A memento of my first Test wicket sits in the umbrella stand in the hallway of my parents' house, and on most of the occasions I visit them I nostalgically pick it up and inspect it.
The stump I hit to dismiss Steve Waugh, the Australia captain, at Edgbaston in 1989 still bears the red mark made by the ball when it clipped it. In the 17 years since the redness has faded slightly but, thankfully, the memory of that instant is still strong - especially as he had plundered the England bowling in the first two Tests and it was the first time in the series he had been dismissed.
Every aspiring young cricketer will sit at home imagining what it is like to score a hundred or take a first wicket for your country.
Very few actually get a chance, but in their dreams the sun is out, the ground is full and it is normally one of the best players in the world they are humbling.
When it happens it is as though everything you wanted to achieve in life has come together at once. Relief and joy combine in one ecstatic moment. All the days of fruitless toil in county cricket, all the hours spent sweating in a gymnasium; it all seems worthwhile. So is it any wonder it took the England players 10 seconds to catch and congratulate Monty Panesar when he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar yesterday?
You want it to be a big name, just to add to the glamour, but when you actually get out on to the pitch you could not care less who it is. All you want to do is claim a wicket as soon as you can and get it out of the way. But once it is done nobody can take it away from you. S R Tendulkar lbw b Panesar 16. It will be in the 2007 edition of Wisden.
Ha Ha. Well bowled Monty.
NOTABLE FIRST TEST WICKETS
Jonathan Agnew (England) - Gordon Greenidge (West Indies).
Ian Salisbury (England) - Javed Miandad (Pakistan).
Mike Gatting (England) - Martin Crowe (New Zealand).
Graham Gooch (England) - Sunil Gavaskar (India).
Steve Watkin (England) - Desmond Haynes (West Indies).
Ian Botham (England) - Greg Chappell (Australia).
Andrew Flintoff (England) - Jacques Kallis (South Africa).Reuse content