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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 May 2006, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Rocket Man

A View From the Boundary
England v Sri Lanka, Lord's, 13 May 2006

With his penchant for flamboyant costumes and riotous parties, it may surprise some to learn that Sir Elton John prefers Test matches to one-day pyjama cricket.

Elton John on stage
Flintoff said he suffered from stage fright singing with Sir Elton
The singer/songwriter has been addicted to the sport since his schooldays but has little time for its higher-octane 50-over format.

"I liked one-day internationals when they started them but there are too many of them now," he insists. "They wear out the players and cricketers are playing too many games.

"Tests are far more interesting, they are more of a chess game. Test match cricket is far more worthwhile and relaxing.

"I do think you see the best cricket in Tests and I like the fact that you can play for five days and no-one wins."

Elton - real name Reginald Dwight - became hooked on the sport through listening about the feats of heroes such as Dennis Compton, Colin Cowdrey and John Edrich on BBC radio.

Prevented from playing tennis and hockey - "they were considered girls sports" - and finding rugby "too rough", his energies were focused on getting willow to hit leather.

I used to love hanging around with cricketers. We had a lot of fun and got up to a lot of mischief together
Sir Elton John
But despite his love for its traditions, he upset some cricketing purists when he batted at Lord's in a charity match.

"I had green hair and the looks I got as I walked through the long room...it was the longest walk out to the crease that I can ever remember and I thought 'please let it end'," he recalled.

"I got to the crease and I thought 'please let me score one run'. I scored 24 but I got carried away. The next week I played in Barnes and [former England seamer] Robin Jackman got me out first ball."

The popstar has followed England all over the world and has found little difficulty in leading members of the team astray.

"I used to love hanging around with cricketers. We had a lot of fun and got up to a lot of mischief together and when we won at Melbourne on that Boxing Day in 1986 it was one of the greatest - and most drunken - nights I can remember."

Last summer's Ashes series captured the imagination of the cricketing world, and Sir Elton was no exception.

"I was on tour when we won by two runs at Edgbaston. I was in the south of France and on the phone to Michael Caine - who is a big cricket fan.

"I was saying 'For God's sake' and he was saying 'I can't look'."

Sport has always had its celebrity followers and Sir Elton believes the two worlds have much in common.

Sir Elton at a Watford football match
Sir Elton is also a huge Watford fan
The singer performed a duet with Andrew Flintoff at the England all-rounder's benefit event in Battersea on Tuesday.

"Every musician I've ever known would like to be a sportsman and every sportsman I've known wants to be a musician," he added.

"They're both great levellers and there is a feeling of togetherness - sport and music, more than anything, bring people together.

"Every performance is different and every innings is different. Players hit a bad patch and it happens to songwriters.

"Being successful is psychological - you have to keep yourself fresh, be on your toes. You cannot coast."



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