Sunday, 16 July 2017

Free Chapter of my Book! Losing Your Temper...

Need some holiday reading? Be the envy of your new found mates who you will never see again as you whip a copy of this out...You might even see why it is getting 5 star reviews. Why, even Joe Root would review this one well! Below is a free chapter of The Definitive Guide to Club Cricket. You can get your copy here...
Oh and feel free to tag a team mate who regularly loses the plot when out for a duck!

During a run of low scores many club cricketers lose their temper. Normal, responsible adults – frustrated by a combination of a boss shouting at them all week, a wife nagging them all week, a mundane job or lack of sex – can snap after a dodgy lbw decision or playing a rash shot come the weekend. Every club cricketer across the land has lost his temper at some point whether it is within the sanctuary of the dressing room or al fresco and in view of 30 or so members of the public. We advise never to laugh at this point.
I have seen many cricketers lose the plot. I have seen varying degrees of such plot-losing, too. Some batsmen, when they are out, merely take off their gloves and pads. Others launch their kit around the room. It is at this point that all openers are grateful for their place in the order as they never have to pad up while a tornado of kit is hurled around my some poor sod who’s just been sawed off by the opposition bent umpire.
It isn’t just club cricketers either. Mike Gatting once put his fist through a pane of glass at Lord’s after an lbw decision went down like a bad lunch with the ex-Middlesex skipper. Matt Prior, at the same ground, bounced his bat off of the dressing room sofa and straight through a window, showering the elderly members of the MCC below with shards of glass. It nearly caused one or two to choke on their gin and tonics. Ben Stokes once had to leave a tour after punching a locker in the West Indies, while Jack Brooks told me that his team mate at Northamptonshire, the ex-South African international Andrew Hall, had a ‘special bat’ that came out of the locker specifically to beat seven shades of crap out of various items in the dressing room. Radiators, benches, lockers … nothing was safe. He’d use his special bat in order not to smash up his real ones after either a low score or a rough decision.
It is often the send-off that can lead to such violence. A send-off is basically a cheap shot. At club level throughout the land, every weekend, having already beaten your man, a ‘tata’ or ‘thanks for coming’ from the slip cordon can result in criminal damage, while a ‘don’t use up all the hot water in the shower, son’, is often the precursor to some serious structural redevelopment of cricket pavilions.
Some don’t even wait to reach the hutch. I have personally witnessed people throw their bat all the way back to the pavilion often launching it javelin-style three or four times on that long and lonely walk back. I have seen another chap at our club kick his helmet all the way back, occasionally picking it up to launch it back towards the turf. The smashed helmet still takes pride of place in our bar, a grisly reminder of that day and like a macabre museum exhibit. Think of the famous Fawlty Towers scene when Basil’s car broke down and he proceeded to hit it repeatedly with a branch – this’ll give you some idea of what cricketers are like during this walk back.
Then you have the others who smash stumps. I think at all times we have wanted to smash the stumps out of the ground when dismissed, but most of us refrain from doing so as it goes against the Spirit of Cricket. I have it happen seen over the years and it varies from a little tap in frustration to a full-blown mow, like a farmer with a scythe removing all three stumps out of the ground in one fell swoop. Even in the professional game Chris Broad, ex-England opening bat and father of current international Stuart, did this in Australia once. Not only that but he had 130-odd to his name at the time. If I got a 130 for England I’d be doing cartwheels. Broad is now a match referee in the international arena. I kid you not.
As with Stokes, losing your temper can often cause a self-inflicted injury. Putting your fist through a glass window isn’t the brightest of ideas and it is not unknown for a bat to bounce back at someone off a dressing room bench boomerang-style, hitting them in the face. Team mates padding up can also be at risk of flying bats.
Some players just sit there with their pads on for an hour or so. Others can be distraught. Often a number eleven when out can be heartbroken as when he is out there is a finality to it. It’s the last wicket and the game is over. He often thinks he himself has lost the game, when in reality it’s the batsmen above him who haven’t got enough runs. Others I have seen over the years have a little blub, a little snivel and get on with it. Yes, these are grown men.
I’ve seen captains go absolutely bonkers in dressing rooms. I have seen sides locked in for an hour after a game because the batting has failed, or the bowler’s bowled badly or the side dropped too many catches. I have seen bowlers slip in a deliberate beamer having lost the plot and I have witnessed a captain getting a bowler to bowl one. A few years ago in the international game we witnessed a West Indian bowler run through the crease and throw one at a South African batsman from around 16 yards.
From the teapot-style of a captain with his hands on his hips to players throwing down their caps in disgust, cricket is a game of high emotions. Ranging from elated to downright incandescent with rage, a dressing room can be a harbour of the extremes. It doesn’t matter if you play the game professionally or like most of us, for a village Sunday 3rd XI, you will see a temper tantrum at some point during the season. Sometimes you see two or three in one day.
Just be wary of the flying bats and my advice is not to say a word to the incoming bat. Even a good-natured ‘bad luck mate’ is likely to be returned with ‘no bad luck about it, it was a shit shot/bad decision/the moon was at a certain angle’ (delete as applicable).
Cricket is a funny old game.
The Definitive Guide to Club Cricket


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