these roles with managing England’s Bodyline tour of Australia in the 1930s an arrangement unthinkable today, which caused Warner considerable stress. In 1939, The Cricketer greeted the outbreak of war with a memorable cricket-themed editorial. Gallantly, the staff coped with paper shortage and the Blitz to bring out issues throughout the war, which were much appreciated by British prisoners-of-war.Huw and Simon share vivid memories of two distinguished contributors – E W Swanton, grandiose and overbearing but devoted to cricket and good writing, and Christopher Martin-Jenkins, gentle, humorous and always running late, who inspired deep loyalty. They analyse the innovative competitions in English cricket introduced and still supported  by The Cricketer, the Cup for old boys’ teams, and the highly popular National Village Trophy, which gives village teams the chance of playing at Lord’s (even in this Covid year.)Huw and Simon reveal the ructions caused by their two-yearly attempts to name the players and writer with the greatest influence in cricket. They reveal those who objected to being demoted or under-placed.They describe The Cricketer’s tight relationship with its readers and its determination to cover cricket at all levels. Recent issues have had a more social focus, and Simon outlines the magazine’s treatment of BlackLivesMatter and the loss of black people to English cricket. Outlining  his latest book A New Innings, co-authored with Manoj Badale owner of the IPL team, Rajastan Royals, Simon charts the generally benign effects of T20 on global cricket. He also sets out the revolutionary implications of the new relationships between cricketers and spectators through sophisticated digital platforms. These could make cricket thrive even if live spectatorship remains off-limits due to Covid (or the next virus).
9/21/202059 minutes, 12 seconds
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Talking with Former First-Class Pakistani Cricketer Qamar Ahmed

Qamar Ahmed is a legend in global cricket. He reported 450 Test matches – about one in six of all those ever played since 1877 – and 738 one-day internationals, including nine of the twelve World Cups. He is respected throughout the cricket world for his authority and integrity. He recently published his memoir Far More Than A Game.  He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast.As a boy, Qamar Ahmed experienced the sudden and traumatic end of an idyllic childhood in Bihar, in pre-Partition India through communal violence. Movingly he describes the heroic Hindu family who sheltered him and his family from mobs looking for Muslims to kill – and even more movingly, re-visiting them in Bihar some thirty years later.Relocated in Pakistan, Qamar Ahmed became a cricketer. He shares vivid memories of the vanished world of first-class cricket there in the 1950s, playing for ten rupees a day (about 50p or ten shillings). He played against the great Mohammed brothers (including a thirteen-year-old Mushtaq), faced the party-loving spin bowling genius Prince Aslam, and had to endure on début a complete duffer in his first-class team – because he had selected himself as Secretary of the local association. He describes his relationship with the great early Pakistan coach, Master Aziz – and years later, his son Salim Durrani, who became a star in Indian cricket and (briefly) movies.As a journalist, Qamar Ahmed had meetings with many famous people in and out of cricket. He gives a close-up account of four of them: Kerry Packer, Sir Don Bradman (introduced to him in a generous gesture by Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly) and Nelson Mandela. But there was one person he refused to meet: General Zia ul-Haq, then ruler of Pakistan. Qamar Ahmed explains why.He reflects on the current state of Pakistan cricket, laments the general decline in the quality of Test cricket (after 450 samples) and expresses his fears for its future, especially if a “two-tier” system of Test-playing countries takes hold. 
9/14/202059 minutes, 52 seconds
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Talking with Journalist and Author Mihir Bose

Mihir Bose, author of over 30 books and the BBC’s first sports news editor has analysed and reported global sport incisively for nearly 50 years.  He has written with special authority about Indian cricket, tracing its journey from colonial dependency to superpower in his book Nine Waves. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and  Richard Heller  in their  latest cricket-themed podcast. He explains how the Board of Control for India (BCCI) acquired its dominance over world cricket through its commercial revenues and as gatekeeper for tours by India (which for England are now more profitable than Ashes tours by Australia). In consequence, cricket has effectively become the first world sport controlled by non-white people. However, he sees the BCCI as more focused on local rivalries and Indian political agendas than on its new responsibilities to global cricket. After scandals which provoked judicial intervention, the BCCI has a high-profile new chairman, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly: Mihir Bose assesses his chances of achieving reform.He sees no hope of overcoming the political obstacles set by the Modi government against restoring bilateral series between India and Pakistan, despite the warm relations between players and past officials on both sides.He explains how the IPL has transformed the finances of Indian cricket and the location of power within it.There was nothing inevitable about the rise of cricket as India’s major sport: soccer could easily have become more popular. Mihir Bose tells the fascinating story of how Nehru saved Indian cricket from international extinction – at just the time when India’s footballers ruled themselves out of the 1950 World Cup by insisting on playing in bare feet. Looking further back, he traces the support Indian cricket received from its religious communities (who played tournaments in great harmony in times of great political tensions) and from generally minor princes who used cricket to bolster their claims  to their thrones. The prime example was Ranjitsinhji. The first Indian global celebrity cricketer, he saw himself as totally English and did nothing for Indian cricket: Mihir Bose speculates that this was partly due to his secret love life.Initially a victim of Indian cultural snobbery about sport in general (shared by Gandhi), cricket is now a rich subject for modern Indian novelists such as Vikram Seth and has had a long relationship with its film makers. Mihir Bose tells how a great Indian movie star actually forced an Indian captain to declare so that he could watch a few overs of Australia batting.Mihir Bose met a young Sunil Gavaskar at school – but denies that he taught him his perfect defensive technique. However, he has mentored many other players especially as a touring captain in India. He relates the Incident outside the Chepauk Stadium in what was then still called Madras which was even more horrific  than the run-out of Jeffrey Archer.Apart from Indian cricket, Mihir Bose has  done groundbreaking work on issues of race and discrimination in world  sport. He describes how he will be returning to this theme in a new book Impossible Dream. Although many non-white sportspeople have lately opened  up on their past experience of racism, Mihir Bose sees real encouragement in the sporting lives and status of present stars such as Raheem Stirleng and Moeen Ali (whom he assisted with his recent autobiography.) 
9/7/202058 minutes, 11 seconds
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Talking with Sports Writer and Radio Broadcaster Pat Murphy

For well over forty years, as author, reporter and commentator with the highest standards of integrity, Pat Murphy has been telling the world about cricket as it really happened. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and  Richard Heller  in their  latest cricket-themed podcast. He sets out his ideals as a radio commentator, above all, being authentic, the same person off air as on it – like Terry Wogan. He adds:  “you’ve got the best seat in the house, bring people alongside you.” The paramount need is to tell the score as soon as it changes. He shares the wonderful experience of a private seminar with John Arlott over 1 ½ days. He cites Arlott’s special gift for bringing in the crowd, one shared with other great commentators, in football and other sports, and how the  current  lack  of crowds is a handicap to sports coverage. He hails Test Match Special in the 1970s as the apogee of cricket commentary, but notes how commentary styles have to change to meet public demand. He reveals his favourite commentary bloopers – including the one which earned him after 45 years his first mention in Private  Eye’s feature Commentator balls.As a ghost writer and collaborator  with such greats as Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Imran Khan, he shares the secrets of getting sports personalities to speak in  their  own voice and be open about  issues which present-day readers expect to be discussed. He reveals which great cricketer could remember less about his on-field achievements than his celebration of them afterwards. He apologizes  for some terrible  punning titles of his books. Pat Murphy dwells  on his collaboration with “Tiger” Smith, Warwickshire and England wicketkeeper, then umpire and coach, whose long life  covered a huge span of cricket history: he played with W G Grace and gave expert  advice to Mike Brearley, then England captain, in 1979. He reveals the astonishing  pace (5000 words a day) at which he produced his recent detailed and multi-layered analysis of Warwickshire’s triumphs in the mid-1990s and the discipline he set himself to achieve this (including  shaving before writing).He shares his withering contempt for Rupert Murdoch and his impact on British sport and public life.Offered the post of dictator of British sport he sets out a personal agenda for English cricket:-Abolish the Hundred (an “atrocity”)-End the dominance of marketing people  at the English Cricket Board, and prevent them reducing and downgrading the County Championship-Combat the marginalization of cricket in English life and declining  participation thanks to the Sky paywall-Stop cricket becoming a sport only for white children who have been to independent  schools (just three black England cricketers so far this century)
8/24/202056 minutes, 54 seconds
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Talking with Lord Jeffrey Archer

An ebullient Jeffrey Archer shares his lifelong passion for cricket as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their regular cricket-themed podcast.He describes his earliest memories of watching his beloved English county Somerset at the Clarence Park ground in Weston-super-Mare (sadly no longer used for first-class matches). As a boy, he demonstrated entrepreneurial flair selling scorecards and especially teas: this inspired resistance from trade unions and helped to shape his political outlook as an opponent of the British Labour party.He gives vivid portraits of a host of cricketers he has befriended on and off the field, including:-Derek Underwood (he took revenge on him through a charity auction for two consecutive dismissals in a match)-Viv Richards (he sacrificed his wicket for him in a match at Taunton)-Clive Lloyd (brilliantly catching his other friend Sunil Gavaskar in delayed amends for dropping him during the latter’s first great series in the West Indies). He also praises Clive Lloyd’s dedication to the cause of young people in Britain and the West IndiesHe assesses Ian Botham, “a friend for over 50 years… the bravest swashbuckler I’ve ever encountered. Had he been born 20 years earlier, he would have won the VC in the war”. Having earned the CBE on retirement as a cricketer and a knighthood for his dedicated charity work, Botham now has a peerage for political reasons, but he will have a chance now to follow another friend and cricketing peer, Colin Cowdrey, as a frequent contributor to the House of Lords on sport and young people. (It leads him to a splendid story about Colin Cowdrey and Len Hutton.)Jeffrey Archer highlights his strong relationship with India (23 visits) and his friendships with cricketers including Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman (“their long partnership at Kolkata was the greatest day in Test history”) – friendships which began when they became readers of his during their long stays overseas. He would be glad to make a first visit to Pakistan and to do what he can to promote the restoration of bilateral cricket links between it and India. He explains why he has never put cricket into his novels (“200 million of my 300 million readers do not understand it”) but looks forward eagerly to the cricket match in the televised version of his friend Vikram Seth’s great novel A Suitable Boy, which has just opened on BBC. Turning to art, he reveals his expert knowledge of how to pack a Caravaggio. Sadly, it is not one of his own, but he reveals his latest acquisition for his lavatory and how to get to it (“turn right at the Picasso.”)Cricket plays an important part in his three diaries of prison life. He describes encounters with murderers and serious villains who behaved very ethically on the cricket field.At last he gives his account of the terrible events following his run-out for the House of Lords against the House of Commons – when he had to placate a crowd  of 60,000 at the Oval, baying their disappointment at being deprived of the chance to see him score a fifty.Finally, he reveals his programme if offered the post of Prime Minister in a government of national salvation (he is still available for this, and as captain of England’s cricket team). No one would be allowed to build anything on land used for cricket or any other sport. Above all, “every child will get a chance to have a chance” to fulfil their dreams and become the best they can be. 
7/27/202044 minutes, 26 seconds
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Talking with Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani

Ehsan Mani, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board – on Pakistan’s tour of England, on making cricket grow worldwide, on Pakistan v India, on Imran Khan – and the future Lord BothamEhsan Mani, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board since 2018, is the most experienced and high-achieving cricket administrator in the world. Apart from his present post, he served on the International Cricket Council from 1996 to 2006 and played a leading role in the transformation of world cricket.Anticipating Pakistan’s series of three Test Matches and three T20s, he predicts that an exciting team will adapt to the bio-secure conditions (many have experience of playing in almost  empty stadiums in the UAE). He picks out three talents he expects to shine. He describes his dramatic appointment by Imran Khan (by telephone and Twitter) to his present post, and explains how Pakistan cricket is governed – and how much influence Imran exercises over it as Prime Minister and Patron. He outlines his own plans to reform Pakistan’s first-class structure, decentralize power and responsibility, and multiply opportunities and support for young players. He shows how he and the PCB cope with a litigious cricket environment, where almost any aggrieved party can find a court to launch a “public interest action” against them. (His estimate is that there are 24 current cases against the PCB.)He gives an account of the PCB’s efforts to overcome politics and resume bilateral cricket relations with India. He shares his hopes for more international visitors to Pakistan after COVID, in the greatly improved security situation and after highly successful tours from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the MCC, led by Kumar Sangakkara, a victim of the attack in Lahore in 2009. Pakistan is eager not only for an early England team visit but for tours from schools, colleges and private groups, and for English players to join Pakistan’s new first-class teams. Looking back, he describes how he “stumbled” into cricket administration and his achievements as a negotiator for the ICC. These led to cricket’s “Big Bang” in the 2000s and generated immense new sums from the sale of media rights. These transformed the ICC from an obscure committee, whose members argued over expenditures of a few thousand pounds into a financial powerhouse for global cricket. He reveals how he pushed for a share of this money to grow cricket worldwide – and how the Chinese authorities were eager to make cricket take off in their country.Earlier, he responds to the announcement of a peerage for Ian Botham (who made a infamous disparaging remark about Pakistan). “As a cricketer, he probably deserves it, one of the greatest all-rounders England has had. I don’t like cricket and politics coming together. I feel he’s been used a little bit,  and been given a peerage for the wrong reasons.” Peter and Richard revive their proposal for a peerage for Michael Holding – and suggest a new cricketer to join him: Mike Brearley. 
7/20/20201 hour, 4 minutes, 55 seconds
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Talking with ICC Umpire Simon Taufel

Simon Taufel, for five years in a row the ICC’s Umpire of the Year and author of Finding The Gaps, is the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their regular cricket podcast, joining them from Don Bradman’s home town of Bowral, NSW, Australia. His book Finding the Gaps can be found here: offers unique personal insight into the role of modern umpires and match officials at the highest levels of cricket. They have become a “third team”, with responsibilities much wider than interpreting the Laws and match conditions, which makes it possible for the two playing teams to perform. He describes his intense drive for continual improved performance, and the lessons it offers for other walks of life. Injury and chance turned him to an umpiring career at an unusually early age. When he umpired his first Test match (Australia v West Indies December 2000) he was younger than 12 of the players in both teams – an unusual world record which is likely to last, in spite of the trend for younger umpires. He contrasts the minimal pre-match preparations and later feedback for officials at that Test with those of the present day. He comments wryly that umpires are remembered for the 5 per cent or fewer of decisions they get wrong rather than the 95 per cent or more they get right. He gives an example of each. He describes vividly his feelings over mistakes (like grief at a bereavement) and how he tried to move on and learn from them.In a warm tribute to David Shepherd, with some delightful stories, he emphasizes the importance of partnerships and teamwork between umpires and other officials. Simon Taufel describes his terrifying experience as a victim of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in 2009. Movingly, he describes the annual commemoration he holds with other survivors, as well as his feelings on a recent return to Pakistan. Finally, from all his experience as a top-level umpire, he says which of the Laws of cricket he would like to eliminate.Apart from their conversation with Simon Taufel, Peter and Richard react to Michael Holding’s powerful and eloquent statements on BlackLivesMatter and the impact of racism. They suggest that he might follow Learie Constantine into the House of Lords, as Lord  Holding of the Oval. 
7/13/202055 minutes, 19 seconds
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Talking with Cricket Historian Stephen Chalke

Stephen Chalke has given deep personal service to the oral history of English cricket, weaving together the personal stories of cricketers past into a unique social tapestry of the game. His publishing house, Fairfield Books, published 42 titles, 19 by himself, of cricket books which might never have emerged from mainstream publishers. He did almost every job required himself, notably distribution and promotion, and his time and labour earned less reward per hour than the minimum wage. In retirement from Fairfield, he continues to help publish narratives of cricket.Stephen Chalke describes with deep feeling his collaboration with his subjects. Often he spent week after week with them, teasing out their memories and letting them find their voice. Recounting stories of Ken Taylor, Mickey Stewart, Fred Rumsey, Bob Appleyard & more.
7/3/202042 minutes, 51 seconds
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Talking with West Indian Commentator Fazeer Mohammed

Fazeer Mohammed has been delighting global audiences since 1987 as a cricket commentator combining ebullience, eloquence and erudition. In anticipating the coming West Indies series, he comments powerfully on support for the BlackLivesMatter agenda not just from the team but among all the people and nations of the West Indies.He analyses acutely the recent weakness of West Indies in traditional cricket in contrast to their resurgence in T20, and the deep-seated social and structural factors behind it. Offered the role of supreme dictator of West Indies cricket, he offers a set of remedies in 90 seconds.Above all, he speaks with passion and insight about the art of cricket commentary, especially on radio: for the commentator, it means being a guest in someone’s home and he describes the standards he sets himself for this role.
6/26/202053 minutes, 56 seconds
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Talking with Mickey Arthur, Sri Lanka’s National Coach

Mickey Arthur has been Sri Lanka’s national coach since February this year. He has resumed his work there with the players after a strict lockdown. Before Sri Lanka, he coached three other national sides – his native South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan. This represents a world record which will take a long time to equal.
6/19/202045 minutes, 23 seconds
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Peter Gibbs on his County Career

In their eleventh podcast to help the cricket-deprived Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have a fascinating conversation with Peter Gibbs. With imposing initials as PJK Gibbs he appeared on first-class cricket scorecards for Oxford University and Derbyshire in the 1960s and 1970s: as Peter Gibbs he became an award-winning screenwriter, dramatist and novelist. 
6/12/202043 minutes, 47 seconds
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The First Nets & More Cricketing Novels

Great excitement this week. The first cricket of the season has been played, and Richard has even been out to practice in the nets. Peter and Richard talk about that and cricketing novels they missed out the first time round. We always love to hear from listeners! To get in contact, email [email protected]
6/5/202048 minutes, 53 seconds
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Afghan Cricket with Dr Sarah Fane OBE

Afghan cricketers have burst onto the international scene making a huge impression in recent years and even establishing the sport in Germany. Peter Oborne and Richard Heller talk to Dr Sarah Fane OBE, who founded the charity Afghan Connection about how cricket has played a huge part in helping her develop education projects in the war torn country. She also talks about her new role as Director of the MCC Foundation.You can support the MCC Foundation by visiting:
5/29/202045 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Impact of T20 with Tim Wigmore

Peter Oborne and Richard Heller are joined by Tim Wigmore, cricket correspondent of  the Daily Telegraph and author (with Freddie Wilde) of Cricket 2.0­ a comprehensive history and analysis of T20 cricket which was chosen as Wisden’s best book of 2019.
5/22/202047 minutes, 7 seconds
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Cricket and Literature

Peter and Richard vent their spleen over the absence of cricket in the government's fifty page document outlining what sports can now be played. Then turning to literature where again, cricket has been overlooked. 
5/15/202045 minutes, 2 seconds
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Analysis with Nathan Leamon

Peter Oborne and Richard Heller talk to Nathan Leamon, performance analyst for the England cricket team for ten years and author of the cricket novel The Test: an insider’s view of the stresses and strains at the top of the game.How in lockdown are professional cricketers keeping themselves ready to resume major cricket? How they might react to playing international matches behind closed doors? These are among many topics discussed in a wide ranging and sparkling conversation.
5/8/202046 minutes, 47 seconds
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British Politics and Cricket Entwined

In their fifth podcast to help the cricket-deprived journalists Peter Oborne and Richard Heller reveal a series of astonishing stories, which show the importance of cricket in British politics.They argue that cricket wrecked Boris Johnson’s chances of becoming Prime Minister in 2016, reveal John Major’s fear of being described as a lame duck in a match with Commonwealth leaders and describe how only weeks into his leadership of the Labour party, Keir Starmer faces a make-or-break challenge, because of cricket.
5/1/202040 minutes, 55 seconds
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Cricket anyone? Anywhere?

In their latest cricket podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller discuss the prospects of seeing or playing any cricket in season 2020, in Britain and worldwide. They analyse the health and political obstacles that must be overcome for cricket and other sports to escape from lockdown. They speculate on the adaptations cricket might have to make if social distancing is still in force (matches with no live spectators? all fielders outside the circle? no on-field umpires?) They describe the financial threat to local community and social cricket clubs from the lack of match fees and bar receipts.
4/24/202041 minutes, 55 seconds
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Unpacking more of this year’s Wisden

In the first two episodes they previewed and then reviewed the new Wisden Cricketers Almanack. In this one they find they’re not yet done mining the rich seams of gold within its pages, talking about cricketing and the environment – how some of the most important matches are played in some of the world’s most polluted cities – how the game is gradually shifting to become more of a winter game, with the season starting earlier, and they celebrate the fact that the game is being played in new and unexpected places, such as Mali and Lebanon.They embark on designing their own fantasy Philosphers’ eleven, celebrate a new Afghan record holder, and discuss the recent interview in the Times between Mike Atherton and Nathan Leamon, the official data analyst for the England cricket team. Statistical analysis is being applied to cricket as it is to any big business.
4/17/202044 minutes, 4 seconds
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Publication of Wisden 2020

In their second podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller root for truffles in the rich soil of the new Wisden Cricketers Almanack.
4/10/202039 minutes, 51 seconds
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A Preview of Wisden 2020

In the first, they anticipate the imminent joyous arrival of Wisden Cricketers Almanack, all the more joyous for recalling the most glorious English summer of cricket in living memory. They guess at its nominees for Five Cricketers of the Year and the Wisden cricket book of the year. They share memories of the notable cricketers who died, including Bob Willis, the great West Indians Basil Butcher and Seymour Nurse and, especially, their personal friend, Abdul Qadir, the Pakistani genius who reinvented legspin bowling. They also recall Gary Sobers scoring his last Test century with a monster hangover. They constantly exchange the esoteric facts beloved of cricketers, including Bhutan’s astonishing win over the might of China. In the present crisis, when cricket is banned, they wonder if illegal cricket matches will be played in secret and imagine the easy tactics the police could use to suppress them.
4/3/202039 minutes, 37 seconds