Chairman's Diary

In each of our regular New Bulletins the Chairman, Nigel Hancock, writes his observations on Cricket Society matters. You can read the latest edition below. 

April 2021 - the Chair's Cricket Diary

9 March. I’m up against the editor’s final deadline. Our executive committee meets tomorrow to discuss, among much else, responses to our invitation to tender for a new website and membership management system and membership rates from January 2022, rates that have not increased for about a decade, despite 30 per cent inflation since then. Our costs will continue to rise but so too, we hope will our membership numbers. Please do what you can to help by personally trying to recruit a new member by recommending us to others. We advertise our wares in some publications and target other cricketing organisations but it is ‘word of mouth’ that leads to most people joining us.

Our long serving membership secretary, David Wood, tells me that today we are 1,678 strong, including 115 of you who are still on our books but have not yet renewed your memberships. Please do so. Even if you cannot get to meetings, don’t do Zoom, and even if you don’t read much of our publications, please bear in mind the  support we give to young cricketers through our annual awards, our partnership with the charitable Cricket Society Trust, and the case for a strong Cricket Society in the cricketing firmament.

A big welcome from me to the nineteen new members listed elsewhere in this Bulletin. You are part of a group of 49 people who have already joined us this year. Many of you are in our ‘senior citizen’ category and, rest assured, we will strive to provide for your cricketing interests whatever they might be. At the same time we want to broaden our appeal and attract too younger and otherwise diverse members. How our written, and on-line products, might develop to help this is another of our current preoccupations. It seems that many of you have been attracted by our recent series of Zoomed events, ably presented by my colleague Nick Tudball, and we are determined to continue these indefinitely, whatever else we do. By the time you receive this Bulletin I hope many of you will have enjoyed our Book of the Year (BOTY) Award 2020 event on 30 March. When I joined the Cricket Society and made my way from the corridors of uncertain power to a relaxing, occasional London meeting at the Royal Over-Seas League, I could not have dreamt that one day I would be introducing BOTY from the Long Room at Lord’s. Our Zoomed event, before a larger audience than the usual Lord’s 200 sell-out, will hopefully have been well received and attracted new members.

The 49 new members. Why did you join us? What in particular would you like us to provide in the years ahead? How can we best recruit others like you? And is there any way in which you could help? I would be interested in hearing from you by email.

8 March. International women’s day and a week in which our Raf Nicholson will be interviewing Clare Connor, head of women’s cricket and President-designate of MCC, the first woman to hold the post. I wonder who, a few short months into her one year’s term, she will choose as her successor. Kumar Sangakkara’s term was extended to two years because of the effect of the Covid epidemic on MCC and cricket; there is surely a case for two years becoming standard, more time to make an impact and difference. It was good to see (our vice president) Charlotte Edwards being announced recently as the (first female) President of the Professional Cricketers’ Association. England‘s women are doing well in New Zealand too, as Raf regularly reminds us. Clare has been a good friend of The Cricket Society over the years, first helping us choose the winners of our most promising young women cricketers of the year, then facilitating our partnership with Chance to Shine and sponsorship (from a legacy) of Wanstead Girls. There is a rich tradition of MCC Presidents speaking at Society events and, catching up on our lunches after Covid’s unwelcome hiatus, we hope that both Kumar and Clare will follow this year in the footsteps of their predecessors.

14 February. Valentine’s Day, but as India get into the series after their gentlemanly first Test loss there is little love between the Chennai second Test “powder and pebbles” pitch and England. It’s good to see a turning pitch, but is this one fit for Test cricket that spectators pay good money to enjoy over at least four days? Rohit Sharma, like Joe Root in the first Test, shows the value of pitch knowledge gained though prolonged occupation. How good it is to see the return of the cricket crowd, a half full stadium allowed but no obvious social distancing imposed; oh my India! Cricket crowds reflect their location, both nationally and locally, and national and local characters and accepted modes of behaviour. And crowds impact on play. “That Indian crowd makes a massive difference”, says Kohli, like a benign Trump inciting the crowd to action. “You push more as a team. My responsibility is to bring them in, everyone in, and motivate.”

5 February. The Chair’s body clock works for the first day of the nine Tests England play against India this year. Surely too many within eight months, but I am not complaining. During January I was called for jury service in Worcester that clashed with this Test. What reasons for delay would be credible? Chair of The Cricket Society clearly wouldn’t work. However keen a cricket fan the judge might not hesitate to consider contempt of court charges if I didn’t appear.  Perhaps I could attend but buy a radio camouflaged as a hearing-aid. No, even more trouble there. Delayed until September was the outcome, on the grounds of inoculation timings. But perhaps by then Leicestershire will be in the running for something or my football team will be followable in Europe again …

28 January. Five (almost socially distanced) men make up the Karachi crowd for the third day of Pakistan v South Africa. They are served spicy tea and sip appreciatively.  Two commentators play noughts and crosses on a large blackboard. It’s good to see international cricket back in Pakistan, and to observe different behaviours than those viewable elsewhere.


Nigel Hancock