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