Tuffers: “I smoked 100 fags per Test”

I was lucky enough to interview former England spin bowler, Phil Tuffnell, affectionately known as just “Tuffers”. What a character he was, much akin to his on-field and on-screen/radio persona.

Who’s the funniest South African you’ve ever played against?

It was never that funny playing against AD [Allan Donald] trying to knock your block off, but Boucher always had a sharp word or two… I only laughed in the bar afterwards, though! Let’s hope he recovers from that nasty blow to his eye.

What is the most hilarious situation on a cricket field you’ve ever experienced?

Watching our batsmen try and get their kit on when we are 2 for 4 in a Test with no-one ready to go out and bat! I was searching for the chest guards for me!

What do you think KP said in those texts to the SA players?

Wish I was playing for you!

Who is the best Saffer to have played for England?

Difficult to say, but the best blokes were Lamby and the Judge [Robin Smith]…they loved to party! Dangerous men.

Some players have a beer; Tuffers preferred a bottle of bubbly and a ciggie
Some players have a beer; Tuffers preferred a bottle of bubbly and a ciggie

How many cigarettes did you used to smoke and pints of lager did you consume during a game?

100 fags, but preferred the old vino, especially Stellenbosch’s finest.

Who was the hardest SA batsman to bowl to?

Kallis, although I think I bowled to Gary Kirsten for about 2 days once. That wasn’t fun…

Which of the current SA team would make your World XI, to be captained by yourself of course?

Kallis and Steyn for sure. Amla and Morkel might sneak in.

Where’s the craziest place you’ve toured (other than Jo’burg)?

Anywhere in India.

Who is a worse batsman; you or Allan Donald?

Me, comfortably. He never had to face himself though did he?!

Who has been SA’s best spin bowler since readmission?

Didn’t know they had any! Tahir is probably as good as any, but not sure South Africa can have a go at us for nicking their batters anymore!


This article originally appeared on The South African in 2012.

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