If you have sent Matthew Fisher a congratulations message following his England Test call-up and he hasn’t yet responded, do not fear. He’s had quite a few!
The Yorkshire bowler was last week picked in the tour party for next month’s three-match series in the West Indies and guesstimates with a laugh when quizzed about his avalanche of messages: “I’d say, across all the platforms – Texts, WhatsApp, Facebook, it’s around 500.
“My WhatsApp was just ridiculous.
“I find it hard to just say thanks to someone. So I ask how they are. Family friends would be getting in touch, and I’d be like, ‘How’s the family?’ Then other messages come through.
“I’ve been catching up with everyone as well as saying thanks. It’s been crazy, but it’s all nice.
“I really appreciate everyone getting in touch. It’s only right that I message back, but I still haven’t got round to everyone yet.”
Never mind the rigours of Test cricket, replying to those messages alone sounds like it could warrant rest and rotation.
“I do feel like, at some point, I just need to take stock and try and have a couple of days at home doing nothing so that I feel fresh going out to the West Indies,” he went on.
“Myself and Tasha (his partner) have been out for food a couple of times, celebrating with family.
“Also I’ve had to fit in some intense training, getting my bowling workloads up.
“But I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“It’s what I’ve worked for since I was seven, when I started playing and fell in love with the game. To get picked for England in Test cricket is all I’ve ever wanted.
“Hopefully I might get a chance out there to get my first England cap, which is something no one can ever take away from me. It’s incredibly exciting.”
The three Tests, between March 8-28, are in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada.
Fisher has already played a first-class match at Barbados when he represented the MCC in the champion county fixture against Essex in March 2018, taking two wickets in an innings win.
“I felt like I bowled well in that game. Paul Collingwood captained us then as well, so it’s cool that he’s now coach,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to Darren Gough and Steve Harmison about Test cricket and playing in the West Indies, which has been helpful.
“Goughie has also given me Ottis Gibson’s number. He should know how the pitches play, so I’m going to get in touch with him before I head off next week.”
Fisher still plans to start the Championship season with Yorkshire at Gloucestershire on April 14: “I’ll be banging on the door for that one,” he insisted.
He could even play in the Leeds/Bradford game at Weetwood on April 2 depending on Test selection.
Fisher is a first time tourist alongside former Yorkshire opener Alex Lees, both young players whose lives have been touched by the tragedy of losing their respective fathers as teenagers.
“We’ve never really spoken in detail about that kind of stuff, but we kind of have that nod to each other that we know what we’ve both been through,” said Fisher.
“I’m chuffed to bits that Leesy’s got the call as well.”
Sheriff Hutton Bridge product Fisher’s father Phil passed away when the seamer was just 14, a year before he made his Yorkshire debut in 2013.
“Dad was the biggest part of me getting into cricket, driving me round to county age-group games and things like that,” he said. “He would feed me on the bowling machine on nights at our club.
“Him, married with a club who were so open and enthusiastic about people using their facilities, gave me a great head-start. He was a massive part of me bettering my game.
“When you get to 14 or 15, parents take a bit more of a backseat and hand it to county coaches. It was nice that he got me to that point.
“The year or two before he passed away, I was progressing quite quickly and playing in the Academy.
“He didn’t get to see me playing for Yorkshire. But, hopefully, he knew that I was well on my way. He’d done all he could.
“Being so close to my brothers, having a strong mum, that was so important to get us all through it. It was such a tough period, and I’m so thankful we are all really close as a family.
“This is as much for them as it is for me.”