17th January 2011

Yesterday’s ‘resting’ of Paul Collingwood remains the elephant in Team England’s dressing room. There was certainly an uncomfortable atmosphere during this morning’s sledging drills. How could Monty, the poor retch paired up with our very own ginger prince, bring himself to trash talk a man circling cricket’s ultimate humiliation – the long dark refuse pipe that leads out of the national side and plunges ever deeper until you tumble out into a seat opposite Charles Colville for Sky Sport’s coverage of rain affected Friends Provident group matches.

Phil Tufnell was forced to eat a kangaroo rectum to avoid that degradation and book himself a bump up in class to TMS instead. Had to appear on I’m a Celebrity too.

Colly’s not a happy bunny about all of this, of course. He’s been dropping some less than subtle hints about the social stigma of becoming one of Tyne and Wear’s few unemployed men; although he’s not buttering much of management’s parsnip consommé with that particular argument. As Andrew Strauss pointed out, “I know exactly what life’s like in Durham. I’ve got Shameless series linked on Sky Plus”.

That’s the thing about Cap’n Ring-on-a-string; he’s the embodiment of how far English cricket has progressed since the days of gentlemen and players. The modern England captain knows exactly how the other half lives, because you’re allowed to watch regional dramas like Coronation Street at Radley now. Truly we are all children of Tony Blair’s “classless society”. In one sense or another.

None of this means Colly’s going to be watching the upcoming World Cup at home. Management aren’t daft, they understand the challenges that India provides: the heat, the batsman friendly pitches, the hardness of the outfield. There’s no way we’ll set off out there without someone so fearful of their place they’ll chase after the ball in 40 degree heat like a hyperactive Labrador.

It takes planning like that to win a world cup. Planning based on a fear of sitting in the shadow of Charles Colville’s unremitting quiff.

So every time Colly turns a certain boundary into a hard run three, we’ll have Charles to thank. Even though we never will…