10:09am Wednesday 11th May 2011
By Matt Donlan
SURREY batsman Michael Brown returned to his roots on Saturday as he turned out for Burnley CC in the Lancashire League against Rishton.
Yet instead of celebrating the fact that a player who has carved out a decade-long county career chose not to forget his roots and play for his club some people insist he should not be allowed to grace the Lancashire League.
Quite frankly that is an opinion that I do not understand.
Surely if a player like Brown – who, don’t forget is also Burnley CC chairman – wants to play, that can only generate good publicity for the league – and surely if county players are turning out for their home clubs, that can only be a good thing when league cricket faces a constant battle against so many other sports and changing lifestyles.
I’d love to see all the county players from the Lancashire League, Brown, his brother David, Keith Barker, Lee Daggett, Jon Clare, John Simpson and, of course, James Anderson, play a game a season for their clubs.
It is unlikely to happen – but it would be great.
Burnley do have a majority there – but just imagine if they were to field a side containing two Browns, Clare and Anderson. And just imagine if the side they were playing fielded a young team.
How much would those kids take from that experience? If they lost they would learn – if they won they would dine out on it for years.
Thanks to the quality of professionals over the years the Lancashire League is special. You get club players in the same team and up against top internationals.
There is no sport like it. With some of the big name professionals it is akin to a West Lancs League footballer turning out alongside Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes.
The Lancashire League is special and rather than dissuading players like Brown from playing, they should be positively encouraged to get and stay involved.
So what if they take the place of another player. That player drops into the seconds and that means the standard of that team is raised.
People – including this columnist – criticise sportsmen for forgetting their roots.
Brown has proved he cares about his roots. He has done that by taking on the often poisoned chalice of becoming a chairman - and by playing he is only adding to his commitment.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group