On the Front Foot: Edgbaston's passion for the past is a lesson for the future

 

In securing their future, it is heartening to see Warwickshire have remembered their past. An integral part of the £32 million redevelopment of the Pavilion End at Edgbaston is the cricket museum. In it, the rich history of the club and the ground are told simply, straightforwardly and accessibly. Artefacts are few and far between but the storyboards lining the walls, taped recollections and old film footage provide an insight in to the deeds and players of the past.

True aficionados might welcome more detail, but the casual supporter can glean in 30 minutes a flavour of Warwickshire's progress to date as well as the ground's great matches (if anything, England's nerve-shredding two-run defeat of Australia in 2005 is underplayed).

From the point of entry it is neatly arresting. WG (Willie) Quaife was the county's first great player, who represented them from 1894 to 1927 and did not go entirely willingly. "In deference to the committee," he wrote, "I have agreed, at 56, to retire."

Quaife was a key part of the county's first championship in 1911 and while no attempt is made to airbrush the captain in that season, Frank Foster, from history, nor is he restored to glory. Foster came almost from nowhere to lead the side and was such an able all-rounder that he went to Australia the following winter and played a big part in winning the Ashes. His star waned quickly, however, and his fall from grace, when he became a bankrupt drunk who consorted with prostitutes and went mad is beguilingly told in Robert Brooke's painstaking if short biography The Fields Were Sudden Bare.

There is plenty here for other counties to ponder when they remodel their grounds for the 21st century. Yorkshire might have done something similar at Headingley, Lancashire should certainly try to when they at last get round to rebuilding Old Trafford.

There may even be a lesson here for MCC, who have the largest and most significant collection of cricket memorabilia in the world. The museum at Lord's is cramped and gives an air of scholarly dinginess. It is intelligently and sharply curated, but has not the space to breathe in the modern way. If and when Lord's is redeveloped there may be a museum for the 21st century. Maybe they could learn a lesson or two from Edgbaston now.

Time to honour Abberley

There is not, or not obviously, any mention of Neal Abberley in the Edgbaston museum. There should be.

Abberley, who died last week at the age of 68, played for the county, mostly as an opening batsman, for 15 years, scoring 10,082 first-class runs. His average, in the low twenties, was nothing to write home about, but it is the work he did in the 30 years since retirement that set him apart.

Abberley ran, virtually single-handedly for years, the county's junior coaching structure. He was the first coach (latterly mentor) to Ian Bell, a reasonable recommendation for any coach. Bell and many others would like a more enduring memorial to Abberley.

The Abberley Coaching Academy has a certain ring to it.

Cook keeps good hours

What records Alastair Cook may break now. All things are possible for a batsman who has already scored 5,834 Test runs. No player has amassed so many at the age of 26 years and 230 days, as Cook was on Friday, though Sachin Tendulkar has one more hundred.

Since the start of the Ashes series last winter, Cook has spent exactly 70 hours batting, compared with Jonathan Trott – the next most hardworking – on 37.5 hours.

Sehwag shares his kingdom

Virender Sehwag, India's only triple Test centurion (twice), is only the second opener to bag a king pair in Tests. He follows Javed Omar of Bangladesh. Had Tim Bresnan caught Abhinav Mukund at slip in the Second Test, two Indian openers would have been out first ball in both innings in this series.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions