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Thread: Racial Slur or Misunderstanding?

  1. #31
    Cricket Spectator
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    Apr 2012

    Firth indubitably lied

    Quote Originally Posted by chasingthedon View Post
    So what exactly are the factual inaccuracies in your piece to which he refers? As far as I can see it boils down to you not calling Frith a liar - surely Mr Henderson, being familar as he is with libel issues, should not have expected such.
    Frith indubitably lied. He wrote this to me in March 1994:

    "Let me just assure you that I was one of the earliest to feel a sense of unease at the number of foreign players piling into the England XI. It's hard to separate oneself from the personal side of it all I know all of them - even the reclusive Caddick - and like them almost without exception. But the principle seems wrong, and I think that there has been some sort of dislocation in the national psyche. How can a true Englishman ever see this as his representative side despite all the chat about the commitment of the immigrant?"

    As for the other inaccuracies, I post below the draft article with my comments interleaved with RH at the begiining and end of each comment - unfortunately, the italics do not show in this forum:

    Racial Slur or Misunderstanding?

    Nationalism, and particularly the politics of race, transcends all things and cricket is no exception to that rule. Cricket lovers, on the whole, tend to be ill equipped for political debate

    RH Your basis for this assertion is what? Because the game has largely disappeared from state schools, cricket followers today are probably disproportionately middle class and hence better educated than the
    general population and consequently more sophisticated in their approach to politics.. However, even if that were not true and cricket followers are simply a representative cross-section of society, why would
    you imagine they in some peculiar way deviated from the norm? RH

    and have not always been able to spot the inflammatory and
    controversial even when it is staring them in the face.

    RH As virtually everyone deviating even slightly from the multiculturalism message in public prefaces their comments with something like "I’m not a racist…" that is self-evidently false.. RH

    One of the most unseemly occasions when this has happened is as a result of an article published in Wisden Cricket Monthly in July 1995 which was written by Robert Henderson. Henderson was 48 when the article appeared. He was a retired tax inspector

    RH No, I was a retired Revenue Officer. Only a small proportion of HMRC employees are inspectors. I worked in the Revenue’s head office. RH

    by occupation and a cricket lover who had previously contributed to the magazine. He had wanted to call his article "Racism and National Identity" although it ultimately appeared under the more eye-catching title of "Is it in the Blood?"

    RH You omit to mention that Frith changed the title without telling me. RH

    The result of the article was that Devon Malcolm and Philip DeFreitas issued libel writs against the magazine and their actions were swiftly settled, compensation paid and a large helping of humble pie consumed within the pages of later editions of the magazine. Subsequently further claims were made by Chris Lewis and Gladstone Small and settled, in their cases without the need for litigation.

    The starting point for any examination of the episode must, inevitably, be the article itself. Henderson must have had an inkling as to the sort of controversy

    RH I had published A Fundamental Malaise on the same subject in WCM in 1991 without any great outcry. Consequently, I had absolutely no reason to anticipate the response to Is it in the blood? RH

    he would cause as his initial point is to accuse the non-white Test nations of displaying racism themselves in the makeup of the teams that they selected. He makes much of the absence of any white player in the West Indies side since Geoff Greenidge in 1972/73, but he makes similar criticisms of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    RH You omit the very important fact that I was responding to a letter from an Asian James Singh in a previous WCM edition which complained of discrimination against whites and Asians by the West Indies. RH

    I recall reading the article at the time and being struck by the fact that empirical evidence must exist to deal with those points and demonstrate whether there was any merit in them. I appreciate that Henderson did not have the Internet in general to research, or Wikipedia in particular, but I find it difficult to believe that the information one can find there was not readily available to a researcher displaying any reasonable level of diligence in 1995. My own mathematical abilities are limited but I understand how to work with percentages and on the basis of what Wikipedia told me of the demographics of the Caribbean Islands then they ought to produce one white Test cricketer every 40 years or so. To my untrained eye that would suggest that there should have been no more than one white cricketer playing for the West Indies in the 40 years since Greenidge.

    RH You are right to say you are untrained in statistics The size of a population group tells you nothing per se about its individual accomplishments. What is important when comparing the period up to the early 1970s with the period after it is the number of white players who appeared in the earlier period, namely, a large number, many of them top-class players such as Gerry Gomez, Jeff Stollmeyer, Gerry
    Alexander, Denis Atkinson, Roy Marshall. Unless you believe that miraculously whites ceased to want to play cricket in the sixties and seventies, then discrimination is the only rational answer in their absence
    from the Windies side.

    There is also the fact that Asian players ceased to be selected for around ten years. Do you want to pretend that they simply ceased to play the game as well?

    The other point you should mention is Viv Richards’ boast when Windies captain that the Windies were "An African side", a pretty clear indication that the side was being selected on the grounds of race. RH

    This easiest of exercises is, I fully accept, open to charges of oversimplification and in particular I have disregarded the era before the various Caribbean nations gained independence, although I accept that in colonial days there were a considerable number of white West Indian Test players. In any event my crude analysis shows that there has indeed been just one white player, current incumbent Brendon Nash. I regret I know not how to factor into his Australian upbringing and not being a man who enjoys playing with figures I have not gone very much further but Henderson’s overall point seems to me to be a poor one, badly made.

    Henderson concludes the first part of his article with "The question the cricket world should answer, but almost certainly will not, is brutally simple. If South Africa was wrong to discriminate on grounds of race and culture, why should matches be tolerated between other cricket nations which do not have clean racial hands?" It is an extraordinary question and even in 1995 was wholly inappropriate.

    RH Another bald assertion. Why was it "wholly inappropriate"? Since I wrote the article SA have pursued a policy of racial preference. Why do you tolerate that? As for the Asian Test teams, they are rife with sectarian and caste divisions. Why is that more acceptable than apartheid? RH

    Having dealt with that, Henderson went on to deal with the issue that he is best remembered for: that being whether a man born in one country could ever feel properly committed to the cause of another. There is, of course, absolutely no link at all between the first part of the article and this

    RH The subjects both touched on race and hence were by definition linked. RH

    and while, as I will explain later, I do have a degree of sympathy for Mr Henderson in relation to some aspects of the way he was treated, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that linking two such separate subjects together was at best clumsy and, at worst, deliberately provocative.

    RH Why was the linking provocative? Because it pointed out the hypocrisy of Test cricket in respect of ethnic/racial selection? RH

    Henderson does not help himself by picking on those of West Indian origin in particular.

    RH I suggest you re-read the article. Far from concentrating on the black players I made it clear that I was as firmly against white migrants such as the Smiths and Hick and Asians as I was against black players Had Frith left in the passage about Nasser Hussein that point would have been even clearer. The fact that only black players sued is neither here nor there in the context of what I actually wrote. RH

    No doubt he did so because in the 1990s the overwhelming majority of non-white England-qualified cricketers were black rather than Asian

    RH Simply wrong for the reasons given above. RH

    . An interesting point is why a generation later there are very few black English-born first-class cricketers but a large number of Asian ethnicity. Henderson had no way of knowing that particular trend would develop but, if he had wanted to write a balanced article, then surely more could have been made of the issues relating to non-English white first-class cricketers.

    RH I did. RH

    Henderson does highlight the fact that he excludes Mark Ramprakash from his criticism as Ramprakash was born in England,

    RH Wrong again. I didn’t exclude him from my concerns, viz: "I could say of course I was not referring to Ramprakash (as I did not in the article) because he was born and bred here. But those would be weasel words." RH

    but it is an unconvincing comment and I, as with many other readers, was left with the sure and certain knowledge that I had just read a particularly distasteful piece of prose.

    RH Another unsubstantiated assertion. Why was it particularly distasteful? RH

    For me what Henderson wrote simply made no sense and I cannot see that it would have made much sense to any professional person. The whole essence of a professional cricketer is that he derives his living from excelling at the game and, to take an isolated example, Devon Malcolm would no doubt have played exactly the same way for England, West Indies or indeed the Latvian national side if that were who his employer was. There is nothing wrong with that at all. The whole point of employing a professional person is that their professionalism means that they will do their best for their employer whoever that may be, and that simple reality is unrelated to any of the concerns identified by Henderson.
    RH Human beings are tribal. That is why racial conflict exists. That is why national sentiment exists. To believe that national pride has no part in the success of a Test side is to ignore the human condition. Matthew Engel understood this.

    The above being said, and this is why I chose the case of Malcolm, it remains a fact that there are occasions when individuals can raise their performances above 100% in certain circumstances.

    RH How about mentioning all the occasions when they don’t? Here are the stats I gave you to illustrate the poor quality of performance generally by those I expressed doubts about:

    "Here are a few startling statistical facts for you: Ramprakash (Test average 27) has the lowest Test average of any specialist England batsman playing 40 or more Tests in the entire history of Test cricket.
    When Devon Malcolm ended his Test career he has the highest average (37) for any pace bowler from any country taking 100 or more Test wickets in the entire history of Test cricket.

    Of the sundry South Africans, Zimbabweans and Australians who played for England in the past 30 years, only one batsman (Robin Smith) averaged 40 or more in a completed Test carfeer, 40 being the generally accepted standard for a Test quality batsman.
    The pace bowlers who came from the West Indies and played a good deal for England - Malcolm, cowans, Small, DeFreitas, Lewis - could not produce a Test bowling average of less than 33."

    Then there is the curious ignoring of English players who by their career records deserved a chance but never got one. I quote again:
    "Ask yourself on what purely cricketing grounds were such players selected over and over again. Contrast their selection with for example Mal Loye, Ben Smith, David Sales and Ali Brown who all boast career averages of over forty and yet have not played a Test between them - Brown has the dubious distinction of having the highest career average of any Englishman not to play Test cricket - or for example Martin Bicknell who despite being the most successful English pace bowler of his generation played only a handful of Tests. "

    Why no mention of those players? RH

    The Oval in 1994 and Devon Malcolm’s performance against South Africa is one such example. After a patchy England career Malcolm had been recalled to play against the South Africans on what was expected to be the traditional pacy track at The Oval. In the South African first innings he took just one wicket, despite bowling rather better than his overall figures would suggest. In the course of that first innings he had struck the South African batsman Jonty Rhodes on the head. There were serious concerns
    for Rhodes’ welfare. He was an epileptic, and although the delivery was not particularly short, and indeed Rhodes seemed to duck into it, there was an inevitable feeling of anger among the South African players. The result was that when it was Malcolm’s turn to bat he was mercilessly sledged by the South Africans both before and after the famous delivery from Fanie de Villiers that struck him on the helmet with such force as to damage it. An incensed Malcolm uttered, among others, the famous words "You guys are history" and proceeded to take 9 for 57 in the South African second innings in one of the most remarkable pieces of sustained fast bowling that Test cricket has seen.

    I do not think I am doing Malcolm any disservice by suggesting that had that delivery of de Villiers been a good-length ball just outside off stump that had taken a nick to Dave Richardson behind the stumps, and he had been sent on his way without the abuse, he would not have bowled as he did in that second innings. That he was so inspired, however, was for wholly personal reasons and unrelated to any nationalistic considerations.

    The professionalism aspect aside, Henderson’s argument also fails to make sense to me on another level: that being quite simply that I, and many other people, well know that it is perfectly possible to form a bond with an adopted location that is every bit as strong if not stronger than that with where one was born. I was born in Berkshire of parents who originated from Wiltshire and I have lived in the county of my birth continuously since my late teens. That said, my formative years, between the ages of 5 and 18, were spent in a small village in Central Lancashire where my father’s job took my family. As a child I picked up something of a Lancashire accent, which is long gone now, but I am every inch a proud
    Lancastrian and cannot imagine for one moment that the depth of my feelings about my adopted county would be in any way different if I had actually been born within its boundaries.

    RH Apples and oranges. You have merely lived in different parts of England and done so with the great advantage of having nothing to set yourself apart from the English. Hence, you are automatically accepted as English by the English, the only objective test of nationality. RH

    describe what happened after publication of the magazine as an outcry. Not a single writer worth reading, or commentator worth listening to, dared to support Henderson, and in the four pages of the magazine’s
    August edition that were devoted to the maelstrom only one reader’s letter was of a congratulatory nature, and that only on the basis that the article was so outrageous that it could do nothing other than bring racism itself into disrepute. The August issue also contained a statement from David Frith which consisted of an explanation of editorial policy, his own responsibilities, and an unreserved apology to all who had felt offended. It contained articles from former England captains Mike Brearley and David Gower fundamentally disagreeing with the views that Henderson had expressed, and a selection of letters doing likewise.

    Henderson badly wanted to respond to the criticism to which he was being subjected, but the decision was made – not by editor David Frith,

    RH Two points: You should quote the letter from Frith to me shortly after the furore arose to show Frith caved in to the owner Getty and also point out that Frith committed the ultimate crime an editor can commit, failed to stand by a contributor. RH

    although he had to communicate it to Henderson – that this was not going to happen. Frith had been the driving force behind the creation of Wisden Cricket Monthly in 1979 and took his journalistic responsibilities seriously. He was well aware of the laws of libel and the need to avoid coming into conflict with them and at the same time, as with all journalists, jealously guarded the right of his profession to freedom of expression. Some of the more outraged commentators at the time seemed to assume that Henderson’s views mirrored Frith’s own despite Frith repeatedly saying otherwise and drawing attention to the statement in each copy of the magazine that the views of individual contributors
    should not be taken as expressing the views of himself and/or the magazine’s editorial board. That said, Frith did feel it was his duty to examine a subject that was being discussed almost everywhere he went
    in the cricket world.

    RH You now know that Frith lied about not sharing my views. You need to make that clear by quoting his letter to me which makes his position clear. RH

    In Derbyshire, Devon Malcolm and Philip DeFreitas (whose photograph had accompanied Henderson’s article) were understandably incensed by what they read. Legal advice was taken and while the legal advisers to the Professional Cricketers’ Association advised that there was no realistic prospect of succeeding in an action for defamation, both players’ own advisers felt differently and, had they wished or needed to take advantage of the offer, the legal advisers of the Professional Footballers’ Association, at that stage an organisation fighting a successful campaign against racism in its own sport, were made available to them. Both players were offered the facility to use WCM magazine as a platform to air
    their own views, but both chose, or alternatively were advised, not to take that opportunity. Both men, and non-white cricketers and other sportsmen in England, were understandably concerned at the imputations that the article contained. That said, there were no specific allegations against any individual, and whatever potential libels the article contained the reality is that it received universal condemnation and it cannot have had any detrimental effect on anybody’s career – indeed the contrary is true, and the players concerned received wholehearted public support from all sections of society.

    Despite the magazine's apology and offer of a public platform, both Malcolm and DeFreitas decided to press on with legal action, and writs were prepared and served. It must have been the case, given the PCA’s public announcement as to the legal advice it had received, that the magazine must have received legal advice that was, in essence, bullish. That said, libel actions, which are generally tried before a jury, are for that reason the most unpredictable of civil claims, and the advice was doubtless hedged with caution. That is no surprise given that based on the public's reaction to the article

    RH AS the only public reaction was that which was allowed by the politically correct media and politicians, that is no basis for making any judgement, RH

    it could safely be assumed that any jury would begin a trial with great
    sympathy for the claimants.

    RH They had no case, as the PCA opinion said . That was why they did not include me in the writ because they did not want it tested in court. RH

    It also seems likely that the last thing the magazine wanted was a legal battle fought out in the full glare of the publicity which, had they contested the matter, would inevitably have followed. The magazine could not, in any practical sense, win the legal battle, and it is this writer’s view that a settlement was well advised. Had the matter gone to trial and the magazine had won in court it would still have lost in reality as there could never have been any approval of Henderson’s comments, and any attempt to ruin the claimants finally by seeking to enforce any order for costs that was obtained would have brought further criticism on the magazine’s shoulders. It may well also be relevant, on a practical level, that the financial considerations were not important given that the magazine at that stage was owned by the Getty family. Sir Paul Getty, who enjoyed enormous wealth, had stepped in to buy the Wisden stable of companies in the first place to ensure that they maintained their impartiality and pre-eminence, and that too would have been a powerful incentive to settle.

    RH By implication you are saying they had no case. Hence, Frith and I were libelled. RH

    For DeFreitas and Malcolm the issues were in many ways similar. What they wanted was a vindication of their position and, as individuals, they must have been concerned about the potential costs that they were
    exposing themselves to if a long contested suit followed. It has never been made clear whether the proffered support from the PFA included a costs indemnity. Frith certainly believes that may well have been the case although Malcolm’s book contains nothing to suggest it was – in any event the case developed with such indecent haste that it may be that its long-term funding simply did not need to be addressed.

    Did either player have any particular interest in gaining financially from the proceedings? It is certainly the case that of the undisclosed damages they received, rumoured in the press to be between £25,000 and £50,000 each, sums were given to charitable causes. In Malcolm’s book he seems to be saying that the proceeds of his claim were shared between a coaching centre and Derbyshire Children’s Hospital but it is not entirely clear. Later claims made by Lewis and Small were resolved, with smaller sums, and I believe they, as well as DeFreitas, made charitable donations but again I am not aware of any details.

    RH Why do you believe they made charitable donations? What gives you a belief in their probity? Bear in mind that Lewis is now serving a long prison sentence for drug smuggling. RH

    The individuals whose lives were affected most by the furore were undoubtedly Henderson and Frith. There are unlikely to be too many who feel very much in the way of sympathy for Henderson, whose views were so villified. However, he was denied the opportunity of a right of reply that I believe a fair and democratic society should always allow. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the basic tenets of a civilised society, and while I disagree fundamentally with what Henderson said I will always vigorously defend his right to say it. There is a difference between expressing unpopular, unreasonable or simply incorrect opinions and inciting racial hatred. The former is a man’s right whereas the latter is a
    criminal offence and is rightly treated seriously by our law and punished accordingly.

    RH All that statement does is show how intolerant you are. There is either free expression or a range of permitted opinion. Have the latter and anything may be made illegal. Political correctness has reached the stage where even the most innocuous statements can result in a visit from Her Majesty’s Finest. (see recent article sent by separate email). RH

    Nothing that Henderson wrote came remotely close to an incitement to racial hatred and it is simply wrong that he was not given the opportunity to respond to the tirade that came his way. It seems highly likely that in Fleet Street and publishing generally there were a number of sympathetic ears but, having noted what had happened to Frith, no individual or media organisation was prepared to risk being tarred with the same brush.

    RH So what about your website giving me an opportunity to reply? RH

    As to what it was that Henderson wanted to say by way of response, he has been kind enough to provide me with a copy of the article that he asked Frith to publish. Prior to reading this I had been curious as to why Malcolm and DeFreitas did not make Henderson a party to their litigation. Having read the article, and some other material that Henderson was keen to forward with it, I am quite satisfied in my own mind that the answer to that must be because they knew he would never settle and would, I rather suspect, have enjoyed his "day in Court". Whatever qualities Henderson may or may not have, I have little doubt, from
    reading what I have of him, that tenacity and stamina are two that he has in spades.

    RH Absolutely right. If I could have got them into the witness box either under cross examination or as witnesses treated as hostile on my application, I would have made hay with their claims. RH

    Much offence had been taken at the appearance of the word "negro" in the original article. Henderson stresses that the word was used not to insult but rather to use a more precise label than the somewhat vague "black".

    RH No, my objection was t much broader, viz: :
    " Let me begin by saying (because it is distracting from the main issue) that I use the word negro not to insult but in an attempt to rescue a precise word from the mire of the exceedingly imprecise black, African etc. It is also worth pointing out that the word has never been historically regarded as an insult per se. A people may refer to themselves as they will, but they cannot reasonably command others to follow suit. After all we call Indians Indian even though this name, like that of negro, is of white origin and Indians have their own resentments concerning their colonial past. However, if it is going to distract from the main argument I shall use black. I wonder,incidentally, how the older blacks feel about its use because when they were young negro was the polite word and black disdained. " RH

    By stating that he would, henceforth, use the word "black" Henderson tacitly acknowledges a mistake although he makes clear that in writing his article he believed that "negro" was the polite word to use and "black" was the insult. In fairness to him, had he written those words a quarter of a century previously I might have been inclined to agree with him. It is always difficult in these situations to look back and work out when the meanings of words change, but "negro" would certainly be considered an insulting word as we enter the second decade of the 21st century and I have to say that my recollection is that it had become that by 1995.

    RH No, I made it clear - see above - that I was referring to the historical use of Negro. RH

    Turning his attention to his article’s emphasis on blacks, Henderson complains that some balance was lost by Frith editing out a relatively lengthy passage relating to Nasser Hussain whom he quoted as having told journalist Rob Steen that he was proud to describe his nationality as being Indian. Frith, a scrupulously fair man, had included Steen’s words in an earlier edition of WCM. When he subsequently received a letter from Hussain’s mother questioning what had been printed his doubts as to its veracity, or alternatively the context of the remark, were such that he printed Mrs Hussain’s letter in a later edition and felt it necessary to edit the reference out of the article. In fairness to Henderson it has to be said that had confirmation of the making of such a comment been included then it would have provided something tangible to back up his point of view.

    RH Apart from the Hussein passage, I also quoted at length a journalist sympathetic to blacks Clayton Goodwin who described the separatist mentality of blacks:

    "Naturally those West Indians who came as immigrants have a nostalgic respect for their 'home' region - longing for the lost 'good old days' is not solely the white man's preserve. Their children, humiliated and made to feel inferior in every aspect of their day-to-day life, will relish the chance of using the success of others sharing the same physical attribute [blackness] for which they are downgraded to show, however vicariously, that they do have worth."

    "You can't blame the put-upon black people of Britain for feeling similar justifiable pride when Viv Richards and his team, who in other circumstances might be regarded as 'second class citizens' like themselves, have put one over their detractors."

    "The youth of Peckham, Brixton, Pitsmoor and the Broadwater Farm would want any of Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Michael Watson or Herol Graham, black Britons who have grown up among them and shared their social experience, to beat the Jamaican middleweight boxer Malcolm MaCallum if the opportunity should arise."

    "The ethnic majority [the white population] are not aware of how isolated and shut out from the national cricket game the black population is made to feel. That is not solely to question why Surrey have included only one regular black player, Monte Lynch..." [In fact, England qualified players of West Indian parentage are well represented in County cricket having more than 6% of places on County staffs, a percentage well above their share of the national population].

    Having, I think, accurately described the generally resentful and separatist mentality of the West Indian descended population in England - doubters should cast their minds back to the riots of the eighties, take a stroll around Brixton, Deptford, Hackney, Moss Side, St Pauls et al and think of Haringey cricket college which has had few if any white members - Mr Goodwin goes on to claim that "...surely nobody would doubt that the players [England caps of West Indian ancestry] are proud to represent England." Exactly why he is so confident of their pride is unclear. There would seem to be no obvious reason why players such as DeFreitas and Lewis should not share the mentality he ascribes to the general West Indian derived population. At the very least, it is difficult to see how playing for England could be
    anything more (as Mathew Engel claims) than a means of personal advancement and achievement for players of West Indian ancestry. Of what else could they logically be proud if, as Mr Goodwin
    claims, they feel excluded from and humiliated by English society? "

    You can add to that the constant complaint of blacks and Asians in the media that they are discriminated against.

    I have also provided you with extracts from John Barnes’ autobiography which show the mentality I was describing. Doubtless you will wish to add these to your article." RH

    Henderson went on to bemoan the fact that the reactions to his article dealt with only the question of national identity without referring to the other aspect of his article, that regarding racism within cricket in the non-white Test-playing countries. It is difficult to see the relevance of that particular comment given that, as I have already explained, that aspect of the article is at least as susceptible to criticism as the national identity point, but it is certainly true that it is a part of Henderson’s article which is generally overlooked.

    RH I have already dealt with that point, ie, both were concerned with racism in Test cricket. RH

    The response then goes on to deal at some length with the support that Henderson believed his views had among the established cricket writers and administrators and lovers of the game generally. He has sent me copies of a number of letters from established names that do indeed provide, to a greater or lesser extent, support for him. This is where the point I made in my first paragraph regarding the inability of cricket-lovers to understand the way their views might be interpreted in the wider world comes sharply into focus. A classic example of this is that great sporting icon of the 1950s Denis Compton, whose reputation in his declining years lost some of its lustre by virtue of his supposedly being a supporter of
    apartheid. The simple reality was that Compton’s thoughts did not go beyond the fact that it was a tragedy that some of the finest cricketers in the world could not play the game at the highest level for reasons wholly unconnected with the sport. Compton was wholly lacking in prejudice of any sort but unfortunately those who did not know him seized on his words and attributed a meaning to them that simply was not there.

    RH Another bald assertion. What are your grounds for believing that Compton et al were not sincere in their views on race and ethnicity? RH

    It does not alter the fact that Henderson is right when he says that others within the game had similar views. He attributes three separate quotes to one of England’s leading cricket journalists. I am not going to name the gentleman concerned because I have not had the benefit of being able to put the quoted words in context, but on the face of matters they certainly would have had the effect of softening the impact of Henderson’s original writing. The remarks attributed are firstly, on a radio programme, in a tone of profound complaint: "The selectors seem to be obsessed with West Indian-born pace bowlers." Secondly, in a written article "...there are those who argue that England have not produced their best in recent
    years because of the racial mix of the team now representing the country". Finally, and most startling of all, just a year before Henderson penned his article "…we shall not have a consistently successful England team…until we produce more Goughs; that is to say English-born, English-bred products of English schools".

    RH Not giving CMJ’s name is cowardly. You know the context because the words are unambiguous. I suggest you name him. I also sent you a raft of other letters including support for my views from amongst others Jim Swanton,. E M Wellings, Frank Tyson, Alec Bedser, Tony Lewis and Matthew Engel. Why haven’t you exposed them? RH

    There is also a reminder of a comment in the original article that was almost universally overlooked: "perhaps even some of the unequivocally English players lack a sufficient sense of pride when playing for England" - a comment that, in my view, opens up a genuinely interesting area for debate and one which is as relevant today as it was then. There is also an interesting conclusion to Henderson’s response when he states: "Let me end by saying that my purpose in writing the original article was not to give gratuitous offence, but to raise subjects which have for far too long been placed beyond the reach of coherent public debate".

    Sadly the article most definitely did achieve that which it was not intended to achieve, but that lack of intent was never fully appreciated.For Henderson the whole affair was a source of huge frustration. He tried via every route he knew to find a platform which would enable him to respond to the storm directed at him, but none of the organs of the press, whether in cricket or otherwise, were interested in publishing him, and his complaints to the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission fell on deaf ears. Henderson then turned his sights on politicians and corresponded with many, including future Prime Minister Tony Blair. In a development worthy of an esoteric espionage
    novel, Henderson’s correspondence with Blair resulted in consideration being given to prosecuting him for an offence of harassment. That particular story is beyond the scope of this article but the "Notes on
    Sources" contains a link to a fuller account of that bizarre episode.

    RH This as it stands is libelous because it gives the impression that I had done something to warrant investigation. In fact, as you should now be aware from the article The Blair Scandal the Blairs had no grounds for bringing the police in. These are the facts in summary:

    1. The police never interviewed me.
    2. The CPS declared that there was NO CRIME within a few hours of receiving the papers - imagine the pressure on them to curry favour with the Blairs by sanctioning an investigation.
    3. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent them the letters but only after I had circulated them to the media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. Ergo, they did not feel threatened by me only by a fear the media might take up the story. The story was complicated by the fact that the black Labour MP Diane Abbott had sent me an abusive and unsolicited letter after the publication of Is it in the blood? One of the things I had asked Blair to do was discipline Abbott.
    4. The Blairs being lawyers must have known my letters constituted no offence. Ergo, they were trying to use their celebrity and influence to have me prosecuted unreasonably. That constitutes a conspiracy to
    pervert the course of justice.
    5. The Blairs failed to take an civil action against me, despite the standard of proof in a civil case being much lower than that in a criminal case.After the failure of the attempt to prosecute me I was subject to years of harassment, most probably by Special Branch who were set on me by Blair - I used the Data Protection Act to prove this.
    You already have Sir Richard Body’s EDM which lays out the charge against Blair. I have no objection to you mentioning the Blairs in your article but you must put it in context. RH

    As far as David Frith is concerned he is the real victim of "the Henderson affair". It might have been different had Henderson been a well-known cricket writer or someone otherwise in the public eye, but he was not, and for some reason Frith seemed, in the eyes of many, to become his alter ego. It was completely wrong for Frith to be treated in the manner in which he was when all he was seeking to do was stimulate debate and uphold the integrity of his profession.

    RH No, he shared my views and wanted them aired by someone other than himself. RH

    In early 1996, with the dust settled on the affair, and the legalities out of the way, Frith was the man who paid the price, with his job as editor of WCM. It had been more than an employment for David Frith. As already stated, he had been the prime mover in the setting up of Wisden Cricket Monthly and had been its editor since day one. Long before the European Working Time Directive came into English law, Frith had been working upwards of double the number of hours he should each week yet he gave those hours willingly in order to do his job as well as he possibly could.

    There are those who will say that Frith, as editor, should have foreseen the result of publishing Henderson’s article and that he was therefore culpable. Henderson’s writing was not in the rapier-like style of the intellectual, and was more of a blunt instrument,

    RH What you are objecting to is the fact that I wrote honestly without the usual pathetic nodding to political correctness as personified in the "I’m not a racist but". Engel by the way thought the article "closely argued". The style was marred across two paragraphs by Frith’s incompetent editing. RH

    but in fairness to Frith he was not the first to make his main point, and importantly it had already been made, in April of that year, by another editor in the same stable. In the 1995 Wisden Almanack the then editor, Matthew Engel, had written: "It cannot be irrelevant to England’s long-term failures that so many of their recent Test players were either born overseas and/or spent their formative years as citizens of other countries. In the heat of Test cricket, there is a difference between a cohesive team with a common goal, and a coalition of individuals whose major ambitions are for themselves. Successive England captains have all been aware of this. It is not a question of race. And of course there have been many fine
    and committed performances from players with all kinds of disparate backgrounds. But several of these players only came to England to play as professionals. There is a vast difference between wanting to play Test cricket and wanting to play for England. The overall effect has been to create a climate in which, as The Independent put it, 'some of our lot play for their country because they get paid for it'."

    Unless I am much mistaken that is just the same point as Henderson's but dressed up in more eloquent and less polemic clothing.

    RH No, his point in Wisden is only half my argument, that dealing with those who arrived in Britain as young adults. RH

    I suppose I must declare an interest in that I have always enjoyed David Frith’s writing, and I was party to the decision to make his Bodyline Autopsy the CW Book of the Decade. On a personal level, I have exchanged occasional emails with him, but we have never met and I could not claim to know him at all well. What I know nothing about, other than what I have read in his autobiography, is his relationship with his erstwhile employers at Wisden Cricket Monthly, but I do not feel my objectivity is in any way compromised. If (which seems likely) the "Henderson affair" and Frith’s role in it played a significant part in his forced resignation/dismissal then that, all things considered, strikes me as quite simply wrong.

    RH Frith had only himself to blame. When I spoke with him shortly after the storm broke I told him that the surefire way to lose his job was to toe the politically correct line. I urged him to stick to his guns and for a week or so he did. In the end he not only lost his job but humiliated himself by lying about his true beliefs and cowering before the pc storm. RH

    There is a degree of irony in the fact that much the same point as that which caused all the controversy in the first place is currently being freely debated in the press and across the internet. There are those that say England should not select so many South African born cricketers as they cannot be fully committed to playing for England. Others say that an English birthplace, or at least an upbringing from a very young age, should be prerequisites to England selection. Is the difference between black and white really the reason why today's negative opinions are acceptable whereas in 1995 Henderson's were not? Or was it not so much what Henderson said as the way he said it? Had Henderson's article, like Engel's notes in Wisden, been couched in more sensitive terms would I have had anything to write about? Would Henderson still be writing for WCM? Would the indefatigable Frith still be the figurehead at WCM? If I have learnt anything in writing this feature it is to reflect on the power of the written word and the old adage about the road to hell being paved with good intentions - and that it would be prudent for me
    not to seek to answer my own questions.

    Both David Frith and Robert Henderson, somewhat to my surprise, allowed me to pick at old scars, and provided me with otherwise unavailable material for the purposes of my research for this article. They
    also provided answers to all of the questions I asked. I am extremely grateful to them.

    As for the printed word, the editions of Wisden Cricket Monthly for July and August 1995 have inevitably been invaluable. The affair cannot be properly understood without reading them.

    David Frith’s autobiography, Caught England, Bowled Australia published by Eva Press in 1997, was of great assistance as well. I also read the relevant chapter in Devon Malcolm’s autobiography, You Guys
    are History, published by CollinsWillow in 1998. David Frith does not agree with a good deal of what Malcolm says, and his forthcoming book Frith on Cricket, to be published by Great Northern Books in June, contains his views on Malcolm's book. He has allowed me to read the relevant extract as part of my research.

    I have quoted from Matthew Engel’s editorial notes in the 1995 edition of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.

    Finally I have also read an article written by Sean Gabb entitled "Robert Henderson versus Tony Blair" which can be accessed at


  2. #32
    Cricket Web Staff Member chasingthedon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RH156 View Post
    The letters below show the large amount of private support in the media and cricket administration I had for the views expressed in my 1996 WCM article, Is it in the blood? I have more but most are handwritten and I cannot scan them in - they include letters from Gower, Alec Bedser, Trevor Bailey and Frank Tyson.

    They all ran for cover when the row began because they were all petrified of the politically correct grip that even then was strangling free speech. Matthew Engel's letter is of special interest because although he sent it to me shortly before the publication of Is it in the blood?, he then proceeded to write a Guardian article denying that he had ever heard of me. Here is Frith's account (from his autobiography) of Engel's panic generated by his fear of being linked with my views because of his Wisden editor's comments about the problem of foreigners playing for England in the 1995 edition :

    "Matthew Engel was now ringing me almost daily, and from the manner of his speech he seemed even more distressed than I. Struggling for coherence, the poor chap made me feel almost in control. He seemed to have convinced himself that Wisden’s good name, built up over 131 years, was now irretrievably besmirched. He had convinced himself and was now seemingly convincing others too. Caught between old writings and present hysteria (as was I), he found himself in a complicated position in that he wrote for the ‘left-wing, liberal’ Guardian newspaper, some of whose other writers were now giving him a hard time. " p336

    1. Tony Lewis 6 2 1991

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    Thank you so much for writing. I really enjoyed your letter which
    contained so many good points.

    I did write about David Gower that I would have docked him his day's
    pay but I do understand that many believe an up-country match between
    the Tests is as sacred as the Test matches themselves. I quite agree
    with you about the need to exclude overseas cricketers and those with
    the passports of convenience. How else will we ever grow our own
    cricketers if the way is blocked by late entrants into the system. Can
    I add to your other points the thought that we lack true leadership. I
    have never believed that control can possibly come from off-the-field,
    i.e. through Mickey Stewart. Graham Gooch is very content to leave a
    lot of things to Mucky. In fact true leadership can only come from
    someone who is actually playing in the match. This is why Stewart, who
    is probably selector-in-chief fits your bill as someone who is too
    closely involved with the players to be objective.

    A major thesis is there to be written. Kind regards.

    Yours sincerely,

    A. R. Lewis.

    2. Matthew Engel March 20 1991

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    Thank you for your Interesting letter re cricketing nationalities, Up
    to a point - but only up to a point- I agree with your arguments, I
    could argue at length with you here but I think your suggestion of
    addressing the subject in a column or article is a good one and I
    shall try and do that shortly, With best wishes,

    Yours sincerely Matthew Engel

    3. E W Swanton March 8, 1991

    Dear Mr Henderson ,

    Thank you for your forceful and interesting letter. I would have
    had time to respond at greater length if I had not returned from
    holiday to find a desk full of unanswered letters.

    Briefly, I have sympathy for your point of view, but, of course, its
    implementation is unattainable. A considerable body of men cannot
    suddenly be deprived of their livelihood.

    I think the integration of disparate groups is largely a matter of
    leadership. I would however include in Test teams only those who
    have been educated and learned their cricket here: for instance Lamb
    no, Ramprakash yes.

    With best wishes,

    Yours sincerely,

    Jim Swanton

    Freelance Journalist
    4 th March 91

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    I have today received your letter, forwarded by WCM. You make a number
    of unquestionably valid points, not least the very first one (loss of
    pride). I'm not too sure that, based on recent events, the X1 can even
    be called a team of All Stars, though!

    I have some minor reservations. On practical level, county cricket
    without even a hint of overseas talent (it was always so - think of
    Ranji) would today be painfully bereft of skills that go beyond the
    ordinary and mundane. I'd like to accept - but cannot- that our cricket
    would automatically improve, at least gradually, with a team of
    'locals'. Your remarks about cultural background are academically sound
    but are partly overtaken by necessary practicalities and a shifting

    Over the past couple of decades I have become more concerned about the
    declining interest in cricket at school level (the State system rather
    than the public schools). This, I believe, is the root cause of our
    depressing problems.

    Thank you for writing at such length. As an overworked freelance and
    full-time cricket writer in the summer months, I have scope and time
    only to contribute a monthly column for WCM on regional prospects. But
    I do feel your well argued letter deserves a genuine 'airing'. Would
    you like me to send it to the editor?

    David Foot

    5. E M Wellings

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    Thank you for you most interesting letter. I enjoyed it greatly and
    agreed 99% with what you said. I am also grateful, for the letter
    crystalised my thought and ideas on cricket.

    Like you I have always thought Australia's selection method much
    superior to ours. It avoids the sort of blunders caused by
    captain's preferences in England, including the omission of Bowes
    and Paynter from the 1936-37 team for the Australian tour. Gubby
    Allen was very anti Yorkshire and Lancashire. Ad they thought less
    than nothing of him off th field. There have of course been several
    instances since the war, Bill Edrich left out of the 1950-51 team which
    Freddy Brown packed with immatures.

    Also like you I deplored the decisions to abandon county
    qualifications. I looked at the matter from the supporter's
    viewpoint. How could he feel the same about his county team when
    players were gathered from distant parts of the world and other
    counties without having to belong to the county? It did not occur
    to me that the 'not belonging' could in part account for the decline
    of our Test capability, but I am sure you are right.

    In fact I propose to write along those lines. How many of those who
    have been letting us down in Australia think of themselves as English
    O hand I should say only Gooch of the seniors has been consistent n
    belonging to his county and country. Gower is a fly-by-night.
    Hemmings has also switched allegiance. Russell looks like remaining
    constant, and his reward is to be dropped.

    We are thus back to the days when Jim Parks, a very fine batsman but a
    hack behind the stumps, made some very costly mistakes.

    As a bowler myself I know the importance of the stumper to the
    bowlers. Of course in my time the wicketkeeper stood up to all but
    the very fastest bowler. He probably would not stand up to Malcolm,
    because the fellow seems to concentrate on pitching the ball just
    beyond his font foot to send the ball flying high overhead. But Russell
    showed the value of the stumper standing up to the other when he
    brought off his brilliant leg side stumping off Small.

    That brings me to what you said about the reason behind the picking of
    so many black fast bowlers to the exclusion of whites.

    It has been done to excess, as became very obvious when a fifth rate
    quickie from Middlesex was bought into the alleged England side. Of
    course selection is mainly done, as it has been for many years, by
    batsmen. Hence the dropping of Russell behind the stumps and as you
    point out, the neglect of Atherton's potential as a leg spin bowler.

    Failure to understand spin bowling is one of Gooch's faults. Another,
    in my view, is his insistence on super fitness, track suit and
    gymnasium training. Which is probably why his players break down so
    often. Trueman, Statham and company never trained in that way, and
    they did not break down.

    General overall fitness, such as comes from the playing of games, is
    what cricketers need. That is all the training I ever did. Yet
    at the age of 18 I bowled 36 overs out of 40 at the Pavilion end at
    Lord's, and in the remaining time, upwards of 2 hours, that day I
    carried my bat through our innings. It was very slow scoring, for
    the soft pitch was becoming more testing. I wonder how many
    superfit performers today ould have the necessary stamina, i should say
    that my bowling pace was medium.

    Your comments on the ass Dexter and the cocky Stewart amused me
    greatly, I followed Dexter's Australian tour. He was surely
    England's worst ever captain. His was a see-saw tour, bewildering to
    players and onlookers alike. Yet he proved an excellent vice-captain
    to Mike Smith in South Africa. I still remember my first sight of
    Dexter in the School games at Lord's- two beautifully struck fours
    followed by impetuous dismissal. Out for 8.

    Would that the plan you have advanced for the revival of English
    cricket could be adopted. What you said about absorbing the native
    culture is so true. How many foreigners in the England side have
    done so? 1 knew two such cricketers of the past, Duleepsinhji and
    Pataudi, very well, in fact I played two full University seasons with
    the latter. They both absorbed our culture. Duleep was at
    Cheltenham College before going to Cambridge and while here was
    essentially English. So was Pataudi who so absorbed our culture,
    sense of fun and humour that in 1946 he was out of tune with the Indian
    team he captained here.

    I fancy we shall go on muddling through, soon perhaps to be surpassed
    by Sri Lanka. I do not expect the TCCB to return to the use of clay
    soils, instead of slower producing loam, to give us again the fast
    true pitches which produce good cricket and good cricketers.

    Surely the experience of Robin Smith this winter should make them think
    about our conditions. Smith's defence always locked a trifle
    suspect, but on pitches lacking true pace he prospered. Faster
    conditions on most Australian grounds - not Adelaide - found him
    wanting . Give us fast pitches here again and he will have to work
    on his present jerky defence.

    Normally at this time of the evening I would be watching TV news, but
    there isn't any. Of all the great events war is the least
    productive, both sides producing false news, and at best half news
    with much contradiction in official statements. Anyone who was adult
    from 1939 to 1945 could have told the Media that. Yet it went
    overboard about the Gulf war.

    The BBC were so besotted by their many correspondents and home
    commentators that on day one, when there was very little hard news, and
    that only in outline, BBC1 kept the Gulf going with speculation,
    guesswork and fiction for nearly 12 hours until the triviality of
    'Neighbours' was deemed important enough to break into the War flow
    Again thank you very much for your letter, which I have already read
    twice and will surely read again.

    Yours sincerely,


    6. Peter Deeley Mar 21st 1991.

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    First may I apologise for this extremely belated reply to your letter
    of mid February concerning the loss of our national cricketing

    As I hope you will appreciate, I was in Australia at the tie and that
    tour was followed by the short (suicidal) visit to ^' Zealand. After
    that I followed Australia n the Caribbean and after a short holiday
    have only just started sifting through my mail.

    I agree wholeheartedly with much of what you say, though I would add a
    caveat in the instance of players born elsewhere who arrived in this
    country with their parents when they (the players) ere but
    babes-in-arms. I would think that in this case they have a right to
    look upon England as their true (if not natural ) home.

    You outline practical steps which you think could be taken. Counties
    are now down to one overseas player on their hooks - though perhaps
    this is not going far enough.

    But you are right to raise the question of a new "invasion" - that of
    players from within the EEC. I suspect however that even if counties
    did take a self-denying ordinance towards such talent that in itself
    would be a reach of the Treaty of Rome (as amended) and that cricket
    would be accused of applying a closed shop by the EEC.

    It is a complex issue. Like you, when I go to see a county gain I would
    like to think that not only were all the players British (English is
    too narrow a word in this context) BUT that they actually came from
    Kent or Worcestershire, etc. Yet Yorkshire, remaining true to this
    rule for so long, have paid the penalty in terms of results.

    Yours Truly,

    Peter Deeley

    7. Richard Streeton 15 3 91

    Dear Nr Henderson,

    I am afraid I have only just received your long letter dated Feb 24. I
    have been in Pakistan and Sri Lanka with the England A team and only
    returned the UK this week.

    You certainly made some extremely interesting points and there is a lot
    in what you said.

    It was the sort of letter that must have taken you some time to
    compile and I am returning it is case you want to send the gist to
    somewhere else. I would have thought The Cricketer magazine or Wisden
    Monthly might use it in their columns.

    I de not think there is any way that I can reproduce it in The Times as
    it is, as I have readers' letters on our sports pages and if at any (
    time you want to write to the paper, may I suggest you address your
    remarks to the Sports Editor? We correspondents do not like to pass
    things on to him for publication when it has been addressed personally
    to us and the writer might not wish it to appear in print.

    It is certainly a bit cooler in the UK than it was in Sri Lanka. It's
    exciting to think of a new season "round the corner."

    Again thank you so much for writing and I apologize again for not
    replying sooner.

    Yours sincerely,

    Richard Streeton (Cricket C) writer)

    8. Richard Hutton August 17, 1994

    Dear Mr Henderson,

    Thank you for your letter of August 14 and the accompanying article
    about overseas players in the English game, which I read with

    I feel what you have submitted is too lengthy for use at it stands and
    also contains too much restatement of existing laws and regulations.
    However, I will promise you immediate publication - in October's issue
    - if you rework the piece without any loss of argument or point into a
    200-300 word letter. Otherwise, if it is to be considered as a feature
    article we will still require a substantial reduction, because we
    would not be able to allot more than one page to it in view of the
    demands on our space. Even then I cannot say when the space will
    materialise and by the time it does topicality may be lost.

    You will probably gather that I very much favour the former option, and
    I await a revised submission.


    RICHARD HUTTON Editorial Director

    First of all, welcome to the forum.

    I'm not sure that personal letters should be published in this way - did you inform the people concerned that you intended to make these responses public? It is possible that, had they known these views would be made public they may not have expressed them - people often express opinions in confidence that they would never wish to be made public.

    You seem to be of the opinion that "free speech" is the same as "unrestricted speech", and I'm not sure I would agree with that in all situations.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Kohli. Do something in test cricket for once please.


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    cliffs btw?

  5. #35
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Burgess Hill
    Just re-read the article in question. It really is a puddle of rancid drivel. I cannot imagine what possessed Frith to publish it and he's gone down in my estimation for having decided to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasingthedon View Post
    First of all, welcome to the forum.

    I'm not sure that personal letters should be published in this way - did you inform the people concerned that you intended to make these responses public? It is possible that, had they known these views would be made public they may not have expressed them - people often express opinions in confidence that they would never wish to be made public.

    You seem to be of the opinion that "free speech" is the same as "unrestricted speech", and I'm not sure I would agree with that in all situations.

    Breach of confidence is not a complaint any of the letter writers could meaningfully make. They all happily worked for newspapers or broadcasters which regularly publish without the author's permission emails, letters and other documents, eg, records of politicians' expenses. Much of this information is stolen. In addition, newspapers and broadcasters frequently secretly record people then make the information public. If you work for such an organisation you give at least tacit approval to all these practices. That removes any right of confidence.

    There is also a strong public interest in bringing the letters to public light. It shows graphically how hypocritical and cowardly journalists are, saying one thing in private and another in public and the tremendous grip political correctness has on free expression in this country.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    Just re-read the article in question. It really is a puddle of rancid drivel. I cannot imagine what possessed Frith to publish it and he's gone down in my estimation for having decided to do so.
    I see that you are one of those who mistakes abuse for argument. Not only Frith but all the letter writers whose letters I have posted thought my arguments had merit. They were responding to the ideas I later placed in Is it in the blood?

    Why don't you write to Frith and all the letter writers who are still alive and tell them what you think?

  8. #38
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Burgess Hill
    Quote Originally Posted by RH156 View Post
    I see that you are one of those who mistakes abuse for argument.
    I haven't abused you. The article you wrote is unworthy of serious debate. It is drivel, pure and simple. If anyone's in doubt about that, they should read the original article and make their own minds up.

    Quote Originally Posted by RH156 View Post
    Why don't you write to Frith and all the letter writers who are still alive and tell them what you think?
    Sounds a terrific idea. But sadly I am fresh out of green ink.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    I love those "thank you for your very long letter, I agreed with some of it" replies. Wonderful, vindicating stuff.
    Yes it is wonderful, vindicating stuff, viz:

    Tony Lewis "Thank you so much for writing. I really enjoyed your letter which
    contained so many good points."

    Matthew Engel "Thank you for your Interesting letter re cricketing nationalities"

    Jim Swanton "Thank you for your forceful and interesting letter."

    David Foot " I have today received your letter, forwarded by WCM. You make a number
    of unquestionably valid points, not least the very first one (loss of pride). "

    E M Wellings "Thank you for you most interesting letter. I enjoyed it greatly and
    agreed 99% with what you said. I am also grateful, for the letter crystalised my thought and ideas on cricket."

    Peter Deeley "I agree wholeheartedly with much of what you say"

    Richard Streeton " You certainly made some extremely interesting points and there is a lot
    in what you said."

    Richard Hutton "Thank you for your letter of August 14 and the accompanying article
    about overseas players in the English game, which I read with interest.I feel what you have submitted is too lengthy for use at it stands andalso contains too much restatement of existing laws and regulations.However, I will promise you immediate publication - in October's issue if you rework the piece without any loss of argument or point into a 200-300 word letter."

  10. #40
    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    So you've interpreted someone saying you raise some interesting points as them saying "I agree with those points". If that's what you want to do then that's up to you, but those letters to me in the main do not show people who agree with the original article.
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    Anyone want to join the Society?

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  11. #41
    Cricketer Of The Year four_or_six's Avatar
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    Do I understand that the article is saying that a player born in one country cannot be properly committed to England? Surely that is way OTT if nothing else... no-one can seriously suggest that Strauss is not capable of being committed to English cricket just as much as any other player. Even for a player from the other end of the spectrum in terms of age of arriving here, such as Trott, the same is true.

  12. #42
    International Vice-Captain NasserFan207's Avatar
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    I feel like a lawyer reading this thread. Its not so much a debate as a 9-5 workday.
    Batsman I tolerate: V. Richards, S. Tendulkar, E. Morgan, N. Hussain. KEVIN O F******* BRIEN

  13. #43
    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpr View Post

    Good article Fred, and I'd be interested in seeing a bit more of the story followed up (be it from a primary or secondary source... if he trusts you to pass on his messages)

    However, why has it taken 2 years for the article to be posted? Surely your not that slow a typer?
    I delayed it as part of a cunning campaign to raise my profile immediately prior to the Battle of the Members tbh

    Now some might argue that as an Englishman, and with CW's origins being in the land of sheep and kiwis, that I'm not really committed to that cause

    .......... but such an argument would be flawed or, put more succinctly, bollocks

  14. #44
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    Where can I read the full original article?
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFu_Kallis View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    I haven't abused you. The article you wrote is unworthy of serious debate. It is drivel, pure and simple. If anyone's in doubt about that, they should read the original article and make their own minds up.

    Sounds a terrific idea. But sadly I am fresh out of green ink.
    You're not a cricket writer, so keep your opinions to yourself

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Let it be known for the record that the font in the top of the picture noted that Kohli was wearing Jimmy Choo shoes and Happy Socks

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