S somewhere among his old kit and other tracks, Rikki Clarke has a big album, full of dog ear clippings from the summer of 2002. He had 20 years old and on a run of form that took him from Surrey's second XI to the England squad in the space of three months.
"Clarke in Like Flynn" was the Guardian's title when they hit 153 against Somerset, "Clarke 's Flash of Lightning " when he hit three sixes in innings against Yorkshire and "Rikki ' his Rare Talent " was above a full page profile in the Observer when he won his first call to England for the Champions Trophy in September.
"L ' England has found "the right one," the report said. "A swashbuckling bat that also plays bowling, and throws and catches with the energy and sweat of modern play. " It was, its captain, Adam Hollioake, said: "The best young player around. "day team as they started planning for the 2007 World Cup. The others - Kabir Ali, Chris Read, Will Jefferson, Jim Troughton, Vikram Solanki - resigned years ago . Only Clarke is still there. He took two for 62 against Essex last Sunday, is thEntered # 6 and made 12 on Monday.
These are his last days on the circuit. He hopes he gets one more match ("if I'm in good shape and selected") against Glamorgan next Tuesday. Then there is its testimonial match, for a Surrey All-Star Team at Tidworth Field in Shrewton on September 26th.
Next, Clarke will start as director of cricket at King Edward 's, Witley, where he also runs a cricket academy. Right now he's working with his "elite squad", many of whom are hitting the sidelines of the game, county trialists looking for an edge. Clarke has a lot to pass on.
When Clarke was around that age, he moved up from second XI in cricket at Banstead in May, to warm-up matches for Englandin Colombo in September. He made his international debut against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2003 and took a wicket (Imran Nazir 33 v Solanki b Clarke) with his first ball. It was a long jump.
He was picked for the Bangladesh tour that winter, played two tests, scored a fifty and took four wickets for 60. And that was it. There have been a handful of more one-day games, some beating No.8 and not bowling, others No.4 and pulling 10 overs. By the time of the 2007 World Cup, Clarke had been retired.
He always says those early caps are his pride. "I always said I was going to play for England. I was in trouble at school because I practiced my signature on the back of my books and the teacher said to me, "Look, you will never do it". Then the next thing I knew was I was on tour inEngland, thinking, "What am I doing here?"
Looking at him from afar all these years, I guess Clarke made his peace with it a long time ago, but he There is clearly still something nagging at him. He chews it. "I wouldn't say that selection stopped my development, but it was a setback.
Clarke won a lot: three championships, two titles one day, two T20 finals. He took 800 wickets and scored the best part of 18,000 races. But he will never really know what he could have done in international cricket. "The only thing is that I would like to have more chance to cement my place. I have played two Tests and I look at them and I did well, on average 15 with the ball, 32 with the bat, and I never had another opportunity. "
In the team for a day, the way he been mixed up means it has notnever understood his role in the team. “Some people say you have to take your chances wherever you strike and I didn't. I understand that. "
He has never stopped waiting for that second chance, during his years in Warwickshire and Surrey, when 'He was average in the 40s with the bat, and the 20s with the ball. "There's always that hope. Michael Hussey and Chris Rogers both won appeals at old age, Joe Denly the did recently. "
England called him in a 30-man squad in 2013, but that was it. Then, somewhere along the way, "I accepted that I was chasing something that might be out of my control.
He played some of his best crickets since, as a senior pro, passing on what he has learned. "You must fail, you cannot fear failure, but you mustlearn lessons from. This is how you become a better player and a better person. Believe me, I failed a lot. "
Any regrets? He doesn 't like the word." But there is one thing - I wish I had done it to my way.When I got into this England team I had all these different coaches telling me different things and I changed my bowling action too much instead of just sticking to it. I had and work to improve it. If I had trusted what got me there in the first place, you never know, maybe it would have been different. "
At 39, he says, Clarke has come full circle and his action is pretty much the same as when he was 19. "But the wickets I took, the races I scored, the people with and against won, I could only dream of it all.
" Could he have it getting better? Of course it couldhave. But sometimes that 's how it goes with careers and this is how mine has been. This is how it should be. "