Live Interview with Kevan James, Southampton

30 June 1996

Kevan "Jockey" James became the 31st player to get 4 wickets in 4 balls in a row in a first-class match, playing against the Indians in a tour game. He followed it up with a brilliant century batting at number 4! He was the 10th player to get a hat-trick and a century in the same first-class match, and the first to get 4 wickets in 4 balls and a century in the same match. We had a chance to talk to him on irc channel #cricket.

Jockey: Jockey is my nickname. Refers to about 3/4 years ago when I came back from the pre-season, a couple of stone heavier and it refers to the darts player Jockey Wilson.

wz: Mr. James: Which of the 4 wickets do you think was the most memorable ?

Jockey: Tendulkar (said with a big grin)

wz: Because it was Tendulkar, or because it was the best ball?

Jockey: Well, it was more of a nominated dismissal. The first one was a crap ball down the leg side [that had Rathore stumped by Aymes]. With Tendulkar there was no short leg, but I thought I tend to get a lot caught at short leg. Thought I would bring in a short leg and see what happens. Ball straightened up a bit, bat, pad and that was it!

Incidentally, I've never got a hat-trick before simply because I've never bowled three straight balls in a row !! (laughs)

Amol: Kevan: Would yesterday (or yesterday and today, actually) qualify as your most memorable days in cricket, or does the 6 for vs the Aussies rank higher ?

Jockey: I've never played test cricket, so it seems like this is the most memorable, since it only happened yesterday. The 6-22 was pretty awesome - the ball swung miles that day. A couple of Lord's finals stand out as well. It's in my top half dozen... Certainly seems the best in statistics terms.

wz: Jockey: Has Mr. Illingworth been on the phone with you yet?? Congratulations on the fantastic feat, by the way.

Jockey: Still waiting for the call from Illy!

wz: Jockey: A lot of negative comments on this Indian team... what is your personal impression?

Jockey: Well, clearly without Srinath its a big difference. Same as Hants missing Smith and Benjamin, for example.

They've got some good players. We were realy impressed with Ganguly. Jadeja looked a good bat as well as a "pretty serious player". Not convinced by Rathore though.

Jadeja and Ganguly especially were the two who impressed.

Ankola seems to just want to knock people's heads off. Ankola even admitted to me that he got carried away with the short stuff. The ball was seaming but he bowled far too short. When he pitched it up (on the rare occasion!) it was nipping about and harder to play. But he really got carried away with the short stuff. Southampton is notorious for movmenet in the morning, and that was wasted in the morning (we also bowled crap yesterday morning).

wz: Kevan: Can you elaborate on the comment that you aren't "quite convinced" by Rathore, please?

Jockey: Rathore looked very back foot, didn't seem to hit through the ball crisply on the front foot (this is all from what we saw yesterday of course).

Amol: How long have you been in county cricket ? What do you do in the off-season ? and when you retire (hopefully a long way off), are you going to stay around in coaching ?

Jockey: 17th season in CC now. I work for Southern Electric in sales, Have been doing it for about 3 years. They were former sponsors of Hants. As for coaching: I wont sit by the phone and wait for a call, but if an offer came in, I'd do it for sure.. Rather do something else and see if the call came in. For example, Marshall had to wait two years before anyone contacted him. And now he's doing great at Hants.

badri: How do you rate Prasad's bowling? Is he good enough to get all those wickets he took in the tests? How fast is he compared to the fast bowlers you have faced...?

Jockey: We were impressed with Prasad, difficult to pick up the ball with him. Seemed to take a little while to get the movement starting, but after that bowled well enough to take a few wickets. Pacewise, around about Cordigan Connor.

wz: Can you compare Ganguly to another very fine leftie, Graham Thorpe, who is among the runs?

Jockey: Not like Thorpe, because Thorpe is very wristy... Thorpe hits a lot squarer, Ganguly hits a lot straighter. A bit more like Border in that way.

Amol: Kevan: How do you rate the Indian bowling in general ? The 3 seamers apart from Srinath, and Raju and Hirwani? Especially compared to the older Indian players you might have seen, or other bowlers over the years ?

Jockey: Well, when you've got 100, it could be easy to say they are not that great. The wicket here is very flat. You have to bowl straight and be very disciplined. They all would say they could have bowled better. We had some luck... Ankola is very agreessive when he bowls. Could have had a couple really this morning.

azzie: Kevan: Last year Kumble got tons of wickets against you guys, including yours I think. How does his bowling compare this year, is it different or have you adjusted to it a lot better?

Jockey: Good question. It wasn't turning at all today. So any spinner was realtively easy to play. Might be a different kettle of fish in the second innings. He got 7 wickets against us in Northampton. But we got about 500. The wickets didn't come until the second day when we were looking to push it on and the wicket was dusted up.

Today, you could look to get after him, but he still bowled quite tightly. Conditions make a big difference.

wz: Jockey: you've played at Trent Bridge this year.. how do you rate that wicket? Should the teams go with an extra bowler or an extra bat for the Test?

Jockey: We havent played there this year, but we did last year. By all accounts it is very very flat. You would want to go in with the extra bowler.

Alex: How do you rate Hants chances this year?

Jockey: We've surprised a few already. We started the Warks slide. Considering we've been without Winston it is not bad. Had we not had that bad day against Derbys we'd have been in the top 5 or 6. We have been steady and promising this year. One dayers were starting to pick up a bit. If we can beat Worcs in NatWest Round 2, we're looking at a big improvement..

Amol: About some of the younger English players. are there a couple you really rate ? batsmen and bowlers ? What do you think of Anurag Singh, Russell Cake, Chris Silverwood and Glenn Chapple too?

Jockey: I haven't seen Singh play, but the guys who have, say he looks pretty serious. Our guys didn't rate Cake highly, although he's scored some good runs. Silverwood looks like a good prospect. We picked up Milburn from Yorkshire (he bowled well yesterday), so for them to let him go they must realy rate Silverwood. Glen Chapple definitely another good bowler... swings it both ways.

wz: Jockey: How do you rate Winston Benjamin? And what is he like to be around... Is he as much fun as a lot of West Indian players?

Jockey: On his day, he's a world class all rounder for sure. Moves the ball both ways at pace, and when he's in the batting mood, he is very hard to bowl to. He is a good guy to have around. He is a big fan of mine, though I dont know why!

He is very serious this year. I know he's had some problems in the past, but with us he's been great. He is desperate to come back next year despite his shoulder problem. That's why he's started to bat in one dayers. Good guy. Lot of input at team meetings.

Malcolm [Marshall] and Clive Lloyd have already suggested wiping the slate clean.

Amol: In your opinion, who is the best bat in England not in the test side at the moment ? (best opener and best middle order). and best fast bowelr ? and best spinner ? (all not in the side)

Jockey: Ramprakash. Anthony Mcgrath at Yorkshire is also up there. Not convinced by Crawley. Robin Smith, for example, wins that one hands down every time. Unfortunately, a lot of the selectors are up North and they are biased. Never seen Crawley really do well at Hampshire.

wz: Jockey: What do you think of this interview? First-time on-line for you? and by the way, even if Illy won't call, we'll surely be looking to talk to you the next time you get 4 (real soon, I'm sure) in a row!

Jockey: Definitely first time on line.

Amol: As part of the previous question, the best paceman not currently in the English side ? and best spinner ? (best left arm spinner, and best offie in the country? - opinions on stemp ?)

Jockey: "Oh! my god!" Best spinners: John Emburey and Phil Tufnell. Definitely not Richard Stemp. (now that I've said that, he will probably get me at Harrogate, in 2 weeks) Devon [Malcolm] is the best pacer probably.

wz: Kevan: [You hit] 3 sixes today. We didn't see any of them, but who were they off, and which did you like the best?

Jockey: All off Hirwani. The one that went the furthest - down Northlands Road into the garden was the best. They haven't had a wicket helpful.

Amol: Following up on the Hirwani question - what do you think of him ? Spin-wise and variety-wise ? There have been rumours that he's slow off the pitch - is that your opinion as well ?

Jockey: In this particular game, he bowled too slow.

wz: Kevan: You spoke of the English selectors earlier. Who do you think should be on that committee?

Jockey: Gooch is a good one. I'm a big believer in a lot of guys who have played recent test cricket. Botham, Gatting, Emburey.

PakHeart: These four wickets that you took in 4 balls! What do you consider it? Your motivation? No interest in the Indian batsmen? Indian Batsmen being under pressure? Or do you call it the start of a real "Dennis Lillie - Imran Khan - Kapil Dev - Wasim Akram" career?

Jockey: Hardly a start to a career, because I'm 35!! It was just one of those freak days.

Amol: What do you think of the Ealham and Salisbury selection today ? Would you have brought in someone else ?

Jockey: Not a big fan of Salisbury, because he doesn't bowl accurately enough. But to be honest, if there's a lot of rough towards the end, he has a chance...

Ealham deserves a go, to be fair to him. Ealham, definitely a good choice. Salisbury... no other leggie really, so if you want one he's the choice.

Stemp, I believe is no longer in contention. So it is either that or bring in someone really young.

Amol: "bring in someone really young". If you were to, who would you bring in ? Are there any really young good spinners, in your estimation ?

Jockey: Only one really is Min Patel. No spinners around who really stand out...

azzie: Kevan: You have been in cricket a long time. Who is the best bat you have seen and who is the best bowler? And your reasons?

Jockey: Only time I've ever been scared was facing Sylvester Clarke a few years ago. Don't know if that means he's the best though.

Waqar Younis, probably the best, although I have done reasonably against him funnily enough.

azzie: How about bats?

Jockey: Tough one here. I started at the end of Zaheer Abbas' career, but I always thought that he looked pretty serious. There was something about the way he played. I was glad he was finishing when I was starting. Very difficult... Viv [Richards] of course is there... He smacked me around the park a few times. That ability sets him apart.

There's a lot of players who, if you're bowling at your best, they could milk you and hit you occasionally. But Viv could destroy you anytime, any place on his day.

wz: Kevan: Mr. Patil told us today that India would probably include an extra spinner for the 3rd Test. Who should it be, in your opinion? Raju or Hirwani?

Jockey: On today's showing Raju doesn't turn it a lot, but varies his pace etc. very well. Hirwani might be more difficult on a wicket that was turning - wasn't the best wicket for him today.

Amol: Do you think Russell is undoubtedly the best keeper in the land ? Any young ones we should be watching out for ?

Jockey: Yeah, probably.. Can't think of anyone offhand. I'm biased, but I think Adrian Aymes is doing as well as ever, in the same sort of mould.

PakHeart: This is a question to you being an experienced bowler! The two "W's" of Pakistan! Wasim and Waqar, who do you think is better, and why?

Jockey: I don't like facing either of them if I can help it. They are both extremely difficult to face. Wouldn't really like to pick one. Just avoid them in general as a batsman.

CASIO Photographs courtesy of Casio's QV-10 Digital Camera

Date-stamped : 07 Oct1998 - 04:33