Brothers and ducking and diving

December 8, 2011

Matt SpriegelTest debuts don’t get much better than the one James Pattinson has just experienced. A five-wicket hall in the second innings, including a triple wicket maiden, led Australia to a comfortable nine wicket victory over their close rivals New Zealand at The Gabba. The same cannot be said for his brother, Darren, who, in 2008 was given his first and only test cap against South Africa, but this brother had three lions on his chest.

Darren was called up on the back of some strong performances for Nottinghamshire in the early part of the season, at the expense of Steve Harmison. Pattinson was as surprised as anyone with this selection, and had to cancel his weekend arrangements with his family at Alton Towers. England’s new swing bowler picked up two wickets in the match in 30.1 overs (including a wicket with a full toss), and has never represented England again.

Didn’t work in my favour

I remember this sequence of events as if it were yesterday, because inadvertently I was on the receiving end of this selection during a county match against Durham at Guildford. It was tea on the third evening, when Geoff Miller announced that Pattinson was included for Leeds, and a certain Steve Harmison looked a little disappointed to say the least, as we watched Sky Sports News from the clubhouse. Next thing I knew I was taking guard, on a bouncy Guildford wicket with an angry Harmison at the end of his run up. I made the mistake of knocking the first ball after tea back past him, and then spent the next forty minutes ducking and diving as my brown helmet became something of a target. It was the fastest spell of bowling I had, and hopefully will ever face, and I am still coming to terms with Miller’s selection!

The last time two brothers represented two different countries was in the 19th Century when Albert Trott played for England when his brother Harry was representing Australia. I can’t say I remember this event quite as well.

Today’s player

Today, there are far more occurrences when individuals play for their adopted country, with a number of current international players playing for countries not necessarily from their heritage. You would only have to look at the current England team’s birth certificates to justify this. I have absolutely nothing against the individuals themselves, as any player worth their salt wants to play at the highest level, and if that means shifting allegiances, then so be it. I also have no resentment with the current ICC system which allows players to do this, but I do believe this is something that the Governing bodies of the game need to keep a close eye on in the future.

A difficult 2012 ahead

A current predicament that all counties are facing is how to drive revenue through gate sales in 2012. With the Olympic Games and the European Championships dominating the sporting calendar, counties are going to be hard pressed to sell tickets in great volumes this year. Surrey have already moved their opening FLT20 match against Essex as it clashes with one of England’s group games. The marketing departments are going to have to work overtime in coming up with strategic plans in order to get the public through the gates. With any luck crowds at The Kia Oval should remain good in 2012 as we feel we are starting to provide a brand of cricket where people are getting value for their money.

3 Comments to “Brothers and ducking and diving”

  1. Donald
    December 8th, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

    Haha sounds as if you were at the wrong place at the wrong time Matt.

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  2. Mike
    December 8th, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    Very interesting article Spriegs. I think that brothers playing for seperate countries needs to be looked at. And 2012 will be a difficult year for all counties. You will have to draw the crowds back with your booming sixes over mid-wicket!

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  3. The Scoop
    December 8th, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    I hope you and Geoff Miller can make up over a beer!

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