I approach the crease with sun burning the back of my neck, an unusually hot day. The dust kicks up from my shoes, Gunn and Moore, bought new this week. I look up into the stands at the faces, all the hope and expectation in their eyes. A few call my name but most stay silent as the anticipation builds.
I glance over at the gas holder, a huge metal structure. Symbolic of the vice cage tightening around my chest as the realisation of the pressure hits me and I struggle to catch my breath.
I’d dreamt about this day all my life, the chance to shine.
OK, it’s not the Oval, I’m not playing for my country. It might only be a backwater club in the North, but to me it’s as important, I am playing for my pride, my team…and the keg of beer back at the bar.