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Both Dessie and I have been dismayed by the recent spate of England players moaning about the amount of cricket they are compelled to play. For Dessie, who played hours of cricket every day from the age at which he was old enough to stand - and often, post-lunch, unable to stand - it has been simply mystifying.
"Do you know Major," he said to me as we menaced Nick Knight out of his lunch money around the back of the Edgbaston pavilion. "It is this unmanly carrying-on about missing the birth of children that I find most unfathomable."
Giving Knight a Chinese burn and a warning to bring his credit cards next time, I sent him on his way and told Dessie that I quite agreed.
"I simply cannot understand why a man would rather be at a birth than on a cricket field," he said. I nodded in silent, impassioned agreement as I calculated how to turn Knight's per diem expenses from Sky into liquid happiness in the speediest and most economical manner.
"I myself was actually born on the field of play," Dessie continued. "A nasty outbreak of Ganguly's Palsy had left the Kathiawar Cricket Club somewhat short of players, and my dear mother had been pressed into action. Despite being nine months with child, mother insisted on opening the batting, and had scored a watchful 23 not out against a touring team of Combined Aristocrats when she went into labour.
"Refusing a runner, she gave birth without fuss down at the non-striker's end and went on to make a faultless 167 not out before eventually having to retire and have another child."
"And look at me," said Dessie. "I am absolutely tip-top and the experience didn't do me the least harm."
Not certain how to respond, I shouldered open the door of the off-licence. As I selected an array of tonic wines and a battery of refreshing yet formidable ciders to see us through until the game was called off for the day, who should we see but Graeme Swann, purchasing a variety of infantile sweets and pocket amusements, such as something called "Euro 2012 Stickers". I assume this is something to do with the disgusting mess the continentals have made of their economies.
"Brilliant! I love gobstoppers, me," said the England spinner. "Aren't sweets great? I'm completely mad, I am!"
"I expect you are purchasing these for one of your precious children," sniffed Dessie.
"No way!" said Swann. "Never mind the kids. These are all mine. Weren't Curly Wurlies mad? And Bazooka Joes!"
The police arrived shortly afterwards.
I will say two things regarding Mr Swann. Firstly, you wouldn't have seen Jim Laker go down that easily if he was hit over the head with a Peanut Yorkie. Secondly, and on the other hand, if he is prepared to drop the charges, Dessie will make a sizeable donation to Swann's favourite charity, the A-Team Trust, and I very much hope that will be the end of the matter.
- The Major
Alan Tyers is the author of WG Grace Ate My Pedalo
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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