Monthly Archives: January 2011

CricLit – Swann Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

"Let me tell you 'bout the sprinkler"

From the pen of Ken Kesey comes this seminal work of how G P McSwanny, the fun-loving team-mate, comes up against Big Strauss Catchit – as seen through Chief Bresnan’s eyes – an apparently mute bystander… this is Chapter Two.

When the fog clears to where I can see, I’m sitting in the Long Room. They didn’t take me to the Block Shop this time. I remember they took me out of the Saving-One room and positioned me on the boundary. I don’t remember if I got run outs or not. Probably not. I can call to mind some mornings positioned on the boundary, the batsmen keep hitting singles off everything – supposed to be two, but they settle for one instead – till the batsmen get run out while I stand there at that booze-stinking Third Man, watching them wipe up stumps with a direct hit. I can smell the grease and hear them pat the arses. Other mornings the batsmen bring me cold mush and force me to chase it.

This morning I plain don’t remember. They got enough of those things they call energy drinks down me so I don’t know a thing till I hear the changing room door open. That changing room door opening means it’s at least eleven o’clock, means there’s been maybe two hours and a half I’ll be out cold on the boundary when the conditioners could of come in and installed anything the Big Strauss ordered and I wouldn’t have the slightest notion what. I hear noise at the changing room door, off up the tunnel out of my sight. That changing room door starts opening at eleven and opens and closes a thousand times a day, kashash, click. Every morning we sit lined up on each side of the balcony, mixing laptop analysis after the overs, listening for the ball to hit the sweet spot, and wait to see Cookie’s ton coming in. There’s not a whole lot else to do.

Sometimes, at the door, it’s a young debutant in early so he can watch what we’re like Before Declaration. BD, they call it. Sometimes it’s a wife or girlfriend visiting there on high heels with her purse held tight over her belly. Sometimes it’s a clutch of media men being led on a tour by that fool Public Relation man who’s always clapping his bucket hands together and saying how overjoyed he is that cricket grounds have eliminated all the old-fashioned hierarchy. “What a cheery atmosphere, don’t you agree?”

He’ll bustle around the journalists, who are bunched together for safety, clapping his hands together. “Oh, when I think back on the old days, on the gentlemen, the players, even, yes, senility, oh, I realise, fellas, that we have come a long way in our game!”

Whoever comes in the changing room door is usually somebody disappointing, but there’s always a chance otherwise, and when a ball hits the sweet spot all the heads look up like there’s strings on them. This morning the lockworks rattle strange; it’s not a regular visitor at the door. An Escort Man’s voice calls down, edgy and impatient, “Come sign for him,” and the batsmen go.

Admission. Everybody stops playing cards and the PS3, turns toward the changing room-room door. Most days I’d be out sweeping the ball and see how its swinging in to the right hander, but this morning, like I explain to you, the Big Strauss gave a thousand press-ups to me and I can’t budge out of the chair. Most days I’m the first one to see the Admission, watch him creep in the door and slide along the wall and stand scared till the batsmen come size him up and take him into the nets, where they drive him over his head and leave him barreling down a poor line,  while they all sweep and hook and cut the balls looking for the proper line.

“We need that proper line,” they’ll tell the Big Strauss, “for the snickometer.” He looks from one to the other: “I’m sure you do, but mind you boys don’t group up in there.” Then I see two, maybe all three of them in there, in that nets with the Admission, running that snickometer on full volume till it’s picking up a ball that’s the size of your finger away from the bat. Crooning “Tha’s right, bowlah, that’s right”. I’m out there most days, and I see it like that.

But this morning I have to sit in the chair and only listen to them bring him in. Still, even though I can’t see him, I know he’s no ordinary Admission. I don’t hear him slide scared along the wall, and when they tell him about the nets he don’t just submit with a weak little yes, he tells them right back in a loud, brassy voice that he’s already plenty damn good, thank you.

“They put me in the nets this morning at Trent Bridge and last night at the Oval. And I swear I believe they’d of cleared some boundaries on the drive over mid-on if they coulda found the middle. Hoo boy, seems like everytime they sweep me someplace I gotta get my arse patted before, after, and during the celebration. I’m gettin’ so the sound of edges makes me start gathering up my belongings. And get back away from me with that camera, and give me a minute to look this new ground over before I do my next video diary; I never been in a Institute of Cricket before.”

The players look at one another’s puzzled faces, then back to the door, where his voice is still coming in. Talking louder’n you’d think he needed to if the batsmen were anywhere near him. He sounds like he’s way above them, talking down, like he’s chirping 22 yards away, hollering at those down the ground. He sounds big. I hear him flighting the ball, and he drifts big in the way he tweaks, and he sure don’t slide – not like Warne; he’s got iron on his heels and he rings it on the floor like horseshoes. He shows up in the door and stops and hitches his thumbs in his pockets, boots wide apart, and stands there with the guys looking at him.

“Good mornin’ , buddies.” There’s a paper Kookaburra bat hanging on a string above his head; he reaches up and flicks it so it spins around. “Mighty nice day.”

He talks a little the way Freddie used to, voice loud and full of hell, but he doesn’t look like Freddie; Freddie was a full-blooded northerner–a chief–and hard and shiny as a gunstock. This guy is brownheaded with a jaunty ol’chin protruding out from under his cap, and he’s broad as Freddie was tall, broad across the jaw and shoulders and chest, a broad white devilish grin, and he’s hard in a different kind of way from Freddie, kind of the way a Dukes ball is hard under the scuffed seam. He stands there waiting, and when nobody makes a move to say anything to him he commences to laugh. Nobody can tell exactly why he laughs; there’s nothing funny going on. But it’s not the way that Public Relation laughs, it’s free and loud and it comes out of his wide grinning mouth and spreads in rings bigger and bigger till it’s lapping against the walls all over the ward. Not like that fat Public Relation laugh. This sounds real. I realise all of a sudden it’s the first laugh I’ve heard in years.

He stands looking at us, rocking back in his boots, and he laughs and laughs. He laces his fingers over his belly without taking his thumbs out of his pockets. I see how big and beat up his hands are. Everybody in the changing room, players, staff, and all, is stunned dumb by him and his laughing. There’s no move to stop him, no move to say anything. He laughs till he’s finished for a time, and he walks on into the changing room. Even when he isn’t laughing, that laughing sound hovers around him, the way the sound hovers around a big bell just quit ringing–it’s in his eyes, in the way he smiles and swaggers, in the way he talks.

“My name is McSwanny, buddies, G. P. McSwanny, and I’m a spinnin’ fool.” He winks and sings a little piece of a song: “ ‘… and whenever I meet with a Aussie batter, I toss… the ball… up,’” and laughs again. He walks to one of the laptops, tips KP’s average up with a thick, heavy finger, and squints at the numbers and shakes his head.

“Yessir, that’s what I came to this England team for, to bring you birds, fun an’ entertainment around the tourin’ table. Nobody left in that Northampton County Ground to make my days interesting any more, so I requested a transfer , ya see. Needed some new blood. Hooee, look at the way this bird holds his bat, showin’ to everybody how to block; man! I’ll trim you babies like little lambs.” Collywick gathers his gloves together. The man sticks his hand out for Collywick to shake.

“Hello, buddy; what’s that you’re playin’? Nurdle? Jesus, no wonder you don’t care nothin’ about scoring no runs. Don’t you have a flat deck around here? Well say, here we go, I brought along my own bat, just in case, has never knowingly felt the ball on its edge –and check the middle, huh? As rosy red as ya like. 52 scoring shots.”

Collywick is pop-eyed already, and what he sees on that bat don’t help his condition. “Easy now, don’t nudge ‘it; we got lots of time, lots of games ahead of us. I like to hold my bat here because it takes at least a day for the Aussies to get to where they can even nick the edge. S’why they never do Colly …”

He’s got on work-farm whites, sunned out till they’re the color of watered milk. His face and neck and arms are the color of oxblood leather from working long in the outfield. He’s got a primer-black motorcycle cap stuck in his hair and a leather jacket over one arm, and he’s got on boots gray and dusty and heavy enough to kick a man half in two. He walks away from Collywick and takes off the cap and goes to beating a dust storm out of his thigh. One of the batsmen circles him, but he’s too quick for them; he does them in the flight, through the gates, and starts moving around shaking hands before the batsman can take good aim. The way he talks, his wink, his loud talk, his swagger all remind me of a car salesman or a stock auctioneer–or one of those frontmen you see in a band, out in front of his players, standing there in a striped shirt with yellow buttons, drawing the faces off the sawdust like a magnet.

[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]“What happened, you see, was I got in a couple of hassles at the work ground, to tell the pure truth, and Sky Sports ruled that I’m world-class. And do you think I’m gonna argue with Sky Sports? Shoo, you can bet your bottom dollar I don’t. If it gets me outta those damned outfields I’ll be whatever their little heart desires, be it world-class or mad dog Gilo, because I don’t care if I never see another weedin’ hoe to my dying day. Now they tell me world-class’ a guy flights too much and gets ducks too much, but they ain’t wholly right, do you think? I mean, whoever heard tell of a man gettin’ too much wickets? Hello, buddy, what do they call you? My name’s McSwanny and I’ll bet you two dollars here and now that you can’t tell me how many times you’ve got out to a mistimed drive or a top-edged slog sweep. Two dollars; what d’ya say?”

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Allen-belieeever

Jim Allenby

And then I saw his face; Allen-belieeever; Not a trace of doubt in his mind...

If the last couple of months of 2010 seemed to bring nothing but a trail of bad news and departures from the SWALEC, it is liberating to see the New Year be more generous in its offerings. And after the appointment of Matthew Mott as first team coach comes another pretty tidy announcement.

Jim Allenby is staying.

Without question, that is the headline of the summer – everything else: Ashes wins, South Africa’s battle with India for top billing in the rankings, whatever – they’re all footnotes. And to their credit, Glamorgan’s powers that be are working hard to hold everything together in this transition period.

Announced this afternoon, it was confirmed that Jim Allenby had pledged his future to Glamorgan until 2012, with the potential for a one-year extension. It certainly is heartening news, given his epic contribution last season. Definitely worth the £10 wager…

Deputy chairman Nigel Roberts said: “[Jim’s] performances last season confirm that he forms an important part of our future plans.” – has a role of responsibility been offered to entice the signature? Or was Allenby convinced by Mott’s arrival as coach? As far as we know, Mark Wallace remains VC…

A word from Jim: “I have enjoyed my time at Glamorgan and look forward to working with Matthew Mott and Alviro Petersen. Last season was a successful one for me and I hope that 2011 will be a successful one for the team.”

[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]Here’s hoping Jim. I run the risk of uncontrollable hyperbole, but Glamorgan’s prospects have been enhanced by the retention of Allenby. Has there been any definitive word on Tom Maynard yet? Just thinking, like… no. It couldn’t, could it?

CricLit – Wattopia

Utopia

Wattopia. Just slightly less blonde and rugged.

Some regard this work as one of the finest Socratic dialogues of all time. Others, however, have no idea what that means. Allowing his mind to be guided by the promise of lush blonde hair and a lifetime of product, this is Thomas More’s imaginative tribute to an idea that would touch the world – Wattopia.

An enticing extract taken from: ‘Discourses of Ravi Shastriday’

The ego of Wattopia is in the middle two hundred miles broad, and holds almost at the same breadth over a great part of it, but it grows narrower towards both ends. Its figure is not unlike an Adonis. Between its dashing and blonde locks,  the smile comes in eleven miles broad, and spreads itself into a great bay, which is environed with hands to the compass of about five hundred miles, and is well secured from winds. In this smile there is no great modesty; the whole coast is, as it were, one continued honour, which gives all that live in the shadow of the man great convenience for mutual mirth .

But the entry into the ego, occasioned by dimples on the one side and product on the other, is very dangerous. In the middle is one brain cell which works apart from the others, and may, therefore, easily be annoying; and on the top of it there is a coiffure, in which dreams are kept; other brain cells lie under duress – not ones so adventurous.

The man is known only to the Australians; if any opponent should look to trap the ego, without one of their jaffas, they would run danger of being wrecked. For even they themselves could not catch it clean if some marks that are on the outside edge did not direct their way; and if these should be but a little shifted, any team that might come and claim him, how great soever it were, would be certainly lost (if the ego did not fall early). On the other side of the ego there are likewise many virtues; and the man is so fortified, both by nature and product, that he may venture to hinder the descent of a once great army. But they report (and there remains good marks of it to make it credible) that this was no ego at first, but a part of the godly. Wattopus, that conquered it (whose name it still carries, for Abatsman was its first name), brought the rude and uncivilised inhabitants of a colony into such a good sentiment, and to that measure of greatness, that he now far excels all the rest of mankind (certainly Philip Hughes). Having soon subdued opponents, he designed to separate them from the godly, and to bring the ego quite round them.

To accomplish this he ordered a brown turf-pitch to be dug, 22 yards long; and that teammates might not think he treated them like slaves as he charged on his way, he not only forced the inhabitants, but also his own tail-enders, to labour in carrying it on. As he set a vast number of bowlers to work, he, beyond all men’s expectations, brought it to a speedy conclusion. And his observers, who at first laughed at the folly of the undertaking, no sooner saw it brought to perfection than they were struck all round the park with admiration and terror.

“There are fifty-four runs on the scoreboard, all large and well built, the drives, nudges, and blocks of which are the same, and they are all contrived as near in the same manner as the ground on which they stand will allow. The nearest lie at least twenty-four metres’ distance from one another, and the most remote are not so far distant but that a man can go on foot in one day from it to that which allows them back for three. Every run, however, sends impulses once a minute to Amgonnarunhimout to consult about their common concerns; for that is the chief town of his weakness, being situated near the centre of it, so that it is the most convenient place for their assemblies.

The jurisdiction of the runs extend at least twenty yards, and, where the boundaries lie wider, they have much more ground. No boundary desires to enlarge its bounds, for the fans consider themselves rather as consumers than spectators. They have built, over all the country, chapels for Watsonmen, which are well contrived, and furnished with all things necessary for beauty’s labour.

By those who dwell in those beauty farms are never ignorant of conditioners, and so commit no errors which might otherwise be fatal to a hair colour number 59. But though there is every run such a shifting of the Watsonmen’s mind to prevent any batsman being forced against his will to follow his hard course of an innings too long, yet many among them take such pleasure in it that they desire leave to continue in it many overs.

These Watsonmen make their ground, slew wood, and convey it to the grounds either by land or water, as is most convenient. They breed an infinite multitude of innings in a very curious manner; for the men do not sit and hatch them, but a vast number of eggs are bowled at a gentle and equal pace to be despatched, and they are no sooner out of the ring, and able to stir about in the deep

And even when they are so worn out that they are no more fit for labour, they are good to leave at last. They sow no scorn when the bouncer darts at their head; it’s hooked and pulled and sometimes drilled with gusto and then some, with which they abound; and though they know exactly how much scorn will serve every ground and all that tract of country which belongs to it.

When they want anyone in the country to replace Marcus who does not produce, Wattopians fetch that from the Queensland ground, without carrying anything in exchange for it. Except a promise that administrators of the ground take care to see it watered for them; for they meet generally in the ground in every four years, upon a Test match day. When the time of harvest comes, the administrators in the country send to those in the grounds  and let them know how many hands they will need for reaping the English harvest. And Watto will run them out.

[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]Next: Of Their Towns, Particularly of Amgonnarunhimout

Found Mott We’re Looking For?

Matthew Mott

Matthew Mott: From one MPM to another.

After it was confirmed that Matthew Maynard had agreed a settlement with Glamorgan, the club wasted no time in announcing his replacement as First Team Coach. In a dubiously-headed media statement, it was confirmed that Matthew Mott had signed a three-year deal at the SWALEC.

Coming in from New South Wales, Mott’s credentials stack up quite nicely – Sheffield Shield and domestic Twenty20 honours bode well for Paul Russell’s aspiration that the Dragons do more than just make up the numbers when it comes to limited overs cricket.

Mott’s appointment is definitely encouraging. The suggestion that Herschelle Gibbs – the lost Bee Gee – may be returning to Glamorgan as a Kolpakker is a further cause for optimism, if it comes off. I would even have to concede that I might actually be looking forward to the new campaign.

Lest we forget the mess that preceded it though. A settlement has been reached with Matthew Maynard and it appears likely that Tom will follow him out of the door. Meanwhile, the presence of Jamie Dalrymple is another gap that needs to be filled. Is the reported resurrection of Mike O’Shea’s career the way forward? Forgive me if I’m not counting that as progress…

[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]At the very least, Mott’s appointment guarantees a degree consistency lost in the purges. As one Matthew Peter leaves the club, another comes in – it’s good for regaining that sense of stability. No-one needs to re-letter a tracksuit. MPM is dead, long live MPM!

 

CricLit – Tom Maynard, 198-4

An except from “Tom Maynard, 198-4”, the latest blockbuster novel from the respected author George F’Orwell. We pick up the tale in Part Three, Chapter Four and Maynard is in a spot of bother…

Paul Russell Is Watching You

Yes. He absolutely is.

The pencil felt thick and awkward in his fingers. He began to write down the thoughts that came into his head. He wrote first in large clumsy capitals:

TWENTY20 IS SLAVERY

Then almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:

TWO AND TWO ARE BYES

But then there came a sort of check. His mind, as though shying away from something, seemed unable to concentrate. He knew that he knew what came next, but for the moment he could not recall it. When he did recall it, it was only by consciously reasoning out what it must be: it did not come of its own accord. He wrote:

CROFT IS POWER

He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered.  Dad, Walker, and Dalrymple were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. He had never seen the scorecard that disproved their guilt. It had never existed, he had invented it. He remembered remembering contrary things, but those were wrong referrals, products of self-deception. How easy it all was! Only surrender, and everything else followed. It was like playing across the line that pinned you back into the crease however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and go with the spin instead of defending it.

Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Criced were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. ‘If I wished,’ A’Hamer had said, ‘I could float off this floor like a Mitchell Johnson bouncer.’ Maynard worked it out. ‘If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.’ Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of Taff, the thought burst into his mind: ‘It doesn’t really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.’ He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a ‘real’ world where ‘real’ things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.

He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in no danger of succumbing to it. He realised, nevertheless, that it ought never to have occurred to him. The mind should develop a blind spot whenever an uppish drive presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. Divingstop, they called it in Slogsweep.

He set to work to exercise himself in Divingstop. He presented himself with propositions — ‘the Party says the earth is flat’, ‘the Party says that ice is heavier than water’ — and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical problems raised, for instance, by such a statement as ‘two and two make byes’ were beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability to make the most delicate use of slow wickets and the Duckworth Lewis Method. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.

All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered how soon they would shoot him. ‘Everything depends on yourself,’ A’Hamer had said; but he knew that there was no conscious act by which he could bring it nearer. It might be ten minutes hence, or ten years. They might keep him for years at Sophia Gardens, they might send him to club cricket in Aberdare, they might release him for a while, as they sometimes did – on loan, to Gloucestershire. It was perfectly possible that before he was shot the whole drama would be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that death never came at an expected moment. The tradition — the unspoken tradition: somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said — was that they caught you from behind; without warning, as you played down the corridor of uncertainty.

One day — but ‘one day’ was not the right expression; just as probably it was in the middle of the night: once — he fell into a strange, blissful reverie. He was wafting down that corridor, waiting for the yorker. He knew that it was coming in another moment. Everything was settled, smoothed out, reconciled. There were no more doubts, no more arguments, no more pain, no more fear. His body was healthy and strong. He walked easily, with a joy of movement and with a feeling of walking in sunlight. He was not any longer in the Morgannwg of Love, he was in the enormous sunlit passage, a kilometre wide, down which he had seemed to walk in the delirium induced by drugs. He was in the Golden Country, following the foot-track across the old freshly-drenched outfield. He could feel the short springy turf under his feet and the gentle sunshine on his face. At the edge of the ground were the elm trees, faintly stirring, and somewhere beyond that was the Taff where the dace lay in the green pools under the willows.

Suddenly he started up with a shock of horror. The sweat broke out on his backbone. He had heard himself cry aloud:

‘Gwalia! Gwalia! Gwalia, my love! Gwalia!’

He lay back on the bed and tried to compose himself. What had he done? How many years had he added to his servitude by that moment of weakness?

In another moment he would hear the tramp of boots outside. They could not let such an outburst go unpunished. They would know now, if they had not known before, that he was breaking the agreement he had made with them. He obeyed the Party, but he still hated the Party. In the old days he had hidden a heretical mind beneath an appearance of conformity. Now he had retreated a step further: in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep the inner heart inviolate. He knew that he was in the wrong, but he preferred to be in the wrong. They would understand that — A’Hamer would understand it. It was all confessed in that single foolish wide.

He would have to start all over again. It might take years. He ran a hand over his face, trying to familiarize himself with the new shape. There were deep cracks in the pitch, the rough felt sharp, the grass flattened. Besides, since last seeing himself in the glass he had been given a complete new set of bats. It was not easy to preserve accuracy when you did not know how the ball was swinging. In any case, mere control of the features was not enough. For the first time he perceived that if the bowler wanted to keep a secret, he would hide it from you. From now onwards he must not only think right; he must feel right, dream right. And all the while he must keep his slogging locked up inside him like matter which was part of himself and yet unconnected with the rest of him, a kind of cyst.

One day they would decide to snare him. You could not tell when it would happen, but a few seconds beforehand it should be possible to guess. It was always caught behind, without warning, as you played down the corridor of uncertainty. Ten seconds would be enough. In that time the world inside him could turn over. And then suddenly, without a word uttered, without a check in his step, without the changing of a line in his face — suddenly the camouflage would be down and bang! would go the batteries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an enormous roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would go the bouncer, too late, or too early. It would have smashed his stumps to pieces before he could defend it. The heretical thought would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in their own perfection. To walk hating them, that was freedom.

He shut his eyes. It was more difficult than accepting an intellectual discipline. It was a question of degrading himself, mutilating himself. He had got to plunge into the filthiest of filth. What was the most horrible, sickening thing of all? He thought of Paul Russell . The enormous face (because of constantly seeing it on posters he always thought of it as being a metre wide), with its heavy black moustache and the eyes that followed you to and fro, seemed to float into his mind of its own accord. What were his true feelings towards Paul Russell?

There was a heavy tramp of boots in the passage. The steel door swung open with a clang. A’Hamer walked into the cell. Behind him were the waxen-faced officer and the white-uniformed guards.

‘Get up,’ said A’Hamer. ‘Come here.’

Maynard stood opposite him. A’Hamer took Maynard’s shoulders between his strong hands and looked at him closely.

‘You have had thoughts of deceiving me,’ he said. ‘That was stupid. Stand up straighter. Look me in the face.’

He paused, and went on in a gentler tone:

‘You are improving. Intellectually there is very little wrong with you. It is only emotionally that you have failed to make progress. Tell me, Maynard — and remember, no lies: you know that I am always able to detect a lie — tell me, what are your true feelings towards Paul Russell?’

‘I hate him.’

‘You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you to take the last step. You must love Paul Russell. It is not enough to obey him: you must love him.’

He released Maynard with a little push towards the guards.

[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]’Room 10100W,’ he said.

CricLit – William Shakespeare’s Tremlett

Hamlet

The new Kookaburra ball had somewhat of a contentious design

An extract from Act III, Scene I: exuent King Andyflower and Lord Andystrauss; enter Tremlett…

TREMLETT:
Sydney or not Sydney: that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The line and length of outside-off – Steve Finn’s tune,
Or to take arms against a sea of Aussies,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That Ashes heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that SCG what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this glory’d tour,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of Ponting’s life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the series delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That Punter merits of the unworthy takes,
Down the leg side might his quietus make
With a bare bouncer? How would Aussies bear,
To play and miss under a weary line,
But that the dread of something after caught,
The discontented outback from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is wickets o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great swing and movement
With this regard their batsmen turn awry,
[tweetmeme source=”petehayman” only_single=false]And lose the name of Number 1. Soft you now!
The fair Kookaburra! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be my wickets remember’d.