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Ashes Diary of the 17th Man – Jul 7

T minus 3.

It was all about cricket today.

The Prof thinks he knows who’s going to play, and those who are playing certainly seem to know (smuggness seeps out of them like sweat). However,  I’m in the dark, and therefore confident of one thing, that I’m not playing.  Dad keeps texting me, hoping to hear that I’ve got the call up to play in the Ashes.  Trouble is, I can only say “The team hasn’t been announced yet, Dad,” under the strict anti-corruption secrecy guidelines, so he seems to think the fact that I’m not saying I’m missing out is good news.

Thing is, I know that the announcement of the team is being delayed by uncertainty about the fitness of some members of the bowling squad:

– Rocket Man’s heal injury, sustained when he trod on one of Mr Bean’s matchbox cars in the last few moments of our unfruitful stay in Worcester, has turned septic. The offending bumper bar and its Mustang convertible has been posted to Mr Bean’s preferred repairer in Sydney, so can’t be examined for infective material.

– Mantis has some weird allergy to the sticky substance they put in cream buns masquerading as strawberry jam, and has a nasty pustulant rash across the bridge of his nose where Coach2.0 hit him with a cream bun on the bus yesterday.  Medical staff were keen to examine the bun to see if they could work out what was going on, but Puff had scoffed it with no apparent ill effect.

They both seemed to train OK, though, while The Freak’s constant carping with his “I am not an animal” gag at Mantis’s expense wore a little thin through the afternoon.  The weather was warm and the cricket pretty willing.  Coach2.0 may seem casual at first, but he’s a hard nut as far the serious stuff goes and today, the fielding drills were relentless.  We sat around in the shade at the end of it – yes, shade, the sun was shining! – drinking sponsor’s salty rehydration product, when Coach2.0 made an announcement.   “Forecast is fine for the week, so we’re not going to be robbed of our first win by the weather, boys!”

Back to the hotel, the staff are becoming insufferable now that Murray has won Wimbledon.  They seem to think that with the Lions winning the Rugby, they really have some sporting momentum. Not sure what the no-necks stamping all over the Wallabies has to do with things, and @TheCricketGeek reckons that the last time there was a British Wimbledon male champion England lost the Ashes 3-2 after being 2-0 up in a 5 match series (1936-7), although @JackMendel4 countered with the news that the last time a SCOT won Wimbledon was in 1896, 117 years ago (Harold Mahony) and England won 2-1 in the Ashes :) .

It all boils down to one thing.  Scoring runs, taking wickets.  OK, two things, neither of which I’ll be doing from the dressing room.

I guess someone will put out a team list soon?

Meet the Squad here

OUT NOW – The Ashes Files 2013. The secret applications file that Cricket Australia assembled when they threw applications open to all comers. Ebook available at amazon now.

COMING SOONCoach2Coach – The story of Australia’s chequered prepartion for the 2013 Ashes, as told by The 17th Man. (Available 7 July 2013)

© 2013 Dave Cornford, Jeremy Pooley & Jock Macneish

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