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.