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Kent v Pakistan at the St Lawrence Ground in April

Cold, windy, overcast…and yet I loved every minute of it

When I was a kid growing up, we had what could properly be termed a cricket season: it lasted from April to September and then cricket was largely out of our minds.

That was because not only was cricket being played in the county grounds and on the club and school pitches, it was the only time it was also on our tv screens.

That all changed with the advent of Sky television and its live broadcasting of overseas tours in early 90s.

Suddenly cricket wasn’t just for summer. Today, the cycle of cricket is never off our screens. About six to eight weeks after the end of the County Championship, we can expect to start viewing international cricket from India or South Africa or Australia.

And we can go on viewing it up until the start of the next season.

Pakistan fans photograph bowler Mohammad Amir

As soon as England’s tour of New Zealand finished, we were being hyped up for the Indian Premier League.

That’s why these days the real cricket means live cricket in front of us.

Because of work commitments, I knew I would miss the championship opener against Gloucestershire.

But yesterday, excited with anticipation, I returned to Canterbury’s St Lawrence Ground.

It was cold, it was overcast, it was windy, and yet I loved every minute of it. Just being there and watching live cricket is enough.

Better still, Pakistan were in town for the first tour match of the summer. A Kent fan now living in London joined me for the day as we sat in the open air watching Kent bowl at the visitors.

Will Gidman took five in the innings and Callum Haggett two later in the innings as the tourists were skittled out for 168.

And then all eyes were on Mohammad Amir, the left-arm quick who will always have to live with the taint of the spot-fixing scandal.

He bowled well from the Nackington Road End, but it was Hasan Ali from the Pavilion End who took the only wicket, Daniel Bell Drummond for one, as the home side finished the day on 39.

The outcome of this match matters little. What matters is that cricket is back on our shores, this great British export that brings so many people around the world together.

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