In my “slightly” younger days I played club cricket for many years, albeit at a relatively low level, but it was nevertheless enjoyable and almost a way of life at weekends.

I was the captain of the team and so there were perhaps more tasks to be dealt with than just those on the field.

Now, to follow the game, I turn to the TV or being a live spectator at the exceptionally well organised and increasingly successful, local Fawley Cricket Club.

Its academy is developing a great bunch of talented youngsters.

Recently, there have been numerous breaks in play at Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl, during the West Indies and Pakistan test matches, that there has been almost more chat and theorising amongst the pundits than actual play on the field.

I have to say that, during these periods, I have learned so much about the finer points and the technical side of the game, particularly from Michael Atherton, Michael Holding and Shane Warne.

It is so apparent how psychology plays almost as much an important part in the game as technique and ability.

Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Robert Key and Andrew Straus, as former captains themselves, love trying to get into the heads of the playing captains to understand their strategies and quite often successfully predict what will happen next with field positioning or the type of bowling to challenge the batsman.

During clinics in the lunch periods, kids have had the opportunity to be guided by Mark Wood and Shane Warne on how to control and vary their fast and spin bowling techniques.

Atherton continually points out how vital it is for a batsman to keep his head down, eye on the ball, feet to the pitch of the ball.

If I ever remembered and got two out of three, I was doing well.

Test cricketers these days are, of course, dedicated professionals, with the security of contracts and are able to practice, practice, practice.

They do not realise just how far away they are from my playing days.

Do they have to spend the best part of Friday evening on the ‘phone, finally getting a team together by persuading or pleading when the forecast for matchday is hot sunshine and the beach beckons?

After breakfast, on the day of the game, my wife would spend the rest of the morning preparing sandwiches and making cakes for the tea interval.

As the start of the game approached and we were preparing to bat, who could I persuade to umpire and score?

Those who “volunteered” to umpire would inevitably be confronted with the pressure of threatening appeals for LBW from the opposition and frequently gave the most dodgy of decisions.

Unlike with some teams, there was no point in our batsmen scuffing up the pitch a bit outside of the line to help our bowlers when it was our turn to field.

We played on a synthetic pitch. The first of which was effectively a fabric coated rubber mat.

It was not stuck down and during one game a heavy gust of wind blew it completely off its base. We recovered it, but I wonder if a cricket match has ever been abandoned because of a loss of the pitch?

One for Benedict to refer to his stats.

We were a company social club team. During the winter, the pitch was stored in the factory warehouse.

During one night shift, an employee with a Stanley knife, helped himself to a section of it for use at home.

The replacement stuck down pitch is still there today, but now sadly overgrown with vegetation after years of not having to deal with a cricket ball.

The former holes for the stumps would make perfect homes for daffodil bulbs.

The surface harbours a number of great performances but rather a lot more dreams.

When I played, licensing laws had not been relaxed.

After the game, our kids, who had suffered the whole of the afternoon entertaining themselves, understandably wanted attention, but we could not all go into the bar together and relive the afternoon’s victory or otherwise.

I will keep my ‘phone on, just in case Joe Root calls me soon for a few tips.

Bob Davies