Category: Extras (page 1 of 39)

Laurence Elderbrook fights and defeats nerves

I have concluded that it is irresponsible to open the batting. I am a gifted, match-winning batsman and to expose myself to the vagaries of the new ball is to introduce an element of chance to proceedings when a fair fight would always see me prevail.

This is why, on my next outing as a cricketer errant, I inform the captain that I will be batting at five. By side-stepping unpredictable early movement, I give myself the best possible chance of delivering for a team in need.

Ironically, today’s pitch is a flat one and the team quickly advances to fifty without losing a wicket. They are building a good platform for me; I mustn’t begrudge them that. However, my appearance at the crease may be some way off, so I instruct my squire, Darron-with-an-O, to purchase me a small glass of gin such that I might while away my time until I am needed.

The score grows. The wickets do not fall. I savour a couple more gins lest this interminable wait have some fraying effect on my nerves. Anxiety has met its match in Laurence Elderbrook and I conquer it easily.

At the fall of the third wicket, an onlooker has the temerity to ask whether I am able to bat. Does he not know who I am? I take the only option available to me in such a situation. I let fly a huge bestial roar and strike him on the side of the head with my gin glass.

One of the great challenges of being a cricketer errant is that in many ways one is always an outsider. Over the years I have grown used to members of the opposition taking against me for spurious reasons, but my fleeting appearances as the star player on a team can on occasion breed resentment among even my own team-mates.

That is what happens here as one of the dismissed batsmen – doubtless ashamed and suffering some sort of inferiority complex – sides with my foe and attempts to strike me. With cat-like reflexes I feint to the left, deftly upending a table in the process so as to distract him. Grasping a glass from another table, I instruct Darron to warm-up the motorcar and inform the room that they have forfeited their right to my presence with their boorish behaviour. To drive home the message, I launch the glass at my foe and exit the room.

Later in the week, I return to the ground. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I urinate on the clubhouse door with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.


Which cricket mobile apps do you use (if any)?

ICC mobile app

As the Champions Trophy rolls towards us like the wooden wheel that we made each week in Craft, Design and Technology at school (having always lost the previous week’s wheel at some point in the interim) it seems a decent enough time to pay a visit to the subject of cricket apps on smartphones.

We’ve always maintained our distance from these things up until now, generally having found them to offer much the same information as the internet only in a much less accessible form. However, we’re giving the ICC one a go at the minute and at first glance it seems okay. It’s not too massive and the scorecards feature a little more information than we see on the BBC site.

But what do we know? Nothing, give or take. Do you use a non-rubbish cricket app? What do you get out of it? Leave a comment on the site and let’s see if a consensus magically emerges.


Laurence Elderbrook benefits from the gift of time

For once the normally laborious aspect of cricketer errantry was swift. My squire, Darron-with-an-O, secured a slot for me with a local club within minutes of our setting off in my motorcar. I had anticipated a long morning roaming from club to club and so this development was most welcome.

An added advantage was that early arrival gave me more time to properly prepare. I asked the captain to give me ten minutes’ notice of when the match was about to start. This would give me enough time to complete my exercise regimen, allowing me to be perfectly prepared for my innings. With everything in place, I now spent my spare time relaxing with a small glass of gin.

At the appointed hour, the captain gave me the nod and I moved into the car park where I embarked upon my standard routine.

As I was essaying my twenty to thirty mad gambols, a small crowd formed, doubtless keen to pick up some tips. They seemed a band of merry souls, but their mood unexpectedly turned when I made to embark on a series of naked frisks.

Several of their number appeared to take issue with my approach and when I attempted to explain that it was impossible to satisfactorily complete frisks without exposing one’s rarities, they refused to believe me.

A somewhat fractious debate then took place after which I took it upon myself to depart, for the good of all involved. After instructing Darron to deliver my immaculate cream flannels to the motorcar, I headed inside to claim some victuals before exiting the scene with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.


Normal service not really resumed

There’s been a daughter!

Her name’s Niamh. She’s basically the best thing of all.

Obviously she’s not our sole creation, so please resist the temptation to assign her some sort of royal cricket title.

Niamh and her mother are the main reasons why we’ve been a trifle pressed for time this week. Shame on you for assuming it was a conviction for knife crime.

If you’ve been frustrated with the lack of updates this week, don’t fear, because we’ve been steadily accumulating a number of ploys which will free us up a bit in coming weeks.

To give just one example, we’ve taken to drinking black coffee because it’s one quicker than white coffee and two quicker than white coffee with sugar.

Just think of the time savings! Mostly this week we’ve been using all that extra time to roll down our eyelids for a few seconds. Without any completely overwhelming visual stimulation getting into our brain during that time, we’ve been able to file away some of what had got in before.

This, combined with eating most of our meals straight out of an open fridge and maybe a couple of other things should hopefully provide us with the time needed to carry out detailed tactical, statistical and psychological analysis of cricket matches.

Failing that, we may still be able to find time to knock out the usual toss only slightly less often.


Laurence Elderbrook confronts a new challenge

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

Life as a cricketer errant continues to be wearying, but it is the path I have chosen and a path I will continue to walk. This week my squire, Darron-with-an-O, must have asked at more than a dozen clubs whether any team required a dashing opening batsman to make up the numbers before he found a taker.

I exit my motorcar and stride into the clubhouse. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. Darron points me in the direction of the captain and I shake him firmly by the hand. He seems pleased to have been gifted an eleventh player and thanks me for offering to help out. Sadly, the pleasantries end there, for he also informs me that my new team will be fielding first.

I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march back to the motorcar. When Darron appears, I instruct him to return inside to claim some of the victuals prepared for the lunch break.

As I make the most of this sustenance, Darron asks me whether I will be returning to the ground when it is our turn to bat. I give him a withering look and start the motorcar.

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook refines his method

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbook

Chastened by my uncharacteristically ineffectual performance the previous week, I resolve to prepare properly. Before I depart to find a team in need, I carry out my exercise regime to get the blood pumping. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks.

Once this is complete, I summon my squire, Darron-with-an-O. I do this by repeatedly striking the wall that separates our two abodes while calling out his name. Within moments, he is at my door. I hand him my bat and we immediately depart in my motorcar.

After a long morning, we eventually track down a team that is a player short. I inform the captain that I will open the batting. Primed by my mad gambols and naked frisks, I am ready for action and do not want to let my body cool.

The opening bowler is a lanky sort. I assess his gait and examine how he holds the ball. Clearly he will bowl full and swing the ball away. I take guard and pick the gap I will penetrate.

As the bowler runs in, I am awash with confidence, but his delivery stride rather takes me aback. He is left-handed and I had prepared as if he were right-handed. As his arm comes over, I try and work out how the way he holds the ball with one hand will impact on how he bowls with the other. Just as I correctly conclude that he will bowl straight medium-pace, the ball strikes the stumps.

I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home, snatching some victuals which have been prepared for the tea break as I walk out.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook embarks upon a career as a ‘cricketer errant’

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

It strikes me that if I am to become a cricketer errant, I will need a squire. I walk next door and ask to speak to Darron-with-an-O. When Darron appears, I inform him that he is my squire. We immediately depart in my motorcar.

We swiftly settle on a routine. I steer the motorcar and Darron directs me. Whenever we arrive at a cricket club, he exits the motorcar and heads inside to ask whether they are short of a player for the day’s fixture.

We try five different clubs before I am needed. Darron retrieves me from the motorcar and I introduce myself to the captain. I inform him that my name is Laurence Elderbrook and that I will be batting at three. He mutters something about gift horses and curses a man called Alan for dropping out at the last minute. You will not miss Alan, I tell him. You will not miss Alan.

My team is batting first and I do not have long to wait before I am needed. The cricket is of a relatively high standard and the bowler is both fast and accurate. His second ball splays the opener’s stumps. He cannot expect to experience such success with his third ball. It is time.

As the ground falls silent in anticipation, I emerge onto the field of play. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. I take guard.

As the bowler approaches, I ponder the morality of my situation. As a freelance batsman, is it right for me to play to the full extent of my abilities? Would such an approach embarrass my team-mates, highlighting their inadequacies, or is it my duty to deliver all that I can to those who are in need of my services?

Just as I conclude that it would quite simply be a crime to deny the world an opportunity to see what is possible in this great game, I realise that the bowler has released the ball. My lightning quick reflexes immediately kick in, but the area where a player of my standard transcends others is by picking up length early, straight from the hand. My attempted leg glance is therefore a fraction out and as the bat face closes, it evades the ball which sadly goes on to hit my stumps.

I am nothing if not reserved, so I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Roll up, roll up for our last ever Twitter round-up on Cricinfo

If there’s one thing we can say for our Twitter round-up column on Cricinfo, it’s that it clung on.

But no more. This week’s edition is the last.

Of all the cricket writing we’ve done, the Twitter round-up was the strangest. We can’t begin to explain the psychological impact of the trawling and sifting that was required to produce it. You’d also be surprised at just how long it took.

Then there was the readership. Normally when we do something that’s even relatively long-running, it builds a group of followers – people who check in each week. That never really seemed to happen. The majority of the few comments the column attracted were typically angry or quite obviously missing the point.

We honestly expected it to be binned ages ago, but it survived the death of Page 2 (Cricinfo’s satire section) and while we thought its days were numbered when it was made a fortnightly column, it turns out that happened all the way back in March 2013.

We honestly didn’t even know we’d been writing it that long.

The first issue actually appeared in April 2012 and it’s interesting to read it and contrast it with the latest.

We prefer the early format with subheadings, but it still suffers from the same problem we’ve always had in that the subject matter is fundamentally disjointed. In recent times, we’ve really tried to link the tweets together so that there’s some sort of thread running through them, but it’s tough-to-impossible. You’re totally at the mercy of what other people have said (and most of what’s said is either a retweet of an inspirational slogan, some none-too-subtle marketing, an unfunny in-joke with a friend, or a link to a photo on Instagram).

So unlike the much-loved Wisden Cricketer newsletter – which was reborn as Cricket Badger after it was cancelled due to something approaching popular demand – we’re not going to be reviving the Twitter round-up.

We will however pass on what we’ve learned, which is that Jimmy Neesham is pretty much the only cricketer worth following. Tino Best, Umar Akmal and Charles Dagnall have their very different moments. Also David Gower, when he can be bothered.


Laurence Elderbrook finds a new way to share his gift

Several seasons have passed and I fear that if I leave it much longer, my skills might begin to wane. I could spend another summer at my gentlemen’s club, laying wagers and sharing brandies with other Renaissance men, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Now, while I am in the prime of life, I owe it to the world to exhibit my skill at the noble sport of cricket.

But how? And where? Relationships soured at my old club, where I transcended my team-mates to such an extent that jealousy became inevitable. When the framed portrait of myself I had added to the wall of the bar was daubed with an unpleasant slogan, I took the sad decision to leave.

It strikes me that gratitude and appreciation fade with familiarity and this thought indirectly gives rise to an inspired notion. I will become a freelance batsman – a cricketer errant. I will wander the land and bat at three for any pitiful group in need of a calm, undemonstrative, yet domineering top order player with an extraordinary eye.

I look down at my handsome physique. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. But clothes hide a multitude of sins and I am aware that I am not quite in optimum condition. This will not do.

I immediately launch into my tried-and-tested regime. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Once complete, I am ready for action.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Mop-up of the day – our 2017 IPL expertise laid bare

Cricinfo is running an IPL quiz called Wait, which team does he play for?

We can’t work out whether this is a joke about the inherently transient nature of many Twenty20 competitions or an acknowledgement that ever-changing squads are all part of the fun.

We scored two out of ten, a score that wasn’t helped by the crazy scrolling that meant we didn’t actually answer two of the questions. Even if we had, it’s clear that we’re not an authority when it comes to this year’s competition.

The only thing we know is that after the teams have played roughly two games each, Chris Lynn is top scorer.

And now he’s injured.

Our IPL tip

Gujarat Lions are definitely worth watching. Despite the presence of wily old Praveen Kumar, they’ve so far taken one wicket in two matches.

Later this week

With Championship matches now typically taking place from Friday to Monday, midweek is a bit quiet, county-cricket-wise. We’re therefore permitting Laurence Elderbrook a brief reappearance on this site, possibly starting tomorrow.


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