The start of April has seen a surprising number of emails tumble into my inbox inviting me to play for various cricket teams. As I’ve explained before I’m not an especially gifted player of the game. Yet people know that I am keen on the sport and make the assumption that I have an aptitude for it.

It is a wrong assumption obviously. A love of something is no guarantee of any natural ability in that direction. A lot of people that don’t play any musical instruments enjoy going to concerts after all. I’m very keen on pate, but if you laid the raw ingredients out in front of me I wouldn’t know where to begin.

As every summer approaches I start getting excited about playing the game again. I imagine myself dressed in phosphorescent whites on a village green, tucking my bat under my arm and retiring upon reaching yet another century. There is gentle applause, sandwiches with no crusts, church bells ringing etc etc.

The reality sees me exhausted, sweaty and squeezed into the back of somebody’s over-loaded and dog-hair-covered Volvo with a kit bag on my lap and fielding questions on how on earth I managed to miss that full toss, spill that catch, concuss that vicar.

If cricket is not a laugh, then as a player I can no longer go anywhere near it. Two seasons playing at a club where everything cricket-related was taken frightfully seriously has scarred my soul forever. Failure with the bat was greeted with total silence upon returning to the pavilion. Mis-fields would be met by a chorus of loud tutting. One man who missed a straightforward run out chance was visited in the night by men on horseback and dragged to a piece of wasteland where members of the club committee forced a linseed oil-soaked handkerchief into his mouth before taking turns to beat him around the head and body with a short-handled Stuart Surridge 333.

Yet as a spectator I expect nothing but the highest standards and greatest discipline from anyone I watch playing the game. If someone appears to have spent hours gelling their hair into a state of rigid perfection and yet conversely hasn’t found the time to bowl a few loosening overs in the nets then I am appalled. But when I’m playing the cricket really mustn’t be serious at all.

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan