Australia Tour 2013/14
In the name of God, go
How to cope with a certain and imminent 5-0 Ashes thrashing?
Well, a Saturday night out on Sydney's Rocks is a good start.
Lofty and myself met Nigel and Helen for drinks, an excellent curry, and afterwards a drinking session at the Observer which would include rum, wine, whisky and beer - from what I can remember.
When I finally staggered back to my room, "The Wicker Man" was on TV, so of course I had to watch that, and subsequently fell asleep to evil dreams of a giant Wicker Man being erected in the middle of the pitch at Lords, to be occupied in due course by a few chosen elect from this cricket squad and its management.
During the evening we had selected our new England side, as follows:
This team has attracted plenty of criticism from home, but one thing is for sure - they would struggle to perform worse than the present shower.
Our drinking escapades at least ensured that we missed the morning session on day three. By the time we got to our seats, Cook was already out, and Carberry was swinging across the line like a rusty gate until to the mirth of everyone, his bat suddenly folded in half in slow motion, like a piece of wet toilet paper. The look on Carberry's face was priceless, and the moment seemed to sum up the whole tour in one gesture.
After tea the house of cards that is the England middle order fell in on itself once again, and only some defiant hitting by Stokes and Broad took our total anywhere near respectability. At times it has seemed as though just these two players have been taking on the whole of Australia.
Even the Barmy Army seem fed up, their store of blind faith now well and truly exhausted.
As the baiting from the Aussie fans grew in volume, their only retort was to sing:
"Where were you when you were sh*t!"
Which is truly the depths of desperation.
Thankfully the game was wrapped up early at around 4pm. Previously, I had thought that you needed to visit Dignitas in Switzerland for a mercy killing, but clearly they are available in Australia too.
As the presentations were made, the dejected England skipper mounted the podium a broken man, but at least unlike Fred Goodwin, he found from somewhere the good grace to apologise.
The Australian team were escorted round the boundary by Ian Healy, looking very much like Liberace in a ridiculous pink blazer outfit, presumably worn for the McGrath Foundation. Bogeyman of the Series Johnson received a very sporting round of applause, I thought, from the majority of our supporters, as did Man Of the Match Harris.
Personally, I thought Brad Haddin was the real difference between the sides. He has had the series of his life.
I have just read a suggestion on the BBC Sport website that the ECB should cancel a few central contracts belonging to our pampered players, and instead use the money to pay compensation to the fans who have expended their money and time travelling half way round the world to watch this tripe. Sounds good to me.
Any history buffs may recognise the following quote, which seems as pertinent now as it did during the Second World War Parliament.
"You have sat here too long for any good you are doing. Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."
As far as I'm concerned the quote can apply to any / all of the following:
Tour itinery planner
In terms of the latter, the 83 page diet booklet issued to the team has made an ass of us, and I trust that 'laughing stock' is one of the items that Andy Flower allows the players to eat.
The manner of the defeats on this shambolic tour has been an absolute disgrace, and heads must now roll. There has been only one positive aspect to come out, and that is of course the emergence of Ben Stokes.
I must eat humble pie myself here - I hope this is also allowed in the 83 page diet book - and congratulate Steve Harmison on his suggested selection, which I must admit I was sceptical about at first. Not any more though.
I will compile a final report when the dust has settled.