Sometimes the game does not want merely to defeat you. Sometimes it demands something more, a new kind of humiliation or embarrassment, simply because it can.
The other week our opener got out early for not very many, and as he walked sadly towards the boundary rope, a group of Japanese tourists came running up and asked if they could have their picture taken with him. In fact they didn't really ask, they just draped their arms around him and started.
Then one of them took a piece of paper out of his pocket and asked if he knew the way to a local tourist attraction.
Later, when I was batting, I took what should have been a single to third man, but as the fielder ran after it his trousers fell down, so we got two instead.
For the pro, the moment of ignominy is a rare interruption to normal service. Their skill level tends to overwhelm the possibility of farce and their egos are robust enough to shrug it off when it visits. The rest of us have no such shields.
I was once fielding at slip to an off spinner, quite close to the bat. He bowled a short one, the batsman went back to cut and the next thing I knew I was seeing stars. The batter had got a top edge that smacked me on the forehead before I could get my hands up.
Instead of concern or sympathy, all I could hear was laughter. Apparently the ball was traveling remarkably slowly. As the story evolved, the ball got slower and slower, and the time I was on the ground longer and longer. I even heard my dad telling someone about it once, giving a little mime of my hands flapping as the ball got nearer.
Very slowly, of course...
First Ashes Test – The Report Cards
1 week ago