“What is the longest word you can think of” Puff said, as he stretched out on the banana chair at the hotel pool. The batsmen stopped rubbing each others backs with match balls and reread the English press comments on the day’s play. They all used short words; most of them began with f. No one said anything. A few of the batsmen slid silently off the edge into the pool and out of sight.
The bowlers were more animated.
“Rehydration”, The Freak bubbled. Hollywood grew a smile broader than the thick edge if his bat.
“Baaaarnaaaannnaaaa”, he said, and produced a hand of 11 yellow crescented beauties which he then arranged with Sarah’s help [Ed. The (not a parody account) Independent Head of Marketing] into one of his classic drives.
The Prof received a call mid-pool on his no-tip lilo from Dennis, the BarmyArmy ex-investment banker on tour. He is strung out after today’s play trying to drown his disappointment at England’s dromedary-like performance in a few crates of Perth’s finest bubbly. He sounded like he was succeeding admirably. He barely had time for a quick hello and a by the way who is Freddie? rhetorical comment before he was unceremoniously cut off. The Prof said it sounded like he was gurgling champagne but he called the police just in case.
The game has reached its maximum antilibration. (The Prof assures me this means poise and is not a punt on anti-liberation.) We hung on for another 50 odd to close out the innings at 385. England are 4/180 at stumps, 205 behind – the captains do their best to make the maths easy for players and officials. Only Bell, Stokes and Prior stand between us, a large first innings lead and the tiny Urn.
The pitch looks like a parched smoker, brown and lined below the eyes with more deep fissures than a San Fransisco fault line. The widest could swallow a line of over ripe bananas and a purple rhinoceros. The Natural says he doesn’t need a broken pitch to take a pink English wicket. Tatts says he just wants to take a wicket. He is so out of form. And The Freak wishes KP was batting all the time so he can get 20 wickets in a match. He has had a lovely yellow t-shirt screen printed with a beautiful smiling brown rabbit on the front in a yellow Ferrari above the line “Hi, my name is Kevin.” On the back it says “Kevin is my bunny. Best Freaking banana in the country.” He sent 10 to KP each embroidered on the sleeve with the Oval, score and manner of each dismissal as a reminder.
The Prof is leading a public campaign to open the Umpiring ranks to women. He spent the day recruiting young women who have a demonstrated mistake free inner steel to tough it out in the middle in 38 degree heat day after day. He has promised to fast track Australian citizenship now that CA have decided they do not need a Parliamentary – endorsed spinner. He and Billy Bowden found 8 Israeli tank commanders [Ed. They might have been instructors, but who cares] who passed the physical boot camp, the impromptu sledging test, and could list 10 words with 12 or more letters in 20 seconds.
This three-pronged dexterity test eliminated the entire Australian women’s swim team, a disaffected troupe from the Moulin Rouge [Ed. But they did have some excellent ideas to lift Umpiring standards] and some career-changer male pole dancers who knew what to do with stumps but knew nothing about cricket. The three female English journalists who applied didn’t look good in black and white and cannot concentrate for long periods. Neither do they like bananas. The Freak vetoed them straight-off-the-bat.
KP and Swanny support the change. Jimmy says they may be more talkative at the end of overs and know when to change the misshapen ball. He says women have better eyesight and will stop the useless appeals. It would be embarrassing to appeal now unless it is really really on the money. He said English bowlers will bowl better, batsmen will start to really value their wicket and sledging will turn to wit – chivalry is everything. He is is reported to have said that he isn’t concerned about bowling a few more overs as long as they talk to him when his team will not. KP just said he wants women to design his box. It never fits properly and is very distracting.
The Prof and I lounged in the pool with OUR team until dusk.
I understand that Chef had his blokes in a circle recommitting to each other.
The Prof doesn’t care for any of it. He is investing the players pension no 9 fund an Olympic athlete egg and sperm bank in time for Rio in 2016. I don’t know where he gets these ideas from. Maybe the Israeli tank commanders?
They know what heat is like and it is still freaking hot. Have a banana and put a shine on your skin.
Australia 385. England 4/180