My love of cricket developed in the late 80s and early 90s. Appropriately enough, given who we’ve just played and who is still to come this summer, the first bits of cricket I can distinctly remember are England’s 1988 series against the West Indies and the 1989 Ashes: both humiliating 4-0 defeats. (It says nothing for my cricketing judgement that out of a bowling line-up including Marshall, Ambrose and Walsh, I recall bowling to my older brother in the back garden and saying “I’m Patrick Patterson”.)
So it is not that I am a fair-weather fan, or a “new” fan used only to success: the particular lows that stand out for me include our failure to dismiss Danny “Duckman” Morrison in 1997, Nasser Hussain being booed on the Oval balcony in 1999, almost any World Cup since 1992, and dropping Jack Russell for Richard for Blakey in 1993. Despite all that, I didn’t just follow cricket but fell in love with it. The period had some highs too – I remember Gooch scoring a triple hundred against India in 1990 and carrying his bat against West Indies in 91, Atherton and Russell’s defiance in Johannesburg in 95, finally beating West Indies in a series in 2000… Even Ashes series were not completely depressing – Thorpe and Hussain’s stand at Edgbaston in 1997, where we took the lead in an Ashes for the first time since 1986/7, and Goughie’s hat trick at the MCG in 1999 were particular high points.