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Edward Craig: If Cardus were a blogger

August 5th, 2009 by Edward Craig in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes

Back in 1968 Neville Cardus, the most lyrical of all cricket writers, was not able to blog. So here’s his chance. This extract, taken from The Cricketer, May 17, 1968, seemed particularly relevant to today’s Ashes sides – in particular Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara …

“Whenever an Australian team comes to England, or, for that matter, whenever an England team goes overseas, my ironic appetite is always stimulated by the thought, nay, the certainty, that at least one reputation will suffer eclipse, at least one individual Great Hope will be blighted.

Perhaps the most astonishing of all such “flops” was that of Surrey’s “Bill” Lockwood, regarded by Ranjitsinhji as the most dangerous of all fast bowlers. In the English season of 1893 he took 14 Australian wickets in two Test matches; but when picked for AE Stoddart’s contingent to invade Australia, 1894–95, Lockwood’s Test match performances told of nothing so much as sweat, toil and empurpled language – 124 overs and 5 balls, 31 maidens, 340 runs, 5 wickets …

Still, it’s better to have played for England, or Australia, and “flopped” than never to have played at all. Which of [Australia captain Bill] Lawry’s young men of 1968 are about to write fresh and lasting pages in the history? We all know of [Doug] Walters; we are all on tip-toe of expectation, ready to applaud his batsmanship. Given fair weather, he is pretty certain to do well over here. My own private advices from Australia are to get ready for experiences of rare delight from Paul Sheahan; he carries the special blessing and confidence of Sir Donald Bradman himself. My own personal “hunch” is for Ian Chappell, who has not yet quite realised promise; there’s time for him, he’s only 25 …”

And what happened next? Sheahan scored 303 runs at 30.30 in seven matches against England in England; Walters 745 runs at 25.68 in 18 – famously never making a hundred in this country; Chappell 1111 at 46.29 in 14. None of them scored a hundred in 1968. Sheahan only played 31 Tests, retiring to become a teacher and never fulfilling early promise.

The way this series is turning out, Cardus would have loved it.

This Cardus extract appears in The Wisden Cricketer’s most recent publication – The Story of The Ashes, with a foreword by Christopher Martin-Jenkins and edited by TWC deputy editor Edward Craig. Buy it here

Posted in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes |

4 Responses to “Edward Craig: If Cardus were a blogger”

  1.   Sriram Dayanand says:

    That is a priceless quote from Cardus - “..that a Great Hope will be blighted”.

    Nice piece Ed.

  2.   Gumbo says:

    If I can copy and paste other writer’s words can I get a job at the wisden cricketer please?

  3.   Edward Craig says:

    You already have one, ‘Gumbo’.

  4.   Gumbo says:

    Thanks. When can I start?

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