Posts Tagged ‘england’
I’ve put down some words of advice for nervous London Marathon runners. It’s so indispensable it will probably be read out over a loudspeaker on the start line on Sunday. Regular readers will recognize it as a amalgamated revival of some posts I wrote a year ago. I would say about 50% of the text is new so you may just want to read every other word. Here it is.
This morning, just after 10 o’clock, Cricinfo reported that the start of the LVCC Division 2 match between Surrey and Derbyshire had been delayed due to crowd congestion. I rubbed my knuckles into my eyes sockets, looked sceptically at the bottle of scotch I keep on my desk to intoxicate me through the day, and gazed at my monitor for a minute.
Could this be true? Perhaps the phenomenal recent accomplishment of the international side had caused a tsunami of interest to wash at the gates of the Oval. Or the tantalising prospect of promotion dangling down like a moist grape had enticed the ‘Rey followers in their thousands.
No. I spoke to my friend Bonald in his Oval office. He reported that there was around a hundred people at the ground. Unless the arena was only accessible through a small skylight in the pavilion roof then congestion seemed unlikely. He also added that the game started in disappointingly punctual fashion.
It seems that there was a miscommunication on the part of Cricinfo. Either that or a sick satirical joke on county cricket’s perennial inability to attract an audience even for its most arresting fixtures. Invariably the domestic season works as a crescendo towards a finale in which literally zillions of permutations are thrillingly possible, as potentially crucial points are made available at every turn like blackberries on an autumnal bush. Unlike in football, in which the last game of the season is mainly just a parade of expensive new kits and self-congratulation, domestic cricket often comes to an exhilarating conclusion. Just in front of 0.01% of the crowd.
I’m not massively comfortable with the use of superlatives. They’re a bit flash and unnecessary, like diamond dental crowns. It does tend to dilute the vocabulary when describing England this summer though, hence why I’ve been less than prolific recently. But now England are officially
the best very good, and deserved holders of the Giant Shiny Chupa-Chup, I should pass some form of comment.
Watching the highlights today, I spied something in one fleeting frame of action. Chris Schofield had appeared on the pitch. A gormless ghostly figure from the past, from a much shitter era of English cricket. Normally the management let enthusiastic spaniel pups come bounding onto the field when a substitute is required, like that boy from One Direction who was pressed into service at the weekend.
Perhaps Schofield was introduced as a reminder of what once was. A gawky chinless reminiscence of where it all began, being one of the first signatories on a ECB central contract. So here’s to you Schoey, they couldn’t have done it without you.
It’s always embarrassing when you turn up at a party and someone is wearing the same dress as you. Especially if you are a man.
Due to a momentary miscommunication my mum and mother-in-law were a credit card swipe from buying outfits in the same colour for my recent wedding. Had the transaction been completed then we obviously would have had no option but to postpone our nuptials until an alternative outfit could be sourced for one of the pair.
A similar sartorial collision is looming at the Rugby World Cup. England have peered into their wardrobe and picked out a little black number to use as their away kit. Which clashes with the home strip of the host nation New Zealand, the All Blacks. Apparently they wear all black as well.
Jonah Lomu has a problem with this. He says it’s disrespectful to New Zealand players. It seems only Kiwis are allowed to wear black. You have been warned all you funeral-goers, Benedictine monks and emos – expect a spear tackle very soon.
Perhaps we can accuse Lomu of being a little dramatic. It’s not as if England are wearing shirts embroidered with the slogan “New Zealand are Rubbish Idiots” and I am as certain as I can be that they are not planning to wear black should they come up against the hosts.
If every national sporting side was so possessive about their chosen colours then we’d have to invent new colours and I can’t think of any off the top of my head. So let’s just agree that England can wear black when necessary and New Zealand whenever they like. They can also do their funny little dance before the game too.
It seems that is now illegal to remark on Rahul Dravid‘s qualities as a batsmen without also voicing an additional comment about his good character. Everyone agrees that ‘the Wall’ is indeed a very nice wall. Nasser Hussain went as far to say gushingly that Dravid was a “sensational guy”, perhaps revealing a latent man-crush.
I have once encountered Dravid at close quarters. He was on Oxford St, standing outside Aldo. I can vouch that he appeared very courteous and humble while window-shopping for mid-priced loafers.
I can add Dravid to Shane Warne and Abdul Razzaq to the list of international cricketers that I have seen on Oxford St. It’s a rich seam, particularly when you consider I’ve only come across one footballer in that period. Jan-Aage Fjortoft. In HMV. True story.
I worry about Dravid. He looks a bit spoddy. I can’t help thinking that people might take advantage of his better nature.
We need a wicketkeeper. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.
We need an opener. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.
We need a wicketkeeper, and then opener immediately afterwards. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on and then put your other pads and gloves on.
Rahul, make us a brew.
Rahul, go get us some fags and a Toffee Crisp.
And so on.
Bet he makes a nice cup of tea.
It is the debate that has split the country in two. The nation has not been this riven since a roundhead first offered a cavalier outside to taste his musket. It’s Blur vs Oasis. Moore vs Connery. Pro-life vs abortion.
The latest hot spud demands that each and everyone of us ask fundamental questions of our own worldview and decide exactly where we stand. Do you prefer brunettes or blondes? State or private education? North or south (Leicestershire)? Burly or willowy? Tall or really tall? Swing or seam?
I’d go for Bresnan. The selectors will probably plump for Broad. I don’t know really.
This is how Surrey promoted their last Twenty20 game against Essex. A picture of a lady with a snake. The snake is called Baz. It was a visual element of an initiative that attempted to attract punters to the match by throwing a “singles party”. This is not a party to celebrate a bunt down to long-on and a trot through for one, although obviously that is a good reason to have a party. This was to encourage single people to come to the Oval to potentially meet other single people and then snog or something. The evening was called “the Joy of Six”. It sounds a bit like The Joy of Sex, which was an illustrated sex manual published in 1972.
This misguided venture overlooks the fact cricket is not a sexy game and it is predominately followed by sexless men in slacks who smell of scotch eggs. Many of this ilk make up the membership of Surrey Cricket Club and they strenuously objected to the dancing girls who were booked as part of the shenanigans.
They may also have been responsible for the half-time entertainment on the night, which could have been engineered as the least sexy possible alternative to counter the singles night.
He waddled onto the pitch for a darts challenge. He threw three darts and scored 35. Which was one less than the lady who was plucked from the crowd whose first dart missed the board entirely.
At least Surrey won.
This is what I wrote on Wednesday night:
This sentence encapsulates everything you need to know about why I am sitting here on a sofa with a laptop gently microwaving my balls and not over in Chennai or Bangalore or wherever bringing insightful and enlightened commentary live from the action. I’d like to justify it as an exercise in fate-temptation but it’s not true.
I hope I wasn’t the only one floored by the England’s team selection against the West Indies. I’d assumed that the management had forgotten who Tredwell was. I thought that Tredwell himself had forgotten who he was. Together with the inclusion of Luke Wright and Chris Tremlett it felt like the management had already banked on England’s exit from the tournament and were just giving some of the other boys a go. It’s a concept I’m very familiar with from my school days. In fact it turned out to be a provident choice, as Tredwell and Wright performed like players unfettered by the previous one-day tribulations.
England are going to win the World Cup. Oh hang on, England are almost certainly not going to win the World Cup.
Whenever I see the England cricket team come together in a huddle I always picture Tredwell running around the perimeter seeking a way in, leaping up on someone’s shoulders to try and get himself involved in the discussion. He appears to have been the victim of a malicious practical joke, invited to a party only to be kept out on the pavement watching the festivities longingly through a window.
In his few international appearances so far Tredwell has maintained the craven demeanour of a man who knows he doesn’t belong, like a player who knows he’s only selected as the result of a series of administrative blunders. Perhaps he’s been found out after all.
There is no point dissecting England‘s defeat to Ireland today. The form book has been thrown out. The rule book has been thrown out. In fact England have piled up every piece of literature or article written about cricket and torched them. There is hardly any point in typing words because England will take them and drop them to the floor and burn those too. They like dropping.