This half of the leading edge staff has a confession to make, one that may well deter readers who visit us for our insight and rigour. The truth is as follows, I have been out of the country for month in the decidedly cricketless (and some might say gutless etc) France.
During this time I was vaguely aware that England seemed to be losing every 50 over encounter with Australia, Stuart Broad had appeared with ‘Woss the Toss’ with what can only have been an appalling intro from 4 poofs and a piano (you can see them live u know. Why!?), and Oasis have split up.
Needless to say I was only glad to hear the latter piece of news, although the demise of Manchester’s biggest has been’s may well explain the unconvincing performances of Graeme Swann against the ozzies. Perhaps Jimmy got him out of his malaise for the final one dayer by sitting young Graeme down and saying,
‘Look mate, Oasis died in 2000 with the release of… [takes a moment to think] Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, which we all now was crap. We should be thankful it’s over. Now get out there and play!!!’
We can only speculate.
Then I returned to find England redux. With exactly no expectation on their shoulders, they have coasted past Sri Lanka, crushed the Proteas and topped it all off with a perfectly timed self-inflicted battering from New Zealand to calm everyone down in anticipation of a semi-final with the Ozzies. This latter loss has got to be the greatest piece of captaincy since Younus Kahn shrugged off Pakistan’s opening defeat in the 20/20 by claiming that it was a joke tournament and they weren’t really that bothered anyway! Then they went on to win it! Genius!
Owais Shah, I remember him as well, a precocious talent who just seemed to lack a basic enjoyment of batting. Now Flower’s given him some courage pills and he can’t stop hitting sixes. It’s like friends of mine (not me obviously) who spent the whole of their uni lives shuffling around various dance floors wondering whether to ask a girl if she wanted a drink. More often than not they wouldn’t get round to it and be forced to return home for yet another wank and weep, consoling themselves that there are overweight people in the world who never even have a hope with girls. Then one day they just thought, ‘screw it’, and snogged the face off the first female who fleetingly caught their eye line. He who dares wins.
Then there’s Morgan, the Irish international who plays for England somehow avoiding any public outcry, despite the fact it is basically cheating. Eduardo Da Silva may dive but at least he doesn’t change his national allegiance on a whim…. oh… wait…. he does.
Anyway, he’s become England’s first one day specialist (I would say since Bell was a specialist ODI opener but the outcry would be too great). As a result we no longer have to sit through the last ten overs of a game praying that Foster will somehow fluke a six and crying ‘wither Paul Nixon!?’
And Collingwood, dear, dear Collingwood. I’ll admit, sometimes I just wish he’d be consistently bad so we wouldn’t have to endure another one of his droughts and have everyone pointing out that he’s a ‘good trainer’, followed by one heroic innings that makes him ‘undroppable’ for the next year. But even he is threatening to be consistent now.
In short, a month of me being away has changed a lot. Long may it continue.
PS: I said Morgan was England’s first one day specialist for effect. Of course we all know Paul Nixon was the original specialist, just like everyone knows he was playing the ‘Nixon sweep’ long before Dilshan stole the idea.