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The Ashes Files Part IV: Who are the Entertainers?

Cricket Australia engaged The Prof, The Freak and I in March 2013 to vet applications for batsmen and spinners in the wake of our 4-0 defeat in India.  [Ed. One would think this is even moere pressing after a 3-0 loss in England, but who is counting anything but the green shoots of an Ashes summer down under]

This is the fourth in a series of sensational releases of the best applications we received.

We did not really know what to make of the applications from The Entertainers, but we were sure that they could hold up an end over five days very competently if not always in an orthodox way and, at the very least, leave Chef scratching his head and Broad spending more time retying his shoelaces in the overs before lunch.

The Teletubbies
[TV personalities]

Tteletubbieshe four of us would like to apply together as the bowling squad for the Australian team. It may not have been obvious to everyone that Dipsy has a doosra and Laa-Laa can hit a length.  Po may be small but the round thing on her head is perfect for testing misshapen balls.  Tinky Winky can carry useful stuff in his handbag, and the triangle on his head is perfect for setting up the snooker balls when the team is out for some stick in a local pub.

We could help speed up the game as the third umpire would be able to redirect replays for the DRS to our tummies. Brilliant! “Eh-Oh!”

Tinky Winky, LaLa, Dipsy and Po

Simon Baker
[Actor: The Mentalist, Margin Call]

I have been a keen student of leg spin and its artistry since I was a child. The local cricket cognoscenti knew me as the Mentalist because I could dismiss batsmen on the flattest of tracks simply by extreme dream association. Andy Flower, the England Coach, was a mentor.

I patented an exploding cricket ball with variable charges, contact sensitivity and time fuses designed to detonate on contact with pitch, bat or pad. The explosion and multiple flashes quickly put the batsmen in two minds and, for the first time in cricket history, priced the cost of run-making explicitly.  Of course, it took 10 seasons to calibrate the right charge to protect the pitch and reduce unintended injury.

I still hold the world record for most stumpings and infield run outs by a spinner. In my heyday, rolling my arm over at long on was often enough to shake out a mini-collapse. The quicks were always fond of me.  

A spinner with guile knows how to dismiss a batsman before he takes guard, and share the spoils with the quicks.  A spinner’s charm is to do this sympathetically with the most effusive welcome and send-off a batsman’s honour can withstand.  I am your man.

I am currently on location but can schedule an interview between takes.

Simon

Joel Madden

[Singer from Good Charlotte and judge on The Voice]

Winning a Logie for Best New Talent means that I’ve got really Orssie Credentials for playing cricket – is that what the Ashes is for?  Who died anyway?

The other thing I bring to the table is a great deal of cross-over brand recognition through my KFC spruiking.  Someone said the “F” stands for “Fried”, but I wasn’t falling for that sh*t.

Assume I’ll be doing the team song?

Joel

Mr Men

I heard from Woody that you want XI good men for the Ashes. I have many Mr. Men and Little Misses at my disposal. I have selected only the toughest most optimistic XI Men for this Tour believing this to be the difference between victory and defeat.  

Mr. Tall (he is just very tall)
Mr. Skinny (always tries really hard)
Mr. Cool (goes into his shell when the going gets tough) 
Mr. Strong (uses a 50 kilo bat
Mr. Brave (c) (tilts at windmills like Don Quixote)
Mr. Funny (team Clown. Daisy Top Hat, and yellow glove wearer. He likes Miss Giggles.)
Mr. Clever (vc) (painted the strike zone on the pitch)
Mr. Noisy (round, bald, cherry complexion. Bowls himself. Little Miss Magic turned him into a whale once)
Mr. Impossible (achiever: 1/159 and 4/40 in the same game)
Mr. Tickle (rib tickler, nightclub bouncer, causes trouble in the dressing room)
Mr. Slow (burgundy beef, curry, pepper steak pie maker. Does a rather tasty Shepherd’s pie and cheesecake combo)

This XI is good for 300 an innings and can take 20 wickets over 5 days – a better Test record than most.

The Men

The Fat Controller
[Thomas the Tank Engine]

I am the Fat Controller. When my tender engines Gordon, James and Henry refused to shunt like common tank engines and fetch their own coaches I locked them in the sheds to teach them a lesson. “Engines on my railway do as they are told,” I said. I knew just how to handle difficult engines!

Edward (a tender who doesn’t mind shunting), Thomas and Percy (a new engine) pulled the passengers instead.

The sheds were “cold, lonely and miserable. There was no coal for them, no wash down” and the three miscreants missed their passengers terribly.  I visited the shed the next day. I could see the Engines were very sorry. “We were too big for our buffers!”,  they said.

“Remember, only Really Useful Engines can work on my railway!” I reminded them. I taught them they were not above the other engines.

I know how to run a good railway people want to travel on. Lady Hat says I can probably run a cricket team as well with natural authority not homework. Call me when you are ready.

FC

Flat Stanley
[Children’s character]

My name is Stanley Lambchop. My friends call me Flat Stanley after a heavy notice board flattened me like a pancake in my sleep.

Being flat is no disadvantage. I have been an excellent batsman all my life.  Bowlers cannot bowl easily to a batsman they can barely see.  Bouncers and rib ticklers, leg slips and short legs are redundant positions. Spare fielders camp at deep backward square, or wander the outfield like Brown’s cows.

Bowlers end up bowling full at the stumps because I bend with the wind every other delivery; frankly, there is nowhere else to bowl.  I am uncompromising in the V – whilst I am flat, my bat is not – and strike the boundary ball like Bradman.  I hold the record for consecutive not outs (434) for a no.3.

I do the team jobs no one else wants to do.  I connect people well slipping into opposition team meetings to play a hand or two of ‘scissor paper rock’ to sort the bowling order, swap player cards and travel tips.  I attend Coach and Selector meetings to boost player communication, although I missed the last Coach-Captain meeting in Sri Lanka for the Black Caps.  I field very edgily at silly, silly short leg.   Batsmen find my shadowless fluttering close to the wicket immensely frustrating.

I am an excellent team player and don’t mind being under a drink.  I am larger than life. When pumped up I tell a breathtaking gag.  (My stammering sent a group of Egyptian tomb raiders mad.  I landed days later on the Hudson with Flight 1549 taped to the exit door.)  I am unique.  You need unplayable men like me.

Stanley

Bono
[MuzZo]

When the spinners send down a few curly ones, I won’t be stuck in a moment that I can’t get out of. I have the desire and the pride in the Baggy Green.

As for tactics, I will follow (on). Between the wickets, I like running to stand still, and can shout STAY (Faraway, so close) with the best of them.

Come October, I’ll be ready for Round 2, and I’ll still be up for training for the Sydney test on New Year’s Day. I assume I can wear my sunglasses in the field?

Bono

Harry Potter

[Wizard]

Compared to Quiddich, cricket is a two-dimensional doddle.  I know I won’t be able to swish down to fine leg on a Fireball 2000, but I should still be able to sit in the dressing room waving my wand around to good effect.  I also think there are a few tricks I could pull off with the Invisibility Cloak.  Imagine the batsmen not knowing where I was in the field – that lofted shot into a gap might just end up going straight to me.  If I can catch a golden snitch, I can bag a cricket ball.

 I doubt Ron will want to play, but I back Hagrid to bowl a few overs around the wicket to set up some rough for the other team to bat in during the last innings.

Harry

 

I read this post to The Prof and The Freak in Dad’s backyard in the best of the late afternoon sun in Sydney. [Ed. Hats off to the English winter!]

“I vote for the singers Joel and Bono”, The Freak announced, curling his upper lip around his autograph pen like a chimpanzee. We were all hallucinating a little following a a full some lunch.

“Bono?”, queried The Prof.

“Most certainly.  Joel can deliver a metrosexual’s sledge better than anyone.  And Bono loves a vocal crowd. If the English start to block out a game on Day 3,  these two will entertain us.”

“The rest are in as well. An odd crew that would go well in a paintball bonding session.”

At last, the makings of a very talented team.

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