Lara made 11,953 Test runs at an average of 52.88 in a stellar career. He holds the records for the highest Test score – 400 not out against England in 2004 – and the highest individual first class total of 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994.
Alex, who used to play for the Oundle Town Cricket Club, was selected by the Marylebone Cricket Club to play Hertfordshire in a friendly match to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first game at Lord’s, which was contested between the same two teams. Alex found himself on the winning team, and as wicketkeeper, took five catches on the day.
His first catch is the most memorable to him ‘Having watched international wicket-keepers struggle, it was amazing to get the first one out of the way.’
About his time at Lord’s Alex told me: ‘On the day, the most memorable experience would have to be walking through the long room. Having been brought up around cricket, I have learnt all about Lord’s and the history of the MCC and to have the opportunity to walk through the long room onto the ground, as well as be in the England dressing room with the honours board above my seat, is something I will never forget.’
It was his family’s enthusiasm for cricket that nurtured Alex’s talent. ‘A lot of my childhood was spent watching my Dad play cricket for Burghley Park CC. Getting in the nets with my younger brother and having him bowl at me and vice versa, is where it all kicked off. School cricket at Oakham helped incredibly, but I think the past three years playing for Oundle Town has been the biggest help to my game.’
Alex continues to play for Oundle Town, and is looking to help steer them to glory in the Northants League. Alex praises the team’s ‘bounce backability’. ‘Whenever we lost, we had the attitude to fight for each other and get a result the following week.’
Alex will have to balance his commitments, however. He spent the summer playing for Bedfordshire and has two more years in the Oxford MCCU scheme, which will help hone his skills, and hopefully get him back to Lord’s.
When asked for any advice that he would pass on to youngsters, he said: ‘Whatever match I play in, I somehow enjoy it, whatever happens. Maybe playing with my mates has a big part to play with that. I also really enjoy training, whether beavering away in the nets, fielding or doing the yoyo test in fitness. So to aspiring young cricketers, I’d say just keep enjoying your cricket and train hard. Anything you do on the training ground will help.’
By Alastair Choy