Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - the retiring year

Fantasy Bob had a thoroughly enjoyable cricketing year in 2013.  The sun shone brightly for what seemed endless months, surprising all Scottish cricketers and leading to world records for the amount of sunscreen applied to Carlton juniors. 

FB bowled straight – well mostly.  He found the middle of the bat – at least twice.  He took a wonder catch (any catch is a wonder catch for FB).  

And all through this year he benefited from the sterling encouragement and support of Mrs FB.  Still, as FB looks back on the year he begins to have the uneasy feeling that he may not have fully understood some of the conversations.

Towards the start of the year Mrs FB looked up from behind the sporting pages of the newspaper where she had been perusing the outcomes of her each way bets.  She said, ‘I see Mike Hussey has retired………younger than you.’

FB thanked his companion in life for this news and observed the game would be less exciting without Mr Cricket who left the game after 79 Tests with an average of 51.5.  Mrs FB made no further comment.
A few weeks later Mrs FB mentioned softly as she scanned her I-Pad for her favourite tipster’s forecasts, ‘I see Chris Martin has retired…..…younger than you’

FB expressed his gratitude for this valuable news, noting that Martin played 71 Tests for New Zealand taking 233 wickets.  Mrs FB did not appear particularly grateful for this information.
The dust was hardly still on this conversation when Mrs FB firmly held FB’s gaze and said, ‘I see Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard have both retired..................younger than you.’

There seemed to be a pattern emerging, but FB did not dwell on in instead recalling the pomp of the 2 bowlers with 130 Tests and 474 wickets between them and who had done so much to bring the Ashes home in 2005.
No time seemed to have passed when Mrs FB returned from one of her regular equestrian afternoons and remarked to FB, ‘I see Ricky Ponting has retired.......younger than you.’

FB nodded for even he had noticed that the great Australian, the second top Test run scorer of all time, had signed off with a combative century in his final first class appearance for Surrey.

It only seemed the next moment when Mrs FB seemed to be immersed in the recently arrived Hermes catalogue but mentioned to FB, 'I see your Jamie Kerr has retired.......younger than you.'

FB understood from the judicious addition of 'your' to her sentence that Mrs FB was noting the closing of the career of one of Carlton's greats - the club's legendary wicketkeeper for the last 19 years.
Shortly afterwards Mrs FB looked up from an essential act of maintenance on one of the more prestigious items in her world famous handbag collection to advise FB, ‘I see Sachin Tendulkar has retired.......younger than you.'

FB had understood that the Little Master’s 200th and final Test appearance at Mumbai had brought the whole of India to a standstill to celebrate his record 15921 Test runs including 51 centuries and an average of 53.
It seemed only weeks later that Mrs FB welcomed FB’s tardy arrival at the breakfast table with the statement, ‘I see Graeme Swann has retired…………younger than you.’

FB shared the surprise of cricketers throughout the world that England’s premier spinner should so suddenly throw in the towel in the middle of an Ashes tour, after 60 Tests and 255 wickets. FB assumed that Mrs FB shared that surprise but was unable to verify it for the form guide had engaged her full attention.
Not long after, FB was agonising over whether Mrs FB might happily fund something from near the top of Gray Nicolls’ range by way of Christmas present, when she punctured his reverie and said, ‘I see Jacques Kallis has retired…………younger than you.'

FB recalled the details of Kallis' glittering career that would justify the tag of the greatest cricketer ever had not Sobers bagged it already.  Mrs FB seemed only to sigh as she absorbed this information.
‘Lots of retirements in 2013.'  She looked pointedly at FB.  'And all younger than you too.’ 

Was she trying to tell him something? 

'Don't you dare think you'll be doing the same - I don't want you cluttering the house up next summer.' 

Class of 2013.