Drawing: Moeen Ali

Autographed drawing of cricketer Moeen Ali

One of cricket’s most popular players is the England all-rounder Moeen Ali. Known fondly as ‘The Beard that’s Feared’, Moeen is a Muslim of Pakistani descent born in Birmingham. He signed for Warwickshire County team in 2004 at the age of 15, making his first class debut the following year.

Moeen bats left-handed and bowls right-arm off-breaks. While he built a reputation as an elegant batsman, it was his off-spin bowling that earned him the call-up to the England side in 2014 after the surprise retirement of Graeme Swan. He made his test debut against Sri Lanka at Lords and scored his maiden test ton in the second test at Headingly, unbeaten on 108 when England went within two balls of saving the series with Jimmy Anderson bowled off the penultimate ball.

Moeen plays in all formats for the National side. Earlier in 2014 he was selected for the ODI series in the West Indies and the World T20 in Bangladesh a few weeks later. He has 5 Test and 3 ODI centuries with a highest score of 155 and 128 respectively and 72 in T20. His best test figures are 6/53 against South Africa at Lords in 2017. Moeen’s charity work includes being an Ambassador for ‘StreetChance’, which holds free weekly cricket coaching clinics for deprived children across the UK.

Moeen signed my sketch after England’s victory over India in the 5th and final test of the series at the Kia Oval in September.

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Drawing: Virat Kohli

Autographed drawing of cricketer Virat Kohli

Arguably the world’s best batsman and the current number one in both test and ODI formats, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli etched himself further into cricketing immortality yesterday when he became the fastest player to reach 10,000 ODI runs, surpassing fellow Indian great Sachin Tendulkar. The milestone came in a remarkable match against the West Indies at Visakhapatnam, which ended in a thrilling tie. Virat finished unbeaten on 157, his 37th ODI century in 205 innings. He is the 13th person to pass 10,000 runs and the fifth Indian to join the elite list.

During the late summers tour of England he became the highest run-scorer in all formats of the game for 2018. His astounding stats also include 24 Test centuries with a top score of 243. ESPN has ranked him as one of the planets most famous athletes and this year TIME included him on its 100 most influential people in the world list.

Virat signed my drawing at the teams hotel in London last month, during the fifth and final Test against England at the Kia Oval, a series in which he scored the most runs by some distance.

Drawing: Andy Zaltzman

Autographed drawing of comedian Andy Zaltzman

“Probably one of the finest satirical comedians this country’s ever produced,” is how Time Out describes English satirist Andy Zaltzman. He has firmly established himself in the vanguard of British comedy with his unique brand of political satire with a style that centres around verbal dexterity and an extensive use of the pun, especially the ‘pun runs’.

Andy has been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 1999 and has worked extensively with John Oliver. In 2004 they began hosting the POLITICAL ANIMAL stand-up show which Andy hosted solo from 2006, transferring to BBC Radio 4. From October 2007 until June 2016 Andy and John co-hosted the weekly satirical comedy podcast THE BUGLE. John left due to other commitments, and now Andy has a rotating group who share the hosting duties.

He is also a huge cricket fan, doing guest commentary on a variety of formats and contributes to a regular blog on CRICINFO. I took the opportunity to meet him at the Soho Theatre last month, where he was performing his SATIRIST FOR HIRE gig.

Audience members had the opportunity to submit ‘satiric-queries’ they cared about, which Andy satirised. I did this very quick sketch, based on the poster at the theatre and he signed it to my wife (a serial BUGLE devotee) and I and took a photo of it… probably for evidence in a visual defamation case.

Drawing: David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd

Autographed drawing of cricketer David "Bumble" Lloyd

The funniest and equally informative British cricket commentator David Lloyd, known as ‘Bumble’ has been the staple diet on the TV broadcast menu since he left the England coach’s job and joined the Sky commentary team in 1999.

His credentials are second to none, having been involved in all aspects of the game. A stellar career with his home county Lancashire, including a four year shift as captain and later as coach, nine tests for England, with ‘a splendidly fluent’ 214 not out in his second test against India, a top ODI score of 116 and later as the National coach after a brief stint as a first-class umpire is a summary of his involvement of the game he knows and loves.

The nickname ‘Bumble’ derives from his similarity to facial profile to Michael Bentine’s children’s TV characters THE BUMBLIES.

I caught up with him as he arrived for the third days play of the England-Pakistan Test match at Lords last Saturday. The home team were struggling. While he was signing my sketch I asked him if the English batsman would save the day he replied, “No show,” which proved correct.

Drawing: Danni Wyatt

Autographed drawing of cricketer Danni Wyatt

English all rounder Dannielle Wyatt made history in Canberra last week as England achieved the highest successful run chase in the history of Women’s T20 Internationals to beat Australia and draw the Ashes series. Her brilliant century, off just 57 balls was the first by an English women in T20’s. It included 13 fours and two sixes, winning her the player-of-the-match award. Chasing an impressive 178 by the hosts, England were quickly in trouble at 30/3, but ‘devastating Danni’ and captain Heather Knight put on a 139-run fourth-wicket partnership to set up the win and earn a 2-1 victory in the T20 matches and an 8-all draw in the overall series.

Twenty-six year-old Danni has been with the England team for the past seven years since her March 2010 debut in Mumbai. She was part the World Cup-winning national squad which beat India in the Final at Lords earlier this year. Her domestic T20 team, the Southern Vipers also reached the final of the Kia Super League in September, in Hove where she signed this drawing for me.

Drawing: Joe Root

ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTT is the battle chant for the popular and prolific Yorkshireman cricketer and New England captain Joe Root. And there was plenty of it on the opening day of the first test again South Africa at Lords yesterday. It was a ‘dream’ start to his captaincy, scoring a majestic unbeaten century on the hallowed slope at the home of cricket.

It was his 12th test ton and once again rescuing his side from a precarious position. After winning the toss and electing to bat, England were in early trouble at 17/2 when he came to the crease, slumping further to 74/4. But at the close of play, Joe was still there on 184, guiding his team to a satisfying 357/5. However it seems it’s not unusual for English captains on debut to score a century. Joe is the sixth to achieve the feat.

One of the truly nice guys in sport, Joe always has time for his numerous fans and he signed this sketch for me after the historic ODI match against Ireland at Lords last month.

Drawing: Lance Cairns

lance-cairns

“The method was identical,the timing was superb and the spectators at long-on are now an endangered species,” said Channel 9 commentator Frank Tyson, describing New Zealand’s crowd-pleasing Lance Cairns batting heroics against the old foe Australia at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground on a hot February afternoon in 1983. It was the final of the World Series Cup, Lance carried more of a wooden club than a bat, with cutaway shoulders and a massive blade, which became known as ‘Excalibur’ The veteran all-rounder hit six 6’s in ten balls, including a one-handed hit to the longest boundary in one of the world’s biggest sporting stadiums of the legendary Aussie quick Dennis Lillie. NZ may have lost the match and the series but few overseas players ever receive such sustained acclaim for a performance against the home side as Sir Lancelot did that day.

He probably didn’t hear much of it since he has been profoundly deaf since the age of 17, but I’m sure he was aware of the adulation that is still spoken about today. The following month back in NZ he hit the English spinners to all parts of the ground, including a gigantic six at the Basin Reserve in Wellington that cleared the inner-city ground and sailed down the street never to be seen again.

His bowling style was unique-an awkward wrong footed right arm ‘Harvey the helicopter’ delivery action that he thought was orthodox, but it produced big lethal medium quick in-swingers that harvested a lot of wickets. I have captured the just before release in this sketch which was part of a series of the best 11 NZ cricketers I did in 1991 and all signed through the mail for me. I have described the energetic biro technique before as the ‘epileptic expressionism’… more scribble than careful draftsmanship,  but as Jackson Pollock said “technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”

Drawing: Bert Sutcliffe

bert-sutcliffe

Back in the early 1990’s I did a series of NZ cricketers, essentially the best kiwi 11 that had played the game to that point. I adopted what could be best described as an ‘epileptic biro’ rendering technique, which only lasted momentarily. One of the first picked was Bert Sutcliffe, the legendary left-handed batsman who was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year for his outstanding achievements during their tour of England in 1949. He was later to be named as NZ Champion Sportsperson of the 1940’s Decade in 2000. However it was one particular innings that has engraved Bert into kiwi folklore.

It was Christmas Eve,1953 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. NZ was being routed by the South African fast bowler Neil Adcock on a very green wicket. Bert suffered a near fatal blow to the head and was taken to hospital. But he returned swathed in a large head bandage to continue his innings.It was an injury that would affect him for the rest of his life. He later said, “I must confess I was fortified to some extent by a generous helping of Scotland’s chief product… and I don’t mean porridge.”

Another sombre event affected the team that day. Back in NZ, 151 people lost their lives on the Overnight Express passenger train which was derailed when the Whangaehu river bridge collapsed at Tangiwai. NZ bowler Bob Blair’s fiance, Nerissa Love was one of them. He was too distraught to play, so stayed back at the hotel. When the ninth wicket fell, Bert was unbeaten and started to leave the field. Then Bob appeared, walking to the middle. 23,000 spectators fell silent, not a dry eye on or off the field.

It was one of the most poignant days in the history of sport and Bert’s words to the grieving youngster have been immortalized in what has been regarded as one of the defining chapters in NZ sport, “C’mon son this is no place for you. Let’s swing the bat at the ball and get out of here.” And that they did, putting on 33 in ten minutes before Bob was dismissed, leaving Bert on 80 not out. He passed away in 2001 at the age of 77.

Drawing: David Gower

david-gower

This David Gower caricature was the final cross-hatching experimentation in my series of English cricketers who toured New Zealand in  the summer of 1991/92.  Considered as one of the most stylish and prolific batsman that has ever played the game, ‘Lord Gower’ recorded an impressive First Class record, accumulating over 26,000 runs at an average of 40.08, including 53 centuries, 18 of which were scored in Test matches, including his top total of 215 against Australia at Edgbaston during the 1985 Ashes series.

The former England captain was described by Wisden as “fluffy haired, ethereal looking, who payed beautifully until the moment he made a mistake, but somehow the mistake was put off long enough for him to play an innings of unforgettable brilliance.” He was often criticised  by the media for being too laid back and nonchalant Peter Roebuck to remark “Gower ne’er moves, he drifts,” and France Edmonds in the Daily Express wrote,” it’s difficult to be more laid back without being actually comatose.”

These days he leads the Sky Sports commentary team in his usual stylish and relaxed manner.

Drawing: Graham Gooch

graham-gooch

Yesterday I posted a caricature of English cricketer and  prolific batsman Allan Lamb which he signed for me at the Basin Reserve in Wellington during the third test against New Zealand in February 1992. The captain of the England team on that very successful tour was the enigmatic Graham Gooch, the most prolific top-class run scorer of all time with 67,059 of them in a career that started  as a 19 year-old in 1973 for county side Essex until he retired in 1997.

Journalist Matthew Engel described him as the most “uninhibited belter of the cricket ball” in his ESPN Cricinfo bio. He book-ended his test-playing career with matches against the old Ashes foe, Australia-the first in Birmingham in the summer of 1975, the last in Perth twenty years later. In that time he played 118 tests, scoring 8,900 runs notching up twenty centuries with a top score of 333 against India at Lords in 1990.

For good measure he belted a second innings 123 for a total of 456 in the match. In 125 ODI’s he scored 4,290 runs including eight 100’s. For three years in the 1980’s he was banned from playing for England for leading the first rebel tour to South Africa, so imagine what his international run tally could have been.

I drew this caricature of ‘Goochie’ in my signature 80’s cross-hatching style and he obliged with his signature in between ball-belting at the Basin.