Rikki Clarke has adorned top-class cricket for over 20 years.
His county career began with Surrey, embraced Derbyshire and Warwickshire, before he returned home to Surrey – where it all began as a nine-year old.
Some cricketers can bat. Others can bowl. Rikki is a precious talent that can do both at the top level. Almost 18,000 runs and 800 wickets attest to his skills. So do nearly 600 catches – including nine in one game against Lancashire, thus equalling a record by the great Wally Hammond which lasted for three-quarters of a century.
Rikki did not emerge from the gilded ranks of well-coached talent from our first-class private schools. Instead, benefiting from Surrey youth coaching, he fought his way to the top by sheer talent and persistence.
Moreover, he did so to such effect that he earned caps for England at both Test level and in One Day Internationals. The skills of those like Rikki are essential to sustain the game we all love, and his commitment to cricket is undeniable.
Already, whilst still a first-class player, he is planning his post-career contribution to cricket by setting up the Rikki Clarke Cricket Academy, from which we can hope cricket at all levels will soon benefit.
Rikki is a true servant of the game, and he deserves our thanks and our support – most especially during this, his testimonial year.
The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH
From a very early age I set out the goal of playing for Surrey and England. Well, over 30 years on, having achieved both, here I am nearing the end of a professional cricket career that I could only have dreamt of. To be able to say I’ve played the games I have, won the trophies I have, played with and against the players I have, and seen the places I have toured and visited. I often pinch myself several times over as it really does feel like a dream. Most of all, it’s been about the friendships I have made and will cherish until my dying day, all through the game of cricket.
I must thank the wonderful, incredible and historic Surrey County Cricket Club, who I have been involved with since the age of just nine. Thank you for the opportunity to wear the three feathers, thank you for the amazing memories and most of all thank you for awarding me this testimonial year, for which I am truly honoured, and humbled.
As I near the end of my career, which has flown by, it is now for me to try and pass on my experience to the younger generation and develop them and improve them the best I can as a senior player. They always say, and it is so true, “if only you knew then what you know now”
During my testimonial year I will be supporting two amazing charities. The Professional Cricketers’ Trust and Cure Leukaemia.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust
The Trust provides support to all members past and present and to their immediate families. The work they do is invaluable. Unfortunately, some cricketers do fall on hard times and with the Trust there to support it makes tough and emotional situations a little easier.
During my time at Warwickshire, we built up a very good relationship with Cure Leukaemia and would regularly visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and visit the patients, listening to their stories and offering any help possible during their time battling with this horrible blood cancer disease. Professor Charlie Craddock CBE does an incredible job, and we hope that we can support his good work even more.