Andrew Flintoff is injured again. If only there were another English fast-bowling hope we could all idiotically and unreasonably crush with our mindless, unjustified hope.
Step forward Simon Jones. Step forward carefully though. Don’t want you twisting an ankle or rupturing your pancreas or something. Simon Jones took 5-32 yesterday for Worcestershire against Hampshire, as if he were an actual cricketer who did this kind of thing for a living.
Flintoff should only be out for a couple of weeks, so Jones only needs to get through about four matches to fill the gap. Will he make it?
Thinking about Simon Jones, he reminds us of a very interesting quote from Tom Cartwright, the subject of Stephen Chalke’s really rather good book The Flame Still Burns, from where these words were taken:
“An hour in the gym isn’t the same preparation for bowling as a nine-hour day working on a farm field or down a mine or even in a heavy-industry factory. You may have similar energy output, but you don’t build up the same core strength – so you haven’t developed the ability to keep your concentration when the body is starting to get tired, when the physical stress it can exert is in decline.
“There’s an important relationship between physical stress and concentration. It’s difficult in the modern world to replicate the preparation for bowling that people had when they walked everywhere and there was more manual work. Doing a lot more bowling is part of what’s needed, but it would be hugely beneficial if young bowlers went off and spent winters doing hard, physical work. It would build their core strength and that’s irreplaceable by anything else.”
How many times have you seen Simon Jones in that stupid vest, showing off his biceps while watching an England game in which he’ll play no part? Tom Cartwright, on the other hand, bowled at least 700 first-class overs in a season 13 years in a row and continued bowling until he was 42.
Admittedly, Cartwright was a medium-pacer, but there’s truth in his words.