Sunday, 30 August 2009

Lily 'Ashes' Allen

Just when you think it's all over, there's cricket. Having wrenched The Ashes from the long term grasp of arch rivals, the Aussies, in that balmy summer of 2005 only to promptly lose them again by being completely whitewashed 5-0 down under in the winter tour of 2006/7, the England cricket team have confounded us all by reclaiming the diminutive urn this summer – and without Pieterson and Freddie Flintoff for much of the series. I am amazed.

But I am more amazed by cricket’s new patron – Lily Allen. Was it not her being interviewed by Jonathon ‘Aggers’ Agnew on Radio 5’s Test Match Special (TMS) during the lunch break on day 3 of the deciding Oval Test? And was it not her who had to ask what the ‘Extras’ are that are added to the innings total? Oh Gawd! There has been a lot of adverse comment about the choice of interviewee on that day as the usual suspects are either veteran international cricketers or well known celebs who actually know something about cricket (and have a book to plug). But no, Lily declared her undying love for the game even though she was a bit wobbly on the rules.

However, she did strike a cruel blow against the administrators by saying that the new Twenty20 short form of the game was rubbish and that she only follows proper grown-up Test Matches. Hurrah! In fact she had a few ideas of her own. My favourite being that the Test series should be extended to 7 or even 9 games, to be known as the ‘All Out War’ series. Great Stuff! She clearly has a better grip on the game than some of those in charge.

Given her lack of a comprehensive knowledge of the laws of the game, I would’ve loved to have asked her whether she adhered to the ‘six and out’ rule having heaved the ball into a neighbour’s garden when playing at home with the family (I bet Keith bowls a mean leg cutter). And did she have any penalties in place for breaking windows? I only ask because I never actually broke any glass with a cricket ball myself – but my Dad once put a thick outside edge through the kitchen window (failed to spot the away-swinger) much to the consternation of my mother who was washing her hair in the kitchen sink at the time.

The standard of banter is always first rate on TMS and Lily’s contribution was a lot of fun. Even the real broadcasters have their moments of sheer surrealism. Like this:
Phil Tufnell (ex-England spin bowler and lad-about-town): ‘How did you prepare to bat, Matthew?’
Matthew Hayden (ex-Aussie opening batsman of some repute): 'I’d have a routine… (goes on for about 5 minutes about eye exercises and mental attitude etc etc)'
Tufnell: 'So having a snooze was completely the wrong approach then?'

I’m not sure Lily was so out of place after all.

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