The More Things Change...

Brian Brain was a seam bowler who played county cricket, for Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, from 1959 until 1981. Just before he finished playing he published a diary - Another Day, Another Match - about Gloucestershire's 1980 season, and his part in it. It is a fine book, recording the life and opinions of a county journeyman who had begun his career in a time that now seems like something from cricketing pre-history, and it laid the ground for similar publications which came later, such as Peter Roebuck's It Never Rains, published in 1984, Eight Days a Week, by Jonathan Agnew (1988), and Ed Smith's On and Off the Field (2004).

In May 1980 he wrote this:

I've yet to see a bad South African cricketer over here. It must be a combination of learning the game on good wickets, strength of character, competitive instinct and natural ability.

Brain was writing with Allan Lamb in mind, and also his colleague Mike Procter, but his summary of what makes South African-raised cricketers good still holds true today for the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb.

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