Robert Croft

Robert Croft

3 stars

  • Amassed Nearly 11,000 First Class Runs & Taken Nearly 1000 First Class Wickets

Robert Croft was born in Swansea on 25 May 1970. A Welsh patriot, Croft thinks of England as the British Lions. As an offspinner, he gives the ball less flight than he used to, but still possesses a deceptive arm ball. With the bat, he collects most of his runs with front-foot drives, but his back-foot play has improved since the Aussies roughed him up in 1997. Croft has fallen in and out with the selectors, and when he was dropped in 2000, he huffily declared he’d had enough anyway.

He was a fixture in England’s one-day side from the end of 1996 until the World Cup in 1999, and bowled with real guile during the Tests in New Zealand in 1996-97. But his confidence took a battering in 1997, and his career waned: the flight and turn virtually vanished, and his best moment came as a batsman, when he held South Africa at bay for more than three hours to save the Old Trafford Test in 1998. Croft tried to reinvent himself in 2000, but his new variations proved to be no more than gimmicks. He did nonetheless play a part in England’s success in Sri Lanka, replacing Ian Salisbury and forming an effective partnership with Ashley Giles.

But his career was effectively ended when he pulled out of England’s tour to India in November 2001 because of concerns over safety. Although he was picked to tour Sri Lanka in 2003-04, he sat out all three Tests and, shortly after returning home, he announced his retirement from international cricket, to enable him to concentrate full-time on the captaincy of his beloved Glamorgan. He has excelled: under his leadership, Glamorgan won the one-day league in 2004 and in the same year they returned to Division One of the Championship. Croft has led by example on and off the pitch and his appointment as captain has not diminished his consistent form with both bat and ball, having taken 122 wickets and scored 1451 runs in the last two championship campaigns. However, he stepped down as captain towards the end of the 2006 season, handing the reins to David Hemp.

“Crofty” has played in 21 Test matches and 50 One Day Internationals. He has amassed nearly 11,000 first class runs and taken nearly 1000 first class wickets. He is available for after dinner speaking and is excellent, reflecting on his wonderful cricketing career, including some great moments in his early days at Glamorgan with the great Viv Richards!