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Cricket: A Modern Anthology

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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“Please let us know your Board’s final decision as soon as possible and in any event before the end of the year.”

From Australian Board of Control to M.C.C., Dec. 14, 1933.

“With further reference to your cable of October 9 and your confirmatory cable of December 12 in reply to ours of November 16, we, too, now regard the position finalised. Our team will leave Australia on March 9.”

From M.C.C. to Australian Board of Control, Dec. 14, 1933.

“Thank you for your cable. We are very glad to know we may look forward to welcoming the Australians next summer. We shall do all in our power to make their visit enjoyable.”

From Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, 1934

BY THE EDITOR OF WISDEN CRICKETERS’ ALMANACK (#ulink_e2ed8a69-751d-55a0-8f7e-4f97c9093b5d)

Sydney J. Southerton

Had the foregoing cables been the medical history sheets of a person suddenly afflicted by some mental or physical trouble a doctor would have experienced little difficulty in tracing and analysing the disease from its onset to its cure. In like manner cricketers can gather from the cables almost the whole course of the disturbance brought about between the M.C.C. and the Australian Board of Control over the question of fast leg-theory bowling. I have purposely omitted to use the expression “body-line bowling.” It may have conveyed to those to whom it was presented at the outset the meaning the inventor of it wished to infer, but to my mind it was an objectionable term, utterly foreign to cricket, and calculated to stir up strife when the obvious aim of everybody should have been directed towards the prevention of any breach.

Happily the controversy is now at an end, and little reason exists, therefore, to flog what we can regard as a “dead horse.” But, obviously from the historical point of view, something on the subject must be said. I hope and believe that the ventilation of their grievances by the Australians, and the placatory replies of the M.C.C. will have done much towards imparting a better spirit to Test Matches which of recent years have become battles rather than pleasurable struggles. A false atmosphere has pervaded them. During the last few tours of M.C.C. teams in Australia, and the visits of the Australians to this country one could not fail to detect a subtle change taking place in the conduct of Test Matches—reflected unfortunately in the style of play of the cricketers themselves. The result of the contests was given a prominence out of keeping even with the importance of Test Matches, and the true sense of perspective stood in danger of disappearing altogether.

There is no need to enter into some of the reasons for the hostility with which D. R. Jardine in particular and certain of his team were received by the huge crowds in Australia. Animosity existed and was fanned into flame largely by the use of the term “body-line” when Larwood and others met with such success against the leading Australian batsmen. To such an extent had real bitterness grown that the storm burst during the Third Test Match at Adelaide. The dispatch of the petulant cablegram by the Australian Board of Control even placed the completion of the tour in jeopardy. Saner counsels prevailed, and, although tension existed for months afterwards, the M.C.C. for their part never lost their grip of the situation and, what was even more important, refused to be stampeded into any panic legislation. Whatever individual opinions were held at the time the M.C.C. Committee, as a whole, naturally stood by the captain of their Team in Australia. They had heard only one side of the question.

And now, what of this fast leg-theory method of bowling to which not only the Australian players themselves, but a vast majority of the people of Australia took such grave exception? With the dictum of the M.C.C. that any form of bowling which constitutes a direct attack by the bowler on the batsman is contrary to the spirit of the game everyone must unquestionably concur. D. R. Jardine, on his return to England, stated definitely in his book that the bowling against which the Australians demurred was not of this description, and Larwood, the chief exponent of it, said with equal directness that he had never intentionally bowled at a man. On the other hand, there are numerous statements by responsible Australians to the effect that the type of bowling adopted was calculated to intimidate batsmen, pitched as the ball was so short as to cause it to fly shoulder and head high and make batsmen, with the leg-side studded with fieldsmen, use the bat as a protection for their bodies or their heads rather than in defence of the wicket or to make a scoring stroke. Victor Richardson, the South Australian batsman, has said that when he took his ordinary stance at the wicket he found the ball coming on to his body; when he took guard slightly more to the leg-side he still had the ball coming at him; and with a still wider guard the ball continued to follow him. I hold no brief either for Jardine or Larwood or for Richardson, Woodfull or Bradman; but while some of the Australians may have exaggerated the supposed danger of this form of bowling I cling to the opinion that they cannot all be wrong. When the first mutterings of the storm were heard many people in this country were inclined to the belief that the Australians, seeing themselves in danger of losing the rubber, were not taking defeat in the proper spirit always expected from honourable opponents. I will confess that I thought they did not relish what seemed to me at that stage to be a continuous good-length bombardment by our fast bowlers on to their leg-stump. This idea I afterwards found was not quite correct.

There is nothing new in leg-theory bowling. The most notable exponent of it in recent years was Root, of Worcestershire; to go back to just before the War A. Jaques, of Hampshire, often exploited it with success; and to delve deeper into the past an Australian—no less than the famous Spofforth himself—would at times bowl on the leg-stump with an off-break and two fieldsmen close in on the leg-side. Root and Jaques were, however, medium-paced bowlers while Spofforth, even if he had a very destructive fast ball always at command, could not truthfully be classified as a fast bowler consistent in the pace of say Larwood, Knox, Richardson, Lockwood, or Kortright. Moreover, Root, Jaques and Spofforth almost invariably bowled a good length, so that the ball could be played either in a defensive manner or with the idea of turning it to leg, and when the batsman made a mistake in timing or in placing he usually paid the penalty by being caught.

That type of bowling, however, is very different from the kind sent down at top-speed with the ball flying past the shoulders or head of the batsman who has only a split second in which to make up his mind as to whether he will duck, move away, or attempt to play it with the bat high in the air. Against one sort a perfectly legitimate and reasonable stroke could be played without any apprehension of physical damage; against the other it seems to me that by touching the ball in defence of the upper part of his body or his head a batsman would be almost bound to be out. One would not accuse Hammond or Hendren of being slow on their feet, yet Hendren at Lord’s on one occasion was not quick enough to get out of the way and received a crashing blow on his head, while last season at Manchester Hammond, in the Test Match against the West Indies, had his chin laid open, and on resuming his innings was caught off a similar kind of ball. We saw in that particular match at Old Trafford what I should conceive to be a somewhat pale—but no less disturbing—imitation of Larwood in Australia, when Martindale and Constantine on the one hand, and Clark, of Northamptonshire, on the other were giving a demonstration of fast leg-theory bowling. Not one of the three had the pace, accuracy of pitch, or deadliness of Larwood, but what they did was sufficient to convince many people with open minds on the subject that it was a noxious form of attack not to be encouraged in any way.

Cricketers whose memories go back to the days of the bad wickets at Lord’s, are I think a little too prone to emphasise the fact that W. G. Grace and other famous batsmen of that era were often struck so frequently on the body that after their innings they were covered with bruises, but I should like to suggest that the blows they received were to a large extent caused by good-length balls getting up quickly off the rough turf. I certainly can find no trace in the course of a good deal of research among old reports and comments on these matches that the fast bowlers of those days like Tarrant and Jackson continually dropped the ball short with the idea of making it bounce.

Fast bowlers of all periods have delivered the ball short of a length on occasions—sometimes by accident, and sometimes by intention to keep batsmen on the qui-vive—but in modern days some of our bowlers of pace have become obsessed with the idea that it is necessary to do this three or four times in an over. I desire none of my readers to get the impression that I am against fast bowling. Nothing is further from my thoughts. I like to see fast bowling, the faster the better, but I do like to see it of good length and directed at the stumps.

The Australians without any doubt thought that during the last tour they were being bowled at, and small wonder that edging away as some of them unquestionably did they found themselves bowled when, instead of the expected short-pitched “bouncer,” occasional good-length straight balls came along and beat them before they were in a proper position to defend their wickets. It is, to say the least, significant that G. O. Allen, whom nobody would place quite in the same class as Larwood, enjoyed many successes and for the most part obtained his wickets by bowling with which we in England are familiar. Surely, with his extra pace, Larwood could have done as well as Allen and so have prevented that bitter ill-feeling which led a good many people in this country to the belief that the winning of The Ashes had been gained at too great a cost to the relations hitherto existing between England and Australia.

For myself, I hope that we shall never see fast leg-theory bowling as used during the last tour in Australia exploited in this country. I think that (1) it is definitely dangerous; (2) it creates ill-feeling between the rival teams; (3) it invites reprisals; (4) it has a bad influence on our great game of cricket; and (5) it eliminates practically all the best strokes in batting. Mainly because it makes cricket a battle instead of a game I deplore its introduction and pray for its abolition, not by any legislative measures, but by the influence which our captains can bring to bear and by avoiding use of the objectionable form of attack take a great part in wiping away a blot. Early last season I heard Mr. Weigall, the Recorder of Gravesend, deliver a great speech at a dinner to the West Indies team, in which in beautifully chosen phrases he exhorted them always to look upon cricket with the idea that the game is of far greater importance than the result. If that lesson is driven home to all our cricketers we shall hear no more of the kind of bowling which so nearly brought about a severance of the cricket relations between England and Australia.

From Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, 1934

DOUGLAS JARDINE (#ulink_3aaf96b6-735d-5ead-8367-d8c456f50a35)

Christopher Douglas

In 1939 he was back in the press box again, this time as correspondent to the Daily Telegraph. He covered nearly a full season of Championship matches and the first two Tests against the West Indies, and in this period he produced far and away his best cricket writing. The slightly long-winded style had tightened up considerably. He was as generous to the players as ever and even found a kind word or two for the selectors. He seemed to have acquired the greatest of all cricket writers’ skills: knowing when to write about something else if the cricket is boring. His reports (lengthy by modern standards) often contained leisurely and entertaining musings on players and matches past and present but he was not given to making unfavourable comparisons with the glories of the past, and he was so modest about his own place in the game’s history that when he referred to incidents on, say, the 1928–29 or 1932–33 tours he did so as if he hadn’t been there at all.

By the beginning of August 1939 the amount of space devoted to cricket in the Daily Telegraph reflected the national preoccupation with the impending hostilities. Jardine ended his description of the Surrey v. Yorkshire match with the words, ‘This is the last county match I shall see for some time as I am off to camp with the Territorials.’

Shortly afterwards, he was commissioned into the Royal Berkshire Regiment and went with the British Expeditionary Force to France where he served with distinction. In 1982, this story appeared in The Observer: ‘He was sent by headquarters in Dunkirk into Belgium to discover why troops there had not made contact. Jardine found them all dead, commandeered a troop carrier and drove himself back through enemy lines.’ I have not been able to verify this story but such an act of cold courage would have been quite in keeping with Jardine’s character. He was fortunate enough to get back from Dunkirk but, like so many who had been through it, his feet were badly cut about. He volunteered to go back and help to hold Calais but his commanding officer turned him down. They were taking on single men only and not only was Jardine married but his wife had just given birth to their third child.

Over the next few months he was stationed at St Albans as a staff captain and the family rented a house nearby in Harpenden. The British Expeditionary Force was in the process of reorganisation and Jardine’s responsibility was arranging transport for troops joining newly formed regiments. Being rather older than his fellow-captains and majors, he made no intimate friendships, but one fellow-officer remembers that he was in no way aloof. In fact, everyone was surprised by his diffidence and shy politeness, which was not at all what they had expected of the terror of Adelaide. He was frequently pressed to discuss the bodyline tour but he refused to be drawn, although he did once remark that, knowing the War Office, his next posting would be as Liaison Officer with the Australian Army.

As it happened, he spent the rest of the war in India – first of all in Quetta and then in Simla, where he was a major in the Central Provisions Directorate. He had a great liking for Simla and its incongruous English architecture, and he loved the historic landscape of the North-West Frontier, which he planned to explore extensively after the war. He became fluent in Hindustani (his daughter remembers that he often used to break into it at home), and he involved himself, albeit rather formally, in the social life of the base. An officer stationed there at the time wrote, ‘In the evenings he always wore blue patrols, as ram-rod stiff as a Spy cartoon.’ He was perfectly friendly though never intimate. He used to enjoy a game of snooker in the club but would discreetly withdraw when people started to bet on his skill (which was considerable).

He gave a series of lectures to the troops, mainly on cricket and fishing. He even managed to play a few games of cricket, but had little opportunity to show what he could do since the local umpires were as keen to take his wicket as were the bowlers. There was one first-class match however. It was in early 1944 at Bombay and its purpose was to raise money for war charities. Jardine captained a Services XI against an Indian XI led by Mushtaq Ali. Hardstaff and Jardine shared an attractive stand and both players made runs, but the Indian XI won an exciting match with 12 minutes to spare.

It may seem strange that a man with such exceptional gifts of courage and leadership should have been allowed to while away the latter half of the war doling out provisions. It has been stated that he was kept out of things because of bodyline, but this is quite untrue. The explanation, and one is certainly needed, is not so convenient. He had never been a great respecter of authority, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that he was unwilling to submit to the sort of authority for which he had no respect. In the army, his concern for the problems and welfare of those under his command lessened his effectiveness as a leader in the eyes of his superiors. Humanity, the very quality he has been said to have lacked, prevented him from being given more crucial work.

Like many in 1945, he found himself newly demobbed and without prospects. He had hoped to come back to a job in coal mining which had been promised to him, but he found that the job had disappeared and he had to look around for something else. Meanwhile Margaret Jardine had moved the family into an old manor house at Drayton, in Somerset. The move was not altogether successful, Jardine’s temperament was not suited to rural tranquility and this, combined with his urgent need to find a job, resulted in another move to Radlett in Hertfordshire. He was then appointed Company Secretary to a firm of paper manufacturers in London, Wiggins Teape.

In 1946 he took part in a perfectly stage-managed centenary match at the Oval. It was not first-class but it was attended with ceremony worthy of a Test match. The sides were Surrey and Old England and the match was played in aid of Surrey’s centenary appeal. There was a festival atmosphere with a band playing, the King present and the sun shining. 15,000 people saw Percy Fender lead out his Old England side which included Jardine, Sutcliffe, Hendren, Sandham, Woolley, Tate and Freeman. Surrey batted first and made 248 for 6 declared. Old England very nearly got the runs thanks to substantial innings from Woolley, Hendren and Jardine. Jardine and Hendren put on 108 with Jardine’s contribution being 54. ‘D. R. Jardine,’ said Wisden, ‘wearing his Oxford Harlequin cap, was as polished as ever in academic skill.’

When he was fielding he cut a lonely figure, according to one person who saw the match. He was positioned on the boundary and chased the ball with stiff-kneed studiousness, not joining in the conversations at the fall of each wicket or in between overs. It was his first major appearance since the outlawing of bodyline, and perhaps he was as nervous about talking to his team-mates as he was about the reception the crowd would give him. Both were cordial enough, it seems, without being overwhelming.

By 1948, a slight change of opinion had taken place. He was not exonerated exactly, but the need for a scapegoat was not so pressing as before the war. The new attitude was reflected in Wisden’s obituary of M. R. Jardine, who died in the early part of 1947:

His son, D. R. Jardine, captained England during the Australian tour of 1932–33 when the Ashes were recovered in the series of five matches made notable by the ‘bodyline’ description of specially fast bowling, introduced in a manner since copied by Australian teams without objection by England or adverse criticism.

Lindwall and Miller had humbled the 1946–47 English team with the aid of a liberal sprinkling of short-pitched deliveries. It was not bodyline but, because the bumper had been used so very sparingly since 1935, its sudden re-introduction caused a certain amount of consternation. And when Lindwall and Miller persisted with their methods in the 1948 series, there were those who feared that things might be getting out of hand again. The real cause of the trouble was the usual one: one side had fast bowlers and the other did not. The English feeling was that the score had at last been settled. The crime of bodyline had, to a large extent, been expiated and Jardine was no longer quite the guilty reminder to the nation’s cricketing conscience.

At the end of the 1948 season, he was persuaded to captain an England XI against Glamorgan, the Champion County, at Cardiff. His reception from the crowd was warm and enthusiastic. He made no specially notable contribution to the match and even declined to go for a win in the final session when it seemed to be there for the taking. His undeniably slow batting passed almost without a murmur; those present had the defeat of England in the Tests fresh in their minds and Jardine’s presence was a reminder that when he was in his prime the Australians were far from invincible.

As had been the case after the First World War, there seemed little hope of winning the Ashes for quite a few years. An excellent publication called The Daily Worker Cricket Handbook 1949, which one would have expected to have been the least nationalistically minded, was quite distraught at England’s inability to knock the stuffing out of the Aussies, and bemoaned the absence of men such as Jardine who had the mettle to put things right. (Just to please the hard-line readership, though, there was an attack on MCC snobbism.) He was missed a great deal more than was generally admitted. Indeed, this is still the case. While researching this book I received letters and listened to testimonies which, while deprecating the use of bodyline, would frequently finish with the statement, or variations on it: ‘But we could do with a few more like Douglas now.’ And in September 1980 at Lord’s I overheard a senior MCC member saying to his pal, ‘Of course, the last real captain we had was Jardine!’

In 1953 he was elected to be the first president of the Umpires Association. This was a job he thoroughly enjoyed. He had always been especially interested in umpiring and had the highest respect for those who undertook it. From 1955 to 1957 he was president of Oxford University Cricket Club, which might be considered a somewhat belated honour since he was never elected to captain the University; he and Lord Harris are the only two Oxonians to have captained England but not Oxford against Cambridge.

He took up journalism again in 1953 for the Star but, whether because of editorial constraints or for other reasons, his writing fell some way short of the standard he had set for himself in 1939 on the Daily Telegraph. 1953 was the year in which England won back the Ashes for the first time since Jardine’s side had done it in 1933. Jardine had the highest opinion of Hutton’s captaincy and wrote that it was ‘a joy to report’ his success in that role. Jardine held different views from Lord Hawke on the subject of professional captains. He had always firmly expressed the view that many more professionals could with advantage be appointed as captains and elected to serve on selection committees. Verity, he believed, would have made a particularly good captain, as would Sutcliffe, who proved his ability when leading the Players on four occasions. In fact, if Sutcliffe had accepted the Yorkshire captaincy when it was supposedly offered to him in 1927, he might well have been given the England captaincy ahead of Jardine when the time came.

Jardine was moderately successful as a cricket commentator on the radio. His observations were always perceptive and lucidly expressed, but his delivery was a little slow for post-war tastes. It certainly lacked the bite of the modern ‘I don’t know what’s going on out there’ school. He undertook these broadcasting and journalistic engagements more out of a need to earn a living than as a means of maintaining contact with the first-class game. By now he had a wife and four children to support. Things weren’t quite as hard as earlier in their marriage when Margaret Jardine had taken to smallholding, but the extra income was useful and Jardine himself contributed short stories to the evening newspapers which brought in a bit more. He tended to worry a good deal about money but defied the constraints of austerity to the extent of running a somewhat decrepit Rolls Royce Phantom II, bought from a chap in Bognor Regis where the family were holidaying.

The family was a very close one and Jardine involved himself more in the children’s upbringing than most men of his class were accustomed to do at the time. He read to them, played with them, took them on outings (the circus being a particular favourite), and his daughter also remembers the family sitting round listening to ‘The Goon Show’, which used to make him cry with laughter. All the children were sent to boarding schools but during the holidays there would be large gatherings of Peats and Jardines either at Hockwold Hall or on the estates that Sir Harry Peat rented in Perthshire. The Peats were a great sporting family; there was a substantial amount of shooting attached to Hockwold Hall and about 25,000 acres went with Crosscraigs House on the south side of Loch Rannoch. The children were all taught to fish, stalk and walk with guns as a matter of course.

To Jardine’s great delight, his two eldest daughters, Fianach and Marion, became fond of playing and watching cricket and often went with him to Lord’s for the day. His only son, Euan, though, was unable to continue the distinguished cricketing line. Margaret Jardine had come into contact with German measles while carrying him, he was born with a weak heart and suffered from very bad health throughout his childhood. His father was fully aware of the pressure that resulted from having a famous father and a number of contemporaries remember that he was deeply concerned about it.

Jardine was a devoted family man but he was also fond of socialising. They did not entertain much at Radlett and so he tended to do a fair bit of clubbing, lunching and bridge-playing in London. Ian Peebles recalled in Spinner’s Yarn that ‘D.R.J. came to the City at intervals and we saw quite a lot of him. He was a splendid guest with the agreeable habit of particularly addressing his remarks to anyone who seemed shy or left out of the conversation.’

He was chairman of the New South Wales Land Agency, which was a sheep-farming concern. When the company was taken over by the Scottish Australian Company, he was taken onto the board of directors and in 1953 he was asked to travel to Australia on the company’s behalf to assess the development possibilities of the property. He hesitated for obvious reasons before undertaking the mission, and he went to the trouble of consulting Jack Fingleton, by now a friend and press box colleague, on the sort of reception he was likely to get. Fingleton tried to explain that Australians do not as a rule bear grudges and that he would be warmly welcomed. With some trepidation Jardine went ahead with the trip and found that Fingleton had been right. There was no pelting with rotten eggs at the airport and he was jovially received, in his own words, ‘as an old so-and-so who got away with it’.

A reunion lunch was arranged with Prime Minister Menzies attending, also Larwood, Mailey, Bardsley and Oldfield. Larwood’s autobiography includes an account of the occasion, which seems to have been most convivial, with people making jokes about bodyline without any embarrassment. Fingleton remembered that he also gave a talk in the radio series, ‘Guest of Honour’, which was very well received. Jardine was pleased but puzzled – he could not understand these Australians at all.

Larwood himself had been even more warmly welcomed when, three years earlier, he had emigrated to Australia. Again this had been at Fingleton’s instigation. The ex-Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, had personally paid half the Larwood family’s hotel bill when they first arrived.

In 1957 Jardine was obliged to make a similar trip, this time to inspect land which he owned in Rhodesia. It was a working holiday and he took with him his second eldest daughter, Marion, for whom the trip was a twenty-first birthday present. While he was there he contracted a disease called tick fever. He did not respond to treatment as well as was expected, but the doctors felt there was no cause for great concern and recommended a long sea voyage back to England.

On his return, he was admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, where his condition showed no improvement. He was moved to University College Hospital and tests revealed an advanced state of cancer. Deep-ray treatment was administered, but without success. His wife was then told by one of the hospital doctors about a clinic in Switzerland which was having a moderate degree of success against cancer. Jardine agreed to go, although neither he nor his children knew what was wrong with him. The deep-ray treatment had caused him great difficulty with his breathing and he thought that the Swiss mountain air would help.

The couple travelled to Switzerland and he was admitted to the clinic. It was found that he not only had lung cancer but that it had got to the stomach and the brain as well. There was nothing they could do for him beyond giving him pain-killing drugs and on 18 June 1958 he died. His body was cremated and flown home and his ashes were scattered over the top of Cross Craigs mountain in Perthshire.

From Jardine, A Spartan Cricketer, 1984

18 JUNE 1934


SIR – In order to conciliate the Australians, we are not to allow the bunching of fieldsmen on the leg side by fast bowlers. It therefore seems reasonable that there should be a limit to the closeness by which the Australians may approach the bat when Grimmett or any other slow bowler is bowling.

The batsman knows that the only way to move the fieldsman is to wait for the loose ball and then deliberately take aim, hoping to ‘score a bull’. It is not quite cricket, for in the mind of the batsman there is always the irritating feeling that while he does not wish to injure, he must remove the man.

In most cases this unlimited ‘in-fielding’ amounts to obstruction, and is just as likely to injure a fieldsman as fast bowling to a leg field is likely to injure a batsman.

E.G. Bisseker

London WI

From Not In My Day, Sir: Cricket Letters to the Daily Telegraph, 2011

While I didn’t ever play against D’Oliveira, he was, by my time in the game, the second XI coach at Worcestershire. I would encounter him on several occasions over the years and I remember him holding forth in the changing rooms at New Road, where he was still a huge figure. How was it that this unassuming man could have become such a massive, inadvertent political figure without doing anything other than be selected to represent his adopted country at sport? I think he was just the right person at the right time, who happened to come along and, by being there, helped see the back of the hideous regime in South Africa. His role as a significant catalyst in the anti-apartheid movement is now well documented. The television coverage of the Basil D’Oliveira affair and the 1971 Springbok tour to Australia that encountered so much anti-apartheid hostility meant that the horrors of the system and the vehement protests were brought into people’s daily lives. The rest, as they say, is history.

THE BASIL D’OLIVEIRA AFFAIR (#ulink_de042375-ebdb-58d1-9ba6-b020448d96f3)

Basil D’Oliveira
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