Bobby Simpson’s 80th Birthday

2nd February 2016

Around the World in 2 – a few occasional off-breaks

Each week for ‘Mason & Guests’ I put together a brief summary of cricket events outside the Caribbean, round-up the week’s notable WI birthdays & anniversaries, & throw in a few ‘Did You Know?’ facts:

“Hello! This is David Oram in Islamabad taking you ‘Around the World in 2‘:

“India look like the team to bt in the approaching T20 World Cup. They won all 3 games in their series with Aus & have gone above WI as the top-ranked T20 intl side; & Virat Kohli with scores of 90no, 59no & 50 has leapt to the top of the batting rankings, displacing the injured Aaron Finch. India’s ladies also won their T20 series v Aus 2-1.

“In NZ, the hosts overcame Pak 2-0 in their 3-match ODI series with the 2nd game abandoned without a ball bowled, following on from a 2-1 T20 series win – the last game of which featuring the stadium announcer playing the sound effect of a cash register to introduce Pak bowler Mohammad Amir, who has returned to intl cricket after serving a ban & prison sentence for spot-fixing. & Spare a Thought for Israr Ali, who was Pak’s oldest living Test cricketer & played 4 Tests between 1952-59, who died yesterday aged 88.

“Elsewhere, Scot & Hong Kong shared a short T20 intl series 1-1; SA & Eng’s 5-match ODI series kicks off on Wed; & in the U19 World Cup among the surprises Nepal bt NZ & Namibia knocked out the holders with victory over SA. WI’s sensational victory today over Zim sees them progress to the QFs to face either Pak or SL next Mon.”            

A Few Birthdays & Anniversaries:

“Today is the 55th birthday of St Kitts-born fast bowler Joey Benjamin, who played 2 ODIs & 1 Test in 1994/5 – for Eng.

“Tomorrow is the 50th birthday of NZ’s Danny Morrison, who in 48 Tests between 1987-97 took 160 wkts at 34 & a further 126 wkts in 96 ODIs at 27. Nowadays, an exuberant & excitable TV commentator specialising in the T20 format, he’s been the energetic voice of the CPL’s coverage for the last 3 yrs. In 1997 he published his autobiography entitled ‘Mad As I Wanna Be’, described by one reviewer as ‘mental’.

“Other birthdays this week include Marlon Samuels who’s 35 on Fri; Darren Bravo who’s 27 on Sat; & Barbados’ Fidel Edwards who’s 34 the same day. Also with birthdays on Sat are Trinidad leg-spinner Rajindra Dhanraj who’s 47; Antigua’s Kerry Jeremy who’s 36; & Nevis’ Tonito Willett who’s 33. On Mon, Jamaica’s Odean Brown is 34; & St Vincent’s Cameron Cuffy is 46.

“& finally, Wed marks the 80th birthday of former Aus all-rounder, capt & coach, Bobby Simpson. Son of a former Scottish professional footballer, he made his 1st-class debut in 1953 aged 16; retired in 1968; & then returned 9 yrs later in 1977 to lead Aus when many players defected to Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. Overall, he scored nearly 5,000 runs in 62 Tests at 46.8 with 10 centuries, took 71 wkts with his leg-breaks, & was regarded by Richie Benaud as the greatest slip fielder he ever saw. But Did You Know his 1st Test century wasn’t until his 30th Test? He made up for previous failures, batting for over 2 days for 311 out of Aus’ 656-8 dec – although his safety 1st approach was roundly criticised, with many journalists sleeping in the press box during his inngs & The Daily Mail describing it as ‘the murder of Test cricket’. Simpson stood by his tactics, saying this was the best way for Aus to defend the Ashes. Writer Gordon Ross said that if that was the case then the Ashes should be scrapped. A yr later, Simpson led Aus in the WI & hit 201 at Kensington Oval, adding 382 for the 1st wkt with Bill Lawry – but WI won the series 2-1 & were unofficially acclaimed as the Test World Champions. He returned once again as capt to the Caribbean 13 yrs later in 1978 for his final Test series, leading a young & inexperienced Aus side to a 3-1 defeat. In all, he led Aus 41 times & was subsequently their coach from 1986-96, during which time they won the World Cup & seized back the unofficial Test world title from WI in 1995. Simpson was inducted into Aus’ Cricket Hall of Fame in 2006 & the ICC’s Hall of Fame in 2013 & was made an Officer of the Order of Aus in 2007. We wish him a happy 80th birthday.

“Until next time, this has been ‘Around the World in 2′ with David Oram.”

You can listen to the above round-up here.

The Mason & Guests show is broadcast live every Tuesday from 6.15-8pm ECT (10.15pm-midnight GMT) on Voice of Barbados 92.9fm, and can be heard by clicking on ‘LISTEN LIVE’ on the website page via the link provided. To catch up on previous broadcasts, click on this link to the show’s archives.

David Oram

David Oram is an Englishman following West Indies cricket from Islamabad. When I lived in the region, I was the resident ‘statto’, co-host and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – weekly cricket talk-show, the sport’s leading radio show in the WIndies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal radio commentator, Andrew Mason. You can tweet me at DavidOram@colblimp1983.


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