He still bowls to me after a fashion, because we've taken to sneaking off to the nets whenever we can. He feeds the bowling machine for an hour and delights in delivering his traditional critique from the top of the ladder. There's been plenty to keep him talking, too. Form for me has been a hazy, indistinct thing.
Yesterday, we set the machine up as usual. 'Hang on,' he said as I walked to the other end, 'see if I've still got it'. He picked up a ball. He can't have bowled for ten years, maybe fifteen. The first one hit the side of the net halfway down and my heart sank an inch or two, but the second, bowled with that little hitch in his delivery stride that's as familiar to me as his face, dropped on a length and slid a little towards off stump. We both smiled. 82, he is.