No 17: John Price and the art of the run-up

Shane Warne with his measured, menacing approach, Bob Willis and his wildly flailing arms, Mushtaq Ahmed with his “double-whirl”, and Asif Masood with his bent-kneed approach that John Arlott famously compared to Groucho Marx pursuing a waitress, all memorable bowlers.

They pale into insignificance, however, when one’s earliest exposure to top class cricket was UK TV coverage in the early 1970s and the thing of beauty that was John Price. Whether it was his appearances in the 1972 Ashes, or just a run-of-the-mill John Player League Sunday game, the sight of his run-up made me, as a young boy rush out and copy it every time he played the game.

Starting at somewhere around mid-off (who presumably needed to field a bit closer than normal to avoid being an obstruction), Price described a beautiful arc as he approached the wicket, only straightening up in the last few strides. If the TV camera was quite well zoomed in, you would wonder where the bowler was, only for him to pop into shot as he straightened up in the final approach.

Whilst most bowlers now carry tape measures to mark out a run pre-match, presumably Price used an enormous compass for the same task.

Internet footage of Price remains elusive, though whilst searching I have viewed footage of many other games from the same era & I wonder if it was a coaching point in the 1970s, to have an angled run up? Ken Shuttleworth of Lancashire seemed to have an exaggerated approach, and others such as Geoff Arnold too.

Memory tells me that JSE Price of Middlesex and England was the finest exponent of the art though.

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One thought on “No 17: John Price and the art of the run-up

  1. I like to remember Michael Holding’s approach to the wicket and as a schoolboy I emulated it. Brett Lee’s leap isn’t bad either. On the other hand, let’s not forget Max Walker who was the antithesis of smooth with his wrong footed delivery stride.

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