Coach2.0 cares enough about his ‘Dad’s Army’ team to organise a series of business seminars during the non-playing tour day’s to prepare the Dad’s for life after cricket. (To be clear, “Dad’s” refers to those over 30 who have children.)
The first seminar last week was from Virgin boss, Richard Branson. I was sitting up the back singing nursery rhymes to young Hazelwood (so young he doesn’t have a nickname) and newly engaged Mr Darcy. They don’t need a talk from an old bloke like Dick about the entrepreneurial spirit. All they want to do is to rain red hell on English batsmen.
I didn’t get to hear much of the discussion. Dick Branson is a quiet talker. But I picked up how important it is to break the rules and passed this on to UnLucky Rogers at the interval.
“Did he really say that?”
“Scouts honour. Breaking the rules is ok. AirBnB, Uber. They write their own rules.”
“Right. I get it.”
I guess UnLucky Rogers took me at my word. The idea of reselling unwanted first test tickets cheaply to needy Australians has a strong philanthropic theme. Matching supply to demand is the heart of capitalist enterprise. As Dick Branson said “it’s good to break the rules but you have to know what you are buying into.” I guess I should have passed this on to UnLucky as well. The Prof said no harm was done. Middlesex has amended the rules that apply to ticket allocations to first grade county players to specifically exclude reselling tickets in order to make a profit. (Why county cricketers receive any allocation is beyond me).
The Freak and I, as the players on tour least likely to play a test, next to the Prof, listed a few business opportunities UnLucky could investigate during the test series:
1. Self-inflating tents for sale to patrons with ice-creams during the drinks breaks
2. Rapid strip-off clothing for those few hot days in Kensington Park when people go crazy or for general exhibitionists like the fashionable streaker
3. A media hacking app to let the average punter into Sky commentary during play. Say whatever you want
4. Flog Sir Captain’s 7 Spartan bats from the players balcony during the luncheon interval on day 3
5. Auction “A Night with Kevin, Shane and Me” for as long as there are takers
6. Ghost-write the definitive book ‘My favourite Lords Watering Holes: drinking with Andrew & Alastair, 2015’ [Ed. This might take time to go mainstream]
We asked Dick Branson to cast his eye over the list. He didn’t say much when we spoke over the telephone, but sent an email later saying he looked forward to the time when cricket was played to the death by Virgin robot warriors. This included – he was very precise – eliminating the need for spare players on tour. Sir Richard is a deep thinker.
Kent is a perfect place to fine – tune the skills of cricket. Trapper secured a tidy 111. He can do no wrong whatever anyone says about his fidgeting ways. The top order performed much better than I expected. Hollywood is back to his blistering best. His short innings was unsurpassed. And whilst the Marshes provide some enterprising counter poise to the incumbent test batsmen, nothing is likely to unseat them. The Freak summed up the state of play with his customary elegance: “Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks, but they know how to mark the tree.”
“I’m not entirely sure how to construe that”, I replied.
“With a sniff, not rancour. Lift a leg.”
The best of the day must be left to Robert Key, the Kent number 3, the best of the Kent batsmen. The ruddy faced former test opener scored a stylish 87. In his press statement late in the day he said he didn’t get paid enough to face Tatts Johnson. “He is on a different level”. KP said something similar during the Ashes summer in Australia.
Key is an amiable weather cock if anyone is listening.
Australia dec. 500+. Kent 5/200 odd.