Michael Vaughan: I will remember Brian Close as an inspiring figure at Yorkshire – and a captain I would have loved to have played under

Source: How Brian Close gave me a batting masterclass – aged 60 and wearing no gloves or pads – Telegraph

We would see a lot more of him than the other legendary former players because his job in those days was to organise pensions for the youngsters. I had no idea what I was signing up for but did it just because it was Closey.

It meant that Brian was always at nets or watching second XI and junior matches at Headingley. He would always be quick to offer advice and was very good at being able to communicate to different characters.

I remember one specific training session when I was struggling with an LBW problem. He said the only way I would learn is to use my bat and not my pad. He asked for my bat and gloves. I told him they were right handed gloves (he was a left-hander) but he did not care and he went into the net at the age of 60 wearing no pads on his legs.

He said: “Bat without pads, son, because that way you learn to hit the ball. If you don’t then you soon end up with a broken knee cap.” In a way, it did work.

He would also watch nets and ask: “Why are you lads ducking and weaving?” He would say: “Let the ball hit you. It is only a bruise. Bruises disappear but when you are out it is over. You might not bat again for a week.”

His other favourite was to ask why young players were putting shin pads on to field at short leg. “Don’t bother with a piece of plastic, just shove a few sheets of the Racing Post down your leg.”

He was very funny and would tell stories of the past with a fag hanging out of his mouth. He was generous with his racing tips too. He’d say: “Here you go, lads, the 2.30 at Ripon is worth a tickle.”

I was about 14 when I first met him at evening training sessions. I did not know much about him apart from he was a legend of the club so I read up on his career. Stories would pass around about how he would pin someone up in the dressing room or eff and blind at a player for bowling badly. He’d take bowlers off if they did not stick to his plans.

He was always very open and forthright with his ideas, particularly about captaincy. When I was made captain of the Yorkshire under 17s and under 19s he offered a lot of advice. He told me to stick with my own thoughts and not be afraid of making something happen. He would say: “Remember when fielding the game is about taking wickets.” He always said put fielders in positions where you are going to take 10 wickets.

As England captain I did not see that much of him but when I did bump into him he was always quick to say “well done” or “keep fighting”. If I was playing well he would say: “Form only lasts for short time, make the most of it.” If I was out of form he’d say: “Don’t worry it will come back. You are only ever one shot away.”

But he never buttered you up. Score a hundred and he would say: “Why didn’t you get 150?” and give a little laugh afterwards.

Brian understood that people are different. Some are laid-back, some are obsessed with the game, some make the most of their talent while others need it coaxing out of them. That is what made him a great captain – I’d have loved to have played under him.

Michael Vaughan: I will remember Brian Close as an inspiring figure at Yorkshire – and a captain I would have loved to have played under

Source: How Brian Close gave me a batting masterclass – aged 60 and wearing no gloves or pads – Telegraph

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