There are some names that, as a young cricketer, you do not want. They are usually familial. The surnames of Botham and Richards were hard to climb out from under for Liam and Mali, because they stand not just for cricketers of note, but for something bigger: a way of playing the game.
Imagine then, that you are William Tavare, who made his highest first class score yesterday for Loughborough MCCU against Kent, a very respectable 53 out of 127 all out. Because as surely as Botham, Richards or Lara are names that come freighted with meaning, then so does Tavare. William is the nephew of perhaps the most extraordinary batsman to appear for England in the last 30 years, the motionless phenomenon that was CJ Tavare.
No-one who saw Chris Tavare bat will forget it in a hurry, even after therapy. If David Steele was the bank clerk who went to war, Tavare was the schoolteacher who took arms. Tall, angular and splayfooted, a thin moustache sketched on his top lip, he would walk to the crease like a stork approaching a watering hole full of crocs. Once there though, he began not to bat but to set, concrete drying under the sun. His principal movement was between the stumps and square leg, to where he would walk, gingerly, after every ball. If John Le Measurier had played Test cricket, he would have played it like Chris Tavare.
Tavare's feats remain the stuff of legend. His five and half hour fifty against Pakistan in 1982 was the second slowest half-century in the history of the game, and yet even that paled in comparison to the six and a half hour 35 against India in Madras the following winter. In a team that contained Botham, Gatting, Lamb and Gower, Tavare truly stood out. The mighty ballast which he provided against the Australians in '81 played a part in that famous win, albeit a part that never quite makes the highlights reels.
Like a lot of slow players, stories abounded that Tavare was a wolf in sheep's clothing, capable of pillaging county attacks on quiet Canterbury afternoons. If it happened, no-one remembers it now.
And so into a game that Tavare - now rather marvellously a biology teacher - would not recognise steps William. He got his fifty yesterday at a decent rate in the circumstances, but even if he turns out to be the next Chris Gayle, the Tavare name will plod after him - gently, and from a distance of course. Good luck, my friend.
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