It’s just me getting all giddy about sun, sea and cricket. Pass the rum punch!
- Credit: Archant
It must be great being an England cricket correspondent, travelling the world.
I always get a bit giddy with that thought during an England tour of the West Indies.
It’s all that blue sky and sunshine.
OK, so the Caribbean only just beats Foxhall Stadium on a balmy July evening with a pint of Ghost Ship and two packets of Nobby’s Nuts, as the mighty Ipswich Witches put another speedway team to the sword.
But beat it, it does.
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I don’t especially love cricket, and don’t get me wrong, I know Jonathan Agnew and his fellow journos, ex-players, radio and TV production staff, etc., have more to do that just sit in the sun talking about bouncers, sixes and the latest changes to the lbw law.
But it just seems that way!
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Do you realise I can sit and listen to the cricket on the radio?
In fact I have to be careful when I’m driving with Test Match Special on. The dulcet tones of Aggers, Simon Mann et al, dreamy days of sun, sea and rum punch, can be so intoxicating I feel I could drift off.
Certainly the wife can drift off sitting next to me in the passenger seat. But that’s due more to boredom.
Cricketers don’t know how lucky they are.
Footballers may be paid by the shedload, but cricketers get the weather.
England’s contract players enjoy home series in the summer and in the winter of they are flying off to another sun-kissed part of the world.
You ask Joe Root when was the last time he saw it snowing?
Fair play to them I suppose, perks of the job.
I was hopeless at cricket.
Well, I say hopeless, I just wasn’t ever programmed into it as a sport.
It probably has something to do with the fact that when I was about eight, me and my younger brother were given a cricket ball by my grandad.
Much to my dad’s annoyance and concern, we used to bowl to each other knocking the ball back at a gentle pace.
Well, a gentle pace for only so long.
Eventually my brother was taking Michael Holding-esq run-ups, starting at the back door, going past the Swingball, vegetable patch and greenhouse before unleashing the ball as hard as he could - and for a seven-year-old, he could hurl it.
Our ‘fun’ ended after one brutal delivery caught me square on the shin (no pads, obviously) and - in fury - I chased him back past the greenhouse, vegetable patch and Swingball, back up the garden, hammering on the glass as he slammed the back door behind me.
My gander was up, (I’m like my mum, she can get cross over the most daft of things) and, as I banged so hard I went through the back door’s pane of glass, elbows first - 23 stitches and a confiscated cricket ball, never to be seen again.
But I digress.
The main reason I was hopeless at cricket is because quite honestly I couldn’t bowl and my batting was limited to just swotting at every ball that came my way.
And the ball was too hard.
Not that we played much cricket at Northgate High, in Ipswich.
It was a good school, but not one of the ‘poshies’ that played cricket religiously.
I was from a school that took part in all sports, got battered by the ‘privates’ (schools that is) in cricket and rugby, yet could hold our own on the football and hockey pitches.
In the end I was always going to play football and end up coaching it too - in the rain, hail, wind and snow - just the occasional sunny interval.
But would I swap it?
Well, if you must know, I probably would right now.
Sunny intervals in England are about as rare as Suffolk FA finals played in Suffolk these days! Or back-to-back Ipswich Town wins.
Still, the clocks go forward soon... just in time for England’s cricketers and journalistic entourage fresh from the Caribbean, big tans, flowery shirts and all, to be land back in Blighty - just in time for the nice weather!