I can't wait to go to India for CL T20: Nixon

Wicketkeeper underlines the importance of high fitness level

Paul Nixon

Nixon, of course, had a very big reason to allow himself a few extra drinks the previous night after Leicestershire won the domestic T20 title to give the 40-year-old a perfect send-off.

“Has Rahul Dravid come back from practice?” Nixon asked the waiting Indian journalists, eager to catch up with the Indian star. Dravid and Nixon go a long way back, having played for Kent together in 2000. “Last night after we won the trophy, one of the first messages I got was from Rahul and it was fantastic,” remarked Nixon, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket earlier this month.

The Carlisle-born cricketer could play only 19 one-dayers for England, but he is nothing short of a legend in the County circuit. Nixon played 335 first-class games spread over more than two decades and scored just under 14,500 runs, besides effecting 956 dismissals (889 catches and 67 stumpings). He could have represented England in more games had his career not coincided with the likes of Jack Russell and Alec Stewart.

Nixon, though, has no regrets with the way his career panned out. “I am going out on a high,” he noted. “I am more than happy if I am remembered as a guy who loved the game, a guy who was professional, who gave a lot to the people and a guy who gave 100 percent everyday to win.”

At 40, Nixon can give a complex to many of the younger players. “I have always loved my fitness... I am one of those crazy guys who actually loves fitness routines,” he remarkeed. “I used to train with rugby players of Leicester Tigers Rugby Club a few years ago, I still see them  regularly.

“I have left no stone unturned to reach this level. I have squatted over 24 years and if you work it out, it comes to 25,000 times now. People don’t realise, you know, they do four sets of ten squats in the gym and they feel tired.”

The years of hard work are taking a toll on his body. “I can’t keep to the standards I used to,” he pointed out when asked if he felt like continuing after winning the T20 title. “My body is hurting now. My feet and knees are sore, my calf pulls, my hips are tight and my neck and hands are stiff...

“And then you see yourslf letting your team-mates down. I would rather go out on a massive high. I wanted to go when people would be saying why are you retiring, not when are you retiring. And the two are very different.” The left-hander, who played his last game in England against the Indians on Monday, wants an Indian fairytale. He will be playing for Leicestershire in the Champions League T20 in September-October. “Can’t wait to go to India,” he said. “India has been kind to me over the years. Indian people... their passion for cricket is immense. I have toured India many times and I have been all over the country. It’s a fantastic place to play cricket,” Nixon signed off.

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