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WPL (1)

John Emburey

John Emburey
INTL CAREER: 1978 - 1995
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Full Name

John Ernest Emburey


August 20, 1952, Peckham, London


71y 187d


Embers, Ernie, Knuckle

Batting Style

Right hand Bat

Bowling Style

Right arm Offbreak

Playing Role



6ft 2in


Peckham Manor Secondary School


Coach, Commentator

In the era before Shane Warne when spin bowling was on its uppers, John Emburey was perhaps the best offspinner in the world, which did not say much. He was tall with a classically looping action, and capable of getting huge amounts of bounce and away-drift. But his qualities were submerged amid the grim battles slow bowlers faced in the 1980s: uncongenial pitches and one-day cricket, which forced him to become primarily negative and defensive. He improvised more in his batting, in which he managed to score runs while infuriating bowlers by ignoring both footwork and backlift. Always a willing talker and theorist, he was an excellent senior pro and a promising coach (though he was fired by Northamptonshire before returning home to Middlesex). Over-promoted to England captain for two Tests amid general chaos in 1988, he was fired as capriciously as he was appointed. Emburey was the only cricketer to go on both (1981-82 and 1989-90) England rebel tours to South Africa, and was instantly forgiven both times, which says much about attitudes at Lord's but something about the general esteem for his qualities.

At the end of his playing career he left Middlesex and was player-coach and then coach at Northants from 1996 to 1998 before being sacked with a year of his contract to run. In 2001 he signed to coach Berkshire with the intention of emigrating to Australia at the end of the summer, but on the eve of the season he was appointed as Middlesex's third coach in as many seasons, taking over from old team-mate Mike Gatting. In six years he struggled to motivate a side in transition, bringing in some distinctly average players as well, and at the end of 2006 the county were relegated from the top flight in both the Championship and National League. In 2007 Middlesex brought in Richard Pybus to coach with Emburey moving to the more hands-off role as director of cricket, but when Pybus unexpectedly quit five months into his contract, Emburey returned. In between he had briefly - and remarkably - been shortlisted for the India coaching vacancy alongwith the South African Graham Ford. Shortly after Ford turned down the offer, Emburey followed suit. He parted company with Middlesex the following year, and was appointed as coach of the Ahmedabad Rockets, one of the two new teams in the unofficial Indian Cricket League.
Cricinfo staff March 2008

John Emburey Career Stats


List A536-26399168116475/235/2325.983.8240.82330

Batting & Fielding

List A53635511038655015.77--02--1810
John Ernest Emburey

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Debut/Last Matches of John Emburey

Photos of John Emburey

The All-Star England team pose for the cameras
Adam Hollioake and John Emburey, sporting a fetching yellow hat, walk through the legs of honour
Graham Ford and John Emburey arrive in Chennai.
John Emburey takes his place in the England Legends XI
John Emburey in a jovial mood
Day Whatmore and John Emburey sit together