Three England captains

(With apologies to Marty Feldman and John Law)

ANDREW STRAUSS: (in whites) I look down on him (looks up at Cook) because he captains in a worthless form of cricket.

ALASTAIR COOK: (in ODI kit) I look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because I want his job, but down on him (looks up at Broad) because he plays hit-and-giggle cricket.

STUART BROAD: (in T20 kit, with dancing girls on either arm) I know my place. I look up to them both. But I don’t look up to him (looks down at Cook) as much as I look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because he has innate breeding (and two Ashes wins).

STRAUSS: I have got innate breeding (and two Ashes wins), but I have not got any money or glamour. So sometimes I look up to him (looks up at Cook).

COOK: I still look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because although I have money, I am vulgar. But I am not as vulgar as him (looks up at Broad – and dancing girls) so I still look down on him.

BROAD: I know my place. I look up to them both. But while I am rich, I am a fast bowler – industrious, athletic and underappreciated. Had I the inclination, I could look down on them both. But I don’t, because I want their jobs.

COOK: We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?

STRAUSS: I get a feeling of superiority over them.

COOK: I get a feeling of inferiority from him (Strauss) but a feeling of superiority over him (Broad).

BROAD: I get a sackful of money.

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The amazing disappearing Tremlett

Friday night saw the return to first team cricket of Chris Tremlett, England’s 6’7″ monster (although one wonders whether he’s still 6’7″ after all of the back surgery). He took 3/19 and looked pretty solid after nearly six months out. But the winner of the award for ‘Cricketer Most Likely to Star in a Hammer Horror Film’ faces a long road back to the England fold. He’s only played three other second eleven T20s and is clearly being eased back into action, presumably for fear that his spine would completely disintegrate if he bowled more than four overs at a time. Now, neither of us have ever had back surgery and hopefully we’ll never need to (touching wood furiously) but we imagine it’s not the sort of thing that particularly lends itself to top class sport. Take Bunny Onions, England’s other bowler with a broom handle holding his back together. After his injury in 2010, it took him over a year to play any cricket, and two years to work his way back into the England setup.
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Rests for Tests

So Jimmy Anderson is throwing small quantities of toys out of his pram at the thought of putting his feet up for a week. So what, I hear you ask? Well quite. Most of us would be delighted to be given an enforced break by our boss in order to do nothing, but not Burnley’s favourite son. Interestingly there was no such wailing from Stuart Broad, who after having played 69 international since 2010, is presumably a little tired and stiff (Young Stewie has also probably already sneaked a glance at England’s schedule over the next year). Broad’s take, quite sensibly, was that in the circumstances of the shortened game, it was good to give the spearheads a rest and give some of the other varieties of pointed sticks a go instead. Anderson though, had been left out of the squad and told to get as far away from cricket as humanly possible, so the decision was seemingly less about giving the colts a run out and instead protecting Anderson from overwork.
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Great cricket drinking episodes, No. 1 – Headingley 1981

When searching around for a new topic for posts for this humble blog, we remembered the long association of cricket and alcohol. Being more sedentary than many sports, cricket has allowed many of its top players over the years to indulge heavily in the ‘sauce’, some more successfully than others. Perhaps only darts amongst the televised sporting panoply has a greater reputation for boozing, although the England rugby team have made a brave recent attempt to sneak onto the radar (dwarf tossing and all). So, in that spirit (no pun intended), we thought we’d look at some of the great moments in cricketing imbibing.
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The Over: England v West Indies – Third Test, Day 1

There we were, all set to be fascinated by the key issues at play when we woke up this morning. Would Finn and Onions play? Would Jimmy Anderson sit around with his moody face on? Would Bairstow get bounced out again in the absence of Roach? Would Sunil Narine be any good, or would he be another Ajantha Mendis? (Somerset fans know what we’re getting at here…) So with all that to look forward to, here follows a full and in-depth report of the first day’s play:

It rained.

A hell of a lot. When it’s bad enough that one of your humble scribes, who works in a cellar, could guess when the rain really hit its stride, you know has to be pretty bad.

Back tomorrow. Hopefully with some cricket to talk about, but failing that we’ll give the tried and tested anti-rain dance a go. And keep our fingers crossed.

English cricketing eccentrics, No. 2 – Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie

‘And another forward defensive from Ingleby-Mackenzie there…’

As a relatively young cricket fan, I hadn’t heard of Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie until I saw an article saying a stand is going to be named after him at the Rose Bowl before the upcoming one-dayer there. Intrigued, I did a bit of delving and discovered a man who had an extremely modest first class record but was a unique captain, for better or worse, leading Hampshire to their first Championship in 1961. As with ‘Bomber’ Wells, the subject of my first study, so many of the stories swirling around him are part truth, part fiction, but all of them are worth reading about. For instance, he was allegedly the last man to see Lord Lucan alive. It doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not, the fact that it is entirely plausible is sufficient with such colourful characters for the tale to stick.
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