The Heavy Ball

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Dessie and the Major

An end to rain-ruined days at Edgbaston

In which a most cunning plan to keep out the wet is unveiled

As told to Alan Tyers

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Ashley Giles, Warwickshire's director of cricket, helps with the fielding drills, Somerset v Warwickshire, Taunton, April 15, 2009
Soon on a screen near you as Noah of ark fame © Getty Images
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"Do you know Major," said Dessie, my long-time Indian cohabitant, as we stood in the rain at Edgbaston. "I rather think the world might be a better place altogether if Birmingham were to be entirely covered over."

I mulled. We had forcibly persuaded Nick Knight to lend us an umbrella and a Sky-branded sou'wester for Dessie - I myself have lived too well and too long to fit into anything belonging to the lissom former Warwickshire one-day specialist - but were nevertheless feeling decidedly damp and fed-up. The scene on the outfield was dispiriting. There was a sound of sobbing and wailing from the Warwickshire commercial offices. Graeme Swann was attempting to make an underwater documentary. Mitchell Johnson had somehow got himself trapped under a hover cover and the Australian leadership group was debating how, and indeed if, they should rescue him.

Dessie outlined his plan. A large glass dome would be erected over the entire city of Birmingham, meaning that rain-ruined cricket would be a thing of the past. "It would also keep the ghastly inhabitants in one controlled area," mused Dessie, but I baulked at that. I didn't serve for Queen and Country (Territorials) and give Diego and his mates a bloody good hiding in a support role (First Royal Caterers, Devon) so that Dessie could implement that sort of fascist master plan in the West Midlands. I suggested instead some sort of checkpoint whereby Birminghamists (as I understand they are colloquially known) could apply for a 24-hour pass to visit the rest of the country, providing all their papers were in order and they didn't speak too loudly.

I asked Dessie about the feasibility of covering an entire metropolitan area in a giant glass dome, and he was vague bordering on the evasive. He claimed that a relative had once done a bit of judo with Lord Coe and was confident that "Seb would be able to help rustle up the cash". He also mentioned David Beckham, so unjustly snubbed in his dream to become one of the judges on The X Factor, as I understand it, as a possible figurehead for the operation, with time on his hands.

Dessie was in one of his persuasive moods, and in the end I could see nothing for it to agree. We begin lobbying the great and the good of Warwickshire County Cricket Club tomorrow morning, and if that means putting the hard word on Ashley Giles, then so be it. Ashley has always been an entirely selfless cricketer and if he has to retrain as the greatest structural engineer who ever lived in order to come up with a solution that will make rain-ruined matches at Edgbaston a thing of the past, then I know he will step up to the party with his hand up, as the modern cricketer would no doubt put it.

Yours, looking forward to sunnier days ahead,

- The Major

RSS FeedAlan 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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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 TyersClose
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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