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My Favourite Photo: International Batsman of the Year Challenge Cup

by Jon Hotten
@theoldbatsman 2 minute read

Jon Hotten chooses a frame featuring eight cricketing legends – each a great batsman of class, grace and authority – as his favourite cricket photo.

Here is a picture to quicken the blood. It was taken on September 17, 1979 and from left to right features the fulsome line-up of Gordon Greenidge, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Barry Richards, Ian Chappell, David Gower, Graham Gooch and Clive Lloyd.

They’re about to compete in the Courage International Batsman of the Year contest, a two-day, single-wicket spectacular worth £5,000 to the winner. It was a revival, of sorts, of a format that had run for several years at the end  of the 1960s, always sponsored by a fags or beer company, and came at the conclusion of a giddying summer in which West Indies had won the second edition of the World Cup.

Mike Brearley had personally selected Gooch and Gower as England’s representatives: Courage’s £70,000 pot meant that DK Lillee, MA Holding and RJ Hadlee were gainfully employed to bowl. The real joy is in the detail – Barry Richards in his WSC jumper, Goochie in his Essex sleeveless – and in the unlikeliness of it. Cricket has always searched for novelty; the concept was sexy enough for it to appear on BBC Two a day later, as part of an ‘International Sports Special’ presented by Des Lynam (commentary from Jim Laker and Tony Lewis).

And the winner of the five big ones? Clive Lloyd, who beat David Gower in the final. Oh to have seen it…

First published in May 2016.

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