This, that and the other. Mostly the other
The cricket world was rocked to its foundations on the last day of the second Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's. Following the breaking of a dressing-room window by Matt Prior, the ECB accidentally came clean and revealed the mundane circumstances behind the incident in a startling contravention of their own Charter For Treating The Fans Like Credulous Morons. Thanks to an anonymous source who sent me the taped transcript of the ECB's Media Damage Escalation Committee (MDEC), I can exclusively reveal the contents of the intended official explanation which until now have never seen the light of day.
Kim Jungle: (out of breath) Hello all, I'm Kim Jungle, Head of Contempt For Public Relations. First off I'd like to welcome you to this Extraordinary Meeting of the MDEC and ask you to introduce yourselves. Starting with you and going round the table in the usual sinister fashion.
Paul Pott: I'm Paul Pott, Director of Fabrications & Propaganda.
Lenny Reifer-Stall: Hi, I'm Lenny Reifer-Stall, Public Re-Education Manager.
Matt Prior: And I'm Matt Prior, England wicketkeeper with a hugely impressive average which would have been bigger still were it not for that dozy idiot Ian Bell, who…
LRS: Thank you, Matt, we know who you are. The introductions were for the rest of us.
MP: So you're all new to this?
PP: No, no. We've done this hundreds of times before but once the official statement is issued we three will have our memories wiped.
KJ: In case we're captured by our enemies in the press. That way we can be sure to avoid blurting out the truth.
(LRS, PP, and KJ all shudder audibly at the prospect)
LRS: So Matt. Tell us what happened so we can eliminate that from our official explanation.
MP: Well, Belly goes for a huge, ugly smear into the leg side, misses it and the ball cannons off the wicketkeeper's pads….
LRS: No, no. What happened to the window?
MP: The window? What do you think happened to the window? I broke it. 'Cos that wazzock Bell's just standing there and I'm, like, running and that, 'cos we're supposed to be declaring and the skipper had said, "Matty, I want quick runs…"
PP: Yes, yes, but how did you break the window?
MP: With the power of my mind.
KJ: Really? That's fantastic. Lenny, Paul, think what this means. We could use him to destroy our foes…
MP: Of course, I didn't use my mind, you nutter. I threw my bat at it in entirely justifiable frustration at being sold down the river by...
KJ: Right, okay. Your bat. Of course. Your bat. Shame.
LRS: Well, in many ways that makes our lives much easier. Everyone's going to assume it was you, with the bat, in the dressing room, so anything we concoct will be achievably ludicrous.
KJ: Maybe we should say he did do it with his mind and intimate to anyone who wants to print otherwise what he could do to them if they don't play ball.
PP: Too dangerous. They'd demand proof of his telekinetic powers.
LRS: Can we blame Trott?
KJ: I thought about that but, annoyingly, he's been spotted in the Nursery End nets practising scratching his guard for the last three hours.
PP: How about saying Matty's box spontaneously flew out of his jockstrap owing to his swelling pride at wearing the Three Lions, and connected with the window? Or is that too Ponting?
LRS: Way too Ponting.
KJ: I've got it. He's a keeper, right? So… gloves. Gloves. Something to do with gloves.
PP: Yes, yes. He comes in, throws off his gloves, aiming for his kit bag like he's been taught by Philip Diller, the Undressing Coach, but what he doesn't know is that Trott has left a mini trampet in the kitbag, off which the glove bounces…
LRS: That's it. The glove bounces… and then connects with a newly assembled marble run KP has bought for his "little man"…
PP: Lovely touch. Family man. Like it.
LRS: …and sets off a marble, which knocks over some carefully arranged dominoes, which eventually strike one of those pecking wooden bird things…
KJ: Bit left field, don't you think?
LRS: Just run with it for a minute. The now moving wooden bird is mistaken for a real animal by the Lord's cat, let's call him Ijaz Butt, who leaps up, catches the bird, but in so doing sends a forearm guard hurtling towards the window….
PP: Which Matt instinctively dives to catch, but as he gathers it in his right hand, the force of his tumble sends his elbow through the window and blamelessly sprinkles jagged shards of life-threatening glass onto the ankle of a spectator below.
LRS: We get to insinuate that it was all a plot to defraud English cricket, cooked up by a Pakistani cat and two South Africans.
PP: Perfect. Brilliant. God we're good.
KJ: Agreed. Love it. Okay Matty. Happy with that? Matty? Where the hell is Prior?
(Barely audible conversation between Andy Flower and Matt Prior in the distance)
PP: Good God, what is he doing? Coming clean? We've got to get to the press before Flower and his uncontrollably determined moral compass gets to them first.
LRS: (on phone) Hello? Eva? Yes it's me Lenny. Please, Eva, not now. Yes, of course I want to marry you, but… but. Look, shut up and take down this statement for the press. Just tell them it was a glove… No, don't say what type of glove. Don't give any details. Just say he threw a glove, it bounced off his kitbag and hit the window and wait for me to get down there and fill in the details….
Daniel Norcross is a founder of and commentator on Test Match Sofa, the alternative cricket commentary. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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