Fortune favours the brave and even the ruthless

When I ran in to bowl I felt I was treading water
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The Independent Online
It's the most nervous I've ever been for a game of cricket. I was injured last year so this was my first final and far worse than my first game for England. Thinking about it, I suppose that when you play for England you're hoping to do well, whereas for Lancashire you're expecting to.

I don't know what it looked like to other people, but when I ran in to bowl I felt I was treading water. I really struggle to find my rhythm at Lord's so I thought I'd try bowling from the Pavilion End for a change. It was a mistake and although my figures weren't too shabby I didn't feel as if I bowled at all well. Fortunately, Bully [Ian Austin] did, and it worked out well in the end.

Since I've played for England my approach to bowling has changed. Before, I used to just try to contain, building up pressure by bowling maidens. Now, I'm constantly striving, at least mentally, to try to get wickets, although in this type of cricket you've got to be aware of not getting blatted about too much either.

My confidence levels went up and down all day. When they were 19-2, I felt we'd win. Then when Rob Bailey and Richard Montgomerie got going I wasn't so sure, and when Creepy [John Crawley] carried Russell Warren's shot over for six I got a bit of a panic on. Luckily, he reprieved himself next ball with a great catch. Mind you, it was only when he caught Kevin Curran at deep cover that I really started to relax.

I'm not sure why we batted first. I know at Old Trafford we usually look to bowl if we win the toss. I must admit it came as a bit of a shock when they left Steve [Elworthy] out, especially after his four wickets last Wednesday.

I know what it's like to be dropped and I really felt for him. Even if the side wins, you never feel part of the event unless you've been out on the field.

Funnily enough, apart from the drinking and japes in the dressing-room afterwards, it was a fairly muted evening. In fact, the best night we had was after we lost to Derbyshire in 1993. When you win you tend to go mad straight away, only to come down with a bang when the adrenalin wears off. When you lose it takes time to get the feeling out of your system, so you are not so wasted later on.

We didn't play the perfect game of cricket by any means, and I'm not convinced about using a pinch hitter in English conditions where bowlers can hit the splice of the bat.

Harvey [Neil Fairbrother] was his usual brilliant self. I love watching him bat, he plays the ball so late. The only time you notice that a player like him is missing is when they've gone, and there is no doubt we probably take him a bit for granted.

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