Chris Read March 2, 2014

'Keeping is the most rewarding job on the park'

Chris Read talks about keeping, his call-up to the Test side, playing alongside his hero, and breaking a bat during his maiden first-class hundred

First pair of wicketkeeping gloves
I was 11 and they were a pair of Duncan Fearnley ones. I had always been a batter who bowled a bit when I played through the age groups in Devon. I spent three years in the Under-11s and in the last year I thought I would be captain. That way I could bowl whenever I wanted to because I hadn't been getting much of a chance. It didn't go to plan because the manager made someone else captain, so I decided to go and keep.

First idol
My batting hero was a guy I ended up playing a lot with: Graham Thorpe. I admired him a lot and he was a huge figure for me. My keeping idols flipped between Jack Russell and Ian Healy, who were both great with the gloves.

First first-class century
It came against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge when I was 20. I made 160 but it ended up being in a losing cause. I remember I was using one of Paul Johnson's bats and I broke it in the middle of my innings. I tried to piece it together but it didn't go too well. If I rummaged around in my old coffins I reckon I could still find it.

First Test
It's so strange because I don't remember a great deal about the game. The highlights were on TV during the New Zealand series last year and I was watching and thinking, "I don't really remember this bit." Your body just goes into autopilot. I do remember when I got the call-up, because it was really weird. I was in Guernsey on a benefit trip for Kevin Evans. I had just got a mobile phone the year before and didn't even take the call personally. It was Clive Rice who told me I'd been selected.

First bit of advice to a young wicketkeeper
It's all about catching the ball but you've got to enjoy it. Whenever you go into it, make sure you're not forced. Don't take the gloves because no one else wants to do it. If you enjoy it, do it, as it is the most rewarding role you can have on the park.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    One of the best if not the best English 'keepers of the last one and half decades. Such a pity he played so few tests. And for someone considered not to be much of a batsman his first class record is excellent.

  • Graham on March 2, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    Far too short a piece. Do 5 questions really count as an interview? I'd love to hear more from CMWR - he was shabbily treated by England and should have been first-choice keeper for at least a decade. I blame Duncan Fletcher...

  • Philip on March 2, 2014, 6:08 GMT

    Too many teens take the gloves when they find they're not getting wickets as a bowler, to aid in higher selection. If they don't enjoy it enough they won't ever practice enough, but these days I'm not sure that matters anymore. Keeping standards are slipping as limited-overs dominates.

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