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Wisden Cricket Monthly issue 65: Rob Key vs Mark Butcher

by Wisden Staff 8 minute read

In the latest issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, out February 23, Rob Key sits down with Mark Butcher, his former teammate and colleague, to reflect on a mind-boggling first 10 months in his role as managing director of England men’s cricket.


In a wide-ranging interview which took place in the ECB boardroom at Lord’s, Key explains why the role appealed to him and how the seeds were sown for England’s red-ball revolution. He and Butcher also discuss what might be around the corner for English cricket and the wider game.

Elsewhere in a jam-packed issue, Jack Leach tells James Wallace he’s never felt so comfortable in an England shirt, Aussie legend Belinda Clark discusses the past, present and future of the women’s game in conversation with Mel Farrell, Matt Roller reflects on the first 15 years of the IPL and considers what the next extravaganza might throw up, and Matt Root tells Jo Harman what it’s like to have fathered a great of the game.

John Stern takes us back 60 years to the transformational summer of 1963, Allan Lamb picks out the defining moments from his glittering career, Ollie Pope and Toby Radford share their batting expertise, and we celebrate the greatest County Championship team campaigns.

As for our columnists, Andrew Miller examines England’s less-than-ideal preparations for the Men’s World Cup, Adam Collins reports from India on a chastening tour for Australia, Lawrence Booth hails the impact of the ACE programme, and we have a guest column from Isa Guha on the game-changing Women’s Premier League.

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10 standout quotes from the new issue:

“The job at Sky is the best job going really but you’ve not really got skin in the game. I thought this was going to be more meaningful. You find out if all your theories, your philosophies, if they were right in any way, and that really appealed to me.”
Rob Key tells Mark Butcher why he became the managing director of England men’s cricket

“They talk about entertainment, which is the business we’re in. What’s the alternative? Just have a very, very boring game. Somewhere along the line losing has just become far too big a deal. There’s a lot of fear around it. Whereas Stokes and McCullum say, ‘Oh well, we’ll just have another go the next day’.”
Rob Key on England’s change of philosophy 

“If the retreating relevance of bilateral ODIs tells us anything, it is that Stokes’ return is a given – just as it was for the T20 World Cup, 18 months after his last appearance in that format.”
Andrew Miller on England’s World Cup preparations

“Off they go, typically after smashing up yet another one-sided home summer, telling themselves that they’re full of the Justin Langer Gallipoli spirit, only to find out that they’ve rocked up at the wrong beach and they’re set for a pasting.”
Adam Collins on Australia’s latest horror show in India

“Ben is just the ultimate team player but more than that he just gives so much as a person, that’s what so special about him, he’s completely selfless. He’s made me feel like I can be myself, the truest version of myself.”
Jack Leach on the England Test captain

“Of the 141 ‘scholars’ engaged by the ACE academy, 44 have entered the county age-group system. These are impressive numbers, and they ought to give the ECB pause for thought. Because if a charity can produce them from scratch in next to no time, what on earth has the game’s governing body been up to?
Lawrence Booth on the immediate impression made by the African Caribbean Engagement programme

“Players are beginning to sense the opportunity to gain real agency over their future careers. This is the new reality.”
Isa Guha on the groundbreaking Women’s Super League

“I think the thing to do is to encourage your kids and make them think that anything’s possible. Michael Vaughan would come to nets and Joe could see what was possible.”
Matt Root on fathering a great of the game

“I was getting heckled! We went to Auckland to play the second match and the men’s team were training there. Mark Greatbatch made a beeline for me and told me what for as well. So I was thinking ‘Oh my god, what the hell have I done here?’”
Belinda Clark, behemoth of Australian cricket, recalls the build-up to the best innings of her storied career

“South Africa asked me to come back and play for them against England [on the 1982 rebel tour] and I said: ‘You must be bloody stupid! I’ve been qualifying for the last three years and you want me to come and play for South Africa, you must joking. No thank you.'”
Allan Lamb on the defining moments of his run-filled career

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