With the football season entering the final phase, Surrey cricketer Rikki Clarke will be swinging into action with the rest of England’s one-day squad in the West Indies, keeping one eye — wherever possible - on his mobile phone.
The lifelong Tottenham fan will be hoping England can continue their march to glory in the against the West Indies and that texts to his mobile will be alerting him to a few Tottenham wins back home.
His association with us runs deep. Born just a few months after our famous 1981 FA Cup Final win, he was named by his Spurs supporting father Bob after our matchwinner against Manchester City — Ricky Villa.
His first ever visit to the Lane was for our game against Nottingham Forest in 1983 — the first ever live televised league match, and in March, 1992, he was the club mascot for our 4-3 win over Coventry City here, leading Gary Mabbutt and the team out onto the pitch aged just 10-years-old.
“My dad was always going to call me Glenn, after his hero, but then one of his Arsenal-supporting friends called his son Glenn, so he decided to go for Rikki instead,” says the 22-year-old Surrey all-rounder. “It wasn’t long after the 1981 Cup Final, so it was an easy choice for him! It’s spelt differently of course, but I’m not sure of the reason for that though!”
“From then on, I couldn’t be anything but a Spurs fan and I’ve followed the club ever since. I was a mascot in 1992 against Coventry and actually, I was very nervous leading the team out. But it was a fantastic feeling as I did it and I remember thinking as I ran out in front of all those people that I enjoyed being in the limelight.”
The matchday programme from that day reveals about Rikki: ‘As well as football, he also enjoys cricket,’ and it was to be cricket that he excelled in and maintained that place in the limelight.
“I was always a little bit better at cricket than football, so there was never really a choice between the two, cricket was always going to be the one,” Rikki explains. “I would have liked to have played football, certainly when I was younger, but at the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying my cricket career.
“Everything is going really well right now, I’m out here in the beautiful sunshine, we’re winning games, I couldn’t ask for more.
“But it’s happened so quickly for me. If you’d told me a year ago I would be away with the England touring party, I’d have been delighted.”
It’s been a fantastic tour for the England team so far, having won the first three Tests in style, ending a 36-year wait for a series win in the Windies and then winning the first one-day international.
By Jon Rayner, programme editor
Name: Rikki Clarke
Born: Orsett, Essex, 29.9.81
County debut: 2001
Best batting: 153* vs Somerset, Taunton, 2002.
Best bowling: 3-41 vs Yorkshire, Guildford, 2002.
Test caps: 2
One Day caps: 11
Highest Test score: 55 vs Bangladesh on 29.10.03
Best Test bowling: 2 for 7 vs Bangladesh on 29.10.03
Highest ODI score: 37 vs South Africa on 8.07.03
Best ODI bowling: 2-28 vs Bangladesh on 12.11.03