September 18, 2013

'I'd be a left-handed slogger who bowled mystery spin'

Interview by Jack Wilson
Who'd be a fast bowler if given the chance? Not Matthew Hoggard, for sure

This was your last season as a professional cricketer. What's the best dressing-room practical joke you've seen in that time?
There's been so many. Once, we got Andy Walpole [the ECB's head of communications] to pick up the air-conditioning remote control and answer it as a telephone three times in South Africa. That was pretty funny.

If you had to pick out one moment as the highlight of your career, what would it be?
There's been 17 years of them - there are too many. It's very hard to pick out but I'll go with the obvious - winning the Ashes.

Who's the quickest bowler you've faced?
On his day, Fidel Edwards. He bowled a spell against me at Old Trafford, for West Indies, and he's got that horrible slingy action. He was bowling with a hard new ball and really banging it in. I was batting with Graham Thorpe at the time and he hit him and broke his thumb. I remember Thorpey saying to me, "Can you stay down his end? You're playing him better." I told him where to go!

Who's the biggest hitter you've seen?
I've seen a few. Andrew Flintoff hit it a long way, Nathan Astle hit it a long way, and so did Chris Cairns. Adam Gilchrist did too. I'll go with him.

What's the secret to success as a nightwatchman?
Don't get hit and don't play a shot! It's not nice going in there and facing bowlers who are fresh and steaming in with a brand new ball. On the plus side, once you get out you can sit back with your pads off, knowing you don't have to bat again.

You're batting for England in a World Cup final. With ten runs to win, you nick one behind. Would you walk?
I doubt it. It's hard to say and you'd have to make a judgement at the time, but I don't think I would.

What do you add to the perfect portion of chips?
A nice bit of battered fish.

What's your favourite meat with your roast dinner?
I can't pick one - it's impossible. A slice of every meat. No, two slices of every meat.

You're Matthew Hoggard MBE. Have you ever signed anything off with MBE after your name?
Have I bollocks!

Where's the one place everyone must visit in Yorkshire?
It's got to be Malham - it's beautiful there.

Do you have any superstitions?
No, what a load of codswallop they are. Neil McKenzie had a load of them and he was a proper numpty.

You start your cricket career again and you can choose to be a batsman or a bowler. What would you pick?
I would be a middle-order left-handed slogger who stood at first slip and bowled a bit of mystery spin.

Who's your closest mate in cricket?
(Laughs) I don't have any.

Michael Vaughan has called you the grumpiest of all bowlers. That's a bit harsh, isn't it?
It depends if it's pre-11 o'clock or post-11 o'clock. If it's before, he might get a grunt and be right.

Who's the worst room-mate you've ever had?
I shared with Mark Lawson when I was at Yorkshire. He was the dirtiest, rudest boy you could ever imagine. I couldn't deal with him, so I went and paid for a separate room for myself.

What's the one thing you'll miss most?
There are shedloads of things. I'll say the banter in the changing room.

And the thing you'll miss the least?
Coming on to bowl that fourth spell in the same day.

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