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Big Bri: What No Shilts?

The Queen’s address to the nation at the weekend ,and its re-awaking of the war time spirit certainly resonated with me who was a product of that generation . Almost immediately after the cessation of hostilities a character appeared named Chad who was pictured peering over brick walls with a long nose and the legend below stating “What No ———-“ ,then listing whatever was in short or non-existent supply.

He came bursting into my mind this weekend when in the absence of any live sporting activity the pundits were left devising their lists of the ten best etc.

Waking after a doze in front of MOTD on Saturday I was appalled to see the goalkeeper list excluded Shilton and Seaman , only for my ten year old grandson the following day to advise me that neither played in the Premier League. As he is a budding goalkeeper I often bore him with my tales of being in the old family centre at The Dell whilst Peter barked his orders to those in front, ‘’Time”, being my favourite when there was no pressure on the defender.

Then even more annoying came Shane Warne listing his best England cricket eleven, to which I roared ‘’What no Gower or Botham’’until I realised their careers never coincided. It must be a sign of old age when all these historic characters merge into magic in the memory.

Also a few days ago two of Warne’s England best , Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen resurfaced with the former England captain accepting some responsibility for the breakdown in his relationship , and KP’s final departure.  

It is easy to understand after my own interview with KP how difficult a character he could be  in any dressing room . With the introduction of stump microphones and on recent documentaries where anyone hard of hearing can read the usually explicit sub-titles, a thick skin is vital.

KP’s was wafer thin and his vulnerability occasioned by the fact that he always felt himself to be an outsider in his adopted country , and more importantly so did many of his fellow players , which did not help.

His answer however was to be the most exciting and original batsman I have ever seen, the buzz of excitement when he descended the pavilion steps was palpable. However just like my other favourite David Gower , the result was sometimes an anti-climax ,but with these greats we are always willing to wait for another day.

His departure from the test scene was incredibly badly managed when fans like myself still felt he had an enormous amount to offer, and I am pleased that Andrew Strauss has been big enough to acknowledge it.

What about those men in authority who always hide behind a corporate logo called the ECB , who in recent times have foisted upon us a new competition that nobody I know wanted , whilst forcing the county championship into a dusty corner.

Is it time for all us old and loyal followers of the game to march, or is that banned in this police state ?


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