10th March 2011

Morning sprints.

I hate morning sprints.

What the hell has running in and out of cones got to do with playing on the sub-continent? We should be practising the core skills you need out here. Diving gently for the ball so someone else has to chase it to the boundary. Basic semaphore so the batsman backing you up can hear over the noise of the crowd. And most important of all, making sure the corporate boxes see your best ‘buy this product’ smile as you pose next to the sponsored drinks cart.

After all, this is our best chance to break into the lucrative endorsement circuit. Now’s the time to project the kind of clean-cut image and none threatening masculinity the ad men out here are looking for. That’s why Belly says his agent’s phone is ringing off the hook. He’s already odds on to be Mothercare’s new face of breast pumps for the young Indian mother of today.

So are we concentrating on maximising our marketability? Are we using our valuable time to practice Bollywood dance routines round an oversized representation of an exciting new product poised for maximum penetration of the Asian market?

No, we’re running between cones.

Bloody stupid, bloody cones.

And it doesn’t help us take fielding drill seriously now Andy Flower’s started naming the damn things to “anthropomorphize the process”. BB King calling his guitar Lucille I’m just about on board with, but yellow plastic cones named after the Sky Sports commentary team is too confusing. How are we supposed to react when told to “give it everything once you’ve got round the back of Sir Ian” or “slide into Nasser if you think you’ll come up short”? Should we laugh, recommend management take an interpersonal sensitivity course or just chill?

If only Steve was here to tell us…and to average more than 6.66.