The Captain signalled to Eve (Adam Voges) and I during the morning session. The Kent lower order were batting well to hold out our pace attack on a slow flat wicket.
“What does he want? He keeps pointing to the sky.”
“Nah. It’s not even 20 degrees.”
I checked the spent satellite re-entry schedule for recovering English cricketers. Nothing was scheduled in Kent this summer. The schedule was created after Ian Bell complained of space junk hitting the wicket whilst he was batting in Perth in 2013.
I looked around. Perfect. Not a cloud in sight. I signalled back that lunch would be taken on time and to keep playing. The Captain didn’t look impressed. Then he let one go through slips and stopped signalling altogether.
The Captain is more worried about the childish pranks of the younger members of the team than the state of this practice game. The younger players struggle to settle down at night. Wicky woke this morning to find his doorway boarded up with floor planks from a nearby residential development. (He missed breakfast)
According to Darren, team psychologist, who was hiding in the stairwell, a couple of the bowlers had a hard time man-handling a big nail gun that appeared to be stuck on automatic. Nails peppered the ceiling and the hallway walls. The night porter said the loose carpet near the lifts was now nailed down tighter than a lid on a coffin.
Sarah was half-way down the fire escape before she realised that she was not being attacked by a terrorist with a noisy AK-47, but a couple of loose cannons with nothing better to do than trace an iron S through her door. A guest found her crouching outside his open window and invited her in. He was in a striped nightshirt, she in a black parka and boots. He told her he had never seen such an attractive peeping tom before. She wasn’t amused. She could see his dentures floating in a dirty glass on his bedside table. He smiled and said he was an ECB Board Member. She misheard this as “I have a bored member from the ABC”. Sarah politely demurred. She told him she doesn’t watch the ABC and intimated she was on the set of the next James Bond movie. She apologised for the interruption and flicked him two unclaimed Middlesex tickets to the First Test that she had found wedged into the back seat of the team bus. (If her night companion was really from the ABC this would put a rocket up the ECB. ABC journalists are pretty hard up these days; there is no way they would return a couple of free tickets.)
The Prof and I were under our beds whilst all this was happening playing Hungry Shark on his ipad. It’s part of the Prof’s rehabilitation to get back in the water – the Dubrovnik incident with the toy shark after the South African tour last year really spooked him. I could see sweat pearl on his brow as I jumped the shark onto the Greenpeace vessel floating across the screen and ate the captain and crew.
Coach2.0 has since banned all access to construction sites, except for willow wood which he says should be used to hit the ball preferably during a match. Apparently, he fell asleep in the coat closet around 2am last night and was in a troubled mood all day. Selections don’t worry him; lack of sleep does.
We finished off the brave Kent lads in the afternoon. Bell-Drummond struck a breezy ton taking to our slow bowling attack. Who can blame him? We didn’t bowl that well. Kent all out 290 something, 250 runs behind.
I had just enough time to glance at the latest cricket news on the bus back to the hotel. Nothing to report really except an attempted sledge by Wood [Ed. Woody?] the new tearaway English quick. Harking back a few hundred years, the lad seems to think Hollywood owes him an apology for called him a ‘net hero’ after bouncing him with successive balls, one of which Hollywood despatched into the side netting. Hollywood remembers it as one of his best sledges. He is a master of the net.
No one this side of the ledger believes in ‘net heroes’. Form is counted from the middle in wickets or runs. Sure, we all appreciate a good sledge just like a piece of space junk that distracts a batsmen from seeing a very fast red ball. I hope the sledge manufacturers in the England camp can develop some soon.