An England Training Session the Week of the First Test Against Pakistan (as imagined by Tractor
Joe Root (approaching Trevor Bayliss): Um, Coach?
Trevor Bayliss: Mate.
Root: So I wanted to ask you about the –
Bayliss (cutting Root off): No, I meant you should address me as Mate, not Coach.
Trevor Bayliss: Much better, son, much better. What did you want to ask me?
Root: It’s about the slip cordon, Mate. Since I’ve taken over as Captain, I’m not really sure who should go where.
Trevor Bayliss: Mate, what have I told you? If we’re going to play a positive brand of cricket we need to free the players up to take responsibility for the expressive quality of their own play.
Root: But what does that mean?
Trevor Bayliss: It means that if Jimmy Anderson wants to stand at first slip he bloody well can and should. How else do you think he’s going to learn to pitch it up on early season English pitches?
Root: Well, I thought maybe the bowling coaches could have a word with him about his bowling plan and the best sort of lengths to aim for in the different circumstances?
Trevor Bayliss: Have you learned nothing under my time as Head Coach, Joe? How many times do I need to tell you? If we’re going to play a positive brand of cricket then Jimmy needs to take responsibility for his own game plans.
Root: OK, Coach, but about the –
Trevor Bayliss: Mate.
Root: Sorry. Um…Mate. About those slips. I’m having a little difficulty managing Captain Cook. I mean, ex-Captain Cook.
Trevor Bayliss: That’s your problem right there, sonny Jim. You’re intimidated by Former Captain Cook. You’ve taken over as captain, with little to no captaincy experience, because we want to play a positive brand of cricket and you’re our best player. You’re our young star. You’re the only player whose spot on the team sheet is guaranteed. But for some reason you seem to think you should know what you’re doing.
Root: Well I sort of thought there would be some help with the whole captaincy thing when I took over with little to no experience?
Trevor Bayliss: Joe. Joey, Joey, Joey. We’re looking to play a positive brand of cricket here. Just go out there and express yourself. Look around you and take your pick: play football in Ramps’ session over there; or Mushy’s competition for who can do the best finger-painting; or even join Farby for a talk on Visualisation Methods for Success. Just stay away from Ed Smith. He doesn’t understand our philosophy here and never will. He couldn’t express himself with a bat, he had to resort to words. Waste of time, Son.
Root: Right, Mate. Well thanks, I guess. I think I’ll head down to the Maximise Your Cricketing Income Using Your Unique Position and Opportunity workshop being run by the Subcontinental Betting Agency.
Trevor Bayliss: Good idea, Joe. Good idea. This England team needs to learn to maximise its opportunities. I’m off to confirm ticket prices for the Sri Lanka tests with my contact there. £50 a day for whitefellas seems like a fair cop to me.