When cricket was a classical sport

In our tribute to the heroic England fast bowler Bob Willis, who died yesterday, we mentioned his love of Wagner.

His captain in 1981, Mike Brearley, was a Beethoven man who hummed opening bars of a Razumovsky quartet as he faced the world’s fastest bowlers.

Does any cricketer today listen to classical music?

Has any of them heard of Beethoven?



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  • Wasn’t the music Brearley hummed when facing Whispering Death et al the first movement second subject of Haydn’s String Quartet in D flat minor, Op 74 No 4 “The Duck” ?

    • Harsh. I met Mike Brearley once and he told me grew a beard when England went down under to try to look a bit more intimidating. In spite of his ferocious intellect and gentlemanly demeanour, he was as fiercely competitive as anyone. And England’s best captain…….

    • Given the pride he took in his widely acknowledged captaincy skills, I’d picture him singing “I’m the leader of the gang, I am”.

  • David Gower once skipped the post-match interview with the press since he had theatre tickets and didn’t want to miss the performance.

    The problem is that now players are expected to be sportsmen “full time” which leaves no room for other interests.

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