15th March 2011

Does anything say excitement quite like South Africa playing Ireland at cricket?

Genuine question. Does it?

I ask because the levels of boredom are so high on tour you lose all ability to gauge these things and end up taking an exaggerated interest in the mundanities of life.

For example, they had to repaint the popping cease in our practise nets today and the entire tour party ended up standing round staring at it like it was the opening sequence to Raiders of the Lost Arc. That’s what months of packing and unpacking the same face flannel does to a man. I’ve even stopped filtering out Swanny’s voice whilst he’s talking now, and that way madness lies. He was dictating his census details over the phone this afternoon. What makes him think anyone in Whitehall is interested that his favourite film is Predator 2? Is that question even on the form?

See what I mean about getting bogged down in the minutia of life when you’re on the road?

The problem is we’ve got nothing much to do. For all the talk of our ‘crippling schedule’ we’ve only actually played sixteen days cricket in the last nine weeks. In terms of workload that’s somewhere between Prince Edward and Prince Edward’s waxwork dummy at Madame Tussauds – although I’m not sure which of those is the higher end of the scale.

Anyway, it’s the press who’ve been complaining about it most, as they’re not exactly over the moon about being in India. Problem is none of them feel safe to fiddle their expenses when they’re in a country with thousands of underemployed cricket writers. The only reason the tabloids haven’t already outsourced their cricket coverage here is the increased literacy of articles would have their readership diving for the dictionary.

Perhaps they should just print Graeme’s census return instead? If only to see if he’s made a entry for that damn cat of his. Surely anything that acts as a character witness for you in court deserves to be counted as a member of the family?

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