Interview with David 'Sid' Payne

7th February 2017 by Guy Horchover

“Hi David, firstly how is your knee, I understand you had an operation?” “Yes the knee is fine, better than ever. I had some small pieces of cartilage taken out and my recovery has been great”.

“Good news, how long have you been playing cricket?” Payne replies, “It’s in my family background. My brother was playing and I followed him down to my local club. I’ve been playing since I was six or seven years old. Dad played years before but got back into it when me and my brother started playing; it was his aim to play in a game with both his lads, which he achieved a few years back”.

“Was it always just cricket for you?” Payne smiles, “No, I played a lot of sports. Football was my main game at one stage along with cricket. I was on the books at AFC Bournemouth – but I enjoyed playing any sport”. I ask, “Has this helped?” and the reply was “Yes, there was a study that shows a trend that if you play more sports as a child the better you get at one sport as an adult!”

Payne continues, “Bob Smith is our new strength and conditioning coach and he has come from a tennis background. It has been amazing; there is a lot we can learn from tennis in cricket, especially in fielding”.

“You are from Poole in Dorset, how come you are playing for Gloucestershire CCC?” Payne thinks for a moment, “Well I went through the ranks with Dorset CCC and Stuart Barnes, the Glos. CCC bowling coach of the time, came down to look at a few of us play. I was invited up to Glos for a trial and before I knew it I was playing in the West Region U19 Cricket team and then England U19. I am really proud of this achievement and it was a great experience and ranks alongside playing first class cricket every week”.

“Is that your best moment, playing for England U19?” This time without hesitation Payne replies, “The One Day final in 2015 against Surrey! We batted first and made a modest 221. We were a bit down at the interval but this is where teamwork comes into play. In the end they were five runs short and I took the last two wickets in the last over”. There is a big smile on Payne’s face; “We had a great celebration that evening – friends and family, team mates; people had flown in to watch the game!”

Payne continues. “Our forte is limited overs; we are working hard on the four-day game. Weather is part of it but not the main driver. We need to focus, concentrate and improve our game though year on year.”

“Who do you think has had a significant influence on your career?” Payne replies, “Stuart Barnes and John Bracewell who gave me my first contract; Owen Dawkins has been a great coach; I owe a lot to the coaches. John Bracewell came from the ‘glory days’ of multiple One Day wins and John was left when everyone else retired with a load of youngsters. We have developed well into a team as we have all been together for a while. When Richard Dawson took over in 2015 we won our first title for a while!”

“From a playing side, is there anyone you look up to?” “Without doubt, Andrew Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes Series – a big hero for many people my age (25 years old). He was a real inspiration for me as a player when I was in my teens”. Payne goes on –“John Lewis, ex-Glos and England is a real inspiration; I learned a lot from him – how to go about county cricket, dealing with the challenges and being consistent and dealing with pressure”.

“Can you explain?” Payne thinks, “There is a real mental side to cricket. As well as putting a strain on your body, your mind never switches off when you are waiting to bat. If you think about it there are probably more lows than highs. You are not going to get a wicket every ball, you can bowl the best six balls ever and see them go to the pavilion, and as a batsman you are not going to get a ton every time”, he says smiling.

“What is your best performance?” It came early on in my career playing at Essex where my figures were 7-29! In my last over I took four consecutive wickets, the last player to face me was not a renowned batsman. The ball missed his off stump by a ‘whisker’ and the wicket keeper took the ball and threw the ball at the stumps. The batsman was given out – run out. If he had been given as ‘stumped’ it would have been a world record – five consecutive wickets. My friend texted to ask how it felt to know that as long as I play cricket I’ll never get better figures!”

“How do you try to reduce the pressure on yourself that you get when you play cricket?” “Cricket is a long day. Anything outside cricket - house, car etc. needs to be sorted quickly. At the end of the day you just want to get your food in and go to bed. Just need to get council tax, car insurance sorted and get the hassle out of the way. ProSport can save your life; one phone call and your car insurance is done and dusted; it is the least of my worries.

“Do you have any advice for your younger self?” David Payne thinks for a moment, “Worry less – just love playing sport, get to play with people who are just like you. The changing room is a unique work place – there are great football and cricket debates, cricket is a lot of fun – we are very lucky to play.”

“Do you have any plans post cricket?”  Payne admits that “When you are playing cricket it is very difficult to get your mind off it. However, I have had some work days with ex-players who run corporate hospitality events, are involved with media and I have just completed my Level 2 coaching badge. The PCA are great at helping players transition from cricket to work outside. The PCA are awesome, they run the ‘show’ in the background and really help us players by taking the hassle out of our lives so we can concentrate on playing.”

That wrapped up our interview. I hope that David Payne continues in cricket for a long time to come. I sensed that he had not reached his peak in the game and that when he does he will maintain it for some time. You never know, he may yet get the elusive five consecutive wicket record!

I thoroughly enjoyed talking with David, to get an insight into the life of a professional cricketer. Anyone wanting to play sport should remind themselves to try their hand at different things as the skills you learn in other sports can be applied across disciplines.