World's most famous wizard becomes invisible on first trip to Lord's

By David Llewellyn

It was a wizard way to spend one's 18th birthday - and the four days leading up to it.

Watching England take on India (and nearly win) at Lord's cricket ground in London.

For Harry Potter, aka actor Daniel Radcliffe, who is more used to bowling maidens over in his guise as the apprentice wizard, it was a first visit to a cricket match.

And he enjoyed every minute, as he told the BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew in Test Match Special's lunchtime interview yesterday.

"The tabloid newspapers expected me to have some massive, extravagant birthday bash with lots of celebrities," said Radcliffe, who was sporting an England replica shirt, "but that is not my thing. Just to come here was a bit of a dream, really. I have never been to a cricket match before. I am 18 today and I'm very excited."

Radcliffe, whose latest film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was premiered this month, was even able to sit in the Edrich Stand and then in the Compton Stand unrecognised for much of the time.

In fact, one England cricketer failed to recognise Daniel when the actor asked for his autograph.

"I've got Andrew Strauss's autograph and Sachin Tendulkar's - they were not aware who it was who was asking for their autograph.

They were doing the thing that I do when I am in a crowd of people, which is to just keep your head down and keep moving as you sign."

Strauss seems to have featured prominently recently in young Dan's life.

Not so long ago he was in a nightmare that Radcliffe had.

"I very vividly remember him [Strauss] chasing me with a cricket bat, and it was during the West Indies series, where he wasn't in the greatest of form.

"I mentioned [the dream] in a subsequent interview and I heard this Australian voice in the back of the room say, 'Don't worry, mate, he wouldn't be able to hit you even if he caught you'."

When Strauss learnt that Agnew was to interview Radcliffe, he asked him to take a Harry Potter book to be signed for his son, Sam, aged 20 months.

Radcliffe had not always been a cricket fan.

"I got into it during the Ashes in which we were whitewashed, simply because of Paul Collingwood's double hundred at Adelaide, which is why he is my favourite player.

"The thing about Collingwood's innings was the celebration when he got his double hundred. It was so impassioned, really inspirational. It was great. He gave a great cry, it was quite primeval and scary in a way, but I liked it all the same."

- INDEPENDENT

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