13th February 2011

As the Captain dips our port wing and gives us a brief glimpse of Marseille, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that life as an international cricketer has evolved into one long air flight punctuated by the occasional chance to run around a bit on grass. I don’t want to complain too much; it is, after all, still a privileged lifestyle; but the feelings of déjà vu, as yet another plastic tray of chicken pomodoro appears before me, are fast fading into a concrete plan of what I’d like to do to members of the ICC future tours committee with the mini cans of Pepsi that are being handed out.

Then again, morale in ‘Team England’ wasn’t helped when the post-Ashes high back in Blighty was replaced by ODI fatigue long before most of the side had chance to return home and fire up the open-topped bus marked ‘maximised commercial leverage’. In short, opportunities to cash in on our Ashes winning fame had dried up so quickly a number of the squad actually had time spare to spend with their families before setting off again. Who the hell signs up for International cricket to do that?

Most aggrieved is probably Jimmy Anderson, after an appearance at the opening of his local Greggs’ new rotisserie was cancelled at the last minute, only for the event to continue, now fronted by Tom O’Conner, a man unsullied by the stench of 6-1 defeat. For Jimmy, that’s an appearance fee and a Greggs staff discount card down the swanny. Such are the ups and downs of the top flight cricket player.

As for me, I had to make do with a picture in the Tadcaster Bugle of my old headmaster pointing at an empty school desk. That brought back a few memories, I can tell you. Memories of my old school desk I mean, not the headmaster’s finger.

Ah, time to close up the laptop. We’re coming in for our stop-off at Dubai airport. I wonder if they have an outlet of Greggs? After that airplane meal I could murder one of their sausage and bean melts.

Of course we’ll have to pay for it in full now, thanks to Tom O’Conner…