It had changed massively. We are much more together now. Back then there was quite an insular, selfish feel to the team. There were cliques. It wasn't 11 guys playing for one another. It was six or seven guys playing that way and four or five playing for themselves. Look, I could be wrong. I was hardly in the dressing room back then. I was an outsider and I'm just giving you my impression. But I was quite surprised by it at the time.
Ha! It would have been like Paul Merson's How Not to Be a Professional Footballer, wouldn't it? Yeah, we could have called it How Not to Be a Pro Cricketer.
Oh, there are myriad reasons. It was probably a bit of both. But I had improved by the time I was recalled. It's only natural that you evolve as you play more. I know I had improved as a bowler, but it's hard to say to what extent. I just felt I knew what I was doing more. But it's true that the environment had changed too.
Yes, probably. It was a case of moving or giving up cricket. I wasn't enjoying it at all, and it had got to the stage where I was dreading going to work in the morning. I didn't have a plan to do anything else, but I couldn't have gone on like that. Then Mick Newell [Notts' director of cricket] came along. He just asked me to come to Trent Bridge and enjoy my cricket again. He said he wanted me to play with a smile on my face and be myself. As those were qualities that were actively discouraged at Northants at the time, it was a chance I leapt at. It was lovely.
I'm still very fond of Northants. I check on their results and I still want to see them do well. It's the club where I grew up and that I supported as a kid. I'm really happy to see they have started the season so well and I hope they go up. I know that will surprise a few of the people who gave me a hard time when I left, but hopefully they now understand there was a problem there and the reasons behind my decision. At the time, I seem to remember some of them calling me a quitter. Looking back, I still can't believe that Northants didn't win more trophies. They had some amazing players.
I love it! It's a great idea. But don't let them work in the club offices; that's too soft. Young cricketers should be made to do National Service. Or labouring. Look, we have got the best job in the world. It's brilliant. We travel around the world, staying in great hotels, and we play cricket. Occasionally I hear someone moaning about another flight and I just remind them that we could be collecting bins or laying bricks on a cold morning in England. We're very lucky and we shouldn't forget that. Millions of people would kill to swap places with us.
Yeah, I think there might be something in that. I love touring. Absolutely love it. You're travelling around with your best mates - and that really is how it feels most of the time - and you're being paid to do something you love. Obviously you miss your family and there are times when it's tiring, but generally it's a fantastic life and I love every moment of it. Look, one winter I helped out in Ian Poulter's golf shop. It was the worst time of my life. I was bored out of my mind. So I'll never take playing for England for granted.
"You wouldn't ask Usain Bolt why he doesn't run marathons, would you? I'm a traditional offspinner. I can bowl the carrom ball, but it's just not me. It's just not what I do. My action is so different when I do it that there's no point"
No, no. I have missed enough international cricket. I want to play every game I can. In 2009, just before the Ashes, I knew I was going to get picked. It was all I had ever wanted. I was finally in the position that I wanted to be in. So I treat every game as if it's going to be my last. I play with a bit of joie de vivre, and that seems to work for me.
When people misfield off my bowling, it makes me hate them. Really. I'm not joking. I want to do them and their family ill. I want to hunt them down and do them harm. That feeling doesn't last long, which is probably just as well, but it's there for a moment. It's funny, the three of us who were the most grumpy with England - me, Broady and Sid [Ryan Sidebottom] - were all from Nottinghamshire. I don't know why that should be. Look, we all make mistakes in the field. The best thing you can do is acknowledge it, say sorry and get on with it. There's never been any problem afterwards. We all care a lot and we all understand that passion to do well.
You wouldn't ask Usain Bolt why he doesn't run marathons, would you? Well, it the same thing, really. I'm a traditional offspinner. I can bowl the carrom ball, but it's just not me. It's just not what I do. My action is so different when I do it that there's no point. I might as well tell the batsman what I'm going to bowl next.
I absolutely thought that any chance I had of playing for England had gone. And I had accepted it. I was happy with life. I was loving playing at Notts and England wasn't even something I thought about. It really didn't bother me as it didn't even seem like it was an option. I didn't even bother to check the touring parties when they were announced, as I just knew it wasn't anything to do with me. Well, I say that: I sometimes had a peek and thought, "He shouldn't be in there". But no, I wasn't thinking about England.
No, not at all. You are right that it didn't harm my profile, but it wasn't about playing for England. It was more about thinking about life after cricket. I was just trying to open some doors for a future career in the media.
Yeah, that's probably right. I think I understand the media. I don't mind if they criticise - that's their job, isn't it? - and I'm not afraid of it. Look, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy being the centre of attention. An interview like this, where I'm asked to talk about myself, well, that's fine: it's my favourite subject. I think some of the guys do fear the media, but there isn't much need. If you approach it as something that can be fun and you just relax and be yourself, then there really isn't a big problem.
We haven't stopped them. They are for winter tours. We'll still be doing them, but we wanted to keep them special. Hopefully you'll see them again this winter. That's as long as Barney Douglas, who is the guy behind the camera, hasn't gone off to be a rock star by then. His band, The Sunbeat Revival, have just released their first EP. It's brilliant, euphoric stuff.
And so he should be. Peter Moores hasn't had the credit he deserves. He's an exceptional coach and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was coaching an international team again sooner rather than later. He was brilliant when I was selected. He said, "We picked you to be you. We want to see the same cricketer we saw when you were playing county cricket: just be you." I feel really lucky to have had him as coach when I came back into the side.
Ha! I'd love to have a crack at it, yes. I'm not sure it would work so well at that level, but I'd love to have a go. I love batting. It's the best thing about cricket. I get quite bored in the field sometimes.
I didn't put myself forward for the job. Captaincy just isn't on my agenda. I love my role in the side and I don't want to change it. I just want to bat and bowl for England and I don't think I could still be the light-hearted, piss-taking guy if I was in a position of authority.
I am. I was a bit sceptical at first, as I wasn't sure about the technology, but now I think it's brilliant. It's meant that we are now giving guys out who should be given out. For years batsmen were getting away with it.
Weariness was a factor, but we can't use that as an excuse. It's not as if we were not fit enough to get through a schedule like that, and we went there to try and win it. But if we are honest I think we would have to admit that the World Cup was our secondary aim of the winter. Our primary aim was to win the Ashes and we put a huge amount into that. Maybe mentally we were a bit jaded. But as I say, that's not an excuse. I thought we were exceptional in some games and very average in some others.
George Dobell is chief cricket writer of Spin Cricket Magazine, where this interview was first published