Q: What was your first overseas Test match?
A: Boxing Day Test at Melbourne in 2002. If you are going to get the overseas cricket tours bug then start big, with the biggest test of them all. England lost (of course), but had the Aussies wobbling chasing a small total, and we took the momentum to Sydney where a heroic Caddick and Vaughan inspired victory meant a glorious 4-1 series defeat. The party in Sydney that night is still one of the most memorable in all my years of watching cricket
Q: What is your most memorable overseas Test match you’ve seen?
A: Barbados 2004 – 3 day test, 2 extra days on the beach, probably the best innings in the context of the match I have ever seen (Thorpe getting a 100 with the tail to set up the victory), a Hoggard hat-trick, and the Kensington Oval (pre-World Cup soulless re-build) packed both with locals and the 1000s of English fans. It doesn’t get much better than that…
Q: Who is your favourite current England player?
A: I’ll go a bit leftfield here. Chris Woakes – hugely underrated player. Needs a haircut though – not convinced by the Alice band…
Q: Who is your favourite England player of all time?
A: Graham Thorpe or Alec Stewart – both Surrey and England legends (hope this still gets published given the heavy Middlesex bias from the editorial team!)
Q: Who is your favourite opposition player of all time?
A: Ooh, tough one. I think I would have to say Kuma Sangakkara (and not just because he ended up at Surrey in the twilight of his career). We met him in a restaurant on the Addis tour of Sri Lanka in 2007 and he was an incredibly nice bloke. And throughout his career he was such an elegant and underrated batsman. He never looked rushed at the crease and if you look at his career stats he is truly one of the modern greats, but for some reason does not get talked about nearly as much as he should.
Q: What is your favourite overseas Test ground and why?
A: Newlands. Cricket played with the backdrop of Table mountain – absolutely stunning. Adelaide before the AFL tried to create a multi-purpose super stadium would have run it a close 2nd (although I’m still haunted by that match in 2006 and Freddie’s decision in the pub at the end of the 4th day to buy the Barmy army famous Aussie catch-phrases T-Shirt – “The match is safe now, chaps. I can buy the t-shirt as there is no way we will lose the Ashes 5-0” – famous last words…)
Q: Which country is your favourite to tour and why?
A: They are all great in their own way. That’s the beauty of loving travel and sport – combine the 2 and you get to see the most amazing places in the world AND be there watching the sports you love.
Q: Of all the cities/towns you visited on town, which is your favourite and why?
A: Tough one. I think as cities Melbourne and Cape Town are pretty hard to beat. I’ve been lucky enough to visit them both outside of cricket tours and really experience both of them, and they are 2 of the worlds great cities. Melbourne for the culture, cuisine, and incredible sporting hub with everything centred around the MCG. Cape Town for the stunning backdrop and landscape, the winelands, and the fact that it has changed so much in the last 30 years for the better, and continues to grow and evolve.
Q: What is your most memorable non cricket moment on tour?
A: After the miserable collapse on the last day at Adelaide in 2006 there were 9 or 10 days between that and the Perth tests – enough time to completely get away from the cricket. We used this time to overland it from Adelaide to Alice Springs through the red centre of Australia. Was an amazing trip taking in Uluru, Kings Canyon, sleeping and drinking in underground caves in Coober Pedy, hiking in the outback, and getting as far away as possible from the gloating Aussie cricket fans.
Q: What do you enjoy most about touring?
A: Firstly, the fact that all the places England play at offer much needed sunshine (and cheap beer, at least in SA and the sub-continent) in the winter, and cover some of the great places in the world. Then, apart from the obvious of following England, it’s the people you meet – some of the nicest and most genuine people, and I’ve made so many friends for life through the cricket. These days, living overseas in Switzerland, every home test is a mini tour for me, so although I don’t get to all the long haul places any more (marrying an American with absolutely no interest in cricket put pay to that!) I can still meet up with all my cricket friends a couple of times each summer for a long weekend at the cricket (and occasionally bump into Five-0 in the members at Old Trafford!)…