Cricket in the ‘80s was about ‘fun, joy and self-expression, not the endless and often futile quest for self-improvement’ writes Felsted’s most capped England Test cricketer, Derek Pringle, in his first published memoir ‘Pushing the Boundaries - Cricket in the Eighties’.
Cricket has changed substantially over the last 35 years says Derek Pringle. “My county Essex were a coach-free zone, but were the best team of that decade,” he says. “Now players can’t move for coaches, which makes it a more prescriptive environment in which to develop.”
But coaches certainly do have a role to play he adds. “Coaching can play an important role during a player’s formative years and I thank the good fortune of having Gordon Barker coach me at Felsted. His influence is beyond the scope of this book, being mostly about the cricket culture of the 1980s, but John Stephenson, Nick Knight and I would all acknowledge the debt we owe him in being selected to play for Essex and England.”
Derek received his England call-up while captain of Cambridge University in 1982 and went on to play 30 Tests, 44 One Day Internationals, and two World Cups. A member of the successful Essex sides of the 1980s and early 1990s alongside Graham Gooch, Mark Waugh, Nasser Hussain, John Lever and Neil Foster, he helped Essex to victory in the county championships five times.
Recalling the 1980s era of cricket for ‘Pushing the Boundaries - Cricket in the Eighties’ was an enjoyable task for former Felstedian, Derek, who was at the senior school between 1974-77.
The book, published last November, has garnered excellent reviews from publications as diverse as The Times and Country Life. Writing in the Telegraph just before Christmas, Simon Briggs named it as his sports biography of the year.
Derek admits that he enjoyed writing it. “Who doesn’t enjoy a self-indulgent trawl through one’s past?” Derek asks. “What is fascinating during the process is how the mind constructs memories that don’t always withstand closer scrutiny. I had to reassess several incidents I’d long held as truths.”
OFs may claim a 40% discount on the hardback edition of ‘Pushing the Boundaries – Cricket in the Eighties’ by Derek Pringle. To buy it for £12, telephone 01235 827702 by 31 March 2019, quoting PRINGLE40. UK post and packing is free of charge.