The 10th ICC World Cup competition begins on the sub-continent on Saturday. Nottinghamshire’s Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have been included in the England squad, continuing the county’s strong representation in this tournament.
Whilst it is the off-spinner's first 50-over World Cup Stuart made one appearance four years ago when the event was staged in the Caribbean. Still a Leicestershire player at the time, he was summoned as a late replacement into the 15 man squad, when Gloucestershire’s Jon Lewis had to withdraw just prior to the opening match.
By the time Stuart was given his only run-out, both England and the West Indies had been eliminated from the competition and their Super Eight match in Bridgetown was effectively a dead-rubber.
Nevertheless, it provided the most exciting finish of the entire tournament and signalled the end of Brian Lara’s international career after 299 ODI’s.
‘Broady’ didn’t take a wicket but he did play a key part in the one wicket victory as England chased down an unlikely victory target of 301. His first involvement was to hang on to a Chris Gayle catch off Andrew Flintoff’s bowling, when the opener was threatening to run riot with a hard-hitting 79 off just 58 deliveries.
The drama continued right up to the final over when England’s last pair (Broad and Jimmy Anderson) needed to score 3 runs from four balls and Stuart managed to lift Dwayne Bravo over the infield to win it with one ball remaining to score one of the best 5 not outs he’ll ever register.
Despite the late heroics, Gayle’s explosion and Lara’s farewell it was another man with Nottinghamshire connections - Kevin Pietersen – who took the Man of the Match Award for scoring exactly 100 in the run chase. KP is also selected this year, of course.
With several of the previous tournaments having taken place during the English winter it’s easier to mention players with Trent Bridge connections rather than lay claim to them as actually being Notts’ cricketers at the time of the event.
A cursory scan at previous events would find lots of names which have become familiar to West Bridgford cricket watchers down the years though.
The West Indies won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979, with Deryck Murray keeping wicket to their battery of quick bowlers on both occasions. The Trinidadian had spent four seasons at TB between 1966 and 1969 and both Jimmy Adams (196 and 1999) and Vasbert Drakes (2003) would have enjoyed some support from Nottingham when they appeared in the Finals.
David Hussey seems to have been a part of Australia’s 50 over side for almost a decade but the reality is that he made his debut as recently as 2008 so will be making his tournament debut this time around.
The Notts’ dressing room has enjoyed the company of many splendid Australians over the years but strangely it’s a select group of just one that can claim to have played for the county and for their country in a World Cup. Paul Reiffel was a member of the defeated Aussie side that played in the 1996 Final against Sri Lanka but brought he curtains down on his international career after the ’99 Final when he took 1-28 from his ten overs in the comfortable win over Pakistan. ‘Pistol’ played briefly for us in 2000 and is now a well-respected international umpire.
Hashim Amla, who played four LV= County Championship matches for us in 2010 is in the South Africa squad this time. An appearance would see him match Steve Elworthy (99), Nicky Boje (99 and 03), Lance Klusener (99 and 03) and Ashwell Prince (07) who have also played for the Proteas and us.
Pakistan have one entrant into this ‘county and country’ club with Younis Khan (Notts in 2005) taking part in his third consecutive Finals and Paul Strang (96 and 99 World Cups) repeating the honour for Zimbabwe.
Kevin O’Brien sprang to prominence with his performances in the tournament four years ago for Ireland and despite only making a handful of appearances for Notts two years ago he’ll be hoping to impress again on the big stage over the next few weeks.
Current Nottinghamshire Player of the Season, Andre Adams, appeared for New Zealand in the 2003 World Cup, playing in seven matches and winning the Man of the Match Award against the West Indies in Port Elizabeth. A typically belligerent 35 not out (24 balls 2 sixes) was followed up by figures of 4-44 and a direct hit for a run out.
Also playing in that tournament with links to TB were Chri s Cairns (92, 96, 99 and 03 Finals), Stephen Fleming (96, 99 and 03) and Daniel Vettori (99, 03, 07 and this year). Both Sir Richard Hadlee (75, 79 and 83) and Nathan Astle (96 and 99) complete the Kiwi contingent.
Finally, it’s back to England and their Notts’ men who have featured in previous tournaments. Derek Randall played in the Final of 1979, making 15 before being bowled by Colin Croft.
When England next reached the Final – in 1987 – it was a toss up as to which of the Nottinghamshire openers would partner Graham Gooch at the top of the order. Chris Broad played in the first three matches of the tournament, scoring 3, 36 and 28. Tim Robinson was then installed for the remaining 5 matches and brought up scores of 16, 13, 55, 13 and then a first ball duck in the Final loss to Australia.
In the same tournament spinner Eddie Hemmings took 4-52 in the semi final win over India and 2-48 in the Final.
England’s third defeat in the Final came in 1992 and Chris Lewis – just prior to his move to Nottingham - played in nine of England’s ten matches, but returned relatively modest figures with a top score of 33 and wicket haul of just 7.
Two other Notts / England links come via Mike Hendrick – still a Derbyshire player when he appeared in the 1979 Final – and Mark Ealham, a member of David Lloyd’s under-performing squad in 1999.
So lots of Nottinghamshire representation in the previous tournaments but wouldn’t it be great if this time around England could build on the success of last years ICC Twenty20 World Finals by winning their first 50-over crown?
Good luck to Stuart, Graeme and the rest of Andy Flowers’ squad!
Dave Bracegirdle provides ball-by-ball commentary at all of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship matches on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham.