Lord’s eye view

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Looking back on a decade of milestones and a ‘century’ of broadcasting

Alan Wilkins
Alan Wilkins
Star Sports Presenter

MY FIRST INVOLVEMENT with international cricket as a television broadcaster was the 1996 India tour of England. My debut with ESPN Star Sports also coincided with the debut at Lord’s of two of India’s finest cricketers: Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. Those two icons of Indian cricket would go on to notch up centuries in all parts of the cricketing world; from my corner, I guess I have notched up a century or more of international cricket matches either behind a microphone or in front of a camera.

A year after that Lord’s Test (where Ganguly made a debut century) I was offered another taste of ICC hospitality with the opportunity to travel to India for Christmas 1997. Sri Lanka were playing a one-day series and it started in Guwahati which, coming from the green grass of home in Wales was something of an eye-opener!

Talking shop Geoffrey Boycott, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Jo King in Lahore
Talking shop Geoffrey Boycott, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Jo King in Lahore
Photo: Getty Images

Although I had played at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens over the Christmas of 1980 with an English Overseas XI captained by Mike Brearley to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Bengal Cricket, it was these later broadcasting forays into India that led to my decision to move to Singapore in 2000 when I joined ESPN Star Sports full-time.

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1983

India Has The Cup

Kapil Dev and his boys shocked the mighty Windies at Lord’s

‘We are, actually, the world champions’
Indira Gandhi

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There have been many milestones since then: India’s record-chasing total in the NatWest Final against England at Lord’s in 2002, the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, India’s epic win against Australia at Adelaide in December 2003 where Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting made double centuries, Steve Waugh’s farewell Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in the New Year of 2004 where Sachin Tendulkar made his emotional 241 not out; the inaugural ICC World T20 in South Africa in October 2007 and now, of course, the second edition, in England 2009.

There are three recent ICC events, however, that have caught my attention.

First: Kuala Lumpur and a tournament that showcased the game’s future stars. The 2008 Under 19 World Cup Final saw India beat South Africa in a rain-affected match. Since then, both teams’ captains have gone on to play for their countries: India’s Virat Kohli and South Africa’s Wayne Parnell, who was a star of the 2009 ICCWorld T20, and in Ravindra Jadeja, India have found a future star. New Zealand’s Tim Southee was named the Player of the Tournament and he has since gone on to full national honours. Soon I hope we’ll be seeing Kieran Powell of the West Indies wield his flashing blade. I cannot wait for the 2010 ICC Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand.

Second: The ICC Women’s World Cup in Sydney in March 2009 was another outstanding tournament where the likes of Wasim Akram and Danny Morrison, two fellow commentators, were impressed with the skill levels of the leading teams.

The skill levels at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 impressed commentators like Wasim Akram and Danny Morrison

And third: England’s win over New Zealand in the final under their inspirational captain, Charlotte Edwards, and the Player of the Series, Claire Taylor, set up the perfect rematch for the ICC Women’s T20 at Lord’s, held in conjunction with the men’s tournament in England in June 2009. England’s victory over the Silver Ferns in that final gave them a cabinet full of silverware (World Cup, T20 and Ashes).

The women of the world have joined the men on the main stage and shared the headlines.

They deserved all the plaudits that came their way. The game of cricket is changing with every new season and I am privileged to be a part of it.

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