July 2009
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Belly: Me And My Aura

July 30th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket, The Ashes


A lot of people’s been talking about auras this week and how the Australian team’s lost theirs and maybe England could get one of these auras of our own.

To be 125 percent honest with you I wasn’t too sure what this aura business actually was at first. I supposed it must be some sort of pet and that made me feel sorry for the Australians ‘cos no matter how much of a bully someone is and even if they call you an unkind nickname from a film it’s no fun losing a pet.

Sadly I know about this only too well after we had to have my poor guinea pig, Test Class, put down after Fred tried to feed him that third sambuccatini during the celebrations of our come-from-behind 2-1 Test series defeat against the South Africans last summer. Poor Test Class: still, being an international sportsman you are going to have your ups (a fluid 199 at Lord’s) and downs (childhood pet choking to death on its own vomit). I’m a better player for watching that vet finally put him out of his misery.

I knew straight away who to ask about this aura / pet debate: Broady. For one, Broady done GCSE biology, and b) he’s what the television always calls a Very Intelligent Cricketer so I was pretty certain he’d know. Sure enough, he showed his excellent temperament for a young lad and he’s sat down and thought about it and he’s said it’s not actually an animal, this aura, it’s like a sort of cloud around you that makes other people sit up and take notice of you.

I had a bit of a think about that and said to Broady that sounds a bit like KP when he got his first sponsorship deal with Hai Karate talcum powder for a two-figure sum and he was contractually obliged to be seen on the balcony puffing it over himself at least four times an hour during Tests. Broady again showed his good cricket brain when he says try not to think of it as talcum powder, or even another type of male grooming product such as hair wax, hair gel or hair mousse, but in fact like a mysterious force or presence.

That sounded almost like it might be religious so I went and asked Cooky because he knows all sorts about God and churches and stuff from his time as a choirboy. He says this aura wasn’t religious but more like a spirit thing and that got Fred interested and he leapt off the treatment table and fired up his personal ice machine in preparation for something cold and wet likes, but Cooky says no, it’s more like the Holy Spirit which is like a friend of God’s or something.

Cooky says that he went on a choir tour to the United States Of America with his local church, Saint Goochie’s, and they done all singing and these large black ladies would get all overexcited and shout and shriek and faint in ecstasy a bit like Priory when he pouches three in a row in catching practice and that was more like your aura-type situation.

Cooky says we could try this thing that’s called “laying on of hands” to perhaps get an aura of our own and we asked Kirk Russell our physio to show us but he says he’s already trying to work one miracle getting XI players who can walk properly out on the pitch. Instead, Swanny has a brainwave and says “why don’t we try and summon an aura with an ouija board” which is like a board game such as Mousetrap or Guess Who? only not as mentally demanding and less focused on asking if someone has a beard or glasses and more focused on getting possessed by an evil spirit from beyond the grave.

So we make this ouija board thing and we can’t find a glass but luckily there’s one of Gilo’s King Of Spain mugs lying around the place so we use that. Well, I don’t know about aura but that mug was moving all over the place in the way that a cricket ball doesn’t in this day and age and I tell you we learned some pretty terrifying things that afternoon and Monty started crying and shouting “Owwwwwizeeee oujia izzzeeeee” dead loud like but to be honest I don’t think he even understood the rules but whatever, the noise brought Straussy in.

He was mad as anything, Straussy, and he says “Look, actually, guys that’s really pretty uncool, you know, because there was this chap at Radley who messed around with an ouija board and he actually went completely bananas and matron had to call his mother and father to come and pick him up and apparently he still thinks that an evil spirit lives in his wardrobe.” And that got me to thinking, well, if it means that something is going to be living in my wardrobe for the rest of my life then, thanks but no thanks, Ian Bell will just forget about this aura business altogether and concentrate on doing the simple things well.

By Alan Tyers

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 5 Comments »

Steve Busfield: How are you following the Ashes?

July 30th, 2009 by TWC in The Ashes, The media

Until they bring in day/night Test matches (do we really want that?), there is one fundamental problem following cricket: work. So, as the battle for the Ashes hots up in Edgbaston, and you are stuck in the office, how will you be following the match?

I well remember the moment before the same test in 2005 when a mini roar went around the office an hour before the start: Glenn McGrath had just been shown being wheeled away in a buggie with a twisted ankle. We were lucky enough to have TVs in the office. Not many have that, even if Sky are doing their best to help out with their (most likely NSFW) Skyplayer innovation.

So, will you be surreptitiously following the Guardian’s over by over? It is much copied but never bettered (full disclosure: I work for the Guardian, so I would say that wouldn’t I): Rob Smyth, Andy Bull and thewisdencricketer.com columnist Lawrence Booth witty, knowledgeable and bringing the game to life on a web page.

Cricinfo’s ball by ball has added comment to its descriptions and is excellent if you want to know every detail of Alastair Cook’s forward defensive (a bit too much info for my liking). It does also have the fantastic statsguru, a statistician’s delight (and is there a cricket lover who doesn’t love stats?).

Ball-by-ball/over-by-over coverage now run in several places, and the The Times’ is worthy of mention, while the BBC’s quickfire Ben Dirs also attracts a loyal fanbase.

Do you Twitter? In which case you may also be following the action with Sky’s King of Twitter (in many senses of the word): David Lloyd. His Bumblecricket twitter feed is very much like the former England coach’s commentary, a stream of consciousness, witticisms and, occasionally, cricket sense.

If you prefer your tweets to be BBC-flavoured, there’s Aggerscricket or blowersh. As with Bumble, you pretty much get what you would expect, but all in a handy bite-sized 140 characters. Phil Hughes even confirmed his axing for today’s third Test on the site.

If you can listen but not watch, have you tried out Test Match Sofa yet? Again I have to issue a disclaimer, being an occasional contributor to the live cricket website that gives ball-by-ball commentary from a living room sofa interspersed with debate ranging from the best biscuit varieties to Richie Benaud impersonations.

If you are in a really strict office though, a discrete pop-up scoreboard may be the best that you can get away with. I’m not a connoisseur of the pop-up scorecard, so am open to your suggestions for the best option.

Or maybe you are lucky enough to be at home, on your own sofa, feet up, drink at your side, food in the fridge, Sky on the telly and, perhaps, TMS (Sofa or the original Special) providing the audio.

Almost as good as being there. Almost.

How do you follow the game?

Steve Busfield writes about media, technology, The Wire and, very occasionally cricket, for the Guardian

Posted in The Ashes, The media | 3 Comments »

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