In the second of TWC.com’s new weekly interview feature, Daniel Brigham interviews Angus Fraser
Fraser recently left the press box behind to try and turn around Middlesex’s fortunes as their managing director. He talks about bad blood in the county’s dressing room, why counties should be there for England and why he gave up his cricket correspondent’s job at The Independent.
There’s six inches of snow and travel chaos in London at the moment, while it’s paradise in the Caribbean. Any regrets about changing jobs?
(Laughs) No not really. I get to take my kids out to the park and play in the snow. That I could spend more time with my family was one of a few factors behind my decision.
What will you want to change at Middlesex?
One of my goals is to make Middlesex a far more self-sufficient county. We had a meeting yesterday in a room with a squad picture from the 1980s, when we were winning something every year, and most of those players were from the Middlesex area. We’ve moved away from that in the last few years and my desire is to get back. There are two main objectives. One is to produce a successful Middlesex side which is consistently competing for honours; and two is to produce England cricketers.
Do you think the main purpose of a county should be to supply England with players?
That and winning trophies carry the same weight. Some counties would say it was just about winning trophies. Maybe my seven years as a journalist has allowed me to look at the bigger picture and realise how important it is that the England team does well. I think that gives me a better perspective than some guys who’ve been wrapped up in county cricket for a lot of years.
Would you say there was bad blood in the dressing room last season?
There were obviously issues, you’d be foolish to pretend that wasn’t the case. There may be some little issues that continue on the back of that, but my job is to stamp that out. Everybody is bound to be affected by what’s taken place and inevitably there are times when sides are taken. I’m looking forward to channeling everything in the right direction and making sure there are no more factions.
From the outside it seems as if there were a few issues with the captain, Ed Smith, last season. Is that fair?
Well there were, there’s no hiding that. But to Ed’s credit he worked damn hard for the club and a lot of what he was trying to put in place made absolute sense, but there was a slight clash of personalities between him and some people.
Would that be one of the reasons why Ed Joyce left?
Maybe one reason, but I think you’d have to speak to Ed Joyce about that. But I can understand his situation and his frustration.
Will you miss life in the press box?
The Independent was a bloody good newspaper to work for. I enjoyed my time there and they have said that they’d like to keep me on board. We haven’t sat down to discuss exactly what yet, but maybe a column.
You’re carrying on with Test Match Special in the summer. Were you surprised that they let Mike Selvey go?
That’s a difficult one to talk about, I’d rather not really say anything as Selves is a good mate of mine. I know that’s sitting on the fence but I’d rather not talk about it.
Did you find any bitterness at all from cricket journalists who have been plying the trade for a long time but haven’t played cricket for England?
Journalists were unbelievably generous to me when I started. I suppose they’d had their fingers burnt by a few cricketers who’d come in in the past and paid nothing but lip service to the job. By doing the job properly and giving it the respect it deserves I think I proved to people I was committed to it and wanted to do the job well. I was there late most times because it took me longer to get my pieces done than anybody else. My typing skills weren’t up to much!
For details of next week’s Tuesday chat, and how to send in your own questions, keep an eye on the blog.