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December 2009
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Fraser: O’Brien Understands My Pain

December 10th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in County cricket


With the signing of wholehearted uphill trundler Iain O’Brien, is Gus Fraser seeking to remake Middlesex in his own image? His diary reveals all…

Met O’Brien to have a chat about contracts. We walked from the Grace Gates to my office; by the time we got there we were both sweating buckets. Iain had done his hip and I had a bad feeling my left leg was going to fall off again. I was pretty bloody exhausted after the slog, so I just sat on the floor for a bit eating salt tablets and muttering. I don’t think people realise how much hard work walking from one end of the ground to the other can be.

His agent said something like: “Iain’s really looking forward to playing for Middlesex.”

I have to say, I nearly dropped the painkilling injection I was in the middle of sticking in my backside. I like to make sure the needle is good and rusty just to keep myself honest.

“What’s he looking forward to that for?” I said. “This is professional medium-to-fast bowling. It’s going to be bloody misery.”

“Too right,” said O’Brien, who was carving in his own arm with a small axe, just to stop himself getting too comfortable.

“If I were you, I’d try and get him a job breaking rocks with his teeth, or dragging pianos upstairs using only his testicles,” I said. “Not hard bloody graft like bowling for Middlesex.”

“Well, I just meant, erm, he’s excited to work with some of your young bowling talents,” said the agent, who I should think has never run up a hill wearing razor blades inside his shoes while hitting himself in the face with a shovel a day in his life.

“I tell you, Iain,” I said. “It’ll be nice to have another bloke here who understands what cricket is all about: heartbreak, agony and sheer human misery. Do you know, I caught young Steve Finn smiling during net practice only last month?”

“Bloody disgrace,” said O’Brien. “I expect he wasn’t even wearing a leg brace or thumbscrews.”

“I like your way of thinking,” I said. “How do you get yourself motivated for the day’s play?”

“I listen to a bit of Leonard Cohen, maybe watch Leaving Las Vegas, read a bit of Angela’s Ashes, that sort of thing,” said O’Brien.

I pulled a picture out of my wallet. It’s of a Golden Labrador puppy being run over by a bus.

“If I ever start to enjoy cricket too much, I just take a look at this picture to remind myself that life is a series of cruel disasters to be endured as manfully as possible,” I said.

We both started sobbing, and I felt my back go. Good times.

By Alan Tyers

Posted in County cricket |

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