Home is where the art is for returning Gloucestershire favourite Mark Alleyne

Jimmy Anderson has his own pavilion at Old Trafford; stands, streets and executive boxes around the world honour former national and club greats; some fabulous artwork graces Lord’s and other pavilions and I can recall being astonished to find, as Guerilla Cricket covered the 2018 Hurricane Relief T20, that Sir Viv Richards was seeing his painting that dominates the pavilion in the way he dominated the crease, for the first time.

Down Bristol way, Mark Alleyne, one of Gloucestershire’s most decorated players, is returning to his old stamping ground as part of the coaching team. And every day at work, he will certainly be greeted by a familiar face. His own!

The significance of his contributions to the club, the locality and the wider Gloucestershire region have been recognised at Bristol County Ground with a mural of him painted by the street artist Silent Hobo. The unmissable piece dominates the wall of the club offices and is a fitting accompaniment to his pillar in the Gloucester Legends Walkway.

Alleyne, known affectionately as Boo Boo to the adoring locals, spent over two decades in Bristol as a player and coach and broke many a Gloucestershire record. He is not only the club’s most decorated captain, and player in general, he is also the club’s highest run-scorer and wicket-taker in List-A cricket.

He captained Gloucestershire to nine trophies and a county championship promotion in seven years, starting with a Benson & Hedges Super Cup win in 1999, Alleyne is renowned for the success he brought to the club, particularly in one-day competition.

Speaking of the unique artistic tribute, Alleyne enthused to the club website: “It was a proud moment to be told that I was to be recognised in this way, for a contribution to the club over a number of years. I love it – the art feels alive and of the moment, although it may be a bit weird passing it on a regular basis in the coming weeks!”

Supporters of Gloucestershire Cricket will be able to see this fantastic mural in person when crowds are once again allowed back into the ground on May 20 for the county championship match against rivals Somerset.

Alleyne is currently the assistant director of sport at Marlborough College and will balance his coaching commitments with Gloucestershire with his duties at there.

He had previously coached Gloucestershire between 2004 and 2007 narrowly missing out on the Twenty20 title in 2007. He then took up a role at the National Performance Centre in Loughborough, where he coached the England Under-15s.

Speaking of his return to the club, he said: “I am really happy to get involved and help Harvs [Ian Harvey, head coach] and the club for the 2021 season. It is an exciting time for sport generally and cricket, in particular, with a full season in prospect for the players. And it is a great time for the club, who are operating on the back of a couple of good years and looking to push on even further.

“I have a long working association with Ian Harvey and I love everything about his approach to the game. I am thrilled to get the call from him and be asked to help support him in his new role, and I am looking forward to working with the coaching team and getting stuck in the months ahead.”

Awarded an MBE for services to cricket in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for 2004, he had once expressed disgust and surprise when told he was the only black coach in English first-class cricket. It is of great significance that he is now back in the fold to add to the numbers of black coaches that remain woefully low.