Cricket: Oh what a lovely tour: Managers recall journeys to far pavilions by Stephen Brenkley

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Donald Carr

Managed tours to South Africa 1964-65; India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka 1972-73; West Indies 1973-74

On my first tour it was impressed on the players that they should not discuss politics because of the delicate situation in southern Africa. I reiterated that on our arrival, which coincided with a British General Election. At a function I was therefore surprised to be told that a young tourist - later to become a famous batsman - had been rude to an elderly local woman. Enquiries revealed that she had said how dreadful she considered the election of a Labour government in Britain, to which he replied, obeying the management decree: "I'm not here to talk politics, I'm here to play cricket." In the first Test in the West Indies, Tony Greig ran out Alvin Kallicharran off the day's last ball with the batsman apparently walking to the pavilion. During talks lasting four hours I suggested that we withdraw our appeal, allowing Kallicharran to bat on. Eventually, umpire Douglas Sang Hue, who was keen to obey the letter of the law, agreed. The following year the right to withdraw an appeal entered the Laws.

AC Smith

Managed tours to West Indies 1980-81; Fiji, New Zealand, Pakistan 1983-84

The death of Ken Barrington overshadowed the tour to the West Indies. It was a personal tragedy for the entire party. Ken, the assistant manager, died in the middle of the third Test in Barbados and it is to the considerable credit of the captain, Ian Botham that he kept the side on an even keel. The series was lost 2-0 but the final two matches were drawn. The second Test in Guyana was cancelled because the authorities objected to the presence of Robin Jackman, who had played in South Africa, which was alleged to breach the Glen-eagles Agreement. There was never a doubt in my mind that we should be allowed to pick the team we wanted. That was quite clear and we left Guyana. The tour was in doubt for some days. The New Zealand and Pakistan tours were unsuccessful and we didn't play well. That makes it more difficult naturally. The manager is there as the main representative of English cricket. He has to be organiser, diplomat, ambassador and be properly solicitous towards players.

Tony Brown

Managed tours to India 1984-85; West Indies 1985-86

Before going to India, the experienced administrator Geoffrey Howard asked me if I had been a boy scout and told me to remember their motto at all times. Within hours of our arrival, the Prime Minister, Mrs Gandhi, was assassinated, about which I was informed in a telephone call from the Daily Express. There was an official period of mourning and the itinerary was re-arranged. Then, the Deputy High Commissioner, Percy Norris, was murdered. The night before, he had hosted a splendid gathering for the tour party. There were calls, somewhat hysterical I felt, to abandon the tour. I resisted and Mrs Norris wrote saying Percy would have wished us to continue. It was a happy squad. We won from behind. England struggled throughout in the West Indies. It was a different mix of players and Graham Gooch almost went home. flew out and we sat for four hours persuading him to stay. We lost 5-0 but the former West Indies batsman, Jackie Hendricks, told me that if we had had their bowlers we would have won.

Bob Bennett

Managed tours to New Zealand and Australia 1991-92; India and Sri Lanka 1992-93

It would perhaps be difficult to have two such contrasting tours. The first was hugely successful and enjoyable, marred only at the very end when we lost the World Cup final. The second was a total failure from a playing perspective but how gruelling it was. An Indian airlines strike meant that only one journey, among scores, went according to schedule. The party were constantly waiting, being re-routed and taking trains huge distances. As a former road haulier it was an extension of that - planning journeys, making sure we reached destinations. But on the entire tour I had only 90 minutes free time when I seized the chance to see something of Calcutta. For most of the time much of the squad were ill, not with any tummy problems but with a chest virus. Amid constant travel we had to deal with cancellations and crowd disturbances. I wasn't ill there but on return it took me a year to recover. Neil Fairbrother said they wouldn't have got through it without me. My days as tour manager are probably over, but I'd do it again.

John Barclay

Managed tour to South Africa 1995-96; managing tour to Zimbabwe and New Zealand 1996-97

There is a tremendous amount of bumf on my kitchen table right now which I'm steadily working my way through. Information about which I should be aware before we embark keeps arriving. This is a particularly exciting tour, of course, because although many English club, county and representative sides have been to Zimbabwe over the years this is the first Test series we have played there. My role is largely organisational, making sure the cricket is played and that we're there to play it. But I'll be on hand to give advice. It must be seen as a management team of which I am part, together with the coach, assistant coach, captain and vice-captain. I will join in to some extent - as I did in some of the less strenuous activity during the training camp in Portugal. Obviously things will go wrong and it would be uninteresting if they didn't. I shall be there to be compassionate and understanding and above all will try to be a good listener. I'll know more in March.

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