|Ready to help the Irish|
They are now forced to follow on and accept an emergency injection of billions of runs into their game. More even than Eoin Morgan can score during a power play.
The experts term this a bail out - although exactly why a relatively minor, but essential, part of cricket equipment should be given such potency is beyond FB's grasp. FB assumes that the severity of the conditions requires the heavy bails to be used.
In a gesture of solidarity with Irish cricketers, FB changed his customary weekend tipple to down a couple of pints of Guinness - and excellent they were too. He may repeat the gesture. He expects Magners drinkers everywhere similarly to rise to the occasion.
What went wrong? It is tempting to turn to that great sage and middle order batter Father Dougal for an explanation. In an episode of Father Ted in 1995 is the following propheticexchange :
Father Dougal: I know! We'll lure them into a giant bingo game!
Father Ted: And how are we going to do that?
Father Dougal: We'll print up some bingo cards on our printing press and... oh.
Father Ted: Yes, it's the lack of a printing press that lets us down there. Or bingo balls. Or a PA system. Or in fact, any bingo paraphernalia at all.
Father Dougal: Damn. So near, yet so far.
But FB has instead reminded himself of the work of the greatest of Irish batsmen WB Yeats. His poem The Second Coming was written in 1920 about the batting collapse and the enforced follow-on after of the First World War; is it not eerily relevant to the current situation?
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
What rough beast indeed.