Posts Tagged ‘alastair cook’
The England one-day team is like an old friend. You don’t see them for a while but when you do you pick up the same old routine like no time has past at all. The routine in this case involves continual disappointment. Perhaps the friend analogy isn’t appropriate. Better a distant cousin, a cousin that you find quite irritating.
Becoming annoyed while watching England fail is like becoming annoyed about getting wet when it rains. It’s inevitable, so the annoyance is pointless.
You might read this and think it’s even more pointless committing this feeling to written words. You may be right. But it’s always been an exercise in tempting fate, trying to fox fate with my wily reverse psychology. Hoping that I’d look back across these posts after the World Cup and think it was hilarious that I got it so wrong, that my pessimism was so unfounded after we’d charged to victory.
Well I’ve looked back at my posts and it’s depressing. For many reasons. Always the bleak realism before the World Cup, the affirmation of that defeatism, and then the hope that the team can start rebuilding over the next four years for the next event. But the dream that a team can restructure and re-invent itself over that period doesn’t take into account that some of that team will suffer catastrophic loss of form or injure themselves or retire.
Or get sacked for being a bit of a dick.
Ricky Ponting may bridle at the excesses of the English sledging, but what is a player supposed to do if a clumsy, angry-looking man wearing a toupee comes running towards them? Perhaps Ponting would accept a special dispensation to allow players to sledge opponents with tonsorial supplements? If there is any doubt about whether the victim is follicly enhanced then simply refer it to the third umpire who will examine the ‘hot spot’ footage to make a judgement. Like so:
P.S Rain – you are not my friend any more.
If Ricky Ponting and Andrew Strauss were boxers and the first day of the current test was a fight, then the Australian captain‘s flouncing complaints about the English sledging would be equivalent to moaning that “things had got a bit physical” in the ring, or “someone might get hurt”. Sledging is now an integral part of the game. The Australians invented it, the laws were codified by the Marquess of Stevewaugh in the late 1990s. There are degree courses offered in it. They teach it in schools to try to get the kids off the streets where the more brutal and unsupervised forms of sledging can lead to serious mental disintegration. The children are taught that the only boundaries that exist in sledging concerns insults regarding an opponent’s mother, wife or sister. Anything other than that is allowed, or ‘fair dinkum’ to use the correct jargon.
Doug Bollinger is the current poster boy of the Australian sledging movement. His whole whitewashed face is one big sledge against humanity. It is the only reason he has been selected. It definitely isn’t for his bowling.
Whichever way you write it, it still doesn’t compute. Every time I look at it it’s as if my eyes absorb the information but refuse to pass it onto my brain. “Sorry guv, it’s a waste of time. She just won’t buy it”.
As a scoreline it has taken everything you thought you knew about cricket and chewed it up. It’s laughed in your face at all those backyard games in which you strived to attain a sense of realism in proceedings. There is only surrealism now.
I first discovered that something peculiar was afoot midway through the world’s most ill-timed romantic getaway this weekend. Decorum states that sport is not mentioned for the duration of the break, let alone viewed. So it was that I was already asleep by the time England embarked on their marathon on Sunday morning. But my fiancee was kept awake my somnolent murmurings as I dreamt of the test match. I woke to her restless complaints of her inability to drop off. What better remedy to insomnia than the late-night stylings of Michael Holding, whose sonorous tones act like a Jamaican lullaby?
The first odd thing which struck me once I’d turned the television on was that there appeared to have been a cathode ray malfunction which rendered the players a disquieting shade of green. The corners of the screen had also fogged up making the action look like a dream sequence from an Australian soap. Which I thought it was when I saw the score.
It’s lunchtime. I’ve just woken up. Loose Women is on. I feel disoriented. I’ve got jetlag and I haven’t travelled any further than the kitchen. I think I might be developing a bladder infection. I spent most of the early hours needing the toilet but never went because I was worried that I’d piss away all my energy and drop off. I’m too old for this shit. The problem with maintaining an constant nocturnal vigil is that when the cricket turns into a nightmare there’s no waking up. You might consider that I’m being melodramatic, but take a look at the photo below. See the puce distorted features of my nemesis Peter Siddle. I had to pinch myself during his hat-trick this morning. Not to check that I was still awake. But because it was a preferable sensation than watching his mangled ejaculatory gargoyle face.
I need to sleep now.
No stone has been left unturned by Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss in readying their team for Australia. Once they realised that turning stones had absolutely no effect on anything they set about looking at their actual players.
Five of the English top six bear the mental scars of a grotesque routing last time the squad went on an Ashes tour. The sixth, Jonathon Trott, seems capable of creating his own internal frailties. But the necessary preparations have been made by the management to limit the potential strife caused by these unhappy memories.
Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood have been sat in front a carefully-edited highlights package of the last series in Australia, featuring only the first innings at Adelaide. The hole in Alastair Cook‘s technique outside off-stump has been exposed by Australian bowlers previously. To counter this, Cook has spent a month with the top French cricketers in an academy just outside of Paris straightening out his batting. Ian Bell was subject to a vicious brand of intellectual torture during last series when Shane Warne remarked on his similarity to the Shermanator from the seminal American Pie films. To avoid a repeat of these comparisons, Bell appears to have dyed his hair a lovely deep chestnutty colour. Now he looks like a young Ken Barlow. And no-one can sledge that.
The 2005 victory was built on the concept that the bowlers would find success ‘hunting in packs’. The coaching staff have deemed that it would prove providential to foster the same mentality this time round. For this reason our preferred quartet have been taken from the bosom of the squad and transported to Queensland early to fend for themselves in the bush. They will survive only by foraging on berries and preying on baby koala.
Apparently Kevin Pietersen spends most of his time on tour holed up in his room. Mainly he’s on the phone home to his wife Jessica, but I’m guessing that perhaps once a day he jams his face up against a mirror wondering if his goatee will ever grow upwards to unite with his sideburns and create one giant superbeard.
I’m assuming the major topic of conversation between the couple at the moment is a) the Bangladeshi team selection for the first test b) Pietersen’s turgid form c) the baby. In that order.
If ever a squad was chosen in order to provide a full body massage to an opposing individual’s ego then the Bangladeshi fourteen is it – bringing back two slow left-arm cast-offs into the fold to join Shakib Al Hasan as a three-pronged ‘let’s get Kevin Pietersen out’ attack.
There are many ways England can counter this. You could drop Pietersen in a do-or-die how do like them apples cutting off your own nose to spite your face kind of a way. Or Pietersen could change up into permanent switch-hitting mode and just play them as a left-hander. Which would be the ballsiest thing I’ve ever seen on a cricket field.
Or you could fly selector Ashley Giles over to bowl at Pietersen in the nets and give him a bit of practice. Apparently this has already been mooted by the management, but it was decided that the Alastair Cook bowling left-handed would provide the same sort of test.