Hampshire Cricket History

FC: 2014
January 8, 2021, 8:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England lost 1-0 to Sri Lanka (2 Tests) and beat India 3-1 (5). In 2014-2015 they drew 1-1 with West Indies (3)

Champions: Yorkshire; RL Cup: Durham; T20: Warwickshire

In February, Paul Downton was appointed to succeed Hugh Morris as managing Director of English Cricket. and his first major task was to recall Peter Moores to take on the role vacated by Andy Flower. India arrived to ‘contest’ the first match at Nottingham, which was simply dreadful, all-round. The ICC reprimanded the ground authorities for producing the deadest of pitches, as Anderson with 81 in 130 balls was within three balls of equalling the longest innings by a Test Match number 11. India 457 and 391–9 drew with England 496 – the attendance, just under 75,000. The Rose Bowl hosted its second Test Match the first in England ever to start on a Sunday. The attendance on day one was fine, but overall numbered just under 50,000 – albeit a decent crowd outside London 50 years earlier. Across 2014, England lost 28 matches in all formats, ranging from the Test series in Australia to defeat by the Netherlands at the latest World T20 competition. They lost at least once to every country they played. In September Moeen Ali, representing England against India at Edgbaston was booed and jeered throughout by Indian fans. Wisden noted “a damaging perception among Britain’s South Asian communities that their best young cricketers are not wanted”, adding “no doubt there have been instances of prejudice”.

Domestically, Yorkshire won the Championship title from Warwickshire but their captain Andrew Gale was suspended after abusing Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince, apparently over his Kolpak status. Gale missed the winning game at Trent Bridge and was not allowed to be presented with the trophy. Yorkshire were top-scorers at 44.77 runs per wicket while Worcestershire, promoted runners-up in Division Two, took wickets at 26.03 runs each. Second Division Champions Hampshire topped the merit table of first-class pitches. After one year of sponsorship, the 40-over YB Trophy became the 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup. With no ‘extra’ teams, the counties played eight matches each in two regional divisions, followed by quarter & semi-finals and a Lord’s Final. The newly sponsored Nat West T20 in two divisions was now played over 14 matches plus quarter-finals and Finals Day. ‘Birmingham Bears’ had beaten Lancashire in the T20 Final on their own ground. Wisden and the Playfair Cricket Annual still called them Warwickshire, but they were by their own choice, the first non-county side to win a major domestic competition in English cricket.

County cricket was increasingly concentrated on fewer grounds. In 1960, the 17 counties used 79 grounds, an average of 4.6 grounds per county and just over three matches per ground. In 2014, the 18 counties used 30 grounds, an average of 1.66 home grounds per county and almost five matches on each ground. In the 1960 County Championship, Essex and Glamorgan used eight grounds each; by 2014 this was down to two and three, respectively. Kent and Yorkshire went from seven to two, and Somerset from six to one.

In November 2014 the young Australian batsman, Phil Hughes, was hit by a short ball and despite having worn a helmet, died a couple of days later. Michael Clarke spoke about Hughes’ death and was praised by Mark Nicholas who said Clarke had “opened the eyes of the game” which had “united through a cascade of love and compassion”. Clarke added that Phil Hughes’ spirit can now “act as a custodian of the sport we love” and Nicholas took up this theme to emphasise the challenge to the game worldwide, requiring us to “stop the rancour, stop the sledging, play the game and ignite the friendships that make it so special”. Nicholas added “playing ‘tough’ cricket does not mean playing ugly cricket”. Within a few weeks Australia were playing India and in the first Test Warner was bowled but recalled when the TV Replay umpire spotted a no-ball.  Warner taunted the bowler, making the Indian fielders furious, but completed a century in both innings. Australia won the next Test by four wickets but Australia’s new captain, Stephen Smith, and his team-mates were fined for the desultory over-rate while Ishant Sharma was penalized for a foul-mouthed send off, after the Australian captain was dismissed. The Boxing Day Test Match at Melbourne was drawn but during a fourth wicket partnership of 262, Mitchell Johnson grew frustrated and fielding a return, hurled the ball at Virat Kohli’s wicket but hit the batsman instead. Wisden reported an “animated, angry exchange”. The peace, “love and compassion” had lasted less than two months.

The ECB announced that England Women’s Cricket would move towards a professional structure and during the summer they announced the names of the first 18 cricketers to be awarded Central Contracts. Charlotte Edwards was named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year; only the second woman chosen (after SC Taylor 2009). The publication also marked the centenary of the death of WG Grace.

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