August 22, 2009


Lily drops in for lunch

Martin Williamson

While there is no shortage of what some would refer to as seasoned celebrity fans, cricket needs a few more young faces. Step up singer Lily Allen. She travelled to the Netherlands for a concert on Friday and got a coach back overnight to be back for the third day’s play and a spot on Test Match Special where she was the Saturday lunchtime guest.

Among admitting she had a soft spot for Graham Onions, Allen revealed she got into cricket when Andrew Flintoff “had a pee” in the prime minister’s garden after the 2005 series. Her father – actor Keith Allen – is a cricket lover and used to play for pub sides.

So keen was she to keep up with the score in the Netherlands that, finding the tour bus had no long-wave reception, she used one of her tour band’s electricians to rig up a mobile phone to the speaker system and listen via the web.

Allen was invited onto the show when cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew got in touch with her via Twitter she replied she "couldn't think of anything she would more like to do".

Those within the ECB’s marketing department who dismiss fans that shun new innovations as being too old school will have been shocked to find out she prefers Test cricket to Twenty20 - "It's a polar opposite to what I do … it's so relaxing when my life is so fast" - and also that she is no fan of England’s George Hamilton-teeth white kit.


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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