Thompson still didn’t get it. "We will need to continue to work closely with our medical team and government to ensure that our return to training and play activities are in line with best-practice guidelines. “I think I did everything I could. There were times the groundsman had to kick him out because he wanted to lock up, and even then Thompson would beg him for an extra 20 minutes in the nets. I was living my best life.”, I can tell you the reason you weren’t signed wasn’t that you weren’t good enough, but because of the colour of your skin. It represents the historic county of Surrey, including areas that now form South London. “This guy drops the catch and everyone starts laughing, and he turns to me and says: ‘You look like you’ve just come from robbing a car, I better mind my stereo.’”, I wish I had told people: 'Look, you might think that’s funny, but it’s not funny, I don’t like it', It certainly wasn’t widespread, but it wasn’t rare either. Of course it’s not everyone, and I don’t even know if the people who do it realised what they are doing. He also captained Surrey for the 2005 season but a hand injury forced him to relinquish captaincy duties. But his patchy form meant that the tall left-handed batsman couldn’t replicate his domestic form at the international level. Cricket When he got into the Surrey youth setup they couldn’t keep him away from the place. Thompson disagrees. One of our most important roles as a club is to help young men and women to become the very best cricketers they can be. “Now, if I don’t have a county contract but I’m playing for England, that would look very odd, so Surrey were like: ‘OK we’ve got to offer you a summer deal.’ It was for three months. He was a bowler, one of the quickest in the country for his age, and he could bat, too. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s because in the end they played only 16 first-class games between them. There have been several regions around the world which have produced a number of quality cricketers. Then you look at some of the players who did get signed, you see their record and you think: ‘What’s the difference between me and him? But Surrey isn’t that far behind either. Just the previous year he had been the 12th man for England’s A team. The ECB, too, says it wants to “urgently address” the lack of black cricketers in the English game, although it has yet to spell out how. “I know that others did less but got more.” One of Thompson’s Surrey coaches from the time remembered him as someone who simply didn’t have quite enough talent to make it at such a competitive club. The fact that we can call on our network to support the national effort shows the strength of our system. Back in the 2000s, the England setup saw that potential in three black players. “I’d make a mistake, play a bad shot, and it wasn’t always that I got dropped for it, but it would definitely be a case of someone saying to me: ‘You can’t do that, you can’t always be that way, I know that’s how West Indians play.’ Bear in mind I was born in Milton Keynes. Thompson isn’t sure what to think. Later he went back to Surrey for 10 second XI games in 2012. Only, it is not easy listening. “I didn’t get any runs, but he did. The other 10 in Thompson’s played an average of 104, while he played one. Surrey has produced several great cricketers and here’s a look at the 10 best players who played for them. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Pearson scored three fifties in his first 11 championship innings for Gloucestershire. Payne points out that Northants had been a cricketing home since the war for celebrated overseas players including Donald Ramsamooj, Bishan Bedi, Kapil Dev, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Jason Holder and Temba Bavuma, plus Les McFarlane, Devon Malcolm and Monty Panesar among English black, Asian and minority ethnic players. It could have been. “Just an example, I’m someone who is quite sociable, quite talkative, quite jovial, and I find that for me, personally, in cricket that comes across as ‘he doesn’t take the game seriously, he’s a joker’. “It would be easy to draw the conclusion that it was race. Surrey County Cricket Club (Surrey CCC) is a first-class club in county cricket, one of eighteen in the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. “I was the annoying kid who wouldn’t move, I would stay and help out the cleaners just because I wanted to be in the ground,” he says. Certainly, Surrey are a very different club these days. “I was kind of prepared for it,” says Pearson, “as sad as it sounds, my parents prepared me for it, they said: ‘You’re in England, this is how it is, you’re not going to be accepted by everybody because you’re black, but it doesn’t stop you doing what you want to do in life.’ I’ve been getting it since I was at school.” Pearson remembers walking into the Gloucestershire changing room “and it was: ‘Oh JP, what are you doing here, you coming to sell some crack?’ Little comments like that. In 1995, there were 33. It is important to understand exactly what Thompson, Nelson and Pearson are speaking out about. Ollie Robinson has been a regular wicket-taker for Sussex in county cricket, Carra: Title race blown open; Souness: It was an assault, Jose: West Ham lucky, Moyes found 'new Fellaini', Van Dijk blow leaves Liverpool stepping into unknown, Hits & misses: Same old Spurs, Man Utd finally start, Wenger on Jose rivalry: I feel like I'm in kindergarten, Pep defends Aguero over Massey-Ellis incident, Cavani trains with Man Utd for first time, England name 14 uncapped players in back-to-training group, We would like your feedback, please fill in our survey. Their chief executive, Richard Gould, says: “It is very important that every organisation listen to these concerns, and I am grateful to Chris for speaking out about his experience. But his domestic form rarely dipped as he piled on a mountain of runs for Surrey in County cricket. When Surrey’s second XI needed an opener in an emergency, Thompson put his hand up. The 35-year-old, whose wife is American, has not played for England since winning the World Cup last summer and was not one of the 55 players asked to return to training last week. “It’s unbelievable,” the coach told him, “how can you go from playing for England one year to not having a county team the next?”, “I look back on it and I ask: ‘Should I have done more?’” Nelson says. Everyone gets our best efforts.”. The pages are arranged alphabetically by surname, so click on the appropriate letter above to select which player you want to see.