Don't miss sights beyond the boundary, Amiss tells tourists

Amiss was 29, approaching 30, when he and the England team arrived there in February 1973. He had first played for Warwickshire 13 years previously when he was 17, he had appeared in 12 Tests of the 50 England had played since he was first picked in 1966. His top score had been 56 and he had been dropped again on the first leg of the winter tour in India.

There was nothing for it. Amiss had to be a hit, and quickly. In the event, he was a smash. "I don't know why, confidence I suppose," he says now. "I'd never thought, 'Crikey I won't be an England player'. They obviously thought I was an England player, I just needed to break that barrier of getting a hundred.

"I suppose it was all a bit much, every time I played I was in knots that I wasn't doing it, and I was always questioning myself about whether I had the temperament to do it."

Given all that, Pakistan might have been the last cricketing place on earth for a man who needed desperately to prove himself there and then to do so. But two crucial things worked in Amiss's favour. He had been to Pakistan with England Under-25s six years previously and had performed extremely creditably. He also found the true, unhurried pitches to his liking.

"Low, slow; if you bowled quick you could still get it through and it turned, but to get in on those wickets was wonderful. Suddenly you proved to yourself that you could score hundreds in Test cricket."

In Lahore he made 112, in Hyderabad 158 and in Karachi 99, where the match was regularly interrupted by student riots and eventually curtailed by a dust storm to leave the series tied at 0-0.

Thirty-two years on, Amiss still talks about that tour with relish, not only (maybe not even) because of the runs but because of the experience.

"I loved going to the subcontinent," he said last week in his office at Warwickshire, where he will retire as chief executive next April. "We were only dabbling in curries then, and it tended to be fried egg and chips for breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Gradually you realised their food was lovely; obviously it's a different diet, but it's exactly the same for their players when they come here.

"The heat takes a lot out of you and you must look after yourself, but we had lots of team meals, played a lot of bridge and had Saturday-night clubs with charades. I remember on a later tour to India we had the Mikes, Brearley and Selvey, who were Cambridge graduates who started to come up with Keats poems and stuff like that which none of us could bloody get. We were all right on Bambi, but Keats did the dirty on us."

There was more time then, time to enjoy the country but time to get bored as well. Amiss said that he and his mates were intent on absorbing it all. "There was a genuine desire to go out and see the country. We were invited out often to see this or that temple, and to people's houses for supper. It was a wonderful experience in every way, part of the cricketing experience but part of life's experience as well. It broadens your outlook. I also came back looking forward to an international career."

Amiss's genial demeanour is at odds with the manner he went about his cricket. He fretted perpetually about his method, his technique, how he stood, how he gripped the bat, where his head was. You name it, Amiss had a theory for it.

As he sat there gently reflecting, it was impossible not to make the comparison with another hugely promising Warwickshire batsman of this era, Ian Bell. Maybe he can learn from Amiss. "I told Belly when he got his pair at The Oval that he had some catching-up to do. I bagged 'em twice against Australia."

For a magical 18 months between March 1973 and August 1974, Amiss lived up to all the expectations. In 35 innings in 20 matches he made 2,140 runs at an average of 71.33 with eight hundreds including the monumental, match-saving 262 not out against West Indies in Kingston, which alone will forever mark him out as an outstanding batsman.

Then along came the Aussies, led by Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in 1974-75, and life was never quite the same again. He came back, made a double hundred against West Indies, played until he was 44 and scored 102 first-class hundreds in all. But something had changed forever. "Your confidence takes a knock. You wonder if you can come back."

Amiss has spent a lifetime in the game and is now chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board's cricket committee. His enduring legacy is likely to be helmets. He wore the prototype, a fibre-glass motorcycle helmet, "which could stop a double-barrelled shotgun at 10 yards."

If he has a regret it is that he did not score more runs against Australia - 305 at 15.25, which is truly wretched for a player of his quality. "I was always changing things because I believed there was a perfect technique for every bowler, but there isn't." You hoped Bell was listening.

"I tinkered too much, which gets you out of kilter," he went on. "It certainly motivated me, but I wonder if I'd do it now. Maybe I would. But I've had a great life and a great career, been really privileged." He will be forever grateful to Pakistan.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?