The fielder basked in the sun but it was the batsman who was soaking up the adulation. The crowd’s rapturous applause thundered deep into the ears of the fielder. Culpable of dropping a catch only an hour ago, fingertips at fault, guilt now rippled through the veins of the sweat-drenched fielder.
There’d be no opportunity to make amends, no chance to redeem. It was far too late for that. As the batsman went on, 110, 120, 150, the pain only grew worse for the forlorn fielder. Against the backdrop of a setting sun the sun set on the fielder’s career. Dusk settled on the fielder’s time at the top but dawn was rising on the young batsman’s passage.
Setting and rising, dusk and dawning. Over the young batsman observers were fawning but the fielder had graced the field of green for one last morning. As the day evaporated and afternoon became evening, people drew curtains in houses across the land whilst the curtain closed on the fielder’s stage.
With ball in hand the Australian hopped toward the painted white line. Gracefully he arched his arm before bringing it down in whip like fashion. The rustic red orb released from his fingers. Above the barren surface the battered and bruised ball approached the Englishman. It landed in the rough and spat out like a taipan in the grasslands, turning towards the batsman with venom. With willow in both hands the cream clothed cricketer was deceived by the mysterious red swirl directly before his eyes. Anticipating movement one way, he received it the other. Despite the slowing of time it was far too late to save himself. The ball didn’t violently shatter his stumps but pierced his defences before elegantly clipping the timber summit. Both bails, a batsman’s gold, tumbled pitifully to the sun-baked ground. The Australian and his pals provided no pity and the Englishman’s sojourn was over. With head bowed he turned reluctantly, failing to block out the shrieks of joy. To polite applause the fallen batter trudged along the rain-starved grass toward the forgiveness of the changing room. He’d do it all again tomorrow.
The bowler is poised at the start of their run up. A train about to depart the station.
Ball in hand. Passengers on board.
Slowly the bowler begins their journey. Tentatively the train leaves the station.
Soon the bowler is at full tilt. The train too has reached maximum speed.
Upon reaching the crease the bowler releases the ball. The train also begins to stop in part.
The ball continues its journey towards the batter. The train approaches a new station.
The sound of the edge, heard by all who are watching. The sound of the locomotive on track, noticed by all who are waiting.
The ball in the air. The train on the track.
Sharing the final moment of this part of their journeys. Terminated, motion becomes inertia.
Caught by the fielder. Caught by the passenger.
Eventually the ball returns to its starting point. The train leaves for another station.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Defend your wicket
Like an army defending their king
Play the game of cricket
Like a jester entertaining their queen
Raise your bat
Like a sword in the hand of a prince
Maintain your poise and elegance
Like a ballroom graced by a princess
We’ve got Stokes and Woakes
And lots of other blokes
We’ve got the ‘Beard that’s Feared’
And a bowling attack geared
To rip up your stumps
And leave you in the dumps
We’ve got hundreds galore
And Cook still wanting more
We’ve got Root in charge
And we’re gonna win large
We’ve got Jennings and Ballance
And bucket loads of talent
We’ve got Anderson and Broad
And runs on the board
We’ve got Finn to run in
And matches to win
We’ve got Bairstow to keep wicket
Whilst we’re beating you at cricket
We’ve got Rashid to deceive
And a nation that believes
We’re gonna win the Ashes
Got no time for Big Bashes
We’ll have the Ozzies under the cosh
It’s gonna be a whitewash
We’re gonna have our fill
We’re gonna win five-nil, five-nil, five-nil!
You’re a batsman, like a deer
Isolated from the herd
Fielders, like a pack of wolves
Lick their lips at your wounds
Bowler, the alpha male
On the prowl, a scowl
Staring you down
The wolves, patient
Eyes on their prey
In pursuit, the whole day
They will get you
A matter of time
A fellow deer
Picked off by the pack
Another one dissected
Witness your fellow fallows fall
Stave off uncertain certainty
Cries, you’re down
Weapons on the ground
The wolves howl
The battle at a close
England built up our hopes
Now England are on the ropes
England can only get so far
England’s players will be at the bar
Tonight and tomorrow
Drowning their sorrows
England are out again
When will England win?