CLOSE your eyes from the comfort of your seat at the Wyvern Theatre later this month and you will be delivered by an all too familiar Yorkshire voice to the beaches of the West Indies or the bustling streets of India.
So synonymous has Geoffrey Boycott’s voice become with cricket across the airwaves it is easy to forget that he had such an illustrious playing career before stepping into the commentary box.
But it is his talent with a bat rather than a microphone in hand that the former England batsman will be looking fondly back on as he takes to the stage on Tuesday, May 30, as he marks 40 years since his 100th hundred.
“I watch the film and I think, ‘was that really me?’,” he explained.
“The pressure was intense and the nerves were jangling but I have always believed that if you care about something, whatever your job is or whatever you do, it means you care.
“The key to being successful and achieving something is handling those nerves.
“You should never be ashamed or worried that you have nerves.
“Some people let nerves get to them to the point where they can’t perform what they’re expected to do.”
And by that reasoning, his current tour, which has been running since last year, is something he cares dearly about.
“I am comfortable with them but I am still nervous,” he added.
“I want to do well, I don’t want people to come away disappointed, I want people to enjoy it so I am nervous.”
Cricket has come some way in the forty years since that momentous August day in front of a home crowd at Headingley, from Boycott becoming England’s first capped one-day international, to the introduction of the T20 format but it has not come as a surprise to the 76-year-old, who is doing his best to take the changing landscape in his stride.
“It’s changed but life changes,” he explained.
“In W G Graces time, they played on pitches that had stones in it and they started a 2pm because they had to let the pitches dry out, they didn’t have any drying materials, they didn’t have any covers or anything, they played 2pm until 7pm.
“Nowadays, it’s changed.
“We’ve got wonderful covering, all over the ground, we’ve go groundsman that are clever about producing pitches, we’ve got bats that are twice as fat as they used to be and hit the ball further.
“If you ask me in 30 year’s time, will it be different? Yes.
“I don’t know how but it will because life changes and cricket mirrors life.
“Today, everybody wants everything quickly, faster, they all have mobile phones, internet, iPads. They all want a car as soon as they are old enough.
“My father and mother grew up, they didn’t have a phone, they never had a car, they’d never been out of Yorkshire. We had an outside toilet, 15 yards away.”
That at a number of other subjects that the outspoken Yorkshireman is not afraid to drive into with the full force of his bat will be tackled during the show which was the brainchild of his wife, Rachel, when raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, of which he is a patron.
Boycott promises anecdotes and plenty of talking sense as he shares two careers that he admits he has been fortunate to not only enjoy himself, but enjoy with others.
”When I get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I do is open the curtains and I am looking forward to the cricket,” he said.
“When I lose that, I am finishing.
“So many people have to go to work to earn a living, they don’t necessarily enjoy their job but they have to go to work to earn a living.
“I am lucky. It was my daughter who said to me, ‘daddy, you’re lucky. You’ve had two great careers.’
“I said, ‘really?’ She said ‘yes, you played cricket. You batted for 25 years and you’ve commentated for 25. You’ve had two careers. You’ve loved it and you’re lucky that people liked what you did.’
“For me, getting up in a morning and going to the cricket to bat or going to commentate has been an absolute thrill and still is a thrill.”
The event is being run in aid of the Professional Cricketers’ Association and money raised will go to the organisation’s Benevolent Fund.
Geoffrey bowls the maidens over at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre on Tuesday May 30 from 7.30pm. Tickets are £28.50 from 01793 524481 or visit swindontheatres.co.uk