Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pre-season blues

This is always a difficult time of year. The evenings begin to draw out, you get occasional beautiful days (like today) when the plaintive call of the cricket pitch becomes almost audible, and pre-season nets begin.

Last year I only managed to get to one session (it's something of a mission to get there) during which my bowling was collared to an embarrassing degree. Later, while batting, and desperately trying to remember which foot was which, and whether I was right or left-handed, the third ball I received cut back sharply and caught me right in the inner thigh.

There are worse places to get hit, but none that manage to bruise so effectively. I spent the next three weeks with a slowly fading kaleidoscope and an arthritic limp. Sadly, even this memory is failing to dampen my enthusiasm. It is a common delusion among cricketers that this season will be the one. This morning when I picked up an apple for breakfast and, before eating it, spun it from hand to hand a la Shane Warne, I knew that the fever had struck early. It's going to be a long pre-season.

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