Jonny Bairstow: Celebrations

Since Jonny Bairstow injured himself in a pre match warm up, the result of which saw him sit out the 3rd ODI, T20 and first two test matches in Sri Lanka, he will have been agonising over his decision that day to participate in the fun pre-game football kickabout.

Football plays a big part in England’s warm up sessions, and the current players seem to get rather competitive in these games. They feel it goes beyond a warm up and is a fruitful source of ‘in jokes’, so important in the building of the team in the dressing room. To date, injuries sustained in pre match football which have prevented players from participating in matches have been rare. The ligament damage Bairstow sustained on this occasion set in motion a sequence of events that otherwise may have ended a career at the very moment it was looking likely to continue taking off on its staggering upward trajectory.

In the 3rd Test in Colombo, Jonny Bairstow scored his 6th Test hundred and celebrated in an interesting way. Interesting, in that his celebration was commented on in a host of different ways on radio, tv, and on social media. Was he angry, relieved, emotional, joyous or petulant? One journalist even used ‘gurning’ as a way of describing his facial expression after sweeping that single to bring up his remarkable hundred. So why the reaction that we saw on this occasion?

Consider the player. After the summer, his career was heading in a very positive direction. He had secured the role of England first choice wicket keeper and as one of the top ten batsmen in the world. His future was looking rosy, even though a number of exciting new understudy players had been included in this test squad. Then an injury sustained in an ODI warm up put him out of contention and opened the door for a young player to have an unscheduled opportunity. Very quickly, from being sure of his future in the side, a debut hundred from ‘keeper/batsman Ben Foakes and an impressive performance behind the stumps meant that literally overnight all attention had turned to the replacement Foakes as the exciting future behind the English stumps and in the middle order. A direct replacement for Bairstow, and he can play! How quickly fortunes change!

The injury Bairstow sustained might have been bad enough to keep him out of the game for months, but intensely hard work and access to the best rehabilitation meant that after just two test matches he was fit enough to be in contention for the third test match in Colombo. Over the course of the first two test matches, Bairstow had no choice but to sit and watch, helpless, as Foakes took his opportunities and impressed everyone. It is a ruthless cut-throat game at the top level, and Bairstow was now facing the reality that his career as England wicket keeper could possibly be being taken away from him right in front of his eyes. Fortunately, there has been a spot at number 3 going in the England test side. In this test, with injury to Sam Curran offering the fit again Bairstow the chance to come back into the side, he took his opportunity under great pressure, to score a magnificent hundred batting at 3.

Take into account the recent tragic loss of two of Bairstow’s friends, the relief that he had proven to himself, his teammates, the media and the wider cricketing public that England had just solved the long-running problem of a number 3. Throw in that he had just restarted his own career in a brand new role in the team. Undoubtedly, as Bairstow looked to the skies and let that roar of pure emotion pour out of him, his father and friends will have come firmly to mind. Under that pressure, after all that rehabilitation work, all that uncertainty over his future in the side, the scrutiny by the media over his ‘avoidable’ injury, the intense relief at proving himself, it is hardly surprising that the reaction we saw was as intense as it was. 

Dealing with batting for hours in the searing heat of Colombo, it showed someone who cares deeply, someone who had fought his demons, someone who was responsible for single-handedly rescuing his own career. Bairstow has, in a very short period of time, managed to alter his mindset at the highest possible level from ‘keeper/batsman to number 3 batsman. What a feat that is. Just how much mental and physical strength the last few weeks must have taken out of Bairstow we can only imagine. Well, actually, we can imagine – his celebration showed it all. Good on him.

A Leading Edge for Captains is now available from Amazon

Decisions Decisions #YouDecide

So there we have it, a week of captaincy decisions on A Leading Edge. We very much hope that you enjoyed thinking about what you might have done in these situations and come up with some solutions!

The aim of A Leading Edge is to encourage thinking about the game, to see a problem and to think about the different potential solutions for that problem. When you have the solutions, you can start thinking about the potential aftereffects of altering your plan and therefore weigh up the best decision to make.

Thank you very much for your comments and involvement in this week’s decision making. We are looking forward to studying the results over the coming week and it will be interesting to see what the decisions you made were.

If you would like to get involved, the posts are all still available on Twitter: @aleadingedge1, so please do have a look and make your decision!  The individual #YouDecide graphics are shown below.. Good luck!

We are putting our heads together to come up with the next initiative in interactive weeks of cricket captaincy! Watch this space!

A Week of Cricketing Decisions Ahead!

We thought it would be a good idea to put out a few cricketing scenarios and give you the opportunity to see what you might chose to do as captain. Throughout next week, from Monday 22nd October, we will be posing two scenarios a day on our Twitter page (@ALeadingEdge1). We will be asking you to make your decision on the best option in your opinion by either ‘sharing’ or liking the post to show which way you would chose to go as captain.

If you don’t already, follow us on Twitter at @AleadingEdge1  and join in the fun! There will be ten scenarios over the course of the week, two a day at 5:30pm and 9:30pm, with the first one coming up on Monday 22nd October.

Good luck!!


Announcement of Foreword Author – Caroline Atkins

Caroline Atkins

We are delighted to announce that former England cricketer Caroline Atkins has kindly agreed to write the foreword to A Leading Edge for Captains.

Caroline was part of the generation of England cricketers who did an enormous amount of work in developing the female sport and put the foundations in place for the growing success it has become today.

Caroline was a member of the successful England touring side who retained the Ashes in Australia in 2008. In the same year, Caroline broke a world record in scoring the highest ever women’s ODI partnership for any wicket of 268 with Sarah Taylor at Lord’s, contributing 145 runs. In the following year, Caroline was a member of the World Cup and the T20 World Championship winning England sides.

Caroline is currently employed by The Cricket Foundation as a Chance to Shine ambassador and coach.

We would like to thank Caroline for her time and encouragement in contributing to our book, and hope that you find her words as insightful and inspirational as we do.

Follow Caroline Atkins on Twitter: @cazatkins13

Press Release: Cricket – A Leading Edge for Captains

Wesley Durston & Patrick Latham are very pleased to share their press release for our book, Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains (12.10.18)


Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains

by Wesley Durston & Patrick Latham with foreword by Caroline Atkins (England)

Release date: Friday 12th October 2018

Pages: 156

Finish: Paperback

Size: A5

Pubisher: Amazon (Print on Demand)

Price: £9.99


Two former county cricketers turned cricket coaches have collaborated to write and illustrate their first book, in a brand new series under the title, ‘A Leading Edge’. Wesley Durston, (Millfield School, Somerset CCC and Derbyshire CCC) and Patrick Latham (Kimbolton School, Somerset 2nd XI & Cambridgeshire CCC), coach hockey and cricket at Oakham School in Rutland. Both still play club cricket for rival clubs in the smallest county in England, Oakham Town CC and Uppingham Town CC respectively.

The pair have worked throughout 2018 on their first book, which will be released through Amazon and as an eBook on 12th October. The book is a thought provoking look at the role of the captain and draws on the career experiences of the two authors, supported by written contributions from a range of current and past cricket captains, coaches and umpires which appear throughout the book. ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ will be officially launched on Saturday 13th October at Compton Dundon Cricket Club’s 60th anniversary dinner, where Wesley has been invited to talk about his life after professional cricket.

This exciting new book is aimed at younger players who want to learn more about the finer points of the game, but there is plenty inside for the club player or young professional looking to improve their understanding of cricket, learning from the professional’s point of view.

“We have been fortunate to be helped by some experienced cricketers, including foreword by Caroline Atkins (Durham MCCU & England), and quotes from Tom Abell (Somerset), Rob Bailey (Northamptonshire), Ed Young (Gloucestershire), Wayne Madsen (Derbyshire), Dean Hodgson (Gloucestershire) and Alec Swann (Northamptonshire/Lancashire) amongst others, who have all been kind enough to contribute their personal thoughts and stories on cricket captaincy”. PL

Including illustrations by Patrick and running to over 150 pages, this paperback is the first in a series of ‘A Leading Edge’ books. With writing already underway for the second book, ‘Cricket: A Leading Edge for Bowlers’, and plans for similar books for batters and fielders in the pipeline, Wesley and Patrick have found a niche for a new type of cricket book which explains the previously unwritten side of the coaching of the ‘game’ rather than just cricketing skills. Touching on topics such as formulating a plan, setting a field for different bowlers/situations/conditions, making tough decisions, spotting clues from the batter to inform your plan and communication with players on and off the field, this book is a must read, not just for aspiring leaders, but anyone who wants to develop their understanding of the game of cricket.   e:

Twitter: @aleadingedge1   #aleadingedge

Book Release: Date Announced

After 7 months of writing, editing, re-writing, reconnecting with old friends, printing, red pen, photography, illustration, re-editing, drafts, versions 1-100 and plenty of tinkering.. We are ready to go!

Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains will be released on Friday 12th August as an ebook and officially lanuched at Compton Dundon Cricket Club when Wes talks at the club’s 60th anniversary dinner on 13th October.

The whole process of getting a book from a pile of pieces of blank paper has been very enjoyable and Wes and Patrick would like to offer their many thanks to the people who have kindly taken the time to make their wonderful contributions to the book, which we know will make all the difference to the readers, allowing young players an insight into the mind of 1st class, minor county, club, district and school captains from all over the world! To all of our contributors, thank you very much indeed.

We have one final annoucement to make regarding the foreword, but that can wait a few days! One can’t have everything at once!!          @aleadingedge1          #aleadingedge

The Finishing Touches

After a couple of weeks of red ink, changes, more ink of various colours and more changes, additions and improvements, we find ourselves on the brink of being able to bring you our new book, Cricket – A Leading Edge for Captains.

We have been collecting wonderful contributions from current and past captains, umpires and coaches which help us to illustrate some of the aspects of the job of captaincy that we cover in the book. For these contributions we are hugely grateful. It has been a great experience for us to read through these comments and get an insight into the minds of some of the best captains we have played with and against over our careers. We are very excited about bringing them to you inside this book.

We are very nearly in a position to give you a release date, so keep watching on social media (Facebook & Twitter) and on our web site here, for more information.


Leading Edge Free Sample Downloads

We are nearly there.. A week or so of final edits and then we will be ready to go! We are very excited to be bringing you this book, which we hope will be read by cricketers young and old, girls and boys of all ages and talked about in dressing rooms up and down the country!

As we build up to our release date in October, we wanted to make available a few sections from the book which you might find useful. We will also be making a section of the book available for free download so you can see where we are coming from with A Leading Edge for Captains.

We are very grateful to the captains of cricket teams, umpires and coaches from around the world who have been kind enough to share their thoughts on captaincy which will be included in the book. It has been a great exercise to find out the advice and thoughts on captaincy which captains with experience consider important to pass on to younger players. We hope you also enjoy reading their words which you will find sprinkled throughout the book!

We intend this to be the first in a series of ‘Leading Edge’ books and have started with the initial planning for the next edition, ‘A Leading Edge for Bowlers’!

In the meantime, please find here a few pages which we hope you find useful!

Welcome to A Leading Edge!

We are two cricketers, collaborating with the aim of sharing our knowledge & understanding of cricket, in thought provoking & inspirational publications.
Our first book, Cricket Captaincy for Aspirational Leaders (working title), is well underway.
Welcome to A Leading Edge
Wesley Durston & Patrick Latham