It’s almost as if next season’s English domestic one-day tournament isn’t uppermost in your minds

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If we let every wall of indifference we came up against stop us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Admittedly we’re nowhere today, but we’ve got over more than our fair share of walls of indifference to get here.

We’re sensing a wall of indifference from King Cricket readers when confronted with our increasing obsession with the ECB Recreational XI and with that in mind, we’d like to talk about them some more.

How can you not love them? They’re a team of players who aren’t good enough to play in any of the sides they’ll be up against. Think of the crowds. And where’s their home ground? Is their home ground the home ground of whoever they happen to be playing against that week?

Our friend T suggested that it might have been an idea to have included a Legends XI instead. This would be an ever-changing side full of whatever old stars fancied a game that week. Despite our loyalty to the ECB Recreational XI, we have to concede that the odd person might actually want to go and watch a Legends XI.


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  1. Your tactic is wrong. If you climb over a Wall of Indifference, it’s still there. You just happen to be on the other side of it. Actually, given that a Wall of Indifference is what is separating having some interest from a lack of interest, and given that you already have interest, climbing over the wall is surely going to take you back onto the uninterested side. You’ll then need to climb right back over again, a real waste of effort.

    No, what you need to do is to Break Down The Walls Of Indifference. This is how really successful people do it. That way there is nothing stopping people from becoming interested in whatever it is without all that climbing and scuffing of knees.

    There are several useful tools for Breaking Down Those Walls Of Indifference. Write a protest song called “Break Down Those Walls of Indifference”. Get angry. Get Bono involved. Get together with some others and form a Troop With an Acronymic Tag Sign. Reprimand people for being Part of the Problem. Make forty-over county cricket vaguely interesting.

  2. I read that as over-forty cricket and thought you were on the side of the Legends, Bert

    Will the Recreational team have a coach who is, quite frankly, not up to snuff as well?

  3. the Recreationals home games will be played at the Oval . Surrey have several players not good enough for county cricket

  4. Presumably the recreational XI will play on the common, using a tree stump as the wicket at one end and a small pile of track suit tops (which is all they could find handy) at the other end. The bowling will all be from the clobber-pile end, while the batting will all be done at the tree stump end.

    If some bigger boys come along and decide they want to use that patch of the common for football, the match will be abandoned as a draw.


  5. If life were a movie the recreational XI would beat all who played them, fuelled to do it “for the love of the game”. At some point, perhaps 2/3rds through the season/movie, one of them (their best player) would be offered a county contract but would TURN IT DOWN, just before the most crucial match, to do the right thing by their mates. Other things that would happen: a “you could cut the atmosphere with a knife” moment when one of them plays against a former team, at least one financial crisis averted only when someone sells a man-of-the-match trophy from their glory days, and an affair between a recreational player and a county player’s wife.

  6. I think this is all part of a grand plan. The Recreational XI will be set up to overcome their limitations and, despite seemingly insurmountable odds will with this competition next year.

    The ECB will then option the rights to such an incredible story to Hollywood, who will make a life-affirming and tear-jerking movie about the whole thing.

    – Mel Gibson will play their flawed coach whose career was ended early due to bad knees and has a trouble relatioship with his daughter and ex-wife.

    – Adam Sandler will play the crazy but brilliant, swachbuckling opener

    – Johnny Depp, the allrounder. An outsider who thinks he’s better than this team, but ultimately learns to value of teamwork , the binding force of his team-mates and the tryue meaning of Christmas.

    – Darren Gough will play himself.

  7. Mel Gibson must be persuaded at “one more shot at the big time” despite muttering into his beer “don’t talk to me about cricket. Cricket took everything I had”.

    the bloke who plays Malfoy in the Harry Potter films must surely be the young promising all-rounder who overcomes being belted for six sixes in an over to emerge into a slightly older promising all-rounder.

    Could Mike Gatting perform heroics throughout only to pull off a rubber facemask in the final game to reveal that she was Mel Gibson’s wife all along?

  8. Ooh, a coach with his own personal demons! I like that! I would also like Blair underwood to play the “spiritual Negro” role . At some point near the end he could give an inspiring speech, like pele in “escape to victory”.

  9. Brilliant, Miriam.

    “It’s what you’ve always dreamed of, Jack. A county contract. With Leicestershire, no less. There’d be many a young man who’d have bitten my hand off by now.”

    “I know all that, Mr Agnew. And it’s not like I couldn’t do with the money, what with Sally being pregnant again, and the interim stage payments on my new living room carpet being due. A middle-ranking manager (with a team of twelve South of England based salesmen)’s salary doesn’t go far these days.”

    “You know it makes sense, Jack. The contract is right there, you just have to sign it.”

    “But what about Saturday’s match? It’s the big one. Lancashire. If we win that one, we’ll have one win from twelve. I can’t let the lads down, Mr Agnew. I suppose Billy could come in to the team, and Johnny could move up to number 8, but they need me, Mr Agnew. They need my lower order specialist boundary fielding.”

    “Leicestershire needs you too, Jack. There are no second chances in this game. It’s a full season contract, with the possibility of being possibly considered to be possibly offered another one next year. If you don’t take it, I’ve got young Nobby outside who’ll take it for sure.”

    “I suppose I’ve got no choice, have I? Can I borrow your pen?”

    “Of course, Jack. You know it’s the right choice.”

    “Jack! No! Wait! Don’t do it!”

    “Sally! What are you doing here? I thought you were having a pamper day at the Ho Chi Minh Spa.”

    “I had to come back, Jack. I had to. Jack, don’t sign the contract.”

    “But it’s for you and the kids, Sally. It will give us the future we’ve dreamed of. A rented house in Leicester. Think of it, Sally. Second team cricket for Leicestershire.”

    Continued (yes, no, yes, no, yes, no) ad infintum…

  10. Yay! And, while walking in the park contemplating his actions, he comes across a group of kids playing a game of cricket. The first stirrings of the theme from “local hero” may or may not be playing. He remembers the hard early days with the Recreationals, but then has flashes of remembrance of the good times – the larking about with the lads, the first time he put on his Recreationals kit (sponsored by Happy Shopper). His reverie is broken by the sudden thump of a cricket ball landing at his feet, from a well-struck boundary by one of the kids, and a child calls out to him “mister? Mister? Could we have our ball back please?”. He picks up the ball and turns it in his hand … … …

  11. …and it’s all in black and white, except at the end, when you see him walking towards us over a hill, and it turns to colour, and he approaches the camera, and OH MY GOD, IT’S ROB KEY!

  12. An English answer to Major League, or a cricket version of Up’n’Under? If it’s the latter, I’m only in favour if there’s gratuitous Samantha Janus nudity.

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