Tuesday, 11 February 2014
THROWDOWNS #2: ANDY WILSON
Way back in the mists of April 2012 I had the idea to ask cricket writers a set of standard questions about their time spent covering the game, upon which they would be invited to riff. Initially, I gathered half a dozen or so together, mainly through buttonholing the less forbidding writers in the press boxes I found myself in, and had fully intended to work my way up to the scarier, fire-breathing beasties. The idea was successfully pitched yet, for one reason or another, never hit the streets. Nor even the virtual streets. Anyway, having asked people to devote some of their time to this, it seems only right they don’t languish on my hardrive. So, here you go…
Andy Wilson is a cricket and rugby league correspondent for The Guardian. [Interview: summer 2013]
Who are your favourite cricket writers, past and present?
Discounting current colleagues, Matthew Engel and Paul Fitzpatrick were writers who inspired me as a lad. But the greatest admiration is for tabloid guys who have to get tales and write tighter – local (e.g. Colin Evans) as well as national.
How about broadcasters – which trio would you have in the commentary box for your perfect 30 mins?
Bumble, Tony Cozier, John Gwynne.
What were your personal cricketing achievements and highlights?
Played decent schoolboy and club level, and 2 years ago got 50 at Headingley in a press match.
Beyond a Boundary – what other passions do you have in life?
Rugby league, birdwatching, Billy Bragg.
Fantasy cricket – where’s the venue, who’s playing, and who are you watching it with?
Adelaide. Australia versus the great Windies teams of the 80s; watching with dad, wife and kids when they’re a bit older.
Favourite ground in England?
Headingley (Mecca for a cricket and rugby league man), just ahead of Cheltenham, Chesterfield and Scarborough.
Favourite press box on the county circuit and why?
Trent Bridge – for the view and the scones.
Which ground provides the best nourishment?
Lord’s or Trent Bridge, since the sad demise of Karol’s Kabin at Derby. Headingley is the best outside the ground – especially Brett’s chippy.
What’s the best day’s cricket you’ve reported on?
Lancs winning the County Championship at Somerset last September (just above Kerrigan’s 9-for against Hampshire at Aigburth the week before which kept the dream alive).
And which day’s play do you wish you’d been at?
The Gillette Cup game at Old Trafford when they delayed the news (David Hughes, etc).
Mirth in the press box – who’s the funniest colleague?
Rob Mills of Yorkshire Post used to make me laugh lots. Tragically early loss. David Warner’s relish at telling old tales still makes the Yorks box great fun. And David Green.
As a journalist, what’s the most tempestuous experience you’ve had? Have you ever come to blows?
Suspect I pissed the Lancs players off a lot when I was a young smartarse learning on the job. But the threat of violence is more palpable when you’ve upset a rugby league player.
Magic wand time: what changes would you make to English domestic cricket, if possible?
Revert to 3-day matches, uncovered pitches, games every day of the week with scorecards in the papers, outgrounds, etc – i.e. like it was when I was growing up.
What about international cricket: what would you change, given half a chance?
Play much less.
Which youngster do you think will go on to be a giant?
Stokes, on limited evidence. [This was mid-2012, so chapeau!].
Who are your favourite current county batter and bowler?
Bat: Stokes. Bowler: Kirby.
Which coach do you most enjoy chatting to, given the opportunity?
And which player is a refreshingly enjoyably, platitude-free zone to talk to, on or off the record?
Andre Adams is good value.
Whither broadsheet county reporting? And is Internet journalism sustainable – either for employers or employees?
Fear the internet never going to generate enough traffic to make enough dosh, so we’re all doomed.
What is the best piece you’ve written (or your favourite, if modesty prevents a proper answer)?
Lancs winning championship for Manchester Guardian – I’m not saying the piece was great but it was a huge honour. Only road downhill from there.
Also in this series:
David Hopps | Jarrod Kimber | Vic Marks | Gideon Haigh | George Dobell