An appreciation of Hamish Marshall
Gloucestershire’s loyal, former New Zealander Test player, Hamish Marshall, will be leaving the county at the end of the current season to return home to the land of his birth. His cheerful presence around the county circuit will be much missed.

Two things about Hamish stand out to me. The first was shortly after his arrival at Bristol when, attending an admittedly rare Gloucestershire match, I was impressed by the time he gave to a supporter requesting autographs. Not one, mind you, but about ten as a bag of books was unleashed. Hamish signed every one.

The second was last year when Jon Lewis, returning to the Swindon Cricket Club, and Hamish both kindly brought sides to play in a charity match. It was during Hamish’s benefit year and, having gladly bought one of his brochures, I read John Bracewell’s article about Hamish’s endearing personality. Getting the brochure signed was a pleasure and I cannot remember meeting a nicer person. Since then, Hamish has always stopped for a chat, returned to Swindon with another side and has that ability to make you feel good about yourself. A rare quality.

Although his playing days are not yet over, Hamish’s First-class career includes, as I write, twenty-eight centuries ( for New Zealand, Northern Districts and Gloucestershire), seventy fifties and a shade under 13,900 runs at an average of just over 36, a sign of a decent player.Almost 9000 of these runs have been scored for Gloucestershire. He scored one of his centuries in his first innings for Gloucestershire against Worcestershire in 2006. Additionally, Hamish's List A career includes six hundreds and over 7000 runs.

Hamish represented New Zealand in all formats making a shade over 2000 runs including centuries at both Test and ODI level. Indeed, his two Test centuries were both big scores. His maiden century, 146, was made against a strong Australian attack including McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasprowicz whilst his highest score, 160 against Sri Lanka, came again against a decent bowling side despite the absence of Muralitharan. His ODI hundred against Pakistan came against two of the world’s fastest bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami.

I once wrote of M.S.Dhoni that he was a statistician’s delight. Hamish, usually patrolling the outfield presumably because of a good arm, must be a commentator’s delight with that distinctive hair style. Maybe not so when he was playing with his identical twin brother, James, though... I read of Hamish’s benefit when James appeared. Very nice and good of James to turn out but how unreasonable to foist identical twins upon guests who may have had no clue to whom they were talking! I have looked at photos of the two, think that I might just be able to differentiate between them but I am by no means remotely certain.

On some more recent visits to Gloucestershire, I have noticed youngsters wanting Hamish to sign even when he has been taking his lunch. It surprised no-one that he dutifully signed with a smile on his face and he will be much missed. Geraint Jones, after a shorter career with Gloucestershire, was able to sign off with the famous Royal London Cup trophy but, sadly, the same will not fall Hamish’s way. Although unable to retain the trophy this year, the T20 beckoned but, alas, was not to be. It is entirely fitting and nice to see that Gloucestershire C.C.C. will be making a presentation after the last game of the season to this true gentleman. I am sure that I am not alone in wishing Hamish and his family every continued success in their new venture.