Nerves are good. Nerves are a sign that a batsman cares, and a batsman with such passion is more likely to be sharp and effective when his moment arrives.
I, Laurence Elderbrook, am not by nature a nervous man, but the tempestuous nature of cricketer errantry has encouraged an exaggerated sensitivity which can only benefit my cricket. I welcome this development for it means I will be that much more effective when I take the field.
The nerves are, however, significant and one cannot allow them to take control. I have always found gin an excellent countermeasure and so dose myself carefully to maintain an optimal balance between performance-enhancing tension and relaxation. I take small glasses regularly throughout the morning, refilling only when necessary.
When I summon Darron-with-an-O, I inform him that there is to be a change in protocol for today’s match – he will be needed for directions only. In my sharpened state, there will be no need for him to enquire whether or not a club requires my presence. I will simply inform them of my participation, for surely no man on Earth would wish to deny the expression of genius.
I have already selected a team to grace. They are a rural side whose ground lies in the most exquisitely bucolic setting and upon arrival I see that the match is already underway. There is no time to waste. I park my car firmly against the pavilion and exit the vehicle to undertake my trusted exercise regimen. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Darron looks on in wide-eyed awe, anticipating the wonders to come.
The pavilion door is a trifle stiff, so I incline my weight towards it. My entrance is appropriately dramatic and the excitement among the onlookers within is palpable.
Whether they recognise me or just instantly comprehend that great feats are about to take place, enthusiasm gets the better of some of their number and they approach me in a state of some feverishness.
Celebrity can at times leave one feeling vulnerable and the exposure of one’s rarities serves only to magnify this sensation. This is perhaps what compels me to unfurl a series of cross-batted strokes in their direction, after which I hare towards a table of victuals to gain energy for what is to come.
Balance is the key to sports nutrition, so I endeavour to consume sandwiches of ham, egg and cheese, rather than placing too much emphasis on any one particular filling. I intersperse my feeding with further swishes of my cricket bat, demonstrating my full range of strokes to my advancing fans.
Perhaps it is the overwhelming nature of the transcendent state in which I find myself, but when I then attempt to round the table and make my way towards the pitch, I gently clip its corner with my hip. As I sprawl to the floor, I ask myself whether it is in fact possible to be functioning on such a level that one can no longer operate on this plane of existence.
I swiftly pick myself up and continue my journey towards my stage. The sward lies before me, but as I exit the building, the doorway strikes my cricket bat. I react swiftly but cannot protect my opposite shoulder from a collision with the opposite side of the door.
As I again journey towards the ground, it is clear what I must do. I must purge my body so as to return it to the terrestrial realm.
On hands and knees, I insert two digits and liberate the gin and sandwiches from my corporeal form. Shortly after this moment, my earthbound consciousness is replaced by something beyond comprehension; something which alas denies me any memory of the innings I played.
When I inform the officer of this later in the day, he is understandably dubious. My cricketing feats are now, quite literally, beyond comprehension. As such, I resolve that this shall be my final performance of the season.