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Review: An Audience With… Allan Lamb
Sport online editor Nicola Kenton was in attendance at the Bramall as former England captain Allan Lamb spoke about his career and all things cricket
The Bramall made for an intimate setting for An Audience with Allan Lamb as the former England cricketer took to the stage in a relaxed atmosphere to warm applause. There was a chair for the Wisden cricketer of the year 1981, but he was much more comfortable walking around the stage and weaving audience-asked questions into the stories he had already planned to tell.
The evening started with Lamb still sporting his relatively strong South African accent and speaking of how he came to England and ended up playing for Northamptonshire. 'When I arrived in England as a twenty-four year old, cricket here was a completely different experience to that in South Africa - in England we continued to play in the rain on a wet wicket!' After signing for Northants and Western Province, Lamb was eventually called up to England at the age of 28 and in his career played alongside well-known names such as Ian Botham, Bob Willis, David Gower and Graham Gooch.
Lamb qualified to play for England due to his British-born parents and it took four years from when he signed for Northants to earn his first cap. Once he came to England, the aim was always to play for his adopted home nation. At the time, South Africa was banned from international sport because of the apartheid regime and Lamb considers himself lucky that he was able to qualify for England. Some questions pondered whether Lamb felt English when he got called up and how he fitted into the team, but he recalled that after some discussions with Botham and Willis in his first tour, he felt settled and accepted.
“The discussion of the new T20 tournament turned to its possible flaws and benefits
In his ten-year England career, which lasted until the age of 38, Lamb competed in many test series in Australia, India and the West Indies and described some of the conditions that he faced. Sledging was a key part of those tours in Australia and stories of the feasts and late nights, some of which were splashed across the newspapers here, were re-told albeit with the emphasis that some stories in the press had been exaggerated.
Some of the other topics that Lamb covered included the characters in the dressing room, England captains he played under and friendships he formed. Speaking of cricket now, Lamb described how the game had moved on with the introduction of dieticians and coaches; and the discussion of the new T20 tournament turned to its possible flaws and benefits. There was also debate on the number 3 spot and the current England side, as well as whether England is too focussed on the one-day game instead of test matches.
The many cricket fans in attendance were treated to a relaxing evening of constant conversation. Lamb was a great host, he had certain topics that he wanted to talk about but answered every question that was put to him and always addressed those who asked the question. The more intimate setting meant that it felt as though you were having an informal chat with Lamb instead of watching him answer pre-prepared questions. The great insight he provided, along side humorous anecdotes meant that it was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable evening at the Bramall.
More events such as this can be found on the Bramall's website: https://thebramall.co.uk/