Run­ning out Ricky made my name­bu­tended my ca­reer, too

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - Gary Pratt Cum­ber­land and for­mer Durham bats­man

Iwas al­ways re­garded as a good fielder. As I could not bowl, I felt I had to give some­thing back to the first team and field­ing was the only other thing I could do.

I was nat­u­rally quick and had good hands so I did not have to work that hard at it.

But be­ing called up to Eng­land as 12th man was a Catch-22. If you are do­ing that then you are not be­ing picked for your county.

I guess it is the next best thing to play­ing first-class cricket. I did it a few times, but I would still have pre­ferred to be play­ing for Durham.

The first was in 2002 and it was great to be in and around the dress­ing room and feel part of the team.

There was no me and them – we were a team. Michael Vaughan had such an aura about him that when he spoke ev­ery­one lis­tened and we had great dis­ci­pline. I think they lost that when he left. His were big shoes to fill.

But the Ashes se­ries of 2005 goes down as one of the best ever, the na­tion loved it and ev­ery­one was talk­ing about it.

Run­ning out Ricky (Ponting) was amaz­ing, al­though I was just go­ing through the mo­tions. He and Damien Mar­tyn were in and look­ing well set.

It changed the game and, thank­fully, it was me that did it. It was the first one I got all sea­son. Damien called for a ridicu­lous run – I did not have to move far – and Ricky kicked off which made it a big­ger thing.

As soon as it hit the stumps I knew it was out. I don’t re­mem­ber too much about it but it was a great day.

It changed my life and it is still all peo­ple want to talk about and re­mem­ber me by. It was the end of my ca­reer, though, re­ally.

Eng­land wanted me to carry on be­ing 12th man and Durham did not. I was pushed and pulled and in the end Durham got sick of it and said I had to leave.

I had the chance to leave Durham in 2003 and I re­gret I stayed. Not­ting­hamshire wanted me and I am dis­ap­pointed I did not do it, but af­ter win­ning young player of the year and scor­ing 1,000 runs you don’t want to rock the boat.

Things were handy and prob­a­bly too easy and I think I should have pushed my­self out of my com­fort zone.

But I did not look for a route back into the game. I had to sit down and think how long I had left. I chose to get on with my life.

I have never en­joyed play­ing cricket more than what I do now play­ing Mi­nor Coun­ties with Cum­ber­land. I had a stor­age busi­ness ini­tially and now I work in a cricket store, and we are renowned in the North East.

I have won a cou­ple of tro­phies with Cum­ber­land and I love it. It is a great place to play and we have de­vel­oped a great side in the last ten years. It is an hon­our to cap­tain them.

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