A1GP Drivers Bowled Over in Cricket International
In the build up to this weekend’s A1GP season finale at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, Great Britain, drivers from 10 different nations took part in a friendly cricket match against a selection of academy players at the Kent County Cricket Club Ground in Beckenham on Thursday morning (1 May).
|A1GP point leader Neel Jani swings and misses|
After a welcome from Ken Slater, manager of the Beckenham ground, a leafy suburb in South East London, the drivers got to grips with the kit in the dressing room before proceeding to the pitch for a briefing with the Kent players.
Once all 13 drivers were warmed up and familiar with the rules of cricket, the captains of the opposing teams took to the pitch to perform the traditional coin toss at the wicket. James Butterfill, the captain of the Kent side, won the toss and decided to bat first to take advantage of the temporarily dry weather conditions.
After a short break for morning tea in the pavilion while rain suspended play, the A1GP drivers took to the crease to bat, chasing Kent’s score of 48 runs.
Home nation GBR’s Robbie Kerr, captain of the A1GP squad, opened the batting for his team in damp and slippery conditions. Kerr was the highest scoring driver, notching up a total of eight runs, supported by British rookie James Winslow, who impressed the opposition when he hit a ball for six over the boundary.
Despite some enthusiastic fielding from USA’s Jonathan Summerton and energetic wicket keeping by Lebanon’s Khalil Beschir, the Kent side managed to beat the A1GP All Stars by one run. The final score was 48-47.
Switzerland’s Neel Jani, who is battling with New Zealand’s Jonny Reid for the A1GP championship honors this weekend, reflected on the morning’s play:
‘It was fun to do something different and new. The weather was very British! The bowling was pretty hard because you’re not allowed to bend your arm and I didn’t know that, so it was very hard to hit the target. Then when we were batting I couldn’t really see the ball but in the end I still got four runs.’
Reid, who has played a bit of beach cricket back home in New Zealand, said:
‘It was more a competition of who could stay on their feet on the wet grass but it was enjoyable to work together as a team. There was one opportunity I had to catch the ball but it was coming much too fast and I realized that I needed my hands for Brands Hatch so I took the safest option which was not to catch it! The batting was cool - I didn’t hit any fours or sixes and I didn’t set the world alight, but it was fun.’
A1GP title contenders Switzerland’s Neel Jani and New Zealand’s Jonny Reid took part along with Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr and rookie James Winslow, plus Ireland’s Adam Carroll, Indian duo Narain Karthikeyan and Parthiva Sureshwaren and Pakistan’s Adam Khan. Also taking part was South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg, Australia’s John Martin and USA’s Jonathan Summerton, plus Lebanon’s Khalil Beschir and Swiss rookie Alexandre Imperatori.
All 22 nations competing in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport are now gearing up for the final round of the thrilling third season of competition, which takes place at the historic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent this weekend (2-4 May).