Oh captain, my (occasional) captain
So you thought Andrew Strauss was taking it easy and being posh while England slaved in Bangladesh, did you? Perish the thought
The England team assembled in the dressing room, and some of Official Team England's 27 full-time video analysts fiddled around with a large television. Eventually, a satellite link-up of Andrew Strauss, sitting on a sun lounger and with Luke Wright keeping his glass nicely topped up, hove into view.
Strauss addressed the troops.
"Chaps, I want to thank you all for your sterling efforts out in Bangladesh, and I do not want you to think that I wasn't right there alongside you in spirit. I am your leader, and I suffered with you. You were running around in the 50-degree heat: my man Tomkins ran my bath at an unconscionably tepid temperature on two separate occasions. You had to deal with gruelling hours in the gym: I often played 18 holes in the morning and had a go on the pitch and putt in the afternoon. Some of you suffered from stomach upsets due to the unfamiliar food: I had a lobster bisque at Simpsons-in-the-Strand which was shockingly under-seasoned. You had to endure hurtful brickbats from a hostile press: I had the emotional turmoil of giving Tomkins his cards.
"Throughout this winter, your triumphs have been my triumphs, and fortunately there weren't too many disasters, other than when young Alastair didn't seem to be able to get anyone's attention to go and stand at third man."
A snickering came from Kevin Pietersen.
"But I think we can agree," continued Strauss. "That Alastair did everything I asked of him, particularly in the vital area of making me look rather brilliant as a captain in absentia. As we said before the tour, the decision to appoint Alastair was very much a learning exercise and we have all learned that I am, in fact, the lovechild of Mike Brearley and George Washington.
"So now that spring is here, there is no time for idling, and we must all get back to work. You chaps are going off to the West Indies under the watchful eye of Colly there. I myself will be back at HQ preparing for the season ahead - Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley and so on. I am sure Colly will have some marvellous ideas of his own about how things should be done: brown ale, whippet fancying, amusing anecdotes about a funny-shaped bit of coal and suchlike, so I will not be cramping his style with too many instructions, other than to say: play up, remember who you represent - i.e. your illustrious occasional leader, i.e. me - and if you fast bowlers could stop pestering matron with all your wretched complaints, niggles and ailments, that would be splendid. Now if you'll excuse me, you must all go and get punched in the face by Security Consultant Reg at 'Boxing Bootcamp', and I've got rather an urgent appointment with the jacuzzi."
Alan Tyers is a freelance journalist based in London.
Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fictional (but you knew that already, didn't you?)