Posts Tagged ‘hampshire’
I once ran into the Hampshire squad in the Chieveley Services on the M3 as I returned from a holiday in Cornwall in September 2005. Everything was as you would expect. John Crawley was showing Sean Ervine how to use the cashpoint. The rest of the squad gathered around the Burger King counter as Dimitri Mascarenhas held forth on the qualities of the Whopper meal. Only one player had detached himself from the group.
Simon Katich had joined up with the team after the conclusion of an eventually fruitless Ashes summer with the Australians. He was now passing listlessly through the aisles of M & S Simply Food. He tarried awhile by the chilled foods section. He appeared indecisive as to whether to choose between a honey and mustard pasta salad or a salmon and broccoli one. He looked grey and drawn, pinched in the face with cavernous shadows below the eyes. He was unable to pick and sloped sadly off.
It was strangely distressing to see a man reputed for his mental toughness reduced in this way. But having had their technical deficiencies so cruelly exposed and exploited over a summer would any athlete be able to pick a pasta salad in M & S Simply Food? I think not.
I’ve only seen one sportsman in this state since. It was Katich. On Monday.
The biggest news of deadline day broke as Carlo Ancelotti unveiled the latest addition to his Chelsea squad at Stamford Bridge today. Kevin Pietersen has been signed on a free transfer from Hampshire.
Pietersen explained that there had been little hesitation in his mind once the offer had been tabled. “I had no choice. Middlesex was out of the question because the Jubilee line can be murder in the mornings. And I decided against Surrey because the traffic can be quite awful on Vauxhall Bridge. Chelsea was the only option as the ground was within walking distance of my home”.
He added that “the facilities here for getting down the gym and looking at yourself in the mirror are second-to-none”.
Pietersen left Hampshire earlier this summer, citing the issues created by his yearly commute down to Southampton. The journey is notoriously hard-going with a complete lack of Little Chefs, and only one KFC coming at the Fleet Services.
Ancelotti answered those who queried the recruitment of a cricketer into his Premiership squad. “It’s not a problem. It’s not like he’d play anyway. And besides, I’ve seen him in the field for England. He’s probably better than Hilario”.