Friday, 27 April 2018

Get a Grip

In common with all other cricketers at this time of the year, Fantasy Bob has been conducting a microscopic examination of his kit to assess its suitability for the rigours of the coming season.  As his faithful handful of readers know, the moment that FB's voluminous kit bag emerges from its winter storage is always met with cries of extreme pleasure by Mrs FB who relishes the opportunity once again to find herself tripping over it several times a day.

As he meticulously inspects each item, he is mindful of Mrs FB's strictures on economy.  She suggests that any investment appraisal of new items should take into account the stage that FB's cricketing career has reached.  The twilight years, she suggests, have lingered longer than seems natural even at these latitudes.  The value  to be derived from expensive investment therefore might be limited.  By comparison with for instance, she adds in a slightly coquettish fashion, items of jewelry.  The law of diminishing returns, she says returning to a more trenchant tone of voice, applies not only to FB's visits to the crease

With a sigh therefore, FB puts the glossy Gray Nichols catalogue aside and judges his trusty bat is fit for one season more.  Given his performances over recent seasons there must be many runs still locked in it.  However closer inspection reveals the grip to be in a condition comparable to FB at the end of a trying spell up the hill against the wind.   Refurbishment is not an option.  The bat grip is gone too.  There is no alternative but to purchase a replacement.
The total of FB's new kit for season 2018

This puts FB in a quandary.  FB's bat handle is festooned with grips -  5 in total.  It is perhaps the thickest bat handle in World Cricket.   A cause for wonder by his junior colleagues who struggle to get their growing hands round it.

FB read many years ago in some coaching manual (as if he ever read such things) that a thicker grip would soften his hands giving him greater control over his shot making.  It would be heroic to suggest that this adjustment has worked and turned FB into a master at the crease, but FB has continued to pile on the grips.  Hope springs eternal.

So, what should he do faced with his new purchases - should he put them on top of the existing ones or remove those first?   

Mrs FB's advice has, for once, not been helpful.  Watching him as he agonised at length over this decision, she reached the end of her patience.  'For goodness sake,' she said.  'Get a grip.'

Monday, 2 April 2018

The Crying Game

'I know all there is to know about the crying game
I've had my share of the crying game.....'

Dave Berry
There is no reference to ball tampering in the lyric of Dave Berry's 1964 hit.  And to the best of Fantasy Bob's knowledge the old time rocker never had to face the Australian press to account for  his shameful actions.  But by the end of the week FB certainly had had enough of the crying game as one by one the disgraced Australians accounted for themselves.  This was not family viewing - however much the family was involved in the tearful responses.

FB cannot imagine how the trio feel.  For many years ago FB was close to the position they find themselves in.  He faced the allegation that the crumbs of the empire biscuit he was carrying in his pocket smeared across the ball were having an uncanny influence on the effectiveness of his bowling.  There seemed no other way the opposition could account for the extreme improbability of him bowling a maiden over.  The crisis was soon averted, not by attempting to stuff the biscuit down the front of his trousers but by the expeditious consumption of the biscuit.  FB was able to plead stupidity - an excuse readily accepted, particularly by his colleagues in the leadership team (ie the 11 year old leg spinner fielding at mid off).  The incident was thankfully forgotten until last week's actions brought it freshly to FB's mind.

As he watched the interviews FB felt a great sadness descend upon him.  For those involved, for cricket, for the world. Dave Berry was not enough.  The words of the Latin requiem mass seemed more to the point, the reference to the ashes uncanny.

Lacrimosa dies illa
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Full of tears will be that day
When from the ashes shall arise
The guilty man to be judged;
Therefore spare him, O God,
Merciful Lord Jesus,
Grant them eternal rest. Amen.

As set by Mozart this is comfort for the soul.