Cricket Diary: Stan quits a seamy world

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FOR more than a decade he has been a typical, high-class seam bowler prospering in English conditions. More than that, he has been perfectly characteristic of a rich Derbyshire tradition.

Few counties have produced such a large supply of the breed and few members of it have so controlled length and direction. Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing more than 14 stones, he could have been hewn from Peak District gritstone. He is, of course, Ole Henrick Mortensen, born and bred in Vejle, northern Denmark. He was the first Dane to play in county cricket and now he has gone.

'Injuries conspired against me. If it wasn't shoulder, it was back, and if it wasn't back it was knee,' he said, sounding like your everyday English seamer. 'I suppose 11 years of non-stop cricket could have something to do with it.'

Mortensen, 36, known universally as Stan, is to be director of cricket in Denmark, where he has spent barely two weeks a year since the early Eighties. County summers in England have been followed by winters in Australia.

He does not intend to make Denmark one of the Test-playing nations, although considering how their numbers have burgeoned it should not be entirely discounted. Stan's role will be to ensure qualification for World Cups and to get more Danes playing on better pitches.

His career is the more remarkable because he learnt the crafty wiles of seam - of how to make use of green wickets - on matting strips. This demonstrates the importance of natural talent, which must have run in the family because his brother Michael played Davis Cup tennis for Denmark.

The nickname came, in that wonderfully imaginative way of cricket changing rooms, from the footballer who, most famously, got a hat-trick in the 1953 FA Cup Final. The second Stan got his own hat-trick against Leicestershire in 1987 and has more than 500 wickets at 23 apiece.

He is not the only Dane to have played first-class cricket, Soren Henricksen having played thrice for Lancashire in the mid- Eighties, and he may not be the last. Soren Vestergaard may graduate at Warwickshire.

TOWARDS the end of yet another disappointing summer, the sound of squabbling Yorkshiremen rends the seaside air. Their attention is focused on the Scarborough Festival, which, you might suppose, would cheer them up. It has done no such thing.

After Kevin Maguire of Batley mentioned that Ken Rutherford of New Zealand, and not Vic Wilson of Yorkshire, had made the highest score at the ground, Richard Scruton of Northallerton was in touch. He wanted, he said, to clarify the confusion and compete against 'St Kevin of Batley, patron saint of bores and simple minds'.

Scruton lists other Scarborough records such as Herbert Sutcliffe's 202 in 1936 (highest by a Yorkshireman in the Championship) and Geoff Cook's 203 in 1988 (highest by a Yorkshireman against Yorkshire).

'Sorry to be such a bore but I cannot resist whenever I see Maguire's name in print or on the radio.' One hopes the two will share a stick of rock at North Marine Road this week.

GOOD, old-fashioned row of the week may not be the above but the simmering dispute between the country's leading cricketing magazines, the Cricketer and Wisden Cricket Monthly.

David Frith, who left the former to establish the latter in 1979, confesses that relations are hardly cosy and has been constantly miffed about the Cricketer's claim on its cover to be 'the world's

largest-selling cricket magazine'.

At last, he believes he has unearthed evidence to the contrary. The Bombay-based Ekach Shatkav, published in Marathi by former Indian Test batsman Sandeep Patil, sells some 50,000.

'That's definitely more than the Cricketer,' said Frith. 'They're hardly higher than us.' To be, doubtless, continued.

Twelfth Man

DAVID STEELE, formerly of Northamptonshire and England, was 12th man in the 1971 batting averages, and now sits on his county committee. He said of the side's inability to fulfil their promise this summer: 'It's disappointing. On paper they're a much better team than others who will finish above them. Individual flair's important but cricket can be won by gelling together and Warwickshire prove that.'

Comments