Lancashire cricket stalwart recalls entertaining Robert Mugabe and Mother Teresa

An eclectic, worldwide forged of characters – from Ian Botham and Dennis Lillee to Mom Teresa and Mick Jagger – seem within the memoirs of Valley-born former Lancashire Cricket Membership chairman Bob Bennett. Not too long ago revealed and obtainable as an eBook on Amazon, ‘From Bacup to Barbados’ is a heat however frank account of how the son of a Ross Mill mule spinner proudly donned the whites for his residence city and county, earlier than happening to rub shoulders with presidents and celebrities.

Spanning greater than 40 years, Bob Bennett’s cricketing profession straddled each the tail finish of an anachronistic period clinging to days of ‘gents versus gamers’, and the daybreak of the actually fashionable age.

Given his batting place, it’s maybe apt that Bob’s memoirs ought to start with a strong opening partnership – forewords from former England captain Michael Atherton and fellow Lancashire and England icon, David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.

As Atherton sums up succinctly “Bob’s life is the story of how cricket was, for good and dangerous.”

In the course of the 1992 Cricket World Cup marketing campaign in Australia, Bob was reacquainted along with his outdated buddy Everton Weekes in Perth.

Weekes, the West Indian legend who sadly died final month, had, in Bob’s personal phrases, unquestionably offered that preliminary spark to ignite his cricketing ‘candle’ as a younger boy.

He knew him because the hero smashing batting information down at Bacup’s Lanehead Lane, but additionally as a charismatic customer to the household residence.

The 237-page autobiography strikes from his tentative early forays within the sport, by his 50 appearances for Lancashire, his 11-year tenure to 1997 as chairman of the Crimson Rose county, and supervisor of six main excursions with the England senior aspect and England ‘A’ squad.

As Bob displays, it’s an innings which has contained “so many particular moments”.

In his latter two ‘administrative’ roles within the sport, he met and entertained a outstanding wealth of world leaders and figures, together with Mom Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Robert Mugabe.

Arduous excursions spanning 4 continents within the 1980s and 90s would threw up an unpredictable – at occasions – hazardous itinerary of challenges each on and off the sphere – together with meals poisoning epidemics, a pilot strike, and even the outbreak of struggle.

“I used to be the final ‘correct’ England tour supervisor”, says Bob, who laments the time he needed to write to each county membership secretary forward of 1 senior tour in a bid to enlist the providers of a physician – seemingly an unaffordable extravagance for the nationwide aspect as just lately as 1993.

“They needed to get themselves a lot better organised. After we went to India we had myself, Keith Fletcher the coach, and the physio. Three of us – and a touring get together of 17. Now the back-up workers exceed the variety of gamers.”

He additionally admits issues might have gone “badly incorrect” two years earlier throughout the aborted England A tour of Pakistan when the army section of the Gulf Warfare started in January 1991, leaving the touring get together locked in a resort earlier than managing to board a hastily-arranged flight in another country.

Regardless of organisational complications interspersed with the odd calamitous batting collapse, Bob, whose e-book additionally displays on moments of private doubt and tragedy, appears again with the best delight on that Indian tour.

Whereas typically characterised because the ‘tour from hell’ in some quarters as a result of a mix of disappointing outcomes, logistical complications, and medical and disciplinary mishaps, he concludes: “While it was a particularly troublesome and demanding tour to manage, from a administration perspective, it was no doubt probably the most satisfying of my six abroad excursions.”

Bob, who has two daughters Georgie and Jill, was lastly persuaded to share his life story with the world after an American lawyer he met on a cruise ship – who “knew nothing” about cricket – insisted he put pen to paper.

Shortly after finishing the e-book, Bob was deeply saddened by the demise final month of his ‘icon’ Sir Everton, one of many biggest batsmen of all time and, arguably, as a lot a revered determine in his adopted city of Bacup as his native Barbados.

We can be serialising excerpts of ‘From Bacup to Barbados’ over the approaching weeks.

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