July 26, 2014

If you're drunk enough, you're good enough

Let us now reflect on Lord's and look ahead to the next Test

To be fair, England lost the Lord's Test. So, time to take a moment of calm to reflect before the lads enter the unforgiving cauldron that is Southampton on Sunday. Dave Podmore is not one of those guys who thinks that the current squad should all resign and queue up outside their local Sports Direct, begging for a full-time job. If we bottle it at the Ageas Bowl then I agree, it'll be time to stand down: replacing Central Contracts with a zero-hours version might just be the encouragement they need to learn how to play the short stuff that Ishanty kept sending down at HQ. Having a practice game or two between all those boxes of trainers and knock-off football shirts would be as good as a net in Pod's opinion.

See, that's what's known as being constructive, instead of the torrent of hot air from certain ex-England captains blasting away at Cooky like a pub toilet hand-dryer with the nozzle turned upwards. Beefy, Athers, Boycs - they've all been having a go. Vaughany too, but at least his character assassination is more deeply thought-out and not just a knee-jerk reaction.

Actually while we're on the subject of stepping down, I've used "knee-jerk reaction" several times before as a useful niggle that's kept me out for the rest of the season. I was all set to advise Matt Prior that it was a good way to get out of playing any more Tests this year only to hear that Matty had already blamed his Achilles heel, which I'd always thought was just an old saying and not an actual body part.

Anyway, Vaughany was suggesting that Cooky was a few runs short of a 20 average in the smartness department, and there Pod has to agree. You only had to look at the highlights package on Channel 5 the other night to see what a canny operator Vaughany has become. There he was during an ad break presiding over a Yorkshire Tea bake-off competition. Cut back to the cricket and there he is again, judging the lads' performance out in the middle, only this time minus the jolly twinkle - to do with picking up less of a wedge than he gets from the tea guys I imagine.

Personally I'd always thought that sort of thing was illegal, ever since my days appearing on ATV when I was stopped from advertising a new Brake-and-Clutch centre in Wigston during my top-rated but badly scheduled fishing show With Pod And Line. Still, if you're an Ashes-winning captain (thanks mainly to Warney dropping a sitter from KP at The Oval, let's not forget) I guess that opens a few doors, however unfair.

And if you are having a 'mare on the park, at least try and do yourself justice off it and pick up a few bob from the bookies by backing, or rather not backing yourself. Stokesy's third duck on the trot was positively come-into-the-office, fill- your-boots time. And I don't know if Cooky's parents are in the habit of getting on the mobile to Ray Winstone's Bet365 boys between overs, but while the skipper was grinding out the singles at Lord's on Sunday and headed towards the inevitable caught-behind, over in Ireland Rory Mcilroy's dad was getting the van ready to collect a shedload of cash from his 500-1 bet on young Rory winning the British Open by the time he was 25. Shame he didn't double it up with him becoming an Ambassador for Santander but 20/20 hindsight's a wonderful thing as they say.

My own dad, Dave Podmore Senior, could've done with some of that when he went into Geo. Akins (Turf Accountant) in Nottingham in the late 1970s to see what the odds were on his pride and joy being banned or forfeiting part of his match fee for Level 2 disciplinary offences at least a dozen times in his first-class career. The bookie saw that one coming so was only prepared to offer odds of 750-1 against Pod's not being punished that number of times. Dad thought that was just throwing a fiver away as you could have got the same odds on Elvis being found alive on the moon, and which was likelier to happen?

A pity because Dad would have won his bet. The 12th so-called crime was on the same narrow staircase at Trent Bridge where Jimmy Anderson is alleged to have squared up to Jadeja. Pod was accused of a bit of pushing and shoving with Dilip Doshi and Phil Wilkinson, also at lunchtime. In my defence I pointed out that it was the day Pork Farms were trialling a new lattice-crust pie with a hard-boiled egg running through it and no way was I going to be at the back of that queue.

Result? Cleared of all charges, and if Pandora's Box had existed at that time I'd have had my shirt off and been celebrating like Ballancey. As he showed at Lord's, if you're drunk enough, you're good enough.

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