There was an invasion into my Ashes bunker last night. My brother and his girlfriend have flown in from Mumbai on their way back to Buenos Aires, my Mum is also here and my wife graced us with her presence. I thought I'd be glad of the company but to be honest it got on my tits. I couldn't hear the preamble from the commentators and, when my brother and I were discussing how England will fare when the ball starts to wobble back on home soil, we were told to 'Ssshhh.'
My brother used to represent all that was wrong with junior cricket in England. A viciously fast opening bowler and a destructive middle-order left-hander, he really had it. My Dad and I went on tour with him and the Shropshire under 14s in 1994. He took the most wickets and scored a shitload of runs, but when it came to the awards ceremony on our return he didn't win either award. He was the only non-public schoolboy in the side. They were more concerned that he had long hair and didn't tuck his shirt in. He stopped playing. It was a disgrace, and I've seen lesser talented players go on and do well out of the game.
He's have fit into this Englandf team though. Full of larrup and confidence, they did exactly what was required last night. Yesterday, I purloined a line from Hunter S Thopmson and asked them to show 'no sympathy for the devil' and to 'buy the ticket and take the ride.' They killed Lucifer and bought the whole fucking fairground. All this talk of 'Daddy' hundreds makes me laugh, it invokes memories of the film Scum and, if I'm not sure how Flower's team would fare in Borstal and under the liquid cosh, they do love scoring runs. Credit to the batting coach, Graham Gooch who, despite going on for far too long and spoiling his average, scored so many Daddy hundreds that he probably has the balls of a rampant Oxen.
There have been plenty of huge happenings and momentum shifting sessions in this series, but this was the day that snapped the spine of the camel and used it as a flagpole. Cook was obscene, he offered a few chances but his timing, especially when pushing full deliveries through the gaps in the heavy offside field, was straight out of the manual. He played like a prison 'daddy', and would have caused less harm to the psyche of Aussie cricket by bending them all over and giving them a good old Essex tupping. He may have problems with the moving ball, but has now scored well over 700 runs at an average higher than 140. Give the man a flat track and he's like Gazza at a box of cheap wine.
Yesterday, I purloined a line from Hunter S Thopmson and asked them to show 'no sympathy for the devil' and to 'buy the ticket and take the ride.' They killed Lucifer and bought the whole fucking fairground.
Talking of cheap wine, the Aussies drink something called 'Goon'. A very cheap box of wine, they then apparently blow up the foil bag and use it as a pillow. My brother told me this, he lived in Sydney for a year. He also told me about the pejorative term 'Bogan', which is essentially used for someone who is, well, a bit country. Peter Siddle is a bogan, he used to be a teenage wood-chopping champion. Most recently he's bowled like one.
The test batting career of Paul Collingwood probably came to a close last night - dying on his sword with a mishit attempt at a straight six. The amount of times Botham has mentioned Collingwood having 'a gold card in the last chance saloon' shows beyond anything that he is gagging for wine at all times of the day. Botham is a goon, a national hero maybe, but a fucking goon all the same. And he dresses like a Bogan. Collingwood, despite huge inconsistencies in his form, has been a good player for England but at 35 needs to either retire or be nudged out. England have a lot of talent in reserve and you only have to look at Australia to see how strangling the development of younger players can have huge ramifications.
Saying that, Mitchell Johnson could have bowled for 20 years and still be an erratic loon. People wonder why they don’t see white dog shit anymore. It's because Mitchell Johnson is made of it, touch him and he crumbles. He is the King of enigmas, the Prince of inaccuracy and the court jester of cricket. If you’ve been reading since the beginning and think I’ve been unfair on Johnson I would do exactly the same if he was English, but wouldn’t have the chance as he would have been sent off for ‘strength and conditioning’ by now. Yes, he has taken 3-97 so far in this innings, but the sheer amount of filthy longhops and harmless leg-side shite he bowls is inexcusable.
England are now the third best team in world cricket. Four points behind the second placed South Africa, I think they can overtake them if they win this test and India beat South Africa. I say think because I’m not a mathematician with a degree in astro-mental-ridiculous-pyscho-scoring-systems.
This is all coming to an end. Two more nights on the sofa and I can return to the marital bed. How long it is going to take me to return to English time is another question. But I’ve just purchased a cricket game on the Xbox for the boy.
Who's the Daddy now?
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