There may not be cricket at the moment, but there is still much to discuss, and Sports email columnists Nasser Hussain and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd are ready to answer an important question.
Nasser and Bumble remember the best catches they’ve ever made, while also revealing how they handled the sporty lockdown.
The pair also provide details on what it was like to represent England in the 1990s and name the players they would like to see alongside the squad in the future.
David Lloyd (center) and Nasser Hussain (R) answer cricket questions in the sporty lockdown
What are the best turns you’ve seen up close?
NASSER: I saw a lot of Graham Gooch up close in Essex and he was just remarkable in the 1990s. But the one that sticks in my mind is Mark Butcher’s 173 who didn’t play against Australia at Headingley in 2001. He was such a nice, popular kid who was left out before the game before I changed my mind. Then Butch had his day in the sun.
BUMBLE: I was a referee in Taunton in 1986, when Viv Richards hit a hundred against Somorgan against 48 against Glamorgan. He just kept hitting it in the river! Sensational stuff.
Who gave the fastest deliveries you’ve ever had?
NASSER: Brett Lee was scary, especially on a quick throw at WACA. Allan Donald just ran up when raw and threw it without knowing where it was going, and something would click with Shoaib Akhtar and he would suddenly go from 90 mph to 97 mph.
BUMBLE: Jeff Thomson. Have I ever told you about the time he hit me in the box? The modern boys would refute it, but there are plenty who think Thommo was the fastest of all time. What I do know is that he was certainly fast.
Nasser Hussain says Australian Brett Lee was the most terrifying bowler he has ever seen
What was the best catch you made, who was rejected and can you describe it?
BUMBLE: It was a Roses game and Richard Lumb cut one. I was on a leg slip where I had just broadened, anticipated his shot and dove to the left where it stuck in my glove six inches off the ground. I had a little run around after that.
NASSER: There was one moment in a one-day game against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge when Sanath Jayasuriya hit it against me and I caught it with one hand to my weaker left side. But the best came to my house at Valentines Park in Ilford early in my career when I ran in from the border and caught someone deep inside. I don’t remember who.
Have you ever accidentally dated without a box? What happened?
NASSER: No. And once you get there, as Bumble knows for sure, you never go out the door unprotected.
BUMBLE: No, especially after being hit by Thommo there. Always be prepared.
Nasser, have you paid much attention to the comments of the press about your captain in England? How easy is it to rule out criticism? Did you have a way to deal with it?
NASSER: I listened to it, yes. I would watch The Verdict on Sky and read the strange newspaper. I have always had thick skin and my approach would be to try to prove to people that they are wrong when they criticize me. You realized that some spoke wisely and you could learn something. I always listened to Mike Atherton and Mike Brearley when they wrote about me or the game.
Hussain says he often felt determined to prove his critics wrong as captain of England
Test batsmen play long innings with intense concentration. Are there any simple mind tricks a lower level cricketer can use to relax between deliveries?
NASSER: Don’t build it up too much. A club cricketer could look forward to his innings all week and then put too much pressure on himself. Try to enjoy it!
BUMBLE: Just play the delivery and walk away. Switch on and then switch off between the balls. I watched young Haseeb Hameed and after each ball played it about 20 times in the shadows. It’s gone. Think of something other than the last ball.
Who are currently the best young English qualified batsman and bowler and what do you see in it?
BUMBLE: Dan Lawrence from Essex for razzmatazz, while Ollie Pope seems like the complete batsman. And Saqib Mahmood has all the tools if he can overcome his injuries. He’s fast enough and waves it.
NASSER: I haven’t seen him much, but with the bat, Dan Lawrence’s stats in Australia during the Lions trip were phenomenal. And with the ball, Saqib Mahmood has something about him. During the next Ashes trip, he was able to get a reverse swing.
Nasser and Bumble agree that Dansexrence from Essex is one of the best young batsmen in England
How do you deal with the sporty lockdown?
NASSER: With a lot of technology. I make sure my kids download things like Zoom for me so I can do podcasts, and I enjoy some of the old cricket footage on my TV screen.
BUMBLE: I seem to be growing a beard and have done a lot of gardening.
Should test players take a pay cut to help provincial players with little money?
NASSER: I don’t think we’ve gotten this far, but the game’s finances will be dangerous if this continues in the long run, especially for provinces. When it’s all over, the game will need to be reset.
BUMBLE: I have noticed that footballers in some clubs are starting to take pay cuts and I think if it happened with cricket it would be a good gesture of solidarity.
Nasser, how can you exchange your football loyalty from Leeds to Arsenal?
NASSER: It’s purely a regional thing! I was taken to Leeds by my brothers when I was young and I always liked them, but when my kids came over I wanted to take them to a local team and I always loved the way Arsenal plays. It is now Arsenal for me – good and bad!
Nasser, were you afraid I was going to knock you out when you hit me at the 92 in Tunbridge Wells? – From former Essex and English bowler Mark Ilott
NASSER: Let’s give this some context. I had had words with (Essex teammate) Mark Waugh on the field and when we got back to the dressing room I still tapped. I kicked to Ilott’s ‘chest’ and it landed on his foot when he came back from the shower. The biggest problem I had when he looked up to me was holding a skinny Mark Ilott while wearing nothing at all. I taped it on a coat rack, but we were friends then and can still hurry now!
Would you rather face six balls from Jofra Archer or throw six balls at Jos Buttler?
NASSER: Easy. Jos might hit me for 36 and make me look crazy, but Jofra can do serious damage. Only twice since I retired have I seen a period of bowling and thought, “Thank God I don’t have to face that” – Mitchell Johnson at the Gabba in 2013 and Jofra at Steve Smith at Lord’s last year. It was very dangerous.
BUMBLE: Jos would hit me halfway through next week, but I’d like to see my chances of surviving six balls from Jofra. I just hope he didn’t throw any balls!
Bumble sees his chances of surviving an over from English bowler Jofra Archer
Would you make it to today’s English test team?
BUMBLE: Christ, no! I know I once scored a double hundred for England, but that was about all I did. I am like Rob Key in that regard.
NASSER: No, although it was my 52nd birthday on Saturday! I don’t like comparing epochs, but overall players are now much more skilled, fitter and stronger.
If there had been decision ratings while playing, would you have better or worse numbers?
NASSER: I seemed to get some bad ones, but I also got away with a lot. You always remember the bad ones, like the Wasim Akram lbw that lay far outside the leg stump in Rawalpindi – I then put my foot through a fridge in the dressing room! But if I had been handed out by Darrell Hair while wearing one of Javagal Srinath during my first Test one hundred, I might not have had an English career. It all levels itself.
BUMBLE: I would have had worse statistics as a batsman and miles better as a spinner. I certainly would have bowled much more because DRS gives you an extra stump. Don’t ask me, ask Shane Warne. He thinks he got more than 1,200 test tickets with DRS!
How would you compare the depth and quality of international bowlers when you played England in the 1990s and coached with the current crop?
BUMBLE: In general, I would say that the quality of the opposition bowlers was better then. I’m not sure if there is depth now even though there are some good bowlers out there who are flippin ‘.
NASSER: I never like to say it was better in my day, but I’m glad I played in the era of some of the very best greats like Warne, McGrath, Wasim, Waqar, Donald, Pollock, Walsh, Ambrose and Murali. There is no doubt that the quality has gone down, but it is now coming back to people like Archer and Rabada.
Bumble says Allan Donald was among the many great bowlers of all time from the 1990s
Bumble, how many renditions of Sweet Caroline do you sing every day while isolated?
BUMBLE: I’m afraid it’s been parked for a while. I saw a video of my buddy Pete Conway and his boy Robbie singing a little bit doing Frank Sinatra’s That Life on stage and it was great. As for Sweet Caroline, the chief Neil Diamond posted an updated version. “Hands, wash hands, reach out, don’t touch me, I’m not touching you.” So I leave it to the master.
What and where are the five best lunches on the international circuit?
NASSER: Lord is distinguished by a country mile and everyone says Derby for some reason. I was so concerned with their fast bowlers that I didn’t eat lunch there. India is great because I am a great curryman. I also like the roast chicken and rotis in the Caribbean.
BUMBLE: Lord’s is always top notch. Lots of good seafood at the MCG and everywhere in New Zealand is good. And you get a crunchy curry in Mumbai, but lunch is a little early for me.
Was the UK team of the 1990s underpowered, poorly managed (no central contracts) or just nonsense?
NASSER: Good question. We had a garbage can! There were some special teams back then and I didn’t think we had a bad team. Central contracts made a huge difference. Before, you were a county player who occasionally played for England and after contracts it was the other way around. It is a very important change in mentality.
BUMBLE: Central contracts made all the difference. That English team in the 90’s was decent, but other teams were miles better prepared. Ours would appear two days before a test.
Who would be the best and worst cricketers to get involved in self-isolation?
NASSER: The answer to both is Rob Key! He is the most generous, funny person who always thinks of others, but he is also the dullest man in the world. He sent me a WhatsApp video today where he hit golf balls in a blanket on his clothesline after punching them in a tent. Fascinating.
BUMBLE: English cricketer Laura Marsh would be the best! Nasser would be the worst, even though he has always been an expert in self-insulation. We once had a break in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, between matches and stayed in the same spot. Nasser hasn’t said a word to me in five days.
Nasser bears stuck with ‘dullest man in the world’ Rob Key in self-isolation
Are either of you still playing some kind of cricket and when was the last time you picked up a bat?
NASSER: I was persuaded to play a game for Alastair Cook and when I showed up there were thousands and Tymal Mills came in to play bowling. Never again. I have moved on and more importantly my eyes have moved on.
BUMBLE: I played for Accrington, 62 years old, 10 years ago when the club was struggling, but not since then. Never say never. My young grandson started playing for the third and it would be a dream to play on the same team as he and my son. Check out this space!
Bumble has not ruled out playing in the same Accrington team as his young grandson
Nasser, why did Sachin Tendulkar say you are the best captain he played against?
NASSER: Because he is a good judge of a captain! I actually have no idea, but it was very nice of him to say that. He is one of the greatest players the game has known – and the most difficult to get out of because he had no technical flaws. We had to think outside the box, like with Ashley Giles leaning on the leg side, trying to get him out.
What do you hope we can still get out of this cricket season now that the start has been delayed?
BUMBLE: I’m afraid we don’t have cricket for a long time. But everyone is in the same boat worldwide. There will be some hooley when all this is over.
NASSER: I still hope we can get some tests by the end of the summer, even if they have to be behind closed doors. The Hundred seems less likely now, but I hope we get some cricket and when it comes back I hope we all realize what we missed and appreciate it more.
Who are the next England Test and One Day Captains?
BUMBLE: Ben Stokes will one day head to England, although you could say he has too much on his plate. And Jos Buttler becomes the next white man.
NASSER: Joe Root will be around for a while, so I don’t think that will change for a while, but Jos Buttler would be a very good captain of white balls if Eoin Morgan calls it a day. Jos was very good in Bangladesh when he did it.
Nasser and Bumble agree that one day Jos Buttler should succeed Eoin Morgan as Captain of England
If you had one left to take a wicket to win a test, who would you throw the ball at?
BUMBLE: Shane Warne. He would have fielders around the bat and would bring out his full box of tricks. There would be a googly, a shooter, a zooter and a whistle. He would also like the ball.
NASSER: If it was someone I played with, it would be Darren Gough, who had the gift of making things happen in pressure situations. But if I was lucky enough to lead a cricketer, it would be Shane Warne. He would just confuse people.