TMS had the actor Jim Carter as the lunchtime guest yesterday. He's also the president of Hampstead Cricket Club, and he told a great little anecdote about Andrew Flintoff, who had just been down for a benefit game.
Fred had been told not to play because of his knee, but went into bat nonetheless to face a 15 year-old leg spinner. To cheers, he studiously blocked out the first ball, before launching a crowdpleaser into the surrounding streets from the next. From the third, he knocked up a catch, walked down the wicket, shook the young man's hand and then took off his shirt and signed it for him.
It reminded me a bit of Davis Miller's great magazine piece My Dinner With Ali, in which Miller, a champion kickboxer who'd idolised the Greatest all his life, got to spar with Ali on his front lawn after a chance meeting. Miller was disappointed at first at Ali's lack of speed and clumsiness until he later caught sight of Ali shadowboxing secretly and alone, his fists and feet moving with blurring speed. Miller realised that Ali had just wanted him to enjoy his moment with the champ.
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