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Q&A with Paul Nixon

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Q&A with Paul Nixon Empty Q&A with Paul Nixon

Post by Fists of Fury Wed 28 Sep 2011, 11:10 pm

Guys

After speaking over the phone with former Kent, Leicestershire and England wicket-keeper batsman Paul Nixon I have written up his answers to the questions that our members asked him.

After a 23 year career, Paul retired in a blaze of glory recently, with his Leicestershire side capturing the FL T20 title for the third time, beating Somerset in the final. Always one for the big stage, Paul took a stunning catch to dismiss the dangerous Kieron Pollard and all but confirm victory for his side. Nixon proved to be a more than useful wicket-keeper batsman in all formats of the game, finishing his career with a first class batting average of 34.35 across 355 matches, including 21 centuries. Most well known perhaps for his inimitable vocal presence behind the stumps, enthusiasm for the game and that reverse swept six off the bowling of the great Muttiah Muralitharan, the sport of cricket will surely miss one of it's great characters.

Spoiler:
Q&A with Paul Nixon Image

Many thanks to Paul for taking the time out to answer our questions, he is a top bloke and I can tell you from my own experience that he is every bit the gent and character that is portrayed through our TV screens. Thanks for the memories, of which there are many, and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours.


Questions

You are well known for your talking behind the stumps, did you target anyone specifically or did everyone get it? And did anyone respond particularly badly or particularly well for it?

I remember over the years the one that flared up against it most was Graham Gooch, he didn't enjoy it. As one of the world's greatest batsmen at that time he got loads of runs against us, so I tried to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible whenever he was at the crease.

How far do you see James Taylor going in International cricket?

All the way I think, in all formats. He has the technique and the mental application to do so.

How tough a decision was it to retire, and how long had you been contemplating it?

I was contemplating it from just after the start of the season, after my knee operation. I spoke to my wife about it and I always wanted to go out in a big game and on a high. I knew that I could still get runs in County cricket so it was a tough decision to make, but the main reason was for my keeping - if I can't do it as well as I once could then it is time to stop, as I didn't want to let anybody down.

During your tenure as the England limited overs wicketkeeper, your sheer confidence and character seemed to revitalise what was a struggling side at that time in that format. Not only behind the stumps, but in your batting, too. Do you feel that such an air of confidence is disconcerting to the opposition and helps to give you an immediate edge mentally?

I underachieved out in Australia but learnt valuable lessons about giving myself a chance to get in at the start of my innings. I then averaged a shade beneath 40 in the World Cup, and I think it's important to have strong body language and do everything with a purpose. I had no baggage and a few of us came into that side to try and lift the spirits and restore the belief again.

You were seen as a bit of a 'finisher' of an innings in the shorter formats of the game. Did the pressure that came with such a role ever affect you (despite it never appearing to on the outside!), or is it something that you always thrived on?

It was something that I always thrived on. The older you get and the more cricket you play the more responsibility you take, and it's something that I got a buzz out of.

What is the single best sledge you've heard?

The best sledge ever is Eddo Brandes to Glenn McGrath. McGrath asked Brandes "why are you such a fat b*****d?", to which Brandes replied "because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit".

Another was James Ormond to Mark Waugh. Waugh said "mate, what are you doing out here, there's no way you're good enough to play for England", to which Ormond replied "Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my family".

How did it feel to take THAT catch in the T20 final?

It's the only catch that I've ever caught, that when i was in mid-air and knew it was in my gloves and safe, that I actually got goose pimples when I landed. I knew it had won us the game.

Who do you feel are the most gifted players that you have ever played alongside or against, who really stood out?

Brian Lara, Shane Warne and Virender Sehwag are probably the most gifted that I have played against. Another was Malcolm Marshall with the ball in 1989, incredible.

Which players were the funniest to play with or against?

The funniest man that has played cricket is Anthony McGrath from Yorkshire, he is one of the great characters of the game. Comedy genius.

What do you think you will miss the most about playing cricket?

I'll miss playing in the big games and the general day to day banter that comes with being part of a team.

What do you make of the current crop of English youngsters, and who do you think will stand out the most in the next 12 months?

The crop of youngsters that we have at the moment are exceptionally talented. For me, the ones who are going to stand out are Alex Hales, Jonathan Bairstow, and when his time comes, James Taylor.

If you had to give one tip to a young wicket keeper, what would it be?

Expect a low box catch every single ball. If it doesn't happen it's a surprise. You should always be expecting an edge.

What would you say is your greatest moment in the sport of cricket, and why?

Scoring a century against Surrey at the Oval in 1998 to help win the County Championship is the stand out one. Reverse sweeping Murali for six came close.

Were there any players in particular that you enjoyed winding up/sledging when you were behind the stumps?

Some it made play better, and some it made play worse. The secret was knowing how it would affect the batsman in question. As I mentioned above, Graham Gooch was one that I enjoyed winding up.

Which bowler did you like to face the most in the nets, and likewise which bowler did you dislike facing the most?

I didn't enjoy facing Winston Benjamin in our fresh new green nets at Leicester, that wasn't a nice experience. I enjoyed facing Claude Henderson because he is such a thinking bowler, it was a game of cat and mouse and I really enjoyed the challenge.

Which bowler was the most challenging to keep wicket to?

I kept to Shane Warne at a game at John Paul Getty's estate, and that was a great challenge. He bowled with great accuracy though which made my life a bit easier.

What is your view of the modern wicket keeper? It seems that batting has as much emphasis on it as keeping nowadays, but do you think this is the right way to go about it?

I think that keepers have to bat now, but primarily it is about taking all of your dismissal chances. If he does that he deserves his place, but he has to bat as that is the modern game. In short, he needs to be able to bat, but at the same time not be to the detriment of the bowlers in terms of his keeping.

How do you think the current England set-up compares to the one you played in?

I think they're a little bit more settled as a group. There is far less change now, but at the moment it is a team of guys in very good form, which makes things easier for the set-up as a whole.

How much of an impact do you think central contracts have had on the English game?

For England, a massive impact as bowlers are fresh for the internationals. For the County game it has taken a lot away in terms of the bowling quality. Years ago you had two overseas professionals, plus the England bowlers, but now that has been removed by central contracts as you rarely see the England bowlers playing County cricket, which has diminished the quality somewhat.

Where does your nickname "The Badger" come from?

Because I was mad for it! I was upbeat and had a load more energy than many others. Also, I enjoyed a lot of nocturnal activities, like a good night out!

Talk us through the time you reverse swept Murali for six...

I wanted to do it earlier in my innings due to there being a shorter boundary. I don't class the reverse sweep as a high risk shot, which a lot of others do. For me, going over long off or extra cover is a higher risk shot. At that stage we had to build a partnership, so I saw it as a low risk/high reward shot. Deep down, I knew that if I did get out playing it they would have been calling for my head, which would have been wrong, but me and Ravi [Bopara] had to build and put pressure back on the bowlers. It was just a case of getting us close.

Did you feel that you had more to offer England, or are you of the belief that it was time to blood a new wicket keeper?

I was gutted not to make my Test debut, that had always been a dream of mine and I had wanted to score a century at Lord's ever since I was a kid. Against a West Indies side that were struggling at the time, with a good pitch at Lords, I feel I could have done so, which Matt Prior went on to do. I think if Duncan Fletcher had still been England coach at the time then I would have played that game, but Peter Moores picked a guy that he believed in and knew. However, he was looking long term and toward the next World Cup so it's not a bad thing to have such plans in place.

What was the lowest point of your career?

Resigning as captain of Leicester in 2009. I felt let down by the Chief Executive David Smith at the time, he was interfering too much and I wasn't allowed to do what I wanted to do.

As the only side to win the T20 cup 3 times, what has made Leicestershire so special in this format?

We plan very well for the competition, that is the key. Our players are also suited to T20 cricket, there is a good balance to the side.

Is the future bright at Leicestershire? Who, barring Taylor, do you think can become an international player?

Wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley, a youngster we have just signed has a lot of potential, and possibly Nathan Buck with the ball.

What is your favourite ground to play at, and why?

Lord's is very special for every cricketer, but I loved playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I played my first England game there and it is a special ground.

Who do you think is the best wicket-keeper around in international cricket?

The best wicket-keeper in the world is James Foster, who I felt was picked for England too early in his career, but Kumar Sangakkara takes some beating as a keeper/batsman now.

Who would you select as England's wicket-keeper in each of the formats of the game?

In Test matches and One Day Internationals I'd say Matt Prior, and I'd pick Craig Kieswetter for the T20's. He is a talented guy with a great work ethic and he has won games for England. He has proven he is a match winner on the big stage and can take games away from people, and thats what is needed in the shorter format, so I'd go with him. I probably wouldn't have picked Kieswetter before he made his England debut, but given that he has performed well for them I will go with him.

Do you think there will ever come a point when Test cricket is no longer the pinnacle of the game?

No, I don't think so. I'd like to see a two-tier Test competition with a first and second division to ensure a higher level of competition in Tests, though.

Any future plans, either within cricket or outside of it?

Yeah, I plan to be Leicestershire's batting coach, which we will be discussing early next week. I'm also writing an autobiography which will be out for the start of next season, and I'm involved in a big property project in the bahamas called Port St George (606v2: Check it out guys, it looks smart! http://www.portstgeorge.com/), in a director capacity. Along with that I'm in the process of building a cricket coaching app, and helping my wife with her new company called Stick and Ribbon which is a women's styling company. (606v2: For any women reading this, or anyone who wants to treat the missus, here is the site http://www.stickandribbon.com/).

Tell us something about you that we didn't know before...

We had to go through IVF twice to have our daughter Isabella, who is now 3 and a half years old.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a bloody good bloke that gave 100% every day and played the game with a smile on his face.


People you played with/against:

Best batsman: Brian Lara
Biggest hitter: Chris Cairns
Best bowler: Malcolm Marshall
Fastest bowler: Patrick Patterson
Most unorthodox: Bowler - Paul Adams. Batsman - Shiv Chanderpaul in his setup, but he is a class act.
Best sledger: Dermot Reeve was good, the most ferocious I ever came up against however was in the World Cup in the West Indies against Sri Lanka, they came very hard at us.


Last edited by Fists of Fury on Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by JDizzle Wed 28 Sep 2011, 11:21 pm

Superb. clap

Really interesting read and some very interesting answers from Nico. Good on him for doing it and great work Fists/Liam. I don't think there are many people better to interview than him!

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Post by hodge Wed 28 Sep 2011, 11:23 pm

thats a great read, great bloke

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Post by Fists of Fury Wed 28 Sep 2011, 11:25 pm

Yeah that is a great Q&A.

He was excellent, didn't rush his answers one bit and was happy to take the time to explain them in full, as well as chatting about other stuff when I got carried away and wandered off on a tangent...

Cricket will certainly miss that kind of character.

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Post by Leff Thu 29 Sep 2011, 1:31 am

Great questions and crisp answers! Nixon came across as honest and straight.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

Well done. thumbsup

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Post by ShankyCricket Thu 29 Sep 2011, 4:15 am

Good interview
BUT Matt Prior as England's ODI Keeper despite an abysmal record?

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Post by ShankyCricket Thu 29 Sep 2011, 4:15 am

Thank you Fists
Well done bud

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Post by Liam_Main Thu 29 Sep 2011, 7:29 am

Great stuff Fists and great answers from Nico.
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Post by Guest Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:12 am

thanks fists quality stuff, and also quality doing it via phone Smile

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:16 am

Paul makes an interesting point about the possibility of making his England Test debut had Duncan Fletcher still been in charge.

Many, including myself, felt that Paul had done enough in the limited overs format to warrant a place in the Test side at the time. His performances with the bat had rescued us in a few sticky situations, and the presence he brought to the team seemed to lift everyone from what I saw.

Paul did say to me that it was incredible how once he played for England the media were all over him, and that he believes people enjoyed his story as much as anything, which is certainly true and it was great to see him gain England recognition.

In hindsight, the choice to pick Prior was the right one, but I think we can all agree it would have been nice to see Nico get his chance, and it would have been entertaining that's for sure!

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Post by Guest Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:37 am

i dont think nico should have played test cricket, and he didnt, but he was a great character and its a shame he has retired, but quality player and im sure sainty will say, very loyal to the foxes.

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu 29 Sep 2011, 9:45 am

Well like I say in hindsight he shouldn't have, as Matt Prior has been fantastic since taking up the mantle, but if you had asked me at the time I would have said yes, give him a go, he deserves it as much as anyone else.

On another note, it's great to see that Paul has so much lined up going forwards, and in terms of cricket if he is appointed Leicester's batting coach I'm sure his wealth of experience will prove very useful, particularly for the youngsters coming through.

The guy that he pinpointed as having the potential to make waves on the international scene, Ned Eckersley, should benefit greatly given that he is a wicket-keeper batsman, and who better than Paul to pass on his knowledge.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Thu 29 Sep 2011, 10:13 am

brilliant work this, a really fascinating read clap

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Post by Guest Thu 29 Sep 2011, 12:47 pm

What a stand up guy, the game will miss him! But great news for Leicestershire, if he will become batting coach!

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Post by ShankyCricket Thu 29 Sep 2011, 12:53 pm

Sainty wrote:What a stand up guy, the game will miss him! But great news for Leicestershire, if he will become batting coach!
Keeping coach would be better. thumbsup

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 29 Sep 2011, 3:54 pm

Fists - very thorough interview and write up. Credit to you and Paul Nixon Q&A with Paul Nixon 1710857839

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu 29 Sep 2011, 10:57 pm

Thanks Guildford, appreciated. I'll hopefully bring you guys a few more in the not too distant future.

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Post by Leicester's Lucas Levia Thu 29 Sep 2011, 11:15 pm

leicestershire la la la, nicos a legend

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 08 Oct 2011, 7:01 pm

Just catching up after hols. Good interview, thanks, Fists.

I know it's a long shot - but if you ever get chance to interview Gooch, do remember to ask him what he thinks about Nixon's sledging.. Wink

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Post by Fists of Fury Mon 10 Oct 2011, 9:08 am

Ha, will do, Corporal.

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Post by Guest Mon 10 Oct 2011, 2:51 pm

it was a fantastic interview, cant believe you were onto the phone to him lol Smile

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Post by Fists of Fury Mon 10 Oct 2011, 2:53 pm

Haha pretty cool isn't it.

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