Phil Edmonds: Spinning balls and money

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Asked by an MCC member to walk around the stadium at Lord’s to get to the Nursery Ground for nets, Phil Edmonds hopped into his car and drove around. He was a difficult man to get along with. Mike Brearley called him abrasive. Once he even had the captain pinned to the wall, asking him to ‘lay off’.

When Sunil Gavaskar’s refusal to declare threatened to kill the Test match at Calcutta, 1984-85, Edmonds resorted to emulate Warwick Armstrong by reading a newspaper on the field.

However, he could be more than a handy performer, a very good left-arm spinner and a handy batsman down the order. Besides, he got along famously well with the other odd-ball of his time, Geoff Boycott.

Besides, Edmonds had a head for business. More than that. He served as a chairman in Middlesex Holdings, White Nile Petroleum Company, Central African Mining and Exploration, and Middlesex County Cricket Club. In 2005 he made it to the headlines by striking a controversial deal in Southern Sudan.

Even as a businessman Edmonds maintained his maverick nature. On a venture in Namibia, he had to approach a tribe. According to Edmonds, “we went along to the local tribe, met the king, had a few beers, and did the deal.”

Phil Edmonds was born on March 8, 1951

Text: Arunabha Sengupta

Illustration: Maha