Foxes Flashback - James Whitaker
As today, 5th May, marks the birthday of former Leicestershire captain James Whitaker, let's take a look back at his time at the club.
James is best remembered as Leicestershire captain in the championship winning season of 1996. He was also nominally in charge for the win in 1998, but an injury in the first match meant that he spent the season as a supporter, leaving the poignant memory of him hobbling onto the field at the end of the last match at The Oval to join in the celebrations.
A Yorkshireman, where his family ran a chocolate company, he attended Uppingham School where the coach was the former Leicestershire captain, Maurice Hallam. As leading English batsmen in 1986, he earned the right to tour Australia in 1986; he played in just one test, as a replacement for Ian Botham but thereafter his opportunities were very limited. Later that winter he played in two one day internationals in Sharjah, but that was it, and at 24, his International career was over.
He scored almost 17,000 first class runs for Leicestershire, with a top score of 218 (appropriately against Yorkshire). Only Les Berry has score more than his 37 centuries.
On retirement from playing, he spent several years in management roles at Grace Road, ending up as chief executive. Later he was chairman of selectors of the England team.
IMAGE | James Whitaker and Phil simmons on the Grace Road balcony celebrating the Championship win in 1996 (LCCC Museum collection)