Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

When Denis Compton was fetched a drink by Prime Minister John Major

England''Denis Compton was a charismatic cricketer © Getty Images
England’ Denis Compton was a charismatic cricketer © Getty Images

Denis Compton had charisma that is almost unrivalled in cricketers before or since. Arunabha Sengupta recounts the day when the Prime Minister of Britain was seen fetching a drink for this legendary England and Middlesex master.


There are a few select cricketers whose followers cover the entire cross-section of the populace with uniformity bordering on the magical. There is something about them that fires up starry-eyed admiration as well as heavy dollops of affection – equally distributed amongst the schoolboy who sits in the stands in fervent worship of his hero as well as in the noble hearts of the great men walking along the sombre paths of all that is important in the world.


And even among this exclusive club of cricketers, Denis Compton enjoyed a shrine dedicated in his honour.


It was January 1994.The memorial service for Brian Johnston, the legendary commentator, was underway at the Westminster Abbey. Colleagues, cricketers and luminaries from all walks of life had assembled to pay respects to the voice that had brought smile and cheer to thousands of homes in England and beyond.


Reaching the ceremony somewhat late, cricket writer Tim Heald saw the aging – yet evergreen and debonair – Compton standing as the centre of attraction even in the glamorous ensemble.


However, there was something amiss. The Middlesex legend uncharacteristically did not have a glass in hand. Heald hastened to rectify this flaw in the order of nature.


On approaching the great man, the writer asked if he could get him a drink. The response was an impish grin followed by a wave of the hand. “No thanks old boy,” he answered. “The Prime Minister’s getting me one.”


And so he was. A few seconds later, Heald spotted John Major himself approaching the maestro with a glass of red wine.


The charisma of Compton had no parallel.


When he himself passed away three years later, his memorial service was once again held at the Abbey. Denis Silk, cricketer, schoolmaster, and the finest after-dinner speaker in London, observed, “In the last few weeks of his life a comet appeared in the sky over Britain. It is said to appear every four thousand years. Well, Compo was a comet in his own right, and we must all pray that it isn’t another four thousand years before we see another like him.”


As they say in cricket – it is a tough ask.


(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah


Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014  at Sharjah

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts


Delhi vs Bangalore match 2, IPL 2014 at Sharjah


Video Highlights: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders wickets

IPL Statistics and Records: IPL’s First

IPL 2014: Umpire Camera View creates latest buzz in tournament

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

BCCI Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga MS Dhoni Mumbai Indians Royal Challengers Bangalore Virat Kohli

Pakistan Cricket Board bring out strict eligibility rules for appointing coaches

Peter Moores set to become England coach

IPL 2014: Anjinkya Rahane says he was confident of overhauling Sunrisers Hyderabad’s target

Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014, Match 6 Preview: Delhi search for first win

Rajasthan Royals open their IPL 2014 campaign with a nervy 4-wicket over Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Kings XI Punjab’s local talent gives them an added dimension in IPL 2014

Former Australia PM Robert Menzies used cricket to win a case as a lawyer

Naoomal Jaoomal: The man who opened batting in India’s first ever Test

Sony launches ‘IPL Smart Earphone’ to filter crap commentary; calls endeavour CSR

Fan of the Day

Sudatta Mukherjee

Sudatta Mukherjee

1 Posts | 0 Fans

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014 Video Highlights

CUPS, a mobile application for unlimited coffee, launched

6.9-earthquake off PNG Bougainville: USGS

RR vs SRH, IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals win by 4 wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad

11 possible causes of coughing up blood

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR), Score Update: Rajasthan win by 4 wickets

Why is Boman Irani happy for Jolly LLB’s National Film Award?

Kumar Vishwas booked in Amethi

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom’s camera sample surfaces online

Also on