Where County Cricket’s concerned, he’s the man who’s been there, done it and got the tee-shirt.
Yet speak to Chris Read about the game and it’s abundantly clear that his appetite for the game has not diminished in the slightest.
Yes, he’s preparing to retire at the end of the year. Yes, this is his last senior competitive county 50-over match. And yes, he’s got absolutely nothing left to prove after a stellar tenure on the Trent Bridge playing staff.
“We get spoilt rotten at Trent Bridge, but to come here (Lord’s) once a season, or more if you’re lucky, is absolutely fantastic
Nevertheless, the 38-year-old retains an unbridled appetite for the sport that has dominated his life for the last two decades. Even now, an occasion such as a trip to Lord’s for a one-day cup final means a great deal to him.
“When we practised yesterday, Lord’s was looking an absolute picture as always, and it’s just a brilliant place to play,” said Read.
“We get spoilt rotten at Trent Bridge, but to come here once a season, or more if you’re lucky, is absolutely fantastic, especially when it’s all dressed up in its regalia on finals day, so I really can’t wait.
“We came here in 2013 and won the YB40 final, it was a great day out for players and fans alike – and I know they’ll be plenty making their way down the M1 this time.
“We had a couple of aims at the start of the season. The first was to get promoted back into Division One after being disappointed to get relegated last year, and a Lord’s final was another.
“These occasions are what I play for, and I would imagine what most professionals play for too. To lift the trophy would be the icing on the cake in terms of ways to finish.”
The saying goes that you are a long time retired, but Read is adamant he has made the right decision to call it a day after first joining the Trent Bridge staff in 1998, making his Club debut in a Second XI fixture against Derbyshire in April of that year.
“There comes a moment where you feel it’s right to retire.”
Aside from his superb record for Nottinghamshire, the Paignton-born player can also boast 15 Tests, 36 One-Day Internationals and one T20 to his name, and says he is now thoroughly content with what he has achieved in cricket.
Read said: “Everyone has said it and until it happens you don’t know, but there comes a moment where you feel it’s right to retire. Various different parts of your body start aching at different times.
“Ultimately, I have always wanted to go on a journey of continual improvement and see just how good I could be. I think I have reached or past that point and it’s time to bow out, hopefully on a high.”
After developing his glovework under the tutelage of former England man Jack Russell at Gloucestershire, Read has seen a real shift in the role of the wicket-keeper down the years.
With Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, as well as the likes of Ben Foakes, Alex Davies and John Simpson, to name a few, he feels he will leave the game with the plenty of talent to follow in his footsteps.
“For a while, post-Adam Gilchrist, the landscape changed for what a wicket-keeper had to do. They had to be immaculate with the gloves and go and score hundreds,” said Read.
“The whole world was having to try to catch up because those people weren’t out there like him. We were getting batsmen and sticking wicket-keeping gloves in them.
“The balance between bat and gloves in some of the young guys coming through is fantastic.”
“I think now, though, I look around the country and we are in a really good spot. The balance between bat and gloves in some of the young guys coming through is fantastic and I’m looking forward to seeing the next generation.”
Although the match marks the end of Read’s career in one-day competitions, it is not the last time he will grace the turf at Lord’s.
The Outlaws skipper will play for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) later this month against Afghanistan, who have just recently been given full Test status along with Ireland, in another game he is relishing.
There is no doubt, however, which match holds the most significance for him and he added: “We have two white ball sides in Notts and Surrey who are in excellent form going into this final, and I couldn’t dare predict what will happen.
“This match for me closes off the first half of the season before we start T20. Should we have a trophy in the cabinet by this evening, it would be a wonderful way to round off the first half of my final season.”
But will Read miss all this? Will he miss the constant need to practice and the seemingly incessant rounds of media interviews, quite apart from the aches and pains?
“I don’t know, you’ll have to come and ask me that question again in a year’s time and I’ll be able to give you a clearer answer!” said Read.
“I’ve absolutely loved my time in the game and I’m sure I’ll miss it.”
“All the boys keep saying ‘crikey, you’ve done a lot of fielding in your time’ and it’s true, I have.
“But I’ve absolutely loved my time in the game and I’m sure I’ll miss it, but I’m also very much looking forward to what the future brings.”
That future will see the once-apprentice turn master when he takes over the role as Director of Cricket at Uppingham School, an establishment which boasts Jonathan Agnew and Stephen Fry among it alumni.
And if Read is half as proficient in his new role as he’s been behind the Trent Bridge stumps, his students are sure to get just as much of a kick out of their chosen sport as their evergreen coach.
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