Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes
"Chaps," said Andrew Strauss. "That's four defeats in a row and I am afraid the time has come for some strong words. A few of you might find what I am about to say makes for rather uncomfortable listening, and I would be remiss if I were not to warn you that there may be some rather colorful language."
Luke Wright gawped.
"Wosseee mean?" he asked.
"I mean, Luke," said Strauss, "that I must speak to you all frankly about your performances. Some of our cricket of late has been… distinctly… whiffy."
Strauss gazed around the room, letting the full gravity of his brutal verbal assault sink in, deep and profound and dreadful, like Andrew Flintoff getting into trouble off the Bay of Biscay in a vessel made out of an old cask of sherry.
He paused, looking pretty jolly bally miffed, actually.
There was a gasp from the England players. None of them could remember their affable leader going off the deep end like this. Not even when Tim Bresnan ran out of toilet roll during his morning mid-movement after a hard night on the Curried Pies in Chittagong, panicked and grabbed hold of the skipper's treasured copy of Posh Banker Monthly, Incorporating Lucrative Investments For The Right Sort Of Chap Weekly.
"He's really cross," muttered Ian Bell, his eyes like saucers and his bottom lip quivering in a manner unbecoming of a now senior figure in the middle order who spends his off days cheating death and kick-boxing. "I reckon he might even do a swear."
"Chaps," said Strauss. "I haven't been this hopping mad since we caught Samit sneaking tuck into the cardio-conditioning suite at Loughborough. Things simply have to improve.
"Matthew Prior, two ducks in a row. Don't think we haven't got other South African-born wicketkeepers available. And I might as well inform you that young Steven Davies' Afrikaans and shouting are coming on a treat.
"Christopher Tremlett: we ground our bat when we run it in. Just because we happen to be nine feet six it doesn't mean that the rules do not apply.
"And Jonathan Trott: leaving a free hit. This isn't a Test match. Just because Xavier Doherty is playing it doesn't automatically mean that the opposition are in disarray and we can take three or four days at the crease."
"I have thought long and hard about your punishments," said Strauss. "And I can think of no more fitting way to make you truly sorry for what you have done than this."
The team trembled. Surely he couldn't be? He wouldn't?
"All 11 of you will be forced to play four more one day internationals without a break," said Strauss.
The team howled in protest and pain.
"And the most serious offenders?" said the skipper with an evil grin. "You'll have to go and play in the World Cup for the next five months. Now get out of my sight."
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