Laurence shows his mental strength

2 minute read

I am due to bat at number 10. How can I impose my will on the game from there? What is the point?

When the time comes for Laurence Elderbrook to take his stage, I am fast asleep. Roused by a team mate, I lash out with an arm to teach him some damn manners, but I make contact with nothing but air. As I peer out through my glazed eyes, I see that he is yards away. My reflexes have dimmed.

Before I walk out, I take a moment to compose myself in front of the mirror. I can’t see much through the fog of misery and can only presume that I look immaculate.

As I lope towards the centre, there is a tap on my shoulder. I turn slowly, stumbling a touch. It is a team mate. He is holding my bat. I take it from him, though I shan’t be needing it.

I don’t know if I momentarily lose consciousness or something, but the next thing I know, I’m looking at two feet either side of a white line. They are my feet. I glance around a touch and realise I am on strike. As I gaze towards the bowler’s end for the first time, he is already into his delivery stride.

I emit a weak murmur and move to recoil, but the ball has already hit my bat. At this point someone shouts “run!” It seems that person is me.

The ball rolls into the covers and suddenly I am alive. My legs feel like pistons as I bound towards the other end. I am moving like the wind and the adrenaline is starting to flow. This drama will unfold according to my script.

The fielder scoops the ball up and shies at the stumps, but in this mood I am unstoppable. I dive for the crease, full-length, with my bat extended before me. The ball strikes the stumps. As I land, I already feel hollow.

It is vital that you never show the opposition any sign of weakness. With this in mind, I keep my face buried into the dirt so that they cannot see my tears. After some minutes of this, people seem to be getting a little impatient, but Laurence Elderbrook gives ground to no man, so I sob on, face on the floor.

As I am dragged off the field by ankles with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few, I ponder my next move. There is still time to do something to help take the initiative in the mental battle before these sides next meet.

It is at this point that I take the only option available to me. I twist and roll over, throw back my head and let fly a huge, bestial roar.

I let things wash over me. Everyone admires my mental strength. They admire me.

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  1. “Two feet either side of a white line.”

    I thought Lawrence had finally reached his drug-fuelled nadir there.

  2. The only word worrying me in all this is “lope”. Please tell me that this is a mistranslation from the original Elderbrookian – Lawrence surely has never loped – strode, strolled, advanced, sauntered ,yes – but never never “lope”.

  3. There’s a lack of clarity to this piece. Is Laurence run out, or retired hurt?

    It’s good to see him getting bat on ball again, anyhow. His season is finally on the up, now that the season is all-but done.

    But perhaps this is enough to reinvigorate him and encourage him to try again next season.

  4. Gosh, many thanks, Laurence. I am honoured to receive direct communication from the great man himself.

    Perhaps you can answer a techincal question for me as well, if it is not too much trouble.

    I am told that my batting backlift tends to point towards the slips. Friends and even MCC coaches have diametrically-opposed opinions on whether or not this is a problem.

    Some say it is a flaw, as evidenced by me sometimes playing around a strght one to get out bowled or LBW. “Learn to backlift straighter and you;ll play straighter”, they say.

    Others say it is fine to backlift slipwards as long as I play the ball straight, which I mostly do, as evidenced by the number of times I get out caught and bowled or get my partner run out when he is backing up. “As long as the bat comes down straight, it doesn’t matter where it comes from”, is their mantra.

    I have even been told that Bradman himself used to backlift like that. But then he scored more runs than I do and was certainly far quicker about it.

    Your advice on this subject, Laurence, would be most welcome and I would most certainly put your wise counsel into practice.

  5. There are only two ways to bat: the right way and the wrong way.

    Like Bradman before me, I am preternaturally gifted and what works for me, might not work for you.

    I can give you one valuable piece of advice however – and this applies to more than just cricket.

    Never listen to what anyone else has to say.

  6. Many thanks Laurence. That is excellent advice.

    I have one other question for you if it is not too much trouble.

    I have tried to employ the bestial roar on a couple of occasions. Very cathartic it is too. However, try as I might, I seem to roar too much from the throat rather than the lungs. This renders the roar insufficiently loud. It also leaves me with a sore throat for several days.

    Naturally I have tried to practice a little, but in a small central London flat this leads to much banging on walls and even the local constabulary being called, so I clearly need to find some silent exercises to help my performance and/or to engage a trainer who can help me practice roaring in an appropriate environment.

    It seems the Indoor School at Lord’s offers no such facility (the fools) but I thought perhaps you could advise on suitable exercises and/or tell me where to go.

  7. Perhaps the full-bellied bestial roar is beyond me. I guess that sort of serene dignity is afforded to only the very few.

    I admire you, Laurence.

    Many thanks once again for the advice.

  8. “Like Bradman before me, I am preternaturally gifted”

    Quote of the season. Marvellous.

    And Ged, don’t be so retiring – I’m sure that full-bellied roars are de rigeur, chez Ladd, when moderating the MCCC boards.

  9. Lawrence

    I have been reading of the unforgiveable umpiring decisions against you from here in Australia & i am shocked each week to read of your plight. The Australian Capt Ricky Ponting it seems is having similar problems as yourself, what advise do you have for this up & comer in the international stage.

    Should be throw the stump & the umpires?

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