November 16, 2011

A suggested austerity programme for England

Andrew Hughes
Andy Flower reflects on England's whitewash against India, Kolkata, October 26, 2011
“And I’ll also be driving the team bus. Coach... bus, get it?”  © Getty Images


Friday, 11th November Andy Flower says that cricket boards are piling up fixtures with the same alacrity with which Samit Patel used to fill his plate at Nottinghamshire’s end of season charity buffet (“All you can eat for a fiver, bring your own plate and indigestion pills”) and that this global scheduling gluttony is all about the money.

So why this fixture frenzy? Where does all that money go? Well, some of it is invested in vital tools for hard-pressed cricket administrators: velvet sleeping masks, embroidered executive aromatherapy hand towels, and posterior-pressure-relieving cushions for those long afternoons in the boardroom.

But to take just one cricket board at random, an awful lot of the ECB’s money is shovelled in the direction of Team England: to keep Kevin Pietersen stocked up with silly sunglasses, to fund James Anderson’s twice-yearly cosmetic frown surgery and, without wishing to be indelicate, to retain the services of a certain Mr Andrew Flower.

So perhaps, in order to help the ECB kick their one-day cricket habit, Andrew and Andy could cut down on the expenses. How about asking the players to hand-wash their own whites? Replace the team of nutritionists with a weekly text message reminding their chaps to finish all their vegetables and lay off the chocolate éclairs?

And next year, rather than lounging around in business class, issue them with a map of Asia, a stout pair of walking boots and a tent and let them make their own way to Sri Lanka. As an incentive, the first 11 to arrive in Colombo will be guaranteed a spot in the first Test (unless one of them is Ravi).

Saturday, 12th November Kamran Akmal likes the idea of cricket boards nosing around in players’ bank accounts, presumably on the look out for suspicious deposits under the name “A Bookie”. It’s an excellent idea, though I think the investigations should also extend to mattresses, recently dug herbaceous borders, and the inside pockets of new leather jackets.

Of course, some boards will find it easier than others. Sri Lanka Cricket, for instance, would smell a rat if they found that their chaps had any money at all, as they haven’t been paid since April. By definition, therefore, any income must have been obtained nefariously (although allowances would have to be made for Kumar Sangakkara’s earnings from his new part-time dog-grooming job – “Call Kumar for Kool Kanine Kuts!’ - and Angelo Mathews’ paper round.)

Monday, 14th November According to assistant coach Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting is still a vital wingnut in the rickety suspension system of the rattly old banger that is Australian cricket.

“Ricky is great for morale; he makes Huss feel young, he keeps us entertained with stories of the old days when we used to win sometimes, and he knows how to read the racing form. Plus, he’s our regular poker dealer, ‘cause some of the other blokes aren’t great with the hand-eye co-ordination. I mean, you should see Mitch spray the cards all over the shop. And he’s the only one who can say, “Ah look…” with conviction, because between you and me, when Pup tries to do it, he sounds like Dame Edna Everage’s younger sister.”

When pressed on how long he thought the former Australian captain could continue in international cricket, Langer was supportive: “Ah look, Ricky will be around for a while yet. Monday I reckon. Possibly Tuesday. Depends if we make it to day five.”

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by waterbuffalo on (November 17, 2011, 7:43 GMT)

"When we used to win sometimes.." Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhaa!!! Oi, Langer, did the handle of your bat really crack against Pakistan, as the ball found your outside edge in Hobart,in 99; or was that an example of Aussie Lavatorial Humour? It wasn't funny then and likely it won't be funny now, mate. Not when Australia is blown to bits by SA.

Posted by SHAMS on (November 17, 2011, 1:26 GMT)

"Kamran Akmal likes the idea of cricket boards nosing around in players’ bank accounts"


Posted by Anonymous on (November 16, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

Lol, superb peice. 'make their own way to SL n first 11 to reach r guaranteed a spot. 'would smell a rat if they found their chaps had any money at all. too good..

Posted by surya on (November 16, 2011, 18:27 GMT)

Almost forgot the dig at the cricket administrators!.You should have mentioned the PCB which spends a major portion of their money towards improving the lives of the administrators preferably those at the top!.:P

Posted by surya on (November 16, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

As usual stinging,sarcastic and damn funny!.Loved the ponting bit!.But with an indian series around the corner and the popular indian hospitality towards people dreadfully out of form,ponting might soon come back to business and ofcourse,only if he survives the next test!.

Posted by Utkarsh on (November 16, 2011, 16:31 GMT)

Very funny!

Posted by Takethis on (November 16, 2011, 14:58 GMT)

What a crappy feature. No flow in the writing and sense of humor is even beyond Aussies. Can we have professionals writing please. Thanks

Posted by GS on (November 16, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

"Plus, he’s our regular poker dealer, ‘cause some of the other blokes aren’t great with the hand-eye co-ordination. I mean, you should see Mitch spray the cards all over the shop."


Posted by Mehul on (November 16, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

"... if we make it to day five", genius!

Posted by Anandh Pachaiappan on (November 16, 2011, 11:11 GMT)

I couldn't control my laughing the comment about ponting. I'm a fan of Ricky and I could only do that in Page-2.

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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