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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
Interview by Jack Wilson
March 2, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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