118 episodes

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have launched a new podcast to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They will chat regularly about cricket topics – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Oborne & Heller on Cricket Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

    • Sport
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have launched a new podcast to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They will chat regularly about cricket topics – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

    World Cricket And All That Shapes It Covered By Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth

    World Cricket And All That Shapes It Covered By Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth

    Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2023 is the longest edition on record. It not only records the present state of global cricket but also reflects on the mighty global forces – political, social, commercial, environmental – which shape it. Its editor, Lawrence Booth, analyses its content as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.

    Lawrence begins by hailing the turnaround in England’s Test team under Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach. Although the England team dislike the term Bazball he thinks it a healthy sign that the general public have adopted it for the enthralling blend of cricket they are playing. The only pity is that they are not seeing it on free-to-air television (a topic regularly ventilated in previous Wisdens) but he still hopes that this summer’s Ashes series might raise the profile of cricket as did that of 2005. He comments especially on Ben Stokes’ confidence in asking for fast flat wickets in the Ashes series in contrast to the conditions in which England have gained all their home series successes since 2001.
    Above all, Stokes and McCullum have removed the fear of failure from a previously careworn team. He suggests that Stokes’s character has deepened from the crises in his life: his empathy was illustrated by the consoling text he sent to the teenaged aspinner he had hit for 34 in an over. He views Brendon McCullum as the most significant cricketer of the last twenty years, given his innings which ignited the Indian Premier League on its first day and his contribution to the re-invention of Test cricket.
    A major theme in this year’s Wisden is the multiple threat to Test cricket from T20 Leagues which have induced leading players in the world to reduce their commitments to international series or even abandon them. Lawrence believes that it is too late to reverse this process but he hopes that national boards might grow sufficient spine to halt the release of players to new T20 Leagues, particularly that proposed in Saudi Arabia, which would transform the international scene if it secures the best Indian players.
    Lawrence comments pungently on the role of the International Cricket Council on three major topics covered in the Almanack: Afghan cricket since the Taliban takeover, cricket in Ukraine and the sponsorship deal with Aramco. The ICC has developed a habit of ducking fundamental decisions about the governance of the game and most of the full members are in permanent thrall to the financial and political power of India.

    Continue reading here: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-118-world-cricket-and-all-that-shapes-it-covered-by-wisden-editor-lawrence-booth/

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you.

    • 55 min
    Sovereigns, stars, stewards, scorers, statisticians … Steven Lynch on this year’s Wisden obituaries

    Sovereigns, stars, stewards, scorers, statisticians … Steven Lynch on this year’s Wisden obituaries

    Two monarchs lead the obituaries in the 2023 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. As always, it is a melancholy but matchless memorial to global cricket’s losses, and a section to which many readers turn first. Its compiler and editor, Steven Lynch, discusses its selection and preparation as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In this edition Roger Alton replaces Peter as co-host.
    Steven outlines the late sovereign’s long connexions with cricket, understandably placed above the alphabetical list (“we could not file her under Q for Queen”.) He does the same for her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, reflecting the Almanack’s current policy of retrospective tributes to women omitted from Wisden, as she was in the 1902 edition.
    The 195 following names ranged in age from a 16-year-old Indian schoolboy to a 102-year-old former umpire. Inevitably the number includes premature deaths from accident (such as Andrew Symonds and Rudi Koertzen) and suicide, but very broadly it suggests that cricket contributes to a long life.
    The former cricketers are led by Shane Warne and Rodney Marsh, who died on the same day: Warne’s final tweet was a tribute to Marsh. Steven wrote Marsh’s himself: Warne’s was by his long-time collaborator Richard Hobson. Other contributors were Matthew Engel and Richard Whiting. Steven explains the general policy of not naming obituarists, to emphasize that the tribute of whatever length is Wisden’s final judgement on the subject. The object is always, especially in those less well-known, to bring out some unexpected detail of character and career (as with the player who had fielded out the whole of Hanif Mohammed’s innings of 499). Steven felt that Warne’s tribute had brought home his acute cricket brain and hoped that Marsh’s would counter his early stock image as a beer-drinking larrikin to suggest the thoughtful man behind it.

    Steven also comments on:
    Jim Parks  of Sussex and England, first of a long line of Test batsmen-wicketkeepers, generously helped into that role by Keith Andrew;
    Sonny Ramadhin, the great West Indian spin bowler, never the same after being made to bowl  98 overs against Peter May and Colin Cowdrey in 1957 with umpires who would not give him an lbw decision. He was the last survivor of the great West Indian touring team of 1950. Steven suggests that he and his partner Alf Valentine deserve a book to themselves;
    the talented but troubled Andrew Symonds, who preferred fishing to off-field official events including team meetings and was embittered by the resolution of his dispute with the Indian Harbijan Singh;
    the multi-gifted Andy Goram who played cricket as well as keeping goal for Scotland and annoyed a famous fast bowler by facing him without a helmet.
    Continue reading here: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-117-sovereigns-stars-stewards-scorers-statisticians-steven-lynch-on-this-years-wisden-obituaries/

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you.

    • 54 min
    From teenage record breaker to players’ champion: James Harris of Glamorgan and the PCA

    From teenage record breaker to players’ champion: James Harris of Glamorgan and the PCA

    After a record-breaking early start in county cricket for Glamorgan, James Harris is back with them after spells with Middlesex and Kent. He has also begun his second term as chair of the Professional Cricketers Association. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In this edition Roger Alton replaces Peter as co-host.

    James has just returned from Glamorgan’s pre-season tour of Zimbabwe. He gives an upbeat account of the country and its cricket.

    He looks forward to reconnecting with his colleague Marnus Labuschagne, who will be rejoining the county in advance of the Ashes series. He describes him as a great player who has kept the eagerness of a t2-year-old.

    He gives an overview of the PCA. Its founder, Fred Rumsey of Somerset and England, had found it hard to recruit among the generally conservative cricketers of the 1960s. But this was not true today: membership for first-class cricketers was almost automatic, as they took stock of its wide range of services at a very reasonable subscription. It represented professional players in the first-class game, present and past (for life if they wanted). Present membership was 475 men and 99 women (up from 18 in just a few years). The membership included overseas players with an English professional contract and when necessary the PCA represented English players overseas. It had relationships with other countries’ players unions through the Federation of International Cricket Associations.

    He had involved himself under the influence of friends and team mates at Glamorgan, and as a payback for a fulfilling professional career of 17 years (at just 32). Re-elected for a second term, he would now serve as chairman for another two years. Although demanding, the job was a rich opportunity for personal development, combining board membership of the PCA, being a trustee of its charity, and a regular place at the table on major issues with the England and Wales Cricket Board. As the voice of playing members, he saw its prime responsibilities in securing for them a fair share of all the game’s revenues, looking after their welfare and well-being, creating an environment that encouraged them to play at their best, and to prepare them for life after their playing careers. The PCA had to react rapidly to constant change in domestic and global cricket.

    James explains the complex arrangements that now determine English county finances and players’ earnings. Although some counties are better off than others, he believes that English cricket is now reasonably stable financially, helped by money from the Hundred filtering down to all levels of cricket. He sees no danger of county clubs following rugby union clubs into insolvency with unsustainable wage bills. He describes the impact of the salary collar and cap in county cricket and the range of earnings from professional county cricket. The PCA had secured its objective of £27,500 a year as a starting salary for a professional in his first year. The 18 counties were independent employers not tied to a salary scale but he thought that their best-paid players were on something over £100,000. Earnings and opportunities were not remotely comparable with those of football, and he suggested that there was no economic motive for sportspeople to choose cricket for over other sports – they do this for the appeal of the game itself.

    Continue reading here: chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-116-from-teenage-record-breaker-to-players-champion-james-harris-of-glamorgan-and-the-pca

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear fr

    • 56 min
    The weird genius who revolutionized cricket history

    The weird genius who revolutionized cricket history

    Many eccentric geniuses have written about cricket, and indeed played it. Few have been as eccentric as Major Rowland Bowen – or had his genius. In 1970, after years of dedicated research (not all his own) he published Cricket: A History of its growth and development throughout the world. Long out of print, it is still unmatched in its global sweep, its presentation of arcane facts, and its insurrectionary daring (which delighted C L R James) in overturning almost sacred cricketing myths. It riled the cricketing Establishment of its day, especially those seeking to defend white supremacy.

    Russell Jackson is an award-winning Australian author and journalist. He became fascinated by Bowen and his contribution to cricket history. He has now inherited from the late Murray Hedgecock the daunting task of reviving Bowen’s work and making sense of his extraordinary life, as he explains to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.

    Russell speculates about the motives behind Bowen’s very personal and cantankerous crusade for the truth in cricket history. His career had echoes of John Le Carré: he was the son of a disgraced solicitor and served in Intelligence. In spite of family financial problems he attended Westminster School in the 1920s and was noted early as a cricket obsessive although not noted as a player. At seventeen, he became a member of the MCC (thanks to an influential proposer. Already a natural contrarian, he read cricket literature copiously and decided that almost all of it needed challenge and correction by himself.

    His actual trigger was Roy Webber, the leading scorer, who was the authority for a wrong fact on a quiz show. It inspired a lifetime’s war for his view of the truth in cricket. To achieve an outlet for this, he eventually founded his own subscription-only journal Cricket Quarterly in 1963. He had a habit of quarrelling violently with subscribers, striking them off, and rejecting new ones for fear that they were the old ones trying to sneak up on him under assumed names. This business model is not normally recommended to publishers, but CQ survived for 32 issues until 1971 and produced a highly influential corpus of work as the basis for his history. With its book it deserves a full re-issue.

    The undismissed subscribers formed a global network of amateur cricket historians and statisticians. Bowen was astute enough to enlist them as volunteer contributors of obscure local materials which he needed. Peter Hain was among them, and submitted to a volley of demands. He said that his only supporters for stopping the apartheid tour of 1970 in the world of cricket were John Arlott, David Sheppard – and Bowen.

    Russell suggests that Bowen’s central mission was to correct the established Anglocentric history of cricket with its almost exclusive focus on first-class matches. He stressed especially the long success of American cricket and the impact of its exclusion from the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1911.

    Financial pressures drove Bowen into the army. He served first in India and then in Intelligence in London in the 1950s as a map and topographical analyst. His main achievement was to be the first to detect the Soviet missiles which provoked the Cuban crisis of 1962.

    Continue reading here: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-115-the-weird-genius-who-revolutionized-cricket-history/

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Two testaments of cricket and war

    Two testaments of cricket and war

    John Broom has combined his passions for cricket and military history in two books on global cricket in both world wars: Cricket In The First World War Play Up! Play The Game and Cricket In The Second World War The Grim Test. They are both meticulous and moving. He explains his mission in writing them, as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.

    John sought to fill a significant gap in cricket’s historiography. Eminent writers of standard works had all but ignored the wartime years. These were not only full of drama but also represented two lost opportunities to change the course of English cricket.

    Turning first to the Great War, John describes the mixed response of English cricket to its outbreak in August 1914. The English County Championship wound down and cricketers generally were urged (notably by the elderly W G Grace) to stop playing and serve the war effort. However, the Bradford League in Yorkshire controversially decided to continue and to take the chance to recruit some of the best County players, including Jack Hobbs, Frank Woolley and Jack Hearne. This generated some fierce attacks on the League and its participants.

    Cricket had never before had to come to terms with the demands of total war. Some players like Hobbs placed their first duties to their dependent families, others like Woolley and Phil Mead tried to enlist but were surprisingly rejected as unfit due to minor conditions. Most joined up immediately, on the urging of the counties and clubs, team mates often enlisting together in the same unit. The future England captain Arthur Carr joined his regiment from the crease when called by telegram, allowing himself one more over.

    He contrasts the mixed response of cricket to the outbreak of war with the demonstrative patriotism of rugby union and the much-attacked decision of association football clubs to carry on with their programme. Its mixed, even muddled, response preserved wartime cricket from either a total shut-down and mass extinctions of clubs or from general ostracism if it had carried on as usual.

    He also notes cricket’s very different reaction to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. There was no belief that it would be “over by Christmas” (as in August 1914) and in business (and cricket) as usual. The touring West Indians went home early to avoid the expected U-boat attacks, although three, Learie Constantine, Manny Martindale and Bertie Clarke stayed on to make notable contributions to the war effort, including cricket.

    Continue reading here: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-114-two-testaments-of-cricket-and-war/

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

    • 55 min
    A story made for the movies – Pakistan women’s cricket

    A story made for the movies – Pakistan women’s cricket

    Based in Mumbai, Aayush Puthran is an experienced cricket reporter and analyst, with a strong focus on women’s cricket. He has written an inspirational book, Unveiling Jazbaa, which weaves together the astonishing personal stories of the creators and players of women’s cricket in Pakistan.

    Aayush begins by explaining the Urdu word Jazbaa. It has no precise English equivalent, but conveys a cocktail of emotions and passions which generate stunning unexpected achievement. It has been regularly applied to the Pakistan men’s team: he thought that the women’s team also deserved it, to convey their determination to step out.

    He outlines the early history of Pakistan women’s cricket in the 1970s, largely confined to well-connected women in élite institutions. As in India in the same era, it was much easier for women to take part in individual sports such as running or badminton or in hockey.

    Aayush tells the dramatic story of the Khan sisters of Karachi, Shaiza and Sharmeen (who sadly passed away in 2021). They pioneered Pakistan’s international women’s team against entrenched opposition and often great personal risk. Daughters of a wealthy father and a cricket-crazed mother (who had postponed her wedding to watch Pakistan play the West Indies), they had discovered themselves as cricketers during their English education during the 1980s. They identified with Pakistan’s increasingly successful men’s team of that period, but had no women’s team which they and others could aspire to. They therefore decided to create one from nothing.

    He explains the political background which made their ambitions and activities so dangerous. Pakistan’s then military dictator, General Zia ul-Haq had formed an alliance with deeply conservative fringe religious movements. They had promulgated the so-called Hudood Ordinances, imposing severe controls on the lives of women and girls, especially all activities outdoors, with severe punishments for alleged female transgressors of any kind.  They could play cricket and other sports only in enclosed private spaces, such as the compound at their father’s carpet factory. When Zia was killed in an air crash in 1988 and replaced by Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister, the sisters thought it would be safe to organize a proper cricket match involving former men’s stars including the great Zaheer Abbas. They were mistaken. The religious ultras were still strong and the sisters faced death threats. They were forced instead to play an all-women’s match in the compound with a massive police presence, and their father demanded that they fly back to England immediately it finished.

    Continue reading here: https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/episode-113-a-story-made-for-the-movies-pakistan-womens-cricket/

    Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

FlatDarts ,

Eclectic podcast - Shatila podcast a highlight

A wonderfully eclectic podcast, particularly enjoy the episodes with stories from outside the Test world. The episode about Shatila CC is outstanding.

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