February 26, 2014

Luke Wright's grilling: the inside story

He allowed the world to believe that he had been on the receiving end of some tough questions, but the transcript reveals a different story

"Thought that was missing leg. Turns out it also missed off" © Getty Images

Last week we learned that intercontinental slog specialist and occasional England cow-corner howitzer Luke Wright was interrogated for 45 minutes by a carload of fans when he accepted a lift from the Antigua airport to his hotel.

To the curmudgeonly English psyche, such an incident is a heart-warming example of a modern sports star being taken down a peg or two by ordinary long-suffering members of the general populace; a life-affirming confrontation in which the bubble of the highly paid, out- of-touch, pampered professional is popped with a sharp dose of good old-fashioned call-a-spade-a-spade straight talking, hopefully in a northern accent.

The reality was rather different. As well as being an expert in the Seven Varieties of Slog, a chess grandmaster and a black belt in patisserie, Luke Wright is a consummate professional. He allowed the world to believe that he had been on the receiving end of some devastatingly insightful arguments, and that, on behalf of the England cricket team, he had accepted his chastisement humbly.

However, I have managed to get hold of a transcript of the conversation and it reveals a rather different story:

Fan A: I saw you play in the T20 in Sydney, Luke.

Luke: How fascinating.

Fan B: Yeah, we went to every England game in Australia. We didn't enjoy it much.

Fan C: No. It was gutting.

Fan B: To be fair, he's right. It was literally gutting.

Luke: Well, looking around this car I can see that all of you are still in full possession of your guts, indeed guts seem to be in ample supply, so I feel confident in asserting that your recent experiences in Australia were not literally gutting.

Fan C: Yeah, well, I enjoyed the banter with the Aussies but it was really disappointing

Luke: Oh dear, how awful. My heart bleeds for you. And by the way, anyone over the age of 16 who uses the word "banter". unless it is to say that they think anyone over the age of 16 who uses the word "banter" should be shot, should be shot.

Fan A: I work bloody hard all year round and if I performed like these England players I'd get a good talking-to from my boss.

Luke: Really? And what is your job?

Fan A: I'm a commercial logistics analyst for one of the UK's leading -

Luke: Goodness, that sounds incredibly dull. And you think the skills involved in being a commercial logistics analyst are in any way comparable with the demands of playing professional cricket in front of thousands of people?

Fan A: Well no, but as a paying customer, I expect -

Luke: You expect? What do you mean you expect? You sit around on your arse all year pushing buttons on a computer, yawning, scratching yourself and complaining about the traffic and once every few months you think that handing over a few quid entitles you to expect not just that you will be entertained, but that the entertainment will end in a result that you find personally satisfactory. You're a disgrace to humanity.

Silence reigns in the car

Fan C: We're here now. Can I have your autograph?

Luke: Why on earth would you want my autograph? Why would one human being deem it beneficial to obtain the manually produced identifying mark of another human being unless it is connection with a legally binding contract? Do you imagine that by so doing, you are one step closer to being famous? I am skilled at the use of a cricket bat to propel a ball in various directions and yet for some reason you are particularly interested in my scribbled name on a piece of paper. No you may not have my autograph. Grow up and do something useful with your life.

Fan B: Goodbye Luke. Good luck against the West Indies!

Luke: Go away losers.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here