Sunday, 2 November 2014


As I may previously have mentioned, whenever I'm out and about at county cricket matches – often without any good (monetary) reason to be there – I'm usually on the look-out for potential interview targets. 

Recently, while at Aigburth in Liverpool (pictured), Lancashire's main out ground, trying to complete a commission about Peter Siddle's (truncated) season with Nottinghamshire for ESPNcricinfo's new digital magazine The Cricket Monthly, I asked Lancs' press officer if I could chat with Ashwell Prince, the biggest name in their side (aside, possibly, from Jos Buttler, but centrally-contracted players are almost never worth chatting to unless you want bland corporate-speak). 

He was great fun – surprisingly so, given many Saffers' tendency to oversimplify cricketing things – and the eventual Gleanings piece was one of may favourites, especially since its publication coincided with what was supposed to be his last ever game of professional cricket. He has since back-tracked and agreed to play one more year for his adopted, relegated county. Not sure the missus will be happy! 

I was slightly surprised, however, that my editor at cricinfo decided not to go with the following quote, saying it sounded like "one long attempt at setting the record straight". Well, yes, exactly! Anyway, it was an interesting insight into how he felt hard done by at probably the height of his powers. 

2008 was a very successful year for myself. Then, on the Australia tour, I broke my thumb in the last practice session on the eve of the First Test – Makhaya Ntini bowled one on a length and it just took off. I missed the series, South Africa won, JP Duminy did well, and before I left Australia Mickey Arthur said to me: “Look, you’re one of my main men. When your thumb has healed, you’ll go straight back into the team”. It came to the return series in South Africa, my thumb had healed, but in between there was a change of convenor of selectors. Apparently, I’m led to believe, all selection was taken out of Mickey Arthur’s hands. I was left out of the first two Tests and, by the third, Neil McKenzie had lost some form and Graeme Smith had broken a bone in his hand, so Mike Procter rang me up and said: “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is you’re playing, and we want you to captain. The bad news is you have to open the batting”. I rang him back and said: “Obviously, I’m happy to be back in the team, but if I’m captaining the team, I’m batting in my normal position”. They wouldn’t accept those terms and chose a new captain instead. Afterwards, it came out that, because I’d been made a makeshift opener, I wanted to concentrate on that. But that wasn’t the case.  

Here's the full interview: Ashwell Prince: Gleanings