Following the piece I did for Cricinfo with Derek Randall, I've undertaken a fresh batch of interviews for their Gleanings section, the first (and funniest) of which was with Peter Lever. I had quite a job reducing it to 2000 words (itself well over the usual 1500 to 1600), and even had to leave out a couple of choice anecdotes, which I've pasted below.
I didn't know a great deal about Peter before the chat – he predates my cricket-watching days by 6 or 7 years – but I found him to be immensely warm and effortlessly funny. In short, an absolute dream for quotes piece.
Here's a couple that didn't make the cut:
“We played Warwickshire in the Gillette Cup final. Ken Shuttleworth and myself were both playing for England at the time. Jack Bond got us together and said ‘You two are not playing’. ‘Thanks a lot. What the hell’s going on?’ Jack wanted guys with short run-ups, see. Clive Lloyd opened the bowling. The story went in the paper that we’d got niggling injuries and he didn’t bother to deny it. It was a load of rubbish. It was a tactic. He went out to toss with MJK Smith. He says to MJK, ‘What’s your team?’ He goes through it, then says to Bondy, ‘I’ve seen your thirteen. Who isn’t playing?’ Bondy had the coin ready, on his thumb, and says, ‘Lever and Shuttleworth’ then threw the coin up. MJK couldn’t believe it: ‘Lever and Shuttleworth? Two internationals!’ He calls heads; it comes down tails. Bondy shoves ‘em in and by lunch we’ve bowled something like 45 overs in two hours! It was one of the best tactics I’ve ever seen.”
“I got on ok with him, but not to start with. A bit of the ‘I am’, you know. ‘I am John Snow’. He made a mistake when he started taking the piss out of northerners. Ken Shuttleworth looks at me and says, ‘Who’s gonna give him a belt?’ He gets a coin out, tosses up, and it comes down for him. He just puts it in his pocket, marches over to Snowy and says, ‘Young man, we’re not going to hear about these northerners ever again, are we?’ Snowy saw the writing on the wall. They finished up as roommates for the rest of the trip. It straightened him out, quite quickly.”
And here's the final selection:
Peter Lever: Gleanings