At least Josh de Caires is keeping things unpredictable – unlike Essex

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You could definitely have AI report on Essex victories. Or maybe you couldn’t. Maybe the reports would get too samey.

How would this latest one go for the win over Middlesex?

ChatGPT reckons: “Essex’s opening pair, like a well-rehearsed comedy duo, set the tone for the day. Nick Browne, steady as the Colchester town clock, joined forces with the flamboyant Sir Alastair Cook.”

So maybe not samey. Maybe just wrong.

“Cook caressed the ball to the boundary ropes with the grace of a seasoned ballet dancer, while Browne’s defence was as unyielding as a medieval fortress.”

It’s a nice read, but maybe we should stick to the bare facts: a couple of fifties for Cook, 6-34 for Jamie Porter and then 5-43 for Simon Harmer. It feels like the scorecard is all you ever really need for the Essex contributions to a game.

Middlesex’s contribution was less straightforward. Josh de Caires is best-known for being an undercover Atherton (not an especially effective disguise then), but apparently he’s secretly a bowler too. He batted at nine in this match and took 8-106 in Essex’s first innings with what we had hitherto assumed was only part-time finger spin. Given that he at one point bowled a 26-over spell, Middlesex apparently – and seemingly correctly – disagree with this categorisation.

Might we one day look back on this game as a defining early moment in what would become a significant international career? Make a note of the when and where, everyone. As ChatGPT so vividly documents: “The match in question was a four-day First-Class fixture between Team A and Team B, part of the annual inter-county championship.”

The result means that Essex are now 18 points behind Team C (Surrey) in this year’s Inter-County Championship with two games to go.


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  1. It occurs to me that Chat GPT may come in handy when explaining cricket to an oblivious and indifferent romantic partner.

    ‘The match in question was a four-day First-Class fixture between Team A and Team B, part of the annual inter-county championship,’ indeed.

    If that doesn’t get her hot under the collar, nowt will.

  2. Josh De Caires, or to give him his full title, “Josh De Caires, son of former england captain, Mike Atherton” as every journalist seems to have christened him.

    1. Wikipedia tells me Michael Atherton does have ankylosing spondylitis, so let’s hope Josh really doesn’t require it.

  3. On a completely different note, will you being doing a piece on how Afghanistan got booted out of the Asia Cup. Please. Pretty please.

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