Lawrence Moore, November 2020
Growing up in the 60's and 70's meant that access to TV cricket chez Moore was fairly minimal. Highlights of Ashes Tests and whatever that brilliant West Indies side was up to was pretty much it in terms of what was available to a TV audience in those days anyway.
Living in a house with five sisters didn't help either and I don't often remember coming out on the right side of many elections on what would be showing on the single screen cinema!
The truth is that I didn't watch a lot of TV cricket until late in the piece, having fallen away from the sport in my mid-teens in favour of football and boxing, neither of which I wasn't any better at. Ultimately, any 'heroes' of my youth were to emerge from those two as opposed to cricket.
Interest was re-kindled out of the blue in the early 80's so it will be no surprise that the player who got me off my feet the most was Viv Richards. Despite all the bumpy pitches there was no Green Bay Packer-esque padding available to cricketers then as there is now, so Richards strode around like he owned the planet with only a bat and a box for protection.
He was of course fortunate that the people most likely to remove his trademark cap for him were applauding him from his own balcony. On the downside, shame on me as I have no idea what he is like, I never really took to Sir Viv away from the 22 yards.
Of all of the brilliant players to represent the West Indies in those glory years, Clive Lloyd was high on my list, headed only by Carl Hooper. Quiet, focused and supremely talented players, Lloyd looked much more like a Geography teacher than a cricketer, but jeez could he bat.
Hooper boasted a batting average of not far off 40 on the International stage and also proved that even at that level, surrounded by jet-propelled quicks, you could think batsmen out as well as knock them out. He was a quality player.
Of the England side around that time, David Gower was by miles my favourite. Yes he was the stereotypical English private schoolboy but what's not to like about a renegade who wants to take on the establishment at every opportunity. Even now, years on, Gower's classy shots are the yardstick by which every other cover drive is judged. Mind you, I think every shot looks 50% better when it's played left handed.
In later years, especially with the advent of limited over and T20 cricket, Adam Gilchrist was the player I liked to watch most. Shane Warne was magnificent too and in many ways they represented opposite ends of that fantastic side. Warne, the wannabe 'Beach Bum' whose amazing skills kept him (sometimes) out of trouble while 'Gilly', who also had his moments, was the go-to guy who usually had his sh*t together.
For someone who claims not to have been influenced too much by TV cricket I need to admit at this point that my son is named after the latter of those! For all of that, the people who gave me my passion for cricket were the ones I watched here.
I got involved because I followed my dad like a lap dog every Saturday, as well as Tuesday and Thursday practice while the sisters fought over what to watch now that they had an overall majority in the house. He was absolutely the person who planted the seed although I think I was more taken with the group- the camaraderie- than any other individual.
Brendan Donaghey is another favourite and that photo of him as a 15/16 year old walking out to open the batting with Aubrey Finlay in a senior cup final sums it up for me. No helmet, no arm or chest guard - so what happens if they bowl short?
"Let them bowl short and we'll see."
Self belief beyond belief even as a kid. How can you not love that?!