England June 22, 2011

The odd jobs of England's players

Why the ECB is hiring them out for weddings etc

Saturday, 18th June The ECB today confirmed that the recent unseasonal downpours have revealed a significant leakage issue associated with the roof of their head office, with the potential for unsightly stains and long-term damage to structural integrity. In order to address this problem, they have arranged a friendly game between the England cricket team and the Easy-Fit Roofing Company XI, for which tickets will soon go on sale to the public (£75 for adults or £74.50 for under-16s).

They have also let it be known that the England team is available at a reasonable rate for weddings, bar mitzvahs and impromptu barbeques; Jonathan Trott will spend the autumn on loan to the British Archaelogical Society, helping with their excavations at Stonehenge; Chris Tremlett is to assist the Hampshire Fire Service with their tree-focused kitten retrieval programme, and Kevin Pietersen will be treading the boards this winter in the touring production of 2008’s popular farce, Oops, Mr Stanford!

Monday, 20th June Out in the Caribbean, the war of the abbreviations is turning ugly. The WICB have alleged that at their latest meeting with the WIPA, President Ramnarine lost his temper, turned into a green-skinned tower of muscular rage, splitting his shirt in the process and threatened senior WICB executives with an easy chair. The WIPA dispute this version of events, claiming that Mr Ramnarine merely got out of his seat prematurely during a game of musical chairs.

We can’t be sure which version is correct and to be honest, we don’t really care. I’d like to imagine that the chair in question was one of those little red plastic ones you find in kindergartens. And, since the chair is the only participant at that meeting to have emerged from it with any dignity, perhaps it could take over at the WICB, with the table being voted in as WIPA leader. Their press conferences might not be very entertaining but they might bring some stability to West Indies cricket.

Tuesday, 21st June Like a low-fat, sugar-free dessert, this soggy Sri Lankan series has been unfulfilling and rather bland. The tourists were mostly ordinary without being completely awful, and England continued to do a reasonable impression of a very impressive team without actually achieving an awful lot. Indeed, had Dilshan and chums not developed an unfortunate case of collective agoraphobia on the last day in Cardiff we’d have been left with a stalemate staler than an ex-cricketer's after-dinner anecdotes.

Perhaps I’m just sulking because I’d been looking forward to watching Mendis and Randiv and instead I got Lakmal and Perera (and a limping Fernando). But really, why bring three spinners if you’re only going to use one? It’s like taking three hairdryers on holiday. And somehow at the end of all that rain and tedium, England have ended up as the second best Test team in the world. The ICC’s ranking system doesn’t lie, but it is perhaps a little economical with the truth.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England