- Keith Gregson
THE LITTLE MASTER DEBUTS AT ASHBROOKE
During the summer of 1990 the first match of the Indian cricket tour was fixed to be played at Ashbrooke. A one day contest with the Cricket League Conference does not, on reflection, appear to be of much interest except that it saw the first appearance in England for the full Indian side of a young 17 year old named Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar, who was to remain in the headlines for 23 years, is now regarded as one of the greatest batsman of all time.
The day was glorious; the crowd disappointing. Perhaps this was to be expected. The New Zealanders were already in England so the arrival of the Indians and the first match of the tour were not really big news. Few locals realised that the game was on and those who did wondered who the League Cricket Conference XI were anyway. A match with Durham County might have
proved more popular or even a two or three day game.
Tendulkar was destined to have an early Ashbrooke baptism as early wickets fell. The classy strokes were there for all to see but he went for 19 and Ashley Day (a former pupil of the archivist!) claimed the wicket of the other opener Sidhu for 17. Raju, batting at number 8, ended on 37 not out and the Indians completed the 55 overs with 231 runs on the board and the last two
players still in. Ending on 191-9, the home side lost by 40 runs. Young Tendulkar turned his arm over and conceded only 16 runs in his 6 overs. The Indian match was the last big game at Ashbrooke prior to Durham’s acceptance into first-class cricket.
Great players have graced Ashbrooke across the years – from Jack Hobbs through Learie Constantine to Tendulkar himself. A fine heritage!
PS – The archivist was at the game with his young sons. Have others any memories of this match or any of the other big cricket matches at Ashbrooke?