My name is Laurence Elderbrook and I am a cricker. No. More than that. I am a damn fine cricketer.
I am a number three batsman, as adaptable as I am unflappable. I have all the shots and know when to use them. I am the rock on which our team is built.
I hear a roar outside. It means that Laurence Elderbrook is going to grace this match. I compose myself in front of the mirror. I am resplendent in my cream flannels. I look immaculate. It is time.
I stride to the crease. Not too slow, but not too fast. I’m calm. I’m composed. I know it, the fielders know it and God damn, the bowler knows it. I haven’t even reached the crease and already I’ve imposed my will. This drama will unfold according to my script.
I take my guard. I make sure I get it just right. Laurence Elderbrook maintains the highest standards in everything he does. Leave nothing to chance – that’s my motto.
The bowler stands at his mark and I survey the field. I quickly assess the various individuals. I work out which fielders I can put pressure on with my running between the wickets. I pinpoint the weak links.
The bowler runs in. I raise my bat. It’s all so well-drilled it’s almost automatic. As the bowler delivers the ball I can already predict its path.
It’s a full ball and wide. It’s asking to be driven, but as my bat comes down, I detect a movement in my peripheral vision – possibly someone closing a car door. Distracted at the vital moment, I make poor contact and the ball slices off the outside edge towards gully.
He takes the catch.
It’s a travesty. I look the umpire straight in the eye, but he still has the audacity to raise his finger. It is at this point that I do the only thing a man can do in this situation. I drop my bat, throw back my head and let fly a huge, bestial roar.
It is huge. I have drawn air into my lungs from acres around and sustain it for a full 15 seconds. It reverberates around the ground, leaving no person untouched by its magnificence.
The crowd, the fielders, my team mates and the umpires are now silenced. They all look at me. They are in awe of me. I tuck my bat under my arm and make my way off the pitch with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.
The crowd applaud. They know what’s happened. They admire my restraint. They admire me.