18 April 2006

English cricket season begins with old head leading MCC to defeat

Nottinghamshire, last year's Division 1 champions, have just defeated the MCC by 142 runs in the traditional English first class cricket season opener. The score is here.

The MCC team is normally a showcase for promising young players. This year the selectors turned the clock back by choosing as captain John Stephenson ,a 41 year old who played a single test against Australia in 1989. Stephenson batted in the lower order and bowled a few overs at fifth or sixth change (though he did dismiss the last three opposition batsmen cheaply).

In many respects Mr Stephenson seems like an amateur captain from the gentleman and player days, chosen more for his social than his cricketing skills. The match was played at Lord's, so does this mean that he was able to use the amateur dressing room (surely it's still there), and maybe enter the field through a different gate from the rest of his team? Did the Notts players revert to the old custom of giving the opposition skipper one to get off the mark? It seems they may have done so in the first innings, where he made 1, but didn't in the second where he was dismissed without troubling the scorers.

Nottinghamshire also fielded a player who has admitted to using unconventional methods to prepare his spinning fingers for the rigours of bowling.

I wonder whether Shane Warne has ever tried it to assist his delivery?

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