Cricket gold amid the everyday silt

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All Out Cricket have a regular feature where a writer celebrates an especially glorious summer and all the great memories it brings back. We had to rewrite ours because the first draft was too depressing.

Our Golden Summer was 2000. Obviously it’s not. Obviously it’s 2005. But they can’t have everyone repeating the same bloody summer every month, so for the purposes of this feature, ours was 2000.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Many memories jogged by that piece, KC. It is lovely.
    Here are a few of mine from that glorious test series against the West Indies in the summer of 2000.

    Spending Days One and Two at Edgbaston – in particular watching Courtney bowl for the entire morning from one end. Curtly bowled for most of that session too. It was clearly the end of the Curtly/Courtney era, but what an honour to be there to watch the masters in tandem.

    Then the late Friday afternoons of both the Lord’s and the Headingley test. One of my clients made it a habit at that time to phone me at home late in the day on Fridays for a round-up. On both of those Fridays, I had the TV on and turned the volume off to take his call. Half-watching, I remember on both occasions wondering why they kept on and on showing Caddick’s wicket, only to then realise that he had taken another and perhaps even another still! Years later, I discovered that the client in question is a cricket lover and I have spent several days at Lord’s with him latterly.

    On the Saturday of the Lord’s test, Daisy and I were taking her mother, the Duchess of Castlebar, to a concert at the Wigmore Hall. We turned up at the Duchess’s place with the lady in a filthy mood, because “the England boys had thrown it away again”. We piled into the Daisymobile (Noddy in those days) and set off for The Wig. By the time we got to the concert hall, the game was wonderfully poised and England looked in with a decent shot. I remember the TMS description of the débutante Matthew Hoggard waiting nervously to bat; shown many times later on the TV highlights. We sat in the car with the roof and windows down, oohing and aahing until the match was won, at which point we all cheered. It must have looked very odd to passers by in Wigmore Street.

    Finally, I remember taking an early call from Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff on the final day of the series, wondering whether I wanted to join him on a walk-up expedition south of the river (Thames, not Zambezi) to the Oval. He reckoned we’d still get good seats walking up Day 5 and it turned out he was right. But I had unmoveable client commitments that day (long since forgotten by me and probably the clients), so he walked up and got splendid seats for an historic day without me. I made amends by buying Day 5 seats for the Oval in 2005 as a precautionary measure; Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff was one of the beneficiaries of that forethought.

  2. Lovely. I’ll always remember Paul Allott’s commentary on that Caddick over. “Now, can he finish it off with a W on the end? Oh, he can!”

    Nick Knight, eat your heart out.

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