Since Des Walker's parents moved away and he stopped needing to come around to bring his kids to visit and to do things like paint their front gate, there haven't really been many former international sporting stars hanging around this quiet suburban street. This might all be about to change though, and there's the intriguing possibility that the number of Test wickets taken by residents around here may be about to rise by the small matter of 330.
There's been a big 4x4 parked right outside my house all weekend, and this morning I saw its owner climbing inside and driving off, and it was none other than the South African fast bowling legend Allan Donald. How cool is that? He's number 16 on the all time Test wicket taking tables, for heaven's sake!
Given that Donald has just been appointed as England's fast bowling coach, and given that England were playing the West Indies in a one day international at Trent Bridge yesterday (a 5 minute walk away), perhaps it's not so surprising that he wouldn't head off straight after the game and that he still might be hanging out near the ground the day after the game. There aren't any decent hotels around here, but he could have been staying with friends or something and was only now heading off.
On the other hand though, when I went out for a run a few hours later, I saw that the car had returned and was parked up outside my house again. Maybe it wasn't just a flying visit after all. There are a number of houses on the street that have either recently been sold or leased out and the English national Academy (where I assume the bowling coach would do most of his work) is based in Loughborough, a short drive from here.... so it's just possible that I might be seeing a lot more of "White Lightning" over the next few months.
I was at Trent Bridge in 1998 for that famous duel between Donald and Michael Atherton, and it remains the most incredible session of Test cricket that I have ever seen.
Do you reckon it's safe to ask him about that yet? He was pretty angry at the time - I'm not sure that 9 years is quite long enough to calm down.
2 days ago