TMS: So Alan, as a man who has represented England on numerous occasions, had a long and glittering career with Leicestershire and Hampshire, it must be a huge privilege to be interviewed by The Middle Stump?
AM: A huge privilege. It's up there, a massive privilege.
TMS: What are you up to these days?
AM: I've just finished commentating on Test Match Special for the Ashes, which is something I would love to pursue, and I have also been working with Adam Blackmore of Radio Solent and I am training to be a sports journalist. In addition I have been training my arse off for the Big Bike Ride.
TMS: Tell us more about it, it's for the PCA Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust isn't it?
AM: Yes it starts in Chester le Street on October 18th and we visit Durham, Headingley, Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, Derby, Leicester where I played a lot of cricket, Northampton before finishing up at Lord's on October 22nd.
TMS: You're going to have a sore arse by the end of it, I should imagine?
AM: My arse will be like the Japanese flag!
TMS: Let's talk about England and your batting! Any truth in the rumour that Bumble was going to buy you thirty pints if you scored thirty runs?
AM: Yeah it was the Oval in 1996. I was on about 20 odd and I signalled for Bumble to 'get them in'. I then got done by a Wasim Akram slower ball but I thought he should have got them in anyway for my 24.
TMS: And did he?
AM: No he's a tight fisted bastard. He's a Northerner, what do you expect? Seriously, he was the best manager I played for along with Jack Birkenshaw at Leicestershire, who had some canny ways about him. My relationship with Birkenshaw was love/hate, but he got me to play for England. Bumble was different class, and let players express themselves. As for Duncan Fletcher...well yeah, that's all I am going to say.
TMS: We loved you slapping Glenn McGrath for three fours at the MCG in 1998. He didn't look too happy about it if you watch it on You Tube. What did he say?
|Spider gives Pigeon the benefit of his wisdom!|
AM: Glenn was just generally sledging me, and I said "Pitch it up you lanky streak of piss and I'll whack you back over your head". He did and I did! I thought I was Viv Richards! It was brilliant, top banter but in the end I put one up in the air and Glenn made sure he caught it himself. They all loved a sledge that Aussie side though...
At the Gabba, Steve Waugh started asking me if I thought I was a quick bowler because I followed through so far. I knew I was going to get some stick as Martin McCague had copped a load before me. It was only because I wasn't the greatest of athletes, that I couldn't put the brakes on! Steve Waugh came up to me afterwards though and shook my hand, telling me that he had really enjoyed the battle. The likes of him and Warnie, it was a huge privilege to play against them.
Warnie was the reason I signed for Hampshire. When I moved from Leicestershire to Hampshire, I signed my contract on the back of a receipt in a pub, but for two main reasons. One was to play cricket with Shane Warne, and the other was because of Rod Bransgrove, who deserves a knighthood for his services to cricket.
TMS: Those runs from McGrath's bowling were important though because we won by 12 runs in the end, partly due to one of the best catches I have ever seen from Mark Ramprakash to snare Langer off your bowling.
AM: Yeah, Langer tells me he nailed the shot and it was going for four, but I say I did him for pace and the ball got too big on him. We've had loads of rows going back and forth over the years about it!
TMS: Best sledge dished out in your career?
AM: We were playing Lancashire when they had Warren Hegg and Glen Chapple was bowling. He got me out and said, "You're shit" to which I replied, "Who are you expecting, fucking Don Bradman. Have you seen my Test average?"
|Chapple...not expecting Bradman!|
TMS: Talking of which, in that infamous England tail including you, Caddick, Headley and Tufnell, who was the worst and should have been at number eleven?
AM: Tuffers, easily. He was shit scared. Once at Auckland, Daniel Vettori was bowling and he asked me if he had "Any wheels, any pace?". He even farmed Vettori, so I had to face Danny Morrison at the other end!
TMS: Best food on the circuit?
AM: Auckland. They've got this oriental chef in there and the food is superb.
TMS: Best ground to play on?
AM: MCG. Playing a Test at Lord's was quite disappointing. You get these guys who have memberships passed down from their grandparents, sipping G and T's and they know nothing about cricket. I prefer places like the MCG where they are fanatical, or Edgbaston in England.
TMS: Best tour?
AM: Ashes in 1998/99. I had my friends, family and all sorts out there. I wanted to walk back from the WACA to the hotel, but David Graveney wouldn't let me, as I was an England player and made me get the coach. When I got in the bar, all my family were in there along with Sir Ian Botham and Ian Woosnam and his caddie. My brother ended up doing a couple of grand on wine with Beefy!
TMS: Who throws the worst tantrum when they are out for a low score?
AM: Nasser Hussain. He is the stroppiest cricketer I have ever met.
TMS: Worst dressed?
AM: Errrr probably me. Jeans and a Bob Marley t shirt is fine with me!
|Hussain in happier times!|
TMS: We do a lot of work with the charity Factor 50. What were you taught about being exposed to the sun early in your career?
AM: Slip, slop, slap. Slip on a t shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. It's invaluable.
TMS: Best three youngsters coming through in England?
AM: Joe Root, James Vince and a young spinner at Hants called Brad Taylor. There are some excellent ones coming through at Hampshire, especially a couple of opening bowlers.
TMS: Alan, you've been a star. Thank you for your time, and good luck with the Big Bike Ride.
AM: No probs, good luck.
If you want to know more about the Big Bike Ride then click here