Updated: Nov 21, 2018
All time super star, probably the most underrated cricketers of his era. Likened to Gower in his time, bowled lightning bolt bouncers and was once putting pressure on me with the gloves at middlesex! Fantastic skipper, great mentor and extremely well respected in the cricket world. Has little hands though! How on earth he caught a cricket ball I will never know!! 255 First class, 78 ODI, and 1 test match that I had the pleasure of watching in Ireland this year. With almost 20 thousand career runs this is a guy to stand up and listen too!
Ed, thanks for joining me today, how are you enjoying your retirement?
Thanks Scotty, well I was ready to stop so I’m enjoying not playing any more. My knee wasn’t in great shape and having played for such a long time, I felt it was the right decision to hang up the boots. I’m coaching now which is a completely new challenge. I miss the competitive element of playing professional sport but also love seeing someone I’ve worked with achieving success. My shoulder is also pretty sore, slinging balls for hours on end!
Was it always cricket or were you good at most sports in your school days?
I love most sports. I played soccer and rugby to a decent standard in school so they were the winter games. Cricket took over in the summer. I’d completely disappear from my school friends lives during the summer and they thought I was pretty weird playing cricket all day every day in the holidays! My favourite live events now are watching Leinster and Ireland okay rugby.
What made you head towards the cricket pitch to start your career?
Cricket was the game I was best at and enjoyed the most when I was young. I never thought about being a professional cricketer until I had actually played a few games for Middlesex 2’s and realised all these English lads weren’t as good as I’d thought!
Who were your sporting influences back then and did they help you decide – directly or indirectly?
My parents were my biggest influences. They’d be fairly conservative people though and my dad was always trying to convince me to go into accounting or something boring like that even after I’d become a regular at Middlesex. My brothers were my coaches and are still some of the best coaches I know
You and I started at a similar time/era and have seen many styles and trends of fitness training for cricket, how do YOU think cricket fitness has evolved?
It was all fairly amateur back then. Rocking up in March and doing a bit of running and skills work was the extent of it really until about 2003/4. We then started to do a lot more running and weights etc. I’m still not sure it was the best prep as we were all doing the same thing regardless of our body type and position. Personally I did loads more core work and leg strength stuff, especially after my hip op. The foam roller became my best friend. I also feel you have to be running fit for cricket as it’s a running game.
Most people have their hip replaced years after they finish playing professional sport, how important was it to be disciplined and focused during your rehab for your hip op?
Luckily I didn’t require a replacement but it was a serious hip operation. I had micro-fracture surgery as well as some other work done so the surgeon left me in no doubt that I’d be lucky to keep playing. I was pretty determined as I didn’t want to give up on the cricketing way of life. This is when I learnt about being utterly relentless with warm up routines and staying on top of my leg strength and core stuff.
Whats your specific recovery routine after a long day in the field or smashing a hundred?
Honestly my recovery routine was far less important than the prep the following morning. The most important thing for recovery personally was good food and lots of water
Whats your nutrition like? Before, During, after a game?
Porridge, fruit and coffee in the morning. I know people talk about more protein in the morning - eggs etc - but I just rarely felt like eating that in the morning. Again during games, I’d eat well if in the field but if batting, I always felt sluggish if I ate too much. After the game, I’d always eat a decent meal. Cricket is tricky to get nutrition perfectly as the game takes the whole day and feeling good to perform is the most important thing.
Back in the day we heard stories of players sneaking beer out in tea cups and having a glass of wine over lunch… what drink did you have on the field, water, isotonic, to keep you hydrated at energised during the game?
Water usually. Vodka probably would have been more welcome though when fielding with some of our bowlers over the years!
Although we can give ourselves the best chance sometimes Injuries are inevitable, how important is the discipline and understanding of process to recovering from injuries?
Recovering from injuries can be lonely and fairly depressing as at different stages, you can feel like you’re not making progress. These are the times you have to plough on and make sure to be relentless with the rehab as it’s so easy to stop and lose hope.
As a batsman what do you think is the most important part of your body to be strong?
Chest and arms! It’s important to be running fit firstly. Having a decent core helps with posture batting for long periods. I also found later in my career that the more leg weights I did, the better my dodgy hips felt and also the more energy I had in the field during the long innings
What’s your favourite type of training?
I don’t enjoy much training but my preference would be for circuits so that there is an element of weights and cardio in there. If I’m doing a running session, it’ll always be a sprint/shuttle session.
If you wanted to lose a little bit of tub around the tyre (fat) what would be your go to type of training?
I do want to lose the tub and I’m open to suggestions! I always find that my diet is the most important thing when trying to lose weight. I can train as much as a like but if I’m eating too much or eating lots of rubbish, the tub stays! When I’m eating well, sprints and circuits are great
Many have commented on the amount of time you used to have as a batter, The fact that you could make fast bowlers look like they were bowling with a medicine ball (not Corky he “gets you every time”) while us mere mortals are jumping around, trampling all over short leg and making an easy game, look hard. Whats the one exercise you use that makes this possible?
I used to use Jedi mind training to make sure I was one with the force and then I knew what the bowler was going to do before he knew. Corky uses the dark side so I could never read him and therefore he got me every time.… but really only once!
(scotty) and that hit you on arm not the bat, I remember that one!
Every genius has his kryptonite one of my memories of you was when on the rare occasion, on a long tiring day in the field you may disappear off to the boundary, shoulders slumped, hat drooped, chin almost on the floor and we wouldn’t hear from you until the next wicket! How important is it to be constantly working on your posture?
My natural posture when feeling good is slightly slumped, so whenever I was slightly down, it looked like I actually would rather be anywhere else..this was only partially true. What I was probably thinking was ‘this pitch is so flat and we need some new bowlers’ - sorry bowlers
You have already played a pivotal part in the development of Irish cricket. Having played the Irish a few times over the years it was always clear to me that they were very strong in the field and players such as Porterfield and yourself (of course) were extremely dynamic. How important is fitness and agility to the Irish team?
We were certainly a very good fielding side. We took pride in it being an area we could be world class in. To be a good fielding side, fitness and agility are key but you also have to practice the dives and catches a lot. Now that we’re a bit older, that fielding ability has waned a bit..we need some the new guys to buy into the fitness/fielding aspect
Whats your favourite muscle you have?
Buttocks, they support the dodgy hips and haven’t let me down yet
What do you get on the bleep test?
Highest score was 15 (something). When I finished I was around 13..fairly rubbish but I am nearly 50
How fast can you run 100m?
No idea but it wouldn’t be quick. Sub 20 seconds for sure! I could turn pretty sharply before the hips and knees started giving up..
If you had your time again what would you do differently?
I’d be far more into my fitness and prep in my early to mid twenties. I look back now at my time with England and think I was nowhere near as professional as I should have been which is ridiculous. I wouldn’t change much else though 1 I had a great time as a cricketer!
What would you encourage young players to do?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, especially early in your career. I never thought I’d make it so I genuinely just enjoyed my first few seasons and it helped me play with freedom. I cared and always did my best, but didn’t put too much pressure on myself. Also make sure to enjoy the travel and the opportunity of celebrating with your teammates. If possible, explore leadership opportunities as well. Lastly stay actively involved in other pursuits outside cricket..takes the pressure off while playing and helps when the career ends
Do you think that if by some miraculous coincidence there was an online service where people could have cricket specific fitness delivered directly to their phones everyday with workout plans, ebooks and metric testing. A platform that took the guess work out of what they needed to do to bet fit, strong, have better posture, lose body fat and perform better at their cricket. If such an amazing resource was available would you consider it????
Well if I was still playing, I definitely would. Now for some smart ex-cricketer to come up with such an idea….
Sham-less from me at the end there sorry mate but a huge thanks for giving your time to run through some health and fitness banter. All the best with your new career driving Irish cricket forwards and taking your achievements to help future generations. Here at Kinetic Cricket I want to put health and fitness back into the game. I would like to see clubs, youngsters and pros bridging the gap and creating a sport that people can use to get fit and healthy.
Until next time…….