“I’ve had [physio] Pat Farhart weave some of his magic and the groin has responded really well.”
We move that from now on Pat Farhart should be crow-barred into any conversation about Australia – whether it’s justified or not.
As far as Australian physiotherapists who take advantage of young spin bowlers go, Pat Farhart is our favourite.3 Appeals
The eagerly awaited official switching-on of our new floodlights.
Not enough rain to get rained off (unfortunately, given the eventual result) but enough to turn the match into a mutant spawn ThirtyFive25.
I arrived at half time (sorry, came over all 5Live there) and marvelled at the way that the sun setting behind the Fox Road stand made Trent Bridge look like Centurion Park. Our new floodlights are damned lovely and a darned sight sexier than those at both the nearby Forest and County grounds.
I sat in the New Stand (still unnamed due to the lack of a willing sponsor) to get the best view of the floodlights, which in retrospect was a mistake as my chips got wet during the downpour in the second innings.
The rain looked pretty spectacular when backlit by the lovely new floodlights. These are going to be six columns of perpetual electric joy and wonder.
Harmison S. signed a lot of autographs for the hoards of munchkins.
Harmison B. seemed to be on ball retrieving duty on the cover boundary and was conspicuously indifferent to no-one wanting his autograph.11 Appeals
No-one ever slinks out the back door, do they? They give you four Tests’ notice so that they can be lauded to the high heavens for a month.
Some players don’t even get four Tests in their careers, but now there are retirement articles about players who’ve still got that many to play. A lot can happen in eight innings.
We’ll probably do something on old Sourav before he retires, but in the meantime, here’s a thought. Did all of Sourav Ganguly’s best innings take place when he had that weaselly spiv moustache?4 Appeals
“I think we will go after him.”
Run, Jason. Run!
There’s nothing left for you in India. Grab your passport and enough rupees to get you to the airport and just flee. You’re a marked man.
Virender Sehwag doesn’t do milking the spinners. If he wants spin-milk, he’s going right up to the cow of off-spin with a huge great sword and he’s getting it all out in one go. Then he’s going to roll around in the spin-milk, giggling.
We were reading an extract from Shane Warne’s Top 100 Cricketers today. In his entry about Virender Sehwag (number 35), he describes what Sehwag does when he’s struggling.
Sehwag was batting with Jeremy Snape for Leicestershire and Abdul Razzaq, who was playing for Middlesex, started to reverse swing the ball, creating all sorts of problems.
“I have a plan,” said Sehwag and promptly hit the ball out of the ground so that it had to be replaced.
That’s what he does when he’s struggling. He deliberately loses the ball by hitting a monstrous six. So what does ‘getting after the bowler’ entail?4 Appeals
You can tell he’s the kind of person that does that just by looking at his face.
It’s okay, we’ve looked at his face to bring you that information, so you don’t need to subject yourself to the same torment.
He was saying something about Harbhajan Singh at the time. It’s not entirely clear what.
“In a lot of ways, to me off-field, if that’s affecting him that’s a good thing for Hayden because I don’t feel like I’m harbouring any massive resentment.”
He doesn’t feel like he’s harbouring any massive resentment. If he’s not totally certain, we can let him know about some of the symptoms of harbouring a massive resentment.
One of the main symptoms is that you devote entire pages on your website to things that you never bothered writing about when a former England captain did them, because you thought it was boring when he did it, yet you find yourself BURNING UP WITH THE HATRED when this other person does the exact same thing.3 Appeals
“So I curl up behind him like this and then you give him a shove.”
India’s clown tactics were all well and good in theory, but when it came to carrying them out with an actual batsman present, everyone got confused and Sourav Ganguly ended up with a black eye.4 Appeals
There’s a fine tradition of Indian batsmen being introduced to opposing spinners, shaking their hand before punching said spinner squarely in the face without warning. And then doing it again. And again. This usually happens before the spinner even appears in a Test.
Sachin Tendulkar instantly decided that Shane Warne was going to go and in a warm-up match the leg-spinner went for 111 runs in just 16 overs. Before that, Navjot Sidhu systematically dismantled John Emburey’s confidence with a barrage of sixes.
Jason Krejza hasn’t really got a reputation worth savaging, but the Indian Board President’s XI have set about his bowling with contempt anyway. Krejza took 0-123 off 20 overs in the first innings of the tour match and in the second Yuvraj Singh set about him to give him figures of 0-76 off 11 overs.
Whether we were intending on adopting Krejza or not is looking moot at present.3 Appeals
It is the final match of the season. We have to win and I have been entrusted with the pivotal number 11 slot. As the last batsman, all will hinge on my performance.
Our opponents bat first and I am permitted to field from the dressing room, where I can gather my thoughts and get myself prepared for the task in hand. I take a G&T to stimulate my mind and sharpen my reflexes.
Our reply gets off to a good start, but a flurry of late wickets leaves us needing five to win off the final ball with eight wickets down. In this most important of matches, Laurence Elderbrook is not going to grace his stage.
However, the final delivery is a massive front-foot no-ball. The batsmen attempt to take a single, but the non-striker is run-out before he can make his ground. I hear the crowd silently chant my name.
I take a moment to compose myself in the mirror. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. It is time.
Moments like this are decided in the mind. Fortunately, my mental strength is unsurpassed. As the bowler runs in, I already know that I, Laurence Elderbrook, will win this match. It is my stage. It is my moment. Four to win.
Like all great batsmen, I have always picked up length early. On this occasion, I am perhaps a little too early and am well into my follow-through before the bowler has released the ball. The delivery is fast and straight and it takes a bail off.
Foolishly the fielders celebrate. Maybe they know that I had a free-hit due to the front-foot no-ball, maybe they don’t. Whichever it is, they still think they have done enough.
But I know better.
As I played a shot, the ball is not dead. I watch it bounce over the rope and the umpire signals four byes. We have won the match.
I have won the match.
It is at this point that I take the only option available to me. I discard my bat, throw back my head and let fly a huge, bestial roar. It is a roar of superiority. It is a roar of victory. It is the roar of Laurence Elderbrook.
Later that night, as we celebrate, I suggest to the captain that I might bat at three next season, so that the team may make better use of my abilities. He concurs.
He admires my prowess. He admires me.11 Appeals
Patrick Kidd’s already started his fiendishly exhaustive build-up to next year’s Ashes series at The Times’ Line and Length blog. He asked us to supply a top ten of influential Ashes characters, so we did.
Our top ten is a personal one really. We didn’t want to produce a boring composite of everyone else’s top tens, so it’s mostly recent players and the reasons are quite disparate.
Kidd deliberately put our top ten up on the same day as his Matthew Hayden: Ashes hero post, the malicious hound.10 Appeals
When I arrived at Oval tube station, I had a sudden and horrible realisation that I had forgotten to buy my lunch at the local shop. Eating a BLT and crisps is the main reason for going to the cricket really, cos my mum would probably make some acerbic comment if I ate that at home.
So I was already feeling a tad grumpy when the woman by the turnstile got all uppity because I was trying to swipe my membership card the wrong way round. However, my mood improved when the guy guarding the pavilion entrance smiled at me, even though I thought his uniform was hideous.
After I settled down in my seat, I heard my name being called and looked round to see the whole of my best friend’s family, sans my best friend (apparently she was out “having coffee” with someone, but I’m not convinced) at the end of the row. A painful hour or two of conversation with her mum followed, where we talked about the weather, her son’s exam results and how difficult it is to take the rubbish out when you have a bad back, amongst other things.
I was beginning to dose off through boredom and hunger when there was a sudden standing ovation. I hadn’t missed anything. It was just Mark Ramprakash walking out to bat. Thankfully, my friend’s family invited me to have tea with them in the restaurant, so I didn’t have an embarrassing sugar-low faint.
There were lovely finger sandwiches and cakes that resembled Mr Blobby and scones and jam. The jam called itself Strawberry Extra Jam and we pondered how jam could make itself extra for at least five minutes. The actual tea, however, was served out of ghastly tin thermoses with dirty stickers scrawled with the word ‘TEA’ in capitals. We thought that the tea was sufficiently expensive that Mr Oval-Restaurant could invest in a proper china teapot.
Most of the other people in the restaurant were only there so that they could watch the Man Utd v Newcastle game on TV, although two of the waitresses were watching the Olympic gymnastics on the other screen.
I went home, made some rice pudding and sat on the sofa in my pyjamas watching two episodes of Lewis back to back.13 Appeals