The Father & Daughter team

Published : Aug 24, 2002 00:00 IST


AUGUST 7: "But of all the memories the one I cherish most is that of Harold Larwood, 'Lol Larwood of Nottinghamshire, to my mind the world's best and fastest bowler of all time. He was only a slip of a man, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing less than 11 stone, but he had the muscles of coiled steel, hardened by work at the coal face as a miner, and one of the loveliest actions possible to imagine," wrote Bill Bowes, a fast bowler from Yorkshire who went with the Douglas Jardine-led MCC team to Australia for the notorious 'Bodyline Series' that made Larwood such a well-known figure. According to the caption of an old Larwood picture, "He had longish arms, the left shoulder pointed in the direction the ball was intended to go and the shoulder got to the fullest height possible before it started to swing downwards and outwards." Larwood was born in Nuncargate, Nottinghamshire, but after the Bodyline Series of 1932-33, he migrated to Australia. In his memory, the Ashfield District Council decided to erect a bronze statue of Larwood at a market place where the fast bowler lived for many years. Neil Andrew has sculpted the statue. It is a classic model of Larwood, the head rocking back, just about conveying the attention that was paid to detail by Andrew.

August 8: It was the turn of Kent batsman Robert Key and Durham fast bowler Steve Harmison to get their England caps after Simon Jones had received his at Lord's. Key got a call from the England selectors because Graham Thorpe decided to put an end to his miserable run - affected as he was by a failed marriage - by withdrawing from the team after the Lord's Test. The gangling Harmison got an opportunity because Simon Jones was ruled out of the second Test following a strain in his rib cage. India's vice-captain, Rahul Dravid, who has played for Kent was at hand to congratulate both Key and Harmison. Key had to wait for almost two days before he got to face his first ball from Ashish Nehra, but Harmison had a go at the Indian batsmen after Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat.

August 9: Sarah, daughter of former England all-rounder Ian Botham, is part of the vast Channel 4 network that has exclusive television rights for the India-England Test series. She is the floor manager, a job that involves coordinating activities of the personnel at various places at a Test match venue. This is perhaps the first instance of a father and daughter being associated with a Test match in different capacities. Ian is a commentator for Channel 4 along with Michael Atherton, Dermot Reeve, Mark Nicholas, Richie Benaud, David Lloyd and Simon Hughes. Working for a television channel is seen as a glamorous job. Father Ian's reputation must have influenced Sarah to associate herself with cricketing activities. The father and daughter team has been the topic of discussion since the npower Test series began at Lord's.

August 10: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued a press statement on behalf of Darren Gough. It said that the Yorkshire fast bowler has been ruled out of the npower Test series and the ICC Champions Trophy. Gough, the statement said, is to have further surgery on his troublesome right knee and that he will undergo arthroscopy surgery and rehabilitation so that he can be considered for the Ashes series against Australia. England coach Duncan Fletcher said: "it's very frustrating to lose Darren for such a long period, as he is a terrific competitor and a great influence in the dressing room. The medical experts have told us that Darren has on ongoing knee complaint and that, in common with other professional sportsmen who have experienced similar problems, surgery is not guaranteed to completely cure it." This statement raised a pertinent question as to whether Gough would be fit for the Ashes tour. Many even feared that his career might have come to an end. But Gough is confident of making a comeback. He said: "This is a setback for me and it's going to be very disappointing to miss so much cricket. But I know that I can come back from this and at least I now have 11 weeks to concentrate on getting myself ready to have one last crack at the Australians in the Ashes this winter."

August 11: The special guest at Channel 4s Master Class Road Show was Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. He has been rested for the three-nation event in Tangier in which Pakistan is featured with South Africa and Sri Lanka. The Master Class Road Show provided viewers an opportunity to meet Sachin Tendulkar, Geoffrey Boycott, Ravi Shastri, Dickie Bird and many more England and Indian cricketers on the fourth day of the second Test. Akhtar, who had dismissed both Tendulkar and Dravid in the first match of the Asian Test championship at Eden Gardens three years ago, said, "I am not obsessed with speed any more as I have crossed the 100 mph mark. I have already become a match-winner for Pakistan. My aim is to take wickets, which means that pace will automatically be a factor." Akhtar is looking forward to the one-day series in Kenya featuring Pakistan, Australia and Kenya. He won the 'Man of the Series' award in the three-match series against Australia at Melbourne recently.

August 12. It's a novel way of remembering cricketers. Nottingham County has honoured some of the outstanding players who have played for it by naming parts of its premises after them. Sir Garfield Sobers who played for Notts is one of them, Sir Richard Hadlee is another. A designated area on the ground floor for the visitors has been named as the 'Sobers Waiting Area'.

August 13: The First Class Forum (a body comprising members of the Counties), approved by a 18 to one majority vote, a Central Contract system, by which 20 players will be directly contracted with the England and Wales Cricket Board for a period of 12 months. The ECB has said that the additional costs of the new system, over and above the on-going operation of the current system, are estimated at about 9,80,000. It is estimated that the Counties will save 6,30,000 as a result of reducing their staff.

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