April 2009
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John Stern: Tresco, England miss you

April 7th, 2009 by John Stern in County cricket, Twenty20 and tagged , , ,

The omission that caught everyone’s eye was Andrew Strauss. The omission that went unnoticed – because technically it is not an omission at all, more a sad, aching absence – is Marcus Trescothick, Strauss’s opening partner in the 2005 Ashes and now ‘just’ a damn good county cricketer for Somerset.

We need reminding about Trescothick. I was reminded the other night in a pub conversation. “We really miss Trescothick,” my mate said. It wasn’t something I hadn’t thought of before. It’s something I regularly think about but then it becomes a pointless discussion – wanting what you can’t have – so the idea disappears much as Trescothick has done, at least in international terms.

He wasn’t the complete player, we know that. But he scored quickly and that, with the exception of Kevin Pietersen, is one of the fundamentals that England have lacked since 2005. Not everyone can or should bat like Trescothick but he gave an innings impetus and precious little of England’s recent cricket has had any impetus. Time and again, in Test matches, we have seen how volume of runs alone cannot guarantee victory. You need to score quickly to give yourself more time, obviously, but there is also a domineering quality – embodied by Trescothick’s batting – that boosts your own side while demoralising the opposition.

The World Twenty20 lasts for a fortnight give or take. Surely Marcus could have been persuaded to come out of international isolation for that, surely negotiations could have brought down the Cider Curtain, just temporarily at least. He could have even commuted to the games . I’m sure the ECB know where you can get a decent helicopter: one not so careful owner (or renter).

Trescothick only played three Twenty20 internationals but he averaged 55, with two fifties, and scored at 126 runs per 100 balls. Overall he has played 18 Twenty20 games with a strike-rate of 154 or just over nine runs an over in old money. That, by anyone’s standards, is a fair lick.

This is a futile wish clearly but, boy, do England miss Tresco. And don’t forget his slip-catching and his champion ball-shining (with help from the controversial Murray Mints).

And to think he might not have played for England at all had Duncan Fletcher gone with a hunch and plucked him from relative obscurity in 2000. Talking of people we miss …

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, Twenty20 | 1 Comment »

The TWC Interview: Dominic Cork

April 7th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in County cricket, Interview, Miscellaneous

Dominic Cork will play for Hampshire in the 2009 season after spells with Derbyshire and Lancashire. He played 37 Tests for England, taking 7 for 43 against the West Indies on Test debut in 1997. He was speaking to Benj Moorehead.

You were in Lahore during the March terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team.

I was doing some TV commentary out there. It was too close for comfort, something I’ll remember for a very long time. I heard the shots and the bombs going off. And I heard the grenade go off. I didn’t see anything really. I was about 300 yards ahead of them. I’d just gone through the roundabout where it had happened and I was just getting out the car when the driver said ‘run!’ So I ran into the stadium. I didn’t then realise it was the Sri Lankans who were being attacked. Then I saw the bus come in, saw the bullet holes, saw the players being carried off with shrapnel wounds. I couldn’t believe I was seeing people I was socialising with at night who had been targeted with the attempt to kill.

Does it make you think twice about touring the subcontinent?

Definitely. I think it’s not just myself – it’s everybody who’s involved in international sport. Security is a big issue and it will have to come to the forefront of everybody’s decision whether it’s journalism or playing professional cricket. You have to make decisions. For me it’s still a little bit early to say whether I go back or whether I wouldn’t go back.

Moving on to county cricket: was there a point after last summer when you considered retiring to pursue a media career?

No. As long as I can run and breathe I’ll still play cricket. I enjoy the sport. I get excited about every season when it starts. Every day when I wake up I feel thankful that I have played cricket for such a long time.

Why have you come to Hampshire?

Hampshire proved towards the middle and end of last season they have a lot of talent. They’re a young squad mixed in with a few senior players like myself, John Crawley, Nic Pothas and Dimi Mascarenhas. And there’s some talent coming through, great facilities and a great stadium under a good management group. So it was an easy decision.

What do you see your role as in this Hampshire side?

I’m here to perform to my optimum. I still feel that I have a lot to offer in cricket. But also to help the younger players, to take them to one side and try to advise them and hopefully make them become better players.

What happened at Lancashire?

I was promised that my future was guaranteed at Lancashire. But it wasn’t. I was very disappointed they made that decision but when one door closes another one opens and I’ve now joined a fantastic club in Hampshire and if I can do well this season that’s the main thing. If I can do well against Lancashire that’s even better.

So there will be an extra incentive when Hampshire play Lancashire?

Erm, I’ll let you consider that one.

How are relations with Lancashire now?

I still get on with a lot of the players.

What’s behind Lancashire’s failure to win titles?

I see it in two things: they have the players to win it and they’ve had one coach in eight years.

How long do you see yourself playing on until?

Probably until I’m about 49 I was thinking. That seems like a good age. Retire at 49 and then have a great big birthday party at 50.

What do you make of the furore over Australians signing for counties prior to the Ashes?

I hear the ECB moaning about it. For me the ECB should get their own house in order before they start thinking about whether Australians should play as overseas players. Stuart Clark is one of the best overseas players a county can have. To say that he shouldn’t play in county cricket is rubbish. If it means that he’s playing before the Ashes series then so be it. Counties need to be successful. Counties need to win trophies. You employ the best overseas player you can.

England to win the Ashes this summer?

Just. I think it will be 2-1. England need to make sure their big players are ready to go, the likes of Pietersen, Flintoff, Harmison. I’m a big believer in bringing Michael Vaughan back and batting him at No.3.

There’s talk about who will be the fourth seamer – someone like Matthew Hoggard?

Not sure if they’ll go for Hoggard. I’m a big lover of Matthew Hoggard but you’ve got Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Saj Mahmood and Chris Tremlett. I think they’ll look to go with pace and blast the Australians out like they did last time with that awesome foursome.

Dominic Cork was at Canterbury’s flagship store at Westfield London to launch the 2009 Hampshire strips.

Benj Moorehead is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, Interview, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments »

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