The Royal London One-Day Cup Final takes place at Lords on Saturday, the 17th of September. Eighteen teams have been jousting since June and the last teams standing are Warwickshire and Surrey. Warwickshire were runners-up in 2014 and Surrey came second in 2015. With this bound to be the last game of cricket for both these teams before winter sets in, the sides (featuring international players Sangakarra and Ian Bell) will be itching to get their hands on the trophy – something we have already done!
Allow us to explain. To celebrate the return of the Royal London One-Day Cup final at Lords, we were invited by the ECB to take part in an exclusive event at Lords last Thursday – a brief report follows of a truly special evening!
CHAT WITH NASSER HUSSAIN
Kicking off at 6 pm, the first part of the event was a net session with a special guest. We were taken to the Lords academy nets to find someone waiting for us there – ex-England captain, Nasser Hussain!
|Interesting fact – While bowling in the nets, we got talking with Mr. Hussain. Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain both began playing cricket for the Under-15 England team as leg spinners! Apparently Nasser got the ‘yips’ so switched to batting. Looking back, you could say he has a decent batting record for a leg spinner!|
Nasser bowled some nice leggies in the nets which were respectfully patted back by the attendees. Although he didn’t bowl much at the international level sending down only 30 deliveries in test cricket (2 first class wickets @ average of 161.50), his form still looks pretty good!
After mucking about in the nets while Nasser generously complemented us, we gathered around for a few pearls of wisdom from Mr. Hussain.
He talked first about how the game had changed since he played. About how current cricketers practice and their insane levels of fitness. How Joe Root is one of the most relaxed people he had ever met on the morning of a test match. How his coaches got angry when cricket balls were hit out of the ground.
He said that in his time test cricketers were rewarded with a limited overs place but England players were now playing limited overs cricket first and then being inducted into the test side (Alex Hales was the example). He felt that Alex Hales needed to learn how to get “ugly runs” from Alistair Cook if he was to succeed at the test level. He didn’t really give us a view on the two-tier structure recently rejected by the ICC but we thought his views on pink ball cricket were really interesting – he felt it was too cold in England to play pink ball cricket at night!
He also demonstrated the method Jos Butler and other top players use to play death bowling. This method, he thinks together with tighter one day wides, has led to bowlers moving to the slower ball bouncer instead of yorkers. He thinks the slow ball bouncer (which used to be called a long-hop in his days!) doesn’t allow batsman to simply set up and wait to hit the ball out of the park – the slower ball bouncer takes the ball out of the “box” on the pitch where batsman can swing with abandon. Interesting.
We asked a question about the most difficult bowler he had faced in his career. He named three – Shane Warne (who was a genius, sledged him relentlessly and provided regular reminders of how many times he had dismissed him), Muralitharan (he couldn’t read which way it was going) and Courtney Walsh (whose angle really troubled him). Surprisingly, Wasim Akram did not make that list!
Finally, when asked about Saturday’s final, he wouldn’t commit to which side would win but said it would be a close game played between two contrasting sides – Warwickshire’s solidity would play Surrey’s flamboyance.
Nasser’s views were astute and obviously he still thinks a great deal about the game. He is well-spoken, down to earth and humorous. He even joked about his decision to put Australia in to bat in Brisbane after winning the toss and how he was the captain to lose the Ashes the quickest (11 days is still the record). The interaction was so relaxed that it only really hit us that we were speaking to an ex-England captain when he referred to Root as “Joe”, Butler as “Jos” and Kohli as “Virat” – this man usually hangs out with the superstars and here he was talking to us bloggers! Wowzer!
A TOUR OF LORDS CRICKET GROUND
Our next stop was a tour of Lords. We started in the Long Room, then the MCC Committee room , made our way through the museum with the original Ashes urn and ended in the Media Centre.
Nasser came along with us on the tour and supplemented our official guide with a number of anecdotes about the SKY commentary team – Andrew’s Strauss’s (in)famous gaffe was mentioned. He also told us a bit about how Lords worked – apparently it didn’t matter if you were an England captain, no doors were specially opened for you at Lords! Even Sunil Gavaskar was once politely turnes away when he forgot his entry pass!
We would really recommend the tour of Lords if you haven’t already been on one. You can find details here- https://www.lords.org/lords/things-to-do/tours-of-lords/
|Interesting fact: The current Lord’s cricket ground is in its third incarnation. The first ever match played at Lords cricket ground was in 1787 when Thomas Lord staged a game at Dorset fields. The ground moved twice since (both under Thomas Lord) and has been at its current location since 1814.|
We bumped into other famous England players who were just hanging out at Lords. Monty Panesar kindly posed for a selfie while Mike Gatting was, to quote Nasser, too busy with champagne and pork pies!
The evening concluded with drinks and dinner in the tavern but unfortunately we had to leave early for another appointment. Another fantastic perk of the event was meeting other bloggers – the guys who run the fantastic Full Toss Blog were there as well. Please check the blog out if you haven’t done so already!
All in all, this event has really got us excited for the Royal London One-Day Cup Final. We will certainly be watching on Saturday so do make your way to Lords on Saturday to watch what should a great end to the English cricket season!
If you’d like to take in the history at Lords, tickets are still available for the Royal London One-Day Cup Final on Saturday 17 September 2016. Prices are £5 for U-16s and £30 for adults. You can buy these online now – www.lords.org/final