August 28, 2013

Cooky's mistake, and the turning points of the series

Plus the inevitable obligatory urine jokes, natch

Pod can't not take his hat off to the England lads: they've got a sense of Test Match history. As one of the Aussie blokes in the press box said while watching the post-Ashes celebrations on the hallowed Kia Oval pitch: "There are two teams out there - one of them's wazzing on the wicket and the other's tweeting pictures of it."

According to Tuffers, who's become a bit of a history- as well as a gardening buff, what the lads were doing was recreating a scene from the legendary Bodyline series of 19-whenever, when Doug Jardine rubbed Aussie noses in it by standing in front of the Sydney Hill and filling the actual Urn, though Larwoody and Vocey being professionals had to make do with a pint tankard behind the pav.

Sure, there's been the usual complaints from the stuffed shirts among the powers that be, saying that Cooky and the lads have somehow let the country down for doing what most guys need to do after knocking back a dozen or so magnums of fizz - but don't forget the distance between the middle and the nearest Kia Oval khazi is probably the biggest in the country. If the Ashes had been won at Nuneaton or Worksop the story might have been different.

And as far as Dave Podmore's concerned the skipper's only put a foot wrong once this summer, and that was letting Broady tweet a picture of him waiting for a night bus. What sort of soft message was that to send out to the average hard-drinking and driving Aussie, who's about to set out from the outback to the Gabba on unmarked roads? Get in your Jag, pose with a bottle in one hand, a big thumbs up and a Freddie Flintoff-style glazed look, then call a cab, that's what Pod would've done.

Correction: Cooky also came up short with one of his tactics in the fifth Test, and that was not advising Simon Kerrigan to change his name. Not 'cos of his eight over 'mare in the first innings, but after his surprise selection - which meant he was the centre of attention and ideally placed to fill his boots from the window of commercial opportunity. I know Maria Sharapova wasn't allowed to advertise her bags of sweets by changing her name to "Sugarpova" in the recent US tennis, but we're more sensible about money over here - remember how Jimmy White became Jimmy Brown after HP Sauce sponsored the snooker at Wembley? Legend.

I myself have been down on the scorecard as Dave Mister Clutch and Dave Doggy Meat-Style Morsels when taking the field in the past and nobody batted an eyelid, though the greybeards at Wisden are still insisting those matches shouldn't be accorded first-class status. Whatever, it's the way ahead and you can't tell me the young spinner wouldn't have bowled a lot tighter if the PA had announced "Coming on at the Vauxhall Road end - Simon Thwaites-Breweries-Lancaster-Bomber".

But the past's history and all that's left from the first leg of the Investec Ashes 2013 is for Pod to identify the turning points of the series. This is an edited-down version of my candid and outspoken - but never dull! - opinions expressed in the early hours of the morning on Leicester's premier talk-radio station Dontgetmewrong FM, for which I've already apologised to the entire Australian squad, the St John's Ambulance team next to the Trent Bridge Inn, the catering staff at Chester-le-Street, all women everywhere, spaniels, and Boof Lehmann, whose caravan I've offered to clean for a year.

Anyway, the major turning point for Dave Podmore was back in June, when the Aussie team bus didn't make a detour to the M1 after the Edgbaston Champions Trophy match, for a morale-building stop at Leicester Forest Services to pay their respects at the grave of a dog that Mark Waugh won £75 on in a caged pit-bull fight at the back of the Days Inn car park. Instead they headed off round the ring road to the Walkabout nightclub and everybody knows what happened next. Except David Warner apparently, who woke up in the veldt not knowing what had hit him, or rather who he'd hit, and ruling himself out of the omniportant first-Test equation.

As for the game-changing so-called DRS system, that just makes Pod smile. Because when I hear the words "cruise-missile technology" I think back to that comb gizmo that was supposed to cut your hair at the same time, or the dashboard-mounted donkey that dispensed fags out of its backside when you pumped its tail. In other words, you can pretty much guarantee it's not going to work. Ask yourself, how many cruise missiles hit the right areas? About as many as Mitchell Johnson with a hangover.

On that note, see you in Brisbane. Unless my wife, Jacqui, happens to have clicked on this and thinks I'd be better employed Christmas shopping at a bloody German market.

Dave Podmore, holder of more giant cheques than any other cricketer, is the creation of Christopher Douglas, Nick Newman and Andrew Nickolds