Sunday, July 19, 2015

On having something in common with Ed Balls

Ed Balls' lunchtime interview on Test Match Special today revealed him as a more appealing personality than he ever appeared as a frontline politician.

It also revealed that we have something in common. We were both at the first day of the 1976 Trent Bridge test against the West Indies.

Those were the days when a lad could turn up at a test with a reasonable expectation of being able to pay on the gate and get in. I did just this at Edgbaston in 1974 and 1975, but was locked out at Trent Bridge in 1977.

I have two clear memories of that day in 1976.

The first is of Viv Richard coming down the wicket against Derek Underwood and hitting him back over deep extra cover for six. No one did that to Underwood.

The second is of being asked by two Australians for the name of an England fielder they did not recognise.

"That's Mike Brearley," I said.

Over the next five years he was to captain England to three series victories against Australia.

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