Interview with Derbyshire great Bob Taylor MBE

Thursday 19th November 2015
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Former Derbyshire and England wicketkeeper Bob Taylor MBE spoke about his recent successful heart bypass operation and reminisced about some of his proudest moments as a cricketer at Sunday’s Heritage Lunch.

Taylor, who represented Derbyshire from 1961 to 1984, joined a string of other Derbyshire favourites for Lunch at the event celebrating the history of Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

The Staffordshire-born wicketkeeper, whose 2,069 career dismissals is the most by any wicketkeeper in history, was recently honoured at the Derby Telegraph Sports Awards where he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to cricket.

This summer, however, Taylor was taken to hospital where he underwent a heart bypass operation.  The surgery was a success and he spoke about his recovery.

“I feel ok now,” said Taylor. “The news that I needed surgery came as a shock.

“It just hits you when you’re lying there waiting for an angiogram [heart health test] and the specialist pumps dye into your veins to determine whether they are blocked. It just came as a bit of a shock when he said that I probably need a bypass.

“He explained what the bypass was all about and he told me he could almost guarantee me another two decades. After the shock, I looked at him and asked him if he could make it 24 years. I said: ‘24 will take me up to 98 and that’ll just beat my best Test score.’”

During his Derbyshire career, Taylor made 514 first-class appearances, the third most by any player, and racked up a county record 1,304 first-class dismissals.

He added: “I know we should look forward and not back but everyone’s nostalgic, I’m sure. As a professional sportsman, I was lucky enough to play until I was 44 and you can’t help but reminisce over your career.

“To have former players with you, like we had at the Heritage Lunch, it’s fantastic. You bounce off one another as we all played with one another over the years and I really enjoyed it.

“For any Test player, to play against Australia is the ultimate series. I played in quite a few Ashes series – won some and lost some, home and away. It’s a fantastic experience, particularly at Lord’s.

“I think if you ask any cricketer throughout the world where they want to play Test cricket, they would have to say Lord’s.”

In all, Taylor’s 1,649 career first-class dismissals is the most ever by any keeper to ever to play the game, and his achievements were acknowledged at the Derby Telegraph Sports Awards last week.

Taylor said: “It was quite a surprise to win the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Derby Telegraph Sports Awards. I was there to present the Club of the Year Award which I did and enjoyed.

“I saw all of the nominees for the Lifetime Achievement award and didn’t think anything about it until Tony Borrington was asked to speak. That’s when I thought: ‘I might have a chance here!’

“I enjoyed it. It was in recognition of playing 20-odd years for Derbyshire and England. I said on the evening that Derbyshire is my second home and always will be.

“My family always enjoyed Derbyshire which is the most important thing. They love Derbyshire and that’s what it’s all about.”

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