Friday, 8 June 2012

The Ageing Cricketer

Cricket is a young man's game, so they say, and with me about to enter my 43rd year in a few weeks, it has to be said that every season is getting harder and harder. I know some players, even professionally have gone on for years. Well they're fit, and I'm not. So there.

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You are never too old to don the whites

This is what happens to us club players, where the malaise starts in your mid to late thirties. We have a reasonably long career at first team level, eighteen years in my case, and then you find yourself dropped to the second eleven. At second eleven level what you really want are the youngsters who think they are quick but spray it more than your average porn star, where the slightest touch goes through a similarly elderly slip and gulley cordon, providing you flash hard enough.

What you invariably end up facing, are similar aged bowlers, who you've played against for years, and therefore know where you hit it. These dibbly dobblers, actually require you to hit the ball on these early season wickets, and with some smart arsed keeper standing up due to their lack of pace, the chances of you getting to the pitch of the ball landing just back of a length are slimmer than Posh Spice, Lena Zavaroni and Karen Carpenter all rolled into one.

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Waller...sure he's been run out a few times

Therefore, all that is going to happen is it is going to go Rod Hull (aerial), and normally to mid on or mid off. Alternatively, you can use your cunning and experience and pat the old sod back for ten overs, before losing your patience, especially on these slow tracks, and hitting one to mid on or mid off. Your third option is trying to smash him out of the attack, before ultimately hitting one down the throat of, yes you've guessed it, mid on or mid off. The final option, and one I have become familiar with this year is hitting the ball on the deck to mid on or mid off, calling for the single due to being strangled on slow tracks by said seamers, before finally realising that being the fat, unfit bastard that I am, trying to run twenty two yards is akin to watching Rik Waller on that Celebrity Boot Camp programme the other year. Similarly to Rik, I am soon back in the pavilion in tears looking for sympathy.

The other thing that goes is your fielding. Playing with guys who are in the early twenties, and at the top of your fielding game, they don't realise that you were like them one day, and were half reasonable in the field. Batsmen now take you on as the old boy in the side, and what was once a reasonable arm, comes through as quick as a Jeremy Snape delivery in T20! It can be a cruel game.

Image Detail arm comes through as quick as one of his deliveries these days

So what happens is, you end up in the third eleven as your batting and fielding aren't quite up to standard, where you can maybe hold out for another ten years. Or you can retire, but that's not for me. Cricket for me is an addiction. It is to me what booze was to George Best, what a gram of coke was to Amy Winehouse, or what a team mates wife is like to John Terry. I can't help it. I want to play, or at least be involved in my club, and for that reason I will always be an old fool, the flame slowly dying, but having a bloody good laugh as it slowly burns. There's no fool, quite like an old fool.

And I'm sure there are plenty out there who can sympathise?


  1. As discussed mate I always admired your enthusiasm for the game. Having played so much in teens and twenties as I entered my 30s was fed up from staring at the sky for 3 hours pre batting. The odd ton and few fifties a season were nice but at the en was going through the motions. Tapping sir wobbly back for 10 overs is tedious and if I was still playing would be eyeing up mid wicket from the off. Keep going mate you never know I may make a comeback one day. So we can pat em back together again

  2. As mentioned I wrote this on Friday night, and on Saturday managed 22 balls before chipping one to mid off on a turgid track! Happy days...