14th March 2011

With confusion over the exact requirements for Team England to progress into the World Cup quarter-finals, Andy Flower spent much of this morning surrounded by calculators, points tables and Duckworth-Lewis regulations, whilst Cap’n Ring-on-a-string paced impatiently around him, waving his signed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul like a Bible at an exorcism.

The result of their deliberations? “We need to beat the West Indies on Thursday”.

Brilliant, Holmes. That’s one in the eye for everyone who questions the need for a 27 man back-room team. Although admittedly 26 of them were fairly peripheral to this piece of brain-storming.

Meanwhile Swanny’s three day sulk about a damp ball continues unabated. I know that sounds unsympathetic, but I learnt my game in the Bradford league where it’s so wet 75% of the players develop webbed feet. I know one lad at Bowling Old Lane who has gills.

But Graeme seems unable to come to terms with a bit of dew or the fact that once you’re over the boundary edge you’re on your own. No one else can bowl your overs for you. No one else is responsible for your performance. And no one else can find you wiggle-room in any inconvenient regulations.

We’re not allowed mobiles in the dressing room, let alone an on-field direct line to our lawyer, so there’s no point getting angry with Daryl Harper when he won’t lend you his walkie-talkie. It’ll only get you through to the third umpire anyway, not Nick “Mr Loophole” Freeman.

Shame in a way. I’d love to hear the excuse he’d concoct for Graeme to have the wet ball replaced. My best guess, tell the umpires you’ve got rabies. The advantage is it’s so plausible. Judging from Graeme behaviour that night anyway…