Colin Tunnicliffe explains how ex-players have used technology to stay in touch.

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WhatsApp groups and phone calls are just two of the ways the ex-player community at Derbyshire has kept in touch throughout a year of national lockdowns, according to the club’s Cricket Advisory Director Colin Tunnicliffe.

Tunnicliffe, who made over 300 professional appearances for the club between 1973-84, spoke to the PCA on the back of the Association’s Talk to Teammates campaign, which aims to keep current and former cricketers connected during lockdown.

He outlined the positive effect that WhatsApp groups in particular have had in enabling both former and current players at the county to check in on each other during such difficult times.

“There’s a WhatsApp group for players from the 90s onwards, including people like Chris Adams, John Morris and so on. The current playing squad have got one as well, and the 20 or so of them really enjoy staying in touch that way.

“I think it’s really important for players to stay in touch, particularly through the pandemic. Especially for former players, these guys are your friends, you’ve played with them and there comes a time when you just have to reach out to them and ask how they’re doing, when you haven’t spoken to them for months or years.

“You become friends straight away again and it all just comes flooding back when you start sharing stories of your playing days.”

“It’s a knock-on effect. If you get four or five people ringing around to their different groups, it’s amazing how quickly things can grow and more people can get involved."


On top of the WhatsApp groups, Tunnicliffe explains how many former players pick up the phone to each other in order to stay in touch, and also how current players have reached out to Derbyshire alumni who might be feeling lonely or vulnerable.

“We have a good era of players where we do tend to talk to each other via phone calls. I can think of a few individuals from my era throughout the 80s and 90s who are regularly ringing around.

“It’s a knock-on effect. If you get four or five people ringing around to their different groups, it’s amazing how quickly things can grow and more people can get involved.

“I know for a fact that one or two of the players, including PCA Vice Chair Anuj Dal, have been ringing around the ex-players as well. It’s been going well for them, and they have even spoken to members of the club too, which is a great thing to do.”

The feeling of togetherness is particularly important in a year when Derbyshire will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Tunnicliffe, who plays an important role in helping to organise the celebrations, is hopeful of a special summer for the ex-player community.

“We’re having our 150th anniversary, and we have a good database of the ex-players, which is almost complete. We just try to keep as many people involved as possible – it just feels like the right thing to do and it’s always nice to stay in touch with the ex-players.”

– #TalkToTeammates –

The Talk to Teammates campaign was created by the PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust to help combat isolation and loneliness in lockdown. Play your part by reaching out to someone who may need a call at the moment, and spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #TalkToTeammates.

Finding things difficult at the moment? Reach out for support via our dedicated Confidential Helpline, available 24/7 free of charge for all PCA members.

Find out more about the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.

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