Saturday, 25 December 2010

Collingwood's sock - Christmas in Melbourne

Paul Collingwood's sock (a little battered after Perth as you can see) has been speaking to Fantasy Bob again under his exclusive agreement to bring you all the insights from the England camp.

The squad made the four-hour flight from Perth to Melbourne on Tuesday.  After a family day and then a day of Cricket Australia functions and charity visits England began their preparations for the fourth Test only on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day will be full-on practice day.  The sock said 'Colly has asked Santa for a new bat - just what he needs to get among the runs again.'

The sock commented on the intense speculation among the pundits about whether Collingwood and Bell should swap places in the batting order,  'This ain't gonna happen, but Belly has been told to ensure that when they're out there together Colly doesn't get any of the strike.'  Fantasy Bob asked the sock whether Finn will play - the suggestion is that he is too tired and that although the leading wicket taker in the series so far has been a bit expensive going for a run a ball in Perth.  'There's no doubt in the selectors' mind - Finny will play unless he doesn't.'

Most of the chat has been about the wicket and the possibility that the Aussies will try to recreate the WACA surface in Melbourne.  The doughty curator of the MCG apparently has several pitches in preparation following a seasonal buy 2 get 1 free offer at the local Lidl. 

Here is a fact worth knowing - MCG has the highest light towers of any sporting stadium in the whole world.

After the defeat in Perth there have been lots of experts offering 5 point plans to England about how to recover momentum.  Here is FB's 5 point plan:  1 Get Hussey out; 2 Get Hussey out; 3 Get Hussey out; 4 Get Hussey out; 5 Get Hussey out.  Simple?

The Australian camp is still agonising over the bowling attack.  There is a chance that for the first time ever at Melbourne they will take the field without a spinner.  The crueler commentators have suggested that this will be the case even if Beer makes the starting XI. 

While all that is going on, there was proof of early series views that the Australian team is pants.  Mitchell Johnson is modelling Jockey shorts and Michael Clark does the same for Bonds underwear.  FB would like to advise all pants manufacturers that he too is available for such endorsements.

But it's a real man's world in the Aussie dressing room.  After his 6 for 47 at Perth Ryan Harris was rewarded by skipper Ricky Ponting. 'I love you mate, I love what you do,' said his captain.

Finally  the BBC have announced, exclusively to Fantasy Bob, that after the success of his Christmas Eve appearance on Thought fur der Thought for the Day, eminent cricket lover and Pope Terry Ratzinger will join the Test Match Special commentary team as expert summariser for the match.

FB's regular readers will need no reminding of how Ratzinger had planned to visit Carlton's Grange Loan HQ during his visit to Britain earlier this year and the later speculation about him being signed as Carlton's overseas amateur for the coming season.  Cricket is in the pontiffical blood.  Terry told FB 'Man, it's always been my dream to sit with Aggers and Sir Geoffrey.  The Gospels of Johnners, Bloers and Arlott are my inspiration.  But I'll have to move my arse to get there in time - cos I have to get all these muppets off the square at St Peters - they insist on walking on it - millions of them.   It's got so bad that only a blessing gets them moving. It's ruined the batting surface - we're seriously thinking about putting an artificial down.  So I'll be very interested in the drop in wickets that they have at the MCG - it could sort our problem once and for all.'


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