There’s a moment in cricket conversations that I always dread. I was talking with a colleague recently, happily reeling off memories of long forgotten county players, passionately defending the career of Ashley Giles and reciting all of Mike Atherton’s scores from the 1993 Ashes series.

But then he asked me the inevitable question that always takes the ground from under my feet: “And do you play?”

Because at that moment I always come a little unstuck.

I enthusiastically joined a serious club a few years ago convinced that my conversion into a half-decent cricketer was just around the corner. A few sessions in the nets and I was sure that everything would finally click into place. I played for one of the club’s friendly Sunday sides for the whole season and it was a disaster.

In my first game I bowled two incredibly lengthy and wicketless overs that went for 30, an astonishing achievement given that they were eventually bowled out for just 75. I bowled just one other over in the season – an over so bad that even Harmison would have been ashamed of it – and that comfortably brought my tally of runs conceded over the half-century mark.

I struggled to contribute in any aspect of the game. I scored a total of 11 runs, with a highest score of 9. Twice in the process of dropping skyers I managed to land on my head. On one occasion I took an amazing and unlikely one-handed catch at point but I shouldn’t have been standing there in the first place. I was meant to be at square leg but I hadn’t noticed the incoming batsman was a left-hander.

One evening I was the only member of the friendly side at practice and was sent over to join the senior squad who were being coached by a Middlesex player. We did unbelievable fielding drills and some stretches that made my legs burn for three days.

Halfway through the session the Middlesex man stopped everyone and gave us a furious bawling out. “If anyone here can’t handle this, then they should leave. Now.” I would have gone but didn’t have the energy to walk.

Some people say that what makes a sportsman great is them knowing exactly how good they are. If that is true then I am a great cricketer precisely because I know just how dreadful I am.

Instead I will have to content myself with being one of the hundreds and thousands of people who cannot bat, bowl or field and yet who can watch the game snorting dismissively at the opinions of a commentator even though they’ve played over 100 Tests, or who groans whenever Ian Bell is out in the 40s despite the knowledge that personally a score in double figures would represent something of a triumph.

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan