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Paul Downton

Paul Downton

Men's Cap 158, Director of Cricket

BatRight-handBowlRight-arm off-break
Born4th April 1957National Team Eligibility-
Years of Service1977-1979, 2018-Debutvs. Surrey, 1977
Nickname(s)-Capped1979 (no. 158)
Local Club-Shirt Sponsor-
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Other Teams

England, MCC, Middlesex, Young England, Test and County Cricket Board XI

Player Biography

Paul Downton began his career at Kent, winning his cap in 1979, but the return of Alan Knott persuaded him to move to Middlesex, who themselves had been struggling to fill the void left by the retirement of John Murray in 1975.

Indeed, it was Murray, in his role as a selector, who was instrumental in getting Donwton picked to tour Pakistan and New Zealand as Bob Taylor’s understudy in 1977-78. He made an immediate impact with Middlesex, helping them to a Championship/Gillette double in 1980, and winning selection for that winter’s Caribbean tour.

He made his debut in Trinidad, ending the series with a match-saving 26 in Jamaica.

The selection see-saw continued in 1984 when he returned following Taylor’s retirement, and he was England’s first choice until 1986, largely as a result of his much-improved batting, especially against quick bowling.

But his wicketkeeping, although generally sound, was blighted by the occasional high-profile howler and those cost him dear.

He was in the England side which reached the 1987 World Cup final, and played in the first three Tests against West Indies in 1988 before being dropped as the selectors’ desperation to stem the run of defeats increased.

In 1990 he suffered a freak accident when a bail struck him in the eye during a Sunday League match, and what at first seemed a minor incident forced him to retire midway through the 1991 season. He subsequently forged a successful career in the City.

Downton was a constantly cheerful character, well-liked by his fellow professionals, and coped with the constant sniping of the press during his 30 England appearances with good grace.

He was unfortunate that he followed two outstanding keepers (Alan Knott and Taylor) and was – unfairly – viewed as an establishment figure. But behind the stumps he was a calming influence in a Middlesex side packed with big names.

Paul became Kent’s first Director of Cricket in January 2018. Success followed immediately, with promotion from Division 2 of the County Championship, and a runners-up medal in the Royal London One Day Cup. 2019 saw Kent finish fourth in Division 1 of the County Championship.

Paul, a wicket keeper batsman, played for Kent between 1977 and 1979, and is cap number 158. Paul was part of the 1978 County Championship and Benson and Hedges Cup double winning team. He joined Middlesex in 1980 which is where he spent the majority of his County career, and regularly stood in as captain when Mike Brearley was away with the England team. In total, Paul was involved in over 1,000 dismissals in professional cricket: 971 catches, and 153 stumpings.

Post-cricket, Paul worked in London with James Capel and Cazenove & Co. He became Managing Director of the ECB in 2013, before he ended up back at Kent as Director of Cricket.

Alongside Matt Walker, Paul has been responsible for the recruitment of Heino Kuhn, Harry Podmore, Matt Milnes, Nathan Gilchrist, Fred Klaassen, Jack Leaning, Tim Groenewald, Marcus O’Riordan, Hamidullah Qadri, Matt Henry, Mohammad Nabi, Simon Cook and Michael Yardy.