Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Former Worcs Skipper Neale Celebrates His 200Th Test In Ecb Role

Former Worcs Skipper Neale Celebrates His 200Th Test In Ecb Role

Former Worcestershire captain Phil Neale is currently celebrating his 200th Test match as the ECB's Operations Manager – a career spanning 15 years.

Neale skippered Worcestershire through their second 'Golden Age' in the 1980s and early 1990s and lifted six major trophies including two County Championship and two Sunday League titles.

He scored 17, 445 first class runs at an average of 36.49 with 28 hundreds and 7,253 List A runs at an average of 30.22.

But since 2000 he has been a key member of England's backroom staff, responsible for pre-tour planning, day to day planning of team activities and on tour travel and accommodation arragements.

Neale, now aged 61, said: "To be honest, it all merges into one. It is such a long period of time and I look on my computer at all the tours I've done and there are 50-60 folders on there.

"It's all been very enjoyable. I consider myself really lucky to be able to work in a dressing room enviroment all my working life and having been a player, that's the best thing you can do when you finish playing.

"I'm just really proud to have worked with the England team. I never managed to make it as a player with England.

"I know I would have probably swapped this for the opportunity for a good England career.

"But that wasn't to be and I'm just really proud to have worked with the England team. I think we've had more success than failure in the time I've been there so I've enjoyed it."

Neale is now part of a comprehensive backroom staff – a different scenario to when he launched his current career under coach Duncan Fletcher and skipper Nasser Hussain.

He said: "Every sport has got more professional and the attention to detail you are able to give when you've got more back-up staff is fantastic.

"Equally when I first started with Duncan Fletcher, he and I did most of the coaching and the throwdowns in the nets between us.

"Fortunately there are more people around now because I don't think my shoulder is up to that anymore.

"I hold a bat in my hand and do the nicks for the slip cordon but it doesn't stop Beefy (Ian Botham) coming by every morning reminding me that I'm still nicking it to the slips which he said I did all my career!"

There was speculation at one stage touting Neale as a possible England captain during those glory years with Worcestershire.

He said: "I got close. In the end, it would have been a big shout for therm to pick someone who had never played for England.

"England were in difficult times at that time and I think they went back to Goochy which was a solid option.

"I never believed the hype that I was going to get picked for the West Indies because it would have been a huge gamble for them."

After leaving Worcestershire in 1992, Neale coached England 'A' in South Africa and India and managed the England Under-19 side which won the World Cup in South Africa as well as being manager of an England 'A' tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.