Whilst KP was single handedly demolishing the South African attack over in Headingley I was heading to the glamorous surroundings of the Braintree Rec.
What with work commitments and other stuff my appearances on a cricket field are rare these days – so rare in fact that when I dug out my whites for this Saturdays game I discovered the elastic had well and truly gone. It took me an hour, some blue string and a knitting needle to cobble a Worzel Gummidge style solution that would spare at least some of my embarrassment!
Even without playing regularly my mind still plays silly buggers with me on the build up to a game. Imagine, it says whilst I shower, imagine yourself driving gloriously through the covers or pulling imperiously to mid wicket. In the kitchen it forces me to pick up the bread knife and flick an invisible ball down to fine leg for the single which would bring me a hard fought fifty. But it doesn’t stop there – in the garden, in the living room even in the street I find myself caressing the ball to every corner of England’s green and pleasant cricket grounds on the way to a triumphant ton.
Now anyone who knows my cricket knows how unlikely this is (I did in fact once score a ton – for Newbold Verdon 2s against Huncote in a cereal bowl shaped ground – I was later overheard phoning my brother and describing my ‘first test match ton’ – such is the power of my imagination).
Such a shame that reality rarely matches my imagination. Back at Braintree I scratch around for what seems like ages before one delivery bounces more than I expected, took the edge of the bat and a rather larger than usual Aussie in the slips unfurled himself like a snarling cobra and snared his prey high to his right.
I’d scored three – ninety seven short of that triumphant ton. I consoled myself with the thought it was a rather stunning catch.
Next morning I wake up with thighs so sore (I kept wicket too) I can hardly walk – but my head still believing that glorious innings is still just around the corner. Give it one more go –it goes – and she will be yours! Cricket is indeed a cruel mistress.
(Oh and just for the record we (Brightlingsea 2’s) didn’t score enough runs and Braintree scored more in double quick time meaning we found ourselves back in the pub far quicker than expected. Result!)