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Aug 23 – Snailsbury Tails

Day 3 – Fifth Test

The hightlight of the day was me appearing on testmatchsofa.  It was all cloak and dagger at this end, as communicating electronically from the dressing room is frowned on at the best of times.  I spent the morning surreptitiously checking the extent of the wifi coverage in the dressing room’s quieter recesses. My investigations proved that the disabled toilet on the floor below was the best bet.  [Ed. May future generations of crickets who get to play at The Oval take note]  I made it to lunch early, partaking of the rather dour spread at a speed designed to avoid indigestion by the narrowist of margins that didn’t require a DRS.  Or an alkaseltzer.

I slipped out, carrying my trusty and well-charged iPad hidden in a copy of The Cricketer magazine and headed to what I described to The Prof as my “private broadcast studio.”  I got there with five minutes to spare, only to find a queue of three young men in wheelchairs waiting to use the facilities. Oh, what a joy to live in an enlighted age when everyone can have the opportunity to have the pants bored off them by the English stonewallers masquarading as batsmen, fossilised as they were on this batting paradise. The fact that I needed that loo more than these kids did was beside the point.

In a panic, I looked around trying to work out where the wifi was strongest.  Then I saw Dad out of the corner of my eye, and dodged into a narrow alley between two buildings before he saw me. I checked my watch – 1.28.  I opened the iPad – three bars of wifi.  This was it.  The skype “ringing” tone signalled that the Sofa was on the line – so we were off.

I never thought that being interviewed in a dingy alley would be the next chapter in my media career, but I’ll take what I can get.  The ten minutes was over in a flash, and we wound up just as play recommenced. I skipped back towards the stairs to the dressing room, just in time to see the three wheelchairs whizzing back to their spots.

No-one had noticed I was missing for ten minutes, only The Prof, who nodded sagely from behind his laptop.  I asked him how he thought it went.

“Not bad. Not bad at all. But weren’t you supposed to mention the book?”

Bugger. And I didn’t make the highlights package.

day3t5The afternoon dragged on.  If it hadn’t been for the occasional bowler dropping in to the dressing room for a quick wee,  adjustment of strapping or an urgent concilliatory phone call to a WAG with her nose out of joint, we wouldn’t have even known there was a match on.  Dad said later that it was like “Test cricket ws in the old days,” but give me four runs an over any day.  With bad weather forecast for tomorrow, the Chef’s men are clearly satisfied to rest on their laurels [Ed. And the urn] at 3-0 without having any sort of a dash at a record-breaking 4-0.  Even if they went for it and crashed and burned, 3-1 would still flatter them adn they get the silverware.

I’m not sure if anyone can hang on any longer.  It’s like having your brain sucked out through a straw.  Slowly.

Aust 9/Million d, 4/Painfully Slow.

How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?

(Speed of Sound, Coldplay)



COMING SOON – The 17th Man: The Ashes Diary – Part 1 – England 2013





Ashes File Cover2Coach COver5The Ashes Files 2013. The secret applications file that Cricket Australia assembled when they threw applications open to all comers. Ebook available at amazon now. Works on your ipad with the free kindle app.

Coach2Coach – The story of Australia’s chequered preparation for the 2013 Ashes, as told by The 17th Man. (US/UK)


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