Category Archives: Australia Vs India

Ashes Diary of the 17th Man – Jun 13

It was good to escape the hurly-burly of PuffGate this morning and head west to Belfast for the Australia A Game tomorrow.  We’ve had to sit through the explanation of a whole new layer of “Player Behaviour Expectations”, imposed in the wake of this week’s controversy. As we trotted out of the team meeting, lugging our shiny, new, leather-bound “Behaviour Manuals”, The Prof had things summed up pretty well: “Stay off the turps, don’t punch anyone.”   I added staying away from ridiculous Australiana themed pubs, anywhere in the world. He just laughed, signed his copy of the manual and sent it off to the mate of his who’s a dab hand with ebay.

We kept track of the England V Sri Lanka game en route, and that dampened the mood. It’s hard to see the results falling Australia’s way in the remaining few days of the Champions Trough. It’s all up to that version of the Australian Team – we’re off to play with the few Irish players who haven’t defected to England.*

The whole afternoon was spent sucking mints and spitting on cricket balls.  Anyone watching would have thought we had a disgusting habit, but the less said about Wicky the better. We were trying different techniques for loading up globs of spit with high glucose concentrations, to see if we can get a ball to shine and then go reverse the way Jimmy A does day after day, and Broad does on the rare occasions when he applies himself to the task. Red tongues and a dangerous sugar rush was all we seemed to have to show for it. We left the bowlers to see who was responsible for the best prepared balls and had a batting session with the bowling machine.

June 13I didn’t even open my “Welcome to Ireland” pack until we got back to the Hotel – at TEN O’CLOCK and sober as judges, I might point out. Just poking out of a chunky brochure – Great Pubs of Belfast – was a single sheet of white paper.

“You’ve got the wrong mints.  Deep Third.”

“Same paper, same pen,” said The Prof on close examination when he arrived in my room. “Same guy.”

We agreed that, as the bowlers had been quite despondent after their session with the doctored balls, this message may have some value.  We were about to head off in search of a kiosk when Prof grabbed my arm.  On top of the mini-bar was a collection of overpriced goods, including a pack of mints.

“Ever seen these?” he said excitedly, shaking them in front of my face.
“Never,” I replied.
“EXACTLY,” he said, wild-eyed. “I’ll tell everyone to buy the packets from their mini-bar, and we’ll test them out tomorrow.”
When I politely pointed out that mini-bar purchases aren’t covered by team expenses, he scoffed. “Stuff that! The fate of the Urn depends on it!”

 

*If I have in anyway offended or inflamed any Irish-English sensitivities, all I can say is that it’s Puff’s fault.

Meet the Squad, and see their new pictures, here. And don’t miss the podcast – now up to date!

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – 8 April

Life is strange. After all the stress and excitement of the Tour, there’s not much to do sitting around at home waiting for the Ashes Squad to be announced. Apart from reading through the CA Contracts list, wishing my name was on there somewhere. I’ve checked ten times, it’s still not there. With the mix of Test, ODI and T20 “Specialists”, it’s hard to pick where I stand, really, apart from at the end of the queue. I’m not expecting to play in the Champion’s Trophy, but with the 30 player list being kept “top secret”, everyone keeps asking me if I’m going.  If I say “I can’t tell you,” they say “He’s Going!”.  If I say “No, I don’t think so,” they say “Well, hard to break into Ashes Squad from outside.”  What do they know? I’m a Test incumbent, and I’ve got a freaking Baggy Green to prove it!

Dad has gotten over the disappointment of having his son play in one of Australia’s biggest ever cricketing disasters.  Every time Thea and I go over there for a meal he drops a hint about bringing the Baggy Green for a visit. He wears it, straightens the peak, fondles it, has his photo taken in it.  I don’t mind at all, he’s done plenty to earn it over the years, but I draw the line at letting that dumb spaniel have a photo taken wearing it.  If it found its way onto facebook, I’ll end up on a Contrary Conduct charge.

A strange parcel was delivered at home today.  It had been addressed to me at the hotel we stayed at in Mohali, then forwarded on. It was a bit battered after its journey, so I couldn’t read the “sender” panel.  Inside was a note saying “Pass these onto your coach” and a wad of 457 Temporary Skilled (Work) Visa application forms.  I’m not sure what he was planning to do with these, but if he picked me as a sop who would just pass them on without asking any questions – like “Can I have a game or I’ll leak this to the press?” – he was wrong.

I remember now that in the middle of HomeWorkGate, I overheard the loons from Team Management talking about ways to recruit new players.  One of them suggested setting a refugee processing centre up on the footpath outside Ravi Ashwin’s old school.  There are plenty of hell-holes in the world that people are willing to risk their lives to escape from, but I doubt St Bede’s Chennai is one of them.

Still waiting.  Still watching snippets of friends and opponents alike raking in the cash playing in the IPL.  Still hitting the bowling machine every day in case the call up comes.

 

Note:  The collected diary entries of The 17th Man are available as an ebook for kindle and kindle apps from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – eBook now Available

D17Man Cover“From Dust to Dust – Australia’s Tour of India 2013″

Find out what really happened on the Tour of India through the outrageous chronicles of the 17th Man as he picks over the daily entrails of a Tour gone wrong.
Australian Cricket Tours of India always start with winning expectations that are ever so slowly deflated by stifling days watching dusty pies belted over the boundary ropes and a curry smorgasbord that runs through you like the Ganges. Mental disintegration under pressure is nothing new. Add the spice of HomeWorkGate, persecution of the Mohali 4, debilitating on-field performances and a dash of sledging and you have enough explosive to shake the pillars of Australian cricket.

Regular readers of this blog will have seen this material before, but the ebook offers you the ebb and flow of the whole saga in one place, conveniently on your device of choice.

AVAILABLE NOW at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk at the special introductory price of US$0.99 or just 75p until Friday 5 April.  For your kindle or kindle app for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC or Mac.
Also available for other devices from Smashwords.

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 26

Day 5 – Fourth Test – Delhi

Well, it should be Day 5, but it seems like an age since we got rolled and the tour was put out of its misery.  There are a few sore heads around this morning, especially amongst the support staff who were really cutting loose last night at the end of a tense five weeks.  Darren – team psychologist – made the terrible mistake of having a few more beers than he’s used to, leaving his judgement somewhat impaired. He kept angling for information about the location of the “after-after party” – which is strictly “players only”.  It was Rabbit who stepped up to the plate, making his only contribution of the whole tour. He whispered something in Darren’s ear, slipping him a piece of paper. Darren read it and nodded slowly. A few mintues later, he snuck out of the room, and hasn’t been seen since.

We only got Rabbit to confess at lunch time.  Instead of a complicated plan, he had gone done the simple route – told Darren to go to his room and wait for someone to ring him and let him know where the party was.  “Oops, forgot to ring him!” said Rabbit, to raucous applause from the squad.

The members of the team who are about to play in the IPL are very nervous.  There’s talk in the media that those selected for The Ashes shouldn’t be preparing for facing the skillful English swingers by playing hit and giggle on the flat India pitches. No-one wants to give up their IPL contract, but on the other hand, everyone wants to be thought of as so important for the Ashes Tour that they are asked to miss the IPL.  Every phone call is answered as if it’s from Cricket Australia, but so far, only the Captain and his dicky back will be sitting out.

Those of us who didn’t get an IPL contract – we’re not bitter at all – are packing up to return home tonight.  I saw Wicky carrying three large black plastic bags down to the incinerator room himself, shrugging off all offers of help from hotel staff. He obviously didn’t want the contents falling into souveniour hunters’ hands. Or anyone else’s.

It’s hard to believe it’s all over, and even harder to believe that I made it from being a rank outsider to actually making my Test Debut.  I even scored a few under pressure, so maybe I’ve moved up a notch in the eyes of the Selectors – both the current ones and any others who might be appointed in their place. Not that I think that they should be replaced.  Or that any new ones won’t be as good.  You get the idea.

Bring on The Ashes!

Note:  The collected diary entries of The 17th Man will be available as an ebook for kindle and kindle apps from amazon.com shortly.

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 25

Day 4 – Fourth Test – Delhi

The Prof and I breakfasted early as usual. The Prof looked considerably refreshed, keen to relate how he managed to rescue his betting empire from ignominious collapse barely 48 hours ago. India was an unbackable favourite last Friday. Things were well under control until the hotel boy the Prof had recruited in Chennai reset the odds at 20:1, backing in his parents’ savings and his uncle’s trucking company for a modest tax free windfall. In one hour, before the Prof found out and closed him down, the lad had accepted USD$700Bn in bets from farmers in the Punjab, Saudi Sheiks, Gerard Depardieu (from his Siberian chalet), Chinese construction companies, and the Bank of England – anyone and everyone.

The Prof said his bankers went crazy when they realised they had guaranteed his liabilities after the Chennai Test to the end of the Tour as full partners in the No. 1 Fund.  “If I wasn’t part of the Squad I would be roasting by the Ganges” he said. “But they couldn’t touch me for fear of ending the Tour and losing everything”. The bankers paid S&P and Moody’s to rate these bets AAA, off-loading them as MBS mark IV into Cyprus, the PIGS, and to California renters saving to re-buy their homes.  Another group sold them forward to the new breed of young guns desperate for a mid-year bonus.

When the music stopped and everyone figured it out, Cameron lit a fuse in the UK and the FDIC had a minor meltdown. “Worse than a front bench walk out,” I stammered, a little confused.

“The only way to balance the books was to reverse the cycle, savers borrowing from their banks and so forth, backed by a balancing bet on Australia to lose on the fourth day, a complex conditional probability problem offered to the same punters at 25:1″

“As reasonable a bet as one could imagine at the end of Day 2… ”

The Freak joined us, hair adrift, dishevelled and sleep deprived, when the Prof left, leaving me to ponder who was in control of this Tour  – the players, the Coach, Team Management, the hotel boy, or the Punjabi farmer.

The Prof, Rocket Man, and I walked the streets of old Delhi in the afternoon steadying ourselves for the traditional end of Tour Awards dinner. The evening went off without a hitch. AB was the surprise MC. He never submitted homework during his career he said through a cheesy grin, the first of many one-liners he pumped out between drinks and the awards ceremony.

I recorded the awards on the back of Plopper’s dirty napkin.

Batting
The Bowlers’ Batsman Award: Mr Darcy, highest almost ton (99)
The Captain’s All-rounder (joint): The Freak “only Australian batsmen cannot bat in India”, and Jacka “only bowlers can bat in India”

Bowling
Most injuries caused: Rocket Man “I bruise batsmen, ours and theirs”
Most wickets: Plopper “At my best in long spells when the game is beyond reach” Ripples of polite applause
Most Expensive Wickets: Mr Darcy, “I should bat at 4″
Most pies: Gipper “These wickets don’t take spin”
Bowlers’ Award to Batsmen: “We prefer to bowl with a new ball, not face it. Do your homework.”

The Golden Hand Award: Wicky “I caught the one’s that really mattered”

General
The Players’ Player Award: Rabbit (wild cheering and kisses), the only player not to play a Test
The Bunny Award: The Captain, scalped 5 times by Jadeja. Plenty of guffawing from the XI
The Global Capital Markets (GCM) Award: Prof, for the largest intra-day rise in the UK 10yr bond rate since 2007
The Wisden Statisticians Award: Lucky, most balls faced and wickets lost without scoring a run (not even a sundry)
The Indian Hoteliers Award: Puff, most sandwiches eaten in 60 seconds at an official team function (10)
The Chirper’s Award for the Best Send-off: Plopper, for using the same word thrice in one mouthful
The Chirper’s chirping Award: Rocket man “I read Shakespeare a lot”
The Brass Bands of Australia Award (by telephone): Puff, loudest report in a public place
Most Annoying Roomie Award: Mr Bean’s matchbox Leyland P76, for crawling up Ploppers inside leg at 3am
The Coach’s Award: Darren, for his paper ‘Swimming Between the Flags: Batting on the Subcontinent under the Influence of Equine Stimulants’

The award ceremony was suspended for 15 minutes while security restored order. The girl from marketing found Darren in the back stalls, his award stuffed in his mouth next to a few lines scrawled on the wall in red lipstick. “I’d do anything for a few days off, but I won’t do that” groaned Darren. She added her own artistry before tying his shoelaces together. “Mum’s the word”.

The place was held at fever pitch (and a round of drinks) for the final most prestigious Tour award

The Times of India Award: Coach, for the best Coach to Tour India since 1984

After that we all broke wind in time to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band laughing all the while –  for although Tour player bonuses are as rare as hen’s teeth, dividends from Prof’s betting syndicate No.2 Fund in which we all have a 1/17th Man share are more reliable.

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 24

Day 3 – Fourth Test – Delhi

It’s hard to know whether or not to be relieved that it was all over so quickly.  Even though there were brief glimpses today of how we could have won a consolation Test, each time they were snuffed out by a rampant India – with the ball, and then with the bat.

In spite of the on-field heat yesterday, the Indians were very magnanimous to invite us to their rooms at the end of play. It was a real eye opener – the visiting team dressing rooms had been good enough, but the home team rooms were palatial.  The BCCI had obviously decided to reward the players with a big celebration.  It was like a Bollywood set in there, with wild dancing and music – MSD told Hollywood this was just the warm-up act and urged us to stay longer. Even the stand-in Captain knew we could only take so much force-feeding of humble pie, leading us away after a polite few drinks. We really needed to lick our wounds in private. The ground staff knew this and thoughtfully refused our bus entry into the security area.  We had to drag our sorry arses and kits out past to celebrating crowd – who let us know who had won the contest with a solid round of chirping and flamboyant hand gestures.

Call Centre Brian was on the phone again. “How’s the cricket looking for tomorrow?  I haven’t seen the score…” he lied. I humoured him with “We’ll be pressing for a win. How about the Black Caps?”  What was I thinking?  He fired back with “Pretty much the same.  274 in front, 7 wickets in hand. England don’t have KP for the chase, and Boult has the ball swinging around like a dummy door in a Wellington howler.  We’re doing our best to soften them up before the Ashes. Anyway, best of luck.”

It looks like I might be stuck here until Wednesday – the flights were all booked months ago by someone who was wearing the rosy coloured glasses that made them expect the last test to go 5 days.  Even if they can arrange the tickets, the airline won’t have had a chance to stock up with the supplies they need to keep us well lubricated on the long flight home.  Under normal circumstances, there isn’t that much VB in the city, but with most of the squad staying in India for the IPL, they  should be able to arrange something.

I’ve been appointed to the committee tasked with nominating the team awards for the end of tour dinner tomorrow night. There’s a fine line to walk between having some fun together and rubbing a poorly performing team member’s nose in the fact that their career may be over. That will keep me busy all day tomorrow.

Got back to my room.  All I wanted was to have a long shower and wash away the dust. Sitting on the bed was a plucked shuttlecock.  Must have been Kohli – a good effort, I must admit.  I picked up the plucked bird, pulled the curtains aside and threw it out the open window.  It sank like a stone into the courtyard below.  I looked out to see it wasn’t alone.

Australia 262 and 164. India 272 and 4/158.
India by 6 wickets.
India 4-0

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 23

Day 2 – Fourth Test – Delhi

The Captain left for the airport early flanked by Darren and Coach and a ministerial entourage of injured masseurs trailing ribbons of antiseptic gauze from bandaged hands and swollen arms.

Hollywood called for quiet as he announced a new policy of on-field communication for Day 2 that unleashed a storm of wild approval from the Rejects, the Mohali 4, and some of the more outspoken regulars.  The ruckus drowned out the few squeals of protest from team management at the back. As the marketing girl distributed heavily thumbed copies of the Thesaurus and Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, drawing attention to highlighted one-liners for those wits with thespian pretensions, Hollywood read purple passages from Steve Waugh’s annotated supplement to the Art and Rules of Cricket. “A good session sledging pattern plays with a batter’s conscience and to the crowd.   The object is to add tension usually with oblique references to anything that irritates. Tension takes wickets.”

The squad repaired to the pool for an hour to get in the groove, while the marketing girl sat in the shade with a floppy hat reworking tame one-liners [ for example “(…), if you turn the bat over, you’ll see the instructions on the back”] she suspected the players would sideline for their own simple vocabulary when play began.

The ground was buzzing when we arrived, salivating at the prospect of a 500+ Indian total at stumps featuring a last hurrah at Kotla for TLM. It looked that way at 2/130 when things turned for us on the back of news at the drinks break that the Indian Badminton team was short 50 barrels of shuttlecocks due to a ministerial import ban imposed during the avian flu scare. The Freak related this to the Indian pair with some adjustment and familial reminders when play resumed.

Wickets continued to fall.  Plopper jagged 5 acknowledging each with the type of unique ‘how’s your mother’ salutation most confidently given when you are surrounded by 10 really tall strong blokes devoted to your well-being. Ribald send-offs like that rebound in your skull like a pinball machine every step to the gate.   Plopper was like an Irish setter off his leash – sniffing for the next wicket, howling appeals to anyone who would listen, egged on by Rocket Man and The Freak.

Puff took offense after some banter with Vijay backfired – I think he tried one of the marketing girl’s one-liners – and Vijay offered him his bat.  The crowd, sensing the amusement, began to chant “Loser, loser, loser” at us. It didn’t matter.  All the chatter combined with unplayable scooters and rib ticklers unnerved the Indian bats for the first time in the tour.

At least this is what made most sense until I learned that the Indian team and a billion of their supporters had bet big on a fourth test massacre which threatened the stability of the global capital markets and the US debt ceiling.  The prospect of losing big on a match you are meant to win upsets your radar much more than quick quips about your mother and a few barrels of feathered shuttles.

Australia all out 262.  India 8/266.

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 22

Day 1 – Fourth Test –Delhi

The Bob Kater look-alike physios were putting it away at breakfast this morning, and I assumed that meant they’d been up all night working on The Back.  Prof was looking very nervous, and not about whether he was going to be playing today.  Maybe he hasn’t been able to cover an exposure here or there overnight.

In the end, the Captain was out of the team due to a non-homework related back issue.  That meant two things.  Hollywood would be filling in the team sheet (Mr Bean helpfully offered to sharpen his crayon for him) and I would be getting another Test.  Does that make me a two-test veteran, or, as someone in the press corps said, the owner of the Baggy Green least likely to wear out from over use.

Hollywood kept the run of successful calls at the toss going, and really, that was all that was required of him apart from scoring some runs.  Instead, he did a cartwheel in celebration on his way back to the dressing room, ripping the arm of his team blazer. When he stumbled a bit on landing I thought he might have ripped his ACL as well, but he was fine.

As far as the cricket goes, it was not a good day.  There were several low scores, and of those who got a start, only The Freak managed to make it to 50.  Twitter has been alive with the idea of reversing the batting order based on form, and today will give more fuel to that preposterous proposition.  I’m kicking myself for getting out just shy of a 50 after working so hard, something Dad hammered home when he rang while I was still at the ground.

We were back at the hotel when my mobile rang again.  I answered it without thinking – there wasn’t anyone I really wanted to talk to anyway.  It was Brian the New Zealander from the call center at the telco that Warnie recommended.  We’d talked about cricket when he fixed up my phone last week, and at first I thought he was just checking up on how things were going with the phone. But no, he was ringing up to gloat about how well the Black Caps were going against England.  “We were sent in and got 1 for 250 on the first day.  How did you guys go?”

I didn’t want to engage, but I guess our 231 runs was okay if you didn’t count the wickets.  Then I thought he said “It was fun taking no wickets that made the difference.”  I was about to ask him if they were batting or bowling, but it was obvious something was lost in translation.  I’m sure Finn will strike back tomorrow.

As we need to.

Australia 8/231

 

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 21

Test eve – Delhi

“Said I one night to a pristine seer
(Who knew the secrets of whirling time)
“Sir, you well perceive
That goodness and faith,
Fidelity and love
Have all departed from this sorry land
Father and son are at each other’s throat;
Brother fights brother, Unity and federation are undermined
Despite all these ominous signs,
Why has not Doomsday come?
Who holds the reins of the Final Catastrophe?” Mirzah Ghalib (Urdu Poet 1797-1869)

The fortune-teller uttered not a word more, lapsing into some sort of transcendental union. “An Urdu poet…what the hell does that mean?” whispered Rocket man.  The Prof. pushed his cap back across his curly mane “4-0 for sure”, thinking harder about the overnight message from his banker than unraveling hidden forebodings from a long retired mystic.  “I’m more comfortable with the steady meter of Shakespearean sonnets” Puff incanted as they left.  The cool night air stilled further banter, wrapping each of us in our own thoughts.

The team meeting late in the afternoon focused on the three C’s: Commitment, Capability and Composition.  Commitment to winning 15 sessions.  Capability to carry net form to the middle (of the bat). Composition to “swim between the flags” – don’t do anything stupid before you get to 10 or at any other time.  The Captain then gave an update on his back.  He could balance on his midriff like a rearing cobra – at this point Coach’s temple started throbbing as if in nuclear alert – but he was not sure if he could bowl.  We oozed sympathy for Hollywood, given the obvious bulge in The Captain’s back and obfuscating press references from team management about his form and leadership capacity.

The unnatural parallels to Australian events add spice to the pre-Test tension.  Four Condemned have been relegated to the back benched awaiting reinstatement, the incapacitated Leader is protesting good health although she has more knives in her back than a fifth day pitch has cracks, and The Future (an accidental tourist?) is leaning against the pillars of September to catch up to the past.  Is this a vision or a waking dream?

Hollywood wrapped up the session leading us in solemn prayer.  As befits this city, which has been ransacked and rebuilt so many times over the last 2,500 years, he paid homage to every form of religious devotion.  It was evensong by the time we finished rubbing our eyes and reinstating our pulses, as Coach cleaned up the Oija board – it had a thick join where The Captain had broken it early in the Tour.  We joined shoulders moving in and out in a square dance, knocking hips, elbows and the occasional head to the martial cadences of the team song.

The Prof walked out with Gipper, arm in arm.  Gipper clearly had been holding something back.  “This reminds me of King Lear Act III, Scene II.” “Huh,…yes. Indeed!” Prof replied recalling the scene “King Lear, with the Fool, in a storm.”  The bowlers behind guffawed adding a slight tailwind to Gipper’s spirited recitation:

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!”

The Captain, Hollywood, and Puff, a media scrum in tow, went to the Ferozeshah Kotla to inspect the wicket declaring it to be a typical weary end-of-season dust bowl with more under-surface fissures than a hot springs – “a fine batting wicket for three days” Puff was reported to say.  “Do you support Hollywood” a precocious reporter fired “Unreservedly.  On my honour” spoke The Captain.

One thought occupies every waking minute: Can we win at the Kotla?  I imagine the Leader is praying for rain in September as much as Coach is praying The Captain is fit to play tomorrow.  Frankly, I put more store in the pocket-sized anthology of Ghalib’s poems I picked up at the bazaar.

 

Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 20

The phalanx of physios looking after the team has been bolstered by three new arrivals from Australia, who were waiting for us when we arrived in Delhi. The Prof has a theory about why they are dressed up to look like Bob Kater, but he refuses to share it with me.

There is a round the clock roster of them working on the Captain’s back – he hasn’t been off the massage table since we got to the hotel, apart from fronting a news conference to say he was hoping to be right to play.

It seems natural that the existing Vice will captain the team if needed, but the whole issue of who will be playing in Friday is still up in the air.  With The Reject Club performing with some distinction when they got a run replacing The Condemned in Mohali, the manouvering to impress the Captain (who’s horizontal) and the Coach (who is trapizoidal) in their capacities as selectors is on in earnest.  Gipper in particular is running an enthusiastic campaign, but Prof’s pretty sure he won’t get enough votes to get his deposit back.  The team spirit is improved, but the individual insecurities are coming to the fore.  The Freak has no worries about his spot in the team, but Mr Darcy, Mantis and Rocket Man are all keen that a) there are three quicks in the team and b) they are one of them.  The good natured competitiveness is being taken out on the batsmen in the practice nets, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.  Lucky was felled by what the late and great Tony Greig would have called a “norsty delivery”, and took no further part in procedings. His parts were subjected to ice therapy, and there will be no procedings there for some time.

When we got back to the hotel, I passed one of the physios in the hall.  He was off to have a break, rubbing his throbbing muscle-bound digits, having been subbed-off from duty on The Back. Trained not to give anything away under scrutiny, he was stoney faced, but I did manage to get out of him that, unlike in Canberra, there were no knives in the Captain’s back.

Test Eve tomorrow, and 0-4 is looming.  Something’s gotta give.

 

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© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley