A happy constant in England’s thus far wildly erratic Twenty20 World Cup campaign has been the excellent batting form of Luke Wright (pictured right).
I’m following Luke Wright’s career development with some interest because about 10 months ago I happened to bump into him in the spa facilities at the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, and one feels a sort of manly bond with a fellow if you’ve passed the time of day whilst luxuriating in a steaming hot jacuzzi (pictured below*).
I mentioned this little titbit to the Old Batsman the other day, and he suggested it worthy of a post or possibly even a poem. Well, it isn’t, but that’s never stopped me before. But really there’s not much to tell except that the jacuzzi was nice and warm and that Mr Wright was a very personable chap – eager to chat about Kevin Pietersen’s captaincy skills, Sussex’s one-day form and the uselessness of Gloucestershire – and alarmingly young. That is, he’s eight years my junior and obviously so, but whereas I expect to be obviously eight years older than, say, international footballers, cricketers usually seem preternaturally aged – haggard and careworn from the endless stress of batting averages, run rates and golden ducks. And whereas I have now officially given up my dream of playing in the FA Cup final, even for a small team such as Manchester City or Everton, there's still a vague hope somewhere that I might one day take up leg-spin bowling again and get picked to play in the Ashes. Well, that hope took a beating in the Cheltenham Chase Hotel jacuzzi.
The rest of the Sussex team were also at the hotel, but again I have no gossip to relate other than that all the players ate their dinner together except Mushtaq Ahmed, who sat apart, at his own little table, with his family. But still, what I would say is... (and here I sip a debonair G&T with one hand and casually toss a cricket ball with the other, as Richard Stilgoe begins to tickle the ivories)...that...
...Discussing matters cricket
(Of balls red and trousers white,
Or of whether the Oval wicket
will offer bounce and bite,
Or if Panesar’s the ticket,
Once he gets his action right,
To induce Ponting to nick it,
By deceiving in the flight,
Or if Harmison’s chin stubble
is a substitute for fight)
Can cast away all troubles,
and make your cares seem slight.
And to be sure, the pleasure doubles –
As well you’d think it might –
When reclining in the bubbles
with the delightful
A da-dee-da, thank-you-ever-so-much.
(*not actual jacuzzi)