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With riotous stories of life on England tours, partying with Ian Botham and Elton John, combined with a moving account of his battle with mental-health issues, Graeme Fowler's Absolutely Foxed is a cricket memoir unlike any other. Seen by many as a maverick, happy-go-lucky figure, Fowler became a hugely influential coach, and is one of the most original thinkers about the game. He's battled and won against the best spinners in India, and the fastest bowlers from the West Indies - he's even found himself at the centre of a tabloid storm. In this book, he looks back over his 40 years in the professional game, spending 16 years on the county circuit with Lancashire and Durham, and three years as an England international - a period that was cut short by a life-threatening injury. He followed that with a spell working on Test Match Special, before running the Durham Centre of Excellence for 18 years. Alastair Campbell provides an Afterword in which he commends Fowler's support for others suffering from mental-health problems; Fowler's own experiences should provide help and inspiration for those dealing with similar problems. In his Foreword, lifelong friend Sir Ian Botham describes Fowler as 'one of the gutsiest I ever encountered', but also points out how he 'made a dressing room tick'. Those elements of courage, knowledge and humour are all present in Absolutely Foxed - a truly unmissable read.
of very good players making it into first-class cricket and beyond. The coaching system he put in place produced amazing results, and it’s a great loss to the game in this country that it no longer exists. I can’t understand quite why anyone would feel the need to change something that had so much success. It’s something I, and a lot of other people, can’t work out. In recent years, Foxy has been affected by depression. When I first found out, I didn’t know how to take it. I don’t claim to
registered as alcoholics so we could have a drink. In the middle of all this, one of the only bright parts was Arkle. When he got down, I hated it. It upset me to see him like that. With somebody who’s normally so bubbly and effervescent, you tend to forget that he has feelings, too. Why should he always be up? I preferred to think of him a few weeks earlier in New Zealand. It was windy and freezing. I was at cover and he was at extra cover. Derek didn’t like to walk in, he ran – so I did the
off. I’ve said to a couple of my students down the years: ‘If I ever see you do that again, I shall walk on this pitch and drag you off.’ There are two things I’ve never believed anybody saying: ‘I didn’t see it’ and ‘I don’t know whether I hit it’. I’ve never believed that last one, no matter how fine the nick is. I always walked; I was told to. In the first game I played for Lancashire second XI, when I was 16, there was a big appeal by the wicketkeeper for a catch, but I knew I’d hit my pad.
standard, announced three first-class matches each against the 18 counties. It wasn’t something I supported. I said to ECB director of operations John Carr: ‘We don’t want to be first-class. It’s going to cause a lot of problems. Why don’t you create a level and call it A Class, like they used to do in South Africa? Then everybody knows what it is?’ No. It had to be first-class. There’d been arguments ever since I can remember that Oxford and Cambridge shouldn’t be considered as first-class.
under lights, play through the dusk, and yet in Test cricket come off. That doesn’t hold true. You can see why it would infuriate the crowd. It would infuriate me. What we also need to take the game forward is an international Test schedule which acts like a league. You have one game at home and one away. Within that format you still have space for the Ashes, but the first Test of the series counts towards the league. You could do it all in two years and it would generate a lot of interest. But