August 14, 2014

No fitness-conditioning coach job? No problem

In other words: more missed or muffed commercial opportunities than you can shake a stick at

It's time to get serious. We're into mid-August now and, as every county cricketer knows, that means best behaviour, boys. It's the time when contracts and benefits start getting handed out, or if you're not so lucky, you get a text telling you the car and the self-assembly hot tub have got to go back. It's also a time when a player doesn't want to blot his copybook in the domestic arena, because next month is traditionally when half the lads on the circuit get into their wedding suits, put their phones on vibrate and walk through an arcade of raised bats - or raised dog ball-throwers if the groom happens to be a batting coach on his second or third fairytale day. Dave Podmore's not one of them, I should say - Jacqui and I renewed our vows at a romantic hog-roast-and-quad-biking event in the grounds of Belvoir Castle last September and you can't get much more settled than that. But like any media-savvy sportsperson with bills to pay, Dave Podmore has been doing his best to keep his nose clean at this important time so as not to miss out on any uniquely exciting opportunities across the piece going forward.

Unfortunately it hasn't quite worked out as I would have liked. It was massively disappointing to fail the medical for the job of Fitness and Conditioning Coach to the England women's team going into the first Kia Test at Wormsley. I'm happy to hold my right arm up and admit that my blood pressure's not quite what it should be, but when the East European doctor who measured it started having a pop, I had to point out that she could do with spending a bit less time in the Polski pie sklep herself before criticising people's lifestyles. It's a shame because the England girls would have looked so much more professional if they'd had me sat with them on the players' verandah, Goochie-style in a sleeveless top and mirror shades, perusing Autotrader. But it wasn't to be and life goes on - at least it should do, hopefully, once the hypertension medication kicks in.

As Michael Caine once wisely said, "If you've got a high standard of living you sometimes have to accept a low standard of work." I'm not sure what he's been up to recently but a look at the papers tells me he hasn't been playing for Leicestershire, and I've not heard him on Test Match Special either so things can't be that bad for him. I put in a call to Grace Road on the off chance, but all they could offer me was a morning going round hospitals in the Charlie Fox mascot's outfit. Well, Pod's been there, done that, brought the kiddie out of the coma - and never received a penny in petrol money from the parents, by the way. Interesting that.

As for TMS, no vacancies there as they've just taken on that new bloke who talks like he's got a mouthful of drawing pins. Fair play to the boy Dagnall, everyone on that programme is always stuffing their faces with something or other, so why not stationery? But it was never really on the cards that I'd be asked back into the commentary box after the Saturday at Lord's when I got the Primary Club muddled up with Spearmint Rhino's. I was a global ambassador for them at the time, and I'd nearly got through the full range of membership options before the producer turned my microphone off. And, as if I haven't done the BBC enough favours already, I've offered to help get the troubled Top Gear team back in the nation's hearts with a new sports celebrity segment: "Racist Star in a Foreign Car". Have they extended me the courtesy of a reply? Nein Kommandant is the answer to that one.

What hurts more than anything is the attitude of the current Indian players, whose unwillingness to cut me in on some of their sponsorship deals borders on bullying. None of them get out of bed for less than a couple of crore these days and yet who taught them how to fleece the corporates in the first place back in the nineties? DV Podmore of England and Kaboom Cement All Stars, that's who. Fortunately there is one bright cloud on the horizon. Common sense has prevailed and Barbados has been restored to the list of venues for England's tour of the West Indies. It should set the Barmy Army's minds at rest, and many other cricket lovers for whom springtime wouldn't be complete without a week toasting in their budgie smugglers and four litres of Mount Gay a day to keep themselves hydrated. England are back at the historic Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, too, where their previous test only lasted ten balls - so all the more need for an experienced tour guide with local knowledge such as myself. Travel companies, you know my Twitter handle. DM me.

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