More rehearsals before England face South Africa

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A friend of ours once played the finest bum note we’ve ever heard while performing Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight at a wedding. It was the very last note and it only sounded so marvellously hideous because he’d played everything flawlessly up until that point. That’s how to get something wrong. Really build up to it. Lay the groundwork first.

South Africa have been in India, England have been in the UAE. Both sides will now do a light spot of shape-shifting ahead of what will almost certainly be a more seam-dominated series in Southafricaland.

If cricket is music – which it isn’t – this will be rather more than a key change. It’ll be more like the end of one track and the start of the next. The majority of the instruments will remain the same, but the tempo will change; there’ll be a bit more lead guitar and a little less emphasis on rhythm.

Dale Steyn has emerged from extensive groin-testing. Rumour has it he did upwards of nine star jumps. He will almost certainly be brilliant should he play and Steven Finn could also return for England. Finn being Finn that poses the perennial question as to whether he’ll do the thing that makes everyone fawn over him or simply lollop in and flop down 83mph disappointment.

The rumour is that England want to rescind first-class status for this week’s second warm-up match and make it another 13-a-side sham. What’s the first rule of training? Specificity. Try and ensure your preparation is as similar as possible to your target event. As close as you can get to a Test would be first-class cricket. The rules are one thing, but the threat to players’ batting and bowling averages also brings just the faintest whiff of the pressures they will subjected to during the grown-up stuff.

It’s easy to shrug off the odd bum note in rehearsals, but the stakes are higher when things are being recorded. It’s worth noting that we only know about the Not Quite So Wonderful Tonight aberration because it was caught on film.


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  1. Hang on, KC. Hold your horses.

    I take issue with the concluding part of this article. I am the said guitarist of the above aberration and whilst, yes, everything you say about the performance is true (although you were perhaps being generous with the ‘flawless’ comment), I must challenge you over the following:

    ‘It’s worth noting that we only know about the Not Quite So Wonderful Tonight aberration because it was caught on film.’

    Not really true KC, I think you would admit. Unless you happen to have your hands on John and Rachel’s wedding video, Scunthorpe, 2003. The reason you know about the aberration is because I sat you down and said ‘Hey, KC, do you want to hear the worst bum note in the history of live performance ever?’ and proceeded to play you the video of said calamitous mistake. I think I deserve a some credit, at least, for sharing with the world the very funny, terrible note. And also, that makes me a little cool, yeah? You know, the cool guy who holds his hands up to his mistake. Like something you would imagine a terrible Vince Vaughn character doing in a terrible Vince Vaughn film. As cool as that yeah?

    A little credit where it’s due KC.

    1. Perfectly happy to admit that makes you as cool as Vince Vaughn’s lead character in the fictional rom-com, The Wedding Guitarist.

  2. p.s. your article may make sense if I’d read it all but I only read the opening paragraph about me and the last paragraph about me. As far as I could tell the rest was about cricket.

  3. 29.5
    Wagner to Siriwardana, SIX
    Wagner to Siriwardana, no run, this is much shorter and going over him s he ducks under it
    Wagner to Siriwardana, SIX, short again, pulled away and that’s gone pretty flat for a six behind square. He expected the short ball, got into a good position and whacked it nicely from chest height
    Wagner to Siriwardana, 4 byes, short ball, not quite a wide, but it’s got some bounce and goes over the keeper for four
    Wagner to Siriwardana, FOUR, fullish on the pads and Siri flicks that with good timing to the leg side in the air. There’s a fielder in the deep but it’s hit wide of him for four

    1. N Wagner 9-2-40-3

      So two maidens leaves seven overs for 40 runs.

      Of the three wickets, only one came in one of those maidens.

      Skip calling him “reliable”, time to start calling him “mercurial”.

      1. Two top-edged sixes off Wagner in the first digs too. Was it a short straight boundary, or is the Wangermeister now bowling with Genuine Pace?

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