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Gary Lineker scores one against Germany in a final

Gary Lineker was also a competent cricketer © Getty Images
Gary Lineker was also a competent cricketer © Getty Images

Gary Lineker was obviously one of the champions of football, but he graced the sport of cricket as well. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the occasion when the man scored against Germany in a final on July 17, 1992.

Had Gary Lineker not played his best days as a footballer (he did a rather good job of it, including winning the Golden Boot in 1986 World Cup), he would have made a competent cricketer as well. A right-handed batsman who bowled gentle medium-paced bowling and also kept wickets, Lineker played five recorded matches. Three of them were for Sir JP Getty’s XI (the first against I Zingari, the other two against Arabs — all at Wormsley), while another came for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against The Forty Club at Beckenham.

However, it is the other match that is the topic of the article. The European Cricketer Cup, 1992 had involved some bizarre entries like Austria, Belgium, France, Malta, Germany, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. France and Germany made it to the final, which the latter won — nearly three weeks after their footballers had lost 0-2 against Denmark in Euro 1992 Final at Gothenburg.

According to the rules, the champion side had to take on MCC for what was called the “Winners Match” — a one-day, one-innings match to be played at Lord’s (no less). MCC was led by Roger Knight, had a star in the form of Roland Butcher, had somehow managed to acquire Ken Rutherford, and had also included Lineker.

MCC pile up the runs

Rutherford and Bob Crooke set about scoring the runs, and the Germans (who were basically a team of expatriates from the Indian subcontinent) were left clueless as they added 138, Rutherford falling for 87 while Crooke got 63. Butcher then joined in the fun and took the score to 246 along with F Brooks, and Lineker emerged at the fall of the third wicket.

Unfortunately, Lineker was caught by G Stevens off P Zaidi for a solitary run. Butcher hit a few lusty blows, and Knight declared with the score on 289 for six after 47.1 overs, leaving the tourists to bat out 53 overs for a draw or score 290 to win it. Sanjeev Taneja finished with four for 84, albeit off 14 overs.

Bin Jung and Bhatti save match

Germany were off to a good start with Amir Bin Jung (52) and Abdul Salam Bhatti taking the score to 56 for one. Then they collapsed, and were left reeling at 98 for five (Lineker caught Taneja off Christopher Brown. This brought Abdul Hamid Bhatti (brother of Abdul Salam Bhatti) to join T Rathor. Bhatti (57) batted with confidence, but Crooke triggered a mini-collapse, removing three wickets (including Bhatti’s).

G Newton and P Sahi played out a few anxious moments as Germany batted out the full 53 overs and finished on 180 for nine, managing to draw the match.

Brief scores:

Marylebone Cricket Club 289 for 6 decl. (Ken Rutherford 87, Roland Butcher 68, Bob Crooke 63; Sanjeev Taneja 4 for 84) drew with Germany 180 for 9 (Abdul Hamid Bhatti 57, Amir Bin Jung 52; Bob Cooke 3 for 10).

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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