The 1986/87 Ashes series was long heralded as a historic one for English cricket as it took the Three Lions 23 years to win their next one Down Under.
It was particularly special for Phillip DeFreitas, our guest on the latest episode of The Shackles Are Off podcast, as he made his debut in the Brisbane Test and would go on to take nine wickets as he aided the famous Ashes triumph.
When Daffy joined Chris, Greggy, and Brooksy on the latest episode of the podcast, the 1986/87 series was naturally a topic of discussion and the former England all-rounder opened up on his experiences on that tour.
“I was very, very fortunate that my first England roommate was my hero, Ian Botham,” said DeFreitas. “That first two weeks in Brisbane in Australia on an Ashes tour, my first roommate was Ian Botham and then the next two weeks I’ve got Allan Lamb.
“Listen those four weeks were the most unbelievable four weeks of my life. It was amazing. It was fantastic.
“It was the first months of the tour, so basically we trained and played a few state games. Botham, Lamb, Gower, they didn’t give a monkey about those games. The guys were partying really, enjoying themselves. And I’m thinking this is great this. This is fantastic.
“Those four weeks at the start of the tour were just incredible and it got better. Sharing a room with Botham, my idol basically, and them Lamby, say no more really.”
On the topic of favourite roommates, DeFreitas couldn’t help giving two others some recognition. He said: “You talk about favourite roommates, at the MCC Ground Staff, I roomed with Tuffers. They were interesting times. Another was Neil Fairbrother, a good mate of mine.”
On the field, England produced some historic performances and off it, they were certainly enjoying themselves as well — something that was aided by the presence of a true superstar.
DeFreitas explained: “We started that tour where we couldn’t win a game but everyone was partying, everyone was having a drink. We had Elton John following us by the way, he was with us all the time. You come back from training and you go in the team room and Elton John’s in there offer you a drink. ‘Oh, cheers El’.”
“We won the Test match and we celebrated. Every game we won, we celebrated and I think that’s the way it should be. Celebrate the win. We’d carry on drinking in the changing room and then we’d go back to the hotel, we’d have a few beers and enjoy ourselves.
“I remember every game we won, Test matches or one-dayers, Elton would lay on a party for us and DJ for us. It was just incredible, it was an incredible four months. It was a shame because if we’d had the Barmy Army then, it would’ve been absolute madness.”