PHIL DeFREITAS

Phillip 'Daffy' DeFreitas was born in Dominica and came to England when he was 7. He attended Willesden High School (whose alumni include Chris Lewis) where he excelled at cricket and football. He had trials with Luton Town and was offered an apprenticeship but his focus was cricket. Ironically when he first went to Leicestershire at the age of 18 he joined a dressing-room in which Chris Balderstone had been a professional at both. But times had changed and this was no longer practical.

He had previously been on the MCC ground staff alongside Phil Tufnell. When the coach, Don Wilson, shouted "Phil", they used to wind him up by responding when they knew he wanted the other one. So in a moment of despair he renamed them 'Daffy' and 'Tuffers'. Their nicknames stuck! At Lords, Phil DeFreitas was also coached by Ken Higgs who brought him to Leicestershire.

Three seasons after signing for Leicestershire he made his England debut (at Brisbane) on the successful 1986-87 Ashes tour where his room-mate was Ian Botham! By 2005 he was the only active English cricketer playing first-class cricket to have won the Ashes. Overall he played 44 Tests taking 140 wickets at 33.57. He remained part of England’s plans – albeit the victim of inconsistent selection - until the advent of Dominic Cork in the mid-90s. His top Test score of 88, during which he hammered Craig McDermott for 42 runs off 3 overs with the new ball, helped England to win in Adelaide and earned him the man of the match award.

He also played 103 ODIs, 3 world cups and 2 world cup finals. England lost in 1987 by 7 runs but it could have been a different story if Australia hadn’t had the 6' 8" Bruce Reid fielding at mid-off when De Freitas tried to hit Steve Waugh over the top.

He joined Lancashire in 1989 where his career blossomed and he helped them win several one-day trophies. There followed stints at Derbyshire (1994-1999) and back at Leicestershire (2000-2005) where he became captain. He also played for the South African side, Boland. In his career he reached the rare double of 10,000 runs and 1,000 wickets and uniquely took 5 wickets in a single innings against all 18 first-class counties. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1992.

Phil became a cricket master at Oakham School in January 2009, under the school’s director of cricket, Frank Hayes.

Martin Renshaw

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