Director of Cricket
When the chairman of selectors Peter May plucked Nairobi-born Derek Pringle from Cambridge to the England team in 1982, amateur psychologists had a rare treat. People speculated that May, a man with four daughters, saw in Pringle the son he never had.
He was certainly not the son he would have expected. The most fluent undergraduate stroke player in a generation turned out to be primarily a medium-pace bowler who could use his 6ft 4in to generate swing and bounce and play effective innings in the mid to late-order. He hardly thought like the strait-laced May either: Pringle, the first England cricketer to wear an ear-ring, had eclectic tastes in reading, slightly outre tastes in music and lateral thought processes.
Spectators, especially outside Essex, derided him constantly – as an ungainly under-achiever. But he retained the confidence even of captains as stern as Graham Gooch, since he was adaptable, dependable and, beneath the unconventional veneer, loyal. His overall record with bat and ball should have been better for someone who played 30 Tests. May – who disliked the press – might have been more horrified by his subsequent career as cricket correspondent of The Independent then The Daily Telegraph.