The buck is being passed and feet are being shuffled in embarrassment at Edgbaston after Warwickshire asked supporters to vote for greats from the county’s illustrious history after whom rooms in the club’s new £32 million pavilion should be named.
Plenty of names to choose from you would think from a county heavily laden with honours, particularly in its recent past, but the shortlist of 15, from which eleven will be chosen, has proved controversial.
The list, apparently drawn up by club historian Phil Britt and signed off by chairman Norman Gascoigne, but not seen by the committee, includes some staggering omissions.
There is no Allan Donald, more than 500 wickets as Warwickshire’s outstanding and long-serving overseas player, nor any room for Gladstone Small, who took more than 1,000 wickets for the county before becoming a committee member.
You would have thought that Rohan Kanhai might have made the shortlist not to mention Jack Bannister – the club’s third highest leading wicket-taker before covering Warwickshire as cricket correspondent of the Birmingham Post – plus Ashley Giles and Dougie Brown, two successful modern-day players who are now part of the coaching set-up at Edgbaston.
Of course, any list of county greats is subjective and will generate plenty of debate. But does Brian Lara’s world record 501 against Durham in 1994 really justify a place on the list and maybe a room in his honour?
Lara had only two seasons with Warwickshire and his second, as captain in 1998, was an unmitigated disaster including an appearance before a club disciplinary panel for failing to show for a Sunday League match at Taunton.
Dermot Reeve, Warwickshire’s captain when they won the treble in 1994, is also on the shortlist submitted to members but his success was rather tarnished by his ignominious departure from English cricket amid lurid newspaper articles about his drug-taking during his playing career.
There is now some back-tracking from the powers-that-be at Edgbaston with suggestions that supporters can add their own candidates – which is not obvious from the voting form.
It has also been suggested that the vote might not be definitive in deciding which rooms after named after county greats. If that is the case, why bother asking supporters for their opinion in the first place?
Gascoigne has suggested that the exercise is just a bit of fun, and there is no harm in that. So, in that spirit, here are a few suggestions from thecricketer.com as to possible names for areas of the new pavilion – which, by the way, we also assume is going to be named Povey’s Pleasuredome after the current chief executive.
What about The Andy Moles Bar, the Keith Piper Rehabilitation Clinic, the Chris Old Physiotherapy Suite, the Graeme Welch Smoking Shelter and the Norman Gascoigne Fence (for the committee to sit on)?