Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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May 28 – French cricket and English summers

Three boxes arrived after training at our Barbados hotel. They were addressed to the Prof but I manhandled them into my room nearby and opened the letter stuck on the inside of the cardboard cover. It read

“Dear Prof,

It’s been 8 years since I cut you amidships on an oval in little Barbados.  I heard the dull crack of your protector. I heard the anguish written on your face and watched whilst you lost your composure and doubled up in pain.

I had little sympathy for you at the time. What choice did I have?. You were on 69. I realise the can of spray they blew down your trousers did nothing to help you reset. I remember you played the next ball in exactly the same way. I’m not sure you felt it. I think you just grinned at me when it was clear the ball had rolled onto your leg stump. That was when I thought we really connected.

I’ve sent you a peace offering of sorts. Three boxes of old videos of Clive Lloyd’s boys, the best in the business. You know, the era when teams didn’t need motivators, perambulators, or wet nurses, when Coach was a dirty five letter word and no one had heard of the IPL.  This lot cost me $5. No one wants this stuff anymore. The guy behind the counter needed the cash so I thought of you.

Enjoy.  xx

Jasmine”

The boxes were as she said. Packs of old videos from 1976 to 1988, a couple of moth eaten West Indian caps, jock straps, a yellowed protector, and a mounted game ball signed by the big 4 pace men Marshall, Roberts, Holding and Garner. There was also a first edition of Clive Lloyd’s autobiography with a coffee ring on the front cover.

I phoned the Prof. It wasn’t clear where he was. Maybe a cafe? Calypso music was playing in the background. I heard a couple of glasses clink. The Prof didn’t reply when I translated the letter for him and asked about Jasmine, twice. He ignored my taunts, then told me to pack up the boxes and send the lot to Trevor Bayliss in his rented Mayfair residence. He said he might be able to use it.

I did as he instructed minus the autobiography, which I pocketed for my nephew, with a note of my own

“Hi Trev,

Congratulations. Decent money at last. Take to the Continent whenever you can. The French hate cricket and English summers are often bleak.

I’ve forwarded your latest reflections about how to dismiss Cook, and the Boy Root, in confidence to Andrew Strauss cc Kevin Pietersen bcc Cardinal George Pell (just to jog his memory). Bowling fast and on the stumps is such a no brainer. No hard feelings.

Cheers,

17th Man”

Coach2.0 promised me that I and the Prof will get a start in the warm up game next week. There are a bunch of no names and wannabe’s scheduled to play. Coach2.0 said he needs some senior players to stiffen the middle order. Dad will be pleased. He said he’s trying to get me a gig in the NZ side for the next Test. Apparently, someone owes a friend of his something.

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