Cricket insight at Lancashire media day

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LJMU Sports Journalism students with England cricket legend James Anderson. Pic © JMU Journalism

The Premier League may be reaching its exciting climax, with Liverpool fans on the edge of their seats, but the cricket season is underway.

“Following on” from the successful Test Match visit to Lord’s last year, LJMU Sports Journalism students made their presence felt at the home of cricket in the North West – the other Old Trafford.

Traditionally before the start of each season, the county cricket clubs stage a media day, whereby the press and broadcasters are invited along to interview the players about their hopes and fears for the new campaign.

This was a great opportunity for Level 4 students Andy Lott, Michael Grimes and Paddy Allen, alongside Josh Brain from Level 5 (a veteran of the Lord’s trip) to not only observe what went on, and see the mainstream media at work, but to get stuck in themselves and that’s exactly what they did, with aplomb.

They all handled themselves impressively, with exclusive access to an England player in Keaton Jennings, and the Director of Cricket, Paul Allott.

After a difficult winter, Jennings is fighting for his international career and the students quizzed him on his challenges in a professional and respectful manner, getting the best out of him by nudging him to expand on his struggles and setbacks.

Twitter: Josh Brain

He was put on the spot in the right way, and it was also interesting to get his perspective on answering tough questions when under scrutiny, to get his take on player-media relations.

Director of Cricket Allott, the former Lancashire and England pace bowler and Sky commentator, gave a good administrative outlook and was pushed on the very future of the game amid uncertain and groundbreaking times to re-vamp interest and quality.

He knew he was being quizzed by students, but he still wanted to check if he was “on the record” – a telling quip and lesson to budding sports reporters too, from a professional practice and ethical point of view.

YouTube: Lancashire Cricket Club

It was not all about interview access, as we observed all the team photo shots, and because of all the formats, there were several changes of kit for the benefit of photographers and the TV crews, so it involved a lot of waiting around, but you still have to be prepared and on the ball.

The students made good use of the time, and showed a good aptitude with the demands of sports reporting today, constantly reporting updates on social media on their experiences, and that was a useful working brief in itself.

Sports journalists do not – or should bot – report as “fans with lap tops”, but even at the very highest level chances to share the best moments with players never go amiss, so no apologies for the Jimmy Anderson selfie amid all that the snaps taken.

This was the “shot of the day”, with the best England bowler of all time getting ready for the new season, which is going to be massive for English cricket, with the World Cup and the Ashes on home soil, and Old Trafford being part of it all.

Because of World Cup commitments, Lancashire will play first class cricket in Liverpool at Aigburth, with a four-day game against Leicestershire.

Twitter: Josh Brain

Twitter: Michael Grimes

Twitter: Pete Leydon

Twitter: Andy Lott

About Tim Abraham, JMU Journalism