With the Ashes series in full swing, I’m reminded of my own short-lived cricketing career.
It’s fair to say my dad was a football and boxing fan and at school would sometimes combine the sports into one feisty P.E. lesson.
So, it took a bit of persuasion from me, as a small child, to get him to buy me a cricket set.
He hammered the wicket into our dry dirt garden, gave me a large adult wooden bat and ran up and bowled me a beamer with a proper wooden cricket ball that nearly took my 7-year-old head off. I’m not sure how he would have explained that to the coroner.
Maybe it was his way of saying he doesn’t want to play the “stupid namby-pamby game” and there would be casualties – maybe fatalities – if I made him.
The next day, seeing the obvious problem, mum bought a more child-friendly plastic cricket set.
This worked fine whilst dad was bowling the ridiculously light soft plastic cricket ball at me and I wildly flailed at it with my small plastic bat, resembling a child helicopter.
It wasn’t so great when my short child arms bowled the ball to my dad and he waited ages for it to arrive and then watch it bounce twice and forlornly roll to a stop. He’d then walk 3 yards towards the stationary ball and gently putt it into the garden fence and claim it as a four!
Having now sensed each other’s total disinterest in the game, it’s possible that we accidentally invented the modern popular short version of the game but ours was more 2/2 than 20/20.
In later years, at school, I wasn’t so much a batsman, more a target for feral classmates to take unprecedented delight in hurling wooden missiles at me.
Sometimes, to avoid the aerial bombardment not seen since the Luftwaffe raids, I’d purposely hit my own wicket to take myself out of the firing line.
So now, if I’m ever asked to play cricket, I’m definitely out.