Barney Gibson was playing for his club second team in the week that he made sporting history by becoming England’s youngest first-class cricketer.
Such was the promise shown by 15-year-old Gibson that Yorkshire formulated a rest-and-recuperation plan at the start of the season, so he is not over-exerted.
Anxious to manage his workload, his Headingley coaches Ian Dews and Steve Oldham dictate how often he plays, for whom, and even how often he keeps wicket, in consultation with his club Pudsey Congs. So, between turning out for the county seconds and his top-level debut against Durham University, he was made available solely as a batsman last Saturday.
Although he has been selected by reigning Bradford League champions Congs on merit behind the stumps, having made his first-team debut 12 months ago, he usually bats at number 10. Therefore it was felt allowing him to spend time in the middle as an opener in the twos would be more productive. He hit an unbeaten 50 in a seven-wicket victory over Bankfoot.
Incredibly, although his hot-footing past the Yorkshire academy side into the county seconds and beyond this summer has caused a stir, Gibson’s star began its ascendancy as far back as two years ago, at the age of 13.
It was mid-summer and director of cricket Martyn Moxon was organising an internal practice match ahead of their Twenty20 campaign. “We needed a spare wicketkeeper and so Esso (Oldham) sent Barney along, and he kept really well. All the first-team players commented on his ability.”
Meanwhile, Crawshaw School, where Gibson is a fourth year pupil, is gaining a reputation for churning out first-class cricketers – Yorkshire exiles Paul Hutchison, James Middlebrook and Gareth Clough among those to have gone professional.
Sir Viv Richards will be on the red carpet at the Odeon in Leicester Square on May 9 for the premiere of the critically-acclaimed Fire in Babylon.
In fact, a host of former West Indies players will be promoting the documentary film, which chronicles the rise of Caribbean cricket to world supremacy in the 1970s and 80s, throughout this summer. Charles Steel, who also produced the BAFTA-winning The Last King of Scotland, focuses on how the sport became a symbol in a fight against their colonial masters.
The footage of their fearsome battery of fast bowlers, integral to the infliction of blackwashes over England during those two decades, only serves to highlight the lack of pace in the modern game. Makes one yearn for the current West Indian team – watched by Rolling Stone Mick Jagger in their one-day international defeat to Pakistan in St Lucia this week – to unearth a couple of genuine speedsters once more.
Kevin Pietersen has spent his recuperation time following hernia surgery having other parts of his body touched up. KP paid a visit to London tattooist Lal Hardy, whose other clients include Tottenham Hotspur trio Aaron Lennon, Tom Huddlestone and Ledley King, to have his trophy arm updated.
He already had 626, his England Test number, along with 2005, to commemorate his maiden Ashes series success, and has now had 2009 and 2010-11 for the subsequent series wins over Australia, and 2010 for England’s World Twenty20 triumph, when he was man of the tournament, added.
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