November 15, 2016
A look back on a series of questions put to Allan Lamb (Northamptonshire CCC, England) and Jason Roy (Surrey ccc, England), two big hitters of their generation – just before Jason was selected to represent England.
Chris Murtagh: From two very different perspectives, what are your thoughts on the way T20 cricket has, and will impact the game, and will Test cricket still be a force within the game 10 years from now, in all ICC current Test playing nations?
Jason Roy: T20 has made more people interested in watching cricket and as it is a quicker form of the game. Younger children watch cricket and get interested in playing from an early age now, so it’s great for the development of the sport. It gives cricket a carnival type of atmosphere which is exciting for a broader variety of people. I know as a player it gives me a big thrill walking out in front of packed grounds. Test cricket is still what cricket is all about in the long run and what every cricketer strives to play in so I am sure it has a big future in the game. Great players of the game are still judged on what they have achieved in the Test match arena.
Chris Murtagh: I thought you’d be a fan of T20 looking at the size of your bats. How about you Allan?
Allan Lamb: As far as I’m concerned T20 cricket is good for the game, but administrators need to realise they should not kill the golden goose that laid the egg. Attendances are down in County Cricket because there is just far too much of it. Playing 16 county games is flogging it, and I see the same happening in the IPL with a six-week drawn out competition. Test cricket will always have its place countries such as England, Australia, South Africa, and India but watch this space re other countries. People will continue to come and watch the best sides play against each other, but there are too many average sides competing these days. Sides like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and even the West Indies must earn the right to compete in big Test match series. The ICC must frequently review which sides have Test match status as opposed to just giving a side like Bangladesh 10 years to prove themselves. A Test match championship between lower level Test match playing nations would be a better way to see which teams deserve a crack at the big time. Seeing the decline of West Indian cricket is sad and I believe this is down to the off field management structure of West Indian cricket who did not plan for the future when times were good.
CM: That’s a fair point. It doesn’t help when their best player Chris Gayle is not featuring in Test matches. Jason, having been born in Durban, South Africa does that have any effect on your desire as a professional cricketer to represent England?
JR: Absolutely not – while I was born in South Africa and love Africa, I have learnt my cricket here at Surrey, so my ambition and drive is to play for England. I can’t speak for other South African born English players but for me it would be a dream come true to wear the Three Lions. I’m working hard on my game with the coaches at Surrey to make sure that happens soon.
CM: Good answer. Allan, you quickly became a cult hero in the England shirt but having been brought up in South Africa did this at any point in your career make it difficult for you to achieve your goal of playing for England?
AL: Whether people talked about my background or not didn’t concern me in the slightest. Once I qualified to play for England that became my 100% priority. I enjoyed every minute of playing in an England shirt and I broke my back in order for my country England to win games.
CM: You two are as English as they come then. Having seen Matthew Prior break the windows at Lords (something Tino Best never quite managed) are there any incidences that you can both remember of having to duck for cover in the changing room at a particular dismissal of a team mate?
AL: Most people who meet David Gower would think he would never say ‘boo to a goose’. However, when David was dismissed it would be well advised to vacate the changing room. Especially if someone had run him out, or he felt his dismissal wasn’t his fault. Most people would throw helmets or bats round the changing room. However, when Gower was dismissed you had to be very careful the odd bottle of champagne didn’t hit you in the head.
CM: Who would have thought it watching him on television? What about you Jase?
JR: You know, what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room, seriously. There have been some incidents but honestly, that’s always in the heat of the moment and all part of being a passionate sportsman I think, as long as you can control it. There are not many more things in life that are as frustrating as getting out so it’s not un-common for people to show their disappointment.
CM: So from that answer I’m going to assume that you are the bat thrower?
JR: Of course not.