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Full name James Frederick Sykes
Born December 30, 1965, Shoreditch, London
Current age 48 years 194 days
Major teams Durham, Middlesex
Nickname Eric, Sykesy
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
Height 6 ft 2 in
Education Bow Comprehensive
|List A span||1983-1990|
An offspinner and lower middle-order batsman, Jamie Sykes had the potential to become a useful county allrounder but was stymied by a lack of opportunities at a time Middlesex were blessed with spinners, and also by his own volatile character. Described by one team-mate as the kind of person "you could call if someone owned you money and wanted to speed things up a little", he managed to rub the wrong people up and that ultimately proved his downfall. He broke into the Middlesex side with a hundred against Cambridge at the start of the 1985 season, but despite an extended run he failed to capitalize, and then was a regular in the one-day side in 1988 and 1989. He left the county at the end of that season.
Alex Barnett, summed up Sykes in an interview on the Middlesex Till We Die website: "We had the legendary Jamie 'Psycho' Sykes. I've never met anyone like him since. A big guy from the Hackney Downs with an even bigger mouth and naturally hilarious. He came across as the guy you could call if someone owned you money and wanted to speed things up a little. Jamie and Tufnell together in the dressing room was the best show on earth. Rainy days would provide these two clowns with an appreciative audience. They would just talk, argue, fight and joke between themselves and the rest of us would crack up. Tuffnell with a fag hanging out of his mouth, never completing a word longer that two syllables would regularly wind up Syksey who himself was on a constant weight loss programme, convinced that wrapping up his torso in a black plastic bin liner was the way to go, rather than reducing the after-game beers and curries. That dressing room was the hard school. If you had dropped a catch the session before you'd know all about it, no holding back from team mates in describing the embarrassing way the ball was fumbled.
"I used to drive Jamie to games. He had a driver's license, but explained to me that he was not suitable for driving, as he'd get too wound up with the moron drivers getting in his way. He'd often end up causing GBH to the likes of poor souls who indicate right and then turn left. His road rage would be tempered if he was a passenger instead. So I was a little surprised to hear that after his cricket retirement he had become a black cab taxi driver. God help London."
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches