England’s wacky spinner talk bands, Brad Pitt and bowling doosras. Andy Afford reports.
Who would be you dream spin twin for England?
I’d have to say Phil Tufnell. Every minute spent with ‘The Cat’, is a minute spent with smile on your face. As a left-armer, he could bowl the right-handers out and leave me to bowl out the lefties.
What would be your perfect pick’n’mix lolly combo?
I’d start with some fried eggs, then a few fizzy cola bottles – possibly a couple of the sour colas – but not too many as I’m sure they make your stomach bleed! Then, it’s a difficult one, but I reckon the pink sets of false teeth. Throw in a couple of Refreshers – even though the paper never comes off properly. Some jelly crocodiles. Maybe a sour snake or two? Oh, and those blackcurrant and raspberry ones – they’re lovely. And you can forget those foam shrimp things. They are disgusting.
My record is $23 on a pick’n’mix. The lady that served me said it was the largest bag she’d ever weighed in. I remember it being in my car or about three weeks last summer. It did the whole of the one-day series against Australia.
Shane Warne bowled the ball of last century. When are going to bowl one for this century and whose bails are going airborne when it turns through the gate?
I’ve already done it! The ball that bowled Ricky Ponting at Edgbaston last series. That was the ball of this century.
And just so as not to get carried away, the delivery pre-empted the worst ever over bowled in professional cricket, the one I bowled to Mike Hussey. It included two knee-high full-bungers and three double-bouncers. That was the classic illustration of going from the penthouse to the outhouse in no time flat.
When you perform as frontman in your rock’n’roll band Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations, which song to you enjoy singing the most?
Without a doubt it has to be Town Called Malice by The Jam. It’s magic every single time we play it. When John the bass player kicks in at the start, the place always goes mental. The song is so good it’s as though it has been written for us.
If you were forming your own supergroup which musicians would get the nod?
That’s easy. I’d go for Clint Book on the Inspiral Carpets on keyboards, Noel Gallagher (Oasis) on guitar, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) on drums, Manu from the Stone Roses and Primal Scream on bass with Tim Burgess from The Charlatans on vocals. My mum would have John ‘Deacky’ Deacon on bass though. She loves Queen.
Which actors would you hire if you were casting ‘Swanny’s World: The Movie’?
Again, I know it’s stating the obvious but I’d have to go for Brad Pitt to play me. If nothing else it would require little to no make-up.
Do you consider yourself England’s premier strike bowler after the success you’ve had in the last year?
No, but I do consider myself to be England’s premier No.9 batsman.
What are the various cliques in the England squad, how would you categorise them in a High School Musical/Mean Girls kind of way – just who are the Plastics?
As a rule, the England camp falls into two distinct groups – those watched Grange Hill as a kid and those who didn’t. Essentially the posh lot and the rest of us. We also have a ginger/non-ginger thing going on. I fall within the redheaded side of the divide, courtesy of my mum, although I carry only the recessive gene. It’s like the film I Am Legend, I am a genetic mutation.
Will you every bowl a doosra?
No. I tried it once and then ended up having elbow surgery six weeks later.
If you could change one thing about the game to improve it, what would it be?
Good question and a very easy one to answer. I believe that numbers nine to 11 in the batting order should not be allowed to play three consecutive defensive strokes. They should be given out if they do not take a legitimate swing at the ball. Obviously, it wouldn’t really affect my batting. And wider than that very sensible amendment to the laws, a further rule change it would be that all batsman should stand taller that five-feet eight-inches (171cm). Short blokes are a nightmare to bowl at.