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Just For Laughs

How Key and Swann tried to trick Fulton into thinking he’d been picked for England

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Speaking on The Grade Cricketer podcast, former England batsman Rob Key recalled rooming with Graeme Swann during the 1998 Under 19 World Cup.

England won the competition, with the triumph still their only win in the tournament until now. Key was England’s joint second-highest run-scorer, while Swann, who would go onto take 255 Test wickets for England with his off-spin, managed six scalps at the junior event.

However, despite the on-field success, the pair found plenty of time for hijinks off the field. Key explained how sharing a room with Swann was a unique experience.

“Swanny I’d known since I was 10,” he said. “And Swanny, Graeme Swann will talk more than anyone in the world, so much so I remember rooming with Swanny, and every night he would just have conversations with himself, but he was a mimic so he would constantly go from being a male to a female, he would just argue with himself in two different characters. It was like, ‘Swanny, shut up!’”

However, Key found Swann’s skill at impersonation came in handy for pranking one of his Kent teammates, David Fulton. England’s senior side, with head coach David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd in charge, were playing in West Indies while the Under 19 World Cup was going on, and Fulton, who had enjoyed the best season of his career in 1997, averaging 36.65 with one hundred and four fifties, was hopeful of a call-up.

“One of the worst things we ever did on that trip, we rang a guy called Dave Fulton who played at Kent, who hadn’t had the greatest start to his career but he was just starting to come good a bit later on,” Key said. “So we rang him and Swanny can do a brilliant ‘David Lloyd’ impression, and I can’t remember where England were touring, but Swanny rang Dave Fulton, the player, as David Lloyd, telling him he was going to get selected for England.

“But Swanny’s impression was so good we had to ring him an hour later just to say, ‘By the way, that was us, you haven’t [been called up for England]’. That was when I started to think maybe we’d gone a little bit too far.”

Despite being tipped by former Australia skipper Steve Waugh to one day captain England later in his career, Fulton never won an international call-up.

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