July 21, 2000

Reg Simpson remembers when ...

and enjoys the excitement of today's cricket

Reg Simpson, still fit and sprightly, played for England between 1948 and 1954, and almost certainly would have represented his country more often if his career had not substantially overlapped that of the established first-wicket partnership of Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook.

It is exactly fifty years ago that Simpson played one of his most memorable innings - coincidentally also against West Indies at Trent Bridge, his home ground. First, however, Reg turned to the game in hand and spoke enthusiastically about limited-overs cricket:

NatWest Series

"All these attractions, the music and lights and so on that they have brought in with the limited-overs matches, are very good for the game, there is no doubt about that. It had to come. In fact it's falling in line with American baseball, all this razamatazz and the public enjoy it. It's exciting for them to see the ball is being hit in the air".

Our heavy hitters would have enjoyed this

"I enjoy watching one-day cricket. Of course in my time we didn't play it but we had a side that would have done very well in it. Players such as Cyril Poole, Joe Hardstaff and several others could hit the ball very hard and they would have enjoyed this type of cricket.

Simpson, who was noted particularly for his stylish play, added; "We would have played it a little differently. We would have used lighter bats and we would place our shots more and gone for quick singles and twos.

The bats that players use today are much too heavy but they do so because of limited-overs cricket. They like to swing the bat and that will carry the ball over the inner ring of fielders. The technique has to be different but it is fast and exciting and the money that it brings helps the game."

England's fielding is impressive

He was pleased with England's performance in the NatWest Series matches. " I was most impressed with England's fielding, this morning in particular. It was excellent and the bowling has certainly improved. They have done very well in the last three matches and are building a pretty good side," he said.

A record partnership
... then run out for 94

Then Reg was able to indulge in memory of his own innings played exactly fifty years ago, to the day, on his home ground. It was the third Test against West Indies and it began on 20th. July, 1950. He recalled: "Cyril Washbrook and I put on 212 for the opening partnership which was a record against them. Cyril got a hundred and then he got out. The new batsman came in, it was Parkhouse, I tried to keep him away from Sonny Ramadhin and in trying to do so I ran myself out for 94.

Ramadhin and Valentine did very well in that series and caused an awful lot of trouble to our batsmen. I enjoyed playing spinners at that time.I learnt not to worry about what was coming out of their hand but to concentrate on it in the air and on the length of the ball and play it accordingly. That was the important thing. We lost that match, I remember, Frank Worrell was in excellent form he scored a double century."