It’s a batter’s game (book extract)
Fast bowlers put six times their body weight through their knee and ankle every time they deliver the ball. It’s a shocking fact. In my case, that was a force of almost 500kg per delivery. Multiply that by 40,000 (the number of balls I sent down in professional cricket, never mind amateur and nets) and it makes 20,000,000kg worth of pressure. That’s the equiv- alent of the 22,000 ton Brittany ferry through my joints. It’s the reason why my knees sounded like packets of rice crispies and I went to work with a slight limp. I’m lucky I don’t need a zimmer frame. Yet.
Batting was the future. I was surrounded by successful people who had made runs for a living. There were 229 first-class hundreds in the Channel 5 commentary box: Geoff Boycott (151), Michael Vaughan (42), Mark Nicholas (36) and none of them limped (much). The talk was invariably about the ‘techneek’ and ability and attitude required to bat as we watched Test matches unfold.
Boycott, for all his blather about his ‘moom’ and sticks of rhubarb, is a fantastic observer of the game, watching it as closely as he did the ball when he was at the crease, and you learnt something new every day. His unbridled passion for bat- ting was still evident. When he talked about a good innings he was practically salivating, reliving the joy of himself devouring the bowlers’ best offerings. It was bordering on sadism.
‘Which would you prefer, a Test hundred or Kim Basinger?’ I asked him once.
‘A Test ’undred!’ he said, without hesitation ‘ . . . and Kim Basinger after . . .’ He is the definition of insatiable.