April 2009
« Mar   May »

Miles Jupp: Don't answer the door

April 9th, 2009 by Miles Jupp in England, Miscellaneous, Test cricket and tagged , , , ,

I have not had a great deal of luck with hat-tricks over the years. This week I failed to see Andrew Flintoff’s and I’d previously missed watching Darren Gough’s against Australia in ‘99, and Dominic Cork’s against the West Indies in ’95. I was probably asleep during Gough’s escapade in Sydney, but I was definitely awake for Cork’s and that is the one that disappointed me the most.

When I was a teenager we had, at home, a second television. It wasn’t a very fancy one. We had, in fact, inherited it from my grandfather. The whole contraption was about the size of a photocopier, gave off a strong smell of bakelite if it was on for longer than 15 minutes, and had a screen not much bigger than that of a digital watch.

You were supposed to be able to change the channels by turning a dial on the front, although this part of the equipment was rather sensitive, so you could also change channels by getting up out of your chair quickly or walking across the room. Although it had the word “COLOUR” emblazoned above the screen, it in fact flickered intermittently between black and white and colour, and didn’t show an image at all if you stood too near it. It was, with the benefit of hindsight, an astonishingly rubbish, and probably somewhat life-threatening, piece of equipment.

Its greatest attribute was that everyone else in the house was terrified of it, and so I was able to lug it up to my bedroom on the top floor. It was my television, on which I could watch whatever I wanted without having to argue with brother or my parents. This meant that instead of going train surfing or daubing graffiti on bus stops, I could watch cricket in my bedroom, just as long as I was prepared to endure the upsetting speed at which it flickered and the worrying headaches that it caused. This was the television on which I should have watched Dominic Cork’s hat-trick.

I’d happily caught all of the first three days of that Fourth Test uninterrupted. I’d seen wickets for Cork and Fraser in the first innings and a delightful 94 from Graham Thorpe. John Emburey was making one of those little comebacks that he made in the Atherton era. And on the Sunday morning I sat down to watch the first over and the door bell rang. I ignored it. Then it rang again. And again. The rest of my family were at home as well and I was definitely the furthest from the door bell. I knew they had all definitely heard the door bell, because they were all shouting “door bell” up the stairs to me. I stomped down the stairs with an acute sense of martyrdom past the rest of my family who were all engrossed in activities that they felt precluded them from opening the front door – pairing socks, brushing teeth or reading NME.

After opening the door to discover a friend of my brother, I returned upstairs in time to see John Crawley wrapping his arms around an ecstatic Cork while David Gower roared triumphant commentary. This seemed a bit over the top, I thought, before I noticed the score in the top right hand corner and everything became clear.

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan

Posted in England, Miscellaneous, Test cricket | 2 Comments »

John Stern: Wisden almanack continues to be worthy celebration of the game

April 9th, 2009 by John Stern in Miscellaneous and tagged , , , ,

There is something gravity-defying about the annual fuss that surrounds the launch of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

A few years ago, Malcolm Speed, then chief executive of the ICC, suggested publicly (probably in response to a bagging from Wisden) that it was time for the cricket world to take a little less notice of it.

In truth, the wider world of cricket doesn’t take a huge amount of notice. But in the UK, year after year, the launch of Wisden prompts a remarkable tally of column inches.

Sometimes it seems bizarre, anachronistic even. At other times, entirely justified. This year’s big story was Claire Taylor, the England World Cup winner, becoming the first woman to be one of the Five Cricketers of the Year. It is perhaps remarkable in many ways that she is the first but the fact remains she – and the Almanack – have broken new ground.

Although Wisden is an Anglo-centric publication, it does not have a narrow focus. No stone in the cricket world is left unturned and this really is Wisden’s charm. There are the Editor’s Notes, of course, there are the high-profile contributors, (Michael Vaughan has a piece in this year’s book), and the wealth of stats, records and chapter and verse on the English season. But there are hidden gems like Cricket Round the World where on the same page you can read about the game in El Salvador, Hungary and Ghana. There is the Index of Unusual Occurrences which is always a joy.

Wisden, despite its serious tone and its biblical reputation, is above all a celebration of the game in all its forms. And that’s why it endures and why people, in this multimedia age, still want to pore over it and slip it onto the shelf alongside however many of the previous 145 volumes they might be lucky enough to own.

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2009, edited by Scyld Berry, is out now

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »

Alan Tyers: Belly At The MCC Game

April 9th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket and tagged , , , ,

This game is dead important so as we can prove that we are the best person to be number three for England so Nearly Coach Flower sent a txt msg to me and Keysey and Vaughany and says we should all gather in one of the offices at Lord’s and he was going to talk to us all on something called an important conference call which is a bit like when you are playing Murder Undead Kill IV on the Xbox and you are doing a multiplayer and you talk on a headset with your team-mates except obviously Nearly Coach Flower won’t be telling us to shoot zombies with a bolt gun or at least I doubt it. Nearly Coach Flower says the important conference call is very important and not to be late.

So I passes Vaughany in the corridor and I says “Are you coming to the important conference call Vaughany?” but he says it has been moved to another office just over by the Nursery Ground and if I set off there he will text me the directions on my iPhone and he’ll be along in a minute. Well there must have been some sort of mix-up because I followed the instructions to the letter but when I got to the office it was all dark in there and the door shut behind me real quickly and seemed to be locked from the outside. Well I waited for Nearly Coach Flower to start talking but he never said anything and after a while when my eyes adjusted, and I had a bit of a brainwave even though I say it myself and took off my sunglasses, I looked around and saw that there wasn’t desks and chairs and secretaries and other normal stuff that you see in an office but just lawnmowers and pots of paint and things like this and I’m thinking maybe this isn’t an office after all.

I didn’t panic though because I’ve done a lot of work on my temperament over the last couple of seasons and you’re seeing a very different Ian Bell to the one as first exploded onto the international scene with big runs against the West Indies and Bangladesh and a Highly Commended in Bella Magazine’s Best Hair On An International Sportsman 2005.

I took a deep breath and I thought “Right if I’m going to get out of this I’ve got to puff my chest out and dig in and put my hand up” but that actually seemed a bit confusing so in the end I just sat there and played Pokemon Regeneration Nine on my iPhone and sure enough Vaughany turned up a few hours later and says I missed the important conference call and Nearly Coach Flower was as mad as anything and it was A Black Mark Next To My Name but not to worry as Keysey had missed the important conference call too because someone texted him that they were giving away free sausage rolls down at St John’s Wood tube station but when he got there there weren’t none left so in the end only Michael Vaughan was at the important conference call, says Vaughany, and that’s probably what they’re talk about when they talk about the value of experience I guess.

Alan Tyers has no ambitions to bat at three for England

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket | 1 Comment »

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved