Gareth Batty – the winter bike

Posted by
2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

There seems to be a tendency in some quarters to perceive England’s Test tours of Bangladesh and India as being one long competitive outing.

They are not. They are separate. For all the talk of ‘taking a look’ at players ahead of England’s arrival in India, there is a Test to be lost this week and a series to be drawn.

England won the first Test by 22 runs. That isn’t much of a margin to be toying around with – particularly being as the home side has now played more Test cricket inside the last week than it did in the whole of the previous 12 months. They may improve.

The England management are hopefully aware of this, recognising that this match is not an early salvo, but a decider. We will therefore take it on trust that any changes to the side have been made to improve it, or at the very least to keep it to a similar standard without wearing bowlers out.

Stuart Broad seems likely to get a rest that seems more a preventative measure than a necessary break. If his floppy hair doesn’t slick with sweat and impede his performance, Steven Finn should be an appropriate replacement.

Zafar Ansari is also tipped to be on the receiving end of ‘the nod’. There’s no reason to believe he won’t bowl as well as Gareth Batty did in the first Test and he’s a better batsmen, so again this seems acceptable enough. His quickish left-arm spin could be very important in India too.

Batty seems to be perceived as a sacrificial old bike that no-one’s much interested in looking after. They’ll put some winter miles on him, set him aside to rust, maybe wheel him out again when the weather’s really bad and basically just do whatever the hell they feel like until it’s time to take him to the tip. The Yorkshireman, for his part, is delighted to be getting a bit of fresh air and so seems perfectly happy with this arrangement.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


      1. We’re the world champions of hubris too. No-one can come close, we’ll never be beaten, shove it up your arse etc etc.

  1. I was pondering these rumoured team changes just a couple of hours ago in an older thread, and lo’ and behold – I get an article on it. Are you doing requests now?

  2. It’s hard to say whether the changes improve or impair the side.

    Can’t say I’ve ever properly watched Ansari bowl but I do know he has an awkward looking action with that funny bent back he has at the point of release. Could be awkward for the batsmen (I hope). At the risk of repeating myself we all know what Batty is capable of, let’s get a decent look at Ansari and give him some overs so Cook might have a clue on how to use him if he does play in India.

  3. Batty looks less than delighted in your photo, KC. Looks like someone took the jam out of his doughnut, poor ol’ boy.

  4. Actually, after reading The Cricket Paper interview on the 21st, Batty comes across well, a bit like the enthusiastic lad in The Fast Show who was always saying brilliant: “The hotel,” he says, “is magnificent and the weather is warm, which is better than being cold.” Apparently, “winning is culture,” whatever that means, but the sense of enjoyment about being given a chance at this stage in his career really comes through and Cook calls him ‘Gaz’. Good on ‘im.

  5. I thought one of the speculated changes was Hameed for Ballance, but you are silent on that possibility, KC.

    Not a request or anything like that, but unusual for the Lancashire player in the equation to be met by KC silence.

    I hope you’re not losing your touch.

    1. Sam – FYI, the post “Review: ‘Unguarded’ by Jonathan Trott” appears three times (1, 2, 3) on your blog ‘feed’. I’m not sure if this is an accident or a deliberate commentary on the relentless (and occasionally monotonous) batting style of Mr Trott?

  6. Gents/ladies/ladygents I need your help. I’m doing National Novel Writing Month, writing yer standard issue subversion of bog-standard fantasy, and am trying to sneak cricketers’ names into my plot. So far I’ve got:

    – A street called Mowing Alley;
    – An inlet used by smugglers, called Robbers’ Quay;
    – A legendary weapon called the Garible Lance.

    Further suggestions much appreciated.

    1. A character called Gary who likes to drink but provides a valuable taxi service to family members, so you can narrate thusly ‘when Gary Sobers up… he’ll be able to drive me to the corn exchange’ or similar.

      Someone called Ian who likes to buy lots of joints of meat but forgets to ever cook/eat them. (Note on fridge door: “Ian, Both hams you bought last week have gone off. I’m throwing them out. The Wife.”)

      1. Peter’s bowler hat?
        University vice-dean Headley?
        Male offspring of Kevin Peters?
        I would have the salmon, but I’d prefer something more filling today, please – I’l have the beef.
        Brian Close – too easy?

    2. I believe down Mowing Alley there’s a market stall, Ms Barr’s Old Hats. And if hats don’t appeal, there’s always a good sash in Tendle’s car(t)

      1. Some gentile sledging perhaps befitting of a more innocent age – ‘You, Sir, are a fat bastard’.

      2. I did of course mean ‘genteel’, but as fate would have it, ‘gentile’ also works in this instance.

      3. It won’t have been Kamrul Islam Rabbi doing the gentile sledging, then.

        I do like Ms Barr’s Old Hats. A classic, Pat.

        As it hap[pens, my old mother, of Eastern European origin, was in a similar trade; she used to use her main merchandise for storage of all manner of small items.

        You just wouldn’t believe what you might find…

        …in ze mum’s old hats.

  7. There’s got to be mileage in Holding and Willey. Oh, hang on, I seem to recall. . .

    A link between Cook, Mustard and Onions?

  8. A wood with many acorn-producing trees, known as The Benst Oaks.

    A pass between one mountain town and another, traversable only on foot or by yak, known as the Dzo Route.

    And I seem to recall that around Robbers Quay, there are inlets that were used as piratical torture chambers, known as the I’m Cruel Caves.

    If anything else comes to mind…

    …I’ll turn to the bottle for solace.

    I’ll think some more but promise nothing.

    1. You’ve excelled yourself, Ged. Almost an Arthur Ransome / Rider Haggard theme going on there.

    2. The Benst Oaks are of course near the villages of Krisu and Benph, which have similar orchards of their own.

      One particular tree in those woods may be after a favoured domestic bovine, Colin.

      1. Indeed, all of those copses were planted in the French style; together they are known as The Marque Wood.

  9. Fantasy is not really my genre, but presumably your story will need some central plot device artifacts from Midland Earth, such as…

    …the Iron Bell of Justice…


    …the Jute Ball of Truth.

  10. Today a character in my novel walked down Mowing Alley and onto Heath Street.

    Heath Street. Can’t believe we didn’t get that one, collectively. So obvious now. Mental. Heath Street.

Comments are closed.