Thursday, 1 May 2014

Golden Grahams

I have always been ambivalent about Graham the elder .

As a Cavalier in the great civil war with Gower I ought to dislike him according to the usual tedious, package deal online posturing. With (massively much) better cause, I ought to be indignant about the rebel tour. Even at the time though I just loved how he scored masses of runs. Plundering county pies, then seeing off the Windies, Wasim and Waqar in their pomp and even at near as damn it to my present age, scoring consolation hundreds off Warne. I copied the baseball stance in an idle moment arsing around in the back garden in the mid 80s and got stuck that way when the wind changed.  There was always an integrity about his batting that I couldn't help love.

Graham the younger , likely to be his replacement as batting coach,  was a more straightforward player from where I sat. The arc of my responses to him reflects received opinion. First, I profoundly resented what I regarded as  biased over-promotion of him and Stewart at the expense of far more deserving candidates ( Matthew Maynard, er..John Morris?).  Then  when I saw them both play for England , after a decent interval of scepticism, I acknowledged  that they were actually quite good.  While I never entirely warmed to Stewart ( my fault not his - as if anyone would care) Thorpe assumed a place in the pantheon of  the relentlessly and un-fussily good along with Gus Fraser, Mark Hughes, Dan Lydiate, Kirsty McColl and Shiv Chanderpaul (just below the ruling deity Allan Bateman). I've been a unqualified fan since- even one Partridge-esque autobiography didn't kill that. As if couldn't like him even more, if you look at the Thorpe story on the Guardian site he's using one of those retro Duncan Fearnley bats for a coaching session with England. A good Duncan Fearnley is the tool after all...straight out of Surrey.