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Kevin Dean

 

It seem odd that as a bowler I choose a batting memory as the highlight of my career.

It was 1997, I was playing for Derbyshire in a match against the all conquering Australians and the game was being broadcast live on Sky TV.

It was a 3 day game and Shane Warne was coming back after shoulder surgery, so there was lots of media attention on the game.

Australia set us a target of 367 to win in the remaining 2 sessions of the match.

Dean Jones was our captain and was keen to try to get one over his compatriots. Chris Adams was pushing for a Test spot with England and we were all up for the challenge to try and chase that target.

The guys were going well and making runs at the rate required. Wickets also fell, as they can do when you are going for such a large total.

I was batting at number 11. When it came down to it, we were left with needing 9 runs off 8 balls when A.J. Harris was out and I walked in to bat.

Australia needing 1 wicket to win. We needed 9 runs. Live TV and I have to face Shane Warne, who had taken 7 wickets during the game.

First ball and you'd probably describe my approach as eyes closed and a bit of a swing and......4 runs. I hit him to the boundary first ball. 5 now required off 7 balls.

2nd ball and I managed to survive that, so now 5 to win off the last over.

Paul Aldred was at the other end, so he was to face Brendon Julian. Paul knicked a single off the first ball. I was back on strike now needing just 4 to win off 5 balls.

Julian was bowling around 85mph and I remember thinking at the time, if he bowls a bouncer at me I'll be in trouble, I'd have no option but to duck and try to get out of the way of it.

He did the opposite and pitched the ball up, I drove it towards mid off and the adrenalin really kicked in. I just ran. it went straight to the fielder and he shied at the stumps. I was absolutely nowhere in the frame had the ball hit the stumps. But it didn't. What's more, there was no one backing up behind the wickets, so we ran a 2nd.

Just 2 required off 4 balls, for a massive win, live on TV.

Again I was certain he was going to bowl a bouncer. Brendon Julian ran in, but instead of bouncing me, he pitched the ball up. I managed to squirt the ball through the off-side towards cover and we ran through for 2 and victory.

After the initial celebrations, there was almost an air of disbelief in the dressing room. Not only that we had beaten Australia, but we'd chased down such a huge total, 367, and in just 65 overs. Not only that but it was live on Sky too.

We sat out at the front afterwards and there was a presentation live on TV of the man of the match award. Despite my sterling efforts with the bat, it wasn't me, but then bowlers never get MOTM.....

We had a good party that night.

The following morning, slightly hung-over I switched the TV on. This was in the days of the Big Breakfast on Channel 4. They used to have short news breaks. The big news everywhere that morning was Baby Spice falling off her high platform shoes on stage.

The 2nd item was Derbyshire beating Australia & showed me hitting the winning runs!

Kevin Dean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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