Bears legend Keith Cook was given the honour of carrying the Ashes trophy onto the Edgbaston pitch ahead of the first test – and later described the moment as among the most special of his 50-year career at the Club.
Birmingham-born Keith marks an incredible half-century with his hometown club in August having begun life with Warwickshire in 1973 as an 18-year-old office junior.
“Cookie” – as he’s affectionately known – went on to be Club Secretary and assistant to former Chief Executive Dennis Amiss in the 1990s before becoming Cricket Operations Manager in 2005.
He plays an invaluable role supporting the Cricket Management Team by handling team and player logistics and is the Club’s link with the playing teams and match officials on major match days at Edgbaston.
Friday’s LV= Insurance Men’s Ashes is the 12th Test meeting between England and Australia Keith has helped deliver at Edgbaston – and his 42nd Test in total at the stadium.
And he said the privilege of escorting the famous trophy onto the wicket, in front of a packed Edgbaston, was a huge honour.
“It was a genuine surprise, I had no idea this was happening until the day before the game,” said Keith.
“This is my twelfth Ashes at Edgbaston but I still get the same buzz and butterflies in my stomach. I don’t need to set an alarm on the morning of a Test, I don’t tend to sleep too much as I’m excited for the game.
“I’ve been fortunate to make many friends with players and management from visiting sides, so when they come back here it’s almost like a reunion.
“I was honoured to carry the Cricket World Cup trophy onto the pitch in 2019 before the semi-final, and also immensely proud to receive a British Empire Medal in the Queens New Year Honours list at the end of 2019 for services to cricket.
“But being entrusted with the Ashes trophy at my home ground is right up their with my most memorable moments.”
Keith’s first Test at Edgbaston was against the West Indies in August 1973 shortly after he’d left school.
But he cites Botham’s Test Match of 1981 – and the incredible scenes on the final Sunday as Botham bowled out the Aussies – as his favourite Test at Edgbaston.
“It was the first time I really became aware of the impact the Edgbaston crowd had on a match” added Keith, who’s also worked with five Warwickshire County Championship winning sides. “The noise was incredible.
“My role at Edgbaston is very hands on and requires working closely with the teams and management, along with match officials. I coordinate net bowlers for team practice sessions and ensure that everything is in place for when teams arrive here.
“It’s about making sure everyone leaves Edgbaston feeling very special and cared for. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile and it is appreciated by the people we work alongside.”
Over 19,000 tickets sold for Women’s Ashes IT20
For the first time, Edgbaston will host a Women’s Ashes IT20 as the oldest rivalry in cricket returns to Birmingham – and over 19,000 tickets have already been sold!
Watch local stars including Amy Jones and Issy Wong in action as we make history on Saturday 1 July, 6.30pm start. Limited tickets are left from only £17 for adults and under 16s £5.