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Author Topic: Murray Goodwin  (Read 9667 times)

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Murray Goodwin
« on: September 11, 2012, 08:13:38 AM »

Interesting from CMJ - note the Tim Keeley love in (and backhander from Sachin too)...
Departing Goodwin was usually a cut above the rest for Sussex

The former Zimbabwe batsman has been a key contributor to the countys recent glories, writes Christopher Martin-Jenkins

An irritating Australianism has gradually become fashionable in relation to one of crickets most poetic strokes, the late cut. Nasser Hussain, normally so excellent a TV commentator and such a skilful interpreter of the games strategy and psychology, is the son of a respected batting coach. I am quite certain that Joe Hussain would never, like his temporarily misguided son, have called a late cut a back cut.

Anyway, believe me, no player of recent vintage has played it half so well as Murray Goodwin, who has lost his gift this season and is, perforce, saying farewell to Sussex, where he has performed like a priceless secretary to a highly successful Cabinet, year after year.

Rather touchingly, and very unusually, Goodwin ascribes some of his ability to hit the ball harder than anyone of his official 5ft 9in he looks smaller to his bat manufacturer, the local Sussex firm of Newbery. It is a rare case of a good workman praising his tools. Ask another powerful small man, Sachin Tendulkar, about Newbery bats and he would have to reply no comment. Other names adorn his blades.

Good bats have helped, naturally, but it is skill, timing, earnest practice and being brought up on hard pitches that have enabled Muzza to guillotine almost any ball pitched short and wide of his off stump with a crisp vigour that would have made Madame Defarge purr with vengeful pleasure. There has been no better cutter since Clive Radley, another who understood that a cut is a shot played as if by someone chopping wood, not like a tennis player hitting a passing shot, racket parallel to the ground.

All for the good life once the stumps were drawn, Goodwin has been almost as influential in Sussexs years of plenty as the genius leg spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed. In 12 seasons at the club he scored 24,000 runs in all formats, 14,500 of them in first-class cricket. He helped them to win the County Championship in 2003, 2006 and 2007, the C&G Trophy in 2006, the Pro 40 in 2008 he hit a six off the final ball of the match and the Twenty20 a season later. The full house.

Goodwin is a grade two-qualified coach but will play for another county next year if offers are forthcoming, as no doubt they will be. Sussex felt they could no longer justify paying him the value of three junior salaries.

For strong first division clubs especially, the balance between experience and proven quality on one hand and callow promise emerging from assiduous junior development schemes like those at Sussex is a delicate one to strike.

Sussexs admirable professional cricket manager, Mark Robinson, got carried away when he mentioned Goodwin in the same breath as past heroes such as Fry, Ranji, Duleep and Dexter but he has recognised Goodwins fading powers with chagrin and knows how hard he will be to replace.

He was never the flashiest of overseas batsmen, but an average of 42.84 from 19 Tests for his original homeland, Zimbabwe, revealed the nuggetty quality. He saved a Test at Trent Bridge in 2000 with an innings of 148 not out, thriving, as always, on short-pitched bowling. In Western Australia, where his father, a sports journalist, made his living, he never quite fulfilled the promise that earned him a place at the celebrated Cricket Academy.

Famously, he told the Sussex huddle on the warm, slightly misty September morning in 2003 that the championship was finally won: Sorry mates but Im going to hit the winning runs. A few hours later he hit the runs that earned the vital bonus point.

When Sussex declared, sated except for Goodwin, the model technician and pocket dynamo was 335 not out. Over to the bowlers for the coup de grce, tirelessly and noisily supported by Goodwin, somewhere in the sort of area either side of the wicket that defied batsmen to risk a quick single.
"Bradman didn't used to have any trigger movements or anything like that. He turned batting into a subconscious act" Tony Shillinglaw.

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