It has been an incredible summer of international cricket.
England ODI World Champions; Super Over finish; heroics from Ben Stokes.
An enthralling, fluctuating Ashes series. Steve Smith (boo…oh, but he is incredible); Stokes’ batting (again). Jofra Archer’s pace. Amazing, impossible catching.
But what makes a “great” moment truly “great”?
For me, as a spectator (and coach), greatness is demonstrated in the player’s commitment to perform at their absolute best, all of the time.
It doesn’t matter the level of competition, or the venue — cricket is a game played best when it is played “properly”, whatever the context.
It can seem like a cliche, but playing every game, every moment, as if it could be your last on the playing field.
So I now find that I appreciate, more than ever, a player’s dedication to simply playing the game to the very best of his or her ability.
And for me, the highlight of the 2019 season was a running, sliding stop on the boundary.
Not by me — I try to stay on my feet, now, after the damage I inflicted on my knee in 2018.
Not because it made a difference to the result of a major match, or changed the course of a series.
Not in an international; not a televised game (although it was on a big stage).
But because it is what you (should) do, every time you walk onto the ground. Give everything you can for the team.
And what will stay with me was the absolute commitment of the fielder in that moment.
I’ll be 58 next year.
April 2020, and another season, looks a way off, at time of writing (September 2019). It’s going to be a long off-season. Probably a busy one; hopefully an interesting one.
I do want to keep playing at least until I am eligible to turn out as an “underage” player for the over 60s in 2021.
And a Club legend, Doug Kesby, was still bowling, ramrod straight, at 68, so 58 is no great age, really.
And I bought a new cricket bag in August…
Oh, and did I mention my 5-fer for the 3rd XI?
So maybe I have got a few more years in me.
And I’ll take some inspiration from that sliding stop in the outfield.