A bad start to 2018

It’s hard to look on the bright side during these dark, wet days; even if Kim the Jong-Un is on the hotline to the South again; and Don the Old ‘un seems to be in a downward spiral of self-destruction. There’s an unhealthy glut of Bliar stories in the meeja, suggesting he is still scheming to return to Labour politics. Please! Let Corbyn continue!

Down under – where 2018 arrived sooner (and more trouble has had a chance to appear), it’s hip hip but not hooray; at least if you are Our Andy or Almost-our Johanna. And in the Ashes series, the England hierarchy seems to have delegated decisions to the players – ‘No, I don’t need a nightwatchman,’ said Jonny; and promptly got out.

Back home, real people struggle to budget for train fares, petrol prices rise and cold spells make everyone feel low.

But hey! Ambrose at the DT says Britain will soon be great again, Europe will slide and the sun will shine on us all. So that’s alright innit.


Sledgers strip off

As every British cricket lover will confirm, watching the match is indeed a serious business, calling for a suitably sourced blazer and tie, a faded panama hat and preferably a proper deck-chair close to the action.  Certain compromises are acceptable – but only if the match happens to attract thousands of fellow devotees – and there must be limits.

Now, however, in some corner of a foreign outfield, an upstart authority has sanctioned mixed bathing just a few feet from long-on! I mean, a gentleman’s sauna at Headingley for April fixtures would be bad enough, but really! Blowers would have found le mot juste, I’m sure.

If you can bear to learn more, the shocked meeja can help.


One of those voices

Entertainment in the ’50s and ’60s was all about sound, not so much about images. The wireless played a leading rõle in family life, with the morning pips reminding us we were already late, the evening news gathering us together at 6 o’clock and favourite programmes on weekdays and at weekends. And in our house the cricket coverage was eagerly awaited, especially the voice of John Arlott.

So it was probably my generation of listeners who first welcomed what is now known as TMS; a sporting institution. Down the years Brian Johnston (sans the ‘e’) and his younger pupils have bemused and amused us every year.

But Henry Blofeld has been a star in the firmament, with erudition and wit we should hardly expect from a mere sport programme. And now he too is going to retire.

Thank you, Bloers!

Restoration of the House Of Lancaster

Pakistan deserved to win the first test and as fate would have it, the reformed Mohammad Amir scored the winner. That’s sport for you. England have made a few changes and should be stronger. Another thing to take into account is the second test will take place in God’s County: Lancashire.

The county of the Red Rose  is famous for many things: Betty’s hotpot, Eccles cake, Lancashire tea, The Big Dipper. With its bold and big landscape there is definitely a case for Lancashire to Engexit and become an independent state. As a naturalised Lanky, I’d go for it. I await an Ambassador’s role in the near future.


Pakistan’s Yasir Shah, the Messi lookalike mystery spinner is ranked #1 in the world at bowling. He is only keeping the spot warm for Jimmy because “our” Jimmy is back. James Anderson is a Burnley man, that makes him one of our own. As England’s leading wicket taker “we” expect him to add a lot of Pakistani scalps in the forthcoming contest. (Pity “we’re” not playing India. That sentence would be better with Indian scalps, wouldn’t it? )

With Lancashire doing so well in the County Championship, and Independence looming, it’s only a matter of time before we receive Test playing status and play the rump of England then go for the stumps of Australia.

Return of the Amir

This Thursday England lock horns with Pakistan in the first test at Lord’s. In the tourists side will be the fast bowler, Mohammad Amir. Now aged 24, Amir was found guilty of spot-fixing on his last appearance at the home of cricket, six years ago. He was banned from cricket for five years and served three months in prison. Debate still rages on at all levels of the cricket community over whether Amir should still be allowed to play.

I take Morgan Freeman’s side on this. These are his words from The Shawshank Redemption when he faced the parole board.

There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I wanna talk to him. I wanna try to talk some sense to him — tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone and this old man is all that’s left. I gotta live with that.

Better than Bradders?

Statistics don’t lie, do they? The higher the batting average the better the player. Top of the list of Test cricket’s batting averages is  Andy Ganteaume. The Trinidadian played one test for the West Indies v England in 1948 and scored 112. The politics at the time prevented him playing any more tests so his average remains the best.

Andy joked he was a “one cap wonder” and kept his feelings to himself until 59 years later he complained bitterly about “the establishment” in his autobiography, My Story, The Other Side of the Coin. He died on February 17, 2016 aged 95.

Not better than Bradman, of course, but it’s better to be a one cap wonder or a one hit wonder or a one day wonder than being no wonder at all. Well played, Andy.