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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Features

40 years later, Boycs still berating me over run out
Rohit Bhaskar, Hindustan Times
Birmingham, June 17, 2013
First Published: 00:45 IST(17/6/2013)
Last Updated: 03:10 IST(17/6/2013)

Forty summers ago, England opener Dennis Amiss declined a second run that his opening partner Geoff Boycott, often the cause of his partners being run out, called. Both batsmen were at the same end.  Boycott was back in the pavilion for 1, Amiss went on hit a hundred that ensured an England victory.

Now, you would assume that all the bad blood may have dissipated in the champagne that would have flowed after the win. But, then you're probably underestimating how much the Yorkshireman valued his wicket.
 
HT met the 70-year-old at Edgbaston, and he shared that Boycott is still unhappy with the events of that day. “40 years later, he's still berating me. I was at Lord's recently and I took my grandson to the press box to meet everyone, he's a Chelsea supporter so that went down very well with Alec Stewart. Then I took him to Geoffrey and told him, ‘tell my grandson what a good runner between the wickets I was’, and my grandson never heard words like it. There weren’t in his vocabulary,” said the septuagenarian who finds getting hundreds easier these days, albeit on the golf course.

Remembering the incident, he said, “He wouldn't speak to me in the dressing room. When I was batting, he was telling everyone in the dressing ‘look at that **** scoring all my runs’. He even threatened to run me out in the next match.”

Excerpts

Of your 11 Test hundreds, eight exceeded 150, a ratio even better than Bradman. What do you put that down to?

It was my old coach who use to say, when you get a hundred, take fresh guard and try to get another one because that's when you learn about yourself, you'll learn about shots you never had and it will also make up for the times when you fail. He also said you will start enjoying being a batsman when you go from 100 to 150 and if you can go from 150 to 200. He always instilled that in me.

You were the first batsman to use helmets. Can you talk about the innovation?

I had been hit on the head once or twice. I spoke to Tony Greig, Alan Knott, Keith Fletcher and Derek Underwood about it and they encouraged me to try it out. Since it was World Series Cricket, approval was given easily. It wouldn't be allowed in Test cricket.
After me, Greig and Zaheer Abbas started wearing them. Barry Richards started wearing a motorcycle helmet. I didn't expect it to catch on. It just made sense because there were about 15 bowlers in World Series who bowled in excess of 90 mph and the Australian pitches were bouncy.

You got 100 first-class tons, how do you rate that. What is your take on Sachin getting 100 international tons?

I was sitting on 85 three years before that and David Brown (Warwickshire CEO) asked me to stick around. I was 41 then and was thinking about retiring. He said ‘you're still good enough and we want you to lead this team’. He put it in my head that I could 100 first-class hundreds, and said they wanted me to mentor the youngsters. I managed to get five centuries each of those three years, and at 44 I got my hundredth 100. Sachin’s feat is just tremendous, I wonder if it will ever be achieved again. You have to put him up there with Bradman and Gary Sobers as the greatest of all time.


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