A Sobering Tale of Pasta Salads
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.