Phil Tufnell

Phil Tufnell is possibly the world's most English man, given his status as a cricket legend and the fact he reckons Ray Winstone would play him in a film. But then how do we explain all the dancing…?

Phil Tufnell profile

Phil Clive Roderick Tufnell's nickname during his cricketing days was The Cat – not because he used to leave dead birds at the feet of Graham Gooch, but because he had a rather crafty habit of falling asleep in the dressing room. Unlike real moggies, however, this feline has only really had three, rather than nine, lives.

But they've been pretty wildly different. The first saw him working as a silversmith for his dad before then graduating as a quantity surveyor - if it hadn't been for his father's pushiness he might never have capitalised on his early sporting promise and had a third life in professional cricket.

Luckily for Phil - and crickets fans the length and breadth of Blighty - he did make good on the precocious skills he'd shown first at Highgate School and later at Lords, and made the step up into the professional ranks. One of England's brightest and best, the left arm of Phil was full of spinny wonder which left opposing batsmen trembling to their padded knees.

Tasting glory on the biggest stage, including Ashes glory over the Aussies, Phil cemented a place in the sport's record books. But unlike some famously, er, "Nigel Mansell-esque" sporting icons this cheeky chappy was too darned charismatic to fade away from the spotlight post-retirement.

Transforming himself into a TV star, Phil went from Cat to King of the Jungle, winning I'm A Celebrity by consuming grub that even Shane Warne would probably have turned his nose up at. And it didn't end in the Outback, with Phil becoming a regular feature on everything from They Think It's All Over and A Question of Sport to popping up on panel and quiz shows including The Chase and Would I Lie To You?

Perhaps the boldest of all of Phil's moves was his decision to show off his, er, moves, on Strictly Come Dancing. Clearly donning sequins is a slippery slope – how else do we explain his hair transplant? – but even as a proud metrosexual Phil will always be a cricketing institution and all-round diamond geezer. If only we understood the rules of cricket…

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