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Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Author: Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

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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.
49 Episodes
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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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-49-why-crowds-roar-for-the-tigers-of-world-cricket/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-48-the-man-who-discovered-eoin-morgan-and-other-stories/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-47-the-great-pakistani-fast-bowler-who-nearly-became-a-hollywood-movie-star/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-46-wilf-wooller-the-man-at-so-many-great-moments-of-welsh-cricket/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-45-andy-flower-inspiring-cricketer-and-protestor/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-44-the-modification-of-indian-cricket-expertly-assessed/The 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-43-kashmir-where-cricket-has-become-a-political-statement/ A BBC briefing on Kashmir can be found here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10537286Gowhar’s profile by the Frontline Defenders Organization can be found here  https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/gowhar-geelaniThe 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 obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-42-maurice-turnbull-and-other-heroes-of-cricket-in-wales/Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-41-a-great-historians-love-affair-with-cricket/Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-40-another-fast-scoring-innings-by-mahela-jayawardene/Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!
“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. https://alsamaproject.com/cedar-cricket-club/Three 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 https://alsamaproject.com/get-involved/ 
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.
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.
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: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-36-the-man-who-changed-cricket-for-ever-peter-hain/
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...
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...
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.
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 https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a051r00001eojcBAAQ    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...
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 https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a051r00001eojcBAAQMo 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. 
“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. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6dl8ogAnd more...
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