Questionnaire: Dickie Bird, umpire

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The Independent Online
What do you think England's chances are of beating South Africa?

A lot will depend on the fitness of Darren Gough and Alex Tudor. If they keep fit and are firing on all cylinders, England have got a chance.

What, or who, is the future for English cricket?

I don't think English cricket is all doom and gloom. How can cricket be a dying game here when my first book sold more than one million copies? We have some fine young cricketers. But it is important that we don't over-coach them. Rather than coach their strengths out of them, we must make them believe in themselves. Michael Vaughan, Graeme Swann and David Sales are all outstanding prospects.

How's the new book doing?

Absolutely tremendous. I'm getting between 500 and 850 people turning up to each of my signings. The new book is a follow-up to my first autobiography, which was the best-selling sports autobiography ever. No one was going to beat me at that!

What other sports do you follow?

I love football. I'm a Barnsley boy, so I go and see Barnsley as much as I can. I'm a season ticket holder.

What was your best moment as an umpire?

Umpiring three World Cup finals. Also, I'm a royalist, so when I was invited to have lunch with the Queen, that was very special. And when I got my MBE in 1986 - I'm so proud of that. Honestly, it means more to me than my life.

And the worst?

Definitely retiring. I miss cricket, I miss Test matches. But it's the law of the cricket Board that we have to retire.

Who is the sportsperson of the century, in your opinion?

The best cricketer was Sir Garfield Sobers - he was the greatest all- rounder I've ever seen. I had the pleasure of playing with him, and of umpiring him. If there was ever a greater player than Sobers, I would love to have seen him play.

What was the last film you saw?

A Fistful of Dollars. Magnificent.

And the last book you read?

White Cap and Bails by Dickie Bird.