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Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes

'Leave my batting boys alone'

A nuggety former Australian great comes to the rescue, armed with a lunchbox

Alan Tyers

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Justin Langer with his daughter Grace, Western Australia v Tasmania, Pura Cup, Perth, 4th day, March 10, 2008
Langer didn't much care that the child on his lap was a little girl and proceeded with his lec-dem on chapter one of The Ways of Real Aussie Men anyway © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Justin Langer
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
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Justin Langer entered the media room. He looked around, irritated. A Cricket Australia flunky bustled forward with a soapbox and placed it in front of him. Justin tapped his foot impatiently. The flunky dashed off, returning with a stepladder.

Justin sighed and rummaged in his man-bag, a specially modified Mighty Morphin Power Rangers lunchbox with "Batting coach" taped on the side and baggy green caps drawn, inexpertly but carefully, on all of the cartoon figures.

He withdrew a folder marked "Alfie's Dossiers" and fixed the Cricket Australia employee with the sort of gimlet stare that used to defy the world's most formidable opening bowlers, and Steve Harmison. Never taking his eyes off the unfortunate young man, he wrote on a sheet of paper, and showed it to him.

"P***y," it read.

Justin nodded slowly and meaningfully. He replaced the dossier in his lunchbox, mounted the stepladder, balanced, slightly crouched, ungainly yet focused, on the soapbox.

"Gentlemen of the press," he said to the assembled Australian media, some of whom were not even yet drunk, it being before noon.

"It has come to my attention that many of you have questioned the preparation and selection of the batting unit," he said. "Shame on you.

"Aside from the fact that this is un-Australian in the extreme, it's not very bloody helpful. If I had my way, you'd all be forced to go on a tour of Gallipoli with Mr Waugh and have to listen to Haydos singing the Southern Cross until your ears bled. In fact, I'd make some of the worst of you lot read his latest cookbook, Wallaby Offal, Surfboards And Jesus - Cooking, Praying And Performing At A High Level Of Intensity The Matt Hayden Way.

"Sadly, we live in a democracy, and if some of you want to question the position of Marcus North as Australia's greatest ever part-time spin bowler, future captain and occasional middle-order roadblock, then that is your right.

"You mongrels," he added.

Members of the media shifted uncomfortably.

"But what I cannot stand, you blokes, is the questioning of Michael Hussey. A bloke doesn't get a nickname like 'Mister Cricket' without being an adult male who plays cricket, and I think it's pretty bloody ordinary to suggest he shouldn't be in the team.

"Are you really telling me that you want him to go around being called 'Mr No Longer Cricket'? Is that what you want? Is it?"

"You should be ashamed of yourselves," said Justin. "I've put you all in my next dossier."

More in sorrow than in anger, Justin picked up his Mighty Morphin lunchbox, dismounted from the soapbox and walked out. The gentlemen of the press looked puzzled.

RSS FeedCheck out a free sneak peek of Alan Tyers and Beach's new book WG Grace Ate My Pedalo here. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

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Comments: 2 
Posted by Dabi on (November 16, 2010, 22:34 GMT)

Very nicely written! Found it very funny!

Posted by Jim1207 on (November 15, 2010, 22:44 GMT)

Hilarious!

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan Tyers Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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