‘Stuart Broad and Ajinkya Rahane can ignite excitement for top level cricket on Isle of Wight’
Former Hampshire man David Griffiths is hoping the likes of Stuart Broad and Ajinkya Rahane can help make the Isle of Wight a cricketing hotbed again.
First-class cricket makes its comeback on the island for the first time in 57 years on Monday when Nottinghamshire visit Newclose in the Specsavers County Championship, writes Alex Smith.
England Test star Broad will be among main attractions, while Rahane will become the first Indian to play for Hampshire having jetted in to replace Aiden Markram as overseas player.
Griffith said: ‘I think Nottinghamshire will have Stuart Broad and there will also be other international cricketers on show and for All Stars cricketers and other youngsters it could be their first experience of cricket.
‘There will be plenty of people from the Isle of Wight who haven’t seen cricket before.
‘Broad and Rahane are massive names in cricket. Broad is one of the best bowlers in England and Rahane is one of the best batters in the world. They are going to be incredible to watch.
‘The island has missed this standard of cricket. 15 years ago there were some really good players coming out the Isle of Wight.
‘There was a generation with me and Danny Briggs to play first class cricket after a quite big gap and hopefully this will bring out the next crop.’
Fast bowler Griffiths was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight and learned his trade at Shanklin Cricket Club before playing for Hampshire and Kent.
The likes of Rahane and Broad will be living out one of Griffith’s childhood dreams – playing professional cricket on his home island.
‘I’m not sure I ever played for Hampshire on the island but might have been back with Kent in the second team,’ added Griffiths.
‘It would have been lovely to go back for Hampshire where I grew up playing my cricket. Playing for Hampshire on the Isle of Wight would have been my dream.’
Griffiths also gave his thoughts on what to expect at Newclose. He said: ‘It is a first-class ground.
‘They have spent a lot of money on it over the years and it is a shame they haven’t played any first-class cricket there before.
‘It took a couple of years for the wicket to bed in but having played there a couple of years ago it is a good wicket.
‘I think there was a second XI game there earlier this year and loads of runs were scored so hopefully that shows there will be plenty of runs on offer.
‘A lot of clubs, especially around London, have cricket weeks at some nice schools and nice private grounds, so if you can get a one-day game or a Championship and a T20 game there each year that would be great.’
The match starts at 11am on Monday and continues through to Thursday on the Isle of Wight.