First cricketing memory
My older brother and I were always playing around the house. We both went to watch my dad, who played for London Transport, on a Sunday. We'd get the bus and go on big excursions with them. We used to play with the other kids all afternoon when we were there, not just cricket, football too. But coming from a cricketing background, cricket was the one. My dad's a cricket nut and he was mine and my brother's first coach. He taught us everything about the game, and as we got older and played for teams, that competitive edge got going.
Coming up from a West Indian background, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner - and bowlers of that ilk - were the ones you watched and idolised. I am lucky enough to have met some of my heroes too. But if there was one, it was Marshall. He's pound for pound the best fast bowler ever. He'd get wickets in all conditions. He's been to India and got 33 wickets in a series where generally it's the spinners that get them. The great man was well-versed everywhere, on any pitch and in any conditions.
First big case of nerves
That was when I was making my Test debut, aged 21. We were touring Australia and it wasn't going well. Alec Stewart was the captain and there was a choice to be made between me and Dean Headley. He was the senior player and he wanted to know whether he was playing, but Alec just told us it hadn't been decided and that he'd let us know on the morning of the game. When he tapped me on the shoulder and said I was playing, it really did kick in. I remember being at the end of my mark before I bowled and rubbing my hands on the floor because they were that sweaty.
I don't think I took any in professional cricket but I got a few as a kid. At that stage I knew I just had to get the ball fast and straight and not many of the batsmen would fancy it! I had a chance to get one as a pro but I got Darren Lehmann out and it was a no-ball. I remember Adam Hollioake looking at me and saying, "What have you done?" He went on to get 70-odd - and it was the only chance I had.
First Ashes memory
My first Test came in Perth in an Ashes series. When I was a young lad at secondary school I was always an avid watcher. I'd turn on the TV and see Atherton, Stewart, Hick and Thorpe. All of a sudden I'm playing for England, they were my team-mates, and I was playing against the Waugh brothers, Ian Healy and Mark Taylor. It was all a little bit surreal and like "What the hell is going on?" I had to pinch myself a couple of times but once I settled down it was fine. The integration was made a bit easier being alongside a lot of my Surrey team-mates. I was glad the series was away from home as I didn't have that added pressure of my mates being there - but I did get a lot of stick from them. Everyone had a go at my hair! I had a big afro and people were telling me to get a haircut.