Tag: Gareth Batty

Gareth Batty – the winter bike

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

There seems to be a tendency in some quarters to perceive England’s Test tours of Bangladesh and India as being one long competitive outing.

They are not. They are separate. For all the talk of ‘taking a look’ at players ahead of England’s arrival in India, there is a Test to be lost this week and a series to be drawn.

England won the first Test by 22 runs. That isn’t much of a margin to be toying around with – particularly being as the home side has now played more Test cricket inside the last week than it did in the whole of the previous 12 months. They may improve.

The England management are hopefully aware of this, recognising that this match is not an early salvo, but a decider. We will therefore take it on trust that any changes to the side have been made to improve it, or at the very least to keep it to a similar standard without wearing bowlers out.

Stuart Broad seems likely to get a rest that seems more a preventative measure than a necessary break. If his floppy hair doesn’t slick with sweat and impede his performance, Steven Finn should be an appropriate replacement.

Zafar Ansari is also tipped to be on the receiving end of ‘the nod’. There’s no reason to believe he won’t bowl as well as Gareth Batty did in the first Test and he’s a better batsmen, so again this seems acceptable enough. His quickish left-arm spin could be very important in India too.

Batty seems to be perceived as a sacrificial old bike that no-one’s much interested in looking after. They’ll put some winter miles on him, set him aside to rust, maybe wheel him out again when the weather’s really bad and basically just do whatever the hell they feel like until it’s time to take him to the tip. The Yorkshireman, for his part, is delighted to be getting a bit of fresh air and so seems perfectly happy with this arrangement.

Why England have selected Gareth Batty


“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

At the age of 38, we have genuinely never been fitter in our entire life. We had however assumed that our chance of playing international cricket had passed.

Not so!

Almost as if England were Australia and Gareth Batty were a gnarly old batsman rather than a spin bowler, the selectors have put their faith in middle-age.

Batty was born in 1977. He’s only three weeks younger than our mate Tim and Tim is the oldest person we know (except for all the people we didn’t go to school with, obviously.)

Tim says he hobbles around hunched over for the first few minutes after getting out of bed these days due to the pain in his ankles. He has even floated the idea of “warming up” before playing squash to prevent injuries. We put him straight on that. We’re not in our 60s. We don’t need to start stretching and all that crap.

But you get the gist. Gareth Batty is almost as old as Tim and therefore quite aged for a sportsman.

If you’re wondering why England have selected a man of Tim’s age, the answer is obvious. The players aren’t really going to be going out in the evenings in Bangladesh due to a combination of fearfulness and security measures. There will be no gallivanting. No evening shenanigans. The younger players will therefore be looking to a man who already has extensive experience of watching Netflix in his pyjamas for guidance.

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