At Lord’s cricket ground on Sunday Hertfordshire bowler Simon White was handed the ball. At the other end of the wicket stood batting legend Brian Lara. What went through his mind?
“I’m not really sure,” Rickmansworth School’s head of PE replied honestly. “I was trying to think of some way to get him out but I am sure he was thinking of where he would hit my delivery and then probably did. It was an incredible experience though.”
White and Lara were pitted against each other as part of the Lord’s bicentenary match between an MCC side and Hertfordshire – a recreation of the first game ever to be played at the home of cricket.
With the likes of Lara and former South Africa and Durham batsman Dale Benkenstein in their XI, it’s little wonder the MMC team ended with a comfortable seven-wicket victory.
White said the Herts side were not just there to make up the numbers but acknowledged the players were lucky to have been part of a historic birthday celebration.
“It was a great day and a great occasion," he said. “We wanted to win but knew it would be tough, we probably were about 40 runs short of a competitive total.
“To be bowling at Brian Lara is something I won’t forget though. I faced him for a couple of overs but wasn’t able to get him out unfortunately.
“I did get a couple of wickets though, which I was pleased with. There were a few nerves to start off with because of the crowd but I quickly settled.”
Hertfordshire batted first and posted 199 for eight while MCC chased down that target with little fuss.
Lara played his way to a half-century in 32 balls and looked as if he had never been away.
He displayed a sumptuous array of strokes, from delicate sweeps to extravagant drives and ended with 56 off 36 balls with eight fours and two sixes before playing round a delivery from Radlett’s Kabir Toor and walking off to a standing ovation.
“He is a great sportsman and a great showman,” said Herts captain, Nesan Jeyaratnam.
“At one point, I moved the field after a shot off Simon and he still found the way through them to the boundary and then just looked at me with a little smile. We had a chat and he was such a nice man.”