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October 2009
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John Stern: Farewell Shep

October 29th, 2009 by John Stern in County cricket, England

You don’t get much more ‘English cricket’ than David Shepherd: beer-loving Devonian postmaster who embodied in his modest way the special relationship that only cricket can foster between on-field official and player.

The key is mutual respect and that respect is gained initially in the first place because umpires like Shepherd had played first-class cricket. Professional cricket is inevitably less sociable than it was in Shep’s day hence relationships between umpires and players are less friendly than they were, though not necessarily less respectful.

I’ve heard countless players over the years get misty-eyed about their close-of-play pints with umpires. Indeed Michael Vaughan, on Sky yesterday, talked about how Shep would give players advice during a game. 

With their unique vantage point, umpires can be a hugely valuable resource for anyone who really wants or needs to know ‘what’s going off out there’. Geoff Miller will undoubtedly canvas opinion among umpires he respects when picking an England side.

Tempus fugit and all that. Shep was from another time but he will and should be remembered with great affection and respect. Please do read David Foot’s marvellous piece from TWC when Shep retired in 2005.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, England | 1 Comment »

One Response to “John Stern: Farewell Shep”

  1.   Mahendra Lalas says:

    Poor Shep! 68 is not a big score to get out, we were awaiting your hop on 111

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