Late dramatist and theatre director Harold Pinter's last interview with a British newspaper reveals that he was a die-hard cricket fan as a kid.
Andy Bull of the Guardian, which took the interview in October at Pinter's home in London, has revealed that a decision to focus the interaction on cricket was taken in view of the fact that the playwright considered the sport to be better than sex.
"I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God created on earth, certainly greater than sex, although sex isn't too bad either," the newspaper quoted Pinter as once having said.
During the interview, a nostalgic Pinter recalled his childhood in Hackney, east London, during the blitz and his time as an evacuee.
"I first watched cricket during the war. At one point we were all evacuated from our house when there was an air raid. We opened the door and our garden, with this large lilac tree, was alight all along the back wall. We were evacuated straight away. Though not before I took my cricket bat," he said.
"I used to get up at five in the morning and play cricket. I had a great friend who is still going - he lives in Australia - called Mick, Mick Goldstein. He used to live around the corner from me in Hackney, and we were very close to the River Lea, and there were fields. We walked down to the fields; there'd be nobody about - it would really very early in the morning, and there would be a tree we used as a wicket. We would take it in turns to bat and bowl; we would be Lindwall, Miller, Hutton and Compton. That was the life," he added.
Pinter revealed that his cricket library contained all 145 editions of the Wisden Almanack.
He also revealed that his favourite was the England great Len Hutton, whom he first saw as an evacuee in Yorkshire.
"I was sent for a brief period to Leeds, and I went to see some kind of game up at Headingley. I caught Len Hutton, who wa s on leave from the army. I fell in love with him at first sight, as it were. I became passionate about Yorkshire because of Hutton really. It is my great regret that I could have met him, but I was too shy," he said.
Pinter said that cricket was not in his family because his father did not play.
"I learned about the game at Hackney Downs Grammar. We used to play a lot. A lot of my colleagues at the time were very, very keen on cricket. We felt so intensely about it. I remember going to Lord's, walking through Regent's Park on my way, one early evening. And coming away from Lord's there was another schoolboy, in uniform, and he saw me, and said: "Hutton's out!" I could have killed him. Really. It was very important to me that I was going to see Hutton. So, you see, I have golden memories," he said.
He stopped playing cricket after his childhood lapsed, and did not resume until he had a family of his own.