These (cricket) boots are made for walking

Physical fitness is a big issue for cricketers and an area of changing attitudes over the years, from the rotund pipe smoking gents of yesteryear to the gym bunnies of today.  Not that all old days cricketers was oblivious to fitness, Tom Richardson was a fast bowler renown for his fitness and stamina in his prime.  He used to walk from home to the Oval each day to help him keep fit – 14 miles!  He did it carrying his kit bag too.  It kept him slender in his youth but I’m not sure the long-term effects were positive, he retired in 1905 in his early 30s over weight and suffering from bad rheumatism.

Tom Richardson

A slender Tom Richardson who kept in shape by walking 14 miles each day.

(Read more about Tom Richardson in ‘Beyond Bat & Ball: Eleven Intimate Portraits’ by David Foot.  Available in the MCC Library).

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2 Comments

Filed under Cricket, cricket grounds, fitness, History

2 responses to “These (cricket) boots are made for walking

  1. Sybil Ryalls

    That seems to be a problem with extreme fitness – you have to keep it up, or you end up suffering. 14 miles every day seems a bit extreme!

  2. Incorporating fitness into your daily life would have been a fairly good way of building durability, alas the same cannot be said of the medicine of the time. Perhaps it is more the method by which modern players should train. Maybe get accommodation a few kilometres away from the ground and walk to matches.

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